“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."

Monday, January 12, 2009

It is Legacy Time in the Neighborhood

Bush's Press Conference on 8-9-07

So it is legacy time again, a time to reflect on what we got wrong about our nearly departed. Today was a twofer with  both of the near teary-eyed Bushes reminiscing about what some of us just did not understand. It was a fourfer for me as I voted for them both twice.

But when it comes to the Permanent Record, if there really is such a thing, I rely on the "did they leave it better on leaving than they found it when they arrived or is it all a matter of fate?"

The fate part is OK with me for cops and cab drivers, but the higher you get up the food chain, the less it impresses. All of our rulers and masters are pretty much the same; they take credit for every sunny day and deny authorship for their Uckfups. They all wimp out with the "History will understand" plea. I prefer to listen to the actual words that I actually heard when they were uttered.

Turn back the clock to 8-9-07.


  1. Empty suit is to nice a thing to say ....

    Soft landing, that is smooooth.

    The wreckage is all over the damn airfield, soft landing ... what bull turd.

  2. Tony Snow was laughing in the background. RIP.

  3. However bad you may think Mr. Bush today, tomorrow you may wish he was still around.

    From bobal's Washington Times link: Mr. Obama's transition team said Mrs. Browner's membership in the organization is not a problem and that it brings experience in U.S. policymaking to her new role.

    World Socialits Website World Socialists.

  4. That's just what I was going to say, Whit. I'm certain we will miss the guy.

  5. Sam said...
    rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.


    We are totally fucked!

    Sam's referring to Browner. It's a new day indeed when an administration appointee comes from a group that advocates shrinking the economy. A first, far as I know.

    Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

  6. I will never wish the return of George Bush. I may very well regret the presidency of Barack Obama. I did not support Obama in any way.

    I will not forget that the presidency of George W Bush would never have happened if his name had been any other than Bush and that Obama's rise was only made possible by the W train wreck.

  7. Bush overrules Rice on Gaza
    Betsy Pisik UNITED NATIONS

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was visibly frustrated when the White House told her to veto a resolution demanding a Hamas-Israeli cease-fire - a resolution she had spent three days negotiating.

    The White House said its decision reflected an understanding reached between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

    Miss Rice persuaded the White House to abstain from voting on the resolution, which passed by a vote of 14-0, said a U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of last week's events. The official requested anonymity to avoid embarrassing the Bush administration.

    Why would she spend three days negotiating it in the first place? The short answer is that tenure at the State Department seems to result in a brain wasting disease.

  8. It may well be that Ms Rice know that the Bush Administration is gone, in eight days. She may also have a better understanding than others on Team 43 what Team Obama will be willing to sign off on.

    Mr Bush may have given his last present to whom mat refers to as "the jihadi. A cease fire 'brokered' within the Clinton parameters, in nine days.

  9. I will say that I give credit to Bush for his initial response to 911. My criticism was that it was not brutal enough and morphed into nation building. I have contempt for the entire concept of bringing democracy to anyone.You either want democracy or not. No one deserves it as another entitlement.

    There is a real possibility that an Obama administration will treat terrorism as a criminal matter and prove that Bush had it closer to being right.

  10. Just look at the news from the Multi National Force, Iraq and one will see that Mr Bush and the US military have pursued terrorists, as criminals, for at least the past four years.

    That is the reality of Bush's 'War on Terror', if Obama pursues the same policies, but with different rhetoric, the end result will not differ.

  11. With Japan we were brutal and brought democracy, both.
    The Great Fabricator--

    An odd way to talk about it

    letter to the editor

    Theodore Even noticed an odd phrasing from the president-elect describing his family.

    President-elect Obama, who turned 35 that year, describes growing up with a single mother and absent father, and says, "I think that in a certain way, I've tried all my life to fabricate a family through stories, memories, friends or ideas. Michelle's family life was different, very stable with two parents, a stay-at-home mom, a brother, a dog, that kind of thing.

  12. A mix of Bush and that Russian Fighter Cartwheeling Death and Destruction through the crowd @ the Airshow would be nice.

    Maybe a caption for 'Rat:
    "Phoenix Down 33 Percent!"

    Classic Death Spiral.

  13. Democracy was not offered, nor the Goal, until the War had been won, brutally, bob.

    The idea that democracy in Iraq could be delivered to Iraq, by US was discarded by the Iraqi in June of 2003.
    After that it became an issue in the US, but the Iraqi voted with their actions. Starting the Iraqi inssurection, the very existence of which the White House and civilian leadership denied, for almost a year.

    The US trying to impose a top down System of Islamic democracy, with candidates it approved of, rather than the people's choice starting at the bottom and building upwards.

  14. 'Rat said...

    "GW Bush would not sacrifice 'principle' for the sake of bailing out the United States.
    But would quickly abandon principle to bail out AIG and Citibank.
    The fellow is an empty suit.
    That's what I was thinking when he categorically dismissed even the thought of bailing out PEOPLE in the video.

    No-one (even Rufus) will ever convince me we would not be in better shape right now if all that loot had simply been divied up and doled out directly to the citizens.

    But for those, like Bush, that have the
    Vision of the Annointed tm
    (Tom Sowell)
    'tis much better to further enrich the crooks that brought us this party.

  15. Hey, Rat:
    That unopened letter probly has mold growing on it by now.
    The Strong Horse.

  16. Push on Immigration Is Said to Shift Focus

    Federal judges and prosecutors say immigration cases are overloading the court system and eroding morale. Above, immigrants facing border violations in Laredo, Tex.
    Bush administration officials say the government’s focus on immigration crimes is an outgrowth of its counterterrorism strategy and vigorous pursuit of immigrants with criminal records.

    Immigration prosecutions have steeply risen over the last five years, while white-collar prosecutions have fallen by 18 percent, weapons prosecutions have dropped by 19 percent, organized crime prosecutions are down by 20 percent and public corruption prosecutions have dropped by 14 percent, according to the Syracuse group’s statistics. Drug prosecutions — the enforcement priority of the Reagan, first Bush and Clinton administrations — have declined by 20 percent since 2003.

    I have seen a national abdication by the Justice Department,” said Attorney General Terry Goddard of Arizona.
    Shouldn't be a problem for the Messiah, when he annoints them Citizens in good standing.

  17. "The conventional wisdom is that, at this fraught moment, Bush, Dick Cheney, and their shadowy neoconservative cabal turned away from the real enemy and indulged their obsession with Iraq.

    But the truth is that once the Taliban had dispersed and al-Qaeda’s leadership had fled to Pakistan, it was far from clear what the next step ought to be.
    Who could ever have considered wiping them and their supporters out in Pakistan?

    Was it 2003 or 4 when ABC News provided the Roadmap?

  18. Who could ever have considered wiping them and their supporters out in Pakistan?

    No one in the land of the brave and free. Not with Saudia dictating economic foreign and military policy for the US.

  19. bob, it was always the "Plan" for those tax cuts to 'go'. or they'd not have been 'temporary', but 'permanent'.
    Which they never were, nor were they intended to be. Or there'd have been a major campaingn for such action, during any of the political campaigns, since 2000.
    It never was made a major issue.

  20. bob sends us to Michelle who tells us
    “We can’t be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms,” said Solomon Yue,

    Which makes Solomon Yue a Republican in Name Only.

    Because the elected Republicans, across the land are supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms,”

    It is what the Republican Party stands foresquare in favor of, on a National and Local level. The are no ideological problems for Republicans giving tax holidays and special treatments to gain a factory, in TN or AL. NO problems with tax breaks for casino in MS.

    Mr Solomon Yue may be an ideologe, but he is no Republican.

  21. Via Malkin's link:

    "Republican Party officials say they will try next month to pass a resolution accusing President Bush and congressional Republican leaders of embracing “socialism,” underscoring deep dissension within the party at the end of Mr. Bush’s administration."


  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. If the tax cuts were made a major issue, and I just missed it, then the people have spoken, the Republican tax cutters had their clocks cleaned.

    Now it is Obama's turn to cut taxes. Temporary or permanently, I could not say which. But the fact remains the Bush tax cuts are now part of GW's legacy of deficits, debts and unfunded liabilities.

