“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 18, 2009

A Prison of Nations -The folly of the EU

Monetary union has left half of Europe trapped in depression

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph
Last Updated: 9:36AM GMT 18 Jan 2009

Events are moving fast in Europe. The worst riots since the fall of Communism have swept the Baltics and the south Balkans. An incipient crisis is taking shape in the Club Med bond markets. S&P has cut Greek debt to near junk. Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish bonds are on negative watch.

Dublin has nationalised Anglo Irish Bank with its half-built folly on North Wall Quay and €73bn (£65bn) of liabilities, moving a step nearer the line where markets probe the solvency of the Irish state.

A great ring of EU states stretching from Eastern Europe down across Mare Nostrum to the Celtic fringe are either in a 1930s depression already or soon will be. Greece's social fabric is unravelling before the pain begins, which bodes ill.
Each is a victim of ill-judged economic policies foisted upon them by elites in thrall to Europe's monetary project – either in EMU or preparing to join – and each is trapped.

As UKIP leader Nigel Farage put it in a rare voice of dissent at the euro's 10th birthday triumph in Strasbourg, EMU-land has become a Völker-Kerker – a "prison of nations", to borrow from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

This week, Riga's cobbled streets became a war zone. Protesters armed with blocks of ice smashed up Latvia's finance ministry. Hundreds tried to force their way into the legislature, enraged by austerity cuts.

"Trust in the state's authority and officials has fallen catastrophically," said President Valdis Zatlers,
who called for the dissolution of parliament.

In Lithuania, riot police fired rubber-bullets on a trade union march. Dogs chased stragglers into the Vilnia river. A demonstration outside Bulgaria's parliament in Sofia turned violent on Wednesday. These three states are all members of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2), the euro's pre-detention cell. They must join. It is written into their EU contracts.

The result of subjecting ex-Soviet catch-up economies to the monetary regime of the leaden West has been massive overheating. Latvia's current account deficit hit 26pc of GDP. Riga property prices surpassed Berlin.
The inevitable bust is proving epic. Latvia's property group Balsts says Riga flat prices have fallen 56pc since mid-2007. The economy contracted 18pc annualised over the last six months.

Leaked documents reveal – despite a blizzard of lies by EU and Latvian officials – that the International Monetary Fund called for devaluation as part of a €7.5bn joint rescue for Latvia. Such adjustments are crucial in IMF deals. They allow countries to claw their way back to health without suffering perma-slump.

This was blocked by Brussels – purportedly because mortgage debt in euros and Swiss francs precluded that option. IMF documents dispute this. A society is being sacrificed on the altar of the EMU project.

Latvians have company. Dublin expects Ireland's economy to contract 4pc this year. The deficit will reach 12pc of GDP by 2010 on current policies. "This is not sustainable," said the treasury. Hence the draconian wage deflation now threatened by the Taoiseach.

The Celtic Tiger has faced the test bravely. No government in Europe has been so honest. It is a tragedy that sterling's crash should have compounded their woes at this moment. To cap it all, Dell is decamping to Poland with 4pc of GDP. Irish wages crept too high during the heady years when Euroland interest rates of 2pc so beguiled the nation.

Spain lost a million jobs in 2008. Madrid is bracing for 16pc unemployment by year's end. Private economists fear 25pc before it is over. Spain's wage inflation has priced the workforce out of Europe's markets. EMU logic is wage deflation for year after year. With Spain's high debt levels, this is impossible. Either Mr Zapatero stops the madness, or Spanish democracy will stop him. The left wing of his PSOE party is already peeling off, just as the French left is peeling off to fight "l'euro dictature capitaliste".

Italy's treasury awaits each bond auction with dread, wondering if can offload €200bn of debt this year. Spreads reached a fresh post-EMU high of 149 last week. The debt compound noose is tightening around Rome's throat. Italian journalists have begun to talk of Europe's "Tequila Crisis" – a new twist. They mean that capital flight from Club Med could set off an unstoppable process.

Mexico's Tequila drama in 1994 was triggered by a combination of the Chiapas uprising, a current account haemorrhage, and bond jitters. The dollar-peso peg snapped when elites began moving money to US banks. The game was up within days.
Fixed exchange systems – and EMU is just a glorified version – rupture suddenly. Things can seem eerily calm for a long time. Politicians swear by the parity. Remember John Major's "soft-option" defiance days before the ERM blew apart in 1992? Or Philip Snowden's defence of sterling before a Royal Navy mutiny forced Britain off the Gold Standard in 1931.

Don't expect tremors before an earthquake – and there is no fault line of greater historic violence than the crunching plates where Latin Europe meets Teutonia.

Greece no longer dares sell long bonds to fund its debt. It sold €2.5bn last week at short rates, mostly 3-months and 6-months. This is a dangerous game. It stores up "roll-over risk" for later in the year. Hedge funds are circling.
Traders suspect that investors are dumping their Club Med and Irish debt immediately on the European Central Bank in "repo" actions.

In other words, the ECB is already providing a stealth bail-out for Europe's governments – though secrecy veils all.
An EU debt union is being created, in breach of EU law. Liabilities are being shifted quietly on to German taxpayers. What happens when Germany's hard-working citizens find out?


  1. The US was the first one into this economic hole, and we'll be the first ones out. Now Europe is slipping into the hole, but they lack a strong executive power to impose quick solutions (like debt-for-equity swaps), and whatever solutions the bureaucrats come up with are "one size fits all" harnessing Germany to Greece.

  2. Liabilities are being shifted quietly on to German taxpayers. What happens when Germany's hard-working citizens find out?

    Serves 'em right. They never even paid the reparations from the First World War.


  4. I notice the General says a good portion of the guns used by the gangs come from us.

    The drugs go north, the guns go south. Our society is very much a part of the problem, being the users of the drugs, and the arms providers. I very much doubt the new Ad. and Congress will do much about it, maybe try to fiddle with the gun laws.

    The answer is not complex, and the great majority of Americans support it, but we can't seem to get it down, create an effective barrier.


  5. Messiah Body Surfs his way into her heart.

    The other students probably called him “the popolo guy in student gov,” popolo being the word for black nightshade.

    In diverse, stratified Hawaii, we all designate each other by race, using references that evolved from sugar plantation pidgin dating back to the late 1870s. When I was young I was the Japanee girl with the big mouth and the Dorothy Hamill hairdo. (Japanee is pidgin for Japanese). And the white guy who ate Rice-A-Roni with butter was the haole who didn’t speak pidgin or eat real rice. There was the pake (Chinese) girl who took calculus at the community college senior year. The hapa (half-blooded) babies fathered by military guys who promptly left. The kuro-chan (literally, black man) who lived across the street. He had green eyes, blond-tipped hair and caramel skin. The bukbuk (Filipino), the yobo (Korean), the borinque (Puerto Rican), the portagee (Portuguese).

  6. Maybe those were "one size fits all" harnesses, al-Bob?

  7. Government Regulators Aided IndyMac Cover-Up, Maybe Others

    Darrel Dochow May Not Be the Only Official Who Helped Banks Hide Financial Problems

    Jan. 16, 2009—

    A brewing fraud scandal at the Treasury Department may be worse than officials originally thought.

    Investigators probing how Treasury regulators allowed a bank to falsify financial records hiding its ill health have found at least three other instances of similar apparent fraud, sources tell ABC News.

    In at least one instance, investigators say, banking regulators actually approached the bank with the suggestion of falsifying deposit dates to satisfy banking rules -- even if it disguised the bank's health to the public.

    Treasury Department Inspector General Eric Thorson announced in November his office would probe how a Savings and Loan overseer allowed the IndyMac bank to essentially cook its books, making it appear in government filings that the bank had more deposits than it really did. But Thorson's aides now say IndyMac wasn't the only institution to get such cozy assistance from the official who should have been the cop on the beat.

    The federal government took over IndyMac in July, after the bank's stock price plummeted to just pennies a share when it was revealed the bank had financial troubles due to defaulted mortgages and subprime loans, costing taxpayers over $9 billion.

    Darrel Dochow, the West Coast regional director at the Office of Thrift Supervision who allowed IndyMac to backdate its deposits, has been removed from his position but he remains on the government payroll while the Inspector General's Office investigates the allegations against him. Investigators say Dochow, who reportedly earns $230,000 a year, allowed IndyMac to register an $18 million capital injection it received in May in a report describing the bank's financial condition in the end of March.

    "They [IndyMac] were able to maintain their well-capitalized threshold and continue to use broker deposits to make loans," said Marla Freedman, an assistant Inspector General at Treasury. "Basically, while the institution was having financial difficulty, it kept the public from knowing earlier than it otherwise should have or would have."

    Critics Point to Cozy Relationship Between Banks and Regulators

    In order to backdate the filings, IndyMac sought and received permission from Dochow, according to Freedman.

    "That struck us as very unusual," said Freedman. "Typically transactions are to be recorded in the period in which they occur, not afterwards. So it was very unusual."

    One former regulator says Dochow's actions illustrate the cozy relationship between banks and government regulators.

    "He did nothing to protect taxpayers in losses," former federal bank regulator William Black told ABC News. "Instead of correcting it [Dochow] made it worse by increasing the accounting fraud."

    Meanwhile, IndyMac customers who lost their savings are demanding answers and are further infuriated after learning Dochow was also the regulator in 1989 who oversaw the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan, a scandal that sent its CEO Charles Keating to prison.

    "He's the person that claimed that he looked into Charles Keating's eyes and knew that Charles Keating was a good guy and therefore ignored all of the professional staff that told him that Keating was a fraud, and he produced the worst failure of the Savings and Loan Crisis at $3.4 billion. Now he's managed more than triple that," said Black, now an economics professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Following the Lincoln scandal, Dochow was demoted and placed into a relatively obscure office, but later, inexplicably was brought back into the Office of Thrift Supervision.

    Dochow declined to answer questions from ABC News.

    IndyMac Customers Furious

    After Ronnie Lopez was killed in Iraq, his mother Elaine invested the $37,000 she received in life insurance at IndyMac. She lost all of it.

    "I was hysterical," she told ABC News. "I literally thought I was going to kill myself that day, because I felt so bad that I had let him down. I remember going to his grave and telling him "don't worry, I'm going to get that money back', and I feel like he was saying 'hey mom, don't let them take that. I did the ultimate for that'."

    A group of angry investors has started a website, demanding answers on the extent of Dochow's actions.

    "It's just the strife and anger," said IndyMac customer Lisa Marshall. "That this Dochow person is still employed, it's unbelievable, it's shocking."

    While Dochow could end up losing his job, neither he nor his colleagues are expected to go to prison.

    "This is criminal with the small 'c'," said Black. "No one within the regulatory ranks may go to jail, but they have done the worst possible disservice to the taxpayers of America."


  8. Galt: "You want me to be Economic Dictator?"
    Mr. Thompson: "Yes!"
    "And you'll obey any order I give?"
    "Then start by abolishing all income taxes."
    "Oh no!" screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet.
    "We couldn't do that . . .
    How would we pay government employees?"
    "Fire your government employees."
    "Oh, no!"

  9. I Nominate the Governor of New York to head Department of Justice.
    Think of the money saved:
    All we'd have to buy him is a robe and one of them hanging scales, take a Digital Pic, load up Robby the Robotic Router, and fire the artists responsible for putting pictures on coins.

  10. Seeing No Evil is Much in Demand in DC these days.

  11. Mexico is a bleak picture.

  12. GWB flew under the cover of Devout Goodness, a "Welcoming" Disposition, and the sycophantic "right" aka Big Govt "Conservatives."
    Barry HusseinO's got it easier:
    He flys under the cover of Darkness.

