“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."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing summoned for a major ass chewing.

I am some what ambivalent about this. It is irritating when the Soviets, (did I just say Soviets?) sell arms to Venezuela. Is China doing anything equivalent in Cuba?

China is cerainly not shy about selling to Iran.

Taiwan has a legitimate right to protect itself and it is probably a good idea for the US to keep it real in dealing with the Chinese, but then I did say I was ambivalent.


China Takes Actions Over US-Taiwan Arms Deal


China is taking action to show its objections to a U.S. plan to sell military equipment to Taiwan.

China said Saturday it is suspending military exchanges and security talks with the United States and threatened sanctions on U.S. firms that sell military equipment to Taiwan.

The official Xinhua news agency carried a strongly-worded statement from the foreign ministry following the U.S. announcement on Friday to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan.

The statement says the arms deal would also affect cooperation between China and the U.S. on key international and regional issues.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing Saturday to lodge a protest. He urged Washington to cancel the deal which he described as a threat to China's national security. He also said the arms deal undermines China's effort at peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Friday it notified Congress of the possible sale to Taiwan of 60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles, radar sets and communications equipment.

The package does not include F-16 fighter jets that the self-ruled island had wanted.

The United States has a treaty commitment to help the island maintain its defenses, and wants Taiwan and China to settle their differences peacefully.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan its sovereign territory, and has threatened to use military force if Taiwan attempts to claim formal independence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told VOA Friday that "providing defensive equipment has actually enabled Taiwan to feel more comfortable in drawing closer to China in commercial interactions."


  1. When it comes to Taiwan, the Chinese go bat sierra crazy. If you really want to see them lose it, say these words, "Republic of China."

    That's all you have to do to find yourself sucked into the vortex of a maelstrom. If you find yourself in such a situation, you must retreat as soon as possible, bowing and apologizing as you back out of the door.

  2. Another sure-fire way to raise a fire storm is to praise Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正 / 蔣介石)

    You will find that the quiet, unassuming little Chinese person has suddenly become a spitting and clawing tiger.

  3. ConLufus say:

    If you go rooking fo troubre, you wirr find it.

  4. Well that about sums it up then.

  5. Huntsman's a big boy. I'm sure he's got plenty of hind end left and some to spare.

    The Chinese are a bunch of rotten thieves and spies anyway. Did we bother to enforce our own laws with regard to them, about a quarter'd find themselves rightly behind bars on any given day of the week.

    Strategic partner my ass.

  6. Trish, that's a terrible slander against a nation of roughly a gazillion people that we've endeavored in almost every way over three decades to cozy up to by ignoring or poo-pooing their every egregious sin against us and humanity.

    You have to carefully couch these things.

  7. Russia Stealth Fighter

    Thangs just got a leetle more intrestin.

    It seems to be very much for real.

  8. It has arrived. Cellulosic Ethanol Plant now Operating

    This is the blueprint for the future of transportation in America.

    I defy you to find me a 5 County area in America that can't be Transportation fuels-independent.

  9. When it comes to Taiwan and China I am reminded of this warning sign I saw in British Columbia.

    "Due to the frequency of human-bear encounters, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and any persons that use the oudoors in a recreational or work related function to take extra precautions while in the field.

    We advise the outdoorsman to wear noisy little bells on clothing so as to give advance warning to any bears that might be close by so you don't take them by surprise.

    We also advise anyone using the out-of-doors to carry "Pepper Spray" with him in case of an encounter with a bear.

    Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh bear activity, and be able to tell the difference between black bear feces and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear shit has bells in it and smells like pepper."

  10. Vonore, Tn lies right in the middle of Monroe, Blount, and Loudon Counties. The three counties have a combined population of about 200,000, and a land area of 1,600 sq. miles. The populace probably uses about 100 Million Gallons of gasoline, annually.

    Of course, over half of the oil to supply that gasoline is imported. Let's make a couple of reasonable assumptions. There's every reason in the world to assume that increased fuel efficiency of the new cars will reduce that gasoline usage by 20% in the next two decades. Maybe more, maybe sooner.

    Also, 200,000 people will produce 200,000 Tons of Waste. This waste will yield 100 gallons of ethanol/ton. This is being done by a company called Syntec (also, I think Bluefire is somewhere in this range.)

    SO, they are going to need 40 Million gpy of fuel, and MSW will provide 20 mgpy of it. We've, almost, eliminated foreign oil, already. But, what if we wanted to cut another 10 mgpy off our oil needs? After all, Prudhoe Bay is running low, you know.

