“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, July 08, 2009

It is all about tribalism. Really?

Pressfield is an old school imperialist. He argues for an American viceroy that should be set-up in Afghanistan. He thinks we can out wait the tribes with our own mercenary tribe. The conclusion by the author is that any goal should be very modest but the effort should span decades if necessary. I don't get it.

My suggestion is to let evolution do its own dirty work and get out of dodge. No effort, no matter how noble will accomplish anything more lasting than provide more monuments for Memorial Day. There is no achievable mission worth the cost of trying to fix Afghanistan.

More at stevenpressfield
HatTip: Hugh Hewitt


  1. ah-hem:
    Doug said,
    - Steven Pressfield (Gates of Fire, among others)

    Wed Jul 08, 09:40:00 AM EDT :-)

  2. In the fog, remember victory is impossible in Afghanistan Matthew Parris

    But put your eye to the other end of the telescope, step 40 paces back from the kinetic situation, and ask what it’s for. It’s to support the building of a secure, freestanding state in Afghanistan. This is not happening. The elections this summer cannot but return President Karzai, an arch survivor focused only on survival, in whom the world has already lost confidence and can have little reason for future hope. Mr Karzai’s paralysing chess game of alliances, stand-offs, jobs and favours does not represent a regrettable failure to do anything with the power he has won. It is the way he won it and the only way he can keep it.

    Meanwhile, brute force can almost always hold its ground, and an American surge should bring a little more security. But for what? The ground may be cleared by guns, but there is no viable politics here waiting to occupy it. And until what? Until the Americans try to leave.

    So the fortunes of war are irrelevant. To save your sanity, your solvency and perhaps your life, it’s important not to grasp the detail, or it will bankrupt you, kill your sons and break your heart. Don’t hunt for truth. Don’t dissect. Don’t delve. Don’t help. Don’t peer at the demented jigsaw puzzle of dollars, capital letters and committees, or shuffle the pieces around: they don’t add up to a country. Push aside your microscope, fetch your telescope and put your eye to the wrong end. The devil is not in the detail.
    The devil is in the whole damn thing.
    Yon is of the same opinion.

  3. Yon in Afghanistan

    Dear Reader,
    I am back in Afghanistan.
    There is progress on many fronts,
    but in sum, we are still losing the war at an increasing rate.

    All is not hopeless, but it’s not looking good. The fighting promises to be far more deadly for our troops here than we ever saw in Iraq. The big media has done an abysmal job of covering the latest fighting.
    Yes, there are many stories from Afghanistan, but if you look at the bylines, many are filed from places like Kabul. When you see “Kabul,” think "Saigon" or “Green Zone” with hotels and bars.

    I’m heading back to combat and will be right there, up close, in the middle like usual. The risks are severe and expenses such as insurance skyrocket when in combat.

    I can maintain this pace for long periods, but only if you have my back.
    Nobody else does. Your support is crucial to this front-line reporting.
    This site accepts zero advertisements.
    Please buy a copy of Moment of Truth in Iraq.
    The book will ship immediately if you buy here

  4. We were in Coeur d'Alene today and while driving along saw a marvelous looking building with a huge cross in front. Thinks I, must be a Mormon Temple. Turned out to be This

    Quite impressive.

    All tribes welcome.

  5. One more try.


    Famous, so the wife says. Never heard of it myself, but she says they do some wonderful things.

  6. Look How Silly The Russians Made Ohumble Look

    Can't tell if those chairs are equal, but the illusion is what counts.

    A humanity which practices such devious shenanigans may not be without hope, but the odds are long.

    Kind of ticked me off, till I remembered Obama giving Hillary the bird.

  7. Just turn in your key, Lee,

    Slip out the back, Jack,

    There must be a hundred way to leave, asshatistan,

    But, Do It.

  8. Hire Spys, fly a thousand global hawks, and predators overhead,

    and, Bomb the Shit out of anything that looks like a "training camp."

    But, do it from Diego Garcia, or the Ronald Reagan, or Nellis, or "over the horizon" in Guam, or The White House vegetable garden, or Michelles sewing room, or ANYFUCKINGWHEREBUTAFFUCKINGANISTAN!

  9. The thing is, There's no "There," there. It's a rock garden (without the garden,) a goat farm, a totally valueless, Godforsaken pile of dirt.

    It will never, in ten thousand years, be anything but a graveyard for American Troops. A barren, desolate graveyard.

    If you won it you wouldn't have anything; and you're not going to "Win" it, anyway.

    Kill some anonymouse warlord (or a donkey if nothing else is available,) Declare Victory, and Come Home.

  10. I just finished listening to Adm. Mullen talking about the quest for the next new vehicle for Afghanistan, and then answer some questions about traumatic brain injury, a signature injury of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    They honestly believe that they can build a vehicle that will not be always behind the latest IED technology? Is there anything worse than a traumatic brain injury?

    From the age 19 to 79 someone will have to take care of these veterans. It is beyond the abilities of 90% all people to do so and for what? I want the young men of Mississippi and Pennsylvania and North Carolina to get to be old men and take care of their own lives and families, not be hammered and fractured in some target vehicle for the not-our-problems of the world's sewers.

    I'm with you ruf, hammer em from on high and be back for breakfast.

  11. Hewitt blew three hours of his show with Pressfield, I guess it will have to be opera or c-span to lull me to sleep.

  12. One would hope to find a three hour lecture series on either Albert Camus or Proust on youtube for such emergencies.

    I do miss the c-span videos of Alan Greenspan testifying before our rulers and master in the house finance committee, although that would occasionally backfire, with some of the truly exceptional questions.

