“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, November 17, 2009

New York City - 1950 - New York


  1. T,

    Interesting read and comments. Thanks.

    While I do not share in this resurgence of Bush adulation, man to man he makes the current president pale by comparison.

    There has never been any doubbt on my part that Mr. Bush was a good person. But a good man could not fill the job demanding a hard man. And surviving this war is going to require a tough man able to make cruel calls, ala Mr. Truman.

  2. “Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.

    ”While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

    Based on my best judgment, it is most likely that the unemployment rate will peak close to 11% and will remain at a very high level for two years or more.”

    The worst is yet to come: Unemployed Americans should hunker down for more job losses

  3. As for the prior thread, I don't think I'll be "moving." I live in a rural area, and my vehicle will run on straight moonshine (so will I.) I, also, live fairly close to the "Tunica Cutoff" (Great Fishing.) I think I'll be okay.

  4. T, I wouldn't bet a wooden nickel on "My" vision of 2010 vs yours. We are in, in some respects, a fairly unique situation. These "exact" circumstances have never been seen.

    I think it would take a raging lunatic to bet "real" money on Anything, right now. And, like many others, I don't have nearly as much "Real" money as I had a couple of years ago. Life's a bitch. But, it still beats the alternative. :)

  5. "The New Zealanders have agreed to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations."

    One hundred year-old scotch cache discovered in Anartica. Antartic Treaty nations scotch call for a party.


    Drilling for Scotch

  6. But . . . but . . . . I thought the Antarctic was melting.

  7. Which of these things is Not like the others?

    I have No idea what this story means. Maybe that they're having trouble getting enough oil onto the East Coast? I don't know.

    Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Colonial Pipeline Co., which operates the largest pipeline linking U.S. Gulf Coast refiners and East Coast markets, will limit shipments of gasoline because orders exceeded the company’s ability to deliver fuel on time.


  8. Trish may get the point for this. Such a "probe" would be painful and, therefore, will be avoided.

    - allen

    You began with the assumption that there must be criminal culpability within the military apart from Hasan himself. And the corollary assumption is that, finding none, there is a cover-up.


    I just didn't begin with those assumptions.

    The Army, as Lang correctly noted, wants a piece of Hasan. Not a piece of everyone else. (What the "jackal bins" want...I could not give a shit.)

    In this sense, as well as others, this differs greatly from Abu Ghraib. That was full blown, wild fire panic on the part of the Mothership. (Full blown weeks before the story broke to the public.)

    Just ask Barb Fast. ("Document, document, document." Words to live by.)

    It differs, too, from Haditha, where we had no less a person than the Commandant of the Marine Corps pulling (along with Murtha) a big no-no and declaring criminal wrongdoing before an investigation was even done.

    Erring in judgment, facilitated and encouraged by current policy and statute.

    That's my rough measure.

    I'll be interested to know if changes to red lines in domestic surveillance are made. (A sticky wicket for this admin.) Because Hasan's actions as determined by Defense crossed none.

    You notice that the only place that wasn't leaking like a sieve last week was...Fort Sam?

  9. Rufus

    I grew up fishing Tunica Cutoff with my dad. Remember Sugar Ditch?

  10. Nothing's changed much.

  11. Like Rufus, I ain't going nowhere.

    I got about two million gallons of water flowing past every minute, so I'm not dying of thirst. I've got my farm, and deer to kill.

    What I'd try to do, if disaster hits, is, network with my old friends, and folks from church, (nice to see you Bob, where you been all these years?) and try to be of some real help to somebody.

  12. I don't see a real breakdown coming, anyway. I see tough times for awhile.

    I'm starting to like Pawlenty for the next election. He's boring as dirt, but, after Bush, and Obismal, boring sounds pretty good. He was a very good Governor in Minnesota, and can carry All the Ag states (maybe even Michigan.)

  13. Ruf, I remember when you said "I agree with Bob, Sarah Palin is the only one with a lick of sense"

    Don't forget her, keep her in mind.

