“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gorbachev Says US Needs Reconstruction

America is in urgent need of its own 'perestroika' and its days as the world’s superpower have ended, according to former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.


America is in urgent need of its own 'perestroika', says

By Amanda Andrews
Last Updated: 7:08PM GMT 12 Mar 2009

“America needs perestroika right now. I did a lecture in the US and said the country needs its own perestroika and I got a 10 minute standing ovation,” said the man whose own policies helped trigger the collapse of the Soviet Union. “
(President) Obama’s proposals will be bigger than perestroika. I want to wish success to Obama and his Cabinet, because
the problems he has to deal with are not easy ones.”

The Soviet Union’s own perestroika - which means reconstruction in Russian - was adopted by Mr Gorbachev in an effort
to reform the Soviet Union and prevent its collapse. However, the former Soviet leader underestimated the power of the
nationalist forces he unleashed by loosening the grip of Moscow’s central command on the sprawling Soviet empire.
President Obama has arrived in the White House during the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and, according to Mr
Gorbachev, this is not a crisis that the US can fix on its own.

“Everyone is used to America as the shepherd that tells everyone what to do,” Mr Gorbachev said on a visit to London
with Alexander Lebedev, the new majority owner of the London Evening Standard newspaper.

“But this period has already ended. That’s why there must be solidarity and partnerships. One single country can never
rule the whole world,” he said.

His comments come before a critical G20 summit in London next month which will see the governments of the world’s
major economies come together in a renewed effort to fix the financial crisis.

Mr Gorbachev said the world needs to find “a new model”, and major changes are needed to the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), the World Bank and a string of other international institutions.

He added that there has been “excessive consumption” in recent years and the world’s biggest issue is the large divide
between rich and poor. Mr Gorbachev said he has not met President Obama, but hopes to on an upcoming visit to
Washington with Mr Lebedev, with whom he runs a political party.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s handling of the financial crisis also won support from Mr Gorbachev as he criticised the
Conservatives’ response to the downturn.

Mr Gorbachev - who spent Wednesday night with former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a concert to
raise money for the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Gorbachev Foundation - attacked the Conservative party’s focus on

“Maybe the Conservative party is not ready to give up the methods they have used – such as Reaganomics. They need to
change their mind set first. Maybe they [the Conservative Government] would like to take the initiative but they’re not
ready for that yet,” he said.

The former Soviet leader and Mr Lebedev last year set up a new opposition party in Russia with a plan to field candidates
in the next parliamentary elections in 2011. Mr Gorbachev said today that he does believe that Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin poses a threat to democracym saying “Putin also wants to solve the problems of democracy – and he’d like
to do it as quickly as possible.”

Mr Gorbachev - who co-owns Novaya Gazeta, a “free” newspaper in Russia with Mr Lebedev - spoke of the lack of press
freedom in Russia, with the major television channels under state control.

“Russia’s had less time to build up its democracy. We’ve got to get through this journey step-by-step. We need to change
the mind set and psychology within Russia,” he said.


  1. The world would be better off if Gorby instead of Putin were boss. Also, some dead journalists and others would still be with us.

    Is Gorby A Chrisitan?

    or, Isn't He?

    or, maybe, 'on the way'?

