“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."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mountain Warfare 101

The Taliban are said to be within 70 miles of Islamabad. Pakistan is preparing to take on the Taliban, but they will not be doing that in the flat lands around Islamabad. The Taliban are men of the mountains. That is where they fight. That is where they retreated to when they confronted the Americans after 911. That is where they defeated the Russians.

This video clip has an edge to it and talks naively about an electronic fence, but it does give an insight into the difficulties involved with mountain warfare.


  1. Bridgeport, Calif. - Tucked at the base of a small mountain in the eastern Sierras is a makeshift paddock where a handful of US Marine Corps instructors reach deep into the history of warfare to give their charges a critical skill when they deploy to Afghanistan: how to pack a mule.Fighting a high-tech war with a low tech mule

  2. Our people with our man in KabulI'm sorry, I'm feeling very comfortable with the mission.

  3. ...not feeling comfortable with the mission.

  4. Really, Whit:
    If you can't make up your mind, bite your tongue.
    We're not interested in your Schizophrenia!
    Horse Soldiers-
    Doug Stanton discusses Horse Soldiers:
    The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan. Listen -
    [T]his story is a bit like the Jetsons meet the Flintstones. These are the guys you don't see on the news...If you remember pictures of American servicemen on horseback riding in suglasses and scarves across their faces across the Afghan plain.
    They're US Special Forces...," says Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan.

  5. 'Rat may continue to mock, but they not only looked cool, they ruled!
    Towelheads, Raybans, and SUVs were also quiet cool.
    ...and much more effective than RA.

  6. Now He Has the HammerBarack Obama plays whack-a-mole with the wingnuts.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m currently working on yet another sequel to The Manchurian Candidate and I’ve come up with this crazy notion that, seven years after 9/11, the American people elected a man they had not even heard of a few years before, a man whose campaign was handled by a red-diaper baby, a man who was part Arab-African, the son of a Muslim, the circumstances of whose nativity are still unclear, whose college applications and transcripts have never been seen, who appears to have no friends from his days at Punahou, Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. Heck, Hussein even went to Georgetown and made them cover up Jesus. And yet the enchanted Washington press corps finds Michelle’s bare arms and the Obamas’ new puppy — oddly enough, named BO — of far more journalistic interest. Talk about the dogs that don’t bark in the nighttime, the daytime, or any time!

    Or, to put it another way, if BHO II actually were the nutbag Right’s worst nightmare, a crypto-Muslim Marxist bent on the destruction of the Principal Enemy, as our friends the Soviets used to call us, how would he act any different?

    One of the things we progressives have long relied on is conservatives’ sheer stupidity. In your effort to reach across the aisle and find bipartisan compromise, you literally cannot credit the evidence of your own senses — which is that, basically, we hate you and everything your country used to stand for, and we intend to effect “fundamental change,” just as Obama promised during the campaign. The president has realized that as long as he and his teleprompter make soothing centrist noises, there is literally nothing he can’t get away with, even when it directly contradicts the words coming out of his mouth.

  7. I believe that the left is in a state of suspended mesmerization.

  8. Well, the 113 is a terrible machine, for the mountains of Afghanistan.

    The Army will have to walk, not drive, if they want to take on the Taliban, on their own ground.

    The sensor security fence does not work on the US/Mexican border, the idea that anyone could build one and have it function, on the Aghan/Paki frontier is delusional, at best.

    I have never lambasted the horse mounted infantry, doug, not in this century, or the prebious two.

    From the look of the video, and the stories told, the US is tied to the roads, will not enter the mountains a foot. Just like city hunters that cruise the Highways, looking for deer and elk.

    Mostly, those hunters are out, to drink beer, shooting at road signs.

  9. The "Left" that you all discuss, is the "Center", now. No longer the "Left". The earth has shifted.

    That realization is the first part of the awakening that will be required before any conservation can flourish.

    Even duece advocates for more Leftist policies, from ny ideological perspective. He'd just like to see the collectivist agenda be better managed.

    rufus and bob, they support Federal lawlessness, for our own good, of course. As "Leftist" as can be, when they then demand that the lawlwssness not even be investigated, but that we turn the page before reading it.

    Siding with Obama, on that score.

    Couldn't be much more "Leftist" than that, could they?

  10. I always being led to believe that Law and Order were cornerstones to conserving liberty and freedom.

    Until now.

  11. A Conservative, now that ideological player would demand that the Law be changed, that being how the Constitutional powers would best be conserved.

    But that position is not even considered, seriously, in DC. Even when the "Conservatives" were large and in charge, compassionately to be sure.

  12. Even tho W's paltry prescription plan was financially bankrupt at the moment of delivery, Rufus has faith that Obama Magic will make healthcare for all a financial possibility, even after hearing the Democrat lady brag about putting the private insurance businesses out of business. enterprise which insured healthcare for TWO HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION! big thing, Barry's plan will put that to shame.

  13. We all are Socialists, now, 'Rat.
    Pass the Koolaide,

  14. - UAW Chief Says Union Will Sell Its Chrysler StockSTERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — The United Auto Workers union has no intention of keeping its 55 percent stake in the new Chrysler and will sell the shares to fund a trust that will take over retiree health care costs next year, the union's president said Monday.

  15. RWE:
    And he ain’t done yet.
    Can’t have unions forced to report how they spend their dues money, can we?
    No more sunshine on how worker dues are spent.

  16. There is no free banking system. It is a federally regulated system. The banking system is either liquified or cash starved by another federal agency, the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve does that in conjunction with the federal treasury by buying or selling federal bonds.

    The housing debacle started and was abetted by federal borrowing from foreign governments to pay for federal programs. It was abetted by federal guarantees and lending agencies.

