“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."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama on Intelligence Gathering by CIA and Military

Doing the right thing seems to be the Obama theme.

I would feel better if he would be content to do the smart thing and he is certainly smart. There is a lot of what Obama says that rings of an idealism that borders on the naive and he clearly does not lack in confidence or charm.

He is a quick study, and I suspect we will end up having a left leaning pragmatist that will be just as reactive to events as most of his predecessors.

I guess that will have to do.


  1. I think you're an optimist!

    We ain't seen nuthin yet, to quote a famous Nobel Laureate!

  2. I'll put this in the previous thread, and it can be deleted here after the mates get a look:

    This year is 'a bad time to buy a home,' analyst warns - MarketWatch

    According to the latest data available, home prices are back to their March 2004 levels nationally. Prices in 20 major U.S. cities fell 18% for the year ended October, according to the Case-Shiller price index published by Standard & Poor's. See story on home price data.
    National home prices were down 23% from their July 2006 peak through October, and Stevenson at Fox-Pitt predicted an incremental 20% drop in prices before bottoming, a peak-to-trough decline of roughly 40%.

    "While a drop of 40% seems absurdly high ... it would only put home prices back to where they were at the beginning of 2002," Stevenson said.

    The analyst released his bearish note on the same day the ADP employment index showed U.S. private-sector firms shed a larger-than-expected 693,000 jobs in December. See Economic Report.

    According to the latest data available, home prices are back to their March 2004 levels nationally. Prices in 20 major U.S. cities fell 18% for the year ended October, according to the Case-Shiller price index published by Standard & Poor's. See story on home price data.

    For the year, Phoenix chalked up the biggest drop -- 32.7%.

    Here's how prices in the other 20 cities performed in the 12 months through October:
    Las Vegas, down 31.7%; San Francisco, down 31%; Miami, down 29%; Los Angeles, down 27.9%; San Diego, down 26.7%; Detroit, down 20.4%; Tampa, down 19.8%, Washington, down 18.7%; Minneapolis, down 16.3%; Chicago, down 10.8%; Atlanta, down 10.5%; Seattle, down 10.2%; Portland, down 10.1%; New York, down 7.5%; Cleveland, down 6.2%; Boston, down 6%; Denver, down 5.2%; Charlotte, down 4.4%; and Dallas, down 3%.

    Elsewhere Tuesday, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence hit a record low in December, as worries increased about current business and labor-market conditions.
    See full story.

  3. "There is a lot of what Obama says that rings of an idealism that borders on the naive."
    On the Economy, it's abject ignorance supercharged by World-Class Hubris.

  4. ...and being a quick study won't help, since the majority of the input will be wrong.

  5. I'm interested if Trish read that Taheri piece on Afghanistan.
    (course if she already responded, she'll tell me to pound sand!)
    ...or worse! :-)

  6. He paints a pretty dismal picture backed up by long historical precedent.

  7. I'm handicapped in responding (and, in other ways too) because I can't stand to listen to the guy. But, Doug doesn't seem so impressed, and since he's never wrong, I'll take his word for it! I'll just note, also, he's gonna talk to Hamas, who just passed some law for crucifying Christians (we know their attitude towards Jews), and Iran's got a freeway to nuclear weapons now. And I recall Trish saying that with the election of Obama war becomes more, not less, likely. Joe Biden says a big test will occur early on, and he may be right. What a hell of a mess we've voted ourselves into.

  8. In Search of the Afghan Maliki
    Obama’s stated plan to withdraw from Iraq but increase American military presence in Afghanistan might not reflect the real interests of the United States.


  9. It must be comforting to have someone you have complete faith in.
    I hope it's properly appreciated.

    ...actually, I rely on Rush like you rely on me.
    'Rat probly thinks that makes me an ijit, but on certain things, he's got a pretty good record.

    Esp reading folks on the left, although the Messiah is enigmatic in many ways to us mere mortals.

  10. A freeway to nuclear weapons as far as the US is concerned. Israel still might take them on alone, who knows.

  11. Coolest would be if her operatives got inside and caused a mistake to happen.
    Aquavelvejad go Boom!

  12. Even the disciplines misunderstood the Messiah, until after he was dead and risen, Doug, let's not expect too much from ourselves. I'll follow your lead, as you follow Rush.

  13. He doesn't lack confidence in his ability to charm, but will Pooty the Poisoner, China,and Aquavelvejad be as charmed and as impressed with him as he is with himself? Surely the answer to that is no, a high standard having been set.

  14. Meantime, the Guantanamo commander plans to provide more "intellectual stimulation" for prisoners -- longer exercise periods in groups of up to 10, access to more reading material and classes in English and basic Pashto and Urdu.

    Foosball tables have appeared in the lower-security Camp 4. Sudoku books, a weekly art class and crude exercise equipment have been added to the maximum-security sites where cement walls and steel cell doors make interaction among the men difficult.

    About once every two weeks, prisoners who adhere to all camp rules are allowed to watch a movie or taped television program in the rooms earlier used for interrogations.

    Gitmo's Waning Days

  15. High Praise Indeed--Bush Likes Obama

    Praise from the same guy that looked into Pooty's eyes and missed the gaze of a stone cold killer doesn't really earn my confidence.