  2. I much prefer Max Keiser's prescription for the criminal class:


    Table III: Economic Freedom Ranking

    State Economic Freedom

    1. South Dakota 0.385
    2. New Hampshire 0.345
    3. Colorado 0.337
    4. North Dakota 0.315
    5. Idaho 0.257
    6. Georgia 0.253
    7. Texas 0.225
    8. Tennessee 0.225
    9. Missouri 0.210
    10. Alabama 0.200
    11. Arizona 0.190
    12. Iowa 0.177
    13. Virginia 0.175
    14. Utah 0.164
    15. Michigan 0.161
    16. Indiana 0.159
    17. Oklahoma 0.144
    18. Kansas 0.126
    19. Pennsylvania 0.120
    20. Wyoming 0.098
    21. Montana 0.096
    22. South Carolina 0.062
    23. Nevada 0.058
    24. Delaware 0.052
    25. Florida 0.047
    26. North Carolina 0.041
    27. Nebraska 0.036
    28. Louisiana -0.012
    29. Illinois -0.025
    30. Mississippi -0.032
    31. Minnesota -0.075
    32. Ohio -0.081
    33. Kentucky -0.086
    34. Maryland -0.110
    35. Wisconsin -0.111
    36. Oregon -0.113
    37. Massachusetts -0.133
    38. Connecticut -0.142
    39. Arkansas -0.148
    40. West Virginia -0.177
    41. Washington -0.219
    42. Rhode Island -0.267
    43. New Mexico -0.288
    44. Hawaii -0.295
    45. Vermont -0.310
    46. New Jersey -0.337
    47. Alaska -0.343
    48. California -0.351
    49. Maine -0.406
    50. New York -0.596

    Table IV: Personal Freedom Ranking

    State Personal Freedom

    1. Alaska 0.272
    2. Maine 0.193
    3. New Mexico 0.138
    4. Arkansas 0.125
    5. Texas 0.121
    6. Missouri 0.110
    7. Oregon 0.104
    8. Idaho 0.100
    9. Virginia 0.100
    10. Wyoming 0.095
    11. Vermont 0.093
    12. Arizona 0.089
    13. New Hampshire 0.087
    14. Utah 0.086
    15. Kansas 0.085
    16. Colorado 0.084
    17. West Virginia 0.080
    18. Tennessee 0.059
    19. Indiana 0.049
    20. Michigan 0.045
    21. Montana 0.029
    22. Mississippi 0.027
    23. Florida 0.022
    24. South Dakota 0.007
    25. Iowa 0.006
    26. Kentucky 0.003
    27. Oklahoma -0.002
    28. Hawaii -0.009
    29. Pennsylvania -0.018
    30. North Carolina -0.022
    31. Minnesota -0.036
    32. Nevada -0.045
    33. North Dakota -0.047
    34. Nebraska -0.055
    35. Washington -0.055
    36. Delaware -0.060
    37. California -0.063
    38. Connecticut -0.082
    39. Wisconsin -0.089
    40. Louisiana -0.098
    41. South Carolina -0.102
    42. Georgia -0.106
    43. Alabama -0.107
    44. Massachusetts -0.109
    45. New Jersey -0.120
    46. Ohio -0.124
    47. Rhode Island -0.163
    48. New York -0.188
    49. Illinois -0.213
    50. Maryland -0.294

  4. Pink Dolphin Spotted

    Actually an albino, but really is pink colored.

  5. M2M
    You cannot have it both ways. The Senate is trying to pretend it is going to keep fair value accounting in a somehow friendlier form, but friendlier to the industry means the financial statements are no longer reliable. They cannot be trusted. Anyone who thinks so needs to recall the example I keep harping on, Lehman. Even with mark to market accounting, Lehman delivered $100 billion in losses to unsecured creditors on a $600 billion and change balance sheet. That level of misvaluation should be impossible (absent exempted categories like Level 3 assets, which are openly phony baloney). If this wasn't accounting fraud (and I am inclined to believe it was) then the existing rules were so loose you could steer a supertanker through them. Lehman says there is ALREADY too much play in the existing rules, not too little.

    You cannot be half pregnant here. Either you have objective standards or you don't. The notion that subjective valuations will be permitted and they won't be abused is utter fantasy.

    Per Max Keiser's prescription for the criminal class: decapitalize and decapitate.

  6. Mat, have you read "The Promised Land" by Mary Antin?

  7. Not so fast, Gorby!

    Obama says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Confronting misgivings, even in his own party, President Barack Obama mounted a stout defense of his blueprint to overhaul the economy Thursday, declaring the national crisis is "not as bad as we think" and his plans will speed recovery.

