“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

Obama's descent from grace

I made an off-hand comment in a previous thread that the only thing standing between Obama and certain defeat in the next election is the Republican party, but look at Ohio.

Obama's popularity has seriously diminished, 13 points in two months according to Quinnipiac, and that despite the non-stop petting by the US media.

Barack of Narcissus is looking a little less elegant.

His trip to Moscow was as awkward as that awful performance at the "tomb to the unknown" wreath placing ceremony. Obama's funereal slow march was visually agonizing. It was penance watching him tidying up the wreath. Obama did not look either presidential or that he belonged there and that is a big part of his problem.

Obama has made a huge blunder. His massive egoism, lack of experience and splendrous affectations have conspired to put his political fingerprints on everything. Nothing escaped his attention. Nothing escaped a major new and unread law. Feelings and ideology made policy and follow-up has been discarded by his wavering focus.

A frayed Obama can only be saved by his enemies. God bless the Republican Party.


Obama Approval Drops by Double Digits in Ohio Poll
By Kate Andersen

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- A new poll found that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped by 13 percentage points from two months ago in Ohio, traditionally a critical swing state in presidential elections.

The survey by Quinnipiac University released today showed 49 percent of Ohio voters approved of Obama’s job performance, down from 62 percent in a May 6 poll. The disapproval figure for Obama in the new poll was 44 percent, up from 31 percent in the May survey.

The pollsters termed Obama’s ratings “lackluster” in a release, and said the numbers were his lowest marks “in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated.”

The White House announced late today that Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Cincinnati on July 9, where he will tout progress being made by the $787 billion economic stimulus Measure passed in February.

“The economy in Ohio is as bad as anywhere in America,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll numbers “indicate that for the first time voters have decided that President Barack Obama bears some responsibility for their problems.”

Split Over Economy

In the poll, 48 percent said they disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy, while 46 percent approved. In the May survey, 57 percent approved of the president’s efforts on the economic front, while 36 percent disapproved.

The independent survey of 1,259 Ohio voters was conducted between June 26 and July 1 and has an error margin of plus-or- minus 2.8 percentage points.

Brown said the new poll suggests Ohio voters “might be taking out their frustration on President Obama, possibly deciding that the change he promised has not come as quickly as they expected.”

The poll found that 66 percent of Ohio voters are “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the state, while 31 percent are “somewhat satisfied” and 2 percent are “very satisfied.”

Brown said Ohio “historically has been the prototypical swing state” in presidential elections. Obama carried its 20 electoral votes with 52 percent of the vote in November’s election. George W. Bush carried it with 50 percent of the vote in 2000 and 51 percent in 2004 on his way to winning those two presidential elections.

Open Senate Seat

Ohio will feature a race for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2010, and the new poll found former U.S. House member Rob Portman leading for the Republican nomination while two Democrats are in a close contest for their party’s nod.

Portman, who also served as U.S. trade representative and then director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bush, led car dealer Tom Ganley among Republican voters, 33 percent to 10 percent.

Among Democrats, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher led Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, 36 percent to 30 percent.

The candidates are vying to replace retiring Senator George Voinovich, a Republican.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kate Andersen in Washington at


  1. When I was in Moscow today, I went to a title company in the old downtown. On the next block up there were six vacant office spaces seeking tenants. That's about 50% of the space in that particular block. The heart of the area.
    Should have taken a walking tour of the rest of the area but didn't.
    I was shocked really, have never seen it like that before.

  2. Obama descends from grace, the polls drop, the storefronts are vacant, the nation frets, and the DOW slinks towards 8,000.

    Only the young, the old, the saints, and the dogs remain cheerful.

  3. Whatever you think of the man, al-Bob, I consider it a colossal waste of time and energy to travel to Moscow yet not go the extra mile to at least get a glance at him with Pootie.

  4. AEG owns rights to MJ's last videos and some songs, also owns Staples Center, yet they are trying to have the City of LA pay all the extra costs of policing, and etc!

