“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, December 01, 2009

Lyndon Baines Obama to run Afghanistan?

US bid to bypass Karzai's Afghan government upsets allies
Appointment of 'high representative' in Kabul forms part of Barack Obama's latest strategy

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor,

Monday 30 November 2009 17.58 GMT

The US is seeking to extend its control over the day-to-day running of Afghanistan with the appointment of an international "high representative" in Kabul in an attempt to bypass Hamid Karzai's much-criticised government.

The initiative, being pushed by the US special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, has caused a split between Washington and its closest Nato allies, who believe it could further undermine the Afghan president's legitimacy and the United Nations' role in the country.

The proposal is part of a political strategy designed to accompany the dispatch of US reinforcements due to be announced tomorrow night by Barack Obama and ultimately provide an exit strategy.

The political package under discussion includes the installation of an Afghan chief executive at Karzai's shoulder in the government and closer international cooperation by a permanent "contact group".

The measures are designed to overcome the weakness and corruption of the Afghan government that the troops will be fighting to support. The British foreign secretary, David Miliband, has said the government would fall within weeks if Nato pulled out now.

Some European officials, including senior British figures, argue that the gains in efficiency achieved by appointing an international envoy with vice regal authority would be outweighed by the Kabul government's further loss of legitimacy.

"This has to be Afghan-owned or it's not going to work," a top European official said. European states and Canada have a more positive view of the UN's performance than the US.

Following his re-election in fraud-ridden elections, Karzai has promised his Nato backers he will a take a tougher line against corruption and has made greater efforts in supplying recruits for the Afghan army and police force whose training and deployment represent the core the exit strategy to be outlined by Obama.

Western governments are sceptical about whether Karzai will be able to reform as quickly as they would like to enable them to withdraw troops, and they are beginning to discuss contingency plans to improve Afghan governance by bypassing the president if necessary.

Foreign ministers from the countries with most troops involved – the US, Britain, Germany, France and Canada – discussed the next steps at Karzai's inauguration on 19 November.

Holbrooke pursued the issue in visits to Berlin and Paris, and in conversations with British officials last month. Final decisions will be taken at the London conference on Afghanistan in late January.

Holbrooke in particular believes the UN mission is ineffectual and soft on the Afghan government's alarming record of corruption. He is pushing for the appointment of a high representative for the international community, modelled in part on the post of the same name in Bosnia.

He has met resistance from European states and Canada that have more faith in the Norwegian head of the UN mission, Kai Eide.

"This is something Holbrooke is pushing but it's not set in stone yet," said a senior defence official from a country with troops on the ground. "It is a way of getting around Kai Eide but some of the allies have a lot of time for Kai. He has achieved a lot. He persuaded Karzai to hire some of his better ministers. He just goes about it in a quiet way."

A European diplomat portrayed the initiative as an attempt to restore US influence at the heart of the international co-ordination effort after Peter Galbraith, an American diplomat, was forced out of his job as the second-in-command at the UN mission in September because of a personality and policy clash with Eide.

"In a way, the idea of this is to replace Galbraith, " the diplomat said.

The Holbrooke-led campaign against Eide drew support last week from the International Crisis Group. In a report on Afghanistan's "crisis of governance" on Wednesday, the independent organisation recommended Eide's resignation "since he has lost the confidence of many on his staff and the necessary trust of many parts of the Afghan polity".

Eide's term ends in March and some European countries have suggested he could be replaced then by a "super-envoy", perhaps combining the UN post with a Nato civilian role.

The former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown was initially approached for such a job in early 2008 but his appointment was blocked by Karzai. The appointment of Ashdown or another leading British figure in such a powerful role is still seen in Kabul and some capitals as problematic because of Britain's imperial history.

Another name mentioned as a possible international high representative is the current US ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, but he has recently clashed with the American Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, over whether Washington should send more troops.