    My recommendation was pragmatic, simple and elegant in that dropping all mortgage rates would be as affective as a tax decrease, stop the drop in house prices and would solidify consumer and lender balance sheets. It would stop federal slicing dicing and meddling.

    You may find solace in doctrine and political purity, I don't.

  17. Green Tea, doug, it is so much better for you, than Kool-Aid.

  18. No, duece, I see Taxes as being a Governmental responsiblilty. If the Government sees the need for lower taxes, it should lower them.

    It should not take authority for rewriting millions of contracts, shredding them, for the "Common Good". In an effort to obtain the benefits of a tax cut.

    That is takiing the Commerce Clause to even higher heights of power centalization, more so than ever before.

    The creation of the Federal Reserve was an abdication of Constitutional authority, by the Congress. It should take back the responsibility and authority that it was assigned. Leaving those areas for which it has no Constitutional mandate to the States and Individuals.

    But that is not the way of Washington's Federal Socialists operate.

    The pathway to a conservative revival, it is not through greater and "better" use of purloined athority.

  19. Obama's Economic Policy: Washington Knows Bestby Dick Morris.

    President Obama's vision of the future is, apparently, an economy guided, steered and - when the occasion demands - commanded by the federal government. Some of the companies will remain private. Washington will take others over. But all will look to the White House, as to an orchestra conductor, for signals as to how and when and where to proceed.

    This summary is the vision that emerges from the Chrysler bailout

    The unforeseen consequences of your mortgage proposal are staggering, duece.

    Makes the auto industry takeover minor, by comparison.

    You and Mr Obama share the same vison, an economy guided, steered and - when the occasion demands - commanded by the federal government.

    Little wonder then that he is so popular amongst the electorate.

  20. Companies will not look out for their shareholders or their employees or even their customers so much as watch the smoke signals from Washington to decide what to do. The markets won't control decisions. Washington will.

    The same balance of government control and nominal private ownership is evident in the mortgage rescue plan and the efforts to rekindle consumer lending. It will be manifest in the cap-and-trade legislation and in the priority that the administration will accord to green lending and job creation.

    The strong-arming that obviously led up to the Chrysler deal will also be typical of the Obama industrial policy. When the chips are down, JFK's pressure on U.S. Steel to lower its prices in 1962 will be the model for the Obama years. While terrorists need not fear any violation of their constitutional rights, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will not be so fortunate.

    At the core of the new policy will be the simple assumption that Washington knows best.

  21. At the core of the new policy will be the simple assumption that Washington knows best.

    There it is, the common thread, Washington knows best.

    duece and Obama are on the same page, there.

    The only differences, in the margins.

  22. If the Federal Reserve was a Governmental Agency, then the GAO could audit it, but it cannot.

    Want to see some transparency, really?

    Ron Paul’s Bill To Audit The Federal Reserve Now Has 112 Co-Sponsors
    By tmartin • April 29, 2009

    Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve (HR 1207) now has 112 co-sponsors, and the numbers keep growing!

    This is history in the making, and victory is within reach. Imagine what will happen if HR 1207, The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, comes up for vote in Congress! With 25% of Congress already co-sponsoring this bill, it has real potential to pass — BUT only if we educate and rally the people to support it and get our Congresspeople to put it to vote and pass it

    My Representitive, Mr Shadegg, is not on the list of sponsors, gonna have to drop him a snail mail, it counts for so much more.

  23. The first incremental step to controlling the Central Bank.

    The ability to audit the Rederal Reserve's books.


    There'd be real systematic change of direction.

    There begins the revival.

  24. "One way or another, the government usually runs the economy into the ground"

    - Dick Morris

  25. So, why should the federal government care who it is that sells us our cars? There are two rationales offered. First, to preserve an "American" auto industry. Second, to preserve "American" jobs.

    The proposed Chrysler restructuring gives the lie to both rationales.

    Under the Obama administration's proposal, Chrysler would, in essence, be given to Fiat, an Italian company, to operate.

    So, how is an Italian car manufacturer operating in Michigan any more "American" than a Japanese manufacturer operating in Kentucky?

    And why should the federal government give a market preference - through taxpayer financing and warrantee guarantees - to Italian cars produced by American workers in Michigan over Japanese cars produced by American workers in Kentucky?

    The Obama administration's proposed restructuring is more than just unjustified, however. It dangerously undermines the rule of law, as explicated so beneficially by Friedrich Hayek in his classic, "The Road to Serfdom."

    The essence of the rule of law, according to Hayek, is that what the government will do is known to all economic actors in advance. That government will not act arbitrarily in specific circumstances to favor some economic actors over others.

    Chrysler has $6.9 billion in secured debt. Under the law, secured lenders have the first claim on the assets of the debtor in the event of non-payment.

    The Obama administration is attempting to muscle past this law. Under its proposal, the health care trust of the auto workers' union, an unsecured creditor, would forgive 57 percent of what Chrysler owes it, and receive 55 percent of the company's equity in exchange. The federal government would forgive about a third of what it would loan Chrysler and receive 8 percent of the company's equity. Fiat would pay nothing for its 20 percent initial ownership.

    The secured creditors, with the first claim on Chrysler's assets, were asked to forgive 70 percent of what they are owed and receive nothing in equity. When they refused and forced the company into bankruptcy, they were excoriated by Obama - a shameful act by a president who pledged to uphold the law, not make it up as he went along

    From my hometown Gannett newspaper columnist

    Chrysler Restructuring Plan a Power Grab

    By Robert Robb

  26. dueces mortgage restructuring proposal perfectly exemplifies Federal lawlessness.