  13. Ingraham had the wives of Ramos and Campeon on Friday.
    One of them had their house trashed, and all the Gas in the house turned on, while she made her way to Prison.
    Sutton's Raiders @ work.
    W is proud of his Boy Sutton.

  14. The (female) Judge decided telling the Jury about the Dealer's continued drug-running and breaking of probation would be far too prejudicial to the Jury for them to be told the ugly truth.
    Blind Justice Marches On.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. excellent...

    look for the burka clad illegals to be scapegoated soon...

    I wonder what will send the pakis, africans, turks and arabs running out of europe?

    maybe a nice turkish hostel burned to the ground?

    maybe a nice police shooting a "youth"

    after all nothing makes the nationalists of europe act like the beasts they are than a nice economic depression...



    Mexico City, January 7, 2009
    Wal-Mart de Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V. (WALMEX) announces to its shareholders as well as to the public in general that during the year 2008 the Company achieved its highest sales ever, as they amounted to $244,029 million pesos. This figure represents an 11.1% increase over sales reported in 2007. Comparable stores sales, meaning all those units that have been in operation for over a year registered an increase of 4.6% compared to the year 2007.
    For the month of December 2008, sales were $31,397 million pesos. This figure represents a 5.6% increase over sales reported the same month last year. Comparable stores sales during the month, meaning all those units that have been in operation for over a year registered a decrease of 0.8% compared to the same month of 2007.

    Corporate Profile

    Wal-Mart de Mexico is a major retail chain in Mexico. As of December 31, 2008, it operates 1,204 units throughout 223 cities nationwide, including self-service stores, membership wholesale clubs, apparel stores, and restaurants. Its stock has been listed in the Mexican Stock Exchange since 1977

  18. A wide variety of projects are being planned including delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, removing graffiti, reading to children, and more. Many organizations use the day as a springboard for year-round civic action, such as signing up mentors or tutors or youth taking pledges of nonviolence. Below are some highlights:

    * Thousands of volunteers will gather at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C. to assemble over 75,000 care packages to send to our troops for the "Day of Service for Our Military" project sponsored by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Serve DC in partnership with Operation Gratitude and Target.

    * More than 65,000 volunteers will serve in 900 projects in 14th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest in the country. Organizers are using the day to launch MLK 365, a new year-round initiative promoting sustainable civic engagement and volunteer opportunities

    * The Points of Light Institute and its HandsOn Network will engage more than 100,000 volunteers in projects across the country that are expected to serve more than one million Americans.

    King Day of Service

  19. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he wants Israeli troops to leave Gaza "as quickly as possible".


    Correspondents say the ceasefire in Gaza remains fragile.


    Earlier on Sunday, heads of state from across Europe travelled to Egypt for a summit with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to try to shore up the ceasefire.

    Gaza Pullout

  20. Those compassionatly conserverative Federally funded points of illumination, didn't know they had their own Institute of Light, too.

    Who'd have ever guessed.

    Anyway, back to Mexico The list of WalMex stores. Quite a network.

    Exemplified by this piece from Indiana University

    Globalization of food retailing prompts many changes
    Aug. 21, 2007

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Wal-Mart's first international venture was in Mexico in 1991, and in economic terms it has been an outstanding success. The company is now Mexico's most important retailer and largest private employer, with almost 150,000 workers. However, Wal-Mart's success has transformed Mexican business practices, consumption patterns and supply chains, according to Indiana University Professor James Biles, a specialist in economic geography.

    1991 corresponding to the first year of Bill Clinton's term. While Ms Clinton is a past Walmart Board member.
    WalMex a key part of Clintonesque 'Soft Power'.

    WalMex transforming the Mexican culture, in real time.

    Now WalMex also has a banking division, opened about a year ago.

    Mexico City. December 11, 2008

    The Board of Directors of Banco Wal-Mart de Mexico Adelante SA, Institucion de Banca Multiple, appointed Jose Maria Urquiza as new CEO, replacing Julio Bosco Gomez, who is retiring from the company.
    Since the bank started operations a year ago, Wal-Mart de Mexico’s value proposition has been complemented by providing our customers with quality banking services at the best market conditions. ...

    One wonders, what kind of fellow would the Bank of Walmart Mexico hire ...

    Jose Maria Urquiza obtained his BA in Economics from Universidad Comercial de Deusto, in Bilbao, Spain. He also has an MBA from Columbia University in New York. He is known for his broad experience in corporate, retail and investment banking.
    In 1980, he started his career as a researcher for IBM Corporation in White Plains, NY.
    In 1983 he joined Citibank, and worked there for the last 25 years. He first worked in New York and then moved to Madrid, where he was responsible for Public Sector Relations and Corporate Banking. In 1996 he was invited to join Citibank Mexico, where he successfully led Private Sector Corporate and Investment Banking. Then he continued his career in Banco Nacional de México, to finally become Global Trade Banking Director for Latin America.

  21. Israel's unilateral truce went into effect at 2 a.m. Sunday local time, after a decision by Cabinet members to implement a truce in a meeting Saturday night. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert indicated his country's military operations dealt a serious blow to Hamas and achieved their aims.

    Just before it announced its cease-fire, Hamas fired rockets into Israel, which drew an Israeli military response, resulting in the death of one Palestinian.

    Hamas declared victory over Israel Sunday, issuing a statement saying its armed struggle forced Israel into the unilateral cease-fire. Reuters said Hamas and other militant groups jointly decided to halt their attacks and Hamas leaders called on Israel to pull out its troops within one week and open all Gaza border crossing.

    Out of Gaza

  22. The IBEC model providing that as ... Wal-Mart's success has transformed Mexican business practices, consumption patterns and supply chains, ...
    It also modifies the underlying communal identity, while maintaining the distinct 'cultural festivals', ala Disney World.

    Expansion of consumer banking, which did not really exist, in Mexico will also hasten the pace of cultural modification.

  23. Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. Stop Philadelphia Eagles 32-25.

    Obama says our nation came 'overcome any obstacle'.


  24. The big Wal-Mart Super Store is going up in Clarkston, Washington as I type. Right across from Costco. They are going to put the pressure on a lot of retailers around here. No sales tax on food in Washington, for one thing. Costco will get a real run for their money, too.

    I was looking at the construction the other day. Looked kind of flimsy, to tell the truth, all that floor area with the roof just supported from the walls.

  25. The Year of the Underdog, bob.

    Never have really been much of a fan, of the Cardinals.

    They were always kind of a sorry bunch. When they were playing in Sun Devil Stadium. Pro ball shouldn't be played in college stadiums, for years on end.

    The City of Glendale invested heavily in pro sports facilities, football & hockey. The built retail and urban condo residences in the shadows of the arenas. mat would like it.

  26. So, Hamas concedes nothing and Israel simply withdraws.

    That's the news from the front?
    I've got that right, right?

  27. Got to be better than trying to cheer for the Idaho Sucking Vandals, Rat.

  28. You forgot the six Kassams that hit Sderot after the "cease fire".

  29. mat would like it.



  30. Dubrovnik:

    Small urban footprint with a large surrounding green space. That's how you build!

  31. Who pays for the large surrounding green space?

    The trouble with some of these plans--not saying their bad plans--is, who's going to pay for it?

    I once asked my realtor about having the U of I Architecture School come up with a plan for my small development.

    Did that once, Bob, he said. They'll make a great plan, but it will be so expensive that you'll go broke implementing it. The market rules

    You got to have rich people to pay for all this stuff, and most people aren't rich, around here.

    Or, you can tax everybody else to pay for it, which really doesn't seem so fair.

    Who pays for all the green space? People can't pay the mortgages they have, a major reason we're in a pickle.

    I'd make this suggestion---that if a developer goes beyond the call of duty, so to speak, some of the capital gains tax ought to be waived.

  32. We ought to get rid of the capital gains tax entirely, of course.

  33. I wonder how much of WalMex's increase is due to Mexico's new status as one of the world's foremost drugs transhippers. Got to have some impact.

  34. Who pays for the large surrounding green space?

    Stop thinking about the needs of the car and start thinking about the needs of people. The green space is there. You just need to leave it be.

  35. Warren Buffet, an Obama advisor, says we're in an economic Pearl Harbor, but not to worry, we'll see it through.

    Somehow, the idea of Buffet advising Obama ought to give one comfort, but doesn't. Just because one is a great stock trader....

  36. So if you have 40 acres, and twenty should be left for green space, then the remaing 20 have to handle all the cost, the engineering, the bank loans and interest, and construction, and take all the risk load. And who takes care of the twenty acres? Who polices it? Who pays for the fire protection? etc etc....where's the...profit margin? That's the final question. What if it's become so expensive no one can show up with the cash to buy? What if middle income folks are priced out of the market? What becomes of the American Dream of home ownership? Everyman in his castle and the backyard barbecue?

  37. Bob, I've made it very simple to understand. See pic @ Sun Jan 18, 08:33:00 PM EST

  38. Overall, the United States was viewed favorably by 72 percent of Indians, 53 percent of Poles and 74 percent of Americans. Sixty percent of Russians and 55 percent of Turks gave the United States unfavorable ratings.

    Elsewhere, those viewing the United States unfavorably outnumbered those with a favorable view in nine countries. In six countries the United States had more favorable ratings than unfavorable, and it was a draw in Britain and South Korea.

    The poll, the first of its kind conducted by Ipsos, was taken online and the results were balanced by age, gender, city population and education levels, the survey said. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

    Global Relations

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. 1/4 of Americans aren't proud of their country.

    Michelle not one of them.

  41. Dubrovnik follows the classic planning of a medieval Italian town. A small dense (usually walled) city with large green space and farmland that serves it. The organism of the city is self-contained and self-sustainable. The city allows its citizenry access to nature within a short walk, and doesnt depend on a global warehouse on wheels and grandiose energy schemes to keep it going.

  42. Picture

    That wouldn't pass muster here just on the fire hazard alone. As well as access for emergency vehicles, like ambulance, police, sanitation trucks, etc. As also, in our area, snow removal. What are you going to do with all the snow in the winter? People would be confined to their homes. Plus, around here the city seems to think the green space is supposed to be more or less right out your front door somewhere.

    Those folks look like they're packed in like sardines. Do you really want to listen to Alfredo humping Maria every night? Bulldoze the whole place, and put in some well insulated high rises. :)

    But, another thing about out here is, the whole state is green space. And, we've got too many parks already.

    But, everyone has a different view.

  43. You look out your window, about five feet away (not an acceptable set back here) you'll see Mona doing her laundry. Or hear the neighbors' dogs barking, or kids arguing.

  44. Here's my ruthers---

    a 200,000 acre Australian sheep ranch

    a 20,000 acre Texas cattle ranch

    a 2,000 acre Palouse wheat farm

    a 20 acre ranchette

    a two acre horse capable subdivision

    a normal subdivision

    a duplex

    an apartment

    a pad in Dubrovnik

    But, that just me :)

  45. You look out your window, about five feet away (not an acceptable set back here) you'll see Mona doing her laundry. Or hear the neighbors' dogs barking, or kids arguing.

    Better than seeing gigantic car parking lagoons and 6 lane highways at every turn. And gaudy urban sprawl for hundreds of kilometers on end.

  46. And Atlanta is not just taking water from the Coosa's sources. It is also putting its waste back into the tributaries.

    An estimated 98 million gallons of treated wastewater is released back into the rivers and streams daily.

    The water war has previously affected Atlanta -- along with the rest of North Georgia -- southeastern Alabama and northern Florida. But if Atlanta tries a water grab involving Lake Allatoona, then the fight will hit a lot closer to home.