    Luckily, they just replaced a crook city attorney with a guy that won't let them get away with it, I'm guessing.

  5. BIDEN to go to OHIO to tell them not to believe their lying eyes.

    "A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll recorded a noticeable decline in the percentage of people who said they believed the stimulus package had worked or would -- and that was before the unemployment rate rose again. That poll also found that rising optimism about the direction of the country had hit a plateau -- or even begun to slip.

    On Tuesday came another, perhaps more troublesome, signal of disenchantment with the president's policies, in a survey of attitudes in Ohio by Quinnipiac University. In the past two months, Obama's overall approval rating in the state dropped from 62 percent to 49 percent. His economic approval rating also fell, from 57 percent to 46 percent.

    Most significant was the sharp decline among independents. Obama's economic approval rating among these critically important voters plummeted from 51 percent to 33 percent. His overall approval dropped from 59 percent to 38 percent.

    Ohio is just one state -- admittedly a politically sensitive one -- and the Quinnipiac poll is just one survey. Much more will be needed to fill out the picture of Obama's presidency. But the shifts are big enough to warrant attention from the president's political and economic advisers. Yesterday afternoon, Biden's office announced that the vice president will be in Ohio tomorrow to talk about the economy."

  6. South Carolina joined California and Michigan as the states that suffered the most financial pain in May, as unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies rose, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of economic stress in more than 3,100 U.S. counties.

    Although the recession appears to be winding down, the Economic Stress Index shows that damage is still occurring.

    “The pain will linger well after the recession is over, making for a subdued economic recovery,” said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.


    “South Carolina is a little bit of everything,” said Sean Snaith, economics professor at the University of Central Florida. “Manufacturing and construction jobs have been hard hit in the state.”

    The state's May unemployment rate reached 12.1 percent, third highest in the nation. The loss of 90,300 jobs in the past 12 months includes 29,000 manufacturing and 10,100 construction jobs, according to the state Employment Security Commission.

  7. Barack Obama holds a fire sale of America's nuclear defences in Moscow

    By Gerald Warner World Last updated: July 7th, 2009

    "No apologies for posting consecutively on Barack Obama: the Looney Tunes President’s sell-out of US and Western interests is proceeding at such a speed that it is difficult to keep pace. Well said, Nile Gardiner, for asking if Barack Obama is the most naïve president in American history. The answer is undoubtedly yes – unless he has a secret agenda to cut America down to size.

    It was always in Russia that Obama threatened to do most damage and, as Nile Gardiner has rightly pointed out, these forebodings have been fulfilled. His supposed missile deal with Vladimir Putin (let’s cut straight to the organ-grinder and by-pass Medvedev, the monkey) is very satisfactory to Russian ambitions and realpolitik.

    The nuclear power balance, as at 2007, was a Russian superiority of 2,146 land-launched nuclear warheads to 1,600 US; this was counterbalanced by a US superiority of 3,168 sea-launched US warheads to 1,392 Russian and 1,098 air-launched US warheads to 624 Russian. What should also be factored in is the leaking, deteriorating, rust-bucket condition of some of Russia’s deterrent ordnance, although it has already decommissioned the most basket-case Soviet weaponry. The bottom line, however, is that it is Russia which is now in the lead in ICBM development, not America.

    For America voluntarily to reduce its nuclear superiority is madness. Bien-pensant talk of a nuclear-free world displays total stupidity in a global situation where nuclear weaponry is proliferating, not receding.

    There is even a nuclear bomb in Pakistan, which is teetering on the brink of failed statehood at the hands of Islamist insurgents. Is this a time for America to disarm, to “sell the store” as one trenchant right-wing commentator has already described Obama’s posturing in Moscow?

    For Obama, success is not the delivery of watertight nuclear security for America; it is a feel-good news conference and photo opportunity that will create huge approval ratings on liberal campuses where the delusions of 1968 and the anti-Vietnam war movement still linger on in these isolated Jurassic Parks.

