“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, April 05, 2009

...'no risk of Iranian attack... no need for the missile shield facilities in Europe" -President Obama

Barack Obama delivers missile shield warning to Russia

Options for missile shield project in the Czech Republic and Poland set out by Barack Obama in Prague

Ian Traynor, Europe editor, Sunday 5 April 2009 13.35 BST

Barack Obama went to the heart of Europe today to deliver a pointed, if carefully calibrated message to Russia - that the Pentagon would press ahead, if need be, with its contentious missile shield project in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Plans for missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station south of Prague are adamantly opposed by Moscow, which refuses to accept the US argument that the project is aimed not at Russia, but at a potential ballistic missile attack from Iran.

In his first presidential statement on the controversy, in the Czech capital, Prague, Obama built in caveats to his commitments, saying the missile shield would need to be "proven and cost effective".

He also declared that if there was no risk of Iranian attack, there would be no need for the missile shield facilities in Europe.

The outgoing Czech government is keen to secure the Pentagon radar station and seized on Obama's speech as a green light after weeks of anxiety that the White House was ditching this part of George Bush's legacy.

The Poles, by contrast, are not so eager to play host to silos of 10 missile interceptors. They agreed to the US installation in order to be a loyal ally and in return for US promises of beefed up Polish air defences, including Patriot missiles, as security against Russia.

"The driving force for missile defence in Europe will be removed" if there was no perceived nuclear or ballistic missile threat from Iran, Obama said.

Gary Samore, the new arms control adviser to the president, said the North Korean missile launch showed the need for continuing with the missile shield.

"The North Korean test illustrates the importance of continuing to develop missile defence in order to protect the country and our allies in Asia," he said

But the European sites play no role here. The Pentagon's other two missile shield sites, in California and Alaska, are intended to intercept potential attacks from or in Asia.


  1. Not bad Mr.President, not bad at all. Put the piece in play and see what Ivan does.

    However, if he does not play, you just bought missile defense, lock, stock, flint and barrel baby!

  2. Not really, duece.

    There are enough caveats in his phrasing to do whatever he decides to do, and still maintain credibility.

    "Proven and ocst effective"

    Even if he did not deploy the System in Europe, that would not kill the Program out of hand. The Alaskan facilities could still be built, to protect US from lil' Kim.

    The Poles will be the weak link that the Russians target with political action. I think we can count on large public demonstrations, there in Poland, similar to those that accompanied the Pershing II deployments, back in the day.

    I'd look for the Polish Government to back out, before the deed is done.

    There are still a multitude of cut outs that have to be navigated, before the inteceptors are battle ready and able to launch.

  3. Gee, bob, at least we're still ahead of the curve

    Look Who's Politicizing Justice Now
    By Edward Whelan
    Sunday, April 5, 2009;



    NY Post

    MINNEAPOLIS - One by one, 18 months ago, they began disappearing: Young boys, academic overachievers, the caretakers in large families, responsible and conscientious all. A few months later, three or four, from St. Paul, Minn., like the others, simultaneously went missing. Then, last Nov. 4, seven or eight young men - whose families assumed they were out in the streets, celebrating the election of Barack Obama - vaporized.

    In all, 20 to 30 youths, all US citizens, have been taken to Somalia. The FBI says they will not release the names of the missing, and they will not comment on anything having to do with the investigation. Nor will they confirm the grand jury investigation rumored to be taking place in Minnesota right now. But Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, recently said that the radicalization of young Somali-American men is "a potential threat to this country." The worry - in the Somali-American community and the FBI - is that these missing boys may return to the US and be activated here, as sleeper cells.


    These are the new Lost Boys of Somalia: The first wave, largely with the help of Lutheran and Catholic charities, relocated to America in the '90s, when Somalia was in the throes of civil war. These were families fleeing rape and genocide, living in abject poverty in refugee camps until they could be placed somewhere in America.

    There are several areas of the US populated with Somalis, among them Boston, Arlington, Va., Portland, Maine, Columbus, Ohio, and the Cedar-Riverside area of St. Paul, Minn., which houses the largest population of Somalis outside from Somalia itself. There are between 40,000 and 70,000, though no one has done a full census.

  5. As for the NorK rocket, while the NorKs claim its satellite is in orbit, broadcasting hymns in honor of lil' Kim, the US military has another perspective.