    "It dangerously undermines the rule of law, as explicated so beneficially by Friedrich Hayek in his classic, "The Road to Serfdom."

    The essence of the rule of law, according to Hayek, is that what the government will do is known to all economic actors in advance. That government will not act arbitrarily in specific circumstances to favor some economic actors over others.

  27. bobal wrote:

    "...the moment Rat tipped me off the quote was wrong,..."

    See bobal, you shouldn't have to wait for Rat to tip you off, you should read the intertubes with a more critical eye. Really, not everything you read on the internet is true, not even the comment section at the Belmont yields all true comments. Obama urging a one party state does not pass the smell test.

  28. I am watching the Chrysler "surgical" bankruptcy with interest. There are these cries of the "lawless" behavior of the Obama administration and now the administrations desires on the Chrysler deal are getting tested in a court of law. Obama is certainly not a King and he does not necessarily get what he wants - well, not necessarily get what folk project He wants. In any case, there is oodles of bankruptcy law and the pecking order of creditors and, short of changing the law, I don't see how He can affect that.

    Similarly, the idea that the Federal Government could rewrite everyone's mortgage contract is 1.) misguided and 2.) would require some pretty darn tricky legislation. Short of using the bully pulpit the administration is facing an uphill battle trying to get parties to contracts to re-negotiate.

    I'm not too boned up on arcane constitutional law but the fact that the feds managed to create the Federal Reserve and that it hasn't been stopped through constitutional challenge all these many years suggest that it is in fact constitutional. Leaving aside its constitutionality it strikes me as a good idea to have the Fed at 'arms length' from the elected politicos - letting the politicos deal with the day to day machinations of handling money supply could lead to some nasty outcomes. In fact, that is why many countries have made their central banks independent and charter driven.

  29. p.s. I would offer up for discussion the notion that the Federal Reserve hasn't been independent enough. In fact, many of the problems we are experiencing is because of a Federal Reserve that has been too concerned with politics versus money supply and its relationship to inflation.

  30. Obama implementing a Lawless State needs no test, it is a a fait accompli.
    Bad business.

  31. The central political debate, in the US, from the founding until 1913, the Central Bank.

    The Federal Reserve is not the first Central Bank, in the US, nor may it be the last.

    It certainly is not a gift from God, to be left sancrosanct.

    The Federals, Ash, could easily reclaim the authority to print money, lending to the Central, at interest. Rather then the Federals borrowing the money from the Central Bank.

    Want to end the budget deficits, move the Government into being the primary lender, not debtor in the financial system. Allowing the Central Bank to be the only conduit for obtaining the Federal script.

  32. Oddles of laws mean nothing to a Chicago thug we'll practiced in skirting the law.

    Esp when said thug holds the most powerful office in the Whirrled.

  33. Doug, I think you are deluding yourself as to His power. I could be wrong, of course, but the 3 branches of government still stand and He is but one leg of the stool.

    Rat, by reversing the flow as you state would make the printing entirely politically motivated and hence even more problematic. I think the current structure had this in mind. I am suggesting the fed hasn't been independent enough though the problems run much deeper then the fed seeing as they aren't the only ones able to create script. That 'shadow banking' system has managed to create all kinds of script.

  34. Afghanistan is Vietnam with mountains.

  35. and Pakistan is...

    ...Cambodia with nukes?

  36. You may find solace in doctrine and political purity, I don't.

    Wed May 06, 08:04:00 AM EDT

    Somehow, dear host, I feel refreshed. And all it took was a single sentence.

    (I don't think "solace" is the right word for what is sought, or found, in doctrine and political purity, however. Not the right word at all.)

  37. If the control of the Central Bank remained, but the money was "prnted" by the Bovernment, there would be checks and balances built in, as there are now. But the primary beneficiary of the transaction would become the Bovernment, instead of the shareholders of the Federal Reserve.

  38. We had our Vietnam redux. In that other shitty little country called Iraq.

    We're moving on.

  39. It seems the "Rule of Law" is siding with the sale of Chrysler (h/t Balloon-Juice):

    "The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Chrysler on Tuesday took a significant step toward allowing the sale of most of the automaker to Fiat, approving the bidding procedures advocated by the company and backed by the Obama administration.

    The decision by the federal bankruptcy judge, Arthur J. Gonzalez, is a setback for a group of Chrysler creditors who have argued that liquidation of the company or some other transaction could yield greater value. These lenders, primarily investment firms, have said that the plan for the Fiat transaction ran afoul of bankruptcy law and would chill efforts by others to produce competing, potentially higher bids.

    But Judge Gonzalez disagreed, saying, “The court concludes that the bidding procedures are appropriate and necessary.”

    The judge’s decision was a victory for Chrysler and the government, which together argued that a speedy sale was the only way to protect tens of thousands of jobs and help along the American economy.

    “It’s a very big first step,” said Howard Seife, the head of the bankruptcy practice at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke. “It’s clear that the company is moving down the road to a Fiat sale.”

    The judge’s decision was the second blow dealt to the holdout lenders during a marathon hearing on Tuesday that began mid-afternoon and ended at 11 p.m.

    Judge Gonzalez earlier ordered the disclosure of identities of the Chrysler creditors, who had said making them public could lead to retaliation. A lawyer representing them claimed that the creditors had been harassed, and some had even received death threats."

  40. p.s. John Cole posted the Judges ruling in a much more clever way than I with the headline:

    "Just Close Your Eyes and Think of the Bank of England"


  41. Solace is not the right word, nor doctrine and political purity.

    That the retention of centuries worth of contract law could be considered doctrinal, a statement of the peceptions that many of expatrioti share and express.