    Water War

  47. THIEVES broke into an elderly woman's home, threatened her with her walking stick and snapped the neck of her pet budgie in front of her.


    Police say the thieves were in their 20s and wore dark beanies.

    The pair got away with £150 ($330) on Friday.

    Snap Pet Budgie's Neck

  48. The government adopted an estimate Monday that Japan's economy will record almost zero percent growth in the next fiscal year, which begins in April, amid the global economic downturn.


    Panasonic Corp. began building on Monday a factory in Osaka to manufacture lithium-ion batteries that are in strong demand for use in cellphones and personal computers, the company said.


    Tokyo stocks rose Monday morning, tracking Wall Street gains Friday and investor optimism over U.S. economic stimulus measures ahead of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday.

    Japanese Economic News

  49. There's a report that the plague has worked its way through some al-qaeda camp in Algeria, killing around forty. I wonder what status these fighters have in the afterlife.

  50. Kelsey Higginbotham, a 20-year-old student at East Tennessee State University, peered at the crippled aircraft Sunday from behind police barricades.

    She and a friend had been to Times Square, Central Park and the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 2,800 people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. She said she was struck by the contrast between one disaster in which so many people died and another in which everyone survived.

    "It's a miracle," she said. "I guess New Yorkers can't take any more tragedy."

    Lost Power at Same Time

  51. Black Death comes in various forms.

    Bubonic Plague is spread by bites from infected rat fleas. Symptoms include boils in the groin, neck and armpits.

    In Pneumonic Plague, airborn bacteria spread like flu.

    The Plague

  52. It didn’t take long for some of France’s top chefs to spot the trend. Of course, they didn’t cook up just any burger, but one so irresistibly chic, intricately complicated, and ethereally refined that it has become, as Le Figaro says, “the must-eat of the moment.” Restaurants from Paris to Saint-Tropez are getting upwards of $40 a pop for it.

    Fast Food In France

  53. I read a book last year that pointed out that the plague was the mohammadans friend at times. Being from the desert they weren't really affected by it, but the Byzantine and other cities were, that were on the shipping trade routes. The black death weakened some of these societies at the wrong time, giving an advantage to the desert dwellers.

    About time the tide turned a little.

  54. Speaking of diseases, the H5N1 Bird Flu Virus Has Popped Up Again In China

    Who knows, maybe it will jump the barrier to humans and wipe out 20% of China, and some of the world too. Like a new plague.

  55. Ignatius on Crocker on Iraq:


    Crocker's innate skepticism made him wary about Bush's decision to invade Iraq. He won't talk about his policy views, even now, except to say: "It was all opaque to me. I couldn't see what would happen." But he argues: "It doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks about the wisdom of going in 2003. It's a distraction. We're in. We've been in for six years. ... The focus has to be on where we go now."

    Crocker arrived as ambassador in Baghdad in March 2007. Bush had already decided on a surge of additional U.S. troops there, but Crocker remembers wondering in the early days, "How on earth are we going to make this a better place?" A virtuous cycle slowly took hold: Newly confident Sunni Muslims began fighting al-Qaeda; Shiites decided they didn't need protection from the death squads of the Mahdi Army; and finally all the major Iraqi parties came together to endorse Crocker's appeal for a status-of-forces agreement and the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops.

    The key to success in Iraq, insists Crocker, was the psychological impact of Bush's decision to add more troops. "In the teeth of ferociously negative popular opinion, in the face of a lot of well-reasoned advice to the contrary, he said he was going forward, not backward."

    Bush's decision rocked America's adversaries, says Crocker: "The lesson they had learned from Lebanon was, 'Stick it to the Americans, make them feel the pain, and they won't have the stomach to stick it out.' That assumption was challenged by the surge."

    Soon, Iraq will be Barack Obama's problem. And I ask Crocker what mistakes the new administration could make. He answers that he thinks they will avoid these errors, but he lists them anyway: "Concluding that this was the Bush administration's war, that it's stable enough now, that we don't want to inherit it, so we're going to back away."

    Most of all, says Crocker, policymakers need to understand that this is a long game. A lasting change in Iraq isn't an on-off switch: "Not this year, not in five years, maybe not in 10 years."

    The overarching lesson, he says, not just of Iraq but of his entire career, is that events have consequences that cannot be predicted, or escaped: "When we are part of a sweeping and traumatic set of events, we've got to understand that currents are set in motion that will play themselves out for many years, in ways that we can't always understand."

    Let's hear that again: The key to success in Iraq, insists Crocker, was the psychological impact of Bush's decision to add more troops. "In the teeth of ferociously negative popular opinion, in the face of a lot of well-reasoned advice to the contrary, he said he was going forward, not backward." Bush's decision rocked America's adversaries, says Crocker...

  56. The Obama Way? [Victor Davis Hanson]

    I think we are beginning to see the outlines of Obama's tripartite method of politics and governance, and it may—for a while—prove a winning combination.

    First, the charm, youth, non-traditional multiracial persona, and rhetorical eloquence, when combined with shrewd megalomaniac sets (the Victory column, the convention plastic Greek temple, the vero possumus presidential seal, the 'oceans will recede' lingo, the retracing of the Lincoln route to the inauguration, etc.), create a sort of national frenzy of good will and media trance for hope and change.

    Then, second, there are symbolic, though otherwise not significant, race/class/gender gestures and appointments that re-establish his leftist credentials and protect erosion of his base.

    Finally, there is a evolution from left to center politics, in hopes that moderate governance both disarms rightist critics and absorbs many of the proven policies. Particulary, his foreign policy has evolved into the very positions he used to savagely attack in the primaries.

    I don't know the shelf life of all this. The danger, of course, is that his base will catch on and understand such gestures are in lieu of real leftist policies that matter. The public may, after a time, cynically ignore the Rev. Wright-like cadences, and believe that what is promised will, at some future date, inevitably be modified or rejected, with a certain blame attached to the culpable "they" (fill in the blanks). And the conservatives, if they sense the messianic frenzy is subsidizing, will embolden their criticism.

    But for now? There is rich irony. The Europeans have simply dropped their anti-Americanism and seem perfectly happy to accept the Obama veneer on Bush III, while the long out of power Left is willing to assume FISA, Iraq, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, missile defense, etc. are 'complex' and 'problematic' rather than a product of Bush-Hitler.

    All successful Presidents—FDR especially—used such multiple personalities to assure widely diverse audiences that he was "really" with them alone. But at some point, Obama, sans seal and columns, will have to establish his core values, understand that he can't vote present, accept that 50% of the public will not only be angry with him, but often unfairly and impolitely be angry with him—and press ahead.

    01/18 08:08 PM

  57. favorite nutbag:

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday Barack Obama had the "stench" of his predecessor as U.S. president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American "empire." [...]

    Chavez said frayed ties with Washington were unlikely to improve despite the departure of Bush, who the Venezuelan leader has often called the "devil."

    "I hope I am wrong, but I believe Obama brings the same stench, to not say another word," Chavez said at a political rally on a historic Venezuelan battlefield.

    "If Obama as president of the United States does not obey the orders of the empire, they will kill him, like they killed Kennedy, like they killed Martin Luther King, or Lincoln, who freed the blacks and paid with his life."

    It just gets better and better.

  58. bestbetRealClearPolitics Media Watch

    January 19, 2009

    New York Times' 'Slim' Prospects
    With mounting debt and negative cash flow, the New York Times Co. has been seeking a number of options to alleviate its $1 billion-plus debt. The Times has sought to mortgage its Eighth Avenue building, sell its interest in the New England Sports Ventures, and now, get Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to buy up more of the company.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the company will be holding a special board meeting this week to discuss the potential of having Slim - and/or other investors - inject some needed cash into the financially struggling company. Slim already owns 6.4% stake in the company after paying $127 million in September 2008.

  59. In response to whit's earlier question of economics, and Mexican drug running. The illicit drug cultivation and transshipment business adds, it seems, almost $50 Billion USD to the Mexican economy. About twice the amount of the cash remittences from Mexican nationals in the US to Mexico.

    Which begs the question ...

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs targets the drug cartels that constitute a large portion of Mexico’s economy. Drug trafficking is an estimated US$50 billion a year business there. In fact, one study reported that the loss of the drug business would shrink Mexico's economy by 63 percent.

    These statistics seem to beg the question: Can Mexico eliminate its drug trade without inflicting too much damage on its own economy?
    From the Mercy Corps's Global Envision blog.

    Following the link in the story ...

    The largest component of Mexico's economy is still drug trafficking, estimated at about $50bn. According to a leaked study conducted in 2001 by Mexico's internal security agency CISEN, if the drug business was somehow wiped out, Mexico's economy would shrink by 63 per cent.

    Legitimate commercial transactions amount for a great deal more than the $50 bn in drug traffic, though

    Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said on Friday that Mexico will languish in recession in the first half of 2009. He said exports and remittances will drop and that the timing of an upturn will depend on Obama's economic program.

    "We'll start growing again once the situation abroad normalizes," Carstens said.

    Mexican factories exporting to the United States boomed as trade between the two nations has quadrupled to around $350 billion a year since NAFTA came into effect in 1994.

    Obama and Mexico's Calderon to talk drug war, trade
    January 12, 2009 - 12:00 a.m. EST

  60. So, figure $350 bn in legitimate trade
    $50 bn, minimum in drug traffic
    $25 bn in remittences/

    US tourism in Mexico accounts for almost $10 bn.

    $435 to $450 bn,
    Oil revenues will be way off last years numbers, now.

    But a million barrales a day, even at an average of $40 per ...
    $14,600,000,000 per annum.
    Down from almost twice that, last year.

  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

  62. The CIA tprovides numbers in a different range

    $271.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities:
    manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
    Exports - partners:
    US 82.2%, Canada 2.4%, Germany 1.5% (2007)

    $281.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
    Imports - commodities:
    metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts

    Imports - partners:
    US 49.6%, China 10.5%, Japan 5.8%, South Korea 4.5% (2007)

    82% of $272bn = $221bn.
    50% of $282bn = $141 bn

    An $80 bn positive trade balance for Mexico, with US, then add in the remittences and drugs, for another $75bn.

    Giving Mexico an over all plus $155bn per year, from US.

    Which makes the $400 million military package seem kinda paltry by comparison.

  63. Calderon is aiming at a Mexican replay of Uribe's successes, esp. those from 2002-2005.

    Congress and the incoming administration oughta know from past experience: They're gonna need a bigger boat.

  64. At some point they're also going to have to grasp and address the little corruption problem on their own side of the border. That's gonna hurt.

  65. Happy Birthday, Robert E. Lee!

  66. Crocker had it right, plant a crop, harvest the sucker, if at all possible. After all that work and investment.

    Chauncey Farmer

  67. My mind wanders afar
    And must be in distress
    My body lacks tone
    I internally groan
    As I imagine a C
    Screw an S

  68. The histrionic Ambrose-Pritchard seems to agree with me. We're going to have debt forgiveness on a biblical scale.

    He gets roasted in the comments.

  69. He seems on the fence to me, whit.

  70. It's Monday, and so here's this week's sermon from the mount:

    Hope and Fear

    from Clusterfuck Nation
    by Jim Kunstler

    Tomorrow at noon, Barack Obama steps into the shoes of Lincoln, FDR, Millard Fillmore and forty other predecessors -- this time as the wished-for Mr. Fix-it of a nation run into a ditch. Surely over the months of transition, someone with a clear head and a fact-laden portfolio has clued-in the new President about the reality-based state-of-the-Union -- as opposed, say, to the Las Vegas version, where Santa Clause presides over a whoredom of something-for-nothing economics, and all behaviors are equally okay, and consequence has been sliced-and-diced out of the game. . . where, in the immortal words of Milan Kundera, anything goes and nothing matters.