  14. "A Swedish woman who was sentenced to life for a double murder in California will be released in 2011, a Swedish court ruled Monday.

    The Orebro district court said Annika Ostberg has expiated her offense and is not expected to return to committing crimes after being freed."

    Term Reduced

    This is just one of the reasons why I think the US should avoid certain international treaties and joining organizations like the ICC.

    I'm not so much concerned that this women's life sentence was reduced to 30 years but at the different ways the US and the EU looks at justice.

    She was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in CA then transferred to a prison in Sweden in deferrence to that country's repeated requests. She was re-triad and her sentence reduced to 45 years. And going along with typical Swedish practice, she will only have to serve two-thirds of her sentence, 30 years.

    One suspects that if she had spent 15 years in prison rather than 28 the Swedes may have decided that her sentence should have been 24 years and she would still be getting out by 2011.

    Or maybe I'm just being too cynical.

  15. The one, BIG advantage we have over the rest of the world is our Agriculture. There's just Nothing like it, Anywhere.

    And, don't fall for the stories about how "oil-dependent" our ag is. It takes about 1 gallon of diesel to get 30 Bushels of corn to market. That's 1,680 lbs.

    And, if diesel gets "too" expensive, they'll have those John Deeres running on soybean oil before the sun goes down.

    Starting somewhere in the next few years, we'll be challenged for, maybe, ten years, or so, but we'll adjust. Do NOT disregard that Chevy Volt technology. It's going to be a "Biggie."

  16. I'm mostly Swede, and I've become ashamed of the old homeland. I'm ecstatic that grandpappy got the hell out of there. There wasn't anything for him there, anyway.

    I just don't know why he settled in the same damned kind of rolling countysidw, pine trees, snow.

    Why in hell couldn't he have settled in California, when the settling was good?

  17. I would be fine with Palin, Bob. I don't know if she can get elected (or, even nominated,) but I would look forward to pulling the lever for her.

  18. Palin will require some gravitas and experience before anyone can take her seriously. If she is really interested in politics she should think about running for a national political post, representative or senator maybe.

    I heard one of the reason she quit the Alaskan governor's job was to make more money. Not very comforting since we already have over 600 of those guys in D.C. right now.

    The new governor of Virginia might prove interesting. Under Virginia law he is already term limited and a lame duck. He has an interesting background and seems to know how to play the game effectively.

  19. Rufus, I've mentioned it before, grandpappy farmed with horses. He never did have a tractor. We have these old pictures of harvest time, the big teams of horses, pulling.

    Those guys were tough.

  20. All of Europe's the same, Bob. Like the man said, "Anyone with any get-up, and go, Got up and Left a long time ago."

  21. My earliest farm memories were of my father plowing behind a team. A big old booger named, Dan, and a smaller horse named Lady. God, that must have been back-breaking.

    He didn't have a watch. He could tell by his shadow when it was 11:45. That gave him fifteen minutes to unhook the team, take'em back to the house, unharness them, give'em a little feed, wash up, and sit down at, exactly, 12:00.

    He came up with a ('39, I think it was) John Deere, and then a forties-something ford for the "light" work. I bet there was never a man, alive, so happy to own a '39 John Deere. Especially in '51.

  22. And the folks with gumption, they're still coming.

    Whether we appreciate it, now, or not.

  23. ANY Asshole that talks about going back to "draft animals" is out of his freakin' mind. It took 1/3 of your crop just to feed the bastards. Horses are for racing, riding, and having rodeos. And, I suppose, out where Rat lives there are certain types of ranching that are better suited to horses than anything else. But, Plowing? Ya gotta be daft.

  24. In answer to the question about water, why you haul it in, 2,500 gallons at a time.

    Then put it in steel or fiberglass tanks.

    The water comes from deep wells the railroad drilled, back when they needed it.

    The mountain retreat will be built out over the next four or five years, the balance of Obama's term, then sold in the recovery.

    Or moved into, as it'll be owned free and clear, if we decide to leave the valley of the sun.

