“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, November 12, 2008

Thoughts From President Bush

This from a CNN interview: Bush: 'I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said'

Bush described the atmosphere in his Oval Office meeting with Obama as relaxed and said he offered the future president advice on the transition process. Bush also said Obama was specifically interested in how his two young daughters would adjust to life in the White House.

"It was interesting to watch him go upstairs," Bush said. "He wanted to see where his little girls were going to sleep. Clearly, this guy is going to bring a sense of family to the White House, and I hope Laura and I did the same thing. But I believe he will, and I know his girls are on his mind and he wants to make sure that first and foremost, he is a good dad. And I think that's going to be an important part of his presidency."

Bush said he plans to return to Texas after he leaves office January 20 and "may write a book" but otherwise has few plans. "No doubt I'm heading straight home. I miss Texas; I love Texas; I've got a lot of friends in Texas.

"I'll probably get back and take a deep breath," he said.

Bush said he has begun to think about an outline for the book.

"I want people to know what it was like to make some of the decisions I had to make," he said. "In other words, what was the moment like? And I've had one of those presidencies where I've had to make some tough calls, and I want people to know the truth about what it was like sitting in the Oval Office."

Bush expressed regret that Republican presidential nominee John McCain did not win the presidency but called the election of Obama "good for our country."


  1. I was relieved to hear that the election of Barack Obama is good for the country.

  2. "Clearly, this guy [Mr Obama] is going to bring a great sense of family to the White House"

    - President George W Bush

    "...they're going to come to the United States if they think they can make money here. That's a simple fact. And they're willing to walk across miles of desert to do work that some Americans won't do. And we've got to respect that, seems like to me, and treat those people with respect. I remind people all across our country: Family values do not stop at the border." - President George W. Bush

    Crawford, Texas, August 23, 2001

  3. The Democrats are in the process of stealing the election in Minnesota, without a peep from the US DOJ...

  4. In that MN deal, there are only three precincts to investigate.

    The where, what, why, when & how ought to be easy for the guys who prosecuted Martha Stewart or Scooter Libbey to ascertain.

    Post Haste

    Betcha they could even figure out Who!

    The escapade reads more like voting official fraud, than voter fraud, if it is fraudlent and not an error of grand incompetence by those officials

  5. Nother get up an pee deal.

    I'd think George would just be happy to be left alone, go back to Texas and say the hell with it.

  6. And, I think the country might look back and say "That guy wasn't all that bad."

  7. deuce, I've got to ask--

    "where do you get these beautiful pictures everytime?"

    Dang, you are good at it.

    Just lovely.

    You are an artist on the internet.

  8. ...or Area 51.
    In which case I'd say "Howdy" to you, LaBob!

  9. Doug, he wasn't the worst.

    But I know what you are sayiing.

  10. I'm here to apply my great intellect to the issue from the previous thread, which I never got around to:
    To avoid the problems of control, and the specter of Socialism, why not buy them Shares and distribute them amongst the lowly citizens?

  11. Brainstormin, ya know.
    aka Brain Farting.

  12. Who else ever gave the whole freaking country away?

  13. I've got another picture of a fence row in Nevada, really just beautiful, kind of goes on down towards the mountains, not a dang thing there.

    Just desert, sand, fencerow and sky, with the mountains in the background.

    Kind of stuff I like.

  14. "slade, the Moody’s thing is a riot - I recall S&P did something similar.

    Let’s review - US debt is denominated in dollars. The US can print dollars. The likelihood of a US default is zero. QED.

    What Moody’s and S&P can do is inject FUD, and worse, into the bond market. The appetite for US Treasuries is critical to our fiscal health. The Treasury market could collapse, the dollar could erode, etc - but the idea that you won’t be paid back your par dollars on your long bond is ludicrous."
    Does that make sense to anybody?
    Ain't the point that if the dollar becomes worthless, it don't really mean nothin to get paid in dollars?

  15. Gawd, LaBob, son got some BEAUTIFUL pics of the Desert on his recent trip to Vegas.
    The light musta been perfect and the air was clear.

  16. Drove out to Pahrump, where a friend was testing his 900 horsepower(!) Honda (nsx?) 1992, v-6, I think.
    Had a new custom turbo, which came apart, but they made a new one.

  17. Also ate a 42 oz steak, just to prove he's got less sense than even I had at that age.
    $800 tab for three!
    ...went to what he said is the World's Largest Strip Club, where Coors Light is a mere $14 a pop!