  24. And ...
    nothing, mat

    None of those fellows stand in General Elections. They do not represent anyone but themselves.

    When they do run for office, like Mr Barbour in MS, they move rapidly to ... supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms ...

  25. None of those fellows stand in General Elections. They do not represent anyone but themselves.

    None of those fellows can. The monied elites made sure of that. Rome, with a smiley face.

  26. Poor old George can't do no right. He cuts taxes and gets criticized. Not made permanent. And the deficits.

    He shoulda raised taxes then he wouldn't get criticized for lowering 'em.

    Weren't most of his deficits, until this year, war deficits?

    He should have vetoed some bills, agreed.

    Gotta run. If I catch my banker, I'm asking him what's up with the money they got, if indeed they got it, which I think they did.

  27. Poor old George can't do no right.

    He's not so poor, Bob. He and his friends did very well for themselves. The taxpayers are left with the bill.

  28. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday referred to the US decision to abstain from Thursday's UN Security Council resolution vote calling for a Gaza cease-fire, saying US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "was left quite embarrassed, not voting for a resolution that she herself had prepared and organized."

    What a fscking moron.

    Condoleezza Rice works for Bush. What she does, she does at the behest of Bush. She did not work to veto this modern day version of a medieval blood libel, she engineered it. Same for Bush. They all work for the Saudis. And this should be said clearly and without apologies.

  29. Well, bob, it is the fellow in charge that gets the kudos or the kick in the ass.

    Certainly cannot blame you and habu for the errors Mr Bush made.

    No, the success or failure of an administration, the buck, as it were, stops at the Resolute desk, no where else.

    Mr Bush and his supporters, their only claim to fame left to hang a hat on, that "nothing happened" on the homeland terrorist front.

    Credit for a non-occurring event with a unmeasurable outcome is always hard to come by.
    Especially when all of the tasks that could be measured, amounted to a series of not so good performances.

    habu still has 8 days for his claim that GW Bush would not leave office allowing the Iranians any vestige of nuclear capacity to be proven accurate. Mr Bush said this when the fact of the matter was that the Iranians were and still are spinning their centrifuges at full speed ahead, staying the course.

    Mr Bush gave his word, he pledged his own and the United State's sacred honor, and you know what, those centrifuges, they still are spinnin'.

    Eight days until the full measure of GW Bush, as President and Commander in Chief can be taken.

    The Iranian centrifuges are the final challenge to his tenure's legacy.

    Mr Bush veered hard to port. Like the leftist Federal Socialist he always was, being a Connecticut Yankee who bought a cowboy hat.

    Just another dude with a house in Texas.
    I should've known, from the git go.

  30. Remember the Reagan/Casey "Russian Gas Pipeline" Gambit?

    Biggest explosion since Bikini Atoll

    You have no idea what's being done in regards to the "Centrifuges."

  31. Well, rufus, we knew what happened with the Reagan/Casey "Russian Gas Pipeline" Gambit.

    Biggest explosion since Bikini Atoll

    If such things were ocurring in Iran, we'd KNOW. As when their airplanes filled with Generals fall from the sky.

    Because it is the perception of nuclear capacity that creates the geopolitical reality of it.

    According to all sources, US, Israeli and UN, those centrifuges are still spinin', sure as shootin'.

    Again, the Bush supporters want credit for "nothing happened", when in all reality it already has happened.

    They just do not want to admit that over reaching reality, that Mr Bush left Iran and its' nukes to President Obama to deal with. Knowing, full well, that negotiation is going to be Obama's opening gambit.

    Now, rufus, if we KNOW, in eight days, that Iran is non-nuclear, then GW Bush and Team43 get the credit, otherwise it will be the brillance of Obama that'll 'save the day', or not.

  32. As always, the three words that will forever encapsulate the success or failure of George Walker Bush and his job performance as President:

    Barack Hussein Obama

  33. The BBC is reporting that in Indonesia, the Islamic Defenders Front claims to have recruited over 5000 jihadists to fight in Palestine.

  34. It is a long way, from Indonesia to Palistine. For 5,000 fellows.

    Can't walk.
    Not an easy boat trip, if the Suez Canal were closed to them.

