“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, December 31, 2008

Day 5 - In Gaza, Israel says "Not today, thanks."

Another wonderful day in the neighborhood.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli leaders decided to reject an immediate 48-hour pause in fighting and push ahead with the devastating air offensive against Hamas, sending jets and assault helicopters to pound targets in the Gaza Strip for a fifth day Wednesday.

Israel is facing growing international pressure to halt the assault and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed a cease-fire proposal — floated by France's foreign minister — with his foreign and defense ministers overnight. The meeting ended with a decision to continue operations, government officials said, and a top forum of Cabinet ministers entrusted with security matters will discuss the continued offensive Wednesday.
Egypt is caught up in the Arab backlash.

CAIRO, Egypt — The Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip has unleashed outrage across the Middle East — but the anger is being vented as much against Egypt as it is at Israel.

Protesters have attacked Egyptian embassies, accusing Cairo of helping Israel's longtime blockade of the territory and even giving a green light for the offensive — a sign of the gulf between an Arab public and some U.S.-allied governments that dislike Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Demonstrators broke into the Egyptian consulate in the Yemeni city of Aden on Tuesday, trashing the interior, throwing computers out windows and burning the Egyptian flag on the roof. More than 500 protesters massed outside Egypt's embassy in Syria, as others did days earlier in Lebanon.

During a demonstration in the Lebanese city of Sidon this week, people chanted slogans denouncing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as "a pig" and a "collaborator" with Israel.

The fault lines

But the clamor over Gaza has underlined an increasing divide in the Middle East that pits pro-Western countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia against Syria and Iran and their allied militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.

In an unusually vocal criticism for an Egyptian politician, Abdullah Kamal, a member of Egypt's ruling party, denounced Hamas on Monday as a pawn of Iran, saying Iran and Syria are trying to make "Iran as the leader of the region through its militias, whether Hezbollah or Hamas."


  1. "Stop the mascara!"

  2. A devastating air offensive, that has killed 300 or so.

    Which would have been a slow day at Thermopylae.

    Not so devastating, historically speaking, for a five day offensive.
    In five days the only thing that stopped the US, in Iraq, was a sandstorm. While, by comparison, the Israels have yet to cross the first phase line.

    If the devastation of Hamas, from the air, is the best the Israelis have, in an "All Out War", then Iran is a bridge way, way, to far for them.

    The "All Out War" on Hamas, bogging down, already.

  3. I do not critique Limbaugh, doug, merely mention one of his latest themes. Which happened to dovetail with a similar theme, using the same 'inventive' phrasing, on the same day, in "The New Republic".

    I do know that Mr Limbaugh is a master of wordcraft, presenting his ideas in digestable chunks that are easily understood.
    I know that he truly believes that words have meaning and that he chooses his words with forethought, not happenstance.

    That he chose to use the term "Washingtonian", is as meaningful as it relates to George, as it does the Federal District of Columbia.

    I think the same is true of "The New Republic", as well. Scratch the surface of what both are saying and we are watching a revision of George Washington and his legacy, in real time.

    As has been underway with Lincoln for at least the past year. Barack Obama now and in the future will represent the legacy of Lincoln. Which is an interesting twist to see in the body politic. One Party's founder embraced by the other, while the Party of Lincoln stands mute, on Lincloln.

    A grand historical move that goes unmentioned, for the most part, but is easy to see if one even begins to look to the motives that move Obama.

  4. That one of the candidates for the Chairmanship of the RNC would disperse Barack - the Magic Negro as part of his campaign for the Chair, after Limbaugh played it on the air, does not exemplify the Lincolnesque virtues one would hope for, from the self-selected Republicans.

    The song is entertaining and I can see why Limbaugh would use it on his show, but for the RNC to embrace it, that's another thing, entirely. .

    As Newt said, the song is "so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it."
    That Chip Saltsman chose to use it, not Lincolnesque.

  5. "Stop the mascara!"
    A devastating air offensive, that has killed 300 or so.

    Which would have been a slow day at Thermopylae.