    Mr. Obama deserves credit for a lot of things, but perhaps most amazingly his ability to see "hope" in a public so demoralized by their own bad choices that the USA scene has devolved to a non-stop Special Olympics of everyday life, where absolutely everybody is debilitated, deluded, challenged, or needs a leg up, or an extra buck, or a pallet on the floor, or a gastric bypass, or a week in detox, or a head-start, or a fourth strike, or a $150-billion bailout. There's a lot of raw material from sea to shining sea, admittedly, but how do you re-shape it into a population guided by a sense of earnest purpose, with reality-based expectations, with habits of delayed gratification and impulse control, and a sense of their own history? That will be quite a trick. Many of us -- myself included -- will be pulling for Barack. Maybe the power of his rhetoric and his sheer buff physical presence can whip this republic of overfed clowns into shape.

    He inherits a government of superficially gleaming marble edifices -- all gloriously on view tomorrow -- but full of broken machinery within, infested with weevils, termites, and rats. The USA is functionally bankrupt. We have no money. The pixel "money" being emailed over to the insolvent banks has no basis in reality beyond the quiver in Ben Bernanke's voice as he announces each new injection. Yet all reports so far indicate that President Obama is bent on continuing the process one way or another.

    Mr. Obama's first task taking stage in the lonely Oval Office should be to get right with his own credo of "change," meaning he'll have to persuade the broad American public that the "change" required to salvage this society runs much deeper, colder, and thicker than they'd imagine in their initial transports over hallelujah-Bush-is-Gone. Many of the familiar touchstones of the recent American experience have got to go.

    Say goodbye to the "consumer society." We're done with that. No more fast money and no more credit. The next stop is "yard-sale nation," in which all the plastic crapola accumulated over the past fifty years is sorted out for residual value and, if still working, sold for a fraction of its original sticker price. This includes everything from Humvees to Hello Kitty charm bracelets.

    It will be a very salutary thing if we stop even referring to ourselves as "consumers." This degrading moniker, used for decades unthinkingly by everyone from The New York Times Nobel Prize pundits to the Econ 101 section men of the land-grant diploma mills has been such a drag on our collective development that it has extinguished the last latent flickers of duty, obligation, and responsibility for the greater good in a republic of broken communities shattered by WalMarts.

    The government will not have to do a thing to bring down the chain-stores. History and inertia is already on that case, with the easy credit racket terminated and new frictions arising over global trade, and even Peak Oil waiting to work its hoodoo behind the scrim of deceptively temporarily low pump prices. The larger question for President Obama is: how can we collectively promote the reconstruction of Main Street, including all the fine-grained layers of retail and wholesale trade. High tech "solutions" are not likely to avail in this.

    In fact, techno-grandiosity and techno-triumphalism must be be sedulously monitored and guarded-against. They jointly amount to the great mass psychosis of our time and culture. This array of traps -- from proposed flying cars to "renewable" motor fuels -- is the ultimate Faustian "bargain." It will be at the heart of any campaign to sustain the unsustainable, sucking us ever more deeply into the diminishing returns of over-investments in complexity. Hence, the last thing this nation needs now is a stimulus plan aimed at the development of non-gasoline-powered automobiles -- married with extensive rehabilitation of the highway system. What I incessantly refer to as the Happy Motoring fiesta is drawing to a close as we have known it, whether we like it or not. Cars will be around for a while, of course, but as an increasingly elite activity. The owners of cars will be increasingly beset by grievance and resentment on the part of those foreclosed from the Happy Motoring life -- and it could easily degenerate to vandalism and violence, since the "right" to endless motoring was surreptitiously made an entitlement somewhere around 1957.

    The "change" we face in agriculture dwarfs even the death throes of Happy Motoring (and is not unrelated to it either). A lot of people are likely to starve in America if we don't get our act together pronto in terms of how we produce the food we eat. Petro-agribusiness faces a set of disturbances that are certain to induce food shortages. Again, the Peak Oil specter looms in the background, for soil "inputs" and diesel power to run that system. But all of a sudden even that problem appears a lesser danger than the gross failure of capital finance now underway -- and petro-agriculture's chief external input is credit. Credit may be in extremely short supply this year, and hence crops may be in short supply as we turn the corner into spring and summer. Just as in the case of WalMart versus Main Street, the reform of farming in America is one of those "changes" much larger than most of us imagine. I'd go so far to say that a large proportion of young people now in college will find themselves not working in office cubicles, but in some way or other in farming or the "value-added" activities connected to it.

    I don't see how America can confront the "change" represented by the stark fact that suburbia-is-toast. It is the sorest spot of all in the corpus of a culture beset by disease and debility. The salient manifestation of suburbia's demise is the remorseless drop of housing values in the places most representative of that development pattern. The worst thing the Obama team could do about this would be to attempt to prevent the fall of inflated house prices. Their real value needs to be clearly established before a picture emerges of which places have a plausible future, and which places are destined to be mere ruins or salvage yards.

    Americans will have to live somewhere, of course, but the terrain of North America faces a very comprehensive reformation. The biggest cities will contract; the small cities and small towns will be reactivated, the agricultural landscape will be inhabited differently, and the suburbs will undergo an agonizing decades-long work-out of bad debt and true asset re-valuation. Since the loss of so much vested "wealth" is implied by the crash of suburbia, this may be a source of revolutionary political violence moving deeper into the Obama administration.

    There's been plenty of buzz in the blogosphere about the imminent failure of the US "social safety net," including especially the social security program. Retirees are the biggest block of voters. They're not liable to foment riots -- that is best left to the youthful high-testosterone cohort -- but the older folks -- with Baby Boomers now coming aboard -- could be so distressed by the loss of their presumed entitlements that they will elect any maniac promising to bring back something that looked like the 1980s. We haven't begun to hear their war cries, and I hope they do not beat a path straight into some sort of crypto corporate fascism -- as, finally, every last failing scrap of American life is nationalized.

    Some natural processes hide in the thickets ahead. A hyper-inflation could take this country in any weird and unappetizing direction, from scapegoating and persecution to a new kind of corporate fascism. But I'm inclined to see our tribulations governed more by weakness in high places than by real power. In a world of declining capital and depleting energy resources, the key to any successful venture will be smaller scale. I'm not convinced that any emergency could make the US government more effective at getting anything done. Our hopes really ought to be vested locally, since that is where the most effective action is likely to be in the years just ahead.

    It will be stirring to watch Barack Obama's inauguration, and all the hoopla and balls, and the radiant children, and the exemplary First Lady dancing with the First Partner. Euphoria is a legitimate part of the human condition, though we know it soon passes into the heavy lifting of real life. There are many Americans of good will who would like to see the meaning of real "change" clearly articulated in a way that comports with reality, not just "dreams" and wishes. We'll hear a lot about dreams this week, anyway, of course, but then reality will set in and the heavy lifting will commence. Many Americans of good will also stand ready to face reality, to roll up our sleeves, ditch the video games and the Nascar and the microwaved cheese treats, and the internet porn and all the other noxious, narcolepsy-inducing distractions of our time, and put our shoulders to the wheel to haul this nation into a plausible future. For the moment: a rousing cry of "Good Luck!" To President Obama from this little outpost of Clusterfuck Nation.

  71. Screw that, mat. Today is Robert E. Lee's birthday. And in honor of that magnificent automotive television icon, to which my church lady grandmother contributed her own white Dodge Charger, I say we all sit in solemn remembrance of history:

  72. "Roosevelt's New Deal legislation was all wrong. There can be no doubt that a continuation of this economic policy would have undone the President in peacetime, in spite of all his dialectical skill. In a European state he would surely have come eventually before a state court on a charge of deliberate waste of the national wealth; and he would scarcely have escaped at the hands of a civil court on a charge of criminal business methods."

    A. Hitler, in his speech declaring war on the USA, and blaming it all on Roosevelt, who was turning to war, in his interpretation of events, to save the economic situation, which wasn't getting any better.

  73. The "change" we face in agriculture dwarfs even the death throes of Happy Motoring (and is not unrelated to it either). A lot of people are likely to starve in America if we don't get our act together pronto in terms of how we produce the food we eat. Petro-agribusiness faces a set of disturbances that are certain to induce food shortages. Again, the Peak Oil specter looms in the background, for soil "inputs" and diesel power to run that system.

    Right, and the answer is--Victory Gardens? Organic Farming? Students with hoes on the agricultural commune?

    Well, take heart, if the crops don't get planted due to diesel and fertilizer shortages and lack of credit, a lot of folks overseas will starve before we do.

    We'll get at least half the crop in, and that's all we need.

  74. Nothing like the deep murmur of duel exhausts, nothing in the world---

  75. If Sarah Palin hadn't spent money like Imelda Marcos on clothes during the campaign, our nation wouldn't be in this economic fix. We'd be able to blow a little on an Inauguration, done right.

  76. Is Mattie really this Kunstler guy?

  77. A few years back I had a 1994 HD Fatboy with staggered fishtail pipes. No baffel. Among other things, it was really good for setting off car alarms as I rode by...

  78. I think Kunstler is smoking something. Things change but not as quickly as his addled worldview lead him to believe they have or will.

  79. Is Mattie really this Kunstler guy?

    I'm pretty sure Kunstler is wrong about alt energy. But his criticism of American urban architecture and space is right on.

  80. I also subscribe to the notion that a world with drastically less cars and car infrastructure will make for a better world.

  81. I subscribe to the notion that less people on the government udder would make for a better country.

  82. California's welfare ends 01/02/09.

    Will the Federals take similar steps with regards the military welfare recipients?

  83. So, the Israelis will be out of Gaza by the start of Team44's tenure. Right on the timeline predicted earlier, about 20 days ago.

    Since Hamas has been destroyed and is no longer a threat, guess it's all good, now.

    Total war is over and done, let the Peace resume. Open those Gaza borders to free and fair trade. With international watch dogs to guarentee Israeli security.

    Ain't it gonna be great, to Internationalize even more of the Levant. Incremental expansion of a foreign presence, to guarentee the Peace.

  84. Tonight is the last chance for the Bush attack on Iranian nuclear capacity, the one that so many assured us was to come.

  85. Fox News is reporting that Bush has commuted the sentences of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Campeon.

  86. Fox News is reporting that Bush has commuted the sentences of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Campeon.

    Ramos & Campeon should be given a medal.....

    It's time for change...

  87. Bush pardoned Ramos and Compean? Good.

    Bob calls one. That's one out of about ten or so.

    I'm still waiting for 'Son of Shah' to take over in Iran :)

  88. desert rat said...
    Tonight is the last chance for the Bush attack on Iranian nuclear capacity, the one that so many assured us was to come.

    Doesnt look like it will happen...

    Time for the Messiah to part the waters and sit with the Iranians....


    It's going to be interesting...

    Maybe by GIVING OBAMA IRAN to chew on he's simply giving Obama a nice F*ck You to Obama...

  89. Obama was just shown speaking to some young people at a youth center in D.C. (where he painted the blue walls, I believe) My gosh, the commitments his guy has made. He told those young people that he was going to make sure that had health care and could go to college. I guess he adopted them.

    Took them to raise.

  90. Since Hamas has been destroyed and is no longer a threat, guess it's all good, now.

    not by a long shot...

    Israel used up all it's 1000 targets it had in it's database...

    Time to disengage, tighten the noose and start re-drawing the new hit list...

    Let those cell phones ring, let those sky eyes fly....

    Let the people of Gaza enjoy the rubble....

    It's a battle, that Hamas claimed victory in...

    Yep I love their victories...

