“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."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why do we Need to be in Afghanistan?

I used to know but I forgot.


New breed of Taliban replaces old guard
Money and a hatred of foreigners are motivating a new generation of Afghan fighters.

By Alex Thomson
17 Sep 2008

Mehran Bozorgnia, a cameraman working for Channel 4 News, spent time with the Taliban in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan to discover this new breed.

After months of planning, phone calls, endless cups of tea at meetings in Kabul to arrange the visit, it began with two knocks at the steel door of a mud compound near the southern city.

Eyes glinted as a face and a white turban appeared - as did a Kalashnikov. The door slammed shut. Nerve-wracking minutes passed before the door opened again.

Inside, it turned out to be the former home of Mullah Dadullah, the Mujahideen-turned-Taliban commander, killed by Nato forces (including Britain's Special Boat Service) last year. The house is still a command centre for "the Taliban". But that word is starting to lose meaning.

Beware: these men may lay down their lives for you if you are their guest. But they may hack your head off if you're an intruder.

They soon demonstrated gruesome beheading videos on their state-of-the-art mobiles to establish their credentials.

Hamidullah Khan, a veteran fighter in his mid-forties, underlined why the wild body-counts of the Afghan government are meaningless. These Talibs fight, he claimed, like shark's teeth. "This is the late Mullah Dadullah's home. He gave his life for God's will. When he was killed 20,000 more came forward in the name of Dadullah. They're now behind him. This is the Taliban way. When one is killed another comes in. Then another. We don't leave the ground empty."

And there was no evidence here of hordes crossing the frontier from Pakistan. To a man they were Afghan. The sole foreigner, Aftab Panjabi, a former Pakistan Army officer, took a dozen Talibs through the art of firing an AK47 accurately.

They were candid about their motives. There was no chat of Mullah Omar - the old Taliban leader - nor Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Their fight is both modern - and yet traditional.

In modern terms they feel nothing has changed. They see a country mired in corruption. They know there is a government of sorts in distant Kabul but it has no writ here. Haji Hyatullah, in his twenties, may have his face covered in black turban - but talks openly about getting far more money fighting with the Taliban than any other job around. Assuming for a second that there were any jobs. "People are getting fed up with the lies the government has told them.

There is no work for people. They do this because they need a piece of bread to eat," he said.

But surely someone has got to negotiate eventually with the government? President Hamid Karzai himself wants that, even if the Americans are lukewarm.

"No, no, no," he laughed, genuinely amused by the concept of negotiation with Kabul.
"We don't see any need for talks with this government. Actually there is no such thing as the government. The issue here is foreign countries and we deal with them by fighting like this. Jihad is the only way for us. Our Jihad."

And that is the second, timeless motive. Talk to them about fighting the British and they don't do "war on terror". Instead, they left the compound to visit a nearby graveyard, a resting place for Afghans who fought against the British over a century ago. Haji said: "People want to defend their independence, Islam and Afghan national pride. That's why they come and support the Taliban."

They were nonplussed that President Karzai says it is "un-Afghan" to attack Nato troops. And they have no lack of support.

Hamidullah Khan explained how arms and ammunition come in from both Pakistan and Iran. Asked where the general finance comes for all this, war being nothing if not expensive, he said: "The money's coming in from all Islamic countries. All over the world.
"But in particular we are getting plenty of money from Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia."

During the visit, the fighters talked more like old-time Mujahideen, discussing the Russian invaders, than the unsmiling students of Mullah Omar.

By night they liked nothing more than a drop (or three) of whisky - though did not drink in front of a camera.

By day they encouraged locals to bet on the local sport of ram-fighting, laying money on which horned headbutter stuns its opponent the quickest. The Taliban who overtook this country more than a decade ago would have blanched.

They appeared equally happy to be filmed at a local wedding where - heaven forefend - a local band whacked out traditional Pashtun party tunes. The drum and keyboard combo need not have worried about the Mullah sending in goons to silence them. There is more, much more to the modern Taliban than brain-washed kids coming in from Pakistani madrassa schools, strapped up with explosives.

Of course they exist. But so do these new-style Afghan Talibs. Changed lifestyles and changed military tactics too. They happily showed off their stash of Afghan police and army uniforms. They discussed how they infiltrate local security forces. So they know when, where and how they will move. It's all about intelligence, ambush technology - not the costly frontal assaults of old.

As if to prove that, they supplied a video of them using the main Kabul-Kandahar highway as cover for rocketing a nearby compound. Daylight, brazen, confident - they moved almost leisurely, firing from the road. The traffic barely slowed. And what can Nato do - strafe Afghanistan's equivalent of the M1 motorway?

I remember when officials in Kabul pointed to that road as a shining symbol of "New Afghanistan". Nowadays any Afghan will advise you to do anything you want on that road - except drive along it.

In all of this, an urgent lesson for Nato: these local, Afghan fighters enjoy real support. It is simply wrong to say it is just coercion and terror. Just like the Mujahideen did. Indeed, on this evidence the so-called Taliban might be changing into something far more like the Mujahideen than the madrassa-produced Pakistani Taliban.
Have Nato allowed themselves to become the new Russians? Many an Afghan would say yes.


  1. This is going to sound more flippant than I intend but, 9/11 is "uncool" across the spectrum, now? If there is a case to stay in Afghanistan, let it be made, however.

    How many reasons to trust Afghanistan's neighbors to keep a lid on things?

    We knew a forward defense, an offensive posture, whatever you want to call it, would have costs.

    Then again, are we considering the opportunity cost in exporting security that far away when Mexico is seemingly bereft of law and order?

    Grenades kill 7 or 8, injure 100s

  2. You hear about the missing plane along the US-Mexico border? Reading about where the ill-fated passengers came from reminds us of other national interests. How worried are we about our water supplies?

    US-Mexico water commission plane missing

    Water, as with energy, is another yet more scarce resource we must consider securing. Mentions of the NAU and the Amero aside, there may be incentives to invest in North American resources - water, energy and people - for our own betterment in the 21st.

