“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, May 01, 2009

Richard Armitage , on Obama, Pakistan and the Taliban

Part of my misspent multi-million dollar military education  was an assignment to  a large TAC base which rotated pilots back and forth to Da Nang, Viet Nam. This was in early 1966. F-4 phantoms were replacing F-104's at Da Nang and it was quite common for multiple temporary duty assignments. Da Nang had both marine and air force fighter squadrons at that time.

The air force had hot showers and the marines did not.

I was always interested in politics and enjoyed the good natured back and forth of political argument. There was one NCO in particular who had served in Korea and was on his second TDY to Viet Nam. In his good natured way and fondness for beer  he explained  to us juniors that the military war in  Viet Nam could be won, but never would be because of the politics.

Many Democratic politicians at the time, would have done well to talk to  men like the good sergeant, who had no political angle but actually experienced the fighting. That included both the pilots and the young marines that fought and beat the NVA at Chu Lai south of Da Nang, late summer in 1965.

Had they done so, a whole lot of things would have been different.

They may have found many non-political but realistic assessments of the immensity and messiness that was before them. Some of the men were very supportive and others just as adamantly opposed with most unsure. One thing they all agreed on and that was the politics were a mess and the South Vietnamese government and military establishment  was corrupt and suspect.  

It amazes me to this day, the ignored wisdom, of those who actually do the fighting.


Military solution won't end Afghan war: Veterans

WASHINGTON (AFP) — As fresh US troop reinforcements prepare to deploy to Afghanistan, veterans of the war Thursday decried past mistakes and warned the conflict cannot be solved by military means alone.

"By the time I left Afghanistan, I felt that the US being there was a big mistake," retired US Marines corporal Rick Reyes told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

"I feel strongly that military intervention is not the answer."

His comments echoed congressional testimony given by committee chairman John Kerry as a Vietnam War veteran in 1971, when he had famously asked: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Now as then, veterans voiced their reservations about the already costly and protracted conflict in Afghanistan, although they argued against a rapid withdrawal of troops.

"If we leave without providing the security, propping up the government, propping the local villages and the people that are there, giving them some sense of structure, some sense of stability and security, then we will be back," said Genevieve Chase, a retired US Army Reserve sergeant.

"If we don't do this now, we will be back."

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the United States provided financial and military backing to Muhajedeen Islamist fighters, but withdrew its involvement after Soviet forces left the country. The vacuum helped bring the Taliban to power.

Reyes blasted US President Barack Obama's decision to deploy 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan as "a big mistake." Some 40,000 US troops are already in the country with about 32,000 other foreign allied forces deployed under NATO authority.

"At a minimum, this occupation needs to be rethought," Reyes said.

But three other Afghanistan veterans argued for more US commitment to the conflict.

"We are underfunded and undermanned in Afghanistan," retired US Army captain Westley Moore told the Senate panel.
But he also stressed the importance of more non-military aspects of the US strategy.

"If we increase security aspects ... then we can actually start allocating more resources to make not only Afghanistan not a safe haven for Al-Qaeda, but also provide the security and safety and the future for the Afghan people," he said.

Former army staff sergeant Christopher McGurk recalled the dying moments of 19-year-old Evan O'Neill, who apologized for not completing the mission after being shot near the Pakistani border.

"My own anger and sense of betrayal comes from the possibility that we may not come to a resolution in Afghanistan and that the blood that has been shed by the victims of 9/11, the Afghan people and men like O'Neill would be in vain," McGurk said.
Republican lawmakers expressed skepticism about Obama's strategy for Afghanistan, which focuses on rooting out Al-Qaeda, boosts civilian efforts to rebuild the impoverished country and places nuclear-armed Pakistan at the center of the fight.

"I have no idea what it is, other than sending additional troops," said Republican Senator Bob Corker. "I hope we dig a lot deeper."

Some Democrats also showed concern about the plan.

"The escalation may further destabilize the situation in Afghanistan to the detriment of US security," said Senator Russ Feingold.

"We may be sending our troops in the eye of the storm without addressing the greatest threat to our security, which lies on the Pakistani side of the border."

Kerry acknowledged that "there is much still to be done in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Kerry drew an analogy between the war in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War.

"Once again, we are fighting an insurgency in a rural country with a weak central government. Our enemy blends in with the local population and easily crosses a long border to find sanctuary in a neighboring country," said Kerry.
"We ignore these similarities at our peril."


