“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obama's Nuclear Policy is More of the Same

Words and huffing and puffing from the right aside, Obama is announcing that which was practiced by Geroge Bush.

Attack two American cities, kill 3000 Americans, hit the Pentagon, take down the WTC, cripple the financial district of America and that does not cross the threshold of nuclear retaliation. I guess American targets are not provocative enough, so what is the nonsense about North Korea and Iran?

What exactly is the special case about Iran and North Korea? No mention of Pakistan. It took them a year to come up with this?


  1. Taking the initiative to go off topic, I see Obama hosted some type of prayer breakfast.

    Can anyone explain to me the American political obsession with prayer breakfasts?

    Do they serve turkey bacon? Prayer and pancakes or how about a prayer whopper?

    What do politicians think about as they stare into their eggs?

    We are in their thoughts and prayers and corn flakes?

    Does anyone still eat corn flakes. I always hated them myself.

    Maybe I should I pray that I never have to attend a prayer breakfast.

  2. It's worth a minimum of 5 points in the polls, regardless of how big an asshole you are.

  3. Obama is desperately trying to mollify his base with the inane nuclear policy, and if it was carried into the future would be dangerous for the U.S. But, the next President will have his own policy, just as Oasshole does.

    It's just another nail in the Demo coffin.

  4. Just more of the same, exactly.

    Obama is codifying the Bush policy, bringing US another step closer to fulfilling Reagan's goal of a nuclear free whirled.


    Obama, a closet "conservative" who has come out!

  5. BBC News -

    A Taliban commander who was jailed for kidnapping foreigners in Kabul was released early, the BBC has learnt. Akbar Agha was sentenced to 16 years in prison for kidnapping three UN workers in the Afghan capital in 2004.

  6. Wall Street Journal

    LONDON—The euro-zone economy stopped growing in the final three months of 2009, while output in seven of its 16 members actually fell, figures released Wednesday by the European Union's official statistics agency showed.

  7. The Associated Press -

    PATNA, India - India will push ahead with an offensive against Maoist rebels despite the death of 76 government troops in an ambush by insurgents in the east, the country's top security official said Wednesday.

  8. (CNN) -- Police arrested a 64-year-old Washington state resident who authorities say made death threats against Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

    A department statement said the suspect, identified as Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Washington, made the threats in phone messages to Murray's office between March 22 and April 4.

    Wilson allegedly stated that Murray "had a target on her back" and that he wanted to kill her, according to the statement, which said the threats were in response to congressional passage of the new health care bill.

    According to the statement, Wilson allegedly "told undercover FBI agents that he regularly carries a firearm with a concealed weapons permit" and "also stated that he was extremely angry about the passage of the health care reform legislation."

    Another rude redneck, about to take the green wienie up the ass.

  9. Threatening a federal official is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the Justice Department statement said.

  10. Things are so bad for President Obama these days that he's packing his bags after work today and taking off for Prague.

    Not exactly a typical spring break getaway. But after a hot shower aboard Air Force One and a good sleep in the suite with the electric window-shades so no presidential wrist need be turned, there's a private meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. And this new arms reduction treaty the Democrat so desperately wants to sign with him.

    Over dinner then, Obama hopes to reassure Eastern European countries that the U.S. is really truly still on their side of freedom and defense, even though it's signing what is actually a pretty modest agreement with the core of the old Soviet empire without a word about human rights

  11. ...Ah-hah, you say, but what does this have to do with the domestic U.S. economy and....

    ...creating new jobs that were supposed to start coming online last year with the $787 billion stimulus bill that Obama took on that same Air Force One all the way to Denver to sign?

    Answer: Absolutely nothing. Just like the healthcare debate. Obama did a jobs town hall only the other day. What else do you want?

    The new arms treaty replaces the expired START I treaty of 1991, reinstates bilateral inspection and verification and reduces each country's nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads. In other words, instead of enough nuclear weapons to obliterate this delicate blue planet a gazillion times, in theory we'll be able to erase the place only a bajillion times.

    This all makes eminent sense within the arcane, convoluted logic of diplomacy, prompting nodded heads, much self-congratulation and champagne-sipping from ridiculously thin glasses. Swell images of proclaimed progress to send home in advance of the 47-nation nuclear summit in D.C. next week.

    Does this treaty do anything at all about, say, Iran's nuclear program or the weapons plan developing under the loopy guidance of that tiny North Korean fellow with the Carol Channing glasses?

    Well, no, not actually.

    Now, remember last fall when Obama unilaterally altered the Bush-planned anti-missile defense systems for Eastern Europe in hopes of encouraging the Russians to pressure Iran? Didn't work.

    Not yet anyway.

    So we gave that up and got little in return, except growing regional unease among Europeans with memories of iron Soviet rule that run back before the birth of the more trusting Obama.

    These Europeans see preoccupied Americans resetting their relationship with Russia with little concern for the folks who agreed to the missile sites we wanted before but now find expendable given grumbles from Russia next door.

    Obama gets a glitzy arms agreement that the folks back home didn't know they wanted. And the Russians, who invaded Georgia with impunity during Obama's 2008 Hawaii vacation, don't have to find the money they didn't have to support the larger arsenal they don't need and would likely have to scrap anyway. