“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, November 20, 2008

The shattered dreams of George Bush the Humble

Are you as taken aback by this video? In it George Bush is elegant, humble and articulate. There is no way the man in this video could have foreseen the present condition of the country he led for eight years.

Will Rogers once said, "He never met a man he did not like." That was far too generous. A journalist, one of the Alsop brothers, dying of cancer, said, "He never met a man he could not feel sorry for."

Henry Kissinger on the end of hubris:


An end of hubris
Nov 19th 2008
From The World in 2009 print edition

America will be less powerful, but still the essential nation in creating a new world order, argues Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state and founder of Kissinger Associates


The most significant event of 2009 will be the transformation of the Washington consensus that market principles trumped national boundaries. The WTO, the IMF and the World Bank defended that system globally. Periodic financial crises were interpreted not as warning signals of what could befall the industrial nations but as aberrations of the developing world to be remedied by domestic stringency—a policy which the advanced countries were not, in the event, prepared to apply to themselves.

The absence of restraint encouraged a speculation whose growing sophistication matched its mounting lack of transparency. An unparalleled period of growth followed, but also the delusion that an economic system could sustain itself via debt indefinitely. In reality, a country could live in such a profligate manner only so long as the rest of the world retained confidence in its economic prescriptions. That period has now ended.

Any economic system, but especially a market economy, produces winners and losers. If the gap between them becomes too great, the losers will organise themselves politically and seek to recast the existing system—within nations and between them. This will be a major theme of 2009.

America’s unique military and political power produced a comparable psychological distortion. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union tempted the United States to proclaim universal political goals in a world of seeming unipolarity—but objectives were defined by slogans rather than strategic feasibility.

Now that the clay feet of the economic system have been exposed, the gap between a global system for economics and the global political system based on the state must be addressed as a dominant task in 2009. The economy must be put on a sound footing, entitlement programmes reviewed and the national dependence on debt overcome. Hopefully, in the process, past lessons of excessive state control will not be forgotten.

The debate will be over priorities, transcending the longstanding debate between idealism and realism. Economic constraints will oblige America to define its global objectives in terms of a mature concept of the national interest. Of course, a country that has always prided itself on its exceptionalism will not abandon the moral convictions by which it defined its greatness. But America needs to learn to discipline itself into a strategy of gradualism that seeks greatness in the accumulation of the attainable. By the same token, our allies must be prepared to face the necessary rather than confining foreign policy to so-called soft power.

Every major country will be driven by the constraints of the fiscal crisis to re-examine its relationship to America. All—and especially those holding American debt—will be assessing the decisions that brought them to this point. As America narrows its horizons, what is a plausible security system and aimed at what threats? What is the future of capitalism? How, in such circumstances, does the world deal with global challenges, such as nuclear proliferation or climate change?

America will have to learn that world order depends on a structure that participants support because they helped bring it about
America will remain the most powerful country, but will not retain the position of self-proclaimed tutor. As it learns the limits of hegemony, it should define implementing consultation beyond largely American conceptions. The G8 will need a new role to embrace China, India, Brazil and perhaps South Africa.

The immediate challenge

In Iraq, if the surge strategy holds, there must be a diplomatic conference in 2009 to establish principles of non-intervention and define the country’s international responsibilities.

The dilatory diplomacy towards Iran must be brought to a focus. The time available to forestall an Iranian nuclear programme is shrinking and American involvement is essential in defining what we and our allies are prepared to seek and concede and, above all, the penalty to invoke if negotiations reach a stalemate. Failing that, we will have opted to live in a world of an accelerating nuclear arms race and altered parameters of security.

In 2009 the realities of Afghanistan will impose themselves. No outside power has ever prevailed by establishing central rule, as Britain learnt in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 20th. The collection of nearly autonomous provinces which define Afghanistan coalesce in opposition to outside attempts to impose central rule. Decentralisation of the current effort is essential.

