“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, September 09, 2009

Beam me up Scotty. The Trac is back.

We have spent one trillion dollars on two wars and another trillion on bailouts. Traficant was always small potatoes compared to the thieves that plunder us daily. Is he nuts?


  1. i barely stand to listen to him...

    His only crime? Not smooth talking enough....

    Compared to thieves like Rangel, Rahm, Obama & others he is nothing but a small time crook...

    Typical of Youngstown, Ohio..

    These days we have bred a better talking breed of crooks....

    They talk softly, they say "good" words and they steal...

    Trafficant type of crook is over... Now we demand our crooks get advanced degrees from Harvard and Yale (for free of course)

  2. Blogger trish said...


    "This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions."

    If you ever find that you need to 'appear' to be somewhere else then just use a proxy server. For example

    will give you a bunch. Pick a country that you want to 'be in' and in your browser under tools/options/advanced/network/settings (firefox) you can set up the use of the proxy server and appear to be coming from a country of your choice.

    Internet explorer - tools/internet options/connections/lan settings

  3. Jimmy Hoffa came out of prison echoing the sentiments of Trac.

    The System is broken.
    Fully exemplified by the results that our prison system is turning out.

    It was interesting when Hoffa made the transformation, but Trac. ...

  4. Thanks, Ash. I do appreciate it. Just one of the numberless inconveniences of being here. (But who's complaining? Not me. Nope. Because I am almost done. Done, done, done. Never, ever to be dragged overseas again unless it's on holiday. Trish's Ranger can go break a leg in Kabul or Islamabad. My days overseas are numbered, baby.)

    And don't think I didn't notice your Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, sam. *Gag* We elected Reagan, you know, so we'd have better music and no one would ever have to wear tie-dye again unless it was on a Ben and Jerry's t-shirt.

    I'm filling the jukebox with Eighties techno-pop and anything else that will help exorcise once and for all the Regrettable Era. So there.

  5. (Conversely, we elected Obama so that Doug would have something/someone else to bitch about for awhile.)

  6. Mind you doug was for GW Bush (big time) before he was against GW Bush so maybe he'll do the ole flopperooo on Obama as well...

    ...nah, I doubt it - too old and crusty to change agin.

  7. "Mind you doug was for GW Bush (big time) before he was against GW Bush"

    Oh, but weren't we all? I myself hung in there 'til, oh, mid-2004. Then came around again, somewhat painfully, grudgingly, in early 2007. After a few desperately-needed shit-cannings and the Miracle on Ice, so to speak, that was and is post-Rumsfeld Iraq. But, damn, I'm glad it's over.

    And one of these days I might even have replenished enough of my store of outrage to screech about the New Management.

  8. I can proudly say I was NEVER a GW Bush supporter.

  9. For the time being, my interest in and/or enthusiasm for politics of any kind, any flavor, is virtually non-existent. The last eight years just plumb wore me out.

  10. I can proudly say I was NEVER a GW Bush supporter.

    Wed Sep 09, 02:06:00 PM EDT

    Yeah, well, lucky you. It was rather like an angry, unhappy eight-year marriage.

    We'll see how the liberals and libertarian switch-overs feel when the current one's done.

  11. agreed, it shall be interesting to watch all those vague and effervescent hopes and dreams running up against the reality of US politics.

    ...on another, yet the same, political topic, it shall be interesting to see how the supremes rule on corporate money in the political process...

  12. And on the subject of Iraq, a friend just got back and the duct tape and bailing wire still holds. Could be a helluva lot worse for seven years' very pricey effort, a lot of which was just plain dicking around. (Not like South Asia didn't get its share of that.)

    I remember asking my husband shortly before he returned, "Will it work?" Answer: "Sure. Because it has to." There's an answer for you, if ever there was one.

  13. "all those vague and effervescent hopes and dreams"

    Fuckin' rainbows and ponies, Ash. Rainbows and ponies.

  14. It's too early for the Balloon Juice crowd to get up in arms or despondent about anything. They're still burning off the angry from the last admin.

  15. And still fixated on the nut-house annex of the GOP.

  16. It is awfully hard not to ignore the nut house annex 'cause they appear to be the only 'pubs still standing. If there are others now is the time for them to speak up, well, shout, louder, than the Limbaugh/Beck crew screaming atop their soapboxes.