    We may be philosophically or culturally exceptional but we've the same biological needs as always. How to secure those for the future? According to Old Blue @ BC, Afghanistan has its water. What about ours?

  3. Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Russian markets stopped trading for a second day after emergency funding measures by the government failed to halt the biggest stock rout since the country's debt default and currency devaluation a decade ago.

    Sberbank, eastern Europe's biggest bank, can borrow as much as 754 billion rubles, VTB has a limit of 268.5 billion rubles and Gazprombank can get 103.9 billion rubles. About 400 billion rubles more of unspent budget funds is available to other banks.

    That's what I like to see, all those oil profits going right down the shitter at Gazprombank. Putin better hurry up and invade Ukraine, if he wants to rebuild the Soviet Union again before he runs out of money.

  4. The financial world has changed since 911. It has not turned in US favor.

    The Democrats are wrong to say how Iraq has weakened the US Army. Iraq has shown us that the US Army needs to be bigger.

    China has made huge economic advances since 911.

    Iraq is going to be more independent than perhaps we bargained for.

    Iran is getting close to having a nuclear weapon.

    Pakistan already does and is becoming less stable.

    The Sauds have more money and are not spending any less on funding militant Islam.

    Russia is no less dangerous.

    Latin American is more problematic.

    The US is far more politically divided.

    ...all that being said, "Why do we need to be in Afghanistan?"

  5. Because if we aren't the one's causing events over there, then one of them will be?

  6. T, I am sure US C-notes are a little more popular today on the streets of Moscow than they were when the crowds were cheering the Russian tanks moving into Georgia.

  7. The issue, dynamite, is not actions occurring there, but those that can occur hre.

    With the limited resources that will be made available, right or wrong, to the next President, where should those resources be utilized.

    The fight is not with Afghanis, or even in Afghanistan any more.

    It moved across a mountain range.
    We are afraid to prosecute the war.

    Is the War on Terror over?
    Should the strategies change
    Should the tactics change?

    In Afghanistan, are we of the Golbal Village considered to be Russians, now?

  8. Dino, I think about what a pacified Afghanistan would be like, what it would cost, and how long it would take. It is probably the Lehman Brothers of Muslim countries, fixable but at what cost. Could our resources be used better elsewhere?

    Did you catch the one part of the article about where the Taliban gets some of its funding. Once again, our very good friends the Sauds.

  9. If the War on Terror is to continue, it must shift to Pakistan, where the terrorist are.

    Where they were from day one, in the ISI.

  10. Washington Risking War with Pakistan
    By Robert Baer

    As Wall Street collapsed with a bang, almost no one noticed that we're on the brink of war with Pakistan. And, unfortunately, that's not too much of an exaggeration. On Tuesday, the Pakistan's military ordered its forces along the Afghan border to repulse all future American military incursions into Pakistan. The story has been subsequently downplayed, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mike Mullen, flew to Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, to try to ease tensions. But the fact remains that American forces have and are violating Pakistani sovereignty.

    You have to wonder whether the Bush administration understands what it is getting into. In case anyone has forgotten, Pakistan has a hundred plus nuclear weapons. It's a country on the edge of civil war. Its political leadership is bitterly divided. In other words, it's the perfect recipe for a catastrophe.

    All of which begs the question, is it worth the ghost hunt we've been on since September 11?

  11. Now, Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is's intelligence columnist and the author of See No Evil and, most recently, the novel Blow the House Down.

    He has no doubt at all, and plainly states HIS case:

    Before it is too late, someone needs to sit the President down and give him the bad news that Pakistan is a bridge too far in the "war on terror."

    We should destroy the enemy, or come home. There is no bridge to far, if we decide to go there.

    But we should publicly decide, before we start the trip.

  12. What would a war on Pakistan look like?

  13. Great news, doug!

    Now the Cubans will be able to launch communication satellites, too!

  14. Why do we need to be in Afghanistan?

    Because it's a hellllllll of a lot better than hearing, "Why do we need to be in Pakistan?"

  15. Russia ready to help Cuba build space center...

    It's funny how all their rockets will point north instead of east.

  16. Death from Above,
    would be my guess.

    Our 150 or so remaining bombers would get a real workout.

    Guess we'd use F22s to shoot down their F16s

    Not much of an occupation or even many boots on the ground.
    If it came to a war.

    But that is just how I see it

  17. Trish: Why do we need to be in Afghanistan?

    Because it's a hellllllll of a lot better than hearing, "Why do we need to be in Pakistan?"

    We don't need to be in Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Korea, Germany, Iraq, you name it. Let's call the American tradition of going "Over There" a little century-long diversion that we put aside when we grew up.

  18. Pakistan Air Force begins air patrols over North Waziristan news

    15 September 2008

    Miramshah: Local tribals in Pakistan's North Waziristan frontier region are reported to be expressing relief at the sight of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16s operating air patrols in areas on the border with Afghanistan. The PAF action comes after stern warnings issued by civil and military Pakistani leaders against what they have dubbed unilateral cross-border actions by the US-led coalition forces including airspace violations by drones and ground incursions by coalition forces into tribal areas.

  19. I saw this on the TV, this morning, the comments by Ms Fiorina.

    She'll be riding in the back of the bus, with Phil Gramm.

    Ms Dowd opines:

    Carly Fiorina, the woman John McCain sent out to defend Sarah Palin and rip anyone who calls her a tabula rasa on foreign policy and the economy, admitted Tuesday that Palin was not capable of running Hewlett-Packard.

    That’s pretty damning coming from Fiorina, who also was not capable of running Hewlett-Packard.

    Carly helpfully added that McCain (not to mention Obama and Biden) couldn’t run a major corporation. He couldn’t get his immigration bill passed either, but now he’s promising to eliminate centuries of greed on Wall Street.

  20. j willie wrote:

    "...everybody involved is to blame - it's a bipartisan failure."