All this requires a new dialogue between America and the rest of the world. Other countries, while asserting their growing roles, are likely to conclude that a less powerful America still remains indispensable. America will have to learn that world order depends on a structure that participants support because they helped bring it about. If progress is made on these enterprises, 2009 will mark the beginning of a new world order.


  1. George Bush is a shattered man. Maybe he should take an early out. A lot can happen in the next two months.

  2. Great clip.

    "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World" is the fourth unclassified report prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in recent years that takes a long-term view of the future. It offers a fresh look at how key global trends might develop over the next 15 years to influence world events.


    Some of our preliminary assessments are highlighted below:

    * The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.

    * The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future.

    * Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources—particularly energy, food, and water—raising the specter of scarcities emerging as demand outstrips supply.

    '25 Project

  3. Obama's War

    If Afghanistan is hopeless, Obama doesn't seem to think so. He thinks it's the 'right war'. Iraq, where all the oil is, that's the wrong war, but the mostly vacant sands and mountains of Afghanistan is the right war.

  4. It is hard to explain the northern lights if you have never seen them.

  5. Anyone believe this ?

    "MARYSVILLE, Wash., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A Washington man who told officers he fatally shot his 6-year-old daughter while cleaning a gun had been drinking heavily, court records indicate.
    Snohomish County sheriff's deputies arrested 42-year-old Richard Peters of Marysville following the Sunday night shooting while they considered whether to file felony first-degree manslaughter charges, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

    Peters called 911 after the shooting, around 7:30 p.m. His daughter, Stormy Peters, was rushed to Seattle Children's Hospital but she died there, the newspaper said.

    Citing court documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, the newspaper said Richard Peters told police he had asked his daughter to bring his Colt .45-caliber pistol from his room. He said he had unloaded the magazine but for some reason the gun fired.

    Police said Richard Peters told an investigator he "must have" pulled the trigger. He told a detective he had been drinking "double vodkas" while he and his wife cleaned the guns, and court documents indicated he said he was probably too drunk to drive.

    An 8-year-old sibling, an infant and the girl's mother also were in the residence at the time of the shooting, authorities said. Richard Peters was ordered held on $50,000 bail."

  6. There are few people who can eat up more column inches, while saying less, than Kissinger.

    A long-winded Chance Gardener.

    Good for his Rolodex, though. It defined his value at State.

  7. We get northern lights here, lights of the gods, they are quite something, sometimes. A little more diffuse, not so concentrated as in your picture.

  8. I was lucky enough to see them once, camping out one summer in Roslyn, Washington. Central Washington. Would have been July '00.

  9. Right, Bob. More diffuse. Further south.

  10. Marysville..

    30 miles from where I grew up. I can believe it. Shithole.

    Used to go up there every 4th of July to buy fireworks from the indians.

  11. ah, heck, go to Photo Contest, and you can look them up.

  12. Hey Sam, my gal pal won some money there last in the Tulalip Casino at her "second job" Blackjack. And it's got the best collection of factory outlet stores in the tri-state area, better'n Centralia, better'n North Bend, better'n Troutdale.

  13. Haven't been to the outlets there.
    Better than Mt. Vernon?

    My mom lives in Issaquah. She goes to the North Bend ones all the time.

    You ever get up to Boom City?

  14. Well, bob, if time had stopped, in 2003, then that American Thinker article would have been right on the money, right on time.

    But time has marched on and US policy did not.

    The threat, from Saddam, was GONE in June of 2003. We should have begun to withdraw, before there ever was an occupation.

    Instead we failed to take into account the long term effects of a "Long War", thusly we failed to accomplish the mission, in a timely manner. President elect Obama is the consequence of those poor decisions, post removal of the Saddam threat.

  15. So to defend the continued mission in Iraq is to endorse the election of Obama. One led to the other.

  16. There are casinos now everywhere you can think of in Washington State. When we went by Grand Coulee Dam on our way to Bellingham, there was a casino in, I quess it would be, Electric City. Anyway the burg at the base of the dam. There's got to be a saturation point with all these casinos. The one out of Bellingham was ripping and roaring.

  17. I always thought of Iraq as a bigger thing than just removing Saddam. A magnet for Jihadis to come to and battle the Great Satan. Thus, a Jihadi killing field. Cleansing the world of Jihadis, in Iraq.

  18. That's right. Electric City.

  19. The Navajos are opening four casinos. In New Mexico and Arizona.

    They are expecting to do a lot of business. The first opened near Gallop, NM and the second will be outside of Flagstaff, AZ.

    The Navajo Reservation, which sprawls over 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, is bigger than 10 states and is home to about 205,000 residents.

    In many respects, it resembles a Third World nation, with 56 percent unemployment and 43 percent of the people living below the poverty level.

    After Congress adopted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, casinos started sprouting on America's 300 reservations, generating billions of dollars for destitute tribes. Nationally, tribal casinos took in $26.5 billion last year. Fifteen of Arizona's 22 tribes have gambling halls.

  20. The problem with that scenario, sam, the lack of jihadis that were sent to paradise and their 72 white raisins, by US, in Iraq.

    This article in USA Today gives the numbers, as of September 2007.

    19,000 KIA. Most of whom were Iraqis, not international terrorists. Regardless of that, even if all 19,000 enemy KIA were threats to US, the cost 4,000 US KIA and $600 Billion USD, not counting deferred costs. puts the price per jihadi head @ $31,578,947and change.

    Not a cost effective effort, by any reckoning. The "fly paper" strategy was Osama's and we played into it like saps.

  21. 19,000 insurgents killed in Iraq since '03
    By Jim Michaels, USA TODAY

    More than 19,000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces since the insurgency began more than four years ago, according to military statistics released for the first time.
    The statistics show that 4,882 militants were killed in clashes with coalition forces this year, a 25% increase over all of last year.

    The increase in enemy deaths this year reflects more aggressive tactics adopted by American forces and an additional 30,000 U.S. troops ordered by the White House this year.

  22. Damn, that's pretty expensive, alright.

  23. I'd put more value on the life of a US soldier than five Iraqi insurgents.

    Fellows that have since become our new proxies, in Anbar.

  24. Currently Barack Obama is being loved for who he’s not and it’s working out pretty well for him, but if he continues down that road and governs as someone voters don’t recognize, he may pay for it later.

    Republicans are afraid of being hated for being conservative, so many have gone the “moderate” route, with poor electoral results. If they would stand solidly for conservative principles and policies voters might actually learn what conservatism really is, rather than the stereotypes they have in their heads.

    Maybe they would even win a few elections along the way.

    Only Way for Republicans to Win

  25. Auroras.

    Saw one as far south as Winslow, AZ a few years ago driving east. It corresponded to a big solar flare that Art Bell was talking about on the radio as I drove. Spooky. The northern sky just turned a gauzy purple.

    Most distinct one was up in the Big Horns east of Cody, WY. The whole northern sky was a rippling, shimmering lime green curtain in constant motion. I was puking my guts out from a whole apple pie I'd eaten that I bought in Cody. My dog was kissing my face. I looked up, and thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

  26. It wasn't really that big of a pie.

  27. Patrick Buchanan asks, "Who killed Detroit?" and in doing so speaks of the "other", the foreigners. Before he speaks of them, though he speaks of US:
    the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II.

    Then he addresses the foreign competition. But then, we do not believe in competition, much, anymore. Everyone is a winner, here.

    Like Alexander Hamilton, they understand that manufacturing is the key to national power. And they manipulate currencies, grant tax rebates to their exporters and thieve our technology to win. Last year, as trade expert Bill Hawkins writes, South Korea exported 700,000 cars to us, while importing 5,000 cars from us.

    That's Asia's idea of free trade.

    How has this Global Economy profited or prospered America?

    In the 1950s, we made all our own toys, clothes, shoes, bikes, furniture, motorcycles, cars, cameras, telephones, TVs, etc. You name it. We made it.

    Are we better off now that these things are made by foreigners? Are we better off now that we have ceased to be self-sufficient? Are we better off now that the real wages of our workers and median income of our families no longer grow as they once did? Are we better off now that manufacturing, for the first time in U.S. history, employs fewer workers than government?