    Are they really urging conservatives into abandoning "Law & Order" for a better managed application of situational ethics, for the common good?

    Finding that the application of principles found in Kelo v. City of New London are being writ ever larger upon US society.

    That by opposing the further expansion of the taking of private property rights, for the public good, with out due compensation, an avatar could be accused of being doctrinal.

    Is that where your "Party of One" begins?

  42. Remind me what Federal lawlessnes I'm advocating, I've forgotten.

    Something to do with the National Forests?


    Miranda nearly dies.--

    Granite walls, whirlpools, and stars are things. None of them is death, nor the image of it. Death is death, said Miranda, and for the dead it has no attributes. Silenced she sank easily through deeps under deeps of darkness until she lay like a stone at the furthest bottom of life, knowing herself to be blind, deaf, speechless, no longer aware of the members of her body, entirely withdrawn from all human concerns, yet alive with a peculiar lucidity and coherence; all notions of the mind, the reasonable inquiries of doubt, all ties of blood and the desires of the heart, dissolved and fell away from her, and there remained of her only a minute fiercely burning particle of being that knew itself alone, that relied upon nothing beyond itself for its strength; nor susceptible to any appeal or inducement, being itself composed entirely of one single motive, the stubborn will to live. This fiery motionless particle set itself unaided to resist destruction, to survive and to be in its own madness of being, motiveless and planless beyond that one essential aim. Trust me, the hard unwinking angry point of light said. Trust me. I stay.

    At once it grew, flattened, thinned to a fine radiance, spread like a great fan and curved out into a rainbow through which Miranda, enchanted, altogether believing, looked upon a deep clear landscape of sea and sand, of soft meadow and sky, feshly washed and glistening with transparencies of blue. Why, of course, of course, said Miranda, without surprise but with serene rapture as if some promise made to her had been kept long after she had ceased to hope for it. She rosefrom her narrow ledge and ran lightly throuigh the tall portals of the great rainbow that arched in its splendor over the burning blue of the sea and the cool green of the meadow on either hand.

    The small waves rolled in and over unhurriedly, lapped upon the sand in silence and retreated; the grasses flurried before a breeze that made no sound. Moving towards her leisurely as clouds through the shimmering air came a great company of human beings, and Miranda saw in an amazement of joy that they were all the living she had known. Their faces were transfigured, each in its own beauty, beyond what she remembered of them, their eyes were clear and untroubled as good weather, and they cast no shadows. They were pure identities and she knew them every one without calling their names or remembering what relation she bore to them. They surrounded her smoothly on silent feet, then turned their entranced faces again towards the sea, and she moved among them easily as a wave among waves. The drifting circle widened, separated, and each figure was alone but not solitary; Miranda, alone too, questioning nothing, desiring nothing, in th quietude of her ecstasy, stayed where she was, eyes fixed on the overwhelming deep sky where it was alway morning."Pale Horse, Pale Rider"

    All this talk about a flu pandemic got me to the library to get this story, which is a true story. She (Miranda/ Katherine Anne Porter) almost died, was sick for weeks. I love this passage. The number of images relating to Plato, the philosophers, the poets, the other world, and common themes in NDE's is large, the writing beautiful, a gift from her to us via the flu epidemic of 1918.

    Really great story.

    Put it on the Book Club List, would you, Trish?

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Blogger trish said...

    "We had our Vietnam redux. In that other shitty little country called Iraq.

    We're moving on."

    eh? I thought Vietnam sat in the loss column and Iraq in the WIN column...

    ...I guess we better skedaddle out of there real quick before it goes sour again and gets shoved to that other, feel bad, column.

  45. Would that thou were pure enough to piss upon, Ash, like a clear river, O thou as tedious as a tired horse, a railing wife, worse even than a smoky house.

  46. Ben Smith at Politico:

    May 05, 2009
    Categories: Internet
    Birther civil war

    The vast, but rather low-impact, movement of people who believe (without evidence) that Barack Obama was born outside the United States appears -- in the way of such movements -- to have developed its own internal divisions.

    In particular, its East Coast faction, led by lawyer Philip Berg, has filed suit against its West Coast chief, Orly Taitz, accusing her of libel and other crimes for, among other things, calling Berg a "shyster."

    (Sounds sort of... hip-hop, no?)

    This can't be good for their current project, a boycott of the state of Hawaii.

    Complaint here.

    I think habu at one point assured everyone at BC that his company at The Company was preparing to come forward with the goods on this front.

    Also: Israel is preparing to strike Iran.

    Also: Planning for the Revolution proceeds apace.

  47. I've decided not to do the book club, bob, and have to find a replacement for myself.

    I had a tsunami hit and, small-time though the demand of the book club is, I couldn't gin up the additional enthusiasm.

  48. Banks need billions more, reads healine.

    What are they doing with all these billions they are not lending out?

    Narcissist In Chief--

    I think there is some real truth in this.

    It may be that all politicians are nuts, being focused on improper things, living an outlook Miranda found to be false, but Zero, he's got it bad.

    Besides, he's a criminal.


    Israel is preparing to strike Iran. Whether they will do it? Unknown, but don't count it out.

  49. Drats, it's the only Book Club I've ever been in. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

  50. Sorry, I should have clarified: Habu sees an Israeli strike on Iran in the near future. Because, you know, it's Bibi.

    Israel isn't interested in doing the deed itself, however. Not saying they're wrong or right in their lack of interest. I'm just saying.

  51. "Their faces were transfigured, each in its own beauty, beyond what she remembered of them, their eyes were clear and untroubled as good weather, and they cast no shadows. They were pure identities and she knew them every one without calling their names or remembering what relation she bore to them."