    I fully agree with you on that j willie. There is the old saw bandied about here of late of how we get the government we deserve. Well Americans need to take a step back and examine their priorities and political system and get off the high horse of thinking they are the 'bestest place on the planet with the bests political system in the universe'. The republicans have had firm hands on the reigns of power for a long time and these problems (glass-stengall repeal issues ect.) have not appeared out of the blue.

    I wish I could write more but I must meet with a client now. In short ...

  21. Can the threats of Pakistan be contained? If such a thing were possible, controlling Afghanistan, would be instrumental, no?

    What is the strategic reach of Pakistan, post our invasion of Afghanistan?

  22. Peter Goodspeed: Putin defies U.S. with nuclear naval challenge in Venezuela
    Posted: September 16, 2008,

    posted by Kelly McParland

    Full Comment, Peter Goodspeed

    Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President, was beside himself late last week as two Russian Tu-160 bombers landed in Venezuela for a series of “training flights.”

    The arrival of the Blackjack strategic nuclear bombers was a warning to the United States, he declared.

    “Russia is with us. We are strategic allies,” he told the audience of his weekend television talk show. “It’s a message to the Empire. Venezuela is no longer poor and alone.”

    “Go ahead and squeal, Yankees,” he taunted.

    Like his hero Fidel Castro of Cuba, the Venezuelan dictator has built his career opposing everything American. Now, by establishing an alliance with Moscow he hopes to inoculate himself from Washington’s wrath.

    He may also be stirring up the embers of the Cold War with Russia’s connivance, like Mr. Castro before him.

    After Russia invaded Georgia in August, there were growing worries the next target for Moscow’s reassertion of its power might be Ukraine, with its valuable Black Sea ports.

    But now the world should probably brace itself for the next Cuban Missile Crisis in Venezuela, instead of the Crimea

  23. It'd be an absolute fuckin' walkover - exuse me, flyover - Pakistan would. Bonus: No blowback, no rebound. AND oodles and oodles of domestic and international support.

    The Bush administration knows this of course - don't think the Chiefs haven't been over there every morning impressing these facts upon them - they've just been putting off the easy and obvious. Those jackasses.

  24. The London bombers were led by agents from Pakistan. That exemplifies that the Paki strategic reach, by terror, has not been diminished by the US being in Afghanistan.

    As were the terrorist bomb attacks in Kabul and India, a week or more ago.

    A coalition presence, in Afghanistan, does complicate the "strategic depth" the Pakis were trying to develop in Afghanland, for their war with India.

    But what was that "depth" for, anyway?

    Let's just call a spade a spade, Pakistan is the real problem child.

  25. The JCS are afraid, trish
    They were afraid in Iraq, too.

    Woodward's newest book confirms that.

  26. "The JCS are afraid, trish"

    They have reason to be.

  27. If the US is afraid, if the costs are to high, then time to come on home.

    Be back for Christmass.

  28. "If the US is afraid, if the costs are to high, then time to come on home."

    If the costs of doing what you and Hitchens want to do is too high, we should come on home. That's what you're talking about, Rat. But those aren't the either-or.

  29. Can India leverage any help? Most of Pakistan's cities look like greater India on the map.

    DR/Trish: you're both being sarcastic when you suggest were an air campaign away from much greater safety, right?

  30. I am. DR's not.

    It's a mystery to me why a former combat engineer with experience in Central America grasps nothing but the Easy Button.

  31. We're an air campaign from victory, safety, that's another matter.

    Look at arcs of responsibility this way, with a historical analogy.

    Prior to the invasion of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs, the CIA funded both the invaders and their training camps. This made the US at least a co-conspirator in the operation.
    That is pretty much agreed to, by all parties.

    Osama and aQ, training in AFghanistan, were protected by the Taliban who were sponsored by the Pakistani. With operations directed by the ISI. Same folks we used against the Russians, in AFghanistan.

    If the US was responsible for the Bay of Pigs, Pakistan stands responsible for 9-11-01

  32. The "Easy Button" nah, that's not it.

    We reach for victory, a concept not discussed by the JCS, in Woodward's tome.

    The real issue is in forcing the Pakis to disarm those nukes. Money will not do it. The threat of force may, the use of force would.

    Make an object example of 'em, the Iranians would back down, faster than shit through a goose.
    As would Putin and the Russians.
    They'd follow Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qaddafi's lead.

    Become a lot more civilized, with the fear of God and a US airstrike burned firmly into their brains.

  33. Depends, too, upon the Goal.

    The US, in Iraq, initially had a Goal of diminishing the Tribal leaders influence in the society.

    This led to an insurrection.
    Using Anbar as the model.

    It was not until the Goal changed, becoming stability and lessened violence on the streets, did the US change course and embrace those very same Tribal leaders, then stability was achieved.

    But the Strategic Goal of the US, in Iraq and the Region, was abandoned.
    The Iraq war ended, the Tribes won.

  34. Why do we need to be in Afghanistan?

    Because it's a hellllllll of a lot better than hearing, "Why do we need to be in Pakistan?"

    _ thats a pretty good answer

  35. How did the US defeat Japan?

    Other than a few small border islands, not one US boot touched their homeland, yet they were totally defeated.

    How did the Japanese react to US fire bombing Tokyo?

    They tried to put out the fires.

    They could not respond, militarily. It was beyond their capacity and capability, as it would be with Pakistan.

    Though India could suffer.

  36. Do we avenge 9-11?

    Do we teach the "bad guys" that attacking US is a "Bridge to Far", or do we let them strike at our largest city and our military HQ, and let them get away with it?

    That's the debate.

    No matter where we have to go, or who or how many we have to kill to burn that point into their collective brain.

    Or the US can pare down to 100 nuclear warheads, too.
    Think of the money we'd save

  37. "The 'Easy Button' nah, that's not it."

    Yes. That's exactly it.

    You were harshly critical and dismissive as well of our neglect to conduct air interdiction/overt raids inside Syria and Iran, never appreciating that there were legitimate reasons not to do so as part of the cointerinsurgency effort. I had no esteem for that opinion then, and I have none for its South Asia counterpart now.

    I hasten to add, as well, that any extensive air campaign inside Pakistan would gravely endanger our own people and assets and shut down operations there indefinitely.

  38. We speak of going to war over Ukraine, but will not over NYCity?

    Who'd ever take US threats or promises seriously, again?

  39. Exactly, we have put ourselves in the Chosin Reservoir, of the 21st Century, there in Afghanistan.

    And to what end?

    Certainly not the End of Terror as a tactic. Or we'd have to go to Mexico, too.

    What is the Strategic Goal of remaining in Afghanistan?

    How will it be achieved?

    What is the timetable for success?

    How long until we realisticly can achieve the Goal?

  40. If we stay out of Pakistan, of course. Let them skate away.

  41. DR wrote:

    "Become a lot more civilized, with the fear of God and a US airstrike burned firmly into their brains."

    I concur on the tendency toward dreams of an "easy button". In fact, that statement sounds like those terrorists dreams - fear of God because we were able to blow some thing up.... ah .... nope. If anything it would probably firm up their resolve just like it did to US.

  42. DR: We speak of going to war over Ukraine, but will not over NYCity?

    We did go to war over NYC, remember? December 2001? The Taliban were booted from Afghanistan. Getting Osama bin Laden would be nice, but don't be trapped into getting one guy as the definition of victory.

  43. And yes, there'd be danger, which is no stranger, to a Ranger.

  44. I'm not Ms T, but Afghanistan, in 2000 and 2001 was just an extension of Pakistan. Their "Strategic Depth", as it were.

    Back to the Bay of Pigs, darlin'
    The invaders worked out of training camps in Guatemala.
    That, of course, removed all responsibility from JFK and the US for the operation.

  45. The A.I.G. becoming 'owned' by the US gov. is an interesting development on all sorts of levels.

    First off it seems to have been done as an act of Fiat by the administration - can they actually do what they did? It is also ironic given the republican disdain for public health insurance and horror at the thought of a single payer system yet here we have those same folk now getting the US government into the business of publicly insuring complex debt securities among many other forms of insurance.

  46. Rat, if the operations are shut down, there's no "picture" anymore. Kapiche? And it's already getting harder by month to obtain same.

  47. That's the point, ash.
    It did not firm our resolve, it broke it.

    We've paid to much, already.
    We've done enough. already.
    We've done all that's possible, already.

    Those are the whines of today's military and their collective. At least the female part of it, as exemplified here.

    Stay the Course, send three more Brigades, say the local Commanders.

    To do what, when, how and why?

  48. Well. The "picture" and other things.

  49. The Goal was never Afghanistan, not in the beginning, nor the middle or in the end.

    The GOAL of the WAR,
    defeat of the State Sponsors of Terror.

    Pakistan has always led that list, as regards the US body count.

    Team43's biggest failure, bar none, was to address it with payments of tribute.

  50. If you want to put Jihadis out of business, starve them of resources:

    1/ Starve them of money by replacing oil with green energy.

    2/ Starve them of propaganda by eliminating their sources of propaganda (Ashley being an example).

    3/ Starve them of territory by pushing back their territorial gains.

    4/ Starve them of manpower by killing them en mass.

    These steps should be approached in their proper sequence. Wanting to go straight to step 4 is a mistake.

  51. We broke our National resolve fighting the Tribes of Iraq.

    They had been branded terrorists, for a while.
    Now they've been rebranded, as patriots.

    Concerned Citizens was a term used for awhile, there. Found that humorous, myself.

  52. The GOAL of the WAR,
    defeat of the State Sponsors of Terror.

    Pakistan has always led that list, as regards the US body count

    and as a nuclear proliferator.

    They are the keystone to the terrorists.

  53. I concur on the tendency toward dreams of an "easy button".

    - ash

    You would especially concur if you'd ever seen what a lousy puff of smoke in a vast, forbidding wasteland a 2000lb bomb actually is.

  54. and don't forget the Saudi's rat, and the Ruskies, and the...

    I think even the idealists in this administration have realized that we cannot simply bomb these State sponsors into compliance. In fact we couldn't even bomb invade and occupy them into compliance. In fact we are so dependent upon some of these States that we must try to find some other means beside using a military option to combat terrorism and their sponsorship.

    In mats world it is simple: just don't use oil and all will be peachy 'cause then we can slaughter the buggers. Easier said then done but mattie will always be a dreamer in top down fantasy solutions.

  55. Actually, Ashley, these are very practical relatively inexpensive very doable steps. Unfortunately, corruption at the highest levels of US politics has prevented these steps from being implemented. Jihadi oil buys not only tv propaganda networks madrasas mosques weapons terrorists etc, it also buys US politicians.

  56. The only reason Anybody ever lived in Afghanistan was to "Rob the Caravans." Well, now, We're the Caravans.

    There's nothing there, and No One there - except those bred to fight, and pillage.

    We, like all empires before us, will, eventually, leave Afghanistan. We might as well start making preparations, now.

  57. While I agree with you that the addiction to cheap oil is a serious problem I do not believe that the steps to get off of it are easy. As a buddy of mine in the Oil business pointed out take a look the value in a litre of gas - how cheap it is and how far you can go. A litre of milk is way more expensive and how far will that take you? We've been using fossil fuels because they are easy and cheap and that makes it very hard to break the addiction. The simple fact that they aren't so cheap is helping to break the addiction but it isn't sufficient as of yet.

    By the way, are you a Dion supporter in Canada? His Carbon Tax seems right up your alley as far as trying to shift the costs (tax the sin) from the source of our addiction. He seems to be spouting stuff you would want to hear?

  58. Oh, I know how small a 2,000 lb bomb is.

    That's why there are JDAMs

    Or admit the War on Terror a Bridge to Far for the US military and bring them home.

    That'd be fine, too.

    But there'll be little support for a protracted conflict, there or anywhere.

    The US cannot provide the long term resolve to defend its' own frontier, let alone one in Afghanland.

  59. Habu/LeMay would have won the war long ago. And the radioactivity in three or four countries would be down to livible levels by now.