  1. I was "down" for Iraq; but, this won't work. It pains me to say it, but kerry is right on this one.

    This sucker just "smells" like Vietnam. Only worse - Pakistan has Nukes. I'll be honest; this one Scares me. I think we're either going to end up in a full-fledged "War" in Pakistan against terrorists (possibly, terrorists with nukes,) or we're going to have to stand by and acknowledge a terrorist state with nukes.

    This thing could really get nasty.

  2. Hamdan v Rumsfeld, rufus, that's the Law, the detainees ARE covered by the Geneva Accords.
    The Supremes of more import as to legality of behaviours than the OLC

    Not because the Enemy are or are not "in uniform", but because of the unilateral nature of the Accords, with regards the signatories.

    That this does not seem "fair" makes no difference in the application of the Law.

    Whether or not the enemy subscribes to the Accords and Conventions does not change the US position. Sorry.

    Ms Rice, Mr Cheney, Mr Rumsfeld, the then President, Mr Bush, and maybe Gonzo, are War Criminals, judged by the US Standard of 1946.

    That they claim mitigating circumstance, well that some claim mitigating circumstance, to be heard in Sentencing.
    The findings of fact, seem eminently clear, the US erred in signing those Conventions and Accords, but is legally bound to fulfill them.

    To bad Mr Reagan and the Senate did not read the fine print.

    I've yet to see a summary of an Operations Order, with regards the Afghan/Pakistan Campaign that contemplates victory.

  3. Pakistan is doing what Pakistan does best. They are crying poor and saying they need US billions to fight the Taliban.

    Bullshit. They find the money to support their nuclear program and their hundred thousand madrassas, they do not need US money to save their own country from the Taliban.

    They created the Taliban. After 911, they thought abut George Bush's challenge of being with us or against us.

    They grudgingly supported the US aid and sucked in billions and did next to nothing.

    Pakistan can stop the Taliban from taking Pakistan, If they choose not to without US aid, it is because they would not do it with it.

  4. Hell, the Pakistani ISI supported the 9-11-01 Operation by their agents, from Afghanistan.

    Until that reality sinks in, the entire deal makes no sense. When view from that perspective, the Pakis have rolled US, taking their tribute payments and doing what they will.

    Pakistan always have been the Enemy, they funded and provided aid to the raiders.
    There is no doubt of that.
    Never has been.

  5. The secret to understanding the Conventions on torture, it is not a bi-lateral agreement, but a unilateral one, by each of the signatories.

    We have sworn to uphold those Standards, regardless of what the "other" may do.

    We did not perform to Standard.
    We bolo'd that performance.
    Washed out.

    There is always a price to be paid, for failure.

  6. Let the bastards harvest what they sowed.

  7. Ironic in light of our support of the afghani rebels when they were fighting the Soviets...

    ...whom should a pol listen to? the military or the electorate? for military rule?

    rufus, I posted this in the other thread for you but I'll drag it up here to:

    The Geneva Conventions, to which we are signatory, specifically apply to all who are captured. And the captured part is important from an ethical standpoint as well - those captured have been removed from the field of battle, are disarmed, and under your control.

  8. And Sheik Mohammed, he was arrested in a Pakistani apartment, not on any battlefield where US troops were engaged.

    There was no heat of passion, just cold calculation, by the US, to break the Law, at the highest levels of our government.

  9. ...The Stomp’s long lineup also included the 80-year-old Alabama bluesman and harmonica player Jerry McCain; Lady Bo, who played guitar in Bo Diddley’s band when he made his hits in the late 1950s; Wanda Jackson, a rockabilly singer who had Elvis Presley as a mentor; the gospel-charged soul singers Otis Clay and Howard Tate; the organ-driven garage psychedelia of ? and the Mysterians; the swamp-pop drummer and singer Warren Storm; and the rambunctious rockabilly singer and guitarist Ray Sharpe.

    Lazy Lester, the harmonica-playing Louisiana bluesman who released “Pondarosa Stomp” as the B-side of a 1966 Excello Records single, was also on hand, with Presley’s longtime guitarist James Burton and the organist Stanley Dural, a k a Buckwheat Zydeco, among his backup musicians.

    Who knew Buckwheat Zydeco was aka Stanley Dural?

  10. That all sounds fine if you're a moron bent on suicide.

    The supreme court can fuck themselves. And, so can Rat, and Ash, and anyone else that wants to get my family killed.

    We lose a city due to some fouled up asshole not doing his job extracting information, and they'll find out what all those 30-06's are, really, for.

