“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."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Iran.


  1. Thoughts from Leo Linbeck III:

    ...Finally, what will the President do if McChrystal resigns in protest? Will Petraeus and Jones follow suit? Is this the military equivalent of “Going Galt”?

    Like I said, the President is over his head. He’s like a software salesman. What’s the difference between a software salesman and a used-car salesman?

    The used-car salesman knows when he’s lying to you.


  2. Expect to see an all out blitz of administration efforts to intrude into private enterprise right up to the 2010 election season.

    Fearing a voter rejection of their liberal agenda in November, 2010, they will attempt to install as many programs as they can before their majority status lapses.

    In order to appear more moderate, there will be tapering off of controversial proposals just before the campaigns heat up.

    They are, in the meantime, going hell-bent for leather to get as much installed as they can.


    Obama Plans Internet Grab: FCC to Embrace 'Net Neutrality'

    ...Until, now the Internet has been largely self-regulated, and the FCC has taken a hands-off approach.

    But that could change dramatically soon if the Obama administration has its way.

    During the weekend, press reports revealed a stunning development: The Obama administration will announce Monday that the FCC would propose new rules to embrace what it calls "Net Neutrality."


    Conservatives see Net Neutrality as a power grab that will benefit big Internet players such as Amazon and Google while stifling smaller competitors.

    The libertarian CATO Institute, in a 2004 policy analysis concluded: "The regulatory regime envisioned by Net Neutrality mandates would also open the door to a great deal of potential 'gaming' of the regulatory system and allow firms to use the regulatory system to hobble competitors. Worse yet, it would encourage more FCC regulation of the Internet and broadband markets in general."

  3. Prince Charles urges people to abandon car in favour of walking and public transport

    The Prince of Wales is urging people to give up their cars in favour of walking and public transport to try to reduce carbon emissions.

    The Prince, who has two Jaguars, two Audis, a Range Rover and still drives an Aston Martin
    given to him by the Queen on his 21st birthday, said developers had a duty to put public transport and the pedestrian at the heart of their housing schemes


    Reminds me of a drill sergeant at Fort Lost in the Woods, back in the day.

    "Do as I say do, not as I do do."

    He never understood why he couldn't get no respect from us mens.

  4. "This U.S. Army rescue helicopter parked at Camp Bastion (Helmand) flies with the red cross symbol allowing the enemy to get a better aim at the helicopter.

    Unfortunately, by displaying the red cross symbol, the helicopters are not allowed to carry miniguns or other large weapons.

    This seems a rather questionable decision given that the Taliban and other enemies could not give a hoot about law.

    It is unclear why the Army decided that a red cross provides more protection than miniguns."
    Michael Yon with Paramedics in Afghanistan.

  5. WiO,

    Chris is making you look pretty good, my friend. He is, simultaneously, making your critics look pretty foolish, if not worse. You go, Man!

  6. This makes the cancellation of the Polish AMD inexplicable. There is no way you can convince me that a cruiser out in the Mediterranean is more secure than a Ground Base in Poland.

    I swear to God, I believe the objective of the Obama Presidency is the destruction of the United States of America.

    Every decision leads in that direction.

  7. Rufus: I swear to God, I believe the objective of the Obama Presidency is the destruction of the United States of America.

    Well good thing for Obama he's got so many friends in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and China, he's got somewhere to land after the country is gone.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Yeah, T, I'm afraid his options are looking better than mine, right now.

  10. What is the grand plan of obama....

    To me, I have fear...

    Throwing under the bus (in public) israel, poland, honduras and others all the while embracing the rouge elements of the world...

    Does this president have some grand plan and he will spring on china, russia, iran, the palestinians, venezuela, the arab world, pakistan & afghanistan and make all things heal and correct in the world or is he....

    Trying to lower America in the world to be NO more than our 4% population footprint..

    since America is only 4% of the world we should not consume more than 4% of it's natural resources..

    and if we produce MORE than our fair share, we are exploiting others to achieve it....

    I think obama wants to bring America DOWN a few pegs, lower our arrogance, throw out Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism

    I think his policy for the Afghanistan war is to give us a new vietnam, to so sour the taste of American military usage that for the next 30 years we will be scared to send our troops abroad...

    watching our nation voting present in iran, All the while iran is murdering Americans by proxy in iraq (and thru hezbollah), supporting terror and using any and all illegal methods to destroy us, Israel and others...

    and that's just iran...

    the list is growing on a daily basis..