  60. While Obama the One wants to leave Iraq, put more boots on the ground in Afghanistan, and Pakistan too, if I understand him correctly. And talk to Iran.

    I got to wake up and call Parr Motors. I need a pickup and camper so I can head to Alaska when the end times begin.

  61. During the end times, the lower 48, or 55 = death.

  62. We've found stability in Iraq, Iran is a long, not short, term threat to US, while the enemy in Pakistan beckons.

    Those 40,000 unwaivering Jihadi, the ones Obama said needed killin', that's where they are.

    In Pakistan.

  63. As a buddy of mine in the Oil business pointed out take a look the value in a litre of gas - how cheap it is and how far you can go. A litre of milk is way more expensive and how far will that take you? We've been using fossil fuels because they are easy and cheap and that makes it very hard to break the addiction.


    The cost of dollars per miles driving Electric Vehicles is a fraction of what it is driving conventional gasoline vehicles. And the cost of upgrading the infrastructure to accommodate these Electric Vehicles, also is a fraction the cost that of importing oil. There's also a huge benefit to local jobs and the economy using green energy EVs. The only reason the impasse exists is because of political corruption.

  64. Kill them from above is my advice. If we are going to do it. Aftr a while, the people in the villages are guilty too, breeding, raising, indoctrinating, hiding the jihadis. We can pinprick forever to no real result.

  65. Oil's down below $92 and the Russian stock market is closed another day.

  66. Both Russian stock markets are shut down. Capital fleeing.

  67. off topic from last post, but's it's dead there now...

    what is "occupation" said...

    You assume it is hidden, wi"o", and not being processed.

    No I assume it is diverted for being processed into enriched uranium

    A missile using nuclear fuel?
    No, I doubt that.

    You can doubt it, however the pattern suggests otherwise...

    Last sept's israel & usa strike in syria of Nkor, Iran & syria's nuke missile factory is part of the pattern

    for the IAEA to tell of iran's missing uranium from the very PLANT they monitior, COMBINED with the iaea's OWN report of iran nuke missile research is startling at worst, alarming at best...

    the iaea is the very last place I'd expect anything except praise for Iran...

    DR: A missile capable of lifting a viable payload, that'd be reasonable. Now, do you want the US military to limit Iran's ability to launch communication satellites?

    I want IRAN to have limits on the number of bread toasters it's allowed UNTIL it changes the jihadist, terrorist path it's on...

    Iran has forfeited any right to "national defense or industry" after calling for the genocide of Israel & the USA

    As a signer of the UN charter, Iran crossed red lines...

    and now it's pursuit of NUKES combined with it's murderous behavior since 1978 are now coming to fruition...

    Wed Sep 17, 09:44:00 AM EDT

    what is "occupation" said...
    oh and the latest Hillary Palin issue?

    It's a complete CLINTON BOMB...


    It's a perfect cover...

    Hillary has a 90% rating among american jews... (except for the arafat's wife french kiss)

    By pulling out of the Mr Dinnerjacket event at the UN (a BI-partisian event for YEARS) she will cause jewish voters to VOTE McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thus causes mr messiah to falter, look to reaction in Ohio & FL

    Hillary is genus...

    Obama just got sacked by....... Hillary

  68. "But there'll be little support for a protracted conflict, there or anywhere."

    Little support for the Good War that's been neglected for seven years on account of the Bad One? Oh we haven't yet begun to see the second ramp-up on that one.

    When we do, I'm confident you'll dip into your usual, self-regarding and fathomless disdain. Whatever we do, wherever we don't, it's wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Even habu finally came, in disgust, to reject that drum beat and embrace his inner Surge. Back when you were still sneering, "Stay the Course! Say the Curse!"

    Well. So have I.

  69. Pullman, Washington AP--

    Schweitzer Engineering Labs Plans Expansion

    Ed Schweitzer announced Tuesday night the planned construction of another new 30,000 sq ft engineering lab here and an almost $1 an hour hike in wages for beginning manufacturing jobs throughout the company.

    "We're making 200 new jobs in this community this year'" Schweitzer said before addressing members of the Pullman City Council. The title of his talk was: "Pullman, A Great Place to Live, Work and Do Business".

    Schweitzer also offered some opinions on what's happening with the natinal economy.

    "People get to speedy and greedy," he said. "It kind of reminds me of when cocaine was first discovered. People thought it was a cure for everything. So no we've discovered these complicated investment tools that people don't understand and they got themselves in trouble with them."

    After adding 1,000 new jobs over the past five years, Schweitzer said his company now sells its protective electrical relay instruments in 124 countries.

    Schweitzer said he has been criticized for not being more aggressive and borrowing more money to grow even faster.

    "What we do in our company is we make a profit, and then we reinvest it in our business," he said. "We have a pretty simple way."

    He said parts of the US economy have been staggered because people don't stick to fundamental economic principles. "Look at some of the decisions or investments that people have made tht have resulted in some of the things that have happened in this past week."

    He said he wonders whether even the investors really understood te complicated financial instruments. "And people bought them and sold them without even knowing what they're dealing with."

    Brings to mind Mat's post of the two English gentlemen talking about bundled investments:)

    I tried to get Schweitzer interested in my land, to no avail. The government of Moscow sucks, was his opinion. And it did, then.

  70. I hope those Ruskies are takin' it hard, in the shorts.

    Between the lost value in the wife's 401k and the current illiquidity in the rural real estate market, seem to be down about $100,000 on the revised balance sheet, maybe a tad more. That asset value just flew away.

    j willie tells me to blame Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. That fault falls upon the 53 Republican Senators and Fritz Hollings who voted for it, along with President Bill Clinton for signing it.

    Of the entire bunch that vote yea, the only one on my ballot in November, John McCain,

    We can also blame the 44 Democrats that voted against it, for not maintaining a filibuster, I guess.

    Kinda get a better understanding of how those Enron employees must have felt, when their hole card turned to dust.

    So hope those Russians suffer right along with US.
    The Brits certainly seem to be.