Nick Horne, a former UN official in Afghanistan who resigned at the end of October over the failure to achieve political reform, said the new international representative "would have to be someone of international stature".

"He has to have the full support of the international community, and the confidence of the Afghan people", Horne said.


  1. US bid to bypass Karzai's Afghan government upsets allies

    I take issue with that word: allies

    Allies is when you take Sword and Gold Beach, Canada takes Juno Beach, and the Americans take Utah and Omaha Beach.

    70% of the forces in Afghanistan are American.

    10% are British

    The rest are all sub 5%, like Hungary, with 300 troops.

    Barack Obama, with the stroke of a pen, will increase the US presence by more than the present commitment of all our allies combined. So who cares if the allies get upset? How about the folks who send their kids into this shit hole? They're upset too.

  2. Clemmons got croaked.

    I put up some more damning data on the 1032 pardon Huckster on his thread.

  3. And here you guys were worried about an Obama Presidency. There is only so much any President can do, only so much turn in the wheel. You can see now, as I always said, that we would maintained course and speed.

    And we are.

    Half-stepping through the Islamic Arc.

    As for Obama as LBJ, called that one, months ago.

  4. Guns and butter, the road to prosperity.

  5. And in the policy arenas of military and defense, where there was some much anxiety about what Obama would do, the "Change" he would make.


    No change at all.
    Same Secretary of Defense, same Generals, same half-assed failed strategies.

    See fellas ...
    There was nothing to fear, but fear itself.

  6. Obama's been "T'd up" by the military industrial complex, exemplified by Mr Crown of General Dynamics, and then dropped into a short fairway sand trap, by our professional military.

  7. from the NYT--President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down.... to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.....“It’s accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before".....“He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”....The officials would not disclose the time frame. But they said it would not be tied to particular conditions on the ground....Officials of one allied nation who have been extensively briefed on the president’s plan said, however, that Mr. Obama would describe how the American presence would be ratcheted back after the buildup...

    If that's the case, the plan seems to be to get out by going in a bit, giving a nod to some campaign rhetoric, then, "we've done our part."

  8. As trish has said, often, Stan the Man, he's the best that the Army has.

    Learn it, Live it, Love it

  9. The Brits have used day certain withdrawal in many of their previous foreign adventures.

    South Yemen comes first to mind.

  10. Nah, this ain't like Vietnam.

    Not at all.

    Where'd you ever get a crazy idea like that?

  11. How about the folks who send their kids into this shit hole?

    Tue Dec 01, 06:32:00 AM EST

    You mean all those eleven-year-olds running around South Asia? The ones who needed a note and a packed lunch before heading off to fight the assfucks of 9/11?

    More to the point: The public is evenly divided on the question of whether this is a good idea (whatever "this" in fact entails) but of equal if not greater concern is the extent to which the military is not made up of those eleven-year-olds without other commitments and obligations, but of the married and at least nominally middle class with very young children of their own - those who tend to tire of "adventure" (or "military morass," call it what you will) sooner and need more frequent breaks.

    THAT military, or at least certain portions of it, has been deploying more or less non-stop since Bush I. Demand being what it is, the pauses have become less frequent and more brief and with a greater portion directly or indirectly involved in a shooting war.

    For the Army especially, the now decades-old push to attract and keep, within the AVF paradigm, families rather than simply soldiers, has met its downside in the Long War.

  12. While they may be many things, neither The Book of Mormon nor The Koran are Bibles...silly...silly...silly

    Neither The Book of Mormon nor The Koran makes the claim of being The Bible as any literate person knows.

    Some people just never learn that a feeling is NOT a thought and an opinion is NOT a fact. Most teens are identically inclined...some out grow it...others blog in senescence...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. The fully "domesticated" force is now at the same time fully "expeditionary." You maintain either with real difficulty.

  15. trish,

    You didn't get the message?

    Some folks here have confidently declared that the US is NOT at war.

    Of course, some folk here wouldn't know a Bible from a brickbat.