  17. The GOP has no center, no rallying point. Until they find one, it's lost in the wilderness time, for them.

    I think that the coming Supreme decision on the "Hillary" movie is one to watch, ash, as you say.

  18. It seems that way, ash. But they're just the most vocal. Almost all of my friends and just about every human being I am personally acquainted with is a Republican. (The US Officer Corps is almost monolithically Republican and that has a lot to do with it.) And I don't know a one that belongs in the annex. Not a one. Okay, maybe one.

  19. But that one is an outstanding Tex-Mex cook and for that I can easily overlook anything else.

  20. The Democratic Party gave the same impression during the Bush Administration. If there were three among it that weren't bat-shit insane, they were unknown to most of us.

    I have never, never witnessed such full-on, 24 hr. madness in my life. And I remember all too well the GOP in the Clinton years.

  21. I shake my head in wonder at the hysterics!

  22. And you have to keep in mind that the internet selects for extremes.

  23. Yes, the internet certainly gives a platform to anyone with a computer but the wingnuttery in the mainstream is notable (Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, ect.)

  24. I've not listened to Limbaugh - once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away a daily ritual of mine, along with Hannity - in, oh, forever. Beck, whom even my mother used to like, I've listened to maybe twice, a few years ago. We didn't have him in DC. I've not seen his show. I'm aware of the, ah, noise surrounding him.

    I do not inhabit that world anymore. (Go ahead, barmates. Say it: Trish, you pompous ass. Yeah, yeah, yeah.) It's rather like standing outside of it and looking in. I know plenty of people like myself who used to do the afternoon/evening AM radio thing and gave up sometime in the past five years. I'm sure they've since found replacements for us. (I'm also aware that not everyone who tunes in to the Republican media kings does so out of agreement.)

    Maybe I'm projecting my and others' removal from it onto too large a number. But as I experience it, I see two Republican Parties. Not necessarily perfectly distinct from one another, but two nonetheless.

    As Rat pointed out, we'll either find a uniting center. Or let the putsch begin.

  25. I'd LIKE to come back to the Republican Party. If given reason to do so.

  26. careful now or they will think you've become a pinko socialist democrat, it is binary thing, isn't it? With us or against us...

  27. And I do mean the Party, rather than merely individual candidates and politicians.

  28. Beck was funny when he was on the radio only. Now he is ...strange.

  29. "careful now or they will think you've become a pinko socialist democrat"

    I'd make for an especially bad one.

  30. "While Sanford in interviews with the AP called his mistress his "soul mate," he and wife Jenny say they are trying to reconcile. She has moved with their four sons from the official residence in Columbia to the family's coastal home."

    Jenny may consider filing. Mark should get a room.

  31. Newflash...

    Washington "frustrated" by Tehran's proposals for talks with the West, which exclude nuclear issues

    Iranian FM Mottaki gives the West the runaround
    Wednesday, Sept. 9,

    Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki finally handed representatives of the six-nation group of nuclear negotiators (P5 + Germany) his government's long-promised reply to the package of incentives it offered for talks to resolve the dispute on Tehran's nuclear program.
    A few hours earlier, a US diplomat warned that Iran is close to producing its first nuclear bomb.
    The contents of the Iranian package were not published, but DEBKAfile's Iranian sources reveal that it consists of a long-winded, sanctimonious treatise, with no proposals for solving the nuclear issue, but rather a sermon on the need for a new world order based on Iranian revolutionary Islamic tenets. Iran's rulers offer to discuss reforming the new world order with the big powers and "reaching a comprehensive agreement on issues beyond the nuclear file," including the crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
    Judging by the document's tone, Iran is putting itself forward as the seventh world power and demands a key role in all important international political, economic, social and cultural policy-making.
    The document has only three things to say on the nuclear subject:
    First, Iran is fully entitled by the Non-Proliferation Treaty to carry out uranium enrichment without interference or limitations.
    Second, Iran is not ready to discuss its nuclear activities with any foreign power.
    Third, It is willing to discuss the worldwide nuclear problem.
    The package follows on Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public declaration that his country's "nuclear rights" are not open to negotiation; the UN nuclear watchdog's determination that its interaction with Iran is in stalemate; and the statement by US chief envoy to the IAEA, Glyn Davis, that ongoing enrichment activity is moving Iran "closer to a dangerous and destabilizing possible breakout capacity."
    DEBKAfile's Washington sources report extreme US frustration with the document which bars any discussion of its nuclear issues. It leads the entire controversy into a fresh blind alley. President Barack Obama must now decide on his reaction to Iran's virtual slap in the face in response to his offer of direct nuclear dialogue.