  13. I just noticed that Hewitt was behind the curve with Dougo.

    A lecture on Proust by Doug would be entertaining, but that is not the idea is it?

  14. This will have to do until I return with more time.
    With some personal anecdotes, and I think I have some interesting 8mm Film of the two of us.
    Hope al-Bob's Library is closed.

  15. I"m just finishing up an exciting three hours with Russel Targ.

    Remote Viewing
    Writer and physicist Russell Targ will discuss his history creating the Remote Viewing program at the Stanford Research Institute during the Cold War, as well as his relationships with the late Bobby Fischer and Ayn Rand.

    Speaking of Allen Greenspan, Targ was in a small group for some time, lead by the overestimated Any Rand, with Greenspan part of the group. Said Rand came off as a cult leader. Mentioned Greenspan's mea culpa on an error that manifested in his philosophy, the error being that the Smithian 'invisible hand' would only work if we lived in a world where practically everybody didn't lie, cheat, and swindle on another. Hadn't counted on that.

    Talked a little about Michael Jackson, and Marilyn Monroe. Said all these folks--the list is long--get so they think the image in the mirror, or the stage, or on the silver screen, is the 'real me' and it's inevitably self destructive, as they end up not knowing who the hell they really are, and living a life of 'not me'. Always leads to disaster.

    I suppose one could take it out further and say, since so many people idolize these folks, few people in our country know who the hell they are, either.

    Good program.

    Targ is virtually blind, but rode a motorcyle for years. Said it wasn't so hard, and that though he is legally blind, he could make out distance, objects and so forth, just not very distincly, like missing a lot pixels.

    Interesting guy. Has given up the motorcycle now he's hit 70.

    Lastly, and importantly, he thinks a war between Israel and Iran is in the cards.

  16. Title of his new book, which he was peddling, is "Do You See What I See?"

  17. Ayn Rand's husband was an older architect, who always fell asleep in the corner.

    Some of the time when he was sleeping, she was sleeping with some of the others, he said.

    heh :)

  18. Speaking of quieting the mind and the non-local--

    The first aphorism of Patanjali's classic handbook of yoga supplies the key to the entire work:

    "Yoga consists in the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind-stuff."

    Any person unused to meditation, desiring to fix in his mind a single image or thought, will find within seconds that he is already entertaining associated thoughts. The untrained mind will not stand still, and yoga is the intentional stopping of its movement.

    It may be asked, why should anyone wish to bring about such a state?

    The mind is likened, in reply, to the surface of a pond rippled by a wind...The idea of yoga is to cause that wind to subside and let the waters return to rest. For when a wind blows and waters stir, the waves break and distort both the light and its reflections, so that all that can be seen are colliding broken forms. Not until the waters will have been stilled, cleansed of stirred up sediment and made mirror bright, will the one reflected image appear that on the rippling waves had been broken; that of the clouds and pure sky above, the trees along the shore, and down deep in the still pure water itself, the sandy bottom and the fish. Then alone will that single image be known of which the wave borne reflections are but fragments and distortions. And this single image can be likened to that of the Self realized in yoga. It is the Ultimate--the Form of forms--of which the phenomena of this world are but imperfectly seen, ephemeral distortions: the God-form, the Buddha-form, which is truly our own Knowledge-form, and with which it is the goal of yoga to unite us.

    Targ says a successful remote viewer must achieve a condition something like this, a mind cleared of all the reflections of the day to day, a blank slate. Though the above is not a blank slate, just begins with one.

  19. deuce said,

    "I just finished listening to Adm. Mullen talking about the quest for the next new vehicle for Afghanistan..."

    In tonnage, the single greatest component of goods shipped to Europe from the US during WWI was.......fodder.

    ...times changes...but the minds in charge remain immutable...

  20. What

    a bunch

    of whiners.

    Think you'd at least be able to appreciate Afghanistan for its, ah, small government conservatism. It's tight-knit families and their code of honor. And it's fabulous off-road driving.

    Alas. 'Tis not to be.

    What would Massoud say?

  21. Last night I saw a NatGeo piece on the extraction of Marcus Luttrell from Sabray, in Kunar, and of the bodies of two of his team members.

    Pretty amazing, and I've heard my share of stories.

  22. ... with every sumptuous sofa, comfortable chair, and elegant ottoman that earns the Massoud name, our legacy grows even stronger.

    Massoud Furniture, real folks living the American dream.

    I still think we ought to be celecbrating the surplus poppie yields, brought to the whirled via the hard work of US Army Engineers, their tireless work providing the irrigation ditches that make heroin from Afghanistan possible.

    Hip, hip hooray!
    Hip, hip hooray!!
    Hip, hip hooray!!!

    Wonder what the consequences of this adventure will be, those unforeseen consequences.

    If we want to believe that those in the "know" did not understand that poppies would be the crop of choice, in southern Afghanistan.


  23. But then again, my reading of history shows the those "in the know", they knew full well the consequence of their actions.

  24. Does Obama Have a Friend in the Vatican?
    By E.J. Dionne.

    WASHINGTON -- When President Obama meets with Pope Benedict XVI on Friday, there will be no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the pontiff, as they did Notre Dame earlier this year, for conferring the church's legitimacy upon this liberal politician.