    That is some beautiful writing, bob, and strangely has some tug of living truth to it, does it not?

    "She knew them every one without calling...or remembering..."

  52. Torture, bob, while on your vacation.

    When you returned you said you agreed with rufus, but could not chime in.

    The results obtained made it acceptable, well worth it, the Federals breaking the Law.

  53. Here is an Overall, fairly rational discussion of the Economics of "Shale" GasLook, I'm not against Anything except Imported, Middle Eastern Oil.

    I'm just saying, be a bit cautious when analyzing New, "Breakthrough," technologies (Silver Bullets) in the Energy Field. EVERYONE has an "Agenda."

  54. Well, waterboarding being torture is a definition. Anyways, the dems all knew what was up. Are you being severe enough on them?, some of the dems asked. I would, yes, use it, if a large attack was known to be about to take place.

    I said a long time ago, I hoped some brain imaging or reading device/chemical cocktail would be developed that would allow the suspects mind to be accurately probed in a nice clean lab setting. Some progress has been made on such things, I have read. Then everyone should be happy.

  55. Unlike almost everyone who "Writes" about Vietnam, I spent months on end working with, sleeping with, Drinking with, and eating with ordinary Vietnamese villagers. Iraq was NEVER, in any way, similar to Vietnam.

    Afghanistan looks, to me, to be a dead-ringer.

    The scary part, as Ash pointed out, is "Nukes are involved."

    Iraq was never going to be anything other than a long, hard, expensive slog. Afghanistan has the potential of a real debacle. Did I mention the part about "Crazy Fundamentalist Muslims, and Nukes?"

  56. One of the problems you run up against, always, is time. Do you have time with a particular source to take three weeks or three months to find and run an approach to its happy conclusion? How leisurely can you be with PUC 1, PUC 2, and PUC 3?

    At Bagram in the early days they found it takes at least two weeks to break, not necessarily entirely, a source by the book.

    Two weeks can be, depending on your person, a long, long, long time.

  57. And, any society that would consider putting a little water up a terrorists nose a definition of Torture is, definitely, bent on suicide.

    You cats argue for suicide if you want, but leave me, and mine, out of it. We're not interested.

  58. "Iraq was never going to be anything other than a long, hard, expensive slog."

    So was Vietnam. I'm not casting aspersions on your war, rufus. It works out that way, sometimes.

  59. Another universal theme, coming back is a bummer--

    "And I might love it again, she thought, but truth was, she could not see it. There was no light, there might never be light again, compared as it must always be with the light she had seen beside the blue sea that lay so tranquilly along the shore of her paradise."

    "Closing her eyes she would rest for a moment remembering the bliss which had repaid all the pain of the journey to reach it; opening them again she saw with a new anquish the dull world to which she was condemned, where the light seemed filmed over with cobwebs, all the bright surfaces corroded, the sharp planes melted and formless, all objects and beings meaningless, ah, dead and withered things that believed themselves alive!"

    "Miranda looked about her with the covertly hostile eyes of an alien who does not like the country in which he finds himself, does not understand the language nor wish to learn it, does not mean to live there and yet is helpless, unable to leave it."

    "For ten minutes Miranda smiled and told them how gay and what a pleasant surprise it was to find herself alive. For it will not do to betray the conspiracy and tamper with the courage of the living; there is nothing better than to be alive, everyone has agreed on that; it is past argument, and who attempts to deny it is justly outlawed."

    "Miranda wondered again at the time and trouble the living took to be helpful to the dead. But not quite dead now, she reassured herself, one foot in either world now; soon I shall cross back and be at home again."

    Pale Horse, Pale Rider

  60. And not to be snarky about it, not at all: Afghanistan The Debacle has been running for years now. This year promises the first perceptible turn back of that tide. Better late than never.

  61. rufus, I think it is pretty clear the water-boarding is torture as are the sleep deprivation and stress positions employed. I think your argument would be better served if you grasped the bull by the horns and advocated for the use of torture and the abandonment of the Geneva Conventions and other treaties we've signed forgoing the use of torture. Tough to argue that water-boarding is not torture when we've prosecuted others for water-boarding us.

  62. We used it in the Philippines to good effect. What outrageous backsliders we can be!

    A WHOLE chicken in a can, ash!

  63. No, rufus, what I argued was tha the US prosecuted Japanese for the war crime of waterboarding.
    That in 1988 Federal Prosecutors took four Texas law enforcement folk to trial, the Sheriff sentenced to 10 years, for waterboardong miscreants.

    So, waterboarding had precedent as both a Federal Offense and an International War Crime, before 2001.

    This reality stands uncontested by any arguement. The memos of the OLC were ill concieved in light of that precedent.

    The actions taken by Team43 could well be mitigated by the percieved dangers, but then they should have moved legislation revoking the Conventions and Accords as well as US Statutes that forbade those types of persuavive techniques, Makubg them legal in circumstances that were well defined.

    The Bush Administration made no such case. While they had no problem abrogating the ABM Treaty, instead of breaking it.

    So, if waterboarding was needed, then, it still is, now.
    That it no longer is an option available, just another B Team failure.

    Team Bush never wanted to take responsibility for their behaviours, they still do not.

    Except for Mr Cheney who argues that "It was worth it!"

    It may well have been, in mitigation.

  64. Prosecuted some of those that used it the Philippines, too.
    To great effect.

  65. This year promises the first perceptible turn back of that tide. Better late than never.

    Seems like I've heard these sentiments, before.

    Light at the End of the Tunnel, anyone?

  66. I could care less what happened in the Philippines, or what some cop did to some grass-salesman.

    But, if we lose Houston, and my grandchildren, because some stupid sonofabitch didn't want to put a little water up a terrorist's nose
    I'm going ballistic.