  16. It costs us $400.00 to put a gallon of fuel in our Humvee in Afghanistan. Most of this is "transit fees" paid to the tribes of Baluchistan.

    Poppies make great biodiesel.

    Do you have ANY idea how much we could pay the locals for their poppies, and still save Billions of Dollars?

    Hint: You can get over 100 gallons of biodiesel from an acre of poppies. If you're having a little problem with the math, that's $40,000.00 worth of biodiesel per acre.

  17. "Some folks here have confidently declared that the US is NOT at war."

    Mmmmm. What'd someone used to say? "Frequently wrong but never in doubt."

    Sure we're at war. It's the VietNam war and we all await the rooftop evacuations. Because if you're not picking through hedgerows in France, you're headed for the Southeast Asia denouement.

  18. Maybe you military genii should google "operation cobra"

  19. THAT is what a "Nation at War" does.

  20. "Red Ball Express" would be another one.

    Then you might google "War Bonds"

  21. "Arms Production during WWII"

  22. "War Spending as percent of GDP"

  23. "Dresden"

    "Firebombing of Tokyo"

    Maybe you'll start to get "some" inkling of what "War" is.

  24. I have a bag of microwave popcorn and a six pack of Club Colombia set aside for the evening's festivities.

    I think it's a beer evening, not a wine evening, wouldn't you agree?

  25. Casualties at Bastogne

    Casualties at Guadalcanal

    Casualtes at Okinawa

  26. Yep, that's what war is, Trish. Beer, not wine.

  27. But, GOOD beer. Not that cheap shit.

  28. What some dumb fucks haven't figured out is "Soldiers" don't win "Wars."

    "Countries" win Wars.

    No, Dumb fucks, we're NOT at "War."

    We're piddlefucking around, wasting lives, and money.

    THAT'S not War. THAT is a fucking CRIME. These fuckers will go down in the book right next to Bob McNamara, Lyndon Johnson, and the "Best and Brightest."

  29. Club Colombia's good and cheap.

    BBC's red is better but, alas, none on hand.

  30. And in the meanwhile - during which, I mean, there's all this fuss and bother over South Asia - Iran gives us the big middle finger.

    That hurts.

  31. We have, absolutely, NO right to tell Iran what they can, or cannot have. They are a sovereign nation, and their people have inhabited that land for thousands of years. They have every right in the world to build all the Nukes they want.

    If Israel, or anyone else, doesn't like it they can "Declare War" on them. Their choice.

    If WE don't like it we can Bomb the Shit out of them. Our Choice.

  32. "After an all-night siege, a SWAT team entered the home and found it empty."

    Okay...Maybe I'm a little slow on the draw this afternoon, but how does one besiege an empty house all night?

    more government in action

  33. Rather than try to convince us that the US is not at war, why not convince our Islamic adversaries, who very much know they ARE at war?

  34. Hint: You can get over 100 gallons of biodiesel from an acre of poppies. If you're having a little problem with the math, that's $40,000.00 worth of biodiesel per acre.

    Tue Dec 01, 11:39:00 AM EST

    Damn Rufus, that's brilliant.

  35. When all else fails, break out the "dumb fucks". Projection is SOOOO unbecoming.

  36. EVERY Day is Beer Evening,
    NOT Wine Evening.

  37. What kind of traitor would advocate putting our Humvees on Opium?

  38. ans:
    ...a Godless Traitor.
    Huckabee '12!

  39. I hope you keep this thread open tonite deuce. We'll see what the One says.

    By the way, I read he unilateraly has given up our right to inspect how many missiles the Russians are building. Can't recall where I read it, though.

  40. I hope you keep this thread open tonite, deuce. We'll see what the One comes up with.

    Then call each other names.

    By the way, I read somewhere, can't recall where, that the One gave up unilaterally our right to inspect Russian missile production.