  18. Doug, I really love it down there. It' really just wonderful. I'm glad your son had a good time.

    The thing is, to get off the highway, and go to the mountains.

    We should do that together sometime.

    I'm an old retired fart, and I can handle it!

    Next time you or one on yours are over, get in touch.

  19. We could go to Area 51 together, al-Doug. That would be something!

  20. That last time was the first time the wife's been back to CONUS!

  21. No thanks, LaBob, Pahrump, OK, 51 I'll leave to you.

  22. What kind of a guy are you, no courage?

    Art Bell can do better.


  23. That would be me.
    I'm all runned out.

  24. I almost bought some property in Pahrumps once.

    Wish I had done so.

  25. Even Art has respect for the boundary line at Area 51. Recall the private pilot who went "dark" while talking to Art on the air as he flew into the restricted air space.

  26. There's always another fence post, Doug.

  27. James says Powell is on the list for Sec of Education.
    ...could do worse, I think.
    But we'll be paying tuition and childcare for everybody but us, no matter who he chooses.

  28. Recall when Art swore up and down that a triangular craft floated over his home, al-Doug!

    Think about that, when you think of Nevada!

  29. Yes, I remmber that incident, Linear. Wasn't there a radio message that went 'dark' right at the end?

  30. I'll always remember his description of walking off his deck in the middle of the night, and the sudden stop on the rocks 10 feet below!

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Dad and I nearly bought "Mel's Hole" out of Ellensburg, Washington, and we didn'
    t even know it was there, up on Manashtash Ridge.

  33. Wasn't there a radio message that went 'dark' right at the end?

    Yeah. I think they replayed it just a few weeks ago, or at least were talking about it.

    That Mel's hole story is a classic. But they've never found a trace of it, have they? You ever get down to the Klamath River country below Klamath Falls, there's some interesting terrain on the NE flank of Mt Shasta. Google Medicine Lake, and go from there.

  34. The guy attacked Area 51, I remember the incident well.

    Just like yesterday, he fought to the bitter end.

  35. I love Art Bell, he's a gas.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Would you have the guts to atttack Area 51?

  38. Blogger seems to be eating my comments.

    Last was something to do with the largest volcano on Earth being down in that country, between Mt Shasta and Klamath Falls.

    Captain Jack country. Lava tubes. Lemurians.

  39. Would you have the guts to atttack Area 51?

    Hell no.

    I saw Independence Day.

  40. Maybe the Lemurians are running Blogger.

  41. - God Bless America -
    Celine Dion sings "God Bless America" aboard the USS Harry S. Truman on CBS's "Rockin' for the USA - A National Salute to the US Military".

  42. Klamath Falls is a wild place!

  43. We went to a museum, or something, as I recall.
    Took the train down to San Luis Obispo.

  44. I got to get some sleep.

    You guys have made my gut laugh.

    Thank you.


  45. American Elections Used to be Like Oklahoma's
    You know, we need to look at Oklahoma. Did you see the election returns out of Oklahoma? "McCain got 65.6 percent of the vote in Oklahoma, the highest state percentage for him in the country, even though Democrats hold an edge in voter registration by about 300,000 votes. The GOP candidate swept all 77 counties, repeating George Bush's feat four years ago against John Kerry. No Democrat has won a presidential race here since Lyndon Johnson's landslide in 1964." When I saw this, I said, "Now, what's different about Oklahoma other than the people that live there, what's different?"
    So I looked it up, folks, and here is what I found out.
    You could not register and vote on the same day in Oklahoma.
    Voter registration ends 25 days before Election Day.
    You can visit your county election board or mail in the form.
    Deadline is Friday, October 10th to mail in your vote.
    An ID was required to vote.
    When you register to vote in Oklahoma, you'll receive a voter ID card from the election official. You need to bring that card with you, your voter ID card when you go to vote.
    If you lose or misplace your ID card you get a new one by contacting the county elections official.
    Cards are not issued during the 24 days before the election. They did have early voting in Oklahoma on the Friday before the election; not 30 days before; not 25 days before.

    They had early voting on the Friday before, Friday, Saturday, and Monday early voting from eight a.m. to six p.m.
    Now, it sounds like Oklahoma has elections the way the whole country used to have elections.
    No early voting, you had to have an ID, no registering and voting on the same day.

  46. Oklahoma has the lousiest food in 50 states and Canada and Mexico.

    Highways suck. Twenty years behind in maintenance. An I-40 bridge collapsed not long ago.

    Great people, though.

    I like it there. Go figure.

    Maybe it's a perverse satisfaction that I've found a place I can feel superior. You have to understand the football rivalry between the Sooners and the Cornhuskers to make sense of this, I guess.

  47. Sweet dreams, Bob. Good night, Doug.

    My internet was kaput for awhile.

    Damned Lemurians again.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. As wi"o" has told US oftern, no Muslims, no worries. Which seems just a tad short of insane, from here.

    The problem is not with ALL the Mexicans, just the "bad" ones. But what to do about it, one thing seems certain, the Iraq model should not b implemented.

    Mexico's War: The Iraq Next Door By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:20 PM PT

    The Hemisphere:
    The accelerating drug war in Mexico cries out for more attention. The horrific violence signals something already too big for Mexico to fight alone. It will spread north. The U.S. can't afford to wait

    As Americans went to the polls last week, Juan Camilo Mourino, Mexico's interior secretary, was falling to Earth over the capital in a fiery crash that killed him and 13 others.

    Investigators are trying to determine why the helicopter carrying Mexico's second-highest official failed, but many think it was the work of drug cartels that Mexico has been at war with since 2006.

    If traffickers were indeed responsible, they have sent a signal that they're coming for the government and can take down Mexico's leaders anywhere, anytime. If it was an accident, there's the disturbing implication that Mexico's aircraft are deficient even for its leaders. Either way, the U.S. ought to do more to help.

    Some 4,400 Mexicans have been killed in the drug war this year alone — including a record 58 in one day last week. Grisly killings of honest cops, officials, innocent bystanders, kidnap victims and other traffickers engulf border towns like Juarez and Tijuana.

    But the carnage is spreading even to formerly placid vacation spots such as Rosarito Beach on the west coast. The tourists, of course, are gone, U.S. State Department travel advisories are up, and local economies are withering.

  50. The new Rome.

    The media is bought. The politicians are bought. The political system is bought. The policing agencies are bought. The judges are bought. The law itself is bought. The corruption is so pervasive, that reality has become positively Orwellian.

    'A World War without War'

    In a SPIEGEL interview, British historian Niall Ferguson discusses Barack Obama's historical election, Europe's hopes for the new president, the consequences of the economic crisis and his idea of "Chimerica" -- the economic alliance between Beijing and Washington.

  52. That's the New and Improved Rome - Now with Cable, WiFi, and Free Checking. Not to mention Twice the Cleaning Power and More Flavor in Every Spoonful.

    Whithering Heights [John Derbyshire]

    Hey Jim: We're going to be getting a lot of "whither conservatism" articles this next few months. I'm looking to give my 2003 "Metrocons" piece a good airing.

    I think David Frum got it dead right back in 1994, though, with that fine book he wrote … what was the title? Can't recall.

    Has anything conservative actually happened in American life since the end of the Cold War? Nothing comes to mind. If I'm honest with myself (which of course I am not very often) my own conservatism is just nostalgia. I want the U.S.A. to be like it was when I first knew it in the early 1970s. But of course that can't be. I read David's latest book. At least I started it. Health-insurance reform … consumption taxes … population policy … war on obesity … Uh-huh. I put the book aside & still haven't picked it up again. None of that stuff will happen.

    It's much harder to build a coalition on the right than on the left. The difference in outlook between a metro-con and his guns'n'Bible country cousin is far wider than anything on the left, where the working- and middle-class liberals who just want stuff from the gummint are much more at ease with the metropolitan liberals with Big Ideological Agendas. They often even admire them, which is not much the case with red-state-cons and metro-cons.

    Religion? Since I have David's 1994 book to hand, here's a passage (p. 172):

    [T]he conservative movement is secular to its toes. Even those conservatives, like [Irving] Kristol and Pat Buchanan, who believe that excessive secularism is a genuine problem, believe it for secular reasons. They expect that a more devout America would be a better-behaved America … But … American churchgoers will almost certainly disappoint the intellectuals who trust in them … Fundamentalists will go on giving conservative Republicans their votes, but it is not from them that the conservative movement of the future will draw its ideas.

    The religious picture isn't any more encouraging today. The Barna Group surveys are showing, as they always do, that the generality of believers are not particularly conservative. Even born-agains (43 percent of the adult population) went only 57-42 for McCain; though the Evangelical subgroup (7 percent of the population) was 88-11 for McCain. Of non-born-again believers, Protestants went for McCain 53-46, Catholics for Obama 56-43. Unbelievers — about one in ten adults — went 76-23 for Obama.

    So … whither conservatism? To the catacombs, that's whither.