    Strike cause chaos, kill lot's of bad guys, reset the parameters...

    Now it is a fact that you cant use a mosque, a UN school or a hospital as a shield...

    Those KIDS you dragged by the ears will not stop the IDF from making you into hamburger...

    Yep Pavlov has started to ring the bell...

    some dogs will take repeated lessons...

    Many will have learned...

    But dont fool yourself...

    the war is far from over but I wonder if i was sitting in Iran right now, or in lebanon, how proud I would be of that 800,000,000 dollars of booby traps, bunkers and prep that Hamas built (taught and funded by hezbollah and iran)

    Yep Nasrallah didnt lift a finger, nor did the arab league, nor did iran, nor did syria, nor did fatah, nor did egyptian al queda...

    Aside from the useful idiots protesting across the globe NOTHING....

    It's lonely being an HONEST jew hating genocidal organization...

    I wonder what the TYPICAL Gazan is thinking now?





    Enjoy the rubble....

  91. I hope that these "newly hopeful" and proud Americans will not be disappointed.

    I'm still hopeful that Obama's election will empower/enable millions to move beyond the perception that they are being held back.

  92. WiO:
    It's interesting that Saudi Arabia has pledged $1 billion to rebuild Gaza.


  94. I'm not listening to Obama's bs tomorrow, but I agree with Rush, who just said Obama could read the warranty of the Comfort Number Bed, or something, and it would be called 'Lincolnesque'.
    Even if a beefed-up international force is established inside Gaza, it is not clear whether such a force would do its job. Currently, a 13,000-strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has done little as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has rearmed in the area, many times in full view of the international troops, according to Israeli defense officials.

    Hamas vowed today to rearm in defiance of any Israeli and international efforts to prevent weapons smuggling.

    "Do whatever you want. Manufacturing the holy weapons is our mission, and we know how to acquire weapons," Abu Ubeida, a spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, told a news conference.

    Rumors and Timing Of Gaza Withdrawl

    A contracting business should do ok in Gaza. Build it up, it gets blown up, build it up again, get a check from the Americans, or UN, or Saudis. Maybe even from the Israelis.



  96. whit said...
    It's interesting that Saudi Arabia has pledged $1 billion to rebuild Gaza.

    Nothing new...

    When Israel LEFT the strip BILLIONS were promised by the arabs..

    Hamas's violent take down of Fatah killed that....

    But the truth be told?

    Arabs promise BILLIONS all the time for their impoverished brothers..

    and never deliver

  97. That's what I was thinking too but this time, the Saudis are up against Iran...

  98. whit,

    the aid is conditional if Hamas makes up with Fatah...

    as we speak hamas has murdered over 100 fatah loyalists that are in the gaza strip...

    not to mention the untold hundreds under house arrest and / or being held and tortured...

    Hamas RIGHTLy suspects that many inform to the israelis about intel... However typically those that Hamas (or fatah) suspect are not the guilty parties...

    MANY an innocent palestinian has been publically dragged to the square, stripped and shot to death all for the screams of "collaborator"...

    Many personal scores are settled this way in the sick twisted world of the palestinians...

    What are the real chances that Fatah (an evil jew hating group that claims to support a 2 state solution) will make up with a genocidal jew hating group that hates anyone that is not Sunni islamist?

    Hamas gets it's roots from egyptian moslem brotherhood, they make take funding from iran (shia dogs) and help from hezbollah but in the end they cannot stand fatah...

    ANd really, fatah has a well know rep for being disgusting.. after all the past leader of Fatah was a child humping, aid's infected perv.... Yasser Arafat...

    Dont look for tons of aid to flow into the strip until Hamas returns Gilad Shalit (or his tortured bones) and a new "peace agreement" between hamas and fatah...

    I guess the "ONE" will sing kumbya to each side and give them hugs ...

    (funny thought eh?)

  99. BTW:
    I heard the other day that unemployment among males in the kingdom is around 13%. 40% of the country is under 15 years old and not well enough educated to serve the kingdom's economic needs.

    They're working on improving the situation but they better hurry.

  100. debka

    Gaza war's outcome determined in first 4 minutes
    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
    January 19, 2009, 9:12 PM (GMT+02:00)

    F-16 fighter-bomber
    The Israel air force demolished two key Hamas war systems in the first 4 minutes of its massive offensive on Gaza Saturday morning, Dec. 27, DEBKAfile's military sources report. The bombers destroyed six mosques in Gaza City which held the terrorists' biggest weapons arsenals and scores of "beehives" containing launchers primed for the simultaneous, automatic release of hundreds of powerful rockets against Israeli cities.
    These launchers were rigged for precision-targeting in Israeli town centers. They were operated by a unit of 300 special Hamas operatives trained for their mission at a Syrian military bases under the instruction of Hizballah rocket specialists.
    The aerial offensive knocked out 80 percent of the rockets Hamas had prepared to launch and saved Israel's southern cities. The Palestinian Islamists were left only with inferior projectiles. Therefore, 98 percent of the hundreds of missiles they managed to fire in the 22-day war missed their targets and exploded in open ground.
    Answering questions about the extreme destruction wrought in Gaza and the high number of casualties – more than 1,300 - Israel commanders described combat conditions as the most complicated they had ever faced: Every second apartment building was booby-trapped and every third building concealed arms caches. Weapons were concealed under children's beds and in basements. Inside of fighting out in the open, Hamas gunmen by and large avoided engaging Israeli troops, relying on these death traps.
    Monday, Jan. 19, the second day of the ceasefire, the second-echelon of the Hamas leadership emerged from their fortified bunkers after three weeks underground, claiming they had vanquished the Israeli enemy. The top leaders remained invisible. The homeless people picking their way through the rubble for their broken possessions were not exactly welcoming.

  101. Meanwhile, Iran, Hamas' main sponsor, is also drawing its lessons from the war in Gaza. Despite congratulating the Islamist group on its "victory", during the fighting Tehran feared that Israel would topple Hamas' regime in the coastal enclave.

    The Islamist Republic will now look to embolden Hamas, especially with regards to its defensive capabilities, this after Palestinian forces that were supposed to block Israel's ground incursion failed miserably.

    Iran and Hamas are also considering ways to replenish the Islamist group's depleted arsenal in Gaza, particularly in light of the destruction of an estimated 80%the smuggling tunnels situated along the Egypt-Gaza border by the Israeli Air Force. Terror leaders in Gaza believe they will be able to dig up new tunnels and resume the smuggling.

    Civilian Areas

  102. France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy have sought to consolidate the truce by offering technical help to prevent Hamas' arms smuggling and humanitarian relief to ease the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.

    European Union officials announced plans for talks on Wednesday with Israel's foreign minister and on Sunday with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority to discuss prospects for a permanent peace agreement.

    French officials said it is time to push beyond the truce and quickly hold an international conference on resolving the underlying conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Gaza Strip

  103. This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. You mean to tell US that after the Israelis were four minutes into Lead Cast all the civilians killed ...
    were killed needlessly?

    The Israelis mission parameters had already been fulfilled, and still they killed the children?

    That is a case of War Crimes, if that is true.
    Have to get those International monitors in there, pronto, on both sides of that border.

    Long term Peace will demand "corpus separatum" for Jerusalem.

  105. Do not bet against the searing light of truth and justice.

    Also Sunday, Ms. Pelosi said she wants an investigation into whether the Bush administration broke the law when it fired a group of federal prosecutors.

    "I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of, for example, the Justice Department, go unreviewed," she said. "Past is prologue."

    House Democrats last week recommended a criminal investigation to determine whether administration officials broke the law in the name of national security. Along with the fired prosecutors, the report cited
    interrogation of foreign detainees,

    warrantless wiretaps, retribution against critics and manipulation of intelligence.

    The president-elect has been more cautious, saying he wants to look to the future, not to the past.

    "I don't believe that anybody is above the law," Mr. Obama said in a recent television interview. "On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward, as opposed to looking backwards."

    Ms. Pelosi appeared on "Fox News Sunday"

    Do not bet on Obama spending much of his political capital slowing Ms Pelosi down, so that he seems to be allowing the appearance of blatantly putting some folks above the law.

  106. I agree with Rat, this is one where Obama can take the high road precisely because of people like Pelosi. He can let her do the dirty work.

    There could be a problem if Pelosi pushes too far. A civil war will not be good for President's Obama's agenda.

  107. This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. desert rat said...
    You mean to tell US that after the Israelis were four minutes into Lead Cast all the civilians killed ...
    were killed needlessly?

    Dr you can twist anything to try and make Jews sound like murderers...

    How about this...

    If a rocket fell on Israel, aimed at civilians, at any time AFTER the 1st 4 minutes, then Hamas is the war criminal and according to the geneva convention is responsible for any and all deaths of civilians it USED as human shields.

    please cram that up your puckered ass and smoke it...

    Have a nice day...

  109. Under international law, white phosphorus is banned for use near civilians, but is permitted for creating a smokescreen. Israel has insisted that all weapons being used in its Gaza war were within the bounds of international law.

    The substance is a toxic chemical agent which can cause severe burns. Dispersed in artillery shells, bombs, and rockets, it burns on contact with oxygen and creates a smokescreen in order to hide the movement of troops.

    Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's researcher on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, said the use of white phosphorus could amount to a war crime. "Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely-populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate.

    Depleted Uranium

    No mention of the indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire 'though.

  110. What a bunch of arses all the democrats are. They are confirming a tax cheat as Sec. of Treasury.
    All arse. Rangel, another tax cheat. Frankenstein, another.

  111. The journal 'Nature' has a new article about how human activity may well be saving us from an ice age. I had wondered about that. An ice age is almost 'due' isn't it? Gentlemen, rev your engines.

    I haven't read the article as you have to login and pay a fee, but it's available on that basis. Or, at your library.

    Good for Israel, knocked out a bunch of 'em in the first few minutes, then kept the pressure up. After one has read the Hamas Charter, and a little of the history of the muslims in the middle east, one comes to the conclusion Israel doesn't have any choice, really.

    Where ever the muslims bump up against somebody else, there's usually trouble. And when they bump up against a different sect of their own kind, too.

  112. The point is malaria will not return to northern climes unless we lower our defenses. It wasn´t cold that drove it out.

    It was man. We can drive it out of the rest of the world too, if we just will.

    There is no need for all those children to be dying. We tried once, but when it was no longer a problem in the developed world, rich nations lost interest.

    Fouling the Air

  113. I recall the DDT debate. Weakened the eggshells of the birds, etc. Rachel Carson and "Silent Spring"

    While it saved some birds, banning DDT, it didn't do much good for the folks in the third world. They are using it judiciously now, I've read, as they should.

  114. I recall a famed biologist whose name escapes me being asked if there was any creature in all creation that he thought had no redeeming features, or place in the scheme of things. His answer: the mosquito.

    He was being generous to some other critters I can think of, I believe.

  115. Our neighbor lives in the house in which our used to live..

    Your grandfather lived in Damascus. Your peasant father worked for my father and then took to squatting on land not belonging to him. You are a work of fiction. You only exist as work of fiction.

  116. 37. Israeli:

    20. Another View:

    “From a secular point of view Israel has no right to state hood in the middle east. No reasonable person who knows the history of modern Israel can disagree.”

    Than Obviously, you have no knowledge of this region’s history.
    Please go back to the history books and check how many people were in the land called Palestine on 1867. I’ve already done that for you. It’s about a quarter of a million, out of which 70,000 were Jewish.
    Than Jews started arriving from Europe, and AFTER them, Arabs came from nowadays Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and other countries. They came here BECAUSE Jews brough technology and work with them. In the neighboring countries there was no work and poverty drove them to follow the Jews.