    5,000 guys, quite the bill for airfare,
    but then again, where can they land, in Palistine?

  35. The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.

  36. What is really of comical interest...

    Now that Libaugh and the New Republic have labeled the Federal Socialists as Washingtonian giving the socialist the credibilty of George Washington's legacy, while Obama claims the mantle of Lincoln as his own. Stopping by the Lincoln Memorial, with his kids, in just the past day or two.

    The new trilogy of great Presidents, to be lauded by the 'Left', a trio that brought great and historic change, to America.

    Washington, Lincoln and Obama

    As one after another the GOP Senators and coulda beens announce their decisions not to run in 2010.

  37. Gut what intelligence we have and close Gitmo--I think both moves are dumb--


    Published on on January 12, 2009

    President-elect Barack Obama's new head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen, called the legal reasoning which gave the president broad powers to authorize "rough" interrogation of terrorists "shockingly flawed…bogus…outlandish." She said it allowed "horrific acts" and demanded to know "Where is the outrage? The public outcry?" This is the person who will decide how to interrogate terrorists. If she errs on the side of weakening methods of questioning, there's no chance her boss, Eric Holder the new Attorney General, will reverse her. He approved of the Clinton/Reno "wall" preventing intelligence from finding out what criminal investigators had found out and took the lead in pardoning the FALN terrorists.

    What is Obama thinking? How could he weaken so dramatically our protections against terrorism? Doesn't he realize that without warrantless FISA wiretaps we could never have uncovered the plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge (how could we have gotten a warrant for conversations about the bridge when we didn't yet know that al Qaeda had it in its sights?) Has he forgotten that we only found the name of the operative who was tasked with destroying the bridge because we subjected Kahlid Mohammed, the mastermind of 9-11, to "rough" interrogation techniques? Does he really mean to leave us vulnerable to terrorist attacks?

    Yes he does. Not because he is callous or fiendish, but because the new president seems to carry the thinking that animated the decisions of the Warren Court on defendant's rights over into the battle against terror. When the Warren Court first ruled that all defendants deserved free lawyers, that they had to be explicitly told of their right to remain silent, that evidence not obtained through warrants was inadmissible as were any "fruits of the poisonous tree" it occasioned great controversy (enough to help Nixon get elected president). Law and order types said that these decisions would lead to the release of thousands of criminals who would otherwise be in prison and would cause tens or hundreds of thousands more innocent people to become victims of serious crime. And they were right. The decisions of the Warren Court had exactly this effect.

    But we have come to feel that these new procedural safeguards established by the Court are fair and reasonable, even if it does result in more homicide victims and unsolved rapes. Unquestionably, the Warren Court decisions put American lives in danger. But we accepted that as the price for honoring our constitution.

    I don't agree with Obama, but all he is doing is applying the same rationale to the war on terror. Will his appointments and new procedures leave us more vulnerable to terrorist attack? Yes. Do they make another 9-11 or worse more likely? Yes. Is the president putting his strict view of constitutional requirements ahead of the safety of his constituents? Yes, again.

    He won't tell the truth, anymore than the Warren Court admitted that its new rules would increase crime. But that is precisely what he is doing and doing consciously with full knowledge of the likely consequences. In the mind of this constitutional law professor we have elected president, a strict interpretation of what the constitution permits the government to do in dealing with foreign terrorists who would attack us is more important than stopping the attacks.

    Of course, I think he is wrong. I think that Bush got it right that constitutional protections are only there to stop evidence obtained without a lawyer or a warrant or proper warning to the defendant from being used in court to deny a person his liberty. I think Bush was correct in saying that they did not apply where only intelligence gathering was involved and that if the evidence was not used in a criminal trial, it was OK to use rough interrogation and to deny the accused access to an attorney.

    But Obama doesn't see it that way. We can only hope that once he comes to grips with the truly horrific consequences that will inevitably flow from his neutering of our intelligence gathering abilities that he will have a change of heart (or that we will have a change of presidents four years hence).