    11/11 11:24 PM

    Actually, the end of the Cold War brought a huge decrease in discretionary spending under Clinton. That's conservative.

    Interesting point to ponder, though, the difference between mere nostalgia and actual conservatism.

  53. "actual conservatism"

    sounds simple, clear, well-defined

    unfortunately the religious conservatives have made it real, real, blurry.

  54. A female Hitchens, Ms Camille Pagila also sees beyond the partisan spin miesters talking points, portraying an honesty of intellect, acknowledging basic realities.

    She moves quickly, beyond Ayers, to his wife, the real evil master mind, of that pair.

    And especially for bob and trish, a glowing critique of Mrs Palin.

    Ayers comes off in the film as a vapid, slightly dopey, chronic juvenile with stunted powers of ethical reasoning. The real revelation is his wife, Bernardine Dohrn (who evidently worked at the same large Chicago law firm as Michelle Obama in the mid-1990s). Of course I had heard of Dohrn -- hers was one of the most notorious names of our baby-boom generation -- and I knew her black-and-white police mug shot. But I had never seen footage of her speaking or interacting with others. Well, it's pretty obvious who wears the pants in that family!

    The mystery of Bernardine Dohrn: How could such a personable, attractive, well-educated young woman end up saying such things at a 1969 political rally as this (omitted in the film) about the Manson murders: "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach. Wild!" And how could Dohrn have so ruthlessly pursued a decade-long crusade of hatred and terrorism against innocent American citizens and both private and public property?

    "The Weather Underground" never searches for answers, but it does show Dohrn, then and now, as a poised, articulate woman of extremely high intelligence and surprising inwardness. The audio extra of her reading the collective's first public communiqué ("Revolutionary violence is the only way") is chilling. But the tumultuous footage of her 1980 surrender to federal authorities is a knockout. Mesmerized, I ran the clip six or seven times of her seated at a lawyer's table while reading her still defiant statement. The sober scene -- with Dohrn hyper-alert in a handsome turtleneck and tweedy jacket -- was tailor-made for Jane Fonda in her "Klute" period, androgynous shag. Only illegalities by federal investigators prevented Dohrn from being put away on ice for a long, long time.

    Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.

    How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

    Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

    I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

    As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

  55. The Corner is going to be more interesting to read for the foreseeable future than it has been in years:

    All Over Again [John Derbyshire]

    I'm getting a really bad case of déjà vu.

    Democratic Congressional leaders said Tuesday that they were ready to push emergency legislation to aid the imperiled auto industry when lawmakers return to Washington next week … "Next week … we are determined to pass legislation that will save the jobs of millions of workers …" the majority leader, Harry Reid … said … — Int. Herald Tribune

    It's all a bit too creepily similar to the travails of the British auto industry in the 1960s. That ended with nationalization, which was of course a horrible failure, the debris eventually being sold off to Chinese and Indian firms.

    This is on top of the on-rolling debate between save-the-world "great nation" conservatives and "fortress America" Buchananites, which is even more creepily similar to the "Great Britain" vs. "Little England" controversy that raged over there all through my formative years.

    At this point, I'm in the market for a cyclical theory of history.

    11/12 09:42 AM

    Oh, yeah: 20,000 more US troops for Afghanistan next year and we're going to regionalize and Americanize the effort, the latter taking political pressure off of allies. Bring in the infrastructure and you're cooking with gas.

  56. See ya in a few hours. I've got minor Empire duties to attend to.

  57. Blogger 2164th said...

    Exchanging US held securities for equities is not spending. You are simply trading assets. If you do not believe that the value of US equities will recover, you lose nothing in the exchange, as you will have a system collapse and the currency will go down with it.

    Markets are like herds of animals. Herd leaders are market makers. There are trillions of dollars on the sidelines that will follow a leader, maker, trend line.

    The trend is your friend.

    An alternative plan is to do nothing, like the Forest Service when they decided to let Yellowstone burn itself out. That is a fine philosophy but a lot of perfectly good timber goes down for the count. Macro solutions in a micro world can destroy an infinite amount of micro units.

    Wed Nov 12, 02:52:00 AM EST

    Good post but a whole host of issues circulate. The prime one being the opening - just a swap of assets. Really? How many of these assets do we have just lie about waiting to be utilized? Are assets really that easy to print up in order to swap? Is there any concern about moral hazard? How'd the AIG investment work out for you? Wasn't that based on a similar concept - the fed's will pump all the money in as needed. For most industries the stock price is irrelevant to the functional nature of the company,no? I mean, you make a widget, you sell a widget, and, if you are smart, you turn a profit. The actual stock price matters not (well, there is the initial capital raised by the IPO and the ability to borrow based on the worth of the stock still in the companies hands but for the most part the stock price is irrelevant).