    I don't think I'll be the only one.

  67. I share my light at the end of the tunnel with yours.

    Better than being a sandhog.

    The guy holding the torch.

  68. Somehow, the precedent set by Theodore Roosevelt didn't get much attention from the Bush Justice Department lawyers who crafted the legal justifications for torture. So let's review the record here. It would have been great grist for Obama.

    Having defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war, U.S. troops occupied the Philippines and other former Spanish territories. But the Filipinos were not anxious to be annexed. They fought back, and a long guerrilla war ensured. That's when the American military discovered waterboarding - a technique brought to the island by the Spanish, who had first employed it against heretics during the Inquisition).

    The Americans adopted it for use against the Filipino insurgents, as a means of extracting information.

    The "water cure" scandal first surfaced in 1902, when the U.S. governor of the Philippines, William Howard Taft, spilled the beans under oath in front of a congressional committee. One newspaper called his testimony "a most humiliating admission that should strike horror in the mind of every American." The subsequent official report described the workings of the water cure:
    But Theodore Roosevelt, the new president, didn't buy those arguments. He didn't try to manufacture any legal justifications. He didn't bless the errant behavior by claiming that it was all conducted at the behest of his all-powerful executive authority. Instead, he kicked butt in a cable sent to the U.S. military authorities in the Philippines. The text can be found on page 100 of "Theodore Rex," the second volume of the TR biography written by Edmund Morris. The key passage:

    The president desires to know in the fullest and most circumstantial manner all the facts...for the very reason that the president intends to back up the Army in the heartiest fashion in every lawful and legitimate method of doing its work; he also intends to see that the most vigorous care is exercised to detect and prevent any cruelty or brutality and that men who are guilty thereof are punished. Great as the provocation has been in dealing with foes who habitually resort to treachery, murder and torture against our men, nothing can justify or will be held to justify the use of torture or inhuman conduct of any kind on the part of the American military.(Roosevelt also ordered the court martial of General Jacob "Howling Jack" Smith, who got his nickname when he directed his troops to reduce one particular province to "a howling wilderness." When Smith was subsequently cleared of war crimes charges, Roosevelt - insisting on "the right of review" - had him thrown out of the army.)

  69. Then change the law, rufus.

    There's been plenty of time for you and your cohort to have organized, on behalf of Houston.

    But no one has lifted a finger, let alone a pen to draft new legislation that would address your concerns.

    Only Governmental lawlessness can save US from ourselves?

  70. Waterboarding invented/used by the Spanish Inquisition?

    heh, I can believe it too.

    There was quite an assemblage of devices, back in those days, screws, ropes, pulleys, twisters, anything the mind of man can imagine.

  71. Houston and ... the children

    Of course.

  72. For some reason, bob, Dorothy comes to mind.

    Miranda wasn't happy upon her return.

    Dorothy, she was just trying to get back home. And we have no story beyond that, at least in the movie. In the book series, she never left.

    Dorothy to the Wizard:

    "Oh, I don't think there's anything in that black bag for me."

  73. Here is my call to war reports (so says the rat...)

    I would have hoped that America, in her own interests, would have taken the steps to disarm Iran by now of her WMD programs....

    The current administration now seeks "talks" with the Iranians, and seeks talks without timelines...

    Iran now has enough low enriched material to build one bomb, this is what the IAEA ontheir ONCE a year visit has found...

    Iran went from 1500 centrifuges to over 7000 in one year

    A year ago they had issue and frequent crashes... Now they are running smoothly and Iran has vowed to install upwards of over 55,000...

    The mullahs that are in charge of Iran are not stopping their pursuit of WMD's

    Thus the Arab world is wetting themselves as we speak to the reality that a Persian/Shia bomb is going to happen in 60-180 DAYS...

    Let's be CLEAR...

    Iran has the 3 major components to making a bomb..

    the rocket...

    the warhead...

    the material..

    Israel has been refused 2 times for the "permission" to take out Iran's infrastructure and has been refused...

    now the game is changing...

    Obama's position is starting to look like it will LIVE with an Iranian bomb (or bombs)

    and that will be the game changer...

    IF iran crosses that redline all bets are off...

    Israel WILL give obama 3 months to try to "talk" with the iranians if at the end of 3 months nothing is settled and it is clear that the iranians (the persians invented chess) have NOT STOPPED SPINNING something will happen..

    And I dont think it will be ACTION by America...

    What i do think is about to happen, the left wing of the press will start to additionally charge that the entire problem is not IRan or the Palestinians, but everything lies at the feet of the JEWS...

    yep it's getting dark outside and OUR NIGHT of the Broken Glass is about to happen, thanks to BHO.

  74. Trish, give Gregory Maguire's reboot of the Oz story, "Wicked" a read. You'll never look at that movie the same way again.

  75. Trish, I had been "in-country" ONE DAY when a little old Vietnamese man informed me that it was "Johnson's" War. NOT "his" war - "Johnson's" War.

    I have no idea what you meant by the phrase, "disparage YOUR war."

    All I know, is that the whole time I was there I saw no indication that anyone of higher rank than Sergeant had a clue what the "Vietnamese" were thinking.

    The last "analysis" I read about "the attitudes of the Vietnamese people" was written by an Army TANK COMMANDER.

    I had a good friend named, Cheung. He was the village's superstar. Handsome, personable, star athlete, very bright. (I'm pretty sure he was connected to the VC - as, of course, was the province chief that allowed him to go "undrafted.)

    Anyway, Cheung, and I were sitting around getting drunk, and I made the obligatory opinion that "We" would win. He looked at me like I was a nice, but slightly retarded, brother.