    In fact, whether he is the beneficiary of providence or merely of good luck, Obama will have his audience with Benedict just three days after the release of a papal encyclical on social justice that places the pope well to Obama's left on economics. What a delightful surprise it would be for a pope to tell our president that on some matters, he's just too conservative.

    The disjunction between Vatican attitudes toward Obama and those of the most conservative forces inside the American Catholic Church has been obvious from the moment Obama won election.

    The conservative minority among the bishops as well as political activists on the Catholic right have insisted on judging the president only on the basis of his support for legal abortion and stem cell research.

    But the Vatican clearly views Obama through a broader prism. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio in Washington, has privately warned American bishops that harsh attacks on Obama threaten to make the church look partisan.

    The Vatican press has been largely sympathetic to Obama, and in a recent article, Cardinal Georges Cottier, who was the theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II, praised Obama's "humble realism" on abortion and went so far as to compare the president's approach to that of St. Thomas Aquinas

  25. (If the Obama admin were truly shrewd they'd bring you undertakers back into the pom-pom-waving fold of Shitty Little Wars No One Really Likes But Is Willing To Gamely Endure with the blithe prospect of a sac campaign directed at Iran ANY DAY NOW. Kinda like the last admin until everyone caught on. Eat your vegetables - with relish! - and we'll serve up some dessert.

    "But we've been eating vegetables for five years."

    "Here. Have a Surge. It'll cleanse the palate.")

    (And, no, Massoud wouldn't wonder why.)

    WASHINGTON -- Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon E. Panetta has told lawmakers that the agency "concealed significant actions" from Congress, according to a letter released Wednesday from seven Democratic lawmakers.

    The letter also contends that Mr. Panetta said CIA officials have misled Congress since 2001.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sent a separate letter on Tuesday to the top Republican on his committee saying that Mr. Panetta's appearance led him to conclude that the CIA had "affirmatively lied" to the committee. Mr. Reyes, a Texas Democrat, said the issues Mr. Panetta disclosed to the committee may lead to a full committee investigation.

    "I believe that CIA has, in the vast majority of matters, told the truth," Mr. Reyes said in a statement. "But in rare instances, certain officers have not adhered to the high standards held, as a rule, by the CIA with respect to truthfulness in reporting.

  27. I did not say "wonder", I meant he'd ask WHY it was allowed to be done. Not that he would not know why the Iranians would want to.

    Going to actual behaviours, not suspected motives.

  28. Why was the airport in Najaf allowed to be built?

    We're not the only players. And Kabul, more than Baghdad, is a kind of Grand Central Terminal.

  29. Why was the airport in Najaf allowed to be built?

    Option 1. Poor planning on the occupiers part, allowing the insurgents sponsor an official reason for being there.

    Option 2. An attempt to corrupt the religious and ideological purity of those Iranians that enter Iraq, with the scenes of the enhanced material gains that choosing 'real' democracy bestowed upon Iraqis.

    Option 3. Keep the Iranians active and in the game.

    Option 4. All of the above.

    I am not sure as to motive, just the quantifiable behaviours and outcomes, up to this point and time. The future outcomes of current and past decisions, being of course, unknowable.

  30. Your MacDonalds Salvation Link does not work, al-Bob.
    I linked to an article about that once.

  31. Was the use of those irrigation canals, built by the US Army and funded by US tax dollars, that provide water for the cultivation of poppies projectable, predictable or just plainly a fact from the get go.

    Were those canals constructed to facilitate poppie production, with knowledge and fore thought, by the "Deciders" at the time?

    I do not know the answer, but through cnjecture.
    I do know that those canals do provide for the whirleds herion supplies. I do know we dug them and I do know we could destroy them.

    Cutting the scourge of heroin out of the lives of many, at the source.
    Which there is a moral demand to do, to rectify US for creating the whirleds supply of poppie fields in the first place.

    We could be redeemed of our past behaviours, with the 'correct' choices, today. Or we can exacerbate the problems.

    Which seems to be the course we've set, yet again.
    This time with Army's "best" in command.

  32. Including the Colombians, who are heading out various and sundry.

  33. Exactly correct, den mother.

    The show continues, popcorn and beer available at the concession stand.

    Beats Barnum & Bailey all to hell.

    They only coordinate three rings of fun under the Big Top.

  34. That the poppies fields exist, with US infrastructure support leads US back to the Russell Company, the world's largest trafficer of opium.

    The CEO of Russell Co. being FDR's grandfather. While toaday its' public trust funds the Skull & Bones, that secret society fraternity of elitists at Yale.

    In which both GW Bush and JFKerry claim brotherhood.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. And here we'd gone more than a week without reference to night-stand conspiracies.

    Next time, we'll aim for two weeks.

  37. Didn't realize who she was, and that she's only a young teenager, at best.

    I'm no Letterman by intent.

  38. All are plainly realities, trish.

    You're welcome to tie the themes together in any way you'd like. Creating a meme of coincidence that covers the bases.

    But I grew up of and amongst 'em,
    Mercersburg Academy, being an alma mater.

  39. Steeped in US history, there

    ... and the James Buchanan cabin was moved onto the campus.

    In and amongst the once and future conspirators.

  40. "Wendy is unequivocal: 'Older men, who are mostly divorced, have hair flowering out of their nose and ears, paunches, bad clothes and bad shoes.
    These are wealthy men, but I've seen better dressed tramps.
    Never Happen.

  41. "All are plainly realities, trish."

    Rat, I've been listening to you say that for many years.