    We no longer build commercial ships. We have but one airplane company, and it outsources. China produces our computers. And if GM goes Chapter 11, America will soon be out of the auto business.

    Our politicians and pundits may not understand what is going on. Historians will have no problem explaining the decline and fall of the Americans.

  28. It always was going to take more than just being against Obama.

    But Mr. McCain was no slouch here either. Despite losing in all three, he actually garnered more votes than George W. Bush did four years earlier. For example, Mr. McCain improved by 6,576 votes in Virginia, by 148,532 in North Carolina, and by 75,326 in Florida. So Mr. McCain actually scored better than did President Bush four years ago in each of these states. He just couldn't compete with Team Obama's turnout.

    Yet these marginal gains by the Republican candidate were purely a southern phenomenon. Moving out of the South reveals a different story as the McCain enthusiasm deficit emerges.

    Ohio offers a good example. It's true the Buckeye State produced 23,985 more votes for Mr. Obama than Mr. Kerry, but that's a relatively small percentage of the over 5.4 million votes cast. More staggering is the number of Ohio Republicans who apparently stayed home. Mr. McCain received 299,650 fewer votes in Ohio than did Mr. Bush four years earlier. So Mr. McCain "lost" more votes than Mr. Obama "gained." These vanishing Republicans led to the loss of one GOP incumbent and at least another open seat (another remains in a recount) in this key Midwestern battleground.

    Wisconsin was another potential battleground state that broke solidly for Mr. Obama. But here again, the enthusiasm deficit emerged - Mr. McCain "lost" 219,939 votes compared to Mr. Bush in 2004, while Mr. Obama only "gained" 180,970 compared to Mr. Kerry.
    And in California with the fate of the election apparently sealed, incredibly over 1.3 million fewer voters cast ballots for Mr. McCain than Mr. Bush in 2004, while Mr. Obama gained just 110,023 votes over Mr. Kerry. I assume many Republicans just said, "What's the point?" But here too, the vanishing Republicans led to closer than expected Republican congressional contests in traditionally "safe" GOP districts.

  29. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is the new director of homeland securtiy. She used to clerk in the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Didn't want to close her own borders and now she's at Homeland Security. Change You Can Believe In hehehehe:(

    Driver's licenses for illegals, coming up. And mass amnesty.

  30. Most toilets flush in the key of E flat.

    Toilet Tax and the Non Flush Toilet

    New ones to flush to the key of 'plop flat'.

  31. How can you argue with Buchanan over that? We could reestablish manufacturing in the Americas. We would need nothing from anywhere else, but keep it smaller , more quality, more jobs, better factories. Any new economic model must be based on a much higher level of savings. That will require manufacturing things not for immediate consumption and then to the landfill.

    This could be a great turnaround and opportunity.I would much rather see the middle and working class in Elyria, Ohios revived than more mansions in the Hamptons and another load of phonies in Taboo in Palm Beach.

  32. What did we get out of an idea that transferred manufacturing from countries like Guatemala and Argentina, states like Michigan and South Carolina to Guangzhou, China?

  33. The idea of an inevitable dominant China makes my blood boil. An America from Barrow, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego with everything in between, is there to bring prosperity and security. Scrap the rest.

  34. Start with the Colombian free trade agreement. Re-name it smart trade. Start building computer components in San Jose, Costa Rica or Bogata, Colombia. Their patriotism will not come at the expense of US security and all the economic benefits stay in the Americas.

    That is a dream that could work and prosper into a reality.

    Guangfuckinzhou, China. Who would have figured?

  35. The same economic assholes are in charge that got us here in the first place. Today, they are busy deconstructing Citibank. Took the stock down another 26% Thursday, its worst one-day percentage decline ever.

    These pieces of shit collectively could not replace a spark plug on a lawn mower, but will make a fortune destroying another US icon. Maybe we need a surge into the Hamptons?

  36. I'm still reading around about these Obama birth certificate lawsuits, etc. and if it's true as I saw someplace that Hawaii formerly allowed infants born overseas to be registered if the mom was a Hawaiian citizen, then it makes sense that Obama's mother would have brought him back soon, as almost any American mother would have done at the time, just for the advantage of citizenship here, and had him 'registered'. Well, it seems the Supreme Court is at least going to talk about it now. Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Scalia that's four. What I can't figure is if there's nothing to hide, why not show it? So it seems almost logical to conclude that's what happened. Maybe we'll never know.

  37. Souter turned it down, but it seems Clarence Thomas signed an order for a conference among the justices about it, from what I can tell.

  38. My dog was kissing my face. I looked up, and thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

    Well, your dog had gone to heaven, what with that apple pie. Beats Alpo.

  39. What used to tick dad off was the idea of foreigners owning big chunks of America.

  40. She was a sweet dog, Bob. A little elk hound named Daisy.

  41. Where's Doug? vacation? pout? lost?

  42. Obama Pick Of Craig Worries Cuban/Americans

    My aunt had Spitz that would attack anything with a uniform on. Funniest thing I ever saw. Really had to keep a lease on that dog.

  43. 29. Charles:

    Interestingly, the US supreme court has scheduled a “”conference” Dec. 5, just 10 days before the Electoral College is scheduled to meet to make formal the election of Obama as the nation’s next president.

    A case that challenges President-elect Barack Obama’s name on the 2008 election ballot citing questions over his citizenship has been scheduled for a “conference” at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Conferences are private meetings of the justices at which they review cases and decide which ones to accept for formal review.

    The Supreme Court’s website listed the date for the case brought by Leo C. Donofrio against Nina Wells, the secretary of state
    in New Jersey, over not only Obama’s name on the 2008 election ballot but those of two others, Sen. John McCain and Roger Calero.

    If four of the nine justices vote to hear the case in full, oral argument may be scheduled.

    The action questions whether any of the three candidates is qualified under the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural-born citizen.”"
    Try to understand. If the supremes let this case come before them, then Obama has to come up with a birth certificate. If they don’t let the case come before them, then the number of lawsuits proliferates.

    Nov 20, 2008 - 8:31 am

    If it should actually turn out that Obama isn't eligible, biggest scam in US history, bar none.

  44. Go East young man! To the orient!
    Sure, things are changing. Our military has been stretched and exposed. In more ways than one.

    But, the fact remains that militarily we are without peer. The world knows that to attack the US is to commit suicide. ( Yes, I know there are morons bent on martrydom). Unfortunately for the world, ours is a concentrated strength and may or may extend to all corners.

    It will be very interesting to see how the thin fabric of civilization is tested by first one group of pirates then another.

    Michael Moore recently exulted that capitalism was dead and he is glad for it. With the recent downturn, there is more and more talk from the left about the evils of capitalism. The dysfunctionals sense an opening to spread their particular poisons. It looks as though the world is buying it somewhat. How far will the pendulum swing?

  45. My pastor told me, Whit, he'd seen it go back and forth twice in his life. I quess this might make it 2 an 1/2.

    After listening to O'Reilly about the 'Fairness Doctrine' tonight I'm a little more at ease about that. The original Fairness Doctrine evidently came in around 1949 with the first tv, and only one network, or later two, so it made some sense then. Over time it just kind of drifted into nonentity. Then the democratic Congress repassed it and Reagan vetoed it. It's unlikely to be workable to really try to bring it back, with so many radio stations all over the country etc. And, it might even work against the dems, the big networks being in their pocket now anyway. And how do you define what an opposing view is, and why just one? Anyway the upshot was that there's really not much support in Congress other than a few of the older ones.

  46. Michael Moore recently exulted that capitalism was dead and he is glad for it.

    Michael Moore is right. Capitalism is dead, at least in America. GM killed it. GM created the Corruptokrats System, crony capitalism, killed local competition, and the rest is history. Companies like GM and the Corruptokrat System need to die, if competition is to be revived in America. If America is to be revived.