    It seems certain Obama will sacrifice the anti-missile shield in Europe that would have been our defence against a nuclear Iran after the ayatollahs, with Russian help, emerge as potential vapourising agents of the infidel. The interceptor missiles do not even carry warheads: they rely on an impact at 14,900mph to destroy any incoming missile, so Russian hysteria about this “threat” is synthetic."

  8. The missile defense in Europe is kind of a red headed stepchild.

    If the US is correct and the purpose is to stop Iranian missiles with nonexistent warheads from hitting France, England or Germany. Then we have no need to deploy. The defense of England, France and Germany not of any real concern to US, the Europeans can deploy their own shield or lease one from US. The US then not having to expand our Europeon footprint to the Russian border.

    If the Russians are right, and the missile defense is designed to change the balance of terror, between US and them, well, there are not enough interceptors to even begin to stop a flight of ICBMs heading from Moscow to NYCity.

    The reason that the Israeli or the US has not developed an insurgent capacity in Iran?

    Because the Israeli and US, both need a boogieman, a toothless boogieman, seems to me.

    Which is what we have, in Iran.

  9. by Xinhua writers Zhou Yan, Wang Pan & Pan Ying

    BEIJING/GUANGZHOU/URUMQI, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The teenager at the center of allegations of sexual assault that sparked the deadly violence in western China's Xinjiang region Wednesday said the incident was nothing more than an "unintentional scream."

    A brawl between Han and Uygur workers at a toy factory in the southern Guangdong Province on June 26 is said to have sparked Sunday's riot that left 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured thousands of kilometers away in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.

    But the people at the center of the conflict believed it was just a row between young men.

    The brawl in Shaoguan City was said to have flared up over allegations of a "sexual assault on a Han girl by a Uygur worker" that left two people dead and more than 100 injured.

    The "Han girl," a 19-year-old trainee who had worked at the factory less than two months, said she only found out hours later that she was the cause of the violence.

    "I was lost and entered the wrong dormitory and screamed when I saw those Uygur young men in the room," said Huang Cuilian, originally from rural Guangdong.

    Huang said she had no idea why exactly she was scared. "I just felt they were unfriendly so I turned and ran."

    She remembered one of them stood up and stamped his feet as if he would chase her. "I later realized that he was just making fun of me.

  10. No one can let a good crisis go to waste

    Xinjiang police said they had evidence that the separatist World Uygur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer masterminded the riot.

    "Those rioters by no means represented the Uygur people. They were incited by separatists from abroad and deviated from the spirit of the Koran," said Abdul Rehep, vice president of Xinjiang Islam Association.

    About 60 percent of Xinjiang residents are "ethnic minorities," meaning Chinese nationals other than the most populous Han group. They represent 47 ethnic groups including the Uygur, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian, Kirgiz, Tajik, Ozbek, Manchu, Tatar and Russian

    Window of China

  11. ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI, on the eve of a global economic summit, lashed out at modern capitalism for being shortsighted and short on ethics.

  12. from last threat:
    So. Why hasn't Israel moved on that front? (iran)

    Iran has been on the verge of success for almost 10 years..

    Iran has had MANY unreported (in the main stream press) set backs..

    I really doubt that Israel is sitting on it's hands during the last decade...

  13. While we can cherry pick polls, the boys at RCP still tell the tale of the real deal.

    Obama is down 2 maybe 3 points in his approval rating, across the US.

    RCP Average 6/18 - 7/6
    Approve = 58.2
    Diaapprove = 36.5
    Spread = +21.7

  14. Why the Afghan experience is not at all analiogous to Colombia

    Allied Officers Concerned by Lack of Afghan Forces -
    Richard A. Oppel, Jr., New York Times.

    “What I need is more Afghans,” said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the Marine expeditionary brigade in Helmand Province.

    Seems that the 600 Afghans rolling in with our 4,000 Marines was a tad of a puff job. There may not even be 400 of them.