    Your interpretation of circumstances and events is about as credible as my Great Aunt Mary's.

    Aunty Mary, still a fantastic partner in a game of Hearts or Foot and Mouth, has gone off the deep end. Big D, Big E.

    At that stage where everyone exchanges glances. To wit: Humor her.

  42. What is the virtual (internets) equivalent of a glance?

  43. The sons of Calvin Coolidge both, John and Cal Jr. also claimed Mercersberg Academy as an alma mater

  44. Realities dismissed as irrelevant, by the den mother of the Federal Socialists.

    There is no alternative scenario offered, just dismissal of reality as unseriuous. As is their normal reaction to inconvenient truths.

  45. Michael Spero ’34 looks back at the two years from 1973 to 1975 he spent as an engineer working with the Government of Afghanistan Irrigation and Water Resources Development Authority.

    At 92, Spero recalls a time 27 years ago when the people of Afghanistan were trying to make a positive difference in their country. “I had been in touch with the United Nations and asked if they needed anybody,” says Spero. “About a year later they asked me if I would go, and I said yes.” So began Spero’s two years in Afghanistan with his wife, Annette, and one child.

    As a civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Spero possessed the knowledge the Afghan people needed. But he said they were unsure of his presence at first.

    “When I first arrived they didn’t like outsiders coming in,” says Spero. “They told me ‘You work for the Government of Afghanistan.’ I said fine. I didn’t come over to do the work. I just came over to help you out. You will do all the work.”

    He said what won them over was their admiration for the way the Army Corps of Engineers could set about a task and get results.

    Quickly, Spero began to win the respect of his new colleagues while developing a respect of his own for the Afghan people. “The young Afghans had a very good education from the United States, but they had very little experience. When they began working they started gaining the experience they needed, and they did a fine job,” recalls Spero.

    “They had a serious lack of water supply reservoirs and little storage or irrigation. It was a primitive country, and it hasn’t changed much since. The country is primarily brown with very little green—the forests were destroyed thousands of years ago. It’s the most desolate country you’ve ever seen. The land has been lived on for thousands of years, and all of the resources have been used up.”

    Spero and the Afghans could see positive change on the horizon; however, their efforts at improving water resources did not materialize.

    “It was a very good place to be while I was there,” says Spero. “The country was approaching democratic government. They were making progress, and then in 1979 the Soviets moved in and took over.” And the Taliban and the Northern Alliance grew in opposition to the Soviets.

    Spero wishes that more could have been done for Afghanistan. “The country has not changed much since the ’70s and ’80s. The Soviets came in for a long time. The Northern Alliance and the Taliban got them out, but Afghanistan is still in turmoil.”

    Today Spero lives in Boise, Idaho. He has donated his papers, including those dealing with his stay in Afghanistan, to the Special Collections Department of the University Library

    Working For Change In A Troubled Land
    By Jim Beardsworth

  46. Shah Mahmud, Prime Minister of Afghanistan, 1946 to 1953 ...

    Among other things, he presided over the inauguration of the Helmand Valley Project, a cooperative irrigation venture drawing Afghanistan into a closer relationship with the United States, which financed much of the work

    Which pretty effectively dates those canals.

    The Story behind the story, is here
    The Helmand Valley Project

    Omar Zakhilwal, Institue for Afghan Studies

    The Helmand Valley Project serves to provide an example of the most pervasive development project ever undertaken in modern Afghanistan.

    In this paper it is argued that the projects’ main aims of kindling an economic development in the one-fourth of the country covered by the project and bolstering the Afghan-US bilateral relationship were both doomed to failure.
    At the end the project was a failure. Of the 539,834 acre of land that was aimed to be irrigated as a result of the project only 170,000 (about 31%) acres actually received adequate water and most of these were already being farmed

    Of the several ambitious objectives only the control of floods seemed to have been achieved. There, therefore, is little doubt that the HV project represented a miscalculation on the part of all those involved. They include the Afghans who were behind the project, the Morrison-Knudsen Company and the US government. This despite the warning from numerous sources that the project was doomed to the fate it actually encountered...

  47. Even with respect to non-quantifiable benefits the project fell short of its expectations. As stated above one of the objectives of the project was to settle nomads in the region. After several years of continued effort and enormous subsidies, a large number of nomads left the valley because, after many years of hard work, they could not make a living due to the poor quality of the soil which was not taken into account in the initial survey of the project. Similarly, the project produced very few or no secondary effect, internal or external economies because of its distant location from the population. Thus from the viewpoint of alternative investment opportunities, the project compares unfavorably in terms of increments of national income and implicit benefits. Moreover, the total investment in the HV relative to the rest of the economy was quite large – the actual impact of the investment, therefore, was a slow down in the overall economic growth ...

  48. Representing the US, as Sec of State, at that time, Dean Gooderham Acheson (April 11, 1893 – October 12, 1971).

    Mr Acheson an alumnist of Yale University, just another coincidence, yet again.

  49. 9:12 PM PDT, June 27, 2009.

    Trieste, Italy -- The United States is shifting its strategy against Afghanistan's drug trade, phasing out funding for opium eradication while boosting efforts to fight trafficking and promote alternate crops, the U.S. envoy for the region said Saturday.

    Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Associated Press that poppy eradication -- for years a cornerstone of U.S. and U.N. drug trafficking efforts in Afghanistan -- was not working and was driving farmers into the hands of the Taliban.

    "Eradication is a waste of money," Holbrooke said on the sidelines of a Group of 8 foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan in Trieste, Italy, during which he briefed regional representatives on the new policy.

    "It might destroy some acreage, but it didn't reduce the amount of money the Taliban got by one dollar. It just helped the Taliban. So we're going to phase out eradication," he said. The Afghan foreign minister also attended the G-8 meeting.

    Eradication efforts were seen as inefficient because too little was being destroyed at too high a cost, United Nations drug chief Antonio Maria Costa said

  50. Karzai pardons five Afghan heroin traffickers

    Thu Jul 9, 2009 10:42am EDT
    By Sayed Salahuddin

    KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned five heroin smugglers, at least one of them a relative of a man who heads Karzai's campaign for re-election next month, a source and a government spokesman said.

    A spokesman for Karzai Thursday confirmed the pardons, which he said came after the intercession of tribal chiefs, long a tradition in such matters in Afghanistan

  51. So, will the US Marines be buying that opiate paste, or will the status que continue, with the agents of Mr Karzai's inner-circle stepping into the Taliban's role as market protector and profiteering from US military protection, in the Helmand Valley?

  52. Funny, is it not, how little attention is paid to our last efforts in the Helmand Valley.

    No lessons to be learned, from sixty year old projects.
    Ancient history, with no importance to the happenings, today.

    Follow the money, honey.

  53. Afghanistan is the world's leading source of opium, cultivating 93% of the world's heroin-producing crop. Though opium cultivation dropped 19% last year, it remains concentrated in the country's southern provinces, where the Taliban is strongest, and last year earned insurgents an estimated $50 million to $70 million, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

  54. $50 to $70 million per year!?!
    For a million and a bit a week, we could dry up the Taliban's funding and gain the trust of the local populations, simply by buying their product.

    Then either destroying it, or turning it into ethanol. Migrating the farmers into cultivating sweet sorghum.

    The ethanoal plant is $9 million USD, as built in Pakistan.

    Three year project, leading to eradication of opium poppies and a viable alternative hardy crop.

    If the 'serious' folk started today.

  55. just a thought...

    as you sit and argue about alternative energy...

    America is paying for Palestinians to relocate from Iraq to LA...

    America is paying for the the airfare and visa for Hama's TV station to come to the USA to make film about moslems in america...

    America is giving the Gazan $600,000,000 in cash aid

    America is giving the PA 450 Million a year...

    America gives AID to Saudia Arabia...

    welcome to Amerika...

  56. Instead of a strategic program, we are sending ...

    The ultimate goal of the 64-member Kentucky unit leaving soon is to help Afghan farmers become self-sufficient and eventually export their products, said 1st Lt. Stephen Martin, a spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard.

    “The Afghanis cannot feed themselves,” Martin said. “They are not even using techniques we were using in the early 1900s.”

    Martin said the development team will not directly address the growth of poppies but instead will offer farmers alternatives.

    “We hope to see a cultural shift away from that,” he said.

    Maj. Jim Rush, 40, of Bowling Green, said the team will focus on helping Afghan farmers build irrigation systems, construct storage for produce, manage their herds and market their products.

    “We’ll cover the whole agricultural arena. We’ll help sustain life – not take life,” Rush said at a departure ceremony for the unit at Bradford Hall at Kentucky State University Monday.

    Rush is the agronomist for the Kentucky National Guard agribusiness development team. Several hundred friends and family members gathered to see them go.

    The unit includes 54 soldiers and 10 airmen handpicked for their expertise and knowledge in agriculture and engineering, said Maj. John Holmes, the unit’s executive officer.

    Although the climate is hotter and drier, Afghanistan’s agricultural economy is very similar to that of Kentucky, Rush said.

    Kentucky and Afghanistan are both “transition” regions, which means they can grow during both the warm and cold seasons, he said.

    Both are good places to grow rice, corn, alfalfa and beans, he said. However, farmers’ yields in Afghanistan are much lower because of droughts, erosion and war, Rush said

    Do any of you guys think that Major Rush is right?
    ... Afghanistan’s agricultural economy is very similar to that of Kentucky, ...

  57. The den mother will get on you, wi"o" for that spelling.

    It holds a 'special' meaning to her.

  58. Afghanistan, it's just like Kentucky, really, truly, just like Arizona and New Mexico are just like Kentucky, too.

  59. I've driven through Kentucky, it's green.

    Those hillbillies, what an awakening is awaiting, them.

  60. Rat,

    I am sorry about the spelling...

    "palestinian" there isnt even any P in arabic...

    using our cash to send, let's spell it this way...

    "evil peoples" into our heart of our nation to change it into Amerika.

    As for den mother not liking my spelling...

    I aint much LIKING my AMERIKA right now...

    We stand with Castro, Ortegia, Chavez over Liberal Democracies...

    We BOW to Arab Kings....

    We give terrorists USA constituional protections..

    We APPEASE Iran, N Korea..........

    I think my spelling hit close to what we might just become...

  61. SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — The two men claiming the presidency of Honduras gathered here Thursday to begin talks aimed at resolving the political standoff that has divided their country.

    The talks between the ousted Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, and the man who has replaced him at the helm of the nation’s de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, are the first between the opposing sides since Mr. Zelaya was rousted by soldiers and thrown out of his country late last month.

    The discussions are being mediated by President Óscar Arias of Costa Rica, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped usher this impoverished region out of the conflicts of the cold war. But as the two rivals finally came together Thursday, it became came clear how far they were from an agreement.