    Somehow I get the feeling our nation's best interests are not being properly addressed.

  41. Oh, no, Deuce; the "Brilliant" people are in the State Department, and the Officer Corps (not to mention the "White House."

  42. BTW, Biodiesel is about the easiest damned thing in the world to make. There's not a battalian in Afghanistan that doesn't have the stuff lying around to make a biodiesel still.

  43. EVERY Day is Beer Evening,
    NOT Wine Evening.

    Tue Dec 01, 12:24:00 PM EST

    Says you, Mr. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

  44. The thing that's got me hopping mad is that, if you're going to call this a "War," and say you're going to try to "Win" it, you've got to commit to the "Logistics."

    You can't put a platoon of Marines out in a remote valley w/o air, or artillery, support and accomplish anything other than getting your men killed.

    30,000 won't make a difference under these circumstances. 300,000 won't make a difference.

    300,000 with another 500 helicopters, 200 fast movers, 1,000 MWRAPs, and 1,000 Drones "Might" start to "Win" it.

    This is just sending young Americans into the "Valley of Death."

  45. You ever notice how all infamous, military debacles have the word "Valley" in the description?

    Allen said the Islamists are "Fighting a War." He is correct. They are Dead Serious. Every time "They" initiate an action "They" have the High Ground.

    Our Dumbfuck Officers send our guys out to set up positions in "Valleys." I hate to say it, but I guess it's easier for the fat-ass officers to drive into the valley than it is for them to "climb the mountains."

    It's a clusterfuck.

  46. This thread will stay open till tomorrow morning.

  47. Well, you're going to have one drunk hillbilly on your hands.

  48. "Our" Genius Commanders planned a "Major" operation of 4,000 Men, and didn't allow for the fact that Military Vehicles "Break Down." They left a squad standing by the "Side of the ROAD" for 12 hrs. In "Indian Country."

    They are "Worse then Worthless."

  49. Casualties Every day, and our Genius Mcfuckface wants our troops to take off their helmets, and armor, so as to look more "friendly."

    The man is a fucking idiot.

  50. The Somali Pirates hijacked an OIL Tanker this morning.

    Gasoline is UP $0.13/gal since last thursday.

    The EPA delayed until next year the request to "voluntarily" put up to an extra 5% ethanol in our gasoline.

    We put 10%. Brazil puts 26%. I guess they have better cars than we do.

  51. Brazil is a bunch of corrupt socialists. They are, also, "Energy Independent."

    They require 80% of New Cars to be FLEX FUEL.

  52. WE "Import" 10 MILLION BARRELS of Oil EVERY DAY.

    WE are fucking Morons.

  53. Rufus, does Brazil have its own native auto industry, or is it mostly an offshoot of Ford, GM, Toyota etc, do you know?

  54. I believe it's ALL Foreign Brands, Bob. I've never heard of a "Brazilian" brand.

    They do have some of the most advanced auto factories in the world, though.

  55. 100 gallons of biodiesel from an acre of poppies. If you're having a little problem with the math, that's $40,000.00 worth of biodiesel per acre.

    100 times 3/4 bucks a gallon?

    we let's do the ciphering...

    well one gallon would be 3/4 dollars...

    ten gallons would be 30/40 dollars

    100 gallons would be 300/400 dollars...

  56. Look, the problem is systemic corruption. Good grief, if nothing else, look at the disintegration of the financial sector, as indicative. Extrapolate what you have seen to the system as a whole and, then, tell me what bureaucracy is functioning as promised.

    Instead of blaming "bible-thumpers", look to the governing philosophy of the decision makers. The "Judeo-Christian ethic" did NOT turn loose the animal who murdered four police officers in cold blood. Neither did it take in and advance Major Hasan (the Fort Hood butcher for those who have already forgotten). No, sir, it was the atheistic, immoral POLITICAL CORRECTNESS of our political class that made these acts possible and will guarantee further such.