  58. It'll be "The Good War", trish, at least for a while.

    That NYTimes piece doug linked to the other day, the Paki Army destrying the town, to save it.

    Tunnel systems through out, it reported.

    The Iron Triangle, revisted,
    or at least Tora Bora?

  59. From rat's Paglia article:

    "I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- "

    That's funny, especially if you take Doug's view of the competence of careerists of the classroom.

  60. but, but, the good war's gone bad.

    time for a surge I guess.

  61. Democratic pollster, Mark Penn's latest analysis in the Politico. It exemplifies what P.J. O'Rourke described as the results of the "28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government"

    But 69 percent of all Americans in polls I conducted in recent years now also call themselves “professionals,” a new class transcending the old class labels or working or middle class or the wealthy. They have white-collar jobs requiring higher education and are earning more than ever before. Because of layoffs and business scandals of recent years, they have become increasingly embittered toward the corporate cultures that would have otherwise been their natural home base.

    Unlike the small-businessman who is typically anti-government, these professionals come out of the era of the growth of global corporations believing more than ever before in government intervention, teamwork and collective action. They are the voters who favored the bailout, while the left and the right saw it as a betrayal of their fundamental principles.

    These higher educated voters generally believe more in science than religion, in the interconnectedness of the world, and in pragmatism over ideology. They see us all living in a new world and are watching their kids enter it taking new economy kinds of jobs in places increasingly far away from home.

  62. nice link rat. I've been enjoying reading Ferguson these days.

    "SPIEGEL: What will the new American president be able to achieve economically, if anything?

    Ferguson: He promises a feeling of change, not necessarily real change. But the feeling is already important enough. This whole crisis has to do with trust and self-confidence. We need a US president who brings renewal.

    SPIEGEL: So what can Obama do?

    Ferguson: He can give a great inauguration speech.

    SPIEGEL: And what else?

    Ferguson: Give more great speeches.

    SPIEGEL: He can't do more?

    Ferguson: No, because he will have the least latitude of all presidents we can remember. Obama wants to assemble a nonpartisan government, and we will experience a more cautious first 100 days than we did under Bill Clinton. He will be cautious to the point of being boring. This will be precisely his great strength.

    SPIEGEL: Where does the problem lie?

    Ferguson: With Hank Paulson.

    SPIEGEL: What does the current treasury secretary have to do with Obama?

    Ferguson: Because of his big bailout plan, Paulson has already spent the money for Obama's healthcare reform and for his tax cuts. The money is gone.

    SPIEGEL: Mr. Ferguson, we thank you for this interview.",1518,589735-2,00.html

  63. I think they're VERY competent at what they do, Ash:
    Producing ever more ignorant liberal clones to perpetuate a growing statist majority.
    NEA Talks Out Of Both Sides Of Its Mouth

    Mike at EIA (see blogroll) nails it perfectly:

    NEA President Dennis Van Roekel lauded the victories. "NEA members played a vital role in critical congressional races across the country that helped expand margins in the House and Senate for pro-public education allies," he said in a press statement. "As a bipartisan organization, the National Education Association was pleased to return many friends from both sides of the aisle to Congress and elect new ones as a part of a growing Democratic majority."

    Aside: If you parse that last sentence, you get NEA "as a bipartisan organization" being pleased about "a growing Democratic majority."

    I might be able to have the slightest respect for them if they could be honest once in awhile.

  64. "28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government"
    Which degenerated into a mantra of
    "vote for us, when we get a larger majority, we'll start doing the right thing."

  65. Pro "PUBLIC" "Education," Ash, not pro BETTER Education.

  66. "A recent study reports that students' political beliefs become more liberal while in college and are swayed by friends rather than professors.

    The study conducted by Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California monitored a change in thinking from freshman to junior year for about 15,000 students at 136 colleges."

  67. Exactly!
    The almost ALL Liberal Faculties have NO effect on students. the student at UCSB that was not affected by being shot to death in a burning Bank of America Building during a "demostration" initiated by a whackjob lying leftist Professor named Bill Allen.

  68. You can only push the surfer party dudes so far, doug, then there's hell to pay.

    Surf's Up!!