    No, (rufus,) he said. The Americans CAN'T win. They're Good people, but they're too Nice. The Cong are going to win.

    I didn't protest very profusely. I knew he was right. We were fish out of water.

  76. In 65' our Army was set up to fight on the plains of Europe. Hello, Vietnam.

    Today, we're set up to fight in the Desert. Hello, mountains.

    Let's just hope we can neutralize the Nukes.

  77. My dad was there in '68. Flew observer in a Piper Cub for awhile. Was not his job, specifically speaking.

    Did it anyway. Gladly.

    I don't know what to say, rufus.

    We get by. We do.

  78. As long as Congress doesn't pull the plug.

  79. Yeah, it's not going to be "the end of days," but it could end up a real mess.

  80. Heretics, al-Bob, they used it on Heretics.
    Always did think them Ashes oughta have some water sprinkled on them, just to be sure.
    Plenty of water and lumber in Canuckistan, no?

  81. So, what kind of tsunami hit did you take, Senora Trish?

  82. wi"o" is thinking that the US is going to the "Long Knives", based upon his conjecture of what the President and the United States may or may not do, to preserve the stability of the global market.

    To maintain the oil flow to China and Japan, our Asian partners.

    The current President will follow the course laid in by the previous President, whom learned his lesson, on Iran, by watching Jimmy Carter and Ronnie Reagan.

    Though the past Presidnt's little brother wants US to forget about Reagan. His day being done, Jeb says.

    In any case, even if Mr Obama puts Israel in a position of not having a preponderance of power, gets Pakistani nukes positioned in Saudi Arabia, all the while preserving the free flow of oil and economic recovery, the US electorate will back his play.

    Which still does not lead US to a "Long Knives" scenario, here in the US. Far from it, actually.

    If you really think that's what's coming down, wi"o", get a shotgun and spend a few hours at the range, each week.

    Practical pistol and shotgun training and competition. It may ease your mind, and it is more family fun than snow camping.

  83. By October you could be pretty profecient.

  84. As wise economist and presidential advisor Herb Stein once said: "If something cannot go on forever it won't."US Foreign Debt Jumps--

    A wise man also said things can always get worse before they get better.

  85. If you think the garbage recycling business is all about poor scavengers, smelly trash and salengs (pedalled carts), then think again.


    The articles are penned by Somthai Wongcharoen, 55, dubbed as the "King of Recycle" by the media.


    In 1988, he found himself in the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot where fights between the Burmese troops and the ethnic Karen soldiers were in full swing.
    Rich with Rubbish

  86. No, Bob.

    He owned a garden nursery in Coeur d'Alene called Duncan Gardens for many years. Sold it just within the last 5 years, or so. Fallout from his divorce, or something.

    He also ran for the City Council at one stage.

    Great guy.

  87. Long-time Coeur d'Alene resident.

  88. There was then a life beyond a life in this world, as well as in the next; such episodes confirmed for the little girls the nobility of human feeling, the divinity of man's vision of the unseen, the importance of life and death, the depths of the human heart, the romantic value of tragedy. Cousin Eva, on a certain visit, trying to interest them in the study of Latin, told them the story of John Wilkes Booth, who, handsomely garbed in a long black cloak, had leaped to the stage after assassinating President Lincoln. "Sic semper tyrannis," he had shouted superbly, in spite of his broken leg. The little girls never doubted that it had happened in just that way, and the moral seemed to be that one should always have Latin, or at least a good classical poetry quotation, to depend upon in great or desperate moments. Cousin Eva reminded them that no one, not even a good Southerner, could possibly approve of John Wilkes Booth's deed. It was murder, after all. They were to remember that. But Miranda, used to tragedy in books and in family legends--two great-uncles had committed suicide and a remote ancestress had gone mad for love--decided that, with the murder, there would have been no point to dressing up and leaping to the stage shouting in Latin. So how could she disapprove of the deed? It was a fine story. She knew a distantly related old gentleman who had been devoted to the art of Booth, had seen him in a great many plays, but not, alas, at his greatest moment. Miranda regretted this; it would have been so pleasant to have the assassinatin of Lincoln in the family.--


    from "Old Mortality"

    Katherine Anne Porter


  89. Biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin doesn’t just write about former presidents — in doing her often years-long research, she feels as though she is living with them and wakes up with them each morning.


    Goodwin points out that there is a historical cycle almost every 30 or 40 years where a president can make significant change happen. Lincoln was in the mid-1860s,Teddy Roosevelt came along in the Progressive era around 1900, FDR governed in the 1930s and LBJ came along in the 1960s.

    She said Obama sensed that now was such a time ripe for the possibility of change, which is why he chose to run in 2008 rather than wait until he was older and more politically experienced.
    What History Can Offer

  90. I thought it was Axelrod who talked him into running now.

  91. Mexico's Bigger ProblemGregor Macdonald

    Reluctantly I’m going to briefly cover Mexico today. Your RSS newsreader and your Bloomberg however are already, no doubt, filled up with reports from Mexico’s Flu Zone. Or Quake Zone. Or both. Instead, I lightly suggest you turn your attention away from these acute conditions, to something more chronic:
    the relentless crash in Mexico’s oil production.

    It is nothing less than astonishing that Mexico’s oil production collapse is not one of the biggest stories of the decade, especially for the United States.

    The trajectory here is on pace to take Mexico’s output from 3.4 Mb/day as recently as early 2005, to 2.4 Mb/day perhaps as soon as this Fall.

    That is not only a huge percentage for Mexico, but it’s a large percentage of total North American supply.
    If you believe as I do that geography is going to reassert itself in the years ahead, these declines are fated to unleash an even greater impact.