    “The net increase in Afghan security forces is zero” since the brigade arrived a few months ago, he said. The lack of Afghan forces “is absolutely our Achilles’ heel,” added Capt. Brian Huysman, commander of Company C of the First Battalion, Fifth Marines in Nawa.

  15. Speaking of South Carolina....

    when the Governor told his aides he was on the Appalachian Trail, they actually misunderstood his garbled satellite phone call. He really said, "I'm on some Argentinian Tail."

    Thank you, thank you very much.
    (hope you havent heard that one yet)

  16. it's getting tougher and tougher for Obama
    and his policies are lacking thus far

    but he is still very inspiring to some with his oratory skills

  17. A British Army officer, Maj. Rob Gallimore, who leads a team training Afghan soldiers, responded bluntly: While the success of the weeklong operation had been “staggering,” he said, he was worried what would happen if the necessary complement of Afghan forces did not materialize. “To drop it by a lack of men would be criminal,” he said.

  18. I saw a video report, maybe linked to from here, it showed the Marines climbing in and out of the canals that water the poppies.

    The voice over describing how those canals were built be the US Army Engineers, back in a previous attempt to "help" Afpakistan.

    The US has worked, diligently, to facilitate the establishment of a successful Chinese Empire in Asia.
    Why would we want to destroy it?
    Who'd we exploit, next?

    We have 'borrowed' $1,000 USD from each and every Chinaman, woman or child.

    Who else is going to extend US such credit?

    Certainly not Iceland.

  19. Horse Sense, or What We Can Learn from a British Cavalry Officer of the 1830s

    "One of my favorite writers, Patrick Devenny, wrote an article recently for Foreign Policy that’s not only fascinating and fun, but also has much to teach us about, in Mr. Devenny’s words, “one of the most complicated problems in Afghanistan today:
    the training and oversight of local defense forces.

    This five-part series is about war in Afghanistan, ancient and modern. I'm not doing this for money or politics. I'm a Marine and I don't want young Marines and soldiers going into harm's way without the full arsenal of history and context.

    What's my thesis? That the key to understanding Afghanistan today is not Islamism or jihadism. It's tribalism. The tribal mind-set (warrior pride, hostility to outsiders, codes of honor and resistance to change) permeates everything. Think of these videos as a mini-course in tribalism. I invite discussion. Tell me I'm crazy, tell me I'm wrong. If you agree, tell me too.

    - Steven Pressfield (Gates of Fire, among others)

  20. He talks about the Hundreds of Tribal Leaders that al-Queda has taken out.

  21. Want to destablize China?

    Default on that debt.

  22. They want to retain the culture, but replace the leaders.

    We want to destroy the tribal cultures.

    Or at least we did, back in the day.

  23. The fellow that Charlie Chi-com blames for those riots ...


    When the Chinese government looks back on its handling of the unrest in Urumqi and East Turkestan this week, it will most likely tell the world that it acted in the interests of maintaining stability. It will most likely forget to explain why thousands of Uighurs risked everything to speak out against injustice, or why hundreds of Uighurs are now dead for exercising their right to protest.

    On Sunday, students organized a protest in the Döng Körük (Erdaoqiao) area of Urumqi. They wished to express discontent with the Chinese authorities' inaction on the mob killing and beating of Uighurs at a toy factory in Shaoguan in China's southern Guangdong province and to express sympathy with the families of those killed and injured.

    A peaceful assembly turned violent as some elements of the crowd reacted to heavy-handed policing. I unequivocally condemn the use of violence by Uighurs during the demonstration as much as I do China's use of excessive force against protestors.

    Wang Lequan, party secretary of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, has blamed me for the unrest. However, it is years of Chinese repression of Uighurs -- topped by further confirmation that Chinese officials have no interest in observing the rule of law -- that is the cause of the current Uighur discontent.

    China's brutal reaction to Sunday's protest will only reinforce these views. Uighur sources within East Turkestan say 400 Uighurs in Urumqi have died as a result of police shootings and beatings. There is no accurate figure for the number of injured.