    ... the US military reported that the rocket’s payload failed to enter orbit and fell into the sea. “Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan,” said a statement by the North American Aerospace Defence Command and US Northern Command.
    “The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean. No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan.”

    Never made it into orbit, we are still safe and secure from lil' Kim, even without SDI, for now.

    If he were to fire a Scud from a frieghter, SDI wouldn't be there, regardless.

  6. The Master of Misdirection
    How Obama maintains his popularity.

    by Fred Barnes

  7. Now the reports are that Obama is channeling Reagan.

    RAGUE, April 5 -- In a speech grimly punctuated by current events, President Obama Sunday called for a world without nuclear weapons shortly after North Korea defied global warnings to fire a long-range rocket.

    Speaking in front of the Prague Castle just hours after the North Korean launch, Obama vowed to immediately seek U.S. ratification of a ban on nuclear testing, convene a summit in Washington to stop the spread of nuclear material within four years and create a nuclear fuel bank to allow peaceful development of nuclear power.

    "I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," Obama said to a crowd of about 20,000 packed into the historic square in the Czech Republic's capital city. "This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change."

  8. All Americans have exploited the rest of the world and the American financial-political elite has exploited all other Americans. We are now “all in this together” suffering the impact of the Reagan Financial Revolution in Irresponsibility and Deregulation which formed the natural foundation for the Neo-Con conspiracy to replace the Cold War with American Empire.


    Whether the current recession will provoke us all into biting the bullet or trap us in another era of rightwing dictatorship like that provoked by the Great Depression is the challenge we face. While "muddling through" is theoretically a third possibility, it seems unlikely for two highly complex sets of reasons:

    1. the severity and broad base (failed financial system, collapsing house mortgage system, rapidly spreading unemployment; in the U.S. and everywhere else) of the recession;

    2. the severity, durability (seven years after 9/11 nothing has been resolved), and broad base (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, with India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia waiting off-stage) of the Western confrontation with activist Islam.

    Militarism and Financial Excess

  9. Europeans Offer Few New Troops for Afghanistan

    As expected, European allies agreed to provide up to 5,000 new troops for Afghanistan, the White House said Saturday. But 3,000 of them are to be deployed only temporarily to provide security for the August elections in Afghanistan.

    A further 1,400 to 2,000 soldiers will be sent to form embedded training teams for the Afghan Army and the police.

    Mr. Obama is raising the number of American troops this year to about 68,000 from the current 38,000, which will significantly Americanize the war. The new strategy, which the Europeans have pressed for, is aimed at creating larger and better-trained Afghan security forces that can defend the country and allow the West to leave.

    Much of Mr. Obama’s Afghanistan strategy review, which he formally presented to NATO leaders this weekend, reflects the view of a number of administration officials, particularly Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., that the United States should set limited, achievable goals in Afghanistan.

    “No one will say this publicly, but the true fact is that we are all talking about our exit strategy from Afghanistan,” a senior European diplomat said Saturday. “We are getting out. It may take a couple of years, but we are all looking to get out.”

  10. Feel Like Getting Nasty?

    The G20 wants international regulation that will export their mistakes to the entire planet.

    By Mark Steyn

    During the Obama administration’s foray to London this last week, officials provided a special telephone number to journalists interested in discussing foreign-policy issues in an “on-the-record briefing call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones.”

    Unfortunately, as part of the curious run of bad luck currently afflicting our new Secretary of State, upon dialing the number the gentlemen of the press were greeted by a honey-voiced seductress, presumably not Secretary Clinton, offering them “phone sex” and seeking their credit-card number if they “feel like getting nasty.”

    No, it’s not a White House April Fool’s gag. This was April 2nd.

  11. Well, we all hate “the rich,” don’t we? Last week, David Paterson, the governor of New York, said that if he’d known his latest tax increase would persuade Rush Limbaugh to sell his Manhattan apartment and leave the city, he’d have raised taxes earlier. Ha-ha. Very funny. In New York City, as Mayor Bloomberg has pointed out, the wealthiest 1 percent contribute 50 percent of municipal revenue. How tiny a number of people does Governor Paterson have to drive out before it causes significant shortfalls in the public coffers?