  11. HT: Mark Levin

    HHS investigates Humana for Medicare mailer warning seniors on health overhaul

    This is scary reality that smacks of a little too much control and borders on a disturbing abuse of power.

  12. "Crosses the line" is more descriptive than "borders on."

  13. Whit,

    Are you concerned that Humana is mailing misleading information or that the government is calling them on that information?

  14. I'd have to see the "mailer." Humana is completely capable of "misleading" advertising.

  15. BHO apologized for the USA pointing our missile defense weapons right at the very place in the sky where Russia's ballistic nuclear missiles might get hit.

  16. Hitchens, a drunken Trotskyite, makes man of "misdirection" look good.

    Birds of a feather flocking together.

  17. Makes one not want to live too close to high value targets or target rich environments. I'm just sayin'...

  18. yeah rat, ole hitchens goes from a reasonable 'youth filled Iran ungovernable by the clerics to OMIGOD IF THEY GET THE BOMB THE MADMEN WILL BLOW UP THE WORLD'

  19. I haven't seen the Humana mailer but the linked article says:

    The Humana mailer focused squarely on the Medicare Advantage program.

    "While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable," it said.

    If this is the worst thing the writer could say about the mailer, would you not agree that HHS is strong arming Humana and attempting to intimidate the industry? Does this not disturb you?

  20. Here's a copy of the Humana mailer

    You read it and decide whether HHS is out of line or not.

  21. Inside SEIU president Andy Stern’s culture of corruption

    Freeman, the L.A. Times discovered, had piped $600,000 in union contracts to his wife’s video production and entertainment ventures. The local also paid his mother-in-law $8,000 a month to babysit his daughter and other union employees’ children; footed a $13,000 bill for membership at a Beverly Hills cigar club; covered $12,500 in tabs at upscale Morton’s restaurant in Burbank; and forked over $8,000 in union dues to cover expenses for Freeman’s Hawaiian wedding.
    Freeman’s spending orgy didn’t end there...

  22. The soldiers keep streaming in from the mission. The Pentagon and British MoD spin lies (though I have found Secretary Gates talks straight), but veins of pure truth can be found right here with these soldiers. The Pentagon and MoD as a whole cannot be trusted because they are the average of their parts. There are individual officers and NCOs among the U.S. and U.K. who have always been blunt and honest with me. Among the higher ranking, Petraeus and Mellinger come to mind, but for day-to-day realities this is where it’s at.
    Out here.
    Nothing coming from Kabul, London, or Washington should be trusted.
    The women are medics, and they brave the combat just like the infantry soldiers. But again, they will never get the credit they deserve, and so we joked that they should just let people think they spent the entire tour at Camp Bastion. Who would believe that they were out there in the thick of it?

    On this day, an Afghan man showed one of these medics a rash on his arms, but the medic carried no such medicines out into the fighting.
    When medic Evans said she had no medicine, a young man picked up a big stone and was preparing to hit her.
    Rhian instantly pointed the rifle at the man who put down the rock.

    Precision Voting

  23. Whit, Good Job

    on finding, and posting the mailer.

    Yes, now I can, absolutely, without reservatition agree that what the administration is doing is unconscionable, and, quite possibly, illegal.

    This doesn't trouble me. It Scares the crap out of me, and makes me Madder Than Hell.

    These bastards are, out and out, Totalitarians.

  24. Stuart Pringle, a 55-year-old businessman from Zimbabwe, was visiting Las Vegas for a week and said the security warnings wouldn't change his plans.

    "We all live with some degree of risk in our lives," Pringle said. "This country can't afford to stop the quality of life that it provides.

    I have absolutely no fear."

    Terror Probe

  25. Don't try this at home!

    Sir Winston Churchill drank no less than a quart of whiskey per day. Nevertheless, he woke sober while his detractors woke stupid.

  26. Don't try this at home!

    Smoking on the other hand...

    "Smoking saved my life," says Russell, "In 1948, when I was 76, I had to swim a few hundred yards from a sea-plane in which I was a passenger. I was not brave, merely stupid, for thinking sea-planes floated for a time after they crashed. A reporter asked me if while in the water if I thought of mysticism or logic." "Neither, I thought that the water was cold. My lecture was canceled as the man who had been intended to be chairman had drowned. Nearly half of those on the plane ceased to be -- with my apologies to Quine--amongst 'what there is'. I, when boarding, insisted on the smoking section, 'If I cannot smoke I shall die'. And....all those in the non-smoking section were killed."

