“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."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mr. Blair Has His Doubts About Iraq.

Another one of our rulers and masters with feet of clay.  

From the Telegraph:


Mr Blair, now an international envoy to the Middle East, spoke of his "sense of responsibility" over the deaths of soldiers and civilians since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Asked if he suffered from doubt over Iraq, Mr Blair replied: "Of course you ask that question the whole time. You'd be weird if you didn't ask that question."

Mr Blair spoke in an interview with The Times, which is due to be published on Saturday.

In some of his frankest comments on the Iraq war, he spoke of his daily reflections on the decision and its consequences.
He said: "The most difficult thing in any set of circumstances is the sense of responsibility for people who have given their lives and fallen – the soldiers and the civilians. If I did not feel that, there really would be something wrong with me, and there is not a single day of my life when I do not reflect upon it . . . many times. And that's as it should be."

Yet Mr Blair still stands by his decision to back the US invasion of Iraq, suggesting it could actually have saved lives.
He said: "On the other hand you have to take the decision and I look at the Middle East now and I think, well, if Saddam and his two sons were still running Iraq how many other people would have died and would the region be more stable?"

"The phrase comes from the Old Testament (Dan.2:31-32). There the Hebrew captain Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar, founder of the new Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of a giant idol with golden head, silver arms and chest, brass thighs and body, and iron legs. Only the feet of this image, compounded of iron and potter's clay, weren't made wholly of metal. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the clay feet of the figure made it vulnerable, that it prophesized the breaking apart of his empire. Over the years readers of the Bible were struck with the phrase 'feet of clay' in the story and it was used centuries ago to describe an unexpected flaw or vulnerable point in the character of a hero or any admired person." From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson


  1. This is "Slanderous!"

    Tony Blair is "Much Cuter" than that Poodle.

  2. That's a poodle? I thought that was Mr. Blair. Looks just like the guy I've seen in all the cartoons.

  3. That's Blair?

    Uh, . . . wait,

    I'm confused.

  4. Fuck Europe, there are more pressing problems, closer to home.

    By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
    Updated 15h 20m ago

    Criminal gangs in the USA have swelled to an estimated 1 million members responsible for up to 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, according to a gang threat assessment compiled by federal officials.
    The major findings in a report by the Justice Department's National Gang Intelligence Center, which has not been publicly released, conclude gangs are the "primary retail-level distributors of most illicit drugs" and several are "capable" of competing with major U.S.-based Mexican drug-trafficking organizations.

    "A rising number of U.S.-based gangs are seemingly intent on developing working relationships" with U.S. and foreign drug-trafficking organizations and other criminal groups to "gain direct access to foreign sources of illicit drugs," the report concludes.

    The gang population estimate is up 200,000 since 2005.

    Bruce Ferrell, chairman of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association, whose group monitors gang activity in 10 states, says the number of gang members may be even higher than the report's estimate.

  5. Just read that article myself. Wholeheartedly agree.

  6. The Sinaloa cartel is the one which had 59 members indicted for drug running, a year ago. They rank third on the violence scale.

    But have no problem with positioning OP/LP scout/sniper positions in the Estrella Mountains, complete with commo and night vison. Setting in place for up to a week, to provide security overwatch for the Sinaloa cartels' convoys moving north through the desert ever deeper into the United States.

    Mexico says Gulf cartel is most violent gang
    17 hours ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors said Thursday that the Gulf drug cartel and its Zeta hit men are the most violent of Mexico's gangs and account for the highest number of weapons seized.

    The Attorney General's Office says the two related gangs have "the biggest presence and activity in crime and violence."

    Together, they accounted for a majority of the 31,512 weapons seized by law enforcement officials since December 2005. Those arms include anti-tank weapons, grenade launchers and .50-caliber rifles.

    The cartel, which recruited a gang of hit men known as Zetas from army deserters, controls cocaine and marijuana trafficking along Mexico's Gulf coast, and ships drugs to the United States.

    The office said the second-highest number of arms was seized from the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel. Mexico's largest drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa cartel and its allies, was third in the number of weapons seized.

    The cartels have been locked in increasingly bloody battles for control of trafficking routes that resulted in the deaths of over 5,300 people in Mexico in 2008.

  7. After a little research, I realize that this post is very unfair to Poodles. They are, evidently, great cold-water retrievers.

    How in the hell can people compare a useful hunting dog with a British (or, any other) politician? If I owned a poodle, I'd sue.

  8. I'd guess that legalizing pot would deprive many of these criminal organizations of much of their illicit revenue.

  9. Grant awarded for gang intervention, job training
    Herald Staff Writer
    Posted: 01/30/2009 01:32:46 AM PST

    A $500,000 grant to provide job training and steer youths away from gangs has been awarded to the Monterey County Office for Employment Training.
    The funds are part of more than $5.4 million being provided by California's Labor and Workforce Development Agency through the state's Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention initiative.

    Lynda Dunn, director of the county office, said the money will be used to help 100 young adults, ages 18 to 24, over two years. Programs for that age group have not existed before, she said.

    "It's really exciting to get something that is targeted for this population," Dunn said. "The concentration is always on the ones that are younger than 18."

    Participants in the program will be selected from referrals made by the court system, Juvenile Hall and the county probation department.