    Upon arriving Wednesday, Mr. Zelaya said he had not come to negotiate, but to set the terms of his return. In a news conference, he said negotiating “would be like inviting to dialogue someone who violated your family.”

    Mr. Micheletti, who arrived Thursday, said he was confident that Mr. Arias would find a solution that “fit within the frame of the Constitution.” He added, “This is a difficult situation, but I am sure President Arias can find a solution.

    Honduran Rivals Gather for Talks

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. You can get about 120 gallons of biodiesel/acre of poppies. Best to let'em just keep growing those poppies, and buy'em for a little more than the Taliban will/can pay.

    It should be close to a break-even deal, and would put a severe crimp in "Tally's" finances.

  64. If you don't like America, leave it. But, that spelling is, seriously, getting on the fighting side of me.

  65. rufus said...
    If you don't like America, leave it. But, that spelling is, seriously, getting on the fighting side of me.

    trust me I am already there....

    America is MY Nation...

    My Nation doesnt side with Communist Mass Murderers....

    My Nation doesnt grovel at the feet of pagan Kings...

    Does your America?

    What do you call cap and trade?

    What do you call the transferring of American know how to the third world other than an "amerikan nightmare"?

  66. Your nation actually spells it with a 'c.'

    Though rat, as others, has gone before you in the 'k.'

    I have no idea what the fuck you think you're doing misplacing a consonant.


  67. We've got the Government Homeowner's Insurance Company here in Florida. Okay it's official title is Citizen's Property Insurance. Anything called Citizen's is automatically suspect with me and this is no exception. It's an insurer of last resort run by bureaucrats for the citizens. Scary!

    The future looks pretty bleak for property insurance rates which are in addition to ridiculous ad valorem tax rates, rising fees, increasing federal tax rates...All in a devastated economy... Economic recovery? Not any time soon.

  68. Well, look at this...the ugly Frenchman

    We're movin' on up!

  69. trish said...
    Your nation actually spells it with a 'c.'

    Yes it does....

    And if it doesnt change it's course real soon?

    it will destroy it'sself from within...

    then when we have "President for Life", Socialized fast food, medical care, autos, banks, employment, governmental edicts about people of ONE faith not being allowed to live in certain towns & cities, supporting dictators over decent people we will have "amerika"...

    Oh that's right EVERYTHING I stated already has happened...

    I Love America but the sweeping storm clouds of stupid & evil change is coming over the landscape and who knows where it will stop...

    From international appeasement to destroying "american exceptionalism" our nation is having a revolution like it or not...

    I just call it as I see it comrade!

  70. I don't believe you're an American. I think you just play one on the internet.

    We sided with Joe Stalin to win WWII. Would you have done any different?

    Virtually, the first thing George Washington did was pay "tribute" to the Barbary Coast Muslims. We didn't have a real Blue Water Navy. What would you have done?

    Cap n Trade is crap; but, that's no excuse to insult our country. If you are an American, you're a "piece of shit" American.

    But, I don't think you are.

  71. trish said...
    Your nation actually spells it with a 'c.'

    Yes it does....

    And if it doesnt change it's course real soon?

    it will destroy it'sself from within...

    No, it won't. And I am so fucking tired of hearing this. Hearing this from people who aren't there. I mean seriously out there.

    Just shut the fuck up.

  72. You have no idea what you're talking about.

  73. rufus said...
    I don't believe you're an American. I think you just play one on the internet.

    lol.. Sorry... Born In Philly 49 yrs ago... 100% and I actually HAVE a real BIRTH certificate...

    Rufus: We sided with Joe Stalin to win WWII. Would you have done any different?

    Broad question, why not ask Patton? He was my kind of American... His answer? Let me kick their asses General Bradley

    rufus: Virtually, the first thing George Washington did was pay "tribute" to the Barbary Coast Muslims. We didn't have a real Blue Water Navy. What would you have done?

    Well you do bring up a great example of being a dhimmi... washington and our founding fathers LEARNED after several attempts at appeasement that you cannot appease shit-heads...

    and THUS the barbary WARS ensued

    and that is WHY our 1st Naval Monument is in Baltimore...

    Our founding fathers learned the concept of standing tall, free and fair...

    Our current POTUS knows NOTHING of America

    rufus: Cap n Trade is crap; but, that's no excuse to insult our country. If you are an American, you're a "piece of shit" American.
    But, I don't think you are.

    Then I am a piece of shit american, because MY POTUS doesnt BOW to Saudi Kings, Appease Mullahs, give constitutional rights to terrorists and much more..

    As a real american, it is my DUTY to say, America? your going down the path to socialism (a bad place) and if you dont watch out you will be damned...

    Dont like what I say? stick you head back in the sand and ignore me....

  74. Trish...
    Just shut the fuck up.

    Trish, It's still America for the next few months...

    Dont like what I say? Ignore me...

    as for your personal attacks?

    says more about you than me....

  75. Trish, It's still America for the next few months...

    I'm sorry. That's not even funny.

  76. Hah! Dick Morris is right now making my point to Lars Larsen.

    You expand the number of doctors first.

    Then you expand the demand.

    We are headed for rationing, if this shit passes. You might even call it murder.

    16% higher death rate for cancer in Canada. 8 weeks wait for chemo or radiation.

    8 months for a colonoscopy.