    Challenged to provide encouragement as the nation's "confidence builder in chief," Obama said Americans shouldn't be whipsawed by bursts of either bad or good news and he was "highly optimistic" about the long term.

  8. Damn you, al-Bob!
    Do you intentionally ignore my every post?
    ...posted the Pink Dolphin 3 days ago.

  9. albob's retention level is a tad low, doug.

  10. Don't get too high on your surf board there Dougo. You did that to one of my posts once. I have never quite recovered.

  11. I reposted it for Rat's benefit. I was hoping maybe the contemplation of a pink dolphin might snap him out of this godawful deadfanny searchingsearchingsearchingsearching for some misperceived wrong in someelse on which to take out his own dissatisfaction with life.

  12. Anna Nicole Smith Back In The News

    The sordid tale that keeps on telling. Lawyer Stern and doctors charged with feeding her drug habit.

  13. Beware of a US T bill bubble going *pop*!

    "China’s Leader Says He Is ‘Worried’ Over U.S. Treasuries

    Published: March 13, 2009

    BEIJING — The Chinese premier Wen Jiabao expressed concern on Friday about the safety of China’s $1 trillion investment in American government debt, the world’s largest such holding, and urged the Obama administration to provide assurances that its investment would keep its value in the face of a global financial crisis.


    But economists have cited several possible threats, led by the prospect that the dollar’s value will depreciate over time, lowering the value of China’s holdings.

    “In the short run, the dollar is appreciating” because global investors see the American currency as a safe haven at a time of crisis, Bai Chong-En, who heads the economics department at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said in a telephone interview. “But we don’t know what’s going to happen in the long run. If the American stimulus package is financed mainly by borrowing, then that may affect the future value of Treasury securities.”

    Some specialists also say that high inflation could erode the dollar’s value. Finally, some believe that China’s investment in American debt is now so vast that, should it need foreign exchange in some emergency, it would be unable to sell its Treasury securities without flooding the market and driving down their price.

    “The only possibility, really, is that China will have to hold these bonds until maturity,” said Shen Minggao, the chief economist at Caijing, a Beijing-based business magazine. “If you start to sell those bonds, the market may collapse.” "

  14. Man, that was worth it for the responses!

    Pink Elephant Obviously comes next.

  15. BEIJING — The Chinese premier Wen Jiabao expressed concern on Friday about the safety of China’s $1 trillion investment in American government debt, the world’s largest such holding, and urged the Obama administration to provide assurances that its investment would keep its value in the face of a global financial crisis.


    Americans wake up to the issue of the quality of Chinese products, many now demand refunds for shoddy made toys, electronics and clothes and many corporations now are thinking of trade rights and copy right infringements by China...

    Also the US Government now wants China to pay for all the nuclear & scientific information stolen over the past 20 years...

    Also China is to be charged with yuan suppression of value...

    Becareful China that box of worms you are opening can bite you in the ass.....

  16. Geithner boosts NASA funds to probe cosmos for bail-out cash

    Just a day after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed increasing U.S. contributions to his former employer, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by $100 billion, he offered another plan to increase funding for NASA space probes to search for life, and sources of bail-out cash, on other planets.

    "Let's face it," said an unnamed Treasury source, "Earth is too big to fail. We can all boost funding to the IMF, but at some point that's like scooping water out of a bucket to fill the same bucket. The fundamental problem is that Earth is a closed economic system. To rescue the global economy we need help that's literally out of this world."

    Under the terms of the so-called Geithner Intergalactic Plan, NASA would launch dozens of unmanned space probes each month to "the four corners of the cosmos", each one bearing a kind of universal ATM device.

  17. JamesonLewis3rd:

    "This common-sense approach to science is indicative of the true wonders of immorality and its ability to project itself.

    These men are visionary geniuses taking us to the next plane."

  18. 40. Unsk:

    If anyone is still wondering whether the Obama really is interested in making America a better place, check out our Messiah’s newest bright shiny program initiative: ” hey let’s not fund Veteran’s health care anymore”.