    The Constitution's not a suicide pact, and those that refuse to protect the country will find that whatever particular piece of paper they're trying to hide behind won't help them much, either.

  11. He pushed an elderly man in a wheelchair overboard and let him die. Say, there might be an opening for him in the new Euthanasia section of National Health Care.

  12. Tyler Cowen in a piece for the Wilson Quarterly - about which I agree with Thomas Barnett when he says, "the basic line on the U.S. is counter-intuitive (to your average American) and thus most worthy right now."

    Last Man Standing
    by Tyler Cowen

    It’s no cause for celebration, but the global financial crisis shows why the United States remains the indispensable nation.

    The United States has millions of homes in foreclosure, high unemployment rates, a failing General Motors, numerous insolvent banks, and unprecedented deficits. It is possibly on the brink of a second Great Depression. Yet the U.S. dollar has experienced one of its most rapid appreciations in history. Last summer, when it took about $1.66 to buy a euro, American tourists in Paris gasped at the price of a Coke. Now, a stronger dollar means that a euro can be had for something like $­1.26.

    What’s ­up?

    America’s relative decline in global affairs has been foretold many times, but it never quite seems to happen. Today, the rest of the world is looking to the United States to pull it out of a recession (or depression), even though many countries also blame us for having started it. The truth is this: The worse things go for the world as a whole, the more the United States gains in relative power and influence. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive, but it has happened before. After the first and second world wars left many other parts of the world in devastation, the United States rose in relative stature. It fell in standing, at least arguably, during the years between 1989 and 2007, when the world as a whole was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and ­liberty.

    In the terminology of financial economics, the United States is, relatively speaking, a countercyclical asset. It’s not that America profits from bad times or war but that we have a relatively greater capacity to limit our losses and eventually bounce back. We are “built to fail,” so to ­speak.


  13. More Barnett:

    I made a decision a long time ago not to make my career a bet on bad things happening. I think that approach simply corrodes your strategic thought capacity. Human history is progress, so if you're constantly having to screen out the good to spot the bad, your vision will be unduly narrow. If you bet on progress, you can easily contextualize the bad, because progress is never linear. But if you bet on retreat, you must consistently discount advances as "illusions" and "buying time" and so on, and after a while, you're just this broken clock who's dead-on twice a day.

    Also: A whole chicken in a can!

    Mankind marches ever onward.

  14. Yes you are correct, the Constitution is not a suicide, and we're not committing suicide, by obeying the Law.

    Avoiding it, actually.

    If the Conventions and Accords are a suicide pact, let US withdraw from them, as we did the ABM Treaty.

    But there is no call for that.

    rufus claims that his fear of the future is reason enough to break the Law. He is wrong, flat out.

    There may be reason enough to change the Law, but not enough to break it.

    Then, once the fateful decision has been made to break the Law, do not shirk from but it, but exclaim the fact that you are breaking the Law, until that Law is changed. If you are sure that it is required for the saftey of the Republic. That's the responsibility of a President and his Team.

    Team43 provided no such Leadership, they failed to lead along with failing to enforce the Law of the Land. They failed to ensure that the required tactical options were available to the US, long term.

    Their torturing the miscreants and terrorists was not done, but, as Ms Rice said, that they were afraid.
    Afraid of the enemy and of their lack of systemic ability to combat that enemy. Instead of providing a long term solution, they broke the Law.

    If there is the suicide wish, it is with those that chose to ignore the long term challenges and used misinformation to obscure their multiple failures at coming to terms with reality.

  15. The chicken, being fully cooked, is the perfect base of a camp meal.

    Or an urban one, for that matter.

    By combining the chicken and broth, from the can, with canned veggies it is possible to create a stew in next to no time.

    No fuss, little mess.

    It can be so delicious and nutritious. A good nourishing campfire stew.

  16. It's Friday afternoon. I'm in the mood for a snatch and grab, myself.

    That would be a bottle of Jack and four glasses. If ya got.

  17. ...meanwhile, the Obama team conducts business freely, unrestrained by Law, Constitutional Authority, or outcry in the "news" media.

  18. Chicken and Noodles, heated in the can.

  19. Via, a cool solution to a bad problem:

    Florida Officers Battle Drivers in Legal Street Races

    Posted: May 1st, 2009 11:13 AM EDT
    Officers said they have seen a drastic reduction in illegal street racing since "Beat the Heat" started in 2007.

    Once a month police officers race anyone over the age of 18 for $25.