    A curfew has been imposed, telephone lines are down, and the city remains tense. Uighurs have contacted me to report that the Chinese authorities are conducting a house-to-house search of Uighur homes and are arresting male Uighurs. They say that Uighurs are afraid to walk the streets in the capital of their homeland.

  24. Seems that the Kadeer fellow is a gal, mia culpa

    Ms. Kadeer is the president of the World Uighur Congress and author of "Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace with China" (Kales Press, 2009).

  25. Uighur, Yougrr, We all Grr
    for Uighurs.

  26. Argentinian tail---heh,I'm still gagging in reflex (I always like a good simple crude joke)

  27. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 32% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-seven percent (37%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of –5.

    The number who strongly disapprove inched up another point to the highest level measured to date and the overall Approval Index is at the lowest level yet for Obama

  28. Because the Israeli and US, both need a boogieman, a toothless boogieman, seems to me.

    Which is what we have, in Iran.

    Wed Jul 08, 08:38:00 AM EDT

    Someone get me a shovel.

    Of course the Israelis haven't been sitting on their hands, What Is. Nor have the Iraqis, the Jordanians, or the Sauds. But neither has Iran been on the verge of success for ten years.

    Think about how many countries around the globe are burdened with deadly enemies. Think about how nice it would be to solve the problem by arming up some malcontents within your target country. You don't even have to paint a bull's eye for them. Hell, you don't even have to provide the weapons. Cash will do. Or drugs. Or anything else that can be traded for the pointy stuff. And they don't have to know who's subsidizing them, unless you want them to. Because you'll work through one, two, three middlemen who aren't on anyone's payroll but their own.

    The number of countries that would opt to push the reset button by pushing this ostensible Easy Button is quite large. But with exceptions here and there, they don't take that option.

    Because it's a fantasy.

    With regard to Iran, you might as well be talking about setting up the Quebecois to take down Ottawa. Or the Basques to dislodge the government in Madrid. Or the Tea Baggers to relieve our own nation of the endless source of comedy that is Washington as we know it.

    The myth of the Shake and Bake insurgency persists. In basements everywhere.

    Does this mean that nothing's being done? Absolutely not. But if your definition of covert IS running guns to one pissed off faction or another with a new flag and spiffy PR campaign - as it is for Hersh - then it may look that way.

  29. Tehran fears one thing. The big smack down.

    So they'll "rigorously pursue their interests" internationally while endeavoring to stay JUST THIS SIDE of the trip wire.

    That, they're really good at.

  30. As of May 2009[update], the Afghan National Army consists of more than 90,000 active troops.

    In a country of 33 million, spread over 647,500 km2.

    Iraq, by comparison, is 438,317 km2 with 31 million residents. It's National Army 270,000 soldiers.

    Afghanistan being half again the area of Iraq, with a million more people, and their Army is a third the size.

    What were we thinking?

    The shake and bake insurgencies were one of the main entrees of Soviet cooking, for decades. Some worked, some did not, but some DID work out for them.
    Though their own institutional revolution kinda petered out.

  31. Obama throws Israel under the bus
    Jew haters (especially those in San Francisco) and Iranians rejoice! There are growing indications that the US has come to terms with a nuclear-armed Teheran, two analysts told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

    “The Americans are in a state of mind according to which Iran has already gone nuclear,” said Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan’s Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

    Kedar, who served in Military Intelligence for 25 years, said US President Barack Obama was “at peace” with the idea of a nuclear Iran.

    “You can tell from how the Americans talk. Look at how [US special envoy] George Mitchell talks, or how Obama talks. I don’t see them being pressured by this threat. They have shown no urgent desire to change this reality,” he added.

    “Obama has given up,” Kedar said.

  32. Obama is resisting EURO's calls for sanctions on Iran.

    Will try to find article, Trish.