    Copyright 2000-2009 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.

  32. "Jenny may consider filing."

    I'd be "considering" something entirely different.

  33. Trish, you pompous ass.

  34. Insults, insults all night long.
    ..., whit, one of these days I will not be on blog with cannot-drag-my-sorry-ass-out-of-the-Seventies people.

    With a final parting shot:
    Well, save allen the rest of you can just go to hell in your bell bottoms and wide collar shirts.

    That's what happens when you're spoiled by the DoS. You need to come back stateside and learn to live without all the trappings. Learn some humility and gratitude, for goodness sakes. I mean....huh!

  35. : )

    Thanks for the song, BTW. I really, really like her.

  36. "That's what happens when you're spoiled by the DoS."

    Doesn't come for free, friend. Doesn't. Come. For. Free.

  37. trish said:

    "Jenny may consider filing."

    I'd be "considering" something entirely different.

    Mark sleeps in an undisclosed location.

  38. Many on the left have just noticed that the level of civil discourse seems to be less than desirable. They're appalled by the everyday Americans who criticize their President and speak out at townhall meetings. They can't believe how coarse the right is...

    whit shakes head, rolls eyes.

  39. I heard some interesting news about Japan. It seems that their debt is about 1.5 going to 2 times the size of their economy which by one 2006 estimate was $4.3 trillion. The analyst said that Japan would never be able to pay off that debt. Bad news.

    The US GDP in 2006 was estimated at $13.3 trillion. Conventional wisdom is that US debt is at 70% of GDP but I think it's closer to even. There's no way our GDP is anywhere near the 2006 number. Bad news.

    In the coming years, the debt service will leave nothing for Uncle Sam. I guess that's one way to shrink the behemoth.

  40. Wonder how much a run on Iran will go for?

    Only so long we can keep kicking that down the down.

  41. We got no regime movement, probably precious little secret squirrel activity (especially after the election brouhaha) and an Iraqi regime for whom they're nothing short of a plague, nevermind the rest of the Arab world and the Israelis. What're the odds that that ends up the Democratic donnybrook?

    "Look, I gave you your healthcare package. Now swallow this."

  42. Ahhh, but if the President cannot bring a win home to his base, will he even ask for their support on Iran?

    Knowing they will not give it.

    The "Conservatives" will have tied his hands in Iran, by making the Health Care issue a tar baby.

  43. Should the Israelis take action against Iran (which is no more likely now than 2004), the President has positioned himself brilliantly to deflect the standard Islamic complaint of favoritism.

  44. Obama is brilliant at voting "present"

    healthcare is pelosi & reid's

    iran will not be his issue, he took no stand against the election & the rape and death squads...

    whatever happens, happens, he will be the 1st US president to say, the bucks over there------->

  45. The Israelis aren't going to do it. I completely discount that.

    I guess the US report just out says the Iranians are holding off on a sprint to the finish line - reminding me of one individual's comment to the effect that the ideal position for Iran is to be always on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon without ever actually doing so.

    But they're serious in their drive toward that capability and in other respects have sped up the effort - making for a bizarre game of chicken.

  46. In fact, the President has deftly positioned himself to deflect the complaint of favoritism from domestic critics as well.

  47. WiO,

    Bless you! Bless you! Bless you! You capitalized "US". The flanks are now secure.

    Please, tell me I did not miss anything offering the possibility of a red whale or Handy Andy Android.

  48. Beck is right on the money concerning Cass Sustein.
    Cass Sustein is looney toons all the way.
    I bet Ash is a Sustein fan.

  49. toons? tunes? You know what I mean.

  50. iran is a clusterf*ck about to happen, so are many others such as india/pakistan...

    however iran is alone in it's call to erase the great satan, followed up by the erasing the little satan...

    the funny thing is? the little satan has more to lose than the great satan.. the great satan, he's so big and vast, he doesnt even miss the two massive towers that used to stand in ONE of his dozen or so great historic cities...

    the great satan is great precisely because it is so great...

    and this is why the keepers of the one true faith will set forward, at all costs, to erase the little satan, to chip away at the destruction of the great satan

    image a world without Israel, imagine a world without the USA and thus you have the iranian mindset...

    today, iran and north korea cannot hit the center of the USA with a nuke (or empt) but within 5-7 years? coupled with nuclear war heads?

    3 emp's, 200 miles above the USA will fry the entire electrical system, from every automobile, bus, computer, transformer, generator, substantions all more.. will be FRIED....

    Israel sits within the range of CURRENT missiles and rockets from iran, not to mention, syria or hezbollah or smuggled in a container into aport.

    it only takes ONE emp or ONE nuke to fry or vaporized 1/2 of Israel...

    If you see that iran now uses rape squads within it's OWN jails against political protesters (not to mention beating to death) you will get a glimpse of the mentality of a nation that actually USED 9 year old boys as HUMAN mine sweepers...

    this is no joke...

  51. Sunstein:

    He is concerned by the present “situation in which like-minded people speak or listen mostly to one another,”[14] and thinks that in “light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals.”


    Specifically he thinks that, “we ought to ban hunting.”[18] He also thinks that “we could even grant animals a right to bring suit”[19] and that it is possible that “that before long, Congress will grant standing to animals to protect their own rights and interests.”


    In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?... Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public fisc. … There is no liberty without dependency.

  52. How do they deliver the EMPs, man of "substance"?

    You want to be afraid, live that way, but there is no EMP threat from the Iranians, none at all, to the United States.

  53. desert rat said...
    How do they deliver the EMPs, man of "substance"?

    just what does "man of "substance"?" mean?


    please explain it to us plain simple folk... after all we dont even use caps when needed....

  54. "There's really no excuse for this country to be vulnerable to EMP," said Peter V. Pry, president of EMPACT America.

    Speakers urged conference attendees to contact their federal elected officials to urge them to support EMP legislation.

    "I certainly hope that this conference can get the focus back on EMP" as a strategic security threat, said Adm. William Studeman, a longtime defense intelligence official.

    Bomb Dangers

  55. dr: You want to be afraid, live that way, but there is no EMP threat from the Iranians, none at all, to the United States.

    dr, you are a man of checkers...

    if you do not see a connection between north korea, iran, venezuela?

    you do not see the inter-connection between iran, syria, hamas & hezbollah?

    I guess you dont...

    but i guess nothing scares you...

    i am scared of the threat..

    your not?

    big man....

  56. WiO,

    As behavioralists such as Twerski, Ariely, and Gilovich have repeatedly proven, people will NOT accept inconvenient facts. No matter how often demonstrated as fallacious, human beings hold fast to wishful thinking. This irrational reluctance is uniform across all socio-economic and educational demographics.

    It is this mindset that men such as Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao (among countless other examples) exploit. The will to power is so great that those affected will risk all, including themselves, to express it. I believe the Iranian regime is so infected.

    The danger of Iran and North Korea will not be taken seriously by vast numbers of Americans, Europeans, and Israelis until some downstate farmer happens to glance up and see the mushroom cloud rising over what was once Chicago.

    WiO, a prophet is only without honor in his own country.

  57. "man of 'substance'"

    "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, preserved in a deep fried taco shell."

  58. Iran says it has launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit.
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the launch had been successful and that with it Iran had "officially achieved a presence in space".
    The satellite, carried on a Safir-2 rocket, was meant for telecommunication and research purposes, state TV said.
    A US state department official said the launch was of "great concern" and could lead to ballistic missile development. Iran insists its intent is peaceful.


    Is the Safir 2 or 3 Stages?

    For those of you not following the debate in the comments, using a two-stage rocket to place even a small satellite in orbit would signal a significant advance beyond the improved Scud technology embodied in the North Korean Nodong/Taepodong families.

    What happens to America (notice the wonderfully capped A?) when north korea does an emp over Alaska?

    One can only ponder what happens if that occurs...

    Or, what happens to the world if Israel is hit? Italy? France?

  60. One of them, Ibrahim al-Amin, wrote in Al-Akhbar daily on Saturday that most of the people who deposited money with Ezzedine were members of Hizbullah's families or supporters. He added that the case is an "alarm bell" because Hizbullah's supporters and members are known to have long lived a simple and religious life but were starting to want more money than they earn.

    Sateh Noureddine, managing editor of the Lebanese As-Safir daily, which is close to Hizbullah, wrote Monday that "Hizbullah is not the first and will not be the last revolutionary movement that gets corrupted with money."

    Nasrallah said he believed the aim of the media reports was to "to harm the image" of many of the party's leaders. He made the same remarks in a speech aired late Monday by the group's Al-Manar TV.

    Bankrupt Businessman

  61. France fires back, Italy has a trip wire of US forces that are in the country. So we'll fire back.

    Isreal, they can fire back, too.

    If you are afraid, and are living that way, man of "substance", well ...

    proves just who the real pussy is, does it not.

  62. The DDOD attacks, although not technically very complex, were of great significance, for several of reasons:

    1. They were intended to create social unrest in response to the domestic policies of a democratically elected government, and so represent an intervention against a democratic system, but using hitherto unused methods as a continuation of policy by other means;

    2. They were clearly organized, despite a whole lot of nonsense one can read in the press. They were organized because their intensity was neither stochastically random nor even followed a Gaussian or normal distribution.


    3. Evidence exists to suggest that the attacks may have been partially state-sponsored. The recent US report of the Cyber Consequences Unit examining the cyber campaign against Georgia suggests that the organizers of DDOS attacks against web-sites in that country had advance notice of Russian military intentions.

    Cyber Conflict

  63. "iran is a clusterf*ck about to happen"

    Oh, I don't think so. I'm sure the busy beavers are toiling away on the difficulty of getting from A to B, here to there. Because there does not appear to be any climb-down and we've cycled through one missile crisis already this year that sent Mme Secretary, hair afire, out of the country.

    The thing is, you'd have to have some significant, aggrieved, up-and-coming segment co-opted first. And make sure it can be hung on the poor judgment of the political leadership.

    I always said we were gonna find another way to skin that cat.

    There just may be no other way to skin that cat.

  64. It does appear that Stan has something to answer for today and it's rather sad. Good luck with that one.

  65. Chavez is also expected to turn up in New York later this month at the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly. He's scheduled to speak on Thursday, Sept. 24, the day after Obama and Ahmadinejad are due to take the stage.

    Chavez's appearance will come on the same day that Obama plans to chair a special summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council, devoted to nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. According to an Aug. 4 statement by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, this heads-of-state meeting will not focus on any specific countries.

    But it's a good bet that plenty of preparatory wheeling and dealing is going on behind the scenes. Is Washington pressing for any constraints on Venezuela?

    Nuclear Village

  66. I also said that Obama is more, not less, likely to do what McCain only joked about doing.

    I guess we'll see.

  67. i stand by my assertion...

    iran is a cluskerf*ck waiting to happen and that rat has not got a clue...

  68. "i stand by my assertion..."

    Fair enough. We'll wait and see.

  69. Meanwhile, Colombia-Venezuela relations go from really bad to just fucking awful. And we had our first demo (such as it was) outside the embassy today on the bases issue - and, I swear to God, no matter how many times we or the Colombian political leadership say, "These are not our bases and we have no plans or desires for bases" there is a goodly chunk of Latin America for which it makes no difference. A goodly chunk. If Chavez says they're ours, they're ours, by God. And that's that.

    Makes one more fully appreciate the sometimes absolute futility of words.

  70. Uribe, God bless him, was having none of his shit at the OAS summit. None of it.

  71. Man of little "substance", I do have have a clue, more than a clue I have reality.

    Payload is one of the important elements of a strategic rocket, along with payload reentry capacity.

    The Iranians do not have a clue as to put all three pieces. warhead, missile and reentry, together, let alone get the three of them over Kansas.

    The boogie men have already gotten in your head, amigo.

    They win, you lose, today.

  72. I'd believe it, but it is in the NYTimes, so it is misinformation, to be sure. ;-)

    U.S. Says Iran Has Ability to Expedite a Nuclear Bomb

    Published: September 9, 2009

  73. dr:

    The Iranians do not have a clue as to put all three pieces. warhead, missile and reentry, together, let alone get the three of them over Kansas.

    you love to select artificial parameters...

    iran aint alone...

    you must include iran's circle of friends that already are supportive of technology to them (or logistics)

    north korea

    now restate statement and aim at Alaska....

    or look at the range of targets that north korea or iran might be tempted to be strike..

    Art of war baby...

    China fully keeps north korea alive...
    Russia sells advanced weapons and nuke technology

    your barking a "checkers' view of reality