    As Maverick said last winter, in New Hampshire, he has no idea how to fix it.

    I'm not sure who really does.

  71. mattie ole boy you are living in a conspiracy fantasy world. If you can build and run an electric car so cheap and easy do it and the world will beat a path to your door. Ya know, build a better mousetrap...

    It hasn't happened because, with cheap oil, black gold just oozing from the ground, it has been much cheaper and easier build the big ole gas guzzling cars that go VRRRROOOM when you turn the key and burn off down the road as opposed to that nice little electric hum as the car meanders off, slowly, to its destination.

    See there you go again, top down - 'it's political corruption and the right dictator will fix 'er up nice.'

  72. By pulling out of the Mr Dinnerjacket event at the UN (a BI-partisian event for YEARS) she will cause jewish voters to VOTE McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe Obama will have a counter-rally in support of Ahmedinejad, while his campaign inquires about the possibility of installing a TelePrompTer at the debates.

  73. The Oil is Safe. Our work is done.

    If we need "rocks" we'll invade New Mexico, or Nevada. Time to start easing out. (Without being seen to be "easing out." Tricky, that.)

  74. As Maverick said last winter, in New Hampshire, he has no idea how to fix it.

    I'm not sure who really does.

    Straight talk.

    We could give Ed Schweitzer a call.

  75. Oil's down below $92

    - bob

    Ain't it sweet. Not to mention predicted.

    Damn shame it goes hand in hand with a recession, but still.

  76. Bobal, dont settle for just any camper this is what you need:

    Earth Roamer

  77. Mostly, trish, what we did, was wrong.

    We have not accomplished the Goal, in Iraq, though it has shifted many, many times.

    We definatly have not fulfilled the Goals of the 14 Sep 2001 Joint Resolution Authorizing Use of Force.

    We aced the original assignment in Iraq and then muffed on the revised one.

    We were wrong to have cancelled the Iraqi elections of June 2003, from that wrong decision a series of other wrong choices emerged.

    Those wrong decisions, called, as you say, at the time, are glaringly clear in retrospect. Even Mr Bush came to see the error of his ways, but the JCS did not.

    We went to liberate Iraq, and after five years of occupation, maybe we finally will.

    We've spent five years getting back to where we were in June 2003.

  78. Nice rig, Joe Buz, but at $110,000 before options it's out of my league.

    What's really cheap around here now, and I imagine everywhere, are used motorhomes. People wanting to practically give them away.

  79. That makes two of us, Rat. My "hunch," though, is that this mess Can't be "Fixed." It's just going to have to be allowed to "Play Out."

    In the meantime, it looks to me like Paulson, and Bernanke are doing a reasonable job of Trying to "Manage the Damage."

  80. Bob said a month or so ago, oil'
    s going down.

    So score me with 1 prediction right, countless wrong.

    Not saying where it goes from here.

  81. We all "oohed, and aahhed" as Goldman, and Lehman's "Trading" Prowess caused our 401k's, and IRA's to power nicely ahead.

    Did we ever stop and think that all we were doing was buying stock in Gamblers?

  82. Don't Be Fooled, Democrats Aren't Serioius About Drilling--Palin Is

    No death bed conversion for the democrats. Only looking to solve a political perception problem.

  83. I do not think they're evil Mandarins, or totally inept.

    Poor Lehman Brothers, if they hadn't had a Bush on the roster, bet they'd have been bailed, too.

    As duece said, yesterday, the survivors will not be to big to fail, they'll just be to big.

    Oh, to go back to a time before we were members of a Global Village.

  84. Is Anyone aware of a home-town gambling story that ended well?

    Why did we think it would be any different if the gambler lived in NY, and worked on Wall Street?

  85. I admire a guy like Ed Schweitzer. Dad an engineering prof, son tinkers in basement. Solid all the way through. Local guy all his life. Built up the biggest employer in the Moscow-Pullman area, after the universities. Pays well. Created over 1,200 jobs. Makes the components right here, not overseas, sells the electrical switches and other mechanisms all over the world.

    Compares all these fancy financial turnings on Wall Street to the discovery of cocaine.

    Ed Schweitzer for economic czar.

  86. Well, the only one I can think of here Rufus is the nice oriental lady owner of the Mandarin Pine Restaurant here won the big monthly drawing at the Casino one time. But she didn't really need the money.

  87. For easy figurin' let's put each Brigade at 4,000 troops, which may be a tad heavy.

    That's about 12,000 pairs of boots.
    That's the who,
    what will they be doing there,
    where in Afghanistan will they go,
    why will they be doing it,
    how long should it take to succeed?

  88. That's one take, rufus.

    But the 401k was far from Wall Street, or so she believed.
    She thought she was in real conservative stuff out of Salt Lake City.

    The Real Estate, that's an expected cyclical risk, but even so ... If this is a manufactured and not cyclical downturn, brought on by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, like j willie says ...

    An unforeseen consequence, or a grand conspiracy? The results, as j willie posted, were not totally unforeseen by everyone.

    A lot like the early days of the occupation and subsequent insurgency in Iraq.

  89. Wife has confirmed she's already registered to vote in Ohio. The voting there actually starts September 30 under the new law.

    You can go HERE to check on your status in your area.

  90. The Fort McDowell Indians, rufus.

    That's a local gambling story that played out real well, for the Indians, anyway.

    They've gone from third world to first class in thirty years.

    Fine by me.

  91. Whoever said tobacco was the red man's revenge. It's gambling.

  92. From the Editors of NRO

    Senator Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a McCain insider, is a ringleader in the Gang of 20 (it used to be the Gang of 10, then they got ambitious), which is pushing a phony bipartisan “compromise” on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf — the vast offshore oil-and-gas reserves where drilling is currently verboten due to a congressional ban. Senate insiders worry that Graham is pushing a non-committal McCain to endorse the Gang’s work

    The Gang’s compromise would create a permanent, statutory ban on energy production in practically all of the OCS, placing almost all of the petroleum found there beyond the reach of American drills. No drilling would be allowed in the oil-rich Pacific deposits. In exchange for this act of political submission, a relatively tiny sliver of the Gulf of Mexico would be opened up, and four states — Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas — would be given the option of approving new energy operations 50 miles or more off their coasts. Whether this option would ever be exercised is unclear — the gangsters are offering precious little financial incentive for the states to do so.