  25. When they plowed behind one horse, walking, they called it 'foot burning' out here.

  26. The total meltdown location is in Tonto Basin, AZ. Live water, grass and all the lake I need behind Roosevelt Dam.
    Even if the dam failed, which is an unlikely event, the Salt River will still flow.

    The prevalent occupation in Tonto Basin, AZ is retired military.

  27. Pakistani from Chicago arrested and charge in Mumbai attacks
    An American citizen of Pakistani origin was arrested last month as he attempted to board a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, and charged with laying the groundwork for the Mumbai terror attacks last November.
    David Coleman Headly (49) was arrested last month at Chicago's O'Hare Airport while on his way to Philadelphia, and from there to Pakistan. The American Federal Bureau of Investigations suspected he was involved in a plot to carry out an attack in Denmark following the publication of the controversial Prophet Muhammad caricatures.

    A deeper look, however, revealed that he was also involved in the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, in which at least 173 people were killed.

    Since Headley's arrest, the US has been investigating his actions along with the Indian authorities. Over the weekend Headley's role became clear: Indian security sources reported that he was the one who scanned the Chabad center for the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is believed to be responsible for the attacks.

    Head of the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided a number of locations in Mumbai on Saturday in search of incriminating evidence against Headley. Indian defense ministry sources told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that its investigators found that Headly had visited all ten locations that were attacked last November.

    According to the report, Headley visited the Chabad center in Mumbai in July 2008 – four months before the attack – and presented himself as a Jew in order to stay at the place. Prior to the Chabad center, he stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel, which was one of the central targets of the terror attack.

  28. There is cattle range where you could not take a vehicle, of any kind. We use horses for that. Even on the Rim, in the pine forests, horses are used for ranching.

    But most of that is verboten on the Federal land, the grasses have taken a beating in the prolonged drought.

    The country is a lot like Afpakistan, not much to be gained by road hunting.

  29. He knew the secret handshake?

    Good to see the Federals are on top of it, even if it is a bit after the fact, for the folks in Bombay. But for the rest of us, it's good news he was arrested. Even better news would be that we were going to extradite him to India.

  30. Well, like I said, horse are for "riding." Ranching counts as "riding." Plowing? Nah.

    Palin shouldn't have quit her "day job." It took something away from her. I kinda doubt she can overcome it.

    McDonnel is probably looking at 2016. He'll only have 2 1/2 years in as Governor when the campaign starts. Right now I'd vote for Huckabee if that was the only choice. Obumfuck is getting scary.

  31. Regardless of any disputes about policy, I think Sarah Palin could lift the spirits of the nation up.

    Maybe that's what we need in these times.

  32. There were reports in The Hill and Politico today along with a bit on CNBC I just watched indicating Reid and Pelosi are determined to have a jobs bill passed by the end of the year.

    Cost = $500 billion.

    No budget offset anticipated so it will go against the deficit.

    Still looking at how it will be structured. Looks like it may be brought through on a number of smaller bills (for unemployment benefits, funds for local government, infrastructure, roads, etc.) so as to play down the total cost of the program.

  33. Must be some kind of "political" strategy, Q. Based on making the Pubs veto a "jobs" bill. Anything to get the subject off "healthcare."

  34. Whoa!

    Maybe I need to rethink the whole, "Pawlenty thing." Pawlenty might not Carry his own State.

    Another Al Gore?

  35. trish,

    I must correct you: I assume NO criminal culpability or intent. Rather, my position is best described by, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity [and cowardice]."

    Will there be a cover-up? Without doubt, much will remain unanswered either by ommission or commission. I don't think for a moment that you beieve otherwise, by the way.

    While reports may vary somewhat, it seems obvious that the troublesome Major Hasan was moved along as quickly as his bosses could shuffle him out their doors to another. If this were the civilian world, I do think a strong civil case MIGHT be made for criminal negligence, all other things being equal.

    Given the reports, flawed as some may be, the public will demand a hanging. That is why the various players throughout the system are trying their best to favorably position themselves through finger pointing and document leaks.