    That area should yield 10 tons of dry mass (switch grass, poplar, etc) per acre. That's 1,000 gallons per acre per year.

    10,000 acres (basically, two good-sized corn farms,) or an area 4 miles, by 4 miles.

    That would be 1% of the land area of the 3 counties. And, it doesn't have to be the "good" land, either.

    You can see that even if I'm being wildly optimistic in one area, or another, it doesn't matter. This is just insanely easy. It even boggles MY mind.

  11. Thanks loads for announcing the change in venue for the party, teabaggers!


    Trish said...

    "Ever since the incident people have just assumed he's Jewish."
    Yeah, like Billy Joel:
    What is it that causes the magnetic attraction between stationary objects and Joos behind the wheel?

    Sat Jan 30, 04:42:00 PM EST


    Doug said...
    76, overcast, light drizzle here.
    Cold Front, don'tcha know. Global Climate Change, of course.

    Sat Jan 30, 04:46:00 PM EST

  12. Palin useta be a TV person, Trish.
    I'm guessing she has a slightly larger audience this time around.

  13. "That's all you have to do to find yourself sucked into the vortex of a maelstrom. "

    Jeesus, no wonder your nose is broke!

  14. It's snowing. We're only suppose to get a dusting to an inch. It's also 18...oops just went down to 16degrees. I'm still trying to thaw out from last night's rendezvous. But my new hot water heater was installed this morning so maybe I'll take advantage of my new bath crystals and relax with a drink, candlelight and some good music, under the full moon.

  15. We used to have a cast iron tub with a fire pit below.
    Sucked to be last in line.

  16. post script: Now, it's true that I didn't make allowances for btu content between ethanol, and gasoline (we know the new engines will use ethanol more efficiently, we're not for sure just how much,) but even if you added in another ten, or fifteen percent for that it's really negligable.

    And, of course, we'll have to do something about "diesel," but with the new Ricardo-type engines that could be as simple as planting another 1% of the land area in switchgrass.

    On the other hand, I didn't even touch on the massive amounts of forestry/sawmill waste in that area.

    This is just a concept; your mileage may vary.

  17. Don't recall if we needed a board or something to keep asses off the firepit area of the tub.

  18. Imported oil-free baths years ago, RufDuf:
    You're behind the curve, my boy!

  19. You implying I'm not present?
    Present and tense I am.

  20. Ruf, why don't you just buy a horse and buggy and then you wouldn't have to worry about all that crap. You can park it next to Doug's 1812 hot tub.

  21. Maybe you need some bath crystals and a drink.

  22. "Present and tense I am."

    But the question is, are you all there?

  23. Thanks loads for announcing the change in venue for the party, teabaggers!

    Crap! He found us!

    MLD, I thought you were getting a new water heater a week ago.

  24. We used to have a cast iron tub with a fire pit below.
    Sucked to be last in line...

    ....after his buddies wavy gravy and pig pen.

  25. He was suppose to come yesterday but couldn't make it.

    Oh, and I like the new avatar picture.

  26. "Palin useta be a TV person, Trish."

    I know. But she wasn't a political persona at the time.

    Anyway, she's less tightly wound, with less bitch intensity, among other changes in aspect, now than when I last saw her, on a stage and behind a mic at some rally or other.

    Leaving office was probably the best thing she ever did for herself professionally and privately.

  27. Some of us were soooo excited about yesterday's news of a 5.7% GDP growth...BUT then come those nasty facts.

    "Roubini said more than half of the 5.7 percent expansion reported yesterday by the government was related to a replenishing of inventories and that consumption depended on monetary and fiscal stimulus. As these forces ebb, growth will slow to just 1.5 percent in the second half of 2010, he said."

    Roubini Calls U.S. Growth ‘Dismal and Poor,’ Predicts Slowing

  28. Great stuff MLD!

    Lower Bitch Intensity is good thing?

  29. Eggsactly, Allen:
    I posted this @ the Bubble Blog:

    "...most of the growth came from rebuilding inventories, which is transitory and unlikely to be duplicated in the next quarter.
    Personal Consumption Expenditures contributed most of the remainder.

    Where the GDP Growth Came From

    "Inventories were the big story, contributing 3.39 points to growth, up from just a 0.69 points in the 3Q. Inventory investment is the lowest “quality" form of growth, since a big increase in one quarter is generally followed by declines in subsequent quarters."

    Just as most of the "growth" that Ruf's numbers running for Carter could be chaulked up to unprecedented inflation.