    Because the ROE are the handiwork of fools does not negate nor make illegitimate the cause for which the US fights. That cause is SURVIVAL!

    As sure as G-d makes little green apples, the US is going to take the "big one". Perhaps, at long last, the nightly news depicting the inferno that once was New York or Atlanta or San Diego will motivate the body politic to do its duty and demand leadership commensurate to the task.

    O3s, like E3s, are given orders. They snap-to and say, "Yes, Sir!" or "Aye, aye, Sir!" They do so because that is the way of it, like it or not.

  57. Like I said, $400.00 a gallon.

    Not, Four Dollars.

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Yeah, it was the atheistic, immoral, Mike Huckabee that released him.

  60. deuce or whit, could you kindly delete my Tue Dec 01, 02:12:00 PM EST--I may have thoughtlessly violated the lady's copywrite understandings, thanks

  61. It's a gorgeous afternoon.

  62. Too tired to even spell copywrite right, I'm goin' ta bed till tonight.

    There's a word for that, when you mix up meanings and sounds, but dang, can't remember what it is

  63. Canada has figured out that being the No 1 supplier of oil to the U.S. is a Good Business.

    What else have they figured out? Oh yeah, building ethanol plants for "themselves" is Also, Damned Good Business.

  64. Boy, that comment must have been a doozy.

  65. "Boy, that comment must have been a doozy."

    No doubt some general comments in response to the Maize King's panegyric on ethanol.

  66. You've been wanting to use That word all day, haven't you?

  67. Here, "Pan" THIS Gyric.

  68. Sorry, Ruf.

    I should have ended with :)

    (However, I think you probably remember my views on ethanol)

  69. I wuz kiddin, Q. I know you (and your backward views) pretty well by now. I don't need a :) to know when you're "being cute."

  70. I hope you like that $3.00 + gas in the Spring. You'll be looking back, fondly, at it in the Fall.

  71. I don't think I can listen to this shit.

  72. Oh, my.

    That is a horrible speech.

  73. Rufus: Gasoline is UP $0.13/gal since last thursday.

    The last four day weekend was the busiest travel time of the year. Many travellers eschewed plane travel and jumped in their cars. Honestly, Rufus, talk to me when you have a week over week trend, not this day by day noise.

  74. Okay, gasoline is up $1.30 since the first of the year.

  75. How many times was he interrupted by standing ovations? Exactly zero. Obama is Bush Jr now on the war. Something about that C-in-C position....

  76. I couldn't watch it.

  77. No, T...

    It was a truly bad speech.

  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

  79. So. Who wants to come with me to walk the dog and get more ciggs?

    I thought so.

  80. 240,000 sq miles of the most desolate, arid, mountainous terrain on earth. Divided by 100,000 troops. One Soldier, or Marine, for every 2.4 sq miles.

    One Company of 150 Marines to control 360 sq miles. One hundred and fifty Marines to control an area of 12 miles by 30 miles. Three hundred and sixty sq miles of Mountains, and Desert, and crushing poverty.

    Three hundred and sixty sq. miles populated by (25,000,000/240,000 X 360) 37,500 of the most backward, worthless, poor, ignorant, violent people on earth (whose language the troops don't speak.)

    37,500 impoverished, ignorant indigents that have never known, or conceptualized a "Government," a "Police Force," or an "Army." And, don't have the money to pay the taxes to support such an institution if they did want such a thing.

    Oh, and we gotta get it done in 18 months.


  81. rufus wrote:
    "One hundred and fifty Marines to control an area of 12 miles by 30 miles."

    Nope! Birds of a feather flock together. So does aQ and the "Taliband". We need that small company of Marines to be there when they do. O, and "close air support" would be appreciated, to be sure.

  82. That was the shits, alright. Send in reinforcements as fast as possible, but not as many as requested, then pull them out in 18 months, meanwhile the bad guys rest up for 18.

    Not a chance of success.