    So let me get this straight; you serve your country heroically in battle, and come back with some not so good, or really bad wounds from battle. As a thank you, Obama now wants you or your employer to fund your health care costs, often viciously expensive ones at that due to those battle wounds, for the rest of your life. Veterans with severe war wounds will become an economic pariah. Now that the hope and change we voted for! Not.

    The enlisted will leave the service in droves. The Obama wants to punish our brave soldiers for their service, not thank them.

    This Obama dude is one dangerously cruel, evil, sick puppy who wants to wreck this country.
    Anybody got a link to that?

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Senators slam plan for wounded vets to use private insurance

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

    Lawmakers say they'd reject a proposal to make veterans pay for treatment of war wounds with private insurance.

    But the proposal would be "dead on arrival" if it's sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.

    Murray used that blunt terminology when she told Shinseki that the idea would not be acceptable and would be rejected if formally proposed. Her remarks came during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs about the 2010 budget.

  21. No, I haven't read it, Bob. But I did find it online.

  22. FICO President: 'Worst to come' for Mortgage Crisis

    12 to 18 months still to go.

  23. Ashley is not a psycho
    Ashley is not a psycho
    Ashley is not a psycho
    Ashley is not a psycho
    Ashley is not a psycho
    Ashley is not a psycho

    But of course she is.

  24. Feeling a little rattled are you mattie?

  25. must suck to have been bested by a potato!

  26. Is that what you are, a potato?

  27. yeah, salt of the earth - a tater, that's all.

  28. much can be discovered through my profile

  29. So you're a potato. Anything else we need to know about you?

  30. It's like deja vu all over again:

  31. Well, bob, it is the joy with which you relish the financial demise of folks in CA and NV that makes me smile when the good news from Idaho comes across the wire.

    Idaho, now one of the top 10 foreclosure States, right up there with us other high flyers.

    Now that Mr Obama is giving Stock Market advise to buy in, advise that led the latest 10% gain in the Dow, we will have to come to terms with one of two options.

    1. Obama is a superb market timer and nailed it, with his latest buy advisory.
    2. Obama's statements are market movers, with patriotic New Democrats buying into the Market at Obama's urging.

    Could be #3, though, Obama has little to claim responsibility for, either in the markets recent recovery, nor in its'previous 11 month plunge.
    Number 3 has been discounted by most of us, here at the EB, so, it's gotta be 1 or 2.

  32. Number 3 has been discounted by most of us, here at the EB, so, it's gotta be 1 or 2.

    Or, you might want read up on the 'plunge protection team'.

  33. .. might want ^to read up on..

  34. That's timing, to a tee.
    mat, knowing that there would be results from Government actions.

    The President advising any of those that cared to listen on how to cash in. The President is trying to spread the wealth, even up the knowledge base, if what you think happened, did.

    So if it is the 'plunge protection team' the President moved the market with both 1 and 2.
    The 'plunge protection team' being loyal and true New Democrats, I'm sure.

  35. That's timing, to a tee.

    Yes, like manufacturing and propping GM stock rallies. And now with GE. Etc.

  36. Deja Vu, Part 2:

  37. The Looting of America's Coffers

    And the corruptokrat lawmakers and supposed law enforcers are just as guilty as the looters. They are all part of this corrupt system, as is the passive general American population that allows this corrupt system to remain alive.

  38. They're not enemy combatants, but they will still be held

    similarly, spending equals investment

  39. Nice frontal, Ash. It's what I've imagined Mat must look like with both eyes open, and angry:)

    Anna Nicole Smith Used to report on her. She's the one married old man Marshall for the money. Didn't do her much good, really.

  40. I've never heard you do anything else:)

  41. Just imagine when I'm really angry:

  42. That's one cool down country ruralsexual spudstud, for sure. I know how he feels. They just plopped us in the potato cellar. Leave us there till we sprout. Country bummer.