  30. Comment by MJL
    January 30th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    This weeks Barron’s lists California as the 10th riskiest “sovereign debt” in the world, on the same list as Dubai, Greece, etc. The credit default swaps impute a risk of default on California bonds of approx 25%. If this should happen, besides the general mayhem and imploding real estate values, what effect would there be on Proposition 13 taxes?

    ...another non-event according to the Rufster.

  31. No, Doug, I was using "Inflation-adjusted" numbers when I said the growth during the Carter years was about the same as all the rest.

  32. And, I have absolutely NO opinion on Calif sovereign debt.

    I can get into enough trouble on my own, thank you.

    Although, I'd say 25% seems a bit high.

  33. As for that 5.7%: It was a strange number. No doubt about it. I would have gone through Many guesses before I got That high.

  34. Trish,
    Lower Bitch Intensity is good thing?

    Sat Jan 30, 07:25:00 PM EST

    I think so.

    She still misspeaks something fierce, which flaw I don't expect will ever disappear. Some are very, very good at extemporaneous speech, some are indifferent, and some just suck.

    It's obviously not a source of her charisma for those who find her an inspiring political figure.

  35. She's spent the last however many years governing a city, and then a state, not boning up on the latest beltway theories, and gossip. I could care less if she's ever read the nyt, or newsweek.

    One thing you Never do is drop a "Governor," who hasn't been on the campaign trail for a year, or two, in the middle of a Presidential Race. There's just no way a sitting Governor will be up to speed.

    God, I Wish she were President right now. Although, I gotta admit a Marxist as incompetent as Obama would have to be my second pick.

  36. Karzai fails Taliban who gave up arms
    Times Online -

    THE room the Taliban commander Mullah Mohammad now calls home, after bringing his 21 fighters to join the Afghan government's reintegration programme earlier this month, is barely more comfortable than the mountain redoubt he left.

    Few see progress in flurry of Taliban talks

    Taliban maintains hard-line stance, denies UN meeting Washington Post

  37. Two American soldiers were shot dead by a disgruntled Afghan interpreter, who was then killed himself, at a base in Wardak province yesterday. Hours later, four Afghan soldiers were killed when a US airstrike hit their base nearby.

  38. Melody, melod melody, you speak from the heart and tell it like you see it, like the best of the Elephant. I respect the bar patrons one and all.

    Whit partner, make them sign their chits, but 86 them at close up.

  39. 86 the chits? This ain't no Obamacare.

  40. I also speak from the bottom of my margarita glass, and say that my bath was immaculate, the scent of the candles were heavenly and the music from my play list was exquisite.

  41. Damn baby, sounding good, ol short arms and deep pockets whit may not buy you a drink, but old deuce will fix you right up.

  42. I'm sure you will with that last bottle of wine you drank last night by the fire.

  43. When Peter Frampton could make a guitar talk

  44. "We advise the outdoorsman to wear noisy little bells on clothing..."

    : )

    Guidance has also been given to make oneself appear larger by any ready means, leading Bill Bryson to suggest that hiking in a poncho and sombrero might be called for.

    The Taiwanese, of course, require something more.

    It's game night here at the frozen compound and niece and nephew have chosen Pictionary.

    They're insufferable winners, either one of them. I have to go kick some ten-year-old ass.

  45. My Frampton (ugh) counter:

    It'll always be the OIF anthem to me.

  46. My daughter bought me U2 concert tickets for my birthday. So, when I looked up their tour for 2009, snow patrol, was their guest appearance for most of their tours.

    my all time favorite song by them

  47. That Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" is a great song! But, maybe I'm crazy.

  48. We're all crazy, Whit. You just have to take a deep breath and go with the flow.

  49. Switchgrass

    Correction: It fixes CO2, not nitrogen. However, you only replant about every ten years, so I doubt there's a whole lot of fertilizing going on after planting.

    Also, it's roots go extremely deep. I still haven't read anything about irrigating.

  50. Shit, wrong blog.

  51. It is a good song, whit, isn't it?

    I just realized that, while obviously the "bracing cold" doesn't agree with me, I am a happier human being since returning to the States. It's not that I didn't like where I was. I miss where I was in many ways.

    I hated the pressure. Loathed it.

    Those who've never done it - or who haven't dived right into the deep end in Colombia or a scant handful of other places - have this idea that it's a paid vacation.

    Highly recommend it though I do to those of an adventurous, tolerant, and gregarious nature, it is so not a paid vacation that a return to "real life" with all its pedestrian hassles and headaches is comparatively sweet.

    Thus concludes the wee hours' navel gazing.