  33. Your Favorite!

    Faster, Please! » The Storm Ahead

    Meanwhile, the American Government was sending conflicting signals to Tehran. On the one hand, it seems that Obama will be going to the upcoming G8 conference with a request that there be no new sanctions on Iran. This comes at a time when the Europeans, for the first time, seem inclined to get at least a little bit tougher on the mullahs, and it effectively demolishes the myth that this administration intends to do anything to support the Iranian people in their life and death struggle for freedom (perhaps this should not surprise us; after all, Obama’s 4th of July message did not contain the word “freedom,” but it did talk a lot about his own legislative proposals). At the same time, Vice President Joe Biden three times said the United States would do nothing to prevent an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear targets.

    So apparently we’re prepared to let the Israelis do our dirty work. A real standup sort of policy.

    UPDATE: A great video on the Iranian uprising. Notice the many women with uncovered heads.

    UPDATE II: The 3-day strike. Apparently the regime was so worried about the strike that they shut down most factories, businesses and offices. This is another sign of regime insecurity. And Mousavi today (Monday) received several distinguished visitors, including Khomeini’s grandson.
    Steve Schippert predicted this strike a week ago.

  34. "The shake and bake insurgencies were one of the main entrees of Soviet cooking, for decades."

    They weren't shake and bake. And you certainly didn't have the conditions pertaining in Iran today.

  35. trish

    But if your definition of covert IS running guns to one pissed off faction or another with a new flag and spiffy PR campaign

    No I am speaking about defections, computer hacking, black opps...

  36. The failures of ’stimulus’ 1 revealed

    Michelle Malkin has uploaded two documents Michelle Malkin has uploaded two documents for you to read.
    The first is a GAO report on stimulus spending by states and localities, which will be released this morning at a House oversight hearing.

    As you will see by reading the document, the porkulus funds ARE NOT being spent on what they’re supposed to be spent on. States made up their own criteria for spending. School and transportation bureaucrats preserved their own jobs instead of “stimulating” others.

    The second document is a GOP memo dissecting the failures of the ’stimulus’
    The Federal Insurance Czar would make 33 czars in total

  37. "So apparently we’re prepared to let the Israelis do our dirty work."

    Well, hell, through the UK press they've been "threatening" to do just that for six or so years now.

    I've been reading Mullen. What little there is to read, admittedly.

    I don't think the odds of military action are as slim as I thought they were. Not as slim as when the Bush administration was pulling out all the stops to avoid that open confrontation.

    And what if, as one bunch predicts, there's a dump of surplus oil stored afloat by the end of the year, bringing the per barrel down to twenty bucks?

  38. Mona Leasea.

    The personification of liberal joy?

    Classic, Doug.

  39. I'm obsessed, Linear.
    Night Moves

  40. She was a black-haired beauty with big dark eyes
    And points all her own sitting way up high
    Way up firm and high

    Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy
    Out in the back seat of my 60 chevy
    Workin on mysteries without any clues
    Workin on our night moves

  41. When I was in Moscow today, I went to a title company in the old downtown.

    So, Bob's on another vacation, I thought. Busman's holiday. What a novel thing to do on a tour trip to Russia. But then, he's in real estate, sorta. Credit where due. Intellectual curiosity. Engineers enjoy bridges and dams, what do real estate developers enjoy?

    Now I realize you meant Moscow, ID.

    Thank God for strong coffee.

  42. "What were we thinking?"
    Rummy was probly thinking the Northern Alliance would be responsible for the ongoing disaster when we pulled out 9 months later.

    Both AfPak AND Iraq NOT supposed to be occupations.

    (I love winding Trish up)

  43. No I am speaking about defections, computer hacking, black opps...

    Wed Jul 08, 03:10:00 PM EDT

    The array is really quite substantial. That was a point I was trying to make.

  44. I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
    How far off I sat and wondered
    Started humming a song from 1962
    Ain’t it funny how the night moves
    When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
    Strange how the night moves
    With autumn closing in

  45. The "array is really quite substantial"

    But according to doug, @ Wed Jul 08, 02:47:00 PM EDT, that array of substantial efforts have failed to accomplish the goal of preventing Iran's nuclear development.