    What will change? Nothing, I suspect, although getting there will be extremely costly and probably create at least one more level of shielding bureaucracy and some loss of personal liberty.

  36. DR,

    Re: secret handshake

    The terrorists started their attacks by KILLING at the Chabad!

    Do you suffer keyboard Tourette's?

  37. "I don't think for a moment that you beieve otherwise, by the way."

    Allen, bless your heart, it's hard enough to get the truth out - and to keep it somewhat circulating.

    Really, really hard.

  38. Which is what makes the catamaran look good.

    Okay, it would look good anyway.

  39. Re: Major Hasan,

    My goodness, that didn't take long. Let the lengthy, costly obfuscation begin :) Will the Campfire Girls come under scrutiny?

    Fort Hood slayings prompt full Pentagon review

  40. "a FULL Pentagon investigation..."

    Thankfully the architects and planners favored a pentagonal polygon, despite the more illustrative apeirogon.

  41. "it's hard enough to get the truth out"

    Nevermind a lie.

  42. trish,

    It is surprising that we have both missed a potentially salient feature of the Major Hasan affair.

    As you well know, now Major Hasan did not become a major because someone walked into the clinic and said, "Congratulations Captain Hasan to the wonderful world of Majordum."

    No, a vetting took place over a long period of time. At anytime during the vetting, Major Hasan's commanding officer(s) could have filed with the Promotion Board his grave reservations or outright refusal to approve the promotion.

    Even after then Captain Hasan was approved for promotion and given a line number (one that could have prevented his pinning on his oak leaves for 18-24 months - altogether to be expected, given his "lazy" performance), any of his superiors could have filed the above referenced article with the Promotion Board. That board would have had the ex post facto authority to deny Captain Hasan his promotion to Major.

    In the process, his command or the Promotion Board could have sought his dismissal on the simple cause of his being prejudicial to good order and discipline.

    We are now left to ponder how this officer could have been promoted by his superiors, given their concerns over his mental hygiene and disorderly conduct over a prolonged period of time.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Speaking of farming, nitrogen fertilizers are coming under attack the carbophobics. They want to tax, tax, tax.

  45. Since the murders at Fort Hood, one persistent tale continues to be told: Major Hasan's superiors held at least one meeting wherein his conduct and sanity were discussed. We are told that he was shifted to Fort Hood after his superiors determined that he was no threat to the troops.

    EXCUSE ME!!! Did any of these esteemed gentlemen and gentle ladies consider the damage this guy could do to the fragile patients under his control?

    No, not once have I seen a report where these brain trusts considered for a second the harm he could do psychologically.

    Happily, we just love, love, love our folks in uniform.

  46. trish,

    Re: 98%

    This has what to do with time and the responsible behavior of his superiors?

    Now, I do not doubt your "98%". But I am interested in why Major Hasan was not relegated to the remaining "2%".

  47. Unless the remaining "2%" is comprised of convicted pedophiles, pornographers and perjurers.

    What? Do they get a second bite in the name of fairness?

  48. The 98% was starling to even moi, allen. And given just that, it's not surprising at all that he made it.

    That's how fucking desperate after seven years we are.

    As was said: Got no DUI?


  49. No worries, it's just the lower-class (or lower echelon, or lower than dog-shit, or however Trish put it) enlisted.

    The "Officer Corps" hasn't ever given a shit about the enlisted, in any army, in any nation, at no time in the history of the world.

    They're just "cannon-fodder." Always, and forever.

  50. Excepting, I guess, a handful of O3, and lower.

  51. "Jerusalem is Israel's capital and will remain as such," he said, stating an Israeli position not recognized by world powers.

    Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Israel's decision was a further step "intended to prevent the Palestinian state from happening."

    Where was the first capitol of the United States? Oh, you mean there was no District? Well, then, how on earth did the United States "happen"?

    Jerusalem building permits

  52. "Speaking of farming, nitrogen fertilizers are coming under attack the carbophobics. They want to tax, tax, tax."