  38. Blogger desert rat said...

    bob, it was always the "Plan" for those tax cuts to 'go'. or they'd not have been 'temporary', but 'permanent'.
    Which they never were, nor were they intended to be. Or there'd have been a major campaingn for such action, during any of the political campaigns, since 2000.
    It never was made a major issue.

    Republican Executive and Legislative Branches held the day during Bush II's term.

    2006 saw the firing of the Legislative for breaking covenant with them that brung ya.

    If they truly believed in small government and liberty, at minimum, the tax cuts would have been permanent.


  39. westhawk reports about Leon Panetta's once a maybe "War on Iran"

    On their way out of office in a few days, senior but anonymous Bush administration officials spent some time with the New York Times’s David Sanger to clear up a few misperceptions. In a highly coordinated “leak exercise,” these Administration officials attempted to dispel some theories about President Bush’s intentions toward Iran.

    According to Mr. Sanger,

    1) President Bush “never instructed the Pentagon to move beyond contingency planning” for a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear programs.

    2) Mr. Bush rejected Israeli entreaties for U.S. support of an Israeli raid on Iran. Mr. Bush rejected Israel’s request for the latest U.S. high-power penetrating gravity bombs, for aerial refueling equipment and support for Israel’s strike aircraft, and for an Israeli request to overfly Iraq to get to Iran (“hell no” was supposedly the response to that final request).

    3) With international sanctions against Iran ineffective and military options by either the U.S. or Israel ruled out, Mr. Bush opted for a CIA sabotage effort directed at Iran’s nuclear supply chain and other aspects of the Iranian effort within U.S. reach.
    According to Mr. Sanger’s reporting, U.S. government officials are deeply divided over the prospects for this sabotage campaign.

    Wonder how excited Mr Panetta will be, about tunning covert operations in Iran?

    Yep, not much chance of it ...
    Mr Bush dependent upon Barack Hussein Obama to flesh out his legacy.

    Who has made no pretense of "Unacceptability"

  40. A Million Dollars Ain't What It Used To Be

    To me, that's Bush's biggest failure, Iran.

    A nuclear Iran. Only an Obama could be happy.

    There will be no missile interceptors in Poland, either.

    No more support for Israel.

  41. Mr. Bush rejected Israel’s request for the latest U.S. high-power penetrating gravity bombs, for aerial refueling equipment and support for Israel’s strike aircraft, and for an Israeli request to overfly Iraq to get to Iran

    Israel should simply target Iran's oil facilities.

  42. They still gotta overfly Iraq and Bushie said no to that as well.

  43. In a separate development, a leaflet distributed by Fatah in Ramallah accused Hamas of targeting dozens of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip. It said many Fatah activists and supporters have been executed by Hamas militiamen in the past two weeks.

    The leaflet said that the Hamas government had placed hundreds of Fatah members under house arrest out of fear that they would exploit the IDF operation to stage a coup against Hamas.

    In addition, the leaflet said, Hamas militiamen have shot many Fatah members in the knees to make sure that they won't be able to participate in any anti-Hamas activities. The leaflet called on Abbas to fire the Fatah leadership in the Gaza Strip for allegedly failing to defend its members against Hamas.

    Bloody Militia

  44. This just keeps getting better.

  45. Israel should simply target Iran's oil facilities.

    Israel should also make it clear to the US and Europe that if the nonsense in the UN doesn't stop, Saudi Iraqi and other oil facilities in the area would be next.

  46. 13-year-old Reina Hardesty sent 14,528 text messages in the entire month of December, which averages out to be 470 messages a day, at an average of one every two minutes.

    The New York Post reported her father's shock at receiving the phone bill.

    "First I laughed. I thought 'That's insane, that's impossible'," Greg Hardesty told the Post.

    470 Texts/Day

  47. More Than a Good Feeling

    Why are so many oligarchs, royal families, and special-interest groups giving money to the Clinton Foundation?

    By Christopher Hitchens

    Posted Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, at 12:27 PM ET

  48. Well, mat, the Sauds have had, and maintained, a 'special relationship' with the US, from before there was a State of Israel.

    If, as you claim the US is but an appendage of the Saudi royals, Israel would be the mouse that roared, before the eagle ate it.