    Better idea might be to just take the side of the folks in the north, level the cities of the south, raze them, totally, and all the major villages, from the air, cut that highway we were trying to build to unite the country, support the north, and keep our guys out of it, best as possible etc.

    Rufus, Seated, The Maize King

  83. Re: "close air support"

    Hey, who knows: maybe the Chief of Staff will loan the President his Air Farce. But even if it takes a direct order from the President, the support ought to be when and where needed.

    Gosh, wouldn't it be nice if the USAf put up the whiz-bang F22A (that "A" is for attack, don't ya know...GRRR!!!)

    While dreaming, let's get some NUTO jocks up. So, is it going to be 5K or 10K NUTO swingers.

    And where are the Onion (UN)"peacekeepers" when needed? Still waiting to disembark into Gazaland? When "it's a time for us", it's time for the Onion.

  84. I'll go walk the dog with you but I've once again given up Gloria Cubanas Series R (maduro) in favor of nic gum. The six-inch 50s are fine cigars.

  85. The speech is sure taking big bad hits on the Boise radio stations. No caller yet has thought it had a snowballs chance in hell, what with the telegraphed time line and all. They had interviews with Risch and Crapo, neither of whom were impressed, though neither had answers either. Risch had this out--I'm on the Intelligence Committee and can't talk about it much.

  86. "I'll go walk the dog with you..."

    Bless your heart.

    It's about five blocks.

  87. half-assed, half-hearted, called it quits before it had hardly started.

  88. Re: "Insanity"

    Now you're cookin' with gas!

    Do nations/empires commit corporate suicide? BINGO!

    I will have to admit that the President's promise to leave Iraq prompted Iran to move its operations into Afghanistan. That's why we think we are winning in Iraq - The Iranians, no fools they, need not risk loss or provocation when eventual victory is assured by the full faith and credit of the United States.

    With victory now assured in Afghanistan as well, the Iranians may call off their dogs, giving the President another opportunity to declare victory.

  89. It makes no sense to me. Why would anyone want to risk getting killed for that?

  90. Liberalism will collapse under its own weight.

    This bunch in control right now are looney...

    Absolute loons.

  91. Just wait until their hand picked judiciary start wielding their living breathing constitution.

    I hope you like hash.

  92. Obama's plan has a lot of problems no doubt about it. However, there are no good options for the war and Obama is in a no win situation. No matter what decision the guy came up it would be easy to criticize him.

    Heck, we defeated the Taliban two months after invading the country. What are we still doing there eight years later?

    The one thing I can't get past though is the obvious political calculation behind the eighteen months.


  93. King James version or the Book of Enoch, allen?

    They do not even tell the same story, but both are "Bibles"

  94. We are going to give the Gitmo Guys their day in civil court. By doing so, we can get rid of the ugly "war" legacy of the Bush Administration. "War" is such a divisive word, after all...and we are family...

  95. I'll turn up the volume: The Book of Mormon and The Koran are NOT Bibles. For that matter, neither is Catcher in the Rye.

  96. I smell a political calculation in the 30k too.

    Cut the baby in half.

    Whole thing was political calculation.

  97. Well, the US is not at war.

    Has not been since 1945.

    Not once, anywhere.

    Call it what you will, but the US has not gone to war since VJ Day.

  98. I came this close to deleting ararat's 10:17 post.

  99. All three certainly are bibles, allen.

    Go to the biblioteca and check any one of them out.

  100. Does the King James Bible tell of Enoch talking to the angles, and learning astrology, geometry and how to write in the first person?

    It was one of the "Banned Books",
    or no?

  101. The Books of the Agnostic sects, all banned, all Bibles.

    And the Mormons, amigo, consider their book a Bible, I've lived amongst 'em. Have you?

  102. No sex and no religion, at the Elephant Bar.

    A dry hole, if it keeps up.