    I needed that!

  6. Another Bush legacy. Only a twenty-four carat horse's ass could get us involved in this steaming pile of horse shiite:


    "U.S. forces working in Iraq under rules that formally go into effect Thursday are experiencing both cooperation and difficulties, U.S. officials say.

    Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) approved by the Iraqi parliament on Nov. 27, U.S. troops must obtain warrants to arrest Iraqi suspects, except in combat situations.

    As first reported by The Washington Times, U.S. troops in Baghdad and Baghdad province have been following the warrant requirement for more than a month. Although 10 warrants have been issued so far in northeastern Baghdad, speed in obtaining others has been a problem.

    "We applied for 10 warrants two weeks ago, and we still don´t know what´s happening with them," said Col. John Hort, commander of the 4th Infantry Division´s 3rd Brigade Combat Team."

  7. The Battle of Iraq has been a police chase for years, now.

    That fact will become ever more evident, as time goes by.
    Billions per month, we spend, for nothin' of signifigance.

  8. A US soldier waiting for an Iraqi judge to produce a warrant so that an American GI can go and arrest an Iraqi felon.

    Do we have $10 billion a month for foreign police work? How about spending that money going after some Mexican drug runners in say Arizona or California or Texas?

    That sorry son of a bitch took an oath to protect the US. His first action in DC was to be a butt boy for Vincente Fox and his last is to have US soldiers acting as beat cops in Iraq. He did learn the meaning of duty in the Texas ANG, when he had time to get there.

  9. Sorry dr that there are not body parts in the street...

    But I am fine with the pace and progress of the IDF...

    Look at the facts...

    400 targets have been hit, 300+ hamas fighters are dead...

    Hamas has regrouped and is openly fighting back...


    This gives Israel the right and public stance to continue to fight Hamas..

    As Hamas continues the rockets it shows that Israel NEEDS to go further...

    Look for a few surprises....

    and btw dont be surprised to learn that the IDF is already on the ground in GAZA....

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I still await the lauded Israeli goal of destroying Hezzbollah, made in 2006.

    Perhaps Ehud Barak conception of "All Out War" and mine are different. It appears clear that without a political play within Gaza 2012 will be upon us and will will still be waiting for Hamas to be destroyed.

    The only authority that can possibly control Gaza is Egypt. It has the historical and moral authority to do so. It also would then have accountability for the radicals.
    Who would be surpressed, as they are elsewhere in Egypt's area of responsibility.

    The place is smaller than Scottsdale, it is a no brainer, really. The Israeli erred, long term, when they did not pass Gaza back to Egypt, with the rest of the Sinai.

  12. Hank's Deals on Wheels
    Treasury wants to put you in a GM car today.


    Hurry to your local GM dealer, because Hank Paulson has a deal for you. Within hours of receiving a $5 billion lifeline from the U.S. Treasury on Monday, GMAC -- the financing arm of General Motors -- slashed its car-loan rates and lowered its lending standards to help GM sell, sell, sell.

    As of Tuesday, GMAC was offering 0% financing on several models -- hey, if 0% is good enough for Ben Bernanke, it's good enough for you -- and said it would extend credit to buyers with credit scores as low as 621 -- right on the edge of subprime territory. The median credit rating is 723.

    Once Washington got into the business of owning car makers, it was only a matter of time before Hank Paulson & Co. started trying to sell cars too. It's now the American public's investment in Detroit that's on the line, after all. But Monday's bailout of GMAC, inevitable as it was, shows that the federal government has now waded so far into auto maker business that it's easier to keep marching forward than to pull back.

  13. WiO: and btw dont be surprised to learn that the IDF is already on the ground in GAZA....

    Of course there are special forces spotters on the ground. All those laser guided bombs need lasers to guide them. Unfortunately, Israel's humanitarian impulse has led them to a policy of calling a house or a building before they bomb it, which means we have a lot of empty buildings being bombed. This is a very safe all out war.