    Its substantive failings aside, the Gang’s compromise would undercut the most effective domestic issue that Republicans have at the moment. Opposing it is the obvious move for McCain, but he’s not making it. Instead, he’s punting on this issue. Asked the candidate’s position on a high-profile bill that the Senate is going to take up imminently, a McCain spokesman refused to comment. If McCain were to endorse the deal, it’d be an extraordinary act of political fratricide. It would be, as one strategist involved in a tight Senate race told us, “a gut-punch to every Republican candidate in the country.”

    McCain apparently doesn’t want to be put in the position of having to oppose something that is presented as a bipartisan compromise. Never mind that the compromise is a foolish one.

  93. That saline abortion survivor is on Laura show. She's a runner, and sounds lively and smart. Was two pounds at 'birth'. Seven hours in a saline solution, in the womb. Doc wasn't around, nurse saved her.

  94. Talking about how Obama doesn't know when life begins--'above his pay grade.'

    Great interview.

    Obama voted four times against children like her, she says.

  95. Says she has had so much joy, despite her adversity. She is a little weaker than most folks, she says.

    Says it's an honor to be able to stand up for the kids.

    Says she is a Christian. Met her mother once, who said, I'm your mother, deal with it.

    She says she forgives her.

    Grew up in various homes, finally in one with a wonderful woman caregiver. Was adopted by this woman's daughter, so thinks of her as her grandmother. Woman has helped something like 50 other kids, over the years.

    Quite a story, I'd say.

  96. Obama voted four times against children like her, she says.

    Obama would vote against a bill outlawing the use of bounty hunters to track down and kill abortion survivors, because it would "undermine Roe v. Wade."

  97. uh no, he voted against a bill that would have extend full constitutional rights to the unborn - to un-viable fetuses.

  98. Did the Bill finally pass or was it defeated?

  99. My understanding is the Illinois bill did not pass but at a later date an amended version passed federally.

  100. ...with the amended version specifically addressing the rights issue.

  101. That being the Bill that Clinton vetoed?

  102. I don't think so. I believe it was the Partial Birth abortion bill that he vetoed. All this stuff seems to get mashed together because it is ostensibly about abortion proper.

  103. There was this piece, in the 90's
    1995 Federal Bill Banning Partial Birth Abortions. On June 14, 1995, the resolution HR1833 IH was ... President Clinton vetoed the bill on October 10, 1997.

    And then the more current Law

    WaPo, Thursday, April 19, 2007; Page A01

    The Supreme Court broke new ground yesterday in upholding federal restrictions on abortion, with President Bush's two appointees joining a court majority that said Congress was exercising its license to "promote respect for life, including the life of the unborn."

    The court's 5 to 4 decision upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed by Congress in 2003 marked the first time justices have agreed that a specific abortion procedure could be banned. It was also the first time since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of January 1973 that justices approved an abortion restriction that did not contain an exception for the health of the woman. It does, however, provide an exception to save the woman's life.

    Which timeline was Obama on, ash?
    The 2003 Federal seems more likely, which is a Law he still finds objectionable.

    "On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I've said is we
    should have a provision to protect the health of the mother,

    and many of the bills that came before me didn't have that," Obama told FOX News Sunday.

    The 2003 Federal Act does not have a provision pertaining to the "health of the mother" only her life.

  104. I think the specific Obama vote they are talking about had to do with an Illinois State bill in 2003.

  105. And it was defeated, correct?
    Obama was voting with the majority?

  106. I don't even think it made it out of committee.

  107. And soon afterwards the Federal Act passed?

    The Federal Act containing provisions Obama would have objected to, had he had the opportunity to vote upon it, as he said in 2007.

    Seems a tad clearer.

  108. The provisions were to specifically NOT give full rights to the unborn thus making the bill palatable.

    I'm watching all this AIG and other financial stuff with some bemusement. In particular I'm wondering about how much government control is being taken in the 'free market'. I thought this little piece interesting:

    "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are deliberately being expanded over the next year and a half to accommodate the housing crisis.

    Meanwhile, the semi-strong banks are eating the weak financial institutions, creating more too-big-to-fail institutions. There may be nothing wrong with that, but in its race to provide liquidity (and not have to be seen cutting interest rates), the Fed is engaging in some incredibly risky maneuvers.

    First, the Federal Reserve just adopted a rule that allows insured banks to accept equities as collateral. If this equity goes south (as equity is tending to do these days), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s insurance fund — in other words, the government — is on the hook.

    Meanwhile, the Fed also announced Sunday that it would take as collateral much riskier assets, including equities, junk bonds, subprime mortgage-backed securities and even whole mortgages, in exchange for emergency loans through the Primary Dealer Credit Facility.

    And finally, my colleague, Professor Patricia McCoy, an expert on the subprime crisis, recently pointed out to me that Bank of America is actually now asking that its capital requirements be reduced.

    Bank of America is looking to take on more leverage now! BofA is definitely in the too-big-to-fail category.

    All of this is combining to make the federal government the direct and indirect guarantor of the entire financial system and its investments. This doesn’t even take into account the myriad problems with the government running Fannie, Freddie and A.I.G. and also now being responsible for their performance.

    Henry Paulson may now run the United States economy (our president was again noticeably silent yesterday), but I hope for our sake that Mr. Paulson soon takes steps not only to de-lever these institutions but to shrink them sooner than he has previously announced.

    Otherwise, we risk being the cat who swallowed its own tail and disappeared."

    I mean, over half of all US mortgages are held by the federal government AND the worlds biggest insurer??? WTF, is this China?