  16. "Listen, the man's obviously a charismatic person ... and the man is able to persuade people that they should trust him. And he's got -- he's got something -- he's got a lot going for him," he said.

    Yup, he's got you buffaloed, George.

  17. Is Sen. George Voinovich planning to retire?

    Rumors that the second-term Republican from Ohio would step aside ran rampant over the weekend, and GOP operatives acknowledged privately that they expected Voinovich to leave the Senate in 2010, although they cautioned that it is not a done deal.


    Now that "Hardball" host Chris Matthews isn't running for the Senate from Pennsylvania in 2010, some casual observers are likely to lose interest in the race. They shouldn't.


    Who makes up that field? Here's The Fix's quick handicapping -- based on conversations with smart Democratic operatives in Pennsylvania and D.C.:

    Joe Torsella: Torsella's name might be familiar to political junkies, as he ran a well-funded but ultimately unsuccessful primary against Rep. Allyson Schwartz in 2004 for the open 13th Congressional District seat.


    Allyson Y. Schwartz: The congresswoman has run for the Senate -- she lost a primary to then-Rep. Ron Klink in 2000 -- and has made no secret of her interest in another statewide bid.


    Jack Wagner: The state's auditor general is the lone candidate seriously considering the race who comes from the western part of the state, a huge advantage in a state where geography looms large.

    Voinovich Retiring?

  18. Freedom was on the march downward in 2008, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Union , a private democracy watchdog organisation says.


    Key findings:

    * Free: The number of countries judged by the report as free in 2008 stands at 89, representing 46 per cent of the world's countries and 46 per cent of the global population. The number of free countries declined by one from 2007.

    Partly Free: The number of partly free countries is 62, or 32 per cent of all countries assessed by the survey and 20 per cent of the world's total population. The number of partly free countries increased by two.

    Freedom On the Slide

  19. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed in combat or in rocket attacks since the operation began. Palestinian militants have fired more than 600 rockets, some of them penetrating deeper than ever inside Israel.

    The conflict has sparked worldwide pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and US president elect Barack Obama said he is assembling a team of diplomats to start addressing the Middle East conflict once he is sworn in on January 20.

    Venezuela, which expelled Israel's ambassador over the war, said on Sunday it had sent a cargo plane to Egypt bearing 12.5 tons of medical supplies and other materials for Gaza's population.

    End May Be Near

  20. We'll all have to avert our eyes when Georgie retires.
    It ain't pleasant watching a grown man blubber, sob, and weep.

  21. That gal scares the living shit out of me.
    She's as radical on the environment as Obama is on right to death.

  22. rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.


    We are totally fucked!

  23. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Friday he had been working closely with the Obama transition team on legislation, and that he trusts the Obama staff to run the program effectively.

    Still, he said, "We intend to trust but verify."

    As Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) said this week, "We worked hard to get Obama elected. We're all in this together.

    Plans Irk Some Congressional Leaders

  24. The Washington Times screwed up your Czarina Carolyn link, al-Bob!

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  26. “During the darkest days of Iraq people came to me and said, you’re creating incredible political difficulties for us. And I said, oh, really, what do you suggest I do? Some suggested, retreat, pull out of Iraq,” he said. “I didn’t compromise that principle for the sake of trying to bail out my political party, for example.”

  27. Not an idiot, doug, just someone that disrespects the myth of George Washington.

    Or wants to elevate the standing of those that he is criticizing, while criticizing them.

    The backhanded compliment, so to speak. Calling Federal Socialists by the Limbaugh approved title, 'Washingtonian', only serves to encourage those that believe their central planning fiascos to be a patriotic duty.

  28. To pull out of Iraq would not have been retreat, but poor GW and so many others only saw a binary option.

    So, instead of a nuanced approach, GW Bush gave the US a binary choice.
    The result was Obama as President.

    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.

  29. Obama climate czar has socialist ties

    Group sees 'global governance' as solution

    Stephen Dinan

    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.

    By Thursday, Mrs. Browner's name and biography had been removed from Socialist International's Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group's congress in Greece was still available.

    Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.

    The group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, the organization's action arm on climate change, says the developed world must reduce consumption and commit to binding and punitive limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

    Mr. Obama, who has said action on climate change would be a priority in his administration, tapped Mrs. Browner last month to fill a new position as White House coordinator of climate and energy policies. The appointment does not need Senate confirmation.

    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.

    "The Commission for a Sustainable World Society includes world leaders from a variety of political parties, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair, in serving as vice president of the convening organization," Obama transition spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

    "Carol Browner was chosen to help the president-elect coordinate energy and climate policy because she understands that our efforts to create jobs, achieve energy security and combat climate change demand integration among different agencies; cooperation between federal, state and local governments; and partnership with the private sector," Mr. Shapiro said in an e-mail.

    Mrs. Browner ran the Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton. Until she was tapped for the Obama administration, she was on the board of directors for the National Audubon Society, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for American Progress and former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.

    Her name has been removed from the Gore organization's Web site list of directors, and the Audubon Society issued a press release about her departure from that organization.

    Meet The Moron That Is Your New Climate Czarina

  30. Your average Google search creates 7 grams of CO2, according to the radio.

    Since AlGoreInc created the Internet, he's responsible for global warming.

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