    Story by

    # Watch Video

    MIAMI --

    If you talk to Anthony Gonzalez, you will realize quickly that there is no talking him into slowing down on the road.

    "Adrenaline rush -- the closer I feel to getting killed, the more I love it," Gonzalez said.

    The trick is controlling the passion for racing from spilling onto public roadways.

    "How fast have you gone?" Local 10's Sasha Andrade asked Gonzalez.

    "One-hundred-sixty, 170," he replied.

    Police officers are redirecting people like Gonzalez from the street to the County Line Drag Way. The program is called Beat the Heat. Once a month, officers will race anyone over the age of 18 for $25.

    "You could bring your mother’s minivan. You can bring a pure racing car. It doesn't matter," said Officer Jose Ayala with the Medley Police Department.

    "We're actually getting a lot of kids and adults alike come here and say, 'We used to race in Davie. You probably used to chase us around, and now we're here on the track and we want to race your car,'" said Officer Ron Bradley with the Davie Police.

    Officers said they have seen a drastic reduction in illegal street racing since Beat the Heat started in 2007.

    "We used to have races in the warehouse district almost every Friday, Saturday night. They've completely stopped," Bradley said.

    Racers told Local 10 that they actually prefer the track.

    "It's better and it's safer," one racer said.

    The next Beat the Heat race is May 23 at 7 p.m. at the County Line Drag Way on Okeechobee Road.

  20. The economic policies of the Bush Administration have proven to be worse than bad, doug.

    Here and in Detroit.

    Amongst others

    The nearly 51 percent drop in Phoenix is not an isolated plunge. Prices in Las Vegas are down some 48 percent from their peaks. They are down 45 percent in Miami from their highest levels, and down 40 percent in Los Angeles and San Diego.

    Our three family clan is down over a million bucks, since the peak, doug.

    But none of us were selling then, either.

    Does not make the balance sheet look quite so sweet, that's for sure. Some opportunities that were available have dissappeared, but others are sure to appear on the horizon.

  21. Jack? It's almost as rough as Wild Turkey.

    If you want decent bourbon try Evan Williams or Ezra Brooks.

    I rather sip MaCallans.

  22. Or not.

    Then life's expectations may have to lowered, maybe I won't be able to build and maintain 3 residences.

    Or, maybe, the house on the beach may have to be scaled back, a tad.
    Maybe go a bit more native than was originally planned.

    Or just build out a real nice camp, worked for Wyatt Earp and his lady. They lived in a camp for years, along the Colorado River.

  23. Decent's not the point of a snatch and grab.

    Jack will always have its fans, whit. Always.

  24. I can relate, rat. Most can. It is what it is, we'll make do. I'd rather have the camp house anyway.

  25. ""Adrenaline rush --
    the closer I feel to getting my man killed,
    the more I love it,
    Ms Manners said.

  26. "...others are sure to appear on the horizon."
    Be sure to have plenty of ammo @ hand.

  27. Expecting the exodus: AZ's attempt to lure California businesses east

    By Jeremy Duda
    , Capital Times.

    There is more than a little reason to be optimistic, economicly, as Mr Duda relates.

    The business climate, it's worse in California.

    My old standby for objective economic data has always been Forbes. They are writing this, about the current situation

    Meanwhile, cities with formerly robust economies--like Reno, Nev., Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Tampa, Fla., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., West Palm Beach, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., and Phoenix--are more likely to rebound. These areas topped our list for much of the 2000s; their success was driven first by surging population and job growth and later by escalating housing prices.

    But the collapse of the housing bubble and a drop in large-scale migration from other regions has weakened, often dramatically, these perennial successes. "We could rely on 1,000 people a week moving into the area," notes one longtime official in central Florida. "These people needed services, houses and bought stuff. Now the growth is a 10th of that."
    We can even be cautiously optimistic about some of these former superstars. After all, observes Phoenix-based economist Elliot Pollack, the existing reasons for moving to Arizona, Nevada or Florida--warm weather, relatively low taxes and generally pro-business governments--have not disappeared. "There's no change in the fundamentals," he argues. "It's a transition. It's ugly, and there's pain, but it's still a cycle that will turn."

    Once the economy stabilizes, Pollack says he expects the flow of people and companies from the Northeast and California to Phoenix and other former hot spots will resume, once again lured by inexpensive real estate, better conditions for business and a generally more up-to-date infrastructure.