    Luckily, I bought POT a few weeks back. Potassium fertilizer is produced from potassium salts so I assume it wouldn't be effected.

    (Naturally I wouldn't be mentioning this except that the stock is up 10% since the beginning of December) :)

  53. Israel just received a shipment of "Bunkerbusters" from the U.S.

  54. Good move, Q. I seem to remember I was lukewarm on the purchase. Did I mention, I'm quite a stock-picker? :)

    I can't imagine them getting a tax on fertilizer passed.

  55. The "enviro" movement has pretty much been taken over by the "back to the caves" Malthusians. They're not "Pro-environment" nearly as much as they're "anti-people."

  56. BTW, Nitrous Oxide is present in the atmosphere in parts per Billion.

    Yep, ppb - Parts per Billion

  57. rufus wrote:

    "The "Officer Corps" hasn't ever given a shit about the enlisted, in any army, in any nation, at no time in the history of the world."


    Lt. Col. George Custer was "a pussy". Colonel David Hackworth was NOT! This son-of-a-gun once flew in with a relief flight to one of his trapped, mauled units while hanging outside the chopper door, M16 blazing. He is still (I hope) being considered for a posthumous Medal of Honor.

    …five tours, rufus, (5)…nine Purple Hearts, rufus, (9)…

    Yes, rufus, some officer trash does care...more than you will ever know!

  58. Yep, there Are exceptions.

  59. Good article by Elliot Abrams and Michael Singh on the Isreal/Palestine stalemate.

    The End of the Peace Process?

  60. BUT, that whole command structure that allowed Hasan to continue "counseling" returning American soldiers was not made up to even 1% by those "Exceptions."

    NOT ONE!

  61. No, allen, not at all.
    I was referencing "misdirection" and his post

    According to the report, Headley visited the Chabad center in Mumbai in July 2008 – four months before the attack – and presented himself as a Jew in order to stay at the place. ...

    Tue Nov 17, 01:54:00 PM EST

    So, again, no.
    This Headley must have known the secret handshake, prior to the attacks. Or, perhaps, he just had the right mother, to pass in the whirled as a member of that sect.

    Perhaps you should learn to read the thread, before commenting upon the posts in it.

  62. Quirk said...
    Good article by Elliot Abrams and Michael Singh on the Isreal/Palestine stalemate.

    It's ISRAEL

  63. rufus,

    There is no defense possible for Hasan's previous command.

    Think about it: If senior officers are so concerned about the behavior of a company grade officer as to question his very sanity, why on earth would they keep him, much less PROMOTE him? Here trish is correct when she writes, "That's how fucking desperate after seven years we are."

    Even at the risk of hyperbole, I believe that an 80 year-old doctor would be commissioned, if one could be had. At this command, it is not unheard for officers in their late sixties to serve. Indeed, this command is so desperate that most health care is provided by NPs and PAs. The command has never had more than two full-time staff MDs the time I have known it. Oh, did I mention that these officers do their very best to handle a patient population of approximately 18,000 active, retired and dependent souls. Yes, 18,000!

    As an aside, if you ever want to know the value of socialized medicine, ask a military dependent, dependent upon on-base medical care.

  64. WiO,

    I believe Q once indicated that he had no dog in the fight.

    Therefore, let's assume the misspelling was not perjorative.

  65. Tax fertilizer--what?

    There goes the rest of the farm vote.

  66. I had a "Stress Test," yesterday. Someone at the VA noticed I'd never had one. A whole morning of CAT scans, and huffing, and puffing, and walking around rigged up like a Christmas Tree.

    In the last couple of years, I've had Two Biopsies, a Colonoscopy, and a Stress test. Every couple of months they do a "blood work," to monitor my cholesterol. I hate to go to the mailbox. It seems like every week I get another notice of an "appointment."

    They are "healthcaring" my ass out. I could stand just a little more "waiting time."

    This is all "apropos" of nothing, of course. Government Health Care would, without doubt, be a Disaster. I just thought it was kind of ironic.