    By 1948 there were 1.2 million Arabs in Palestine. Natural growth ? NO WAY. They immigrated following the Jews.

    Since you call yourself a secular, please show me one, just one reference to a Palestinian nation or people prion to 1948. You will find very few even if you search prior to 1967. Even the UN decision refers to Arabs in Palestine, not to Palestinians.

    And while we are on the subject and you know the region’s history - please explain while the Palestinians that rightfully own this land according to you NEVER DEMANDED IT FROM JORDAN AND EGYPT between 1948 and 1967. After all, id it’s rightfully theirs, than Jordan and Egypt should have given it to them during these long 20 years, don’t you think ?

    Having said all that, it is clear that today there are Palestinians, even if 50 years ago there was no such thing, and if the Palestinians could produce even one worthy leader that has any othority over the Palestinians and will be willing to work toward a two nation solution I assure you Israel will be more than happy to work with him. As long as the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel and work with her, there will never be peace.

    Good luck with your history studies !!!

    Nite, Mat, got to turn in early.

  117. Israel accelerated its troop withdrawal from Gaza on Monday with the aim of finishing by the inauguration of Barack Obama today. Hamas reasserted control over the rubble-filled streets, and tens of thousands of Palestinians sought to cope with destroyed homes and traumatized lives.


    In Israel, a sense of justice and triumph prevailed with radio stations playing classic Zionist songs and President Shimon Peres asserting on a visit to wounded soldiers that the army had achieved both a military and moral victory.


    Despite competing claims of victory and the deep misery felt in Gaza, the cease-fire has opened the way for intensified international efforts to build a more durable peace.

    Hastening Pullout

  118. please cram that up your puckered ass and smoke it...

    Mon Jan 19, 08:24:00 PM EST

    But...but...then he wouldn't be able to talk!

    "I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of, for example, the Justice Department, go unreviewed," she said. "Past is prologue."

    That's an interesting "for example" taken from the House Dem laundry list of wickedness to be punished, don't you think? I mean, hell, you've got your torture, your eavesdropping, your summary shit-canning of non-compliants, your phony intelligence...and you want to "review the politicization" of Justice for an After Action?

    That's just weak, man.

    I'd be ordering a fucking gallows built on the Capitol lawn by midnight Wednesday and indicate to Holder that if he didn't deliver the warm bodies toot sweet, he could kiss his sorry ass goodbye, too.

    Instead, we've got the Congressional clown car (as one wag put it) loading up for the circus. Many as they manage to squeeze in, let us count the Democrats who decline to join the show. Shall we?

    However, just to show that I am not completely dismissive of moves afoot, I give you this:

    Sources: Obama ready to ban harsh interrogations

    By LARA JAKES and PAMELA HESS – 3 days ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two U.S. officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to allow exceptions in extraordinary cases.

    The proposal Obama is considering would require all CIA interrogators to follow conduct outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, the officials said. The plans would also have the effect of shutting down secret "black site" prisons around the world where the CIA has questioned terror suspects — with all future interrogations taking place inside American military facilities.

    However, Obama's changes may not be absolute. His advisers are considering adding a classified loophole to the rules that could allow the CIA to use some interrogation methods not specifically authorized by the Pentagon, the officials said. They said the intent is not to use that as an opening for possible use of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

    The new rules would abandon a part of President George W. Bush's counterterrorism policy that has been condemned internationally. Bush has defended his policies by pointing to the fact that the nation has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on its soil.

    Obama spokeswoman Brooke Anderson did not have an immediate comment Friday about the drafted plans, which the two officials discussed only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

    No final decisions have been made about how to adjust the government's interrogation standards. Obama is still weighing whether to alter interrogation policy by executive order during his first days in office or to work with Congress through legislation.

    The plans do not specifically address the issue of extraordinary rendition, the policy of transferring foreign terrorism suspects to third countries without court approval.

    In private Capitol Hill meetings, CIA Director nominee Leon Panetta and Director of National Intelligence designate Dennis Blair have said Obama wants a single set of rules for interrogations. And in Senate testimony Thursday, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder called the Army manual "a good place to start."

    The 384-page Army manual, last updated in September 2006, is a publicly available document. It authorizes 19 interrogation methods used to question prisoners, including one allowing a detainee to be isolated from other inmates in some cases. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, which creates the sensation of drowning. Holder termed waterboarding a form of torture on Thursday.

    The CIA also banned waterboarding in 2006 but otherwise has been secretive about how it conducts interrogations. In the past, its methods are believed to have included sleep deprivation and disorientation, stress positions and exposing prisoners to uncomfortable cold or heat for long periods. It's also believed that some prisoners have been forced to sit in cramped spaces with bugs, snakes, rats or other vermin as a scare tactic.

    Waterboarding has been traced back hundreds of years and is condemned by nations worldwide. Hayden acknowledged last year that the CIA waterboarded three top al-Qaida operatives — including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed — in 2002 and 2003 because of fears that more attacks were imminent.

    The Army manual can be amended by the military. It is unclear whether the CIA would be held to the one published in 2006 or future versions.

    The military rejected adding a classified annex to the manual before it was published in 2006 because it believed having two sets of rules could confuse soldiers and reasoned that the classified techniques would quickly become known once those interrogated were released. A classified annex would also complicate sharing the manual with foreign governments and would undermines the military's goal of full transparency after Abu Ghraib.

    For Obama, who repeatedly insisted during the 2008 presidential campaign and the transition period that "America doesn't torture," a classified loophole would allow him to follow through on his promise to end harsh interrogations while retaining a full range of presidential options in conducting the war against terrorism.

    The proposed loophole, which could come in the form of a classified annex to the manual, is designed to satisfy intelligence experts who fear that an outright ban of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques would limit the government in obtaining threat information that could save American lives. It would also preserve Obama's flexibility to authorize any interrogation tactics he might deem necessary for national security.

    However, such a move would frustrate Senate Democrats and human rights, retired military and religious groups that have pressed for a government-wide prohibition on methods they describe as torture.

    Glenn Sulmasy, an international law professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., said Obama can and should preserve his executive authority to order aggressive interrogations when necessary. But he said that should be done on a case-by-case basis and not become a broad policy.

    "There are some coercive techniques that he might employ on a ticking time bomb scenario, but he'll distinguish himself by making it clear that the presumption under the law is that there is no torture," Sulmasy said Friday.

    Critics, however, said Obama cannot claim to ban torture if it's not clear what interrogation methods will be allowed.

    "That would not be good," said the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. "We don't need to be able to torture and we don't need to engage in any interrogation techniques that are not humane. And unless we have absolute clarity that these interrogation techniques will not be used, they are not going to be able to say that."

    Speaking with reporters Thursday, outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden said harsh interrogation tactics have been needed to get information from the most hardened terror suspects. He and some other U.S. intelligence officials oppose limiting the CIA to the Army manual, which was written specifically for military interrogations and may not be effective on the most dangerous detainees.

    "It is an honest discussion to talk about what techniques we should use, but to assume automatically that the Army Field Manual would suit the needs of the republic in all circumstances is a shot in the dark," Hayden said.

    Senate Democrats aren't likely to support a classified annex. Holder on Thursday said the interrogation methods outlined in the Army manual would be just as effective as those used by the CIA.

    "I'm not convinced at all that if we restrict ourselves to the Army field manual that we will be in any way less effective in the interrogation of people who have sworn to do us harm," Holder said.

    Amnesty International, the human rights group, on Friday hailed word that the field manual would extend to the CIA but said it would oppose a classified annex.

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  121. There still is five hours for Mr Bush to okay those attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities.

    I've got ten Ameros that say he will not, any takers?

  122. Strengthening or Weakening the Economy?

    By Ron Paul

    The economic situation continues to deteriorate this week as past and future bailouts were discussed on Capitol Hill. The debate was over the accountability of already disbursed TARP money, and on whether or not to release remaining funds. Banks that had already been bailed out before are looking for more money to fill the black holes that are their balance sheets, warning that they are simply too big to fail.
    However, whatever 'devastating' consequences these banks are dreaming up and pushing on Capitol Hill regarding their own collapse will be nothing compared to the collapse of our currency if we keep debasing it through these foolish bailouts.
    It should be that they are too big to bailout. The world will not come to an end without this or that bank. The most troubling thing to me is this rhetoric that only government can save the economy, and must act. This is so counter-productive.

    What Congressman Paul does not say is that the 'Crisis' is part of the Plan to further the
    collapse of our currency ...

  123. As the WSJ points out

    Adjusted for inflation, income of the top 1% of earners grew at an annual rate of 11% from 2002 to 2006, according to an analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley. Incomes of the bottom 99% grew at less than 1% annually. With the exception of those with professional degrees, such as doctors and lawyers, every educational group including high-school graduates and PhDs earned less in 2007 than they did in 2000, adjusted for inflation.

    Now, the pace of economic decline is accelerating. The country lost almost two million jobs in the last four months of 2008, and economists predict two million more will be lost in 2009. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to around 9% by year end, from 7.2% today. Companies are more likely than at any time since the Great Depression to cut wages.

    The Bush/Obama solutions will just make the problems worse, long-term.

  124. The bright light of truth and justice is not always a legal one. Oh no.

    The spotlight has to illiminate all those that particpated, to decide whether the actions taken by the law breakers were blantant, or not.

    'I was only following orders', not a legal defense, for law breakers.

    That some lawyer, somewhere in the bowels of thw White House said it was legal, does not make it so.

    The Rules of legality do change, for Washingtonians, when the rulers of Washington change.
    And change they have.

    And, wi"o" it is not hard to paint the Israelis as killers of women and childeren, By the hundreds they have killed them. In answer to four deaths over the course of two years, caused by those rockets.

    Nope, if the Israelis were finished in four minutes, like you claimed, they are a criminal society, just as the Hamas are. They are definately not morally superior to the Palistinians.

    As to the '48 to '67 time frame, there is/was recent historical precedent for Muslims ruling over that area, from afar. So there was no demand for independence, but once a nonIslamic sectarian State took control, that violated their fundemental religious beliefs.

    But religion, as mat told us, does not matter. It is the oil in Gaza and Israel that drives both sides of the conflict, not the religions.

    Funny stuff, twenty days ago I called the end of Cast Lead, to the day.

    The strike on Iran, so much fantasy of immagination.

    Nothing is so worthless as weapons systems that one cannot use.

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  126. Barack Obama speaking in Phillidelphia said:

    For the American Revolution did not end when British guns fell silent. It was never something to be won only on a battlefield or fulfilled only in our founding documents. It was not simply a struggle to break free from empire and declare independence. The American Revolution was - and remains - an ongoing struggle "in the minds and hearts of the people" to live up to our founding creed.

    Starting now, let's take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union.

    Let's build a government that is responsible to the people, and accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable.

    Let's all of us do our part to rebuild this country.

    Let's make sure this election is not the end of what we do to change America, but the beginning.

    As I've said more than once, there are many who see the American Revolution as ongoing, though it is never marketed that way.

    But President-elect Obama certainly does see it as a living revolution

    "The American Revolution was - and remains - an ongoing struggle "in the minds and hearts of the people" to live up to our founding creed."

    That creed, which we know, from previous discussion baselines with:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

    The American Revolution, a light unto the World.

    Creating a shining city on a hill

    To be seen and emulated here, there, everywhere, on the American continent and beyond.

    To which all those that hold to the creed ... mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    Fear not the light.
    Dig a hole.

  127. Glenn Beck Interviews Thomas Sowell About The Great Depression And Today

    The idea seems to be that Roosevelt actually made things worse, the war got us out of the Great Depression, and we are repeating the same mistakes today.