  92. I heard a Doris K quote on Obama the other day that left me with 95% less respect for her as a clear thinker.

  93. Are You an Obama Winner Or an Obama Loser -

    The Chrysler Bankruptcy Pt. 1:
    From the Rule of Law to the Rule of PoliticsWinners: The United Auto Workers
    Loser: The Rule of Law

    Bankruptcy was once a legal process in which an insolvent company, an impartial judge and creditors voting in good faith worked together to make the best of a bad situation.

    Under the Obama Administration, the Chrysler bankruptcy has become a political process in which government has bought off some creditors, demonized others, and predetermined a favorable result for an important political constituency.

    What happened last week with Chrysler was an unprecedented case of executive branch involvement in a bankruptcy proceeding. The Obama Administration bullied smaller investors to fall in line with TARP-funded creditors in a deal that ultimately benefited the union bosses who bear so much of the responsibility for Chrysler’s downfall to begin with. In the end, the losers weren’t just the secured creditors and the taxpayers who have footed the bill for all these bailouts, but the rule of law itself.

    The Chrysler Bankruptcy Pt. 2:
    America, Get Ready for the “Model O”Winners: The People Who Are Evading Responsibility for Chrysler’s Bankruptcy
    Losers: Consumers Who Want to Buy Good American Cars

    The end result of the rigged Chrysler bankruptcy is that two political entities whose priority is winning votes (the Federal Government and the UAW) now have majority ownership of a commercial entity whose priority should be making good cars.

    Cap and Trade:
    Punishing Americans With High Energy Taxes

    Winners: Government Favored “Green Industries”
    Losers: Anyone Who Heats a Home, Drives a Car or Has a Job

    Closing Gitmo:
    Terrorists from Guantanamo Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near YouWinners: Terrorists and Anti-Americanism Worldwide
    Losers: The New Neighbors of Terrorists and The American Tax-Payers

    Picking a New Supreme Court Justice:
    Playing Favorites Through the CourtsWinners: Anyone the President Deems Deserving of Judicial “Empathy”
    Losers: Everyone Else

    Demonizing Wall Street:
    Putting Talent and Resources Where Washington Wants Them

    Winners: Professional “Community Organizers” and Other Government ActivistsLosers: Young Americans Who Want to Chose Their Own Careers

  94. That nudging may look and feel altogether different than it has in the past, leaving us with no time-tested, silver-bullet approach. I would urge LGBT activists working on both the inside and outside of this administration to continually second-guess their first impulses and then proceed to act with caution.

    Sometimes, lobbing that grenade yields nothing more than collateral damage, and other times settling for soothing reassurances is simply a dead-end road to complacency. As President Obama says himself, he will be judged on what he delivers.

    And so will the LGBT leaders who head our organizations during this critical time, whether they are whispering in his ear or shouting from behind the White House gates.
    View From the Hill

  95. By Rush Limbaugh:

    I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by
    because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of
    this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're
    going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of
    $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.?
    If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action,
    the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

    Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get
    $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a
    screeching halt.

    Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up?to?$4.7 million are complaining
    that it's not enough.?Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.?
    Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers. (Actually, soldiers are put in harms way by politicians and commanding

    We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have
    started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families
    are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the
    embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

    You see where e this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to
    nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in lo w-rent housing.?Make sense?

    However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an
    E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who
    placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

  96. MayDay Massacre of 1921--

    As the article says, there was no occupation then.

  97. Four of them have received US bailout funds, including collapsed insurer American International Group and banking behemoth Citigroup.

    Top of the list with at least 97.2 billion dollars in subprime loans was Countrywide Financial, which was bought by Bank of America last year to avert bankruptcy for the nation's largest independent mortgage company.

    The top foreign-owned lender at number nine was HSBC Finance, part of the British-based banking titan HSBC. EquiFirst (16th on the list) was shut down by its British owner Barclays Bank in February.
    Financial Crisis

  98. Hey al-Doug, you'll have to mark Sept. 24, 2009 on your calendar. It's "Islam Day" in Hawaii!

    The Hawaiian state Senate's TWO Republicans voted against the measure.

    Nearly the entire population must be smoking Maui Wowie over there, far as I can tell.

    You'll want to get your prayer cloth dry cleaned, in preparation for the festivities, along with your scarf, put a long curved sword strapped to your waist, etc.

    Figure out which way Mecca is.

    Get Sonia burka-ed up.

    If you want to go all out, you might bomb something, a bus, a school, some tourists....

    Have A Great Day--

    Meanwhile Obumble is not participating in National Prayer Day.

    Tain't funny McGee, as dad used to say.

  99. rat:

    If you really think that's what's coming down, wi"o", get a shotgun and spend a few hours at the range, each week.

    Practical pistol and shotgun training and competition. It may ease your mind, and it is more family fun than snow camping.

    I now have 2 40 cal Glocks...

    1000 rounds of round tip for practice and 200 hollow points for use...

    Shotgun shopping has begun...

    30 gallons of gasoline in the garage, 30 gallons of veg oil at the warehouse...

    Plenty of water around...

    I have 3000 square ft warehouse of food stuffed to the ceiling...

    If America gets hit with an EMP by nkor & iran (all from the prompting of Russia and China) we are screwed for a month at a minimum before any type of stability will happen...

    My emergency plan now accounts for survival of up to 40 days.....

    I aint there yet, but will be soon...

    If i am wrong?

    no one is harmed and I'll cycle the food & fuel thru normal usage...

    If I am right and the grid is crashed for a period of time (like last year for 10 days) and we have a region go out for 3-4 weeks? I can survive is the plan...

    Inner cities will burn...