    No, but the world’s governments have decided to focus on irrelevant scapegoats. In the current crisis, Japan, Germany, and Italy (plus Russia) are in net population decline that’s only going to accelerate in the years ahead. So, unlike the U.S., they can’t run up the national debt and stick it to their kids and grandkids, because they don’t have any kids and grandkids to stick it to. If New York is running out of rich people, Germany is running out of people, period. The Chinese and other buyers of Western debt know that. If you’re an investor and you’re not tracking GDP versus median age in the world’s major economies, you’re going to lose a lot of money.

  12. US bond yields were higher as stronger equity markets saw risk appetite increase and the curve steepened as markets refocused on another big upcoming weak of US government debt issuance.


    The Australian Government and Australia's four major banks have announced a plan to provide temporary relief to mortgage holders who lose their jobs.


    Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke: The Federal Reserve will make responsible use of all of its tools to stabilize financial markets and institutions, to promote the extension of credit to creditworthy borrowers, and to help build a foundation for economic recovery.

    US Treasuries Retreat

  13. Gary Samore, the new arms control adviser to the president, said the North Korean missile launch showed the need for continuing with the missile shield.

    Well, you nailed that one, Deuce, ol boy.

  14. ..not basketball.

    Nor, Politics.

  15. Czechs lived under a Soviet-imposed regime until the so-called Velvet Revolution forced communists from power in 1989. Czechs also have suffered from the aggression of others, said Art Schankler, an American banker living in Prague.

    "The Czechs around me seemed a little skeptical," said Schankler. "They've heard a lot of talk about disarmament before."

    In his speech, Obama acknowledged that another call for a weapons ban could be greeted by cynicism in a world accustomed to disappointment. "I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down," he said.

    Nuclear Weapons

  16. Lest we forget our lad and lassies across the water, policing Iraq.

    The link to any of Sunday's news offerings are available here, at hte

    Sunday, 05 April 2009
    Improving Schools in Zaggurbanya village (Tuz)

    Al Rega students receive much needed supplies (Tikirit)

    MND-N Soldier Killed During Operations (Tikrit)

    Bara’ia families receive food, water and farming supplies (Tikrit)

    Tuz reconciliation offers fresh start in Tuz (Tuz)

    MND-B Soldier charged in death of contractor (Baghdad)

    Iraqi SWAT detains two suspects wanted for ‘aiding, abetting’ (Tikrit)

    Multiple contingency operating locations closed or turned over in Anbar (Anbar)

    Basrah’s ISOF Soldiers hone skills with urban assault training (Basrah)

    Final SoI transfer in Northern Iraq (Tikrit)

    City council looking to the future (Kirkuk)

    IA receives step-by-step instruction at FOB Cedar

    I Corps Soldiers relieve Fort Bragg troops (Baghdad)

    Suspected criminal arrested in Hurriyah (Baghdad)

    Fallujah SWAT arrests terrorist suspect (Fallujah)

    First Course prepares Iraqi Commanders for Battle (Taji)

    MNF-W Marine dies in non-combat related incident

    Iraqi Flight Surgeons Step on to World Stage

  17. FWIW,
    I gave 'Rat an ht for his Napalitono catch, as did Larsen on following it up.
    It being the subject of the latest BC post two days later.

  18. Well, the Obama gun hystics have cost 3 policemen their lives, wonder who else theu'll motivate to shoot at policemen or National Guardsmen?

    Gunmen Kills Three Pittsburgh Police Officers


    A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said.

    Friends said 23 year-old Richard Poplawski feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

    Three officers were killed.

    Police planned to release more details at a 3 p.m. news conference Saturday.

    Poplawski was arrested after a several-hour standoff.

    One witness reported hearing hundreds of shots.

  19. The court upheld a January 2009 ruling by the Egyptian Supreme Court in favor of the sales, a ruling that was later overturned by the Administrative Court. The court argued that the export of gas fell solely under the jurisdiction of the state and neither the courts nor the State Council could rule on it.


    As the case wound its way through the Egyptian courts, gas deliveries to Israel continued normally, although at a reduced rate. East Mediterranean Gas Co. (EMG) currently provides 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22), two-thirds of the amount stipulated in the contract between the companies signed in 2005.