    Brought to you by Barney Frank and Company.

  128. By 1939 Roosevelt's own Treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, had realized that the New Deal economic policies had failed. "We have tried spending money," Morgenthau wrote in his diary. "We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . After eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!"

    Cut Taxes And Create Real Jobs

  129. rat says:

    "recent historical precedent for Muslims ruling over that area, from afar. So there was no demand for independence, but once a nonIslamic sectarian State took control, that violated their fundemental religious beliefs."

    canary in the coal mine. (how will europe react to remote leadership of its growing population?). rat knows, i'm sure.

  130. The coming of Son of Shah, so much fantasy of immagination.

    Well, we all make mistakes.

  131. Bob. I thought you were accompanying the wife for a walk in the woods today. The inauguration intervention as it were.

    I've done my part for sanity preservation by avoiding all television news broadcasts since I got back, save a CNN human interest story last night between episodes of Family Guy.



  133. dr:
    And, wi"o" it is not hard to paint the Israelis as killers of women and childeren, By the hundreds they have killed them. In answer to four deaths over the course of two years, caused by those rockets.

    Nope, if the Israelis were finished in four minutes, like you claimed, they are a criminal society, just as the Hamas are. They are definately not morally superior to the Palistinians.

    Sure Rat...

    But you are measuring Israeli reaction to JUST hamas's missiles death count, over 1,000,000 israelis for 8 years have lived under rocket attacks, an entire generation of children terrorized and you count only the body bags as a measure?

    Israel left the gaza strip and handed the palestinians buildings, industry, infrastructure and aid only to watch the Hamas (iran's brigade) take it over and turn it into a hostile active war border...

    Hamas has MURDERED in cold blood thousands..

    Suicide bombings, stabbings, flinging people from roofs, kidnappings, attacks, and yes 7000 rockets that killed on ten's of children...

    To even suggest Israel is just like Hamas shows the weakness of your argument...

    Just to get a reaction from me?

    If Israel was the CRIMINAL enterprise as hamas Israel would have ACTED like hamas and there would have been 10,000 or thousands of kids killed not 10's of tens.....

    If your fantasy that Israel is the same as Hamas was true, Israel would could have solved the issue years ago by using the very same tactics.....

    Nice to see you dont talk about how israel called arab residents (including hamas leaders) HOMES before strike and told them to evac... JUST LIKE HAMAS?

    The fact that you are blind to see that an many other examples of Israel TRYING to minimize civilian deaths saddens me...

    Hamas's use of children as human shields, booby trapping schools, homes and using mosques as weapon sites are all not what israel does...

    To suggest hamas and Israel are the same is childish, disingenuous and quite frankly reminds me of 911 truffers, holocaust deniers & people that think NASA staged the lunar lands in a hollywood studios...

    Hamas's charter calls for destruction of the Jewish people and acts to fulfill this...

    Israel's constitution gives full rights to all people including arabs & moslems...

    If israel had 1/100th of the same taste for blood that hamas had israel could destroy gaza city in a nano second....

    Israel could simply cut off all water & electricity to the strip

    But Israel doesnt...

    Hamas? Claims victory and calls for more death to israel....

    Rat, might i suggest your pat buchanan is showing..

  134. Apparently in so doing I am missing this:

    "Arrest Bush" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

    Even now, with him leaving, Bush Derangement Syndrome thrives. All you have to do is see some of the signs in the background of live shots from the Mall and elsewhere around D.C. to start to get a feel for it — "Arrest Bush" is one I kept seeing yesterday. But if you were there, you'd see lots more. [link]

    01/20 07:08 AM

    Yes, there is an or - as has been noted, with goatee and black beret action packs. Also, a website with an online petition for the appointment of a special prosecutor for crimes against humanity or somesuch, to which Holder was gracious enough to respond to by asking them to please stop emailing him. Keith Olberman, meanwhile, is inspiring the anxious troops at DailyKos by promising that whatever other priorities may obtain, Mussolini *will* end up swinging from a lamp post. If you can't trust Olberman, who can you trust?

    Ash, I drank the champagne preemtively.

  135. [...]

    Nearby, a crowd was gathered around someone holding a sign that, at first glance, seemed in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with words that said, "I Have A Dream."

    But closer inspection revealed that the lovefest only went so far. Beneath King's famous words was a picture of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - behind bars.

    Ohhhhhhh, the drumbeat. It is irresistible.

  136. "Arrest Bush"

    Paid for by the Saudis thru the Muslim Brotherhood. Make no mistake about it.

  137. Tim F. at Balloon Juice:

    Millions of people have already packed the national Mall to capacity. I hope that someone remembered to bring a loaf and a fish.

  138. the American Revolution

    Only it's no longer "America".

    Americans will soon make up a minority of the population. The US Corporate State more and more, ethnically and structurally, looks like a Latin American banana republic. People with savings and brains will finally say 'fsck it, it's not worth the effort', and simply leave. That's the trajectory you're on, Amigo.

  139. So Mat, i dont disagree but WHERE to go?



    IS the future submission to the Muslim Brotherhood?

    If so, I am buying ammo...

  140. January 19, 2009 - by Leon de Winter

    Our neighbor lives in the house in which our grandfather used to live. He claims he bought the first part of the house from a Turki, and later the second part from a British bank, but that doesn’t make the sale any less illegal: my family lived in that house for hundreds of years and we don’t accept the documents of sale. Now he’s living there. He is the son of monkeys and pigs.
    The problem is that he’s not just brazen, he’s also strong, although he is a tiny guy.
    The whole neighborhood hates him. He’s a thief and possessed by the devil. But he seems to be able to beat everyone. We tried to force him out of the house together, but it didn’t work. He has bulletproof windows, and the roof is made of inflammable material.
    All we think about is him. Our own home is in ruins because all our efforts, all our money and ideas and energy are devoted solely to destroying our neighbor’s house. We’re utterly convinced that we will be perfectly happy just as soon as we’ve killed him and his house is a heap of smoking rubble. We live for one thing only: our neighbor’s demise. It’s a noble ambition for which we’re all willing to die.
    Sometimes our neighbor seems to forget we exist, then we throw a couple of pebbles at his windows. If we’re lucky, there’s a window open and we toss a Molotov cocktail inside to start a nasty fire. That makes our neighbor angry, and that’s good. We don’t want him to forget us. Life means nothing to us as long as our neighbor’s living in that house. So we make sure he remembers us, even though we can’t force him out and he sometimes beats the hell out of us.
    Every now and then our neighbor gets fed up with our stone-throwing — those are the best moments. Then he storms out of our grandfather’s house and smashes our kitchen or bathroom or refrigerator to pieces. By doing so he proves that it’s right that we hate him. We provoke him until he reveals his true demonic character. That’s what we live for. We can’t beat him, but there’s something satisfying about watching him kick our old, worn-out, empty refrigerator to shreds after we have tried to ransack one of his freezers — he has several, all full of food which he bought with the wealth he found in our grandfather’s house. What he does to us is much worse than our provocations, but we keep provoking him because that’s the main thing we want in life.

    Our neighbor, the dog, wants us to leave him alone. We can’t. His death is our ultimate ambition in life. We live in our hovel, we grow nothing in our garden, and we leave our schoolbooks on the shelf because we dream of returning to our grandfather’s house and work solely towards our neighbor’s collapse. Nothing is allowed to distract us from that.
    Our neighbor claims that when he bought the house, it was just a wooden hut on a piece of barren land that he turned into a palace. He claims he planted a fertile vegetable garden — that’s a lie. It was an estate with fertile soil and the bathrooms had gold taps; our grandfather told us so himself, we even keep the key to his house in a sacred place. If we had still been living in our grandfather’s house then we would have had all those freezers in which our neighbor keeps his food. The family of monkeys and pigs never lived there before; our neighbor’s existence is based on clever lies and forgeries.
    We keep challenging him and when we’ve insulted him enough and managed to wreck some part of his house, he marches angrily into our place. We can’t stop him and we have no idea how long he’ll stay in our hovel, until one day he leaves. Then we lick our wounds in satisfaction and survey in intense pleasure all the destruction he left behind, and we show it to the world. Our scars prove to us and to the world that our cause is just. We know he doesn’t harm us when we leave him alone, but we want him to harm us. If he wouldn’t, the world would think he is just an ordinary guy. Which he isn’t. That’s why we provoke him. Without him harming us, we wouldn’t exist.
    We want to kill him, but we don’t have the right weapons. He has the means to kill us all, but he doesn’t, the coward. If we had the weaponry he has, we would have killed him long ago. And the fact that he doesn’t kill us, although he could, is a sign of his unbearable arrogance.
    Some, who don’t live in our neighborhood and who don’t know how things work around here, occasionally ask us, “Why do you keep provoking him when you know that he’ll hit back so ferociously?”

    This question proves they are ignorant about our neighborhood. We do it because that’s what our life is about. Our neighbor, who’s a murderer of prophets, humiliates us just because he is there. That’s why we can’t think about anything else. Our grandfather’s honor is worth risking our own lives and those of our children and grandchildren. We have no future as long as our neighbor lives in peace and plenty. None of us in the neighborhood can build as long as his house remains standing.
    Strangers sometimes try to persuade us that we ought to build a viable house on our own lot. But nothing is viable beside our neighbor’s stolen property. He is the burning focus of our existence. He is rich, so we are poor. He is powerful, so we are weak. He has to disappear.
    A little further along in our neighborhood we have a friend who supplies us secretly with stones and Molotov cocktails. He’s working on a big bomb that will reduce our neighbor to a miserable pile of atoms in a fraction of a second. That bomb will kill us too — that hellish thought is almost erotic. Our neighbor will burn, and we will as well, but one thing is certain: we won’t feel inferior anymore; at last we’ll have beaten him, in death — which we don’t fear, but he does.
    The neighborhood will be completely gone. And that’s how it should be. Death will free us of the son of monkeys and pigs, and of our infuriating obsession with him.

  141. So Mat, i dont disagree but WHERE to go?

    It's not where to go, it's what's to do.

    What you have in the US is a political system where corruption is built-in into the system. It was rotten from day one. 300 million people "represented" by two political parties? Do you not see how absurd that is? You don't have a democracy. What you have is lip service and propaganda by Oligarchs, Plutocrats, Kleptocrats, Corruptokrats, for the dim witted.

  142. Well, here we sit, Ladies, and Gentlemen. Ain't this fun. We've got us a brand-new, Nigerian, Communist President.

    Well, hell, he's gotta be better than Carter - and, we survived him.

    I knew McCrazy was toast; but, I still went down and voted for him. Had to protect my "Bitching" Rights. Well, they're "in force," but I doubt that I'll be using them all that much, anyway.

    The Pubs put up John "Crazier than The Maddest Motherfucker on the Planet" McCain, for Cris'sake. He couldn't even carry Iowa, Ohio, or India "fucking" ana! If a pub can't carry Indiana he's worthless.

    Anyhoo, here we goes. Just another day in Kristian, Racist, Amerikka. Wha's for Lunch?

  143. mat: It's not where to go, it's what's to do.

    What you have in the US is a political system where corruption is built-in into the system. It was rotten from day one. 300 million people "represented" by two political parties? Do you not see how absurd that is? You don't have a democracy. What you have is lip service and propaganda by Oligarchs, Plutocrats, Kleptocrats, Corruptokrats, for the dim witted.

    So i guess what to do is to MAKE as much money as possible to BUY my way into security...

    Fortress "Occupation"?

    become mormon-like...

    6 -12 months of supplies in the house

    water, fuel and food ready for the storm...

    weapons & training...

    enough cash, gold, coin to weather minor uprisings?

    yep, time to quit the boy scouts, community service and get what i can for me...


    time for change....