  69. 33. Alexis:

    "I hope you realize that by repeatedly calling the United States of America “Rome”, you are effectively declaring the United States of America to be the principal enemy of the Jewish people. You also insist that the United States use nuclear weapons to wipe out millions of Muslims while also dismantling the bulk of the American military, which would leave the American people vulnerable to outside aggression. But none of that seems to matter to you. If your worldview were truly shared by the majority of Israelis, the United States would be fully justified in pulling the plug on all military, diplomatic, and financial support for the State of Israel.

    You may think you are helping matters, but your remarks actually promote an anti-Israeli agenda by seeking to deprive the State of Israel of any allies it has left in the world. You need to keep in mind what you are actually trying to accomplish."

  70. This comment has been removed by the author.

  71. Redstone News reports:

    Paulson said the administration will continue to use $250 billion of the program to purchase stock in banks as a way to bolster their balance sheets and encourage them to resume more normal lending.

    He announced a new goal for the program to support financial markets, which supply consumer credit in such areas as credit card debt, auto loans and student loans.

    Paulson said that 40 percent of U.S. consumer credit is provided through selling securities that are backed by pools of auto loans and other such debt. He said these markets need support.

    "This market, which is vital for lending and growth, has for all practical purposes ground to a halt," Paulson said.

    The administration decided that using billions of dollars to buy troubled assets of financial institutions at the current time was "not the most effective way" to use the $700 billion bailout package, he said.

    The announcement marked a major shift for the administration which had talked only about purchasing troubled assets as it lobbied Congress to pass the massive bailout bill.

    Paulson said the administration is exploring other options, including possibly injecting more capital into banks on a matching basis, in which government funds would be supplied to banks that were able to raise money on their own.

    The bailout money also should be used to support efforts to keep mortgage borrowers from losing their homes because of soaring default levels, he said.

    CBS Interactive Inc.

  72. You need to keep in mind what you are actually trying to accomplish.

    The transnational oil mafia is not a friend to Israel or the US. Neither is the metastasizing transnational corporate fascism a friend to Israel or the US.

  73. American Express Co. is seeking $3.5 billion in funds under the government's plan to directly invest in financial firms

    This is really going too far, I think. They've ripped people on credit card charges forever, and now they want tax payer money?

    They don't even make anything do they?

    Helping General Motors makes some sense. Helping a company that rips people off for a living, that's something else.

    They don't do anything but credit cards, do they?

    Doug, that's guys name was Sparks Fly.

  74. Helping General Motors..

    Money spent on GM is money not spent elsewhere. Opportunity lost. GM has proved itself to be an impediment to competition and innovation in the marketplace. GM has received tax handouts for far too long. And the taxpayers have really nothing to show for it. It's time to end this corporate fraud, and let something better and more rational replace it.

  75. One time, quite a few years ago, my young daughter went on a 'spending spree' with my American Express card. Over the internet. When the bill came, I immediately called AmExpress and had them shut the card down. Which they did. But, when the bill was paid, they opened it back up, unknown to me, and she went on the second month of a two month spending spree. She racked up some high charges, it's one of the downsides of being a dad. Anyway, I called AmExpress again, and said what the hell, the account was to be closed. Why these new charges?

    Well, I had to get my good Jewish lawyer to make a phone call. Turned out that they had a computer program that automatically puts your card back in gear, when you paid the last bill, no matter if you have told them to close the account.

    At that point, we refused to pay anymore, and they finally went away.

    The lawyer that my lawyer talked to was kind of an arse. Kind of screaming about it. But, I took my lawyer's advice, refused to pay, and they finally went away.

    They don't really have many people back there in those phone banks.

    Just a few, really.

    We shouldn't be bailing out American Express. A shyster company if there ever was one.

    Rat will immediately hit on this of course, and attack my daughter.

    Why isn't she in jail, he will ask.

    But, that's not the way it works. American Express was told to shut the account down.

    There was no account.

    My daughter is grown up now, and responsible. That was long ago.

    But Rat will try to figure some way to blame a young girl. That's the kind of guy he is.

  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. No, you're wrong, bob, I'd never blame the cardholder that bought the goods on account. No need for personal responsibility in the brave new world.

    That just wouldn't be fair.

    It's all the fault of the American Express Bank.

    Especially since they're the ones that'll be getting resucued.
    From their faulty business practices.

    Right On!
    Screw the Oligarachy!
    Power to the People!

    With you, 100%, bob!

  78. Billions for Iraq
    Not a dime to American Express!

    Sounds like a catchy phrasing, no?

    Flys in the face of duece's program, though. I mean, who hasn't been bullied by a corporation, at some time in their liives. Now, those very same victims of corporate abuse are being asked to rescue the bullies.