  109. Roe v Wade started out with that trimester business, didn't it? I don't exactly know what the rule is now, anything goes I quess it is. At first they were talking about viability and such. Now we're talking about if the baby is actually alive at seven months or later, after a botched abortion. the original Roe, whatever its faults, has to be better than this. If a woman is going to have an abortion surely she can get the job done in the first three or four months. That doesn't seem to be asking too much.(understatement) Though logically it makes no difference, just seems,you know, more humane.

  110. I've got a line of credit on my place, with one of the smallest banks in the world. But, maybe they bundled it to Wall Street, how would I know?

  111. Ash, don't try to find the key to Obama's thinking on abortion. He said he doesn't know when life begins, he said, "It's beyond my pay grade."

    That's what he said.

    Everybody that buys a pack of rubbers knows more than that.

  112. McCain sponsered the Federal Regulatory Reform Act of 2005--Here

  113. "Coburn has made a name for himself since returning to Capitol Hill in 2004, frustrating lawmakers on both sides of the aisle by demanding fiscal offsets for new spending and putting holds on dozens of bills. The omnibus could allow both Democratic and Republican senators the route they need to bypass Coburn.

    The new pressure to get the measure passed comes from a group of senators and outsiders agitating for one measure that addresses exploitation of children. Television host Oprah Winfrey has asked her audience to write letters to their senators urging passage of the act, sponsored by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden.

    But, says Coburn, spending in that bill and others has no offset. "It's not a partisan issue," Coburn said. "It is a career politician issue. We're disconnected from the American public. And there needs to be some grownups that say:

  114. " have said so repeatedly"
    Just about his favorite line when he is LYING about the issue as a whole.

  115. T Boone Pickens is saying we ought to be converting our trucking to natural gas.

  116. T Boone thinks there's a lot less oil on the outer continental shelfs than commonly thought.

    A recent offer of bids on 18 million acres out in the Gulf of Mejico only received bids on 10% of it he says.

    We don't need more refineries he says as they are running about 85% percent now, and we don't have the extra oil to refine anyway.

    Says we got to do something else, soon.

  117. "See there you go again, top down - 'it's political corruption and the right dictator will fix 'er up nice.'"
    Mattie, Rufus, and perhaps 'Rat:
    Nazis in residence.

  118. Mattie, Rufus, and perhaps 'Rat:
    Nazis in residence.


    I guess that T Bone Pickens suggestion about makin' all trucks run on nat gas puts him in that class as well.

    I'd hate to see what happens to Nat. Gas prices if all trucks thirsted for the stuff. I guess we could convert them all to that resulting cheap deisel fuel...

  119. Building on Foodstamps:

    Ethanol Stamps.

    With the price of food that results, everyone but the superwealthy would NEED them!

  120. Event after event that would result in the DEMISE of any Pub running for office is glossed over or ignored by the MSM.

    ...can you imagine if a Pub hacker had delved into Michelle and the girl's personal stuff?

    ...or Barry's correspondence w/Ayers and Dorhn?

  121. "Gawker complained that Palin has since “deleted” the account, and suggested she was trying to “destroy evidence.”"


  122. The thing is, guys, those Indians built a Casino. The Wall Street Crowd were the suckers getting drunk, and gambling all night.

  123. Wasn't a gamble for the Dems to give away the store:

    They got big time contributions from the recipients of their legal largesse.

    OBAMA the number 2 WINNER of the non-lottery larceny.

  124. Reading a Lady's personal letters, only a democrat would do that.

  125. Footprints in the snow lead right from Wall Street to Obama's tainted Chicago castle.

  126. Unlike al-bob in his Rose-Coloreds, I think we're screwed against the Dem/MSM alliance pinning their donkey on our horse's Ass.
    ...unless Big John is smart enough to task Palin with going out and making the case.

    And he ain't.

    (wouldn't want to be so critical of his Dem colleagues.)

  127. Reminds me of Kemp,
    pathetic loser of a candidate.

  128. Panic In World Credit Markets

    Zimbabwe and Alaska seen as safe havens.

    I don't know, Doug, you might be right. McCain sounded ok on Hannity today. Hannity has a Palin interview tonight, you guys with tvs might watch.

  129. To beat the alliance, our guy's gotta be GREAT!
    Hannity ain't the MSM.
    Only GREAT guy we got
    is a girl!

  130. Milk is $11/gallon in Anchorage.

    They are raised for their meat, hides, antlers and, to a lesser extent, for milk and transportation.

    I'd think they'd milk the Reindeer/Caribou at that price.

  131. I'm going to the Nez Perce County Fair tomorrow. Local Republican apparatchik said they hoped to have campaign materials then.

    Idaho's Investment Fund had no Lehmans Brothers. Have ridden the whole thing out so far with a 2% loss. Idaho Pension Fund hardly got hit at all.

  132. Bobal: Reading a Lady's personal letters, only a democrat would do that.

    No wonder they were trying to shame Johnny Mac into getting an email account, so they could hack it and post them on Daily Kos.

  133. Don't ever ascribe to Conspiracy what can as easily be attributed to Ignorance, or simple Incompetence.

  134. Maybe he's lucky he can't send an e-mail. Can always claim he didn't send it, because he can't.

  135. Talk about your anchors.

    New from RCP, a State has swung on the "No Leaners" list!

    Obama/Biden 270 McCain/Palin 268
    Of all places.

  136. Now it's back to Obama
    +11 in DE @ RCP,

    Never mind

  137. Senate Breaks Impasse, Reaches Deal on Tax Relief Package

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    WASHINGTON —Senate leaders said Tuesday that they had broken a months-long impasse over a tax break package that would bring billions of dollars in relief to individual and business taxpayers, developers of clean energy resources and people threatened by the alternative minimum tax.

  138. An insightful look into the federal government's role in creating financial affirmative action - for anyone who is interested. In my opinion, the author lets the financial sector off the responsibility hook by ignoring their hunger for these easy-to-make loans (how hard is it to extend credit when credit standards are abandoned) and the higher spreads and fees they earned. The feds pushed it, but the lenders still had a choice.