    As this report from Brookings explains (see chapters four and five), destroying Iran’s nuclear complex requires attacking dozens of targets amounting to many hundreds of bomb aim points. Since many of these facilities are hardened and defended, the air campaign target list would necessarily extend to Iran’s leadership, command and control, air defense, and communications systems. This would likely extend the bomb aim point list into the thousands. Israel has very few aircraft with the range necessary to reach these targets. Thus, on paper, and with conventional munitions, it would take weeks for Israel to service the target list.

    It strains credulity to believe, as The Times reported, that the Saudi government has given a “green light” to this concept, at least at this juncture. Once such a campaign had begun, it is impossible to guess which direction it would swirl. Saudi decision-making is too cautious to take this risk

  46. BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' attorney general filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the US government that seeks federal marriage benefits for about 16000 gay and lesbian couples who have legally wed in Massachusetts.

  47. BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' attorney general revealed to be a mole on the payroll of Rhode Island social conservatives.


  48. My money says that, barring any action by the Israelis, the Iranians will conduct testing of a nuclear device and the US will subsequently redraw the line in the sand.

    I don't think I will find many "takers" in the whirled.

  49. "the Iranians will conduct testing of a nuclear device"

    They won't get that far.

    Question is, how far are they? The Israelis, who do obviously have a hair-on-fire interest in the matter, have simply resorted to swearing to G_d that it's next week.

    We set back the clock on one heavily caveated NIE and have since relied publicly on whatever will fit the bill for the particular effort it's wrapped up in during any given week.

    None of which is to say that nobody knows.

  50. They won't get that far.

    And why not?

  51. Obama is not theo nly one, descending from grace.

    Pickens Pulls Up Stakes

    After encountering some Texas-sized opposition to his alternative-energy plans, oilman T. Boone Pickens has shelved plans for a giant wind farm

    By Susan Berfield.

    It's been a tough year for T. Boone Pickens: The 81-year-old oilman-turned-alternative-energy evangelist wanted to build the world's biggest wind farm, in Pampa, Tex., but this week announced he was abandoning that idea. He had already suspended a controversial project to pipe underground water he had bought in the Texas Panhandle to Dallas. And he has had to contend with billion-dollar losses at his hedge funds.

    Pickens spent much of the past year, and some $60 million, promoting the "Pickens Plan" for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. Pickens advocates increasing the amount of the nation's electricity that is supplied by wind power from 1% to 20%

    The water pipleine is shelved, too.

  52. Strange red lights, flashing in the night, all syncronized. Strobing in unison, too low for transmitters, too extensive for runway markers. First encountered east of the highway around Midland/Odessa. Saw them later up along I-40 near the New Mexico-Texas frontier. An eerie sight. Miles of flashing red lights, all about equal height from ground. Finally an old local told me they were survey towers, taking wind data. Probably sponsered by T-bone, and paid for by you and me.

  53. Not that that's a bad thing.

    You can never have too much information proving the wind blows in west Texas.

  54. 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, and proceeds will help me get back to Iraq and Afghanistan. The book will arrive in stores on 23 April.

  55. 'Rat, or whoever posted it in the last two weeks:
    (or remembers it)

    Did somebody post a link about
    "we can't win in Afghanistan"
    or some such a while back?

    If anyone has link or remembers where it was and what I could enter in Google to find, I would appreciate.
    (British Newspaper?)


    Desolate Battles
    Western Nineveh Province, Iraq

    Desert Battles are unfolding in hidden and faraway places. Bullets snapp through air, then splap through flesh and men fall. Bodies crumple onto the desert, a fly lands on the lip of an open mouth, fingers twitch as the flesh dies and the winds kick up and dust settles on unblinking eyes. The dry earth drinks their sticky blood and they are forgotten. Their families do not know they are dead. They came to kill Americans and innocent Iraqis. Instead, they were killed themselves. In a desert landscape, sometimes the color of a war can blee

  57. Yon - One Man National Geographic
    Great Photos

    Commander Lucsadato answered all my questions, saying he had been fighting in the jungles since 1976, and he couldn’t afford to have two wives while he was fighting. Commander Lucsadato said he has seven children and four are going to school.