    Those bullies, they are out on thin ice.

    We should Just Say NO!

  79. We should not worry, as to the impact to the 7,000 Arizonans that are employeed at American Express:

    American Express is a world leader in the credit card, travel and financial services industry and our goal is to be the world’s most respected service brand. Here in Arizona, American Express has more than 7,000 employees who work in a variety of business areas from credit card operations to travel to tax and business services.

    Let 'em go under, teach 'em a lesson about screwin' with the bobal!

  80. I don't know how to read you sometimes, Rat.

    There was no account, at that point.

    They got shived by my daughter for a few thousand bucks, when she was an irresponsible teenager.

    But, there was no account to charge anything to.

    She was wrong to do what she did, but in her mind, she was just 'charging it up to dad'.

    When the account was really closed.

    But, she didn't know that.

    So, we went through one round of lawyer calls, and the upshot was, the account was closed, the girl didn't know it--fault to American Express.

  81. And from that episode, bob, we should blacklist American Express from being rescued, in this economic crisis?

    Is that the reasonable position?

  82. I don't think we ought to be bailing out American Express.

    GM, maybe, they do something.

  83. Rat, I'd say, let them fail.

    20 something interest rates?

    God awful monthly charges for being behind a day on a payment?

    The whole thing a swindle?

    Yes, I'd say, let them fail.

  84. According to that Mark Penn, 69% of the electorate "does not make anything", they are "Professionals".

    All 7,000 of the American Express employees in AZ see themselves that way, as "Professionals", or a least 69% of them do.

  85. But the Federals will not, the rescue will go forward, rest assured of that.

    And there you'll have it, duece's equity program, before it is even implemented, draws the ire of consumers and voters.

    How about when the hospitals, drug companies and insurers are rescued by the Federals. Everyone has a gripe with one of those.

  86. From the past we can see the future, the Obama solution, in '06 was to nationalize the auto industries current and legacy health care costs.

    Now it'll be rolled into a bigger package and sold as an economic recovery and National Security solution.

    Whether those costs are BS, or not, mat.

  87. American Express are swindlers. I have been a loyal customer of thiers for several years now. I had well over a 10k limit and ALWAYS paid my account in full/on time, and this is the problem, they weren't making money on me. I just got a letter from them explaining that they are instating a new policy of checking credit back to 10 years. they found one thing, a $200 judgement that i refused to pay 8 years ago, due to principal. The letter further stated that they were going to have to reduce my line of credit from over 10k to 1k due to this negative bit of credit.

  88. I think we have all had an episode or two with American Express, soon we will be preferred share holders, collectively.

  89. Profits are almost, most readily, assured, in time.

    Enough to help fund Social Security and Medicare.

  90. When the Tulip Bubble Burst

    Tulip mania differed in one crucial aspect from the dot-com craze that grips our attention today:
    Even at its height, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, well-established in 1630, wouldn't touch tulips.
    ''The speculation in tulip bulbs always existed at the margins of Dutch economic life,'' Dash writes.
    After the market crashed, a compromise was brokered that let most traders settle their debts for a fraction of their liability.
    The overall fallout on the Dutch economy was negligible. Will we say the same when Wall Street's current obsession finally runs its course?

    MARK FRANKEL is executive editor of dads magazine.

  91. "I don't know how to read you sometimes, Rat."
    I was going to join in with you there, LaBob, but then it occured to me that if someone described my wife's behavior as felonius, I'd probly get the hint!

  92. I think the best thing is just to do business with a small local bank.

    When we went over to Missoula, and I bought my nice digital camera, and a couple of other items, and kind of ran up some bills there, I actually got a call from the lady at the bank when I was at the Bill Clinton gathering. "Bob, someone is really using your debit card in Montana."

    I laughed, said, well that's me.

    But it was much appreciated.

    They had some kind of a computer program that tracks your monthly expenditures, and if it goes way out of normal, a red flag pops up.
    And they call. I liked that. A real call from a real person, down at the small local bank.

  93. Guy's name was Sparks Fly, Doug.

  94. Guy who thought the world would be better off if it didn't exist:)

  95. It'll be "The Good War", trish, at least for a while.

    - Rat

    Wretchard and other Iraq boosters favor this particular sarcastic swipe. Me, I've long had a soft spot for the red-headed step child of the GWOT. For reasons transparent and not. I am genuinely hopeful and as always wish them well.

    In the meantime I, vicariously, shift to The Bad War That Got It's Act Together, which should be just as illuminating.