    Several agencies, including Rancho Cielo, Turning Point, County Behavioral Health, Salinas Adult School, and the Salinas Rural and North County fire protection districts, have agreed to help with job training, education and other services that may be needed, Dunn said.

    The money will be used to pay wages to the participants and to help with education expenses, such as those associated with earning high school diplomas.

    Too often, Dunn said, young crime offenders are released from Juvenile Hall when they turn 18 and they have no job skills, no education and no place to turn.

    "Overnight, they become adults with no one to serve them," she said.

    "Our main focus will be to keep them from going back into the justice system."

  10. Tony's naval must be the size of Buckingham Palace.

  11. Well, ash, the spread seems to be about $1.5 million a ton, gross, from the price in the fields to the reported selling price in Phoenix.

    A $50 buy in Mexico rises to $800 on the streets of Phoenix.

    Even at $600 per lb it's a million bucks a ton.

  12. My aunt had a miniature black poodle, nicest dog you'd ever want. Better than any politician.

  13. Then they are also cultivating hundreds of acres of the National Forest lands. Cutting costs even more, localizing their production closer to their consumers.

    Mexican cartels running pot farms in U.S. national forest -

  14. MSNBC

    “This is ground zero for marijuana. Nobody produces any better marijuana than we do right here,” said Dan Offield, a helicopter pilot and agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as he examines the area from a bird’s-eye view.

    Perhaps no one knows that better than Ukiah Morrison, a Mendocino pot grower. In most places, he would be considered an outlaw, but not in this neck of the woods.

    “This is as natural as growing corn to me,” he said. “This is the lifeblood of the county. And it has been for more than 30 years.”
    Mendocino local Eric Sligh took CNBC on a tour of one backyard garden.

    “These marijuana plants in Mendocino County can sometimes reach 14, 15, 20 feet,” he said. A plant that yields about two pounds would be worth about $5,000, said Sligh; his crop of 20 plants is potentially worth $100,000.

    Sligh’s expertise in marijuana led him to publish Grow, a magazine that represents just how far the marijuana business has come. His magazine displays photos that provide an extraordinary glimpse into a drug-based economy.

    So, it is reported that best Mendocino County buds sell for $2,500 per pound. Which makes the $600 to $800 lb rate for Mexican in Phoenix seem about right.

    Million bucks a ton, bob.
    Sure a lot more money than growin' and truckin' alfalfa.

  15. It's hard to imagine that the money is so big. It's so easy to grow. Sure beats wheat farming, for the money, though.

    Obama Has Already Trashed White House Fireplace

    Two seconds into video, look at mantle.

    His Treasury Secretary there just got a $450,000 severance bonus. :)

    And, muffed around with his taxes.

    And the jet plane was ordered some five years ago, or so, on contract, so I read.

    I was reading the other day about when O was in the Illinois legislature, he helped lower the number of appointees on some commission, form X? down to nine, the trick being that then his group could appoint five (all this with Rezko in the background) and the majority then go ahead and make the state contracts play for pay to their pals.

    All of them ought to be in jail, the CEO's, Obama, Rezko(he is), Blago, Rahnny, the whole lot of them.

  16. Followed by a piece on Beer Distributers

  17. Wonder if merryjuana would make good hay? Never thought of that question before. Might make for a contented herd of cattle. Moooooo... Guy I knew in high school hooked up with some girl from down around Mendocino, got into to growing. Last the classmates knew, he had basically lost his bearings, mentally, then nobody ever knew what happened to him. Maybe he's rich, but I doubt it. I think he's probably dead, or in jail. Never checks in to the class reunions, people have tried to find out what happened to him. He was a really good athlete at one time, almost made minor leaque pros in baseball.

    Maybe he ran up against MS-13 and that was the end of him.

  18. Huge Shark Corkscrews Out of Water Off Florida

    Wonder what caused that behavior. Jumpin' after a nippy bug?

  19. Data mining is an interesting issue I think ranging from constitutional protections against the government fishing through phone company data through to this recent item in todays NYTimes:

    A (Very) Watchful Eye on Credit Card Spending

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: January 30, 2009

    You probably know that credit card companies have been scrutinizing every charge on your account in recent years, searching for purchases that thieves may have made. Turns out, though, that some of the companies have been suspicious of your own spending, too.

    In recent months, American Express has gone far beyond simply checking your credit score and making sure you pay on time. The company has been looking at home prices in your area, the type of mortgage lender you’re using and whether small-business card customers work in an industry under siege. It has also been looking at how you spend your money, searching for patterns or similarities to other customers who have trouble paying their bills.

    In some instances, if it didn’t like what it was seeing, the company has cut customer credit lines. It laid out this logic in letters that infuriated many of the cardholders who received them. “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped,” one of those letters said, “have a poor repayment history with American Express.” "

  20. Bob, I don't know what was after that shark to cause him to do that; but, I hope he never gets after Me.

  21. I don't if anyone here has been following the Australian Open Tennis match or has any interest in decent tennis but here is clip from an epic 5 hr and 13 min. match played earlier today. I wish I could have watched that match...

  22. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants Congress to reconsider new funding to the National Science Foundation amid allegations that top staffers spent long stretches of their day surfing the Internet for pornography.

  23. 'amid allegations that top stiffers spent long stretches of their day surfing the Internet for pornography.'