    The Problem with California

    Worst Cities For Jobs
    Joel Kotkin:
    The Sun Belt just might recover, but employment prospects look grim in Michigan, Ohio and California

    So we'll just keep to the sunnyside, until June, then we'll be lookin' for the shade.

  28. Future so bright, we're gonna need shades.

  29. Get the lady drinkin' Jack and soon enough you can grab some snatch.

    Candy being dandy, we all know that liquor is quicker.

  30. The wisdom of Judith Martin (Miss Manners):

    It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

    Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.

    There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class.

    We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.

  31. As I pointed out earlier, GDP is contracting at the fastest pace in 50 years. The recent Q1 2009 number surprised on the downside yet the market rallied.
    The market is rallying because those playing the stock market are treating it as a casino.

    If it were an accurate reflection of the real economy with record unemployment, historically high debt ratios, crushing contractions, it would be going down further.

    Many pundits, those that also said there was no housing bubble, point to the stock market as a leading indicator. That is, the market recovers before Main Street does.
    These pundits are using out dated models.
    How many times have we had a Fed interest rate that is 0
    (actually lower because of quantitative easing)?

    We haven’t and the only other experience in our history like this is the Great Depression.
    People point out that the stimulus plan was a big burden. Nearly half of it was tax cuts and the rest was fiscal programs and extension of benefits such as unemployment insurance.
    If anything, it was the only thing that actually went straight into Main Street. But this came as a diversion to the approximately $13 trillion in bailouts and commitments to banks and Wall Street.

    In many community colleges, 70 to 80 percent of students need remedial math. When I see people screaming about millions in executive compensation yet sitting idly by when trillions are thrown out to the most crony corporate welfare kings, it makes me wonder if there is a sinister anti-math plan to keep people in the dark.
    Or maybe, it is a more simple explanation like people can’t step away from America’s Got Talent?

  32. "We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society."
    I was born w/an Inny.
    Age related degeneration rendered it an Outty.
    Soon I will remove the gauze and check out the results of reconstructive surgery.

    ...think I'll have a drink first:
    What if I end up w/a
    Startled, Clown-Faced Button...

    ... like Tweaker in the House?

  33. "The Tweaker"
    aka Madam Pelosi

  34. "I was born w/an Inny."

    Are you saying you weren't born charming, fresh, and spontaneous?

    That, I can believe.

  35. It was acquired with great pain and dedication.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Let Them Eat Chocolate Toe Jam-
    Michelle Obama and Jill Biden (center) at a Feeding America event.
    The First Lady could feed quite a few people with what she paid for the $540 sneakers she's wearing.

  38. The outty? Or your workaday pinched and shriveled cantankerousness?

  39. Anybody remember the name of the (British I think) Socialist Blog that had lots of stories about the Jihadi/Left coalitions? between the two.

  40. A Debate Rekindled-

    A new book says that F.D.R. wanted to resettle millions of Jews in Latin America.

  41. Global Diagnosis: America's Health Care Policies Are Sick
    By Robert Herbold

    If you were to ask most Americans whether or not the United States has the lowest infant mortality, I suspect the large majority would give you a resounding "yes." That's why it's startling to realize that the U.S. actually ranks 46th in the world. The top three countries are Singapore at 2.3 infant deaths per thousand, Sweden at 2.75 and Japan at 2.8. The U.S. infant mortality rate - 6.3 per thousand births - is higher than Cuba, Portugal, Slovenia and Iceland.

    On life expectancy, we don't do any better; indeed, we rank 45th in the world.

    With respect to healthcare spending, however, we are absolutely tops! A robust 15.4 percent of our GDP goes for healthcare. That's the highest of any country in the world

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Banana Republic Capitalism, posted over at Powerline, makes doug's point about the current Adminstration and how it is playing "loose" with the Law.

    The bottomline of the torture issue is not torture, it is the Government freely breaking the Law, "for our own good".

    Just like removing the free roaming horses, torturing detainees or creating Banana Republic economies

    Barack Obama's conduct in this affair has been disgraceful. Our bankruptcy laws are well developed and are fairly implemented by experienced bankruptcy judges. Priority among creditors is established according to legal rules and precedents. The process is transparent and subject to appellate review. But in this case, the law did not favor the parties who have the most influence with the White House--notably, the United Auto Workers--so Obama substituted political threats and bullying for due process. Il Duce would have approved.George Will made the case that the TARP was unconstitutional, but no one came forth to bring a suit challenging TARP.