  14. Now, the West Bank, that is 2,177 sq miles of territory.
    Let's see what that area is comparable to, in the US.

    Dade County, in Florida is comparable, it has a land area of 1946 sq. mi.

    On the West Bank, In December 2007, an official Census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian population of the West Bank (including Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem) was 2,345,000

    Dade County, it is the similar:
    in July 2007: 2,387,170 (99% urban, 1% rural)

    Intersting comparisons can be drawn, as to the size of the problems faced. But the Jordanians are best suited to have authority over a reasonably autonomous West Bank,

    Well looking about, it seems the Obama dream of an International Jerusalem is not new, but in the original UN program.

    Corpus separatum
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    United Nations 1947 UN Partition Plan
    Jerusalem Corpus Separatum

    Corpus separatum is Latin for "separated body". The 1947 UN Partition Plan used this term to refer to a proposed internationally administered zone to include Jerusalem and some nearby towns such as Bethlehem and Ein Karim, that was, "in view of its association with three world religions" to be "accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control". United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, 11 December 1948 established a United Nations Conciliation Commission and reaffirmed this statement.

    Obama will bring it back to the future.

  15. Michelle Renee said...
    WiO: and btw dont be surprised to learn that the IDF is already on the ground in GAZA....

    Of course there are special forces spotters on the ground. All those laser guided bombs need lasers to guide them. Unfortunately, Israel's humanitarian impulse has led them to a policy of calling a house or a building before they bomb it, which means we have a lot of empty buildings being bombed. This is a very safe all out war.

    And this is wrong?

    Should we not in our zeal for arab guts not seek to avoid becoming the sub-human palestinian arch foe?

    I have no problem with destroying infrastructure, safe houses, ammo depots & more...

    I do love high body counts when possible when it is the right bodies...

    But I say patience...

    it's 4 DAYS folks..

    destroying billions of infrastructure of the hamas is a great 1st step...

    watching those billions of arab and iranian aid go up in smoke is a "good thing"......

    Israel learned from the last battle in Lebanon...

    If hamas can crawl out of a bombed rubble pile to wave a flag they can and will claim victory...

    but to what end?

    what is happening now is pavlovian conditioned response...

    Israel is RE-EDUCATING the people of the islamic world...

    For those who whine that Israel is doing nothing and that advocate mass killing, thats a great dream just not realistic.

  16. The population of Gaza should begin to resettle into the Egyption territory, just to the west. A series of Levittowns type communitties, which, to mat's dismay have a very high population density. The original Levittown boasting a Total of 53,067 residents with a density of 7,717.5/sq mi.

    At Levittown they were building thirty houses a day, in 1948, so it would not take long to relieve the 10,000+ /sq mi population pressure in Gaza.

    Big carrots, that would promote the reclaimation of Egyptian soveriegnty over the city's population.

  17. WiO, Israel needs to have a wing of Predator drones (or their home grown equivalent which are first class) flying over Gaza 24/7 ready to take out Hamas mucky-mucks and their bodyguards as soon as they stick their nose outdoors. The idea is to get them to think about their personal extinction all the time, because that's what they're doing to Israeli civilians (who live in nearby Negev towns) with their rocket attacks.

    But better than that is a campaign to root out Hamas altogether and get the PA back in there. That might be what we are seeing now.

  18. This fellow does not take the next step, but lays out the circumstance for Egypt regaining the upper hand, through Abbas.

    Israel versus Hamas:
    How to Shape a Ceasefire

    By Tony Karon Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008

    They're all thinking to small, look for a bold solution, some time around 21 January 2008.

    Obamas' game, doubt it'll be be small ball.

  19. And this is wrong?

    Yes, it is.
    It is VERY wrong.

  20. The population of Gaza should begin to resettle into the Egyption territory, just to the west.

    No, dRat. The population of Gaza should be facing the prospect of wholesale liquidation. The Sinai should be recaptured, and Cairo and the aswan dam bombed as reprisal for the bombing of Israeli territory from Gaza. No ceasefire until Egypt hands over one million tons of limestone off the pyramids as tribute.