  49. Not just "no", ash

    Mr Bush said

    HELL NO!

    or so it was reported

  50. Details of the crash were limited; a dispatcher for the University Police Department said that they had no information available.

    Debris covered much of Duncan Field, as well as Throckmorton and Lewis streets on campus, prompting emergency crews to shut down the roads until further notice.

    College Station City Manager Glenn Brown told council members meeting
    for a retreat several miles away that he heard five people had died, but that early report was said not be the case, according to the fire department.

    4 Injured

  51. Bush submitted the request in a message to Congress, which under the law for the bailout starts a 15-day clock for legislators to decide whether to block access to the remaining $350 billion.

    The 18-page request showed the remaining money will be used partly to help homeowners facing mortgage foreclosure and to expand existing programs.

    "The administration submits this report at the request of the president-elect, and believes that submission of this report at this time is consistent with the continued need to promote financial market stability," it said.

    Bailout Fund

  52. Well, mat, the Sauds have had, and maintained, a 'special relationship' with the US, from before there was a State of Israel.

    What was, was; what is, is; and what will be, will be.

  53. If, as you claim the US is but an appendage of the Saudi royals, Israel would be the mouse that roared, before the eagle ate it.

    Aren't you at all embarrassed? The Saudis got you by the balls, squeezed your treasury dry, and you can't even cry uncle. You speak of US Eagles and Israeli mice, what a putz you are.

  54. That is your story line, mat.

    I don't believe it, but you promote it. That the Sauds do have a special relationship is beyond dispute. Since FDR sailed over and visited with their jolly old King.

    That working closely with them, since then, we have diminished the Soviets while building and maintaining the highest standard of living for the most people anywhere on the planet, here in the US. In the mean time allowing little countries like Israel and Georgia to live in our shadow.

    While, at the same time, raising tens of millions of people around the globe out of the desperate poverty of their forebears.

    Nothing to be ashamed of about that, not at all.

  55. That Obama would allow Israel to upset the apple cart of the global economy, not a chance.

    That Obama would allow Israel to attack Iraq while it was under US occupation, the answer would be more direct than just HELL NO!!

    7 million folk on a spot of land smaller than Maricopa county. 800 per sq/mi. They wouldn't last under the onslaught of jihadi nukes, from Pakistan, delivered by submarine, aircraft and missile systems.

  56. The signatories urged Brown to "make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its approach and to ensure the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction."

    "We also believe the UK -- bilaterally and as part of the EU -- has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed," the letter said.

    This view is also shared by Jonathan Evans, MI5 director-general, who told newspapers that Israel's military assault on Gaza would likely see "extremists try to radicalise individuals for their own purposes."

    British Muslims

  57. When the MBA students at India's top business schools began their studies their future was full of promise as companies tripped over each other to lure graduates.


    In India, management and information technology campuses are usually a buzz of activity from November as employers recruit students preparing for their finals.


    London-based Mohit Mathur saved for three years to pay his way through a good B-school.

    His dream came true when he was selected for an executive MBA at the Indian Institute of Management in the western city of Ahmedabad, a prestigious business school that is sometimes called the "Harvard of India."

    But the 30-year-old is worried the job market may not have recovered by the time he graduates in early 2010.

    Bleak Job Prospects

  58. Nothing to be ashamed of about that, not at all.

    Principles matter. Ethics matter. Morals matter. When you don't have any of those, you will end up with nothing. A bankrupt banana republic. And not even that.

  59. My personal guess is that we have reached a state of apathy in this country because many Americans have come to believe that any one politician is just as incompetent and corrupt as the next one. Admittedly, this decade has seen its share of political corruption — from Eliot Spitzer and his women to Larry Craig and his foot-tapping.

    Yet Americans who get cynical about politicians need to remember one thing: all of these people are in office because we put them there. Of course, some people adhere to the famous phrase coined by Baron Acton, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    However, I do not hold to that. It is not as if the powerful have a monopoly on corruption.

    Political Scandals

  60. The extra budget passed the House of Representatives Budget Committee with the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito party, while lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan walked out in protest when the voting took place.