  103. We can get to see just who the fascists are, by their performance in defense of open and civil debate.

  104. DR,

    The Torah is composed of 304,805 Hebrew letters, all consonants.

    The Torah contains no discreet words, phrases or sentences.

    The Torah contains no "chapter" division.

    Again, the Torah is a continuous string of 304,805 Hebrew letters, all consonants.

    By the way, the first known division of the Bible into chapters was done by Bishop Langton around 1227 CE. That the apocryphal Book of Enoch contains chapters is telling.

  105. While allen remains linguistically challenged, in the new America.

  106. "The" Bible contains the definite article.

    DR, you make a claim that neither the writers of the Koran or Joseph Smith made. They were, of course, mere mortals.

  107. I never met, nor lived with Joe Smith, but I lived with Mormons in Show Low, AZ. Ate at their tables, went to their Temple.

    Have you?

    Biblioteca is the library, amigo.

    It is filled with bibles.

  108. I'll use "discrete" next time :)

  109. As to the construction of religious texts, those that claim to be Bibles, but which you claim are constructs of men ...

    As if the word 'bible' were to mean a book written by God. Which would disqualify the King James version, by that standard.

    Which may be how you are using the word, but that is not the common usage, in America, amigo.

  110. allen argues the Kings James translation is not an authentic bible, while I claim it is a bible.

    Then I am the one threatened with deletion.

    By the Christian thought police

  111. I once employed Mormons...sound work ethic and family values...None ever made the silly claim you make.

    You would, no doubt, know a great deal more about the Koran than I. Still, the Koran itself makes no such claim for itself. Indeed, Muslims consider the Bible and the "people of the Book" inferior in everyway to the Koran, its prophet and its adherents.

    But, our knowledge pales in the glow of your enlightenment.

  112. DR wrote:

    "As to the construction of religious texts, those that claim to be Bibles, but which you claim are constructs of men ..."

    I made no such claim.

    One more time:

    "The Torah is composed of 304,805 Hebrew letters, all consonants.

    "The Torah contains no discreet words, phrases or sentences.

    "The Torah contains no "chapter" division.

    "Again, the Torah is a continuous string of 304,805 Hebrew letters, all consonants.

    "[By the way, the first known division of the Bible into chapters was done by Bishop Langton around 1227 CE. That the apocryphal Book of Enoch contains chapters is telling.]"

    If you dispute these facts, please provide some authoritative link.

    If you have been censored, I regret that. Despite holding you in contempt, I think your opinions should be heard.

  113. All polls have Obama below 50 and some, like Harris, have him all the way down to 43% in job approval. These surveys mean that Obama, who won 52% of the vote, is now losing between one in ten and one in five of his voters.

    This erosion of support makes the elections of 2010 look more and more like a rerun of 1994. It is now reasonable to predict -- and I do -- that the GOP will take both houses of Congress.

    In the Senate, the Republicans are likely to hold all their vacant seats with the possible exception of New Hampshire. Incumbent Democrats Dodd (Ct), Specter (Pa), Lincoln (Ark), Reid (Nev), and Bennett (Col) are the low hanging fruit. Among the open seats, Delaware seems ripe for the Republicans. Add to these six seats, two more if Rudy Giuliani challenges Kristin Gillibrand in New York and if North Dakota governor Hoeven takes on Dorgan. Mark Kirk could the ninth pickup in Illinois. And, in a Republican sweep, you have to respect GOP chances in California and New Jersey.

    A deluge swamps all boats.

    On Capitol Hill, the Democrats seem to have almost abandoned the message war on health care. They are hunkering down and focused on keeping their troops in line. The appeals to party discipline are so strong that one senses that they are prepared to march, in lock-step, over the cliff together.

    When one considers where Obama was only a year ago and where he is today, the fall is simply stunning. That he clings to the staff that helped him take it is amazing. This has to be the least successful White House since, well, Clinton's 1993-94 crowd. In fact, its many of the same people!

    Dick Morris