  77. The Bates Motel, 13 rooms average $38 per night.
    That's $494 a day.

    Let's figure 80% occupancy, $395.
    Let's use $400.
    Seven days = $2,800

    Times 52 weeks makes for a projected $142,000.

    The price, $625,000.
    20% dn, $125,000.
    $500,000 @ 6% for 15 years
    That's $4,212 a month plus property taxes and insurance.

    People be smokin' the good shit, in Idaho. A motel and pizza parlor, both way overpriced for what and where they are.

    Folks are way behind the curve, in Idaho.

  78. Maui Occupancy: ~ 60%
    Wailea Marriott: ~ 90%

  79. What do you want to bet boobie, that 100% of Canadians die.

    Same as here.

    We've collectivized the land and now we'll do the same to the medical profession.

    Team America gets to decide how many doctors we need and what to pay 'em.

    It's all gonna be good, medicine run like the National Forest, boobie thinks they do that better than private enterprise.

    Why should medical mananagement be different than land management?

  80. Good old Bates Motel.

    "It's been the Bates Motel for way longer than I've been here," said a man working the desk and phone on an afternoon in mid-June. He gave his name as Dusty Van, described himself as manager and co-owner, and said he'd been there for 10 years.

    A title search suggests that the transaction happened in 1990, long after the movie came out.

    I would have said it's been called that since before 1990.

    Know right where it's at.

  81. I see Rat's back to calling names.

    I got things to do.

  82. Names, what name you talkin' bout, boobie?

  83. $625,000 for the Motel, another $375,000 for the cottage.

    A cool million.

    Those folks in Idaho just have not awaken to the new realities. The real pain has yet to be felt. Bet Dusty and his partners REALLY think the place is worth a million.

    They may for a while, until the place does not sell.
    It's worth two times cash flow, max.
    Maybe $250,000, for the motel and the cottage.
    There's an awakening acomin'.

    The land underneath the Bates Motel, it's basicly worthless.

  84. We have hundreds of thouands of thousands die in the U.S. every year as a result of limited, or, NO Healthcare.

    Surely, we can figure out some way of covering those Americans that don't have/can't get insurance w/o adopting the "Worst" of the Canadian/GB systems.

  85. 30,000 sq ft of small town Idaho, with fully depreciated, 2nd hand buildings upon it, a million bucks.

    The land, that's where the value is.
    Our boy Dusty he's "out there", too.

  86. Those Americans do not count, rufus, they're poor, young or immigrants.

    None of those catagories hold boobie's empathy.

  87. Helen Thomas and Robert (The Giggler) Gibbs

    Gibbs suggests having the discussion later. (again)

    "We're having it NOW!"

  88. rufus said...
    We have hundreds of thouands of thousands die in the U.S. every year as a result of limited, or, NO Healthcare.

    Surely, we can figure out some way of covering those Americans that don't have/can't get insurance w/o adopting the "Worst" of the Canadian/GB systems.

    Do you have actual data?

    What is "limited" health care?

    How you looked at the rates of emergency room usage of those that have no coverage and are not charged for services rendered?

    80% of all medical care is given in the last 2-3 years of a person's life, wiping out decades of paying into the system...

    500,000 americans die from smoking every year, with or without medical treatment, so should we just raise the price of fags to 20 bucks a pack?

  89. "Limited" Healthcare is when a young gal with Crohns Disease goes to the ER with Severe Abominal Pains, and they do an MRI (which YOU are paying for," say, "Yep, you have Crohns, you need to go see a specialist," and send her home with a prescription for 3 days pain meds.

    Now, here's the thing, Bubba: The reason she went to the Emergency Room is because she has no health insurance. She has no health insurarance because she "Can't Buy" health insurance. She has Crohns.

    She can't keep a job long enough to get health insurance, because she's too sick to work.

    Her ONLY chance for treatment is to get into the "Emergency Room" just at the moment the Crohns becomes "Imminently Life-Threatening." She will be in Severe Pain up until this time, and if she waits too long she'll be dead.

    Statistics? I know this girl. Personally. You, and I, and the rest of the Country have spent, probably, 100,000.00 on her. TREATMENT would have been around $10,000.00

    How are we doing, so far?

  90. 68. 49erDweet:

    39. buckets:
    ……There are ways to gimmick the system short term, and I would bet BIG money on GM landing some large gov’t contracts for police cars, federal vehicles, municipal vehicles, etc.

    It’s already happening. Local LE just received a few small Tahoes to replace some Explorers and are none too pleased to have had the order switched. Their “add-ons” are all set-up for the latter but must now be replaced by new stuff they didn’t really need. Scam, scam, scam, scam.

  91. rufus: Statistics? I know this girl. Personally. You, and I, and the rest of the Country have spent, probably, 100,000.00 on her. TREATMENT would have been around $10,000.00

    How are we doing, so far?

    Sounds like socialism, keeping a hugh number of useless people employed rather than curing the situation. If 10 k would have cured her, maybe a phone call to "action 5 news" hotline could arrange it... Maybe a church? Maybe some attention from the media?

    oh that's right, she aint a 50 year child molesting drug addict rock star... so who cares?

  92. There are tens of thousands of them. Add in the other debilitating, but Not "life threatening" diseases/injuries, and we're losing Millions of man/woman/hours of work every year.

    We're paying ten times more than it would cost to "cure" them.

    It's "economically" ridiculous, and, sociologically, it's Suicide.

    The problem we have here, is that too many Republicans are too well insulated from the masses. They Really believe that a "Sick" person can get treated at the "Emergency" Room.