  21. Egypt gets over $2 billion a year in US aid. Why?

  22. Why is the US arming Egypt at the expense of US taxpayers?

  23. What Is, you just gotta know when and why to disengage. Arguments in bad faith (check) are one of the whys. Galloping senility (check) is another.

    It is perhaps another bit of minutia, but there's a lot more than IDF in Gaza. How many conversations were had in dusty beaters on Gaza side streets? The guys in the passenger seat, they're on the ground. So to speak.

    There are certainly worse ways to bring in the new year.

    Treating the Bar's own Cotton Hill Squad, for instance. (Though Cotton at least lost his shins to Tojo; harder to fathom what the excuse for compulsive dickwad might be here.)

  24. "I was 14, just a little older than Bobby. But I knew Uncle Sam needed me, so I lied and signed up. We had beat the Nazzys in Italy, and they shipped me to the Pacific theater. A Tojo torpedo sent our troop ship to the bottom. I could only save three of my buddies: Fatty, Stinky, and Brooklyn. They were kind of like you fellas [to Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer], only one of them was from Brooklyn. Out of the sun came a Tojo Zero and put fitty bullets in my back. The blood attracted sharks. I had to give 'em Fatty. Then things took a turn for the worse. I made it to an island, but it was full of Tojos! They were spitting on the U.S. flag! So I rushed 'em, but it was a trap. They opened fire and blew my shins off. Last thing I remember, I beat 'em all to death with a big piece of Fatty. I woke up in a field hospital, and they were sewing my feet to my knees."

    Cotton Hill

  25. Just for you, Trish.

    Signed, sealed, and delivered!

  26. Spend a snowy day watching a season or two of King of the Hill on DVD, bob. Add a simmering dutch oven of chili or beef stew. All is right with the world.

  27. If you wanna go in another direction, I recommend HBO's Deadwood. But ditto on the chili.

  28. Deadwood was good.

    "Chinaman coming in the front door, Boss! Chinaman coming in the front door!

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  31. The United States and Egypt - How Allied? A Debate

    Middle East Quarterly
    December 2000


    Happy New Year. You know who you are.

  33. Why, bob, the arguments for the Big Three resonate for local newspapers, as well?
    Jobs first off.

    Local papers are needed, to maintain local coverage of civic leaders and events.

    Indeed they provide a public service and should be compensated for it, by the representatives of the public.
    Legal announcements must be published, to do so, there must be a paper.

    Just another step down that long and winding road. On a journey that's already begun, the road to serfdom.

    The papers pf America should be forced to sell prefered stock to the Social Security Trust Fund. That would rescue the ones needing saving, and not discriminate agaist those that do not.

    It was okay for the Banks and the Big Three, why not other industries, in America, as well? It is the Republican thing to do.

    Socialize the news, why not?
    Google has gone through the revolving door, why not the rest?

  34. Think of the CO2, Rat. Think of the carbon. We've got to save the Planet.

    Save The Trees--No Newpaper Bailout!

  35. The tradition of dropping a ball on New Year's Eve stems ultimately from the harbor masters dropping a large ball from some mast so the ship's crews could set the chronometer, before heading out, so I just heard on the radio.

  36. I got a good laugh at the clips on Trish's Dire Straits clip. (I am sure she has a lucky guy). Here is a Philly group from the eighties with my own memories Hooters

  37. Ha! Just as I thought--

    Poll: Americans Want Sarah Palin for Neighbor

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008

    LOS ANGELES – If they had to live next door to a celebrity, American adults would most like to be neighbors with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and chat show host Oprah Winfrey.

    But trouble-prone pop star Britney Spears would be the worst celebrity neighbour, according to a survey published on Tuesday of the most and least desirable well-known faces Americans would have in their backyard.

    Republican vice presidential candidate Palin topped the poll of most desirable celebrity neighbors with 14 percent, closely followed by Winfrey, who was particularly popular with women.

  38. The Man Who Skied Down Everest

    That area definitely has some wind power generating potential.