    The DPJ, which is seeking to remove the cash handout from the extra budget, plans to boycott deliberations in the opposition-controlled House of Councillors if the ruling parties reject its calls.

    A bill proposed by the DPJ, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party to amend the second extra budget by removing the handout program is expected to be voted down, but they plan to introduce it to the upper house anyway.

    Opposition Protest

  61. Come on Pacer, you're smarter than that. You know Bush never could get the 60 votes required in the Senate to make the tax cuts permanent. He took what he could get.

    And, Rat, it doesn't have to be an "explosion." At least, not one that can be seen from Space.

  62. But there may be a way to increase consumer spending, without incurring the risk that tax cuts will be saved, not spent. Instead of distributing tax cuts in cash, or lower payroll deductions, the government could distribute the tax cuts in the form of gift or debit cards.

    These “gift cards from Uncle Sam” would be for a stated dollar amount, would be valid only for consumer purchases and would expire if they aren’t used by a certain date. Everyone would use the cards, since they either “use it or lose it.

    With “gift cards from Uncle Sam,” overall spending would increase by the exact amount of the tax cut.


  63. Glad you said that, Rufus. Might remind Rat of the same thing.

    I hope Israel has spare parts for those F-16's. I got a feeling they'll need them.

    With the exception of that one oil cutoff, I'd say the Saudis have been pretty reliable, supply wise. I realize they have this problem of funding every jihadi they can think of. Can't expect them to just give the oil away. If the place were controlled by Putin it might be a worse situation. He'd cut the oil off just when we need it most, like over the 4th of July:)

  64. The New York Times reported Sunday on the administration's rebuff of specific Israeli requests for US assistance, and Israelis have known of US opposition for some time. The Israeli press reported last year on American warnings against any such attack from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Tacitly acknowledging Israel's inability to act against Iran without Bush's approval, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that only the international community could deal with Iran's nuclear threat. Talk of an Israeli strike that could destroy Iran's nuclear program, he said, was an example of "our delusions of grandeur."

    Fortunately, President-elect Barack Obama seems unlikely to base US policy on delusions of any sort. Speaking to George Stephanopoulos Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Obama said his approach to Iran will include "a new emphasis on respect and a new emphasis on being willing to talk, but also a clarity about what our bottom lines are."

    No Delusion of Bombing Iran

  65. uhh, respect?

    We should respect Aquavelvejad?

    Respect the man who...ahh, nevermind.

  66. We've been dissing Aquavelvejad. This must stop.

  67. As I said, it's a bad time to be on the right. The stories coming out don't shine a bright light on the party.

    This is only a smattering of the ignorance, I didn't even mention some of the latest revelations of the new savior of the party, Sarah Palin. I just feel for my red brothers and sisters, who I know have great plans, valid points, intelligent arguments and are being buried under the burden of bad leadership and blind partisanship.

    President Bush, Joe the Plumber and whoever thinks Al Franken is the biggest threat to the Republican party, should not be the figureheads of the right... But sadly, they are.

    Wrong Side of the Right

  68. Just for rufus:

    Jay Nordlinger had an interview of the Vice President last week. In it, the VP said that the Democratic victory was ‘part of the normal cycle of a competitive two-party system, and it’s basically, fundamentally healthy for the nation.’

    So there. Cheney agrees with rufus. And not just Cheney. Somewhat less illustrious but noteworthy agreement comes from my man Tyler at "We might not like it but recessions are normal."

    (For all I know, Tyler, Dick, and rufus have been attending the same book club nights. Or drawing up plans for a secret society of the righteously unexcitable. Perhaps revolving around, um, sedate luncheons and Mencken readings. Something to be said for this approach.)

    On a related note, we can all appreciate the closing lines of Burn After Reading:

    CIA Superior: What did we learn, Palmer?
    CIA Officer: I don't know, sir.
    CIA Superior: I don't fuckin' know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.
    CIA Officer: Yes, sir.
    CIA Superior: I'm fucked if I know what we did.
    CIA Officer: Yes, sir, it's, uh, hard to say
    CIA Superior: Jesus Fucking Christ.