    They really "Believe" that the Emergency Room is Full of little kids with the sniffles getting "Free" Treatment.

    It doesn't work that way, Bubbas, and Bubbettes. If a poor person, without health insurance, has a painful, and debilitating illness/injury they will suffer until they die (or get old enough for Medicare.

    That's the way it "Really" works.

  93. I don't know a perfect answer, Rufus.

    She should be treated at public expense. I have a friend that runs the social welfare for a county here. Meets with the county commissioners every Monday morning, going over the cases. Haven't seen her in a while, but I think she would tell me that here, the girl would be treated. Must not be the case there.

    Just read about Crohn's. A bad situation.

    Even if we had a screening program, it doesn't sound like it would make any difference as it didn't sound like there would be any preventative care. Not something you can give a shot for, to say the least.

    If we add 20 million new citizens, the current doctor shortage becomes a crisis. What I'm against is a government board saying who gets what.

    They had a discussion at BC the other day about some of the items in the new health proposals. Honestly, much of it sounded like a nightmare.

    Instead of putting bushels of money into some of these stimulus programs, in which there is a lot of patronage, and ripoffs we've haven't even begun to fathom, I'd put it into stimulating the medical profession to create more docs, and other matters. Local health clinics, like the Nez Perce have now. (Not funded by the Casino, by the way, I believe). I think we'd get way more benefit for our bucks.

    On the bright side, medicine has made more progress in the last hundred years than ever before. In a way, there wasn't any medicine before now. As a whole we're all so much healthier now.

    Doctors, by the way, are my heros. I think they are the best group as a group that we have. They actually do something. They also, understandably, have one of the highest rates of depression around. All that education and then, day after dutiful day of it. I think they are the best.

  94. re: insuranceless Chrones sufferer

    We had a similar, less heartbreaking, situation here in Seattle a few years back.

    I was spending time with a group of liberals. Almost all were on a government payroll of some nature. Most were professionals; educators, health care, engineers, etc.

    Coffee was a feature of their lives as you might imagine here in Seattle.

    A new espresso stand opened and one of the guys took a shine to the barrista. It was a one woman shop so the "pulls" were consistent. And better than satisfactory. He got others of the group to frequent her establishment.

    Then one day we got the news she had to close down due to medical bills...

    The guy who had been the first to notice her had been aware of her situation and had, in fact, brought it to the attention of others in the group before I heard about it.

    By the time I was involved in the conversation they were at the point of lamenting the lack of a nationalized health plan that would have allowed her to get the care she needed and keep her job.

    I asked how much money was involved and why she didn't have insurance.

    The answer was that she needed something along the line of $400/mo for insurance but had decided to forego it as she felt she needed to put all her money into her stand.

    I pressed on and asked if the federal government paid for her care what percentage of the original taxes collected would go to her and her care? After getting passed thru the bureaucracy. Maybe 10% at best?

    No real answer. One guy said probably more like 20%

    But the point I made was that letting the gov't do it was grossly inefficient.

    So I asked (most all of them had known the crisis was building) if they'd considered taking up a collection for her? For her insurance premium. Until she got ahead of the game with her stand. They knew her. She was a neighbor. They enjoyed her work.

    I asked "Wouldn't that make more sense? You're going to pay either way. At least this way you'd know 100% of your money was going to a cause that you consider to be deserving."

    Incredibly some of the group, women sorry to say (sorry cuz of the stereotype fit) didn't get it. "Why should we pay when the government could?"

    The folks that did "get it" had no response. Looked the other way.

    Kind of an uncomfortable silence until someone started in on a new organic vegetable stand... Or some such more comfortable salon talk.

  95. There are millions of them, Bob. Some Chrones, some Endo, some arthritis, some busted up joints, spines. There are a thousand dibilitating circumstances.

    They can't get insurance. They can't walk into a specialists office and get treated. There are treatments/therapies, etc for many of these diseases/injuries, but you're looking, often, at thousands, to tens of thousands. They don't have it. They don't have it because they can't work.

    Many go to work for small companies that have $3000.00 limit policies. They use those up in a month, or so, and then go looking for another job.

    Volunteer down at the local hospital. You'll see them every night in the Emergency Room. They're there for "pain relief." The emergency room does their bi-monthly MRI, verifies their malady, writes them a prescription for pain meds, and sends them home.

    Two weeks later, repeat. The Doctors are Frustrated, the Administrator is pissed, and the beat goes on.

    Some states are better than others. Some states stretch the CHIP Program out to age 29, or so. The Republicans go nuts. The Dems are wasting the "Taxpayers'" money on "deadbeats."

    You shouldn't run a Country that way. It's Stupid. And, Uneconomic. It's Wasteful of Human Potential, and Productivity.

    It's "Un-American."

  96. I'm not convinced that the girl can't

    1. Find insurance (a group policy would have to take her) or,

    2. Find a physician who would treat her and let her make the payments for the $10,000 or,

    3. Find a drug company with a program to provide her with free or greatly reduce pharmaceuticals.

    4. Find a low-cost government subsidized or sponsored insurance plan.

    5. Find family members who can help her with medical bills and possibly a Health Savings Account or pay the premium on number 4.

    6. Find a church or community program which offers some sort of assistance.

    There are already plenty of programs out there without throwing all of us into a universal, single payer, national insurance provider, NHS type socialist program.

  97. You're falling into "Magical" thinking Whit.