  43. Beppe Grillo

    We all need to be Beppe Grillo.

  44. RWE presents a portrait of the innocent victims of the
    "The Wealth Destroying Housing Debacle."

    40. RWE:

    What is Occupation No. 1:

    “I question WHY WHY WHY would someone 67 be invested in ANYTHING other than utility stocks, CD’s and T-bills….”

    Recall that these were people of means. Madoff did not have telemarketers call all and sundray., He was only interested in the big fish.

    A little item in the local paper here: “The new face of bankruptcy. A woman in her 70’s who bought SEVEN houses as investments.”

    Unfortunately, Madoff’s little big scam fell apart because of the big big scam created by idiots like the local woman who bought SEVEN houses as what she no doubt was sure were 20% a year real return sure fire bulletproof low tax investments.

    No wonder we have 6 brand new and never sold houses just on my street, our county has had 14,000 foreclosures in the last 2 years, just one local city has 3,900 empty houses, and overall we have at least a 10-15 year supply of housing built up. Madoff was a piker in comparison.

    41. Doug
    Madoff Had Accomplices: His Victims

    42. Doug:

    Sir, have you no shame?
    You’ve lowered yourself to beating up on innocent little old ladies?
    This woman has kids and grandkids, dependent on her conservative investments in Real Estate.
    (Guaranteed riskless by no less than Fred Head, Mr. Franklin Raines)

    This is a woman who has given her all for not one, but TWO generations of CHILDREN.
    Why you choose this saint to project your misogynistic white male hatred onto is beyond me and is truly beyond the pale.

  45. (Wealth was destroyed by the Debt Death Spiral Scam)

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  47. Where does it end?

  48. U.S. Abandons Detainee Label but Policy Is Largely Intact

    While the U.S. will not use “enemy combatant” in reference to Guantánamo Bay detainees, it confirmed its authority to detain them.

    The Obama administration on Friday said it was abandoning the use in court proceedings of the Bush administration’s term “enemy combatant” as it argues for the continued detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, symbolically separating itself from Bush detention policies.

    But in a filing in federal court, the Justice Department argued that the president had expansive authority to detain terror suspects there without criminal charges, much as the Bush administration asserted. It provided a broad definition of those who can be held, signaling that, as long as Guantanamo remained open, the new administration would aggressively defend its ability to hold some detainees there.

    “The president has the authority to detain persons” who planned or aided the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as those “who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al Qaeda forces,” said the filing in some 40 habeas corpus cases of detainees’ challenging their imprisonment.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Geithner takes beating in hearing on Obama budget
    Conrad said he has been beset by senators on the floor of the chamber, and they have not been heaping praise on Obama’s budget plan. In fact, they are lodging threats.

    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who is chairman of the Budget Committee, had a friendly chat with Geithner at the dais after the conclusion of the two-hour grilling. Geithner exited the hearing room, then Conrad leveled with reporters.

    “There are so many things in it where I have colleagues coming up to me and saying, ‘If this is in, I’m out,’ ” Conrad confessed. “And I’ve heard that on both sides.”

    Conrad, who will be a chief architect of whatever compromise is crafted, has already made public his belief that the budget in its present form does not have enough support to pass the Senate, where it is difficult to stroll down any corridor without hearing either a Democratic or Republican declaring their firm opposition to one of its provisions.

    One of the biggest nonstarters for a group of senators in both parties is Obama’s “cap and trade” proposal, which would require polluters such as coal power plants and manufacturing companies to pay for their carbon emissions. Such a plan would cause much higher energy prices, particularly in regions that derive most of their power from coal-fired plants.

    Conrad is also skeptical about Obama’s plan to fund a major health care reform initiative in an effort to stave off massive costs that will burden the government in future years.

    “Is this really a move to save money or is it just going to cost more money?” Conrad said.

  51. By a miracle of language, we have no more 'enemy combatants'. Don't know what they are now, but they're not 'enemy combatants'. Listless youths, I quess, even though some are quite old.