  96. Headlines from Drudge---

    Near five-year lows...
    Russian trading halted after 12% drop...
    Economic woes increase, crisis deals in trouble...
    As More Companies Seek Aid, 'Where Do You Stop?'...
    Embattled Banks Still Planning Big Bonuses...
    FLU: GOOGLE shares below $300 for first time since 2005...
    GE Says Feds Will Guarantee Up to $139 Billion in Debt...

  97. 12. slade:
    "Because of his big bailout plan, Paulson has already spent the money for Obama’s healthcare reform and for his tax cuts. The money is gone."

    slade said...

    Ferguson has jumped the shark, along with no small number of analysts, pundits, and academics.

    The money spent by Paulsen funded the Democratic-sponsored housing initiative for people who had no business in the business - of either ownership or regulation. History has already been rewritten. And it happened in the blink of an eye.

  98. Trish, I'd like to ask you

    1) What we should do in Iraq now.

    2) What does the new administration mean for your work in Colombia?

    Cause Bob is confused.

  99. As my daughter was explaining today, it's easy to oppose the auto bailout in the abstract. But unlike other US industries - and unlike its Asian competitors - it is vertically integrated, which spells failure an order of magnitude greater than would otherwise be the case.

    In other news Best Buy confirmed in its most recent projection last week's bad retail news. "Seismic shift" in consumer spending.

    The "fun" has just begun.

  100. As my daughter was explaining today, it's easy to oppose the auto bailout in the abstract. But unlike other US industries - and unlike its Asian competitors - it is vertically integrated, which spells failure an order of magnitude greater than would otherwise be the case.

    I'm glad I barely understand that.

    But it sounds to me more serious than American Express.

  101. Oh the other hand, Jeff Jordan, the general manager at Elliot Chevrolet in Staunton, says, "We've seen significantly lower new-car sales. Really we have been trending that way all year."

    Jordan says he has seen the direct effects of the struggling industry. As a dealership known for it's contributions to the community, Jordan says Elliot Chevrolet has been forced to make cutbacks.

    He says, "We handle lots of donations. That is something we have to reevaluate."

    Industry Struggles

  102. There is no way we can let the auto industry fail. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we have a dreadful financial problem that could have been halted. Daily it is more and more like a prairie that will go out eventually, maybe when it runs out of prairie but why? Why would we want to let that happen when it is stoppable?

    Vertical integration in the auto industry is an understatement. It is the underpinning of US manufacturing.

  103. Maybe we should just go back to the land, and create villages.

    But we can't here, because the democrats created the '40 acre rule' which says you can only have one home on 40 acres in our county.

    I always thought this was bs, and was against it, and thought it was just a measure to lock other people out, brought to you by our local democrats, who are supposed to be 'for the poor people', but really are not, when you check it out closely.

    They just want to get 'professors salaries' and keep other people away, is what I think.

    And not do anything other than talk to themselves.

  104. We could have stopped this with housing. You still can, but you cannot solve anything without solving housing first.

  105. I think the '40 acre rule' is a bunch of unconstitutional bs.

    What black man from the inner city, or other minority, can possibly buy 40 acres here?

    None, that I know of.

    Which was brought to you by the local democrats.

    Lovers of equal opportunity, in the abstract.

  106. Good questions all, bob. But to be clear, *my* function in Colombia is, for the better part, decorative. And that's only after I shower and put on mascara. The PTB are letting me stay on so that I don't start composing letters with words cut out of magazines.

  107. A Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence

    Eitan Gorlin as the phony McCain adviser Martin Eisenstadt, who claimed to be the source of a rumor about Sarah Palin.

  108. Vertical integration in the auto industry is an understatement. It is the underpinning of US manufacturing.

    Wed Nov 12, 06:04:00 PM EST

    Given that they're also the sellers ,of everything from soup to nuts, to the rest of corporate America and the defense industry, that seems a reasonable claim.

    Vertical integration, bob: They own their supply chain.

  109. The PTB are letting me stay on so that I don't start composing letters with words cut out of magazines.


    I've seen that gambit played for higher stakes...couriers dispatched from D.C. with satchels full of cash.

    All perfectly legal, of course. Merely conflict resolution.

    Surely you're not conflicted.

  110. Bob,

    Teen aged daughters...

    My story involves ATT and cell phone accounts.
    A story best left for late night conversations, if related at all.

    Happy ending though. She now has her own cell phone account, and is very careful of her minutes.


  111. Oh, I'm conflicted alright.

    But I'm also dependable.