“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."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Congress buys 3 G5 luxury jets for the people's work


August 6, 2009 NY Post

WASHINGTON -- Months after Congress blasted auto executives for flying private jets to Washington during tough economic times, members quietly ordered up three new sets of wings for themselves.

The House last month approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for getting top government officials and members of Congress to their destinations in style.

The legislative provision was uncovered by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill publication.

One $65 million jet was requested by the military as part of regularly scheduled upgrades, but the other two were added to the must-pass Defense Appropriates bill unbidden.



  1. Those G5s are really nice.
    I mean really, really nice planes.

    At $200 million though, the three G5s are still less than one F22. The spread between one F22 and three G5s, there is enough left over to buy two more G5s.

    The G5s being much more practical planes will supply utilitarian value to the Government, too.

  2. Those Swedes, thay are always cosy with tryants, and despots.
    Wonder if it is a genetic predisposition?

    Sweden happy with ceremony attendance ...

    Sweden defends its high-level participation in the swearing-in ceremony of the Iranian president while censuring the government in Tehran over another issue.

    The EU presidency on Thursday stood by its decision to send its ambassador to the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a move criticized in Europe.

    "We always have our ambassador on site in every possible... country, regardless of the regime in question," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Thursday.

    "As an observer, they are better when they are present than when they are absent."

    European politicians have criticized Sweden for sending Magnus Wernstedt, a senior diplomat, to the Wednesday ceremony, as opposed to other EU states, which sent relatively lower-ranking diplomats

    Makes Obama look like a hardline reactionary, by comparison.

  3. From the folks at Small Wars Journal.

    As General David McKiernan, until just recently the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, put it, “There’s always an inclination to relate what we’re doing with previous nations,” adding, “I think that’s a very unhealthy comparison.” McKiernan was expressing a view common among the ranks of the political and military elite: We’re Americans. We’re different. Therefore, the experience of others does not apply.
    Of course, Americans like McKiernan who reject as irrelevant the experience of others might at least be willing to contemplate the experience of the United States itself. Take the case of Iraq, now bizarrely trumpeted in some quarters as a “success” and even more bizarrely seen as offering a template for how to turn Afghanistan around..

  4. For those who, despite all this, still hanker to have a go at nation building, why start with Afghanistan? Why not first fix, say, Mexico? In terms of its importance to the United States, our southern neighbor—a major supplier of oil and drugs among other commodities deemed vital to the American way of life—outranks Afghanistan by several orders of magnitude.

    Yet any politician calling for the commitment of sixty thousand U.S. troops to Mexico to secure those interests or acquit those moral obligations would be laughed out of Washington—and rightly so. Any pundit proposing that the United States assume responsibility for eliminating the corruption that is endemic in Mexican politics while establishing in Mexico City effective mechanisms of governance would have his license to pontificate revoked.

    Anyone suggesting that the United States possesses the wisdom and the wherewithal to solve the problem of Mexican drug trafficking, to endow Mexico with competent security forces, and to reform the Mexican school system (while protecting the rights of Mexican women) would be dismissed as a lunatic. Meanwhile, those who promote such programs for Afghanistan, ignoring questions of cost and ignoring as well the corruption and ineffectiveness that pervade our own institutions, are treated like sages.

  5. In short, time is on our side, not on the side of those who proclaim their intention of turning back the clock to the fifteenth century.

    The ethos of consumption and individual autonomy, privileging the here and now over the eternal, will conquer the Muslim world as surely as it is conquering East Asia and as surely as it has already conquered what was once known as Christendom. It’s the wreckage left in the wake of that conquest that demands our attention.

    If the United States today has a saving mission, it is to save itself.

  6. This is the BBC reporting:

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that the US will "take action" against Eritrea if it does not stop supporting militants in Somalia.

    She said after talks with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, that Eritrea's actions were "unacceptable".

    She also said the US would expand support for Somalia's unity government

  7. Of course ...

    Eritrea denies supporting Somalia's al-Shabab militants, who are trying to overthrow Somalia's government.

  8. "Certainly if al-Shabab were to obtain a haven in Somalia which could then attract al-Qaeda and other terrorist actions, it would be a threat to the United States".

    Hillary Clinton
    US secretary of state

  9. (AP) The former mistress of John Edwards arrived at a federal courthouse in Raleigh where a grand jury was meeting Thursday _ an appearance that comes as federal investigators examine the two-time presidential candidate's finances.

  10. BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) --
    Internal feuding and the risk of an open split in the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in addition to the deep rift between Fatah and Islamist rival Hamas, provoked a warning from Saudi King Abdullah in unusually blunt language.

    "Even if the whole world agreed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with all the needed support and backing, it will not be established as long as the Palestinian house is divided," Abdullah wrote in an open letter to Abbas.

    "I'll be honest, brothers. The criminal enemy (Israel) could not over long years of continued aggression have inflicted as much damage to the Palestinian cause as did the Palestinians themselves in a matter of few months," he said. The letter was published in the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat

  11. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was watching the Bethlehem congress careful but not interfering.

    "My suggestion is not to be too impressed by what will be said at the Fatah convention as part of the internal dialogue," he told Knesset members on Tuesday.

    "The real test will come after the convention when a leadership is formed there and a proper amount of legitimacy, and then we will see what this leadership is willing to bring to the negotiating table."

  12. As to those two extra G5s, they are obviously part of our new infrastructure, part of our "Soft Power" deployment infrastructure.
    This was not a mission that the Air Force was recommending to fund, without civilian instruction.

    The Congress knowing the coming political struggles and the physical mobility that our diplomats and envoys, as well as our elected representatives will need to navigate our course, in this brave new world.

    Better so than the Air Force accountants who are not in the stratigic policy making loop.

    The Air Force also recommending the continuation of the F22 program.

    Where, again, the Air Force found itself out of the final decision making loop as to their mission parameters.