  67. Re: Abrams and Singh

    Until I reached the quote below, I thought the authors merely foolishly diplomatic. With the quote, I found them delusional.

    "But to work, these efforts will require a new approach from the Arab states. The Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by the Arab League in 2002, contained a welcome endorsement of peace. But it offered Israel (as well as the Palestinians, for that matter) a take-it-or-leave-it proposition when it required as preconditions for “normal relations” a complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, a division of Jerusalem, the full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and a right of return for all refugees. As such, the initiative risks reducing the maneuverability of each side in a number of ways. It forces Israel to appear to reject a moderate Arab overture...”

    "a moderate Arab overture" - You've got to be kidding!

    There is no better defense than a great offense.

  68. BTW, evidently I'm going to live well into the 22nd century.

    Too bad I budgeted for a hundred years, or so, less than that.

  69. Doc told my wife she's going to live to be 185.

    She's already, secrectly, planning that ocean cruise, after I'm gone.

    I got my new young bright and bouncy (she wears a low cut blouse, with just the right amount showing) female lawyer fired up - this one's a gentile, my longtime Jewish lawyer having retired -she's kicking some impossibles out of one of my rentals, first time I've ever had to do this.

    So, I put an ad in, and immediately got a response from---a female ethics professor! with two bloodhounds!

    This might prove interesting.

    I've got all sorts of ethical questions I might put to the professor. See what she comes up with. I generally get on good first name terms with my renters.

    It's actually kind of interesting having some rentals here. You never know what you're going to get, and you get to see the whole broad swath of America.

    I got a good portion of the Idaho Vandals defensive football team this year, for instance, and they are staying through next year.

    I'm thinking of buying them some Holiday turkeys, for playing so well this year.

  70. Heavenly Melody, the more I think upon these sacred things, the more I perceive that color has nothing to do with it, nor religion, sect, nor creed, nor youth, nor age, but rather a tuning to a wavelength shared.

  71. No Allen, it was not meant to be pejorative ... or perjorative .

    "It's ISRAEL"

    And what's this WiO? All capitals?
    Does that mean you are really, really, really, really, upset? Angry? Incensed? Livid?

    Or are you just an agent of eSpindle?

  72. And what frequency would you have me on?

  73. MLD: And what frequency would you have me on?

    Hams do it with FREQUENCY, till their GIGAHERTZ!

  74. Why, ours of course, shared with thee and me, should thou ask?

  75. all other music being out of tune

  76. Silly me, I wasn't thinking.

    I guess my gigahertz. It has nothing to do the the ham, though, just a devil in disguise.

  77. Being is better than thinking, I affirm!

  78. A girl could get use this every night before she lays her head down to sleep.

    Being is definitely better than thinking.

  79. Quirk,

    Re: Or are you just an agent of eSpindle?

    Nope. WiO (note lower case "i") has been WiO for years. I see no need to change that now. Admittedly, I prefer "Is", but "What's" occupation of this nom de net will stand as "WiO" to me.

  80. Quirk,

    If I become really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY upset etc, there will be no asking. Given my sweet nature, that is not likely to happen; although this really, really, really, really, really, REALLY must feel good:

  81. Israel has a nascent revolution in the making, it seems. Giving longer prison sentences will not solve the problem; it will, however, make martyrs – something harried politicians, looking for pat solutions never learn. An army of citizen soldiers cannot be expected to far long oppress its own base, particularly in a small, consanguineous, closely knit country facing the daily threat of attack. Moreover, neither the IDF troops nor the Israeli public is pleased with the recent bungling of their civilian leadership in both Lebanon and Gaza. While little understood outside Israel, Mr. Olmert cynically retained power by buying the support of just enough legislators to keep his government in power, contrary to the wishes of most Israelis. Mr. Netanyahu should take great care in how he deals with this problem of dissatisfaction within the democratic ranks of his armed forces.

    Soldiers' mutiny raises concern in Israel

  82. Sorry Quirk, I misunderstood.