    He hated the AFP (Armed Forces Philippines) before because they treated people badly and were unprofessional. He said they were arrogant. He said that the new AFP is professional, friendly to the people and bring projects. For instance, in this village, they are helping with fishponds.

    Commander Lucsadato said that the AFP treated his relatives well, and this began to persuade him to surrender, and so he came from the jungle with 34 fighters on 20 April 2009. I asked the Commander if he was in contact with other guerrilla commanders, and if they would also surrender. The Commander said he was in contact, some would not quit fighting, but others are waiting to see how his village is treated.

    If the AFP treats them well, others are ready to surrender, he said. I asked Commander Lucsadato what he thinks of the United States, and he asked me to send warm sentiments back to America. His translated words:

    'send appreciation to U.S. forces and AFP for support and this is same sentiment of other fighters.'
    Since going to British tracking school in Borneo, I pay closer attention to feet. The Taliban normally wear running shoes that often are not available in local Afghan markets. One British soldier wrote that he took inventory of all the shoes sold in his Area of Operations (AO) in Afghanistan, and subtly photographed all the men’s shoes so that he could build a library of footprints in his AO. His men avoided at least one bomb due to his tracking skills.

  58. I thought it in the Telegraph, doug.

    But do not have a link to it, if it was.

  59. Thanks.

    You don't have an F-1 team do you?
    (al-Bob told me to ask)

    Jews dismiss F1 boss's apology for praising Hitler

  60. "However one of the group's leaders pointed out that the F1 chief's remarks about the man who presided over the deaths of six million Jews had caused great pain."
    Don't Pain Me, Bro!

  61. Busy bodies givin' old Bernie shit.

    No, no F1 teams in my stable.
    Had to give up polo when the kids came along. All those pricey and dangerous hobbies had to be put away.

    If I went back, now, I'd just be one of the 'old guys' we used to laugh at. Sponsors and patrons, that's what old folk like Bernie are for. He plays his part.

    If motorsports were in my future, guess I'd be in these ranks.

    That or the little midget cars, running on dirt tracks. That looks like fun, at the low end.

  62. The Freak Show Continues:
    LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's dermatologist did not rule out that he may be the biological father of Jackson's children, and Dr. Arnold Klein denied that he ever gave Jackson dangerous drugs.
    Reports of Jackson's death not greatly exagerated, but...

    The death certificate listed the cause of death as "deferred."

  63. Emotional distress, doug, some are so easily bruised.

  64. That's Formula One after Obama takes over!

  65. She was thorough, tho:

    ""McNair was seated on the sofa and likely was asleep, and we believe that Kazemi shot him in the right temple, then shot him twice in the chest, and then shot him a final time in the left temple," Serpas said. "

  66. More emotional distress, doug.

    Killing 'em means never having to say you're sorry.

  67. No Sirreee:
    She was Rattled.
    The police chief said Kazemi had become rattled over the last week, believing that McNair was involved with another woman. "She had become very distraught and on two occasions told friends and associates that her life was all messed up and that she was going to end it all," Serpas said.

  68. The Dreaded Death Spiral:

    ""There was evidence that she was spinning out of control," Serpas said."

  69. That battle rattle will gettin 'em killed!

  70. Ol' Fred Marriott was lucky to escape alive.

    Wonder if he's any relation to the Hotel Folks?

    That record lasted for a long time.

  71. 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.
    So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake;
    If the Decider had listened to Rummy and Dick, and ignored Condi and General Prickhead, things would not be so ugly.

  72. Big Tent Republicans like Powell endorse and vote for Obama while GOP Braintrusters try to figure out why they always lose these days.

  73. The latest Rasmussen Presidential tracking poll
    shows Barack Obama at the -5 approval rating.
    Is it a trend?

    - Wretchard

    Deuce's Dictum begs the question:
    Does it really matter as long as the GOP is the alternative?