  69. For all I know, Tyler, Dick, and rufus have been attending the same book club nights.

    Or maybe, drinking Budweiser together around the campfire after the hunt.

  70. I still say, what this country needs is a Francisco Franco!

  71. “There was no room in the old cemetery. We had to bury him on top of his grandfather who died 25 years ago,” said Mr Hawila.
    (probably in the Intifada of 1984)

    Gaza Graveyards Full

    I was just joking about Franco.

  72. Could be, bob. We may never know.

  73. Somehow, that Budweiser part sounds more likely; don't you think?

  74. Obama’s Plan to Close Prison at Guantánamo
    President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, people briefed by Obama transition officials said Monday.

    People who have discussed the issues with transition officials in recent weeks said it appeared that the broad outlines of plans for the detention camp were taking shape. They said transition officials appeared committed to ordering an immediate suspension of the Bush administration’s military commissions system for trying detainees.
    Simply BRILLIANT!

    In addition, people who have conferred with transition officials said the incoming administration appeared to have rejected a proposal to seek a new law authorizing indefinite detention inside the United States. The Bush administration has insisted that such a measure is necessary to close the Guantánamo camp and bring some detainees to the United States.

  75. Let 'em out on bail, Doug, it's the new thing. ACLU lawyers, Miranda rights, bail....jury of their peers, trial under Sharia rights....welfare....

  76. It was a great country, wasn't it, al-Bob?
    Trashed in less than 3 full Admins.

  77. Obama Says Stimulus Won't Work; GOP Silent as We Go Over the Cliff

    But let's just take the number three million jobs and a trillion-dollar stimulus package, okay? I think that comes out to $333,333 per job created or saved. If you run the numbers, I think that's what you'll come up with. If you want to spend a trillion dollars to create three million jobs, $333,000 a job. You think every job created is going to earn that much money? Fat chance

  78. RUSH: Here's George in Charleston, South Carolina. It's great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.

    CALLER: How you doing.

    RUSH: Excellent.

    CALLER: Obama says he's going to keep the earmarks out of the stimulus bill. How can he do that?

    RUSH: Ummm. (snorts) What do you mean, how can he do it? He's The Messiah!

    CALLER: But, I mean, Reagan couldn't.

    RUSH: Well, yeah, because he didn't have the line-item veto.

    CALLER: Line-item veto. I thought that's what conservatives were always fightin' for.

    RUSH: Yeah. Look it, Obama... Earmarks, pork. You know, an earmark is something that can't be voted on. Pork is something else. But they're really the same, when you get right down to it. My contention is, George, and I think that -- to use an old liberal trick here -- you'll agree with me when I say it.

    CALLER: (laughs)

    RUSH: (laughs) The whole stimulus plan is a pork barrel project! If we were not in a recession, George, you would look at this spending bill and say, "This is filled with pork." Whether you want to call it earmarks or not, this spending is designed to expand government and move this country beeline as far left as Obama can take it, as fast as he can get there.

  79. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicted that Israel would stage a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities if Barack Obama won the presidential election.

    Bolton stated that he believed the Israeli attack would take place sometime between the day after Obama's win and his inauguration on January 20.

    Israel To Attack Iran Now

    If this should happen, the Big Zero will have caused both a stock market crash and a major war before even taking office, it could be argued. And done it all while possibly being a Usurper.

    Quite an accomplishment.

  80. Seven days and counting, and we'll see if Mr Bolton and habu were right about a raid on Iran.

    From their actions in Gaza, it does not look as if the Israelis have the balls to go to Iran.

    We'll all know, a week from tomorrow.

    While we may not see the explosion from space, rufus, we'd KNOW they occured. Not one report, not one rumor.

    And now Leon Panetta will be the man with the action plan.

    Just sayin'.

  81. Heck if I know Rat. All hell would break out, for sure. If it happened, what would Obama do if Iran tried to close the gulf down? As they very well might try to do. With the world finances as they are, and interrupted oil supplies? I'm gonna hide under my bed. My action plan.

  82. Some years ago would have been a lot better timing with us involved. How can Israel alone do this? Mat says cut off their gas refineries. I don't know. Maybe the 'report' is just hot air.