    Obama's political opponents being more interested in chasing Obama's digital birth data than in countering the the real world impact of his political policies.

  44. Here's a Republican to watch, Governor of Indiana.

    Mitch Daniels - Popular Republican Governor Reflects On The GOP's First 100 Days As The Opposition Party.

    NJ: Democrats and their allies have labeled the Republicans as "the party of no." Do you think that can stick?

    Daniels: Do you know what's interesting about that? That's exactly the word I've been using for the last four years in Indiana. You can go Google it. In Indiana, the Democratic Party -- and by the way, it fits -- I've said they are the party of no, they are the party of yesterday. That's exactly our comment about our opponents here. So it shows that being negative or being without new ideas is not the province of any side

    Has a health care proposal system in place that is not mandates on everyone, but aid to those that need AND want it.

    When we addressed health care for the uninsured, or insurance for those without, it's a very free-market solution -- it's basically HSA's for poor people -- and it's extraordinarily popular. I had a lady hugging me and crying down in a coffee shop in Connorsville Saturday morning because she got coverage -- I've had this experience a thousand times -- she got coverage and she couldn't possibly have had it any other way.

    A Republican to watch ...

  45. UAW gets 55%

    Bondholders, pennies.

  46. Goldman, et al all covered with TARP Funds.
    ...only the public takes it in the shorts.
    As it should be.

  47. Walking back home from the store this evening, this was drifting out onto the empty street from one of the apartments:

    Keep your fingers crossed. It's cheap and efficient.

    And I mean that.

  48. Yes Rat, and Doug, it will be interesting to watch the unfolding of the Chrysler bankruptcy now that a judge gets to make the calls. Employees certainly are not secured creditors!

    Why I Declined to Meet with the President’s Detention Policy Task Force

    • McCarthy Sends His Regrets to the Justice Department-

    Read this letter that went to the Obama administration this morning.

    " light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government."
    "Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

    I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.

  50. They don't give that a snowball's chance, Ash.

  51. Rufus, it was like 'being on the other side' and trying to make contact with the living foolish. I wanted to come to your aid and throw my support behind you in you argument with Ash and Rat, but, while I could read the Elephant Bar at the motel we were at, I couldn't comment. Talk about frustrating.

    Anyway, sense will prevail, probably after the next attack.

  52. ... since all the big guys have already gone along.
    To get along after being paid off.

  53. According to a flu expert I was listening to the other night, there is a very good chance this little bugger might mutate for the worse. That's the real danger, says he.

    Tamiflu has already been mutated out of its effectiveness in many cases, now, before this hit, too.

  54. How about this for a price drop. For a McMansion up around McCall, Idaho. Was asking $1.3 million, now asking $469,000. Might even be worth that.

  55. Here's betting Obumble's Supreme Court nominee, whoever she be, will make Harriet Miers look like a genius.

  56. Matt LewisVanity Fair's Nell Scovell has written a piece advocating for Anita Hill to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. I figured I would play along with a less absurd choice -- and suggest Senator Arlen Specter.

    Considering the prospects of Obama seating a young liberal who might be around for decades, conservatives would probably jump at the chance to support Specter. Republicans probably can't block an Obama nominee, but for public relations purposes, it's always good to have a smooth confirmation -- and Republicans would see Specter as the best choice they option they could hope for.

    And what would Barack Obama get out of it? More than you think ...

  57. What happened to the Videos, Deuce?

  58. The UAW was paid too much too long in exchange for too little. They priced themselves out of the market, built inefficiencies into the process with work rules, protected the slugs with seniority rules, and did slovenly work that diminished the demand for their product. Of course, they deserve to own the majority of the company. They earned it.

    Buy a Ford.

  59. No, bob, Arlen would be the perfect space filler.

    Read the story, age has nothing to do with it. In fact, his age is a plus, Obama'd get to fill the seat, again, within the next 8 years.

    Short term gain and long term legacy, if he chooses Specter, now.
    A win-win, for Obama and his Team.

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. The UAW is a srong facor at Ford, too.

    Buy Toyota, if you're anti-UAW.

    Toyota being as American as apple pie, now.

  62. I'll bet one amero he picks a woman. The goofier the better. She'll have a real chip on her shoulder, too.

    That's the new Mormon Temple in Twin Falls. Quite impressive, even if it looked like it was made out of salt. Moroni the angel blowing his horn up at the top, I think.

  63. We'll see if a Gov/UAW auto maker can compete. Doesn't seem quite fair though, with the subsidies.