    Egyptian businessman Hussain Salem owns 28% of EMG, the Egyptian National Gas Company owns 10%, Thai energy giant PTT Public Co. Ltd. owns 25%, Joseph Maiman owns 20% through Ampal-American Israel Corporation (Nasdaq: AMPL; TASE:AMPL) and his private company Merhav MNF Ltd., and Israeli institutional investors own 4.4%.

    Gas Exports to Israel

  20. A Deserving Immigrant May Get Sent Back

    Wish somebody here could marry this woman, or something, so she doesn't have to return.

  21. The Pontiff asserted: "We cannot resign ourselves to such tragedies that, unfortunately, repeat themselves time and time again!

    The phenomenon's dimensions make coordinated strategies between the European Union and African countries more and more urgent, as well as the adoption of adequate humanitarian measures to impede migrants having recourse to lawless traffickers.

    He concluded, "As I pray for the victims, that the Lord welcome them into his peace, I would like to observe that this problem, subsequently aggravated by the global crisis, will be solved only when African populations can relieve themselves from suffering and wars with the help of the international community."

    Immigrant Deaths at Sea

  22. And here, bob, I thought you were for building the fence, stopping the influx pf visaless immigrants and for those without visas, sending them ALL back, ASAP.

    But a pretty face appears, and ol' bob's heart melts, and starts looking for an exception to the rules.

  23. Local students brought into the country illegally as children now have a reason to dream about becoming U.S. citizens even though it may not happen this year.


    The bill was introduced late last month in the Senate and House of Representatives by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; and Reps. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.


    "Universities are in trouble," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that opposes the Dream Act. "How can you have legislation that not only takes seats away from American students, but subsidizes illegal immigrant students education?"

    Undocumented Students

  24. Of course, Rat; only the Stupidest culture would throw the "pretty ones" back.

  25. Former CEO Wagoner was forced out last week as President Obama's auto task force rejected new restructuring proposals put forward by the bailed-out carmaker, and issued a 60-day deadline for Henderson's new team to present another plan.

    'There's a range of options that could work,' Mr Geithner told CBS television, asked if bankruptcy was now the government's preferred option for GM.

    'We're open to what's going to work. We're prepared to be helpful and to help that,' the Treasury chief said.

    GM Re-invention

  26. Top 3 most expensive catastrophes in history:

    1. '08 financial meltdown - $800 bil in first 2 months.

    2. Chernobyl - $200 bil.

    3. Columbia - $13 bil.

  27. "'There's a range of options that could work,' Mr Geithner told CBS television, asked if bankruptcy was now the government's preferred option for GM.

    'We're open to what's going to work. We're prepared to be helpful and to help that,' the Treasury chief said.
    Well, I just hope GM does not need any tires changed or sparkplugs replaced, 'cause littld Tim would be out of his depths, as probly would the Doper in Cheif.

    ...wonder how many in the entire admin know how to do anything real?

  28. How much does a Carrier Cost?

    Was reading about a recon satellite that costs more than a carrier.
    Be a hell of an expensive abortion.

    "Ok, push the red button, we're fucked."

  29. I knew you'd come up with that, Rat.

    That's why I put the word deserving in there.

    Ol' Rat's radar, it never does turn off!

    The only man totally without hypocrisy I've ever know:)

  30. That bias has even carried over into the classroom in a few other states, where laws limit the amount of time students can spend in English-as-a-second-language classes.

    The United States has been a beacon of opportunity for immigrants looking for a better life, legally or illegally. While not glossing over concerns about illegal immigration, the public education effort for Hispanics at Memphis City Schools is helping Hispanic immigrants on important fronts.

    These students get a needed leg up academically and the program gives their parents an opportunity to reach their full potential as productive members of our community.

    Help for Immigrants

  31. Electric and telephone service was said to be disrupted.

    Guido Bertolaso, described by ANSA as the head of civil protection, has been in contact with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as well as with local officials.

    The quake occurred at 3:32 a.m. local time -- 9:32 p.m. EDT, Sunday -- less than six hours after a separate quake hit northern Italy, CNN reported. At about 10:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. EDT) Sunday, a 4.6-magnitude quake struck in northern Italy, the USGS said.

    6 Dead

  32. 4.6 and 6 dead:
    Musta been built by 'Rat's relatives.