    Screw everyone else...

    time to be like BHO and get what's MINE.....

  144. everything is possible..

    a crack smoking, illegal now is going to be POTUS...

    I bet his buddies at Hamas are shooting guns celebrating...

    Chris Mathews is getting an erection...

    Rev Wright? wants reparations for aids, and the jew's murdering the BLACK Messiah Jesus...

    Bow Tie Louie? He's happy as Al Sharpton and Jesse "let me f*ck your wife" Jackson

    Yep CHANGE is here...

    Do i have to be actually cuckold'd in order to "pass" now?

    Dont really want my blonde wife to "do" Obama's pals for past humiliations...

  145. The executive orders have been readied...

  146. weapons & training...

    The only weapon you need is the truth. The only training you need to keep practicing it by speaking it to everyone.

  147. Weapons and Training?

    All you need is truth?

    With the sheep that call themselves voters yes... truth..

    But in the meantime, I have just made recommendations to our local schul about upgrading security...

    I am talking to the local Men's clubs and getting the word out about the local gun range and training..

    Mat, you as a Sabra have the knowledge and training that us America Jews lack..

    American Jews for the most part dont LIKE guns...

    They embrace the goodness in jihadists...

    I embrace the fact that they hate us and want to murder us...

  148. Mat, you as a Sabra have the knowledge and training that us America Jews lack..

    American Jews for the most part dont LIKE guns...

    I was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. Was 9 months when I arrived in Israel. So technically, I'm not a Sabra. My brother on the other hand, was born in Haifa.

    As for guns, I can't say I'm a big fan. Never cared to carry one privately. If I carried a gun, there would be very few people alive today. :)

  149. Mat: As for guns, I can't say I'm a big fan. Never cared to carry one privately. If I carried a gun, there would be very few people alive today. :)

    Oh not a sabra...

    But you did get training in the IDF...

    and for ME? I waited til i was 49 til i bought my 1st gun... For the same reason you dont have one.... lol

  150. I waited til i was 49

    Well grandpa, I still have a very long way to go for me to get there. :)

    As for my military training, it wasn't much. I spent most of that time in the penalty box for insubordination. :)

  151. Nigerian


    I was going to put the flag upsides down on the truck but the wife won't let me.

  152. Inaugural Music [Maggie Gallagher]

    My son, the music buff, asks, "If you are going to do John Williams, why do an arrangement of 'Lord of the Dance'? Why not the Imperial March from Star Wars? How great would that be?"

    01/20 12:16 PM

    Funny, I was thinking about that theme last night.

    But seriously, the Simple Gifts reprise was very nice. ('Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free.) And the speech, even given the inevitable communitarian appeals, was an excellent one.

  153. Bob. I thought you were accompanying the wife for a walk in the woods today.

    We found a big puddle of fluid on the driveway, leaking from the struts, so the car's at Les Schwab right now. Headin' out tomorrow.

    I'm not watching, though.

  154. Bobal, of all people, you should have watched and listened. It is sad seeing you be so close minded. I guess we should just write you off as an ossified old fart.

    And now our new king can issue the decrees he chooses.

  155. It was rotten from day one.

    It was good out this way, before the people all showed up :(

    Which is exactly how the Nez Perce feel about me.

    Let us have a drum roll requiem for the supreme court and the constitution.

  156. And now our new king can issue the decrees he chooses.

    Just exactly the kind of stupid slavish statement everyone has come to expect from you, Ash. Really, what a stupid comment.

  157. An upside down American flag, bob? How could you even think it?

  158. Sorry, slim, I don't know much of Europe, all my people left there long ago. Good to see you participate, though.

    Daughter dates a Swedish boy when they are both in the same country. He wants to move to the USA, full time, to many immigrants in Sweden, he says.

    Funny thing, though, when he is here, he does not see the Mexicans as immigrants, but as natives.
    Product of European schooling or the facts on the ground, I guess.

    It is a new age, doubt that the Israelis get another military permission slip, soon.

    The terror of the blockade, wi"o", is compensation in full for the terror of those rockets. The Israelis could have lifted the blockade, ended the siege, but chose not to.
    The price of that decision was the rockets falling, with little military effect, upon Israel.

  159. Lord! I love this Country.

    Only the Americans would have done this.

    Just when the rest of the world thinks they've got us "Pegged" we go and elect a Black, Communist, (quite possibly, Muslim,) Kenyan (okay, Bob?) to the Presidency.

    What a Great, Freakin' Country!

    It never Ceases to "Amaze."

  160. I guess, Bobal, you've had your head firmly stuck in the sand all these past years and you've failed to notice the POTUS use of executive orders. Carry on, enjoy your ignorance.

  161. bobal has no problems with Executive Authority, ash, it is the Executive he does not trust.

    Which is the ideological problem with to much authority invested in government.

    Never can tell who is going to get to exercise that authority, or for what purpose, after it's been vested.

    Obama hits all the historical touchstones, he can communicate.
    That we do nnt like the message, just another day in America, coast to coast, Isthmus to Pole

  162. "As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves."

    Made my daughter cry.

  163. We need a new state's rights movement, minus the old racism.

  164. "Executive" Orders are a necessary part of a functioning government. It allows the Executive to quietly do things that are regarded as "good," but impolitic for the opposing party. If they really objected they would bring it up in Congress, and legislate said actions away.

  165. I still trust the Idaho Legislature to do more or less the right thing.

  166. HoooraY!


    "Here We Have Idaho"

    Written by McKinley Helm & Albert J. Tompkins

    Composed by Sallie Hume-Douglas

    You've heard of the wonders our land does possess,
    It's beautiful valleys and hills,
    The majestic forests where nature abounds,
    We love every nook and rill.


    And here we have Idaho
    Winning her way to fame.
    Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,
    and romance lies in her name.
    Singing, we're singing of you,
    Ah, proudly too,
    All our lives thru, we'll go
    Singing, singing of you,
    Singing of Idaho.

    There's truly one state in this great land of ours
    Where ideals can be realized.
    The pioneers made it so for you and me,
    A legacy we'll always prize.


    And here we have Idaho
    Winning her way to fame.
    Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,
    and romance lies in her name.
    Singing, we're singing of you,
    Ah, proudly too,
    All our lives thru, we'll go
    Singing, singing of you,
    Singing of Idaho.

  167. We need a new state's rights movement, minus the old racism.


    But more important, we need to curb corporate powers. No corporate contributions to political bodies, and no corporate rights that conflict with the rights of individuals and the environment.

  168. Racism was just misguided corporatism.

  169. DR...

    The terror of the blockade, wi"o", is compensation in full for the terror of those rockets. The Israelis could have lifted the blockade, ended the siege, but chose not to.
    The price of that decision was the rockets falling, with little military effect, upon Israel.


    before the blockade there were rockets, suicide bombings, stabbings, firebombings, sniper fire and more...

    The BLOCKAGE didnt cause this, flinging fatah off of roof tops and knee capping doctors and internal arab enemies did....

    Love the way you draw a line in time to say...
    HERE is it...

    Read the hamas charter:

    and Read the HISTORY of Hamas's terror...

    That started the war...

  170. dr The price of that decision was the rockets falling, with little military effect, upon Israel.

    yeah terrorizing 1,000,000 israelis dont hurt much for 8 years...

    what a load of crap....

    I'd love to see any other nation take 7000 rockets aimed at their population centers..

    and btw,...

    your F*cking blockage?

    LOOK AT A MAP....

    EGYPT CONTROLLED the other border...

    maybe you should ask WHY they closed their border and no missiles were shot into egypt?

    and do you remember HAMAS shelled the israel border crossings in a regular basis...

    dont you remember the EURO monitors that FLED into israel when HAMAS tried to murder them?

    selective memory...

  171. Hamas Principles
    The principles of the Hamas are stated in their Covenant or Charter, given in full below. Following are highlights.

    "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

    "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

    "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

    "After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

  172. WiO, the issue isn't whether Hamas behaves badly or not (they do behave badly) the issue is how to get them to change their behavior. Your way has been failing for years and will continue to fail.

  173. "...the issue isn't whether Hamas behaves badly..."

    Hm. Kinda makes it sound like something on the order of Girls Gone Wild.

  174. What do you suggest, Ash, to get Hamas to change their ways?

    Remember, you're up against the koran, the Hamas Charter, and crucifixtion.

  175. It's not exactly like convincing a bunch of farmers to change their ways, and adopt erosion control for their own good, you know.

  176. Hamas Behaving Badly!

    Order yours now!

  177. Today is a very happy and proud moment for Blacks, and I am happy for them.

    The gays might be thinking they've been had.

    The unions are scratching their collective 85 I Q heads...

  178. A place to start is to allow Hamas to shoulder the burden of governing without the excuse of Israeli blockades, assassinations ect. Hamas will not be defeated by denying their governing role through winning democratic elections. Bulldozing homes will not encourage those whose homes have been bulldozed to cooperate with you. Nor will it encourage their friends. In fact, they will seek to do you harm.

  179. What, no post on The Inauguration? C'mon, where's the host, there has to be something?

  180. Yes, it is a happy day for blacks. Just wish they'd voted for some other black. But it's a big day for them, and all of us really, and to that extent, a good day for the country.

    Now, back to criticizing Obama....

  181. By the way, Thomas Sowell was saying Colin Powell could have been elected years ago, so this is not that big a deal, in that sense.

    It's true too. I would have voted for Powell back then. He had a red carpet laid out to the White House, but chose not to take it. Likes his privacy, I quess.

  182. You're back to the chicken and egg argument Ash. Any other approach?

  183. Ash said...
    WiO, the issue isn't whether Hamas behaves badly or not (they do behave badly) the issue is how to get them to change their behavior. Your way has been failing for years and will continue to fail.

    MY WAY?

    I'd cut off all electricity to the strip at once...

    I'd bulldoze a moat to separate the strip from Israel

    I'd cut off all crossing points...

    I'd respond to any and all attacks with disproportionate response

    I'd hit their civilians as they hit Israel....

    that's my way...

    trust MY way works...

  184. Like a mass conversion to environmentalism, or something.

    Something not tried before.

  185. "I am happy for them."

    Quite right.

    I add that, given the sheer quantity of shit on this administration's plate, I'll be happy if we can be happy for all of us for another, oh, 72 hours. Think of it as a state of mid-air suspension.

    Then it's time to put our trays in the upright position and make sure all articles are safely stowed beneath the seat in front of us.

    Hayden's "shot in the dark" is applicable in more than one area.

  186. Ash said...
    A place to start is to allow Hamas to shoulder the burden of governing without the excuse of Israeli blockades, assassinations ect.

    what utter nonsense...

    ash: Hamas will not be defeated by denying their governing role through winning democratic elections.

    are elections democratic that use a gun to murder your opponents?

    ash: Bulldozing homes will not encourage those whose homes have been bulldozed to cooperate with you.

    Homes that are bulldozed are those that have murdered israelis... they will not coop with JEWS, they seek to murder jews and are quite proud of it...

    ASH: Nor will it encourage their friends. In fact, they will seek to do you harm.

    LOL what a naive idiot you are ash...

  187. DOW Is Dropping Like A Plummet Now

    Sinks under 8,000.

    Obama has cost the country trillions.

    Dance the night away.

  188. Well now you just sound perfectly senile.

    C'mon, bob. Put down the World Net Daily for a minute. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

    (Doesn't work for my Aunt Mary, though. She'll go on when she has a mind to about Obama painting all the White House walls red. Then you just kind of have to "Mmmmm-hmmm" and find something else to do.)