    Bertrand Russell

    "The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."

    ...Died at 97 (1972)

  27. You're worried about Rufus cutting down too quickly?

  28. Some of us, however, awoke hungover, And Stupid.

  29. Iran claims to have displayed a two-stage homemade Sejjil missile on Tuesday, which it claims has a greater range than the Shahab-3. The Shahab-3 has a range of 2000 kilometers - about 1250 miles.
    Sejjil missiles, considered as the third generation of Iran-made long-range missiles, were displayed during the parades at the mausoleum of the Founder of the Islamic Republic, the Late Imam Khomeini, in southern Tehran.

    Iran successfully tested second generation of Sejjil missiles and brought it into mass production earlier this year.

    The solid-fuel, two-stage Sejjil missile with two engines, is capable of reaching a very high altitude and therefore has a longer range than that of the Shahab 3 model.

    The missile has boosted the Islamic republic of Iran's defense capabilities.

    Various units of the Islamic Republic Army, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij (volunteer) forces attended the military parades to commemorate the start of the Week of Sacred Defense.

    During the parades Shahab 1, 2 and 3, and Zelzal missiles were also displayed.

    The liquid-fuel Shahab 3 missile has a range of up to 1,250 miles (2000 kilometers) and is capable of carrying a 1,000-760 kilogram warhead.

  30. Sejjil missiles, the third generation of Iran-made, long-range missiles, were displayed during parades in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported. Iran successfully tested a second generation of the solid-fuel, two-stage Sejjil missile and brought it into production earlier this year.

    Ahmadinejad, who will attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, also urged U.S.-led foreign forces to withdraw completely from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "We advise you to go back to your own land and spend heavy military costs on resolving the woes of your own nations," Ahmadinejad said.

    No One Would Invade Iran

  31. I forgot where you are, Sam.
    Wretchard reported (and had a picture) showing Sydney skies being RED from a sandstorm.
    Did you endure any of that?

  32. Iran's sole Simorgh AWACS aircraft was lost during a military parade Sept. 22, one of two Iranian military aircraft that crashed in Tehran while participating in a display to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force operated a single Simorgh, a former Iraqi Air Force Adnan. The Adnan AWACS was in turn a modification of a Soviet-built Ilyushin Il-76 transport.

    The Simorgh collided with one of the Air Force's Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters over the area of the Imam Khomeyni Shrine, southern Tehran. According to eyewitnesses, the crash occurred immediately after the parade. Apparently, no mayday call was issued.

    Both aircraft crashed in flames. Initial reports indicate that seven crewmembers were killed in the crash.

    In total, Iraq built three AWACS aircraft, one Baghdad, and two Baghdad-2s, the latter later renamed Adnans. One Adnan and the Baghdad were evacuated to Iran during the 1991 Gulf War, while the second Adnan was destroyed on the ground by a coalition air strike in January 1991.

    The exact status of the Iranian Simorgh and its onboard systems was long uncertain. However, photographs suggest that the aircraft was equipped with a newly fitted functioning radar suite.
    DEBKA adds (Hat Tip: Danny A):
    Dubbed "Simorgh" (a flying creature of Iranian fable which performs wonders in mid-flight), the AWACS' appearance, escorted by fighter jets, was to have been the climax for the Iranian Air force's fly-past over the parade. Instead, it collided with one of escorting planes, a US-made F-5E, and both crashed to the ground in flames. All seven crewmen were killed.

    Eye witnesses reported that the flaming planes landed on the mausoleum burial site of the Islamic revolution's founder Ruhollah Khomeini, a national shrine. According to Western observers, no distress signals came from either cockpit indicating that the collision and explosions were sudden and fast.

    DEBKAfile's military sources say the disaster was a serious blow to the Iranian Air Force not long after its first and only AWACS went into service in April 2008. It was a renovated version of the Russian Ilyushin 76, part of Saddam Hussein's air force before it was transferred to Iran in 1991 during the first Gulf War.

    Tehran hired Russian technicians to carry out renovations and install up-to-date radar. At the launching ceremony of the upgraded AWACS, Air Force commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Miqani boasted its new radar systems were made in Iran and able to spot any airplane or missile at a distance of 1,000 kilometers from Iran's borders.

    The loss of this airborne control system has left Iran's air force and air and missile defenses without "electronic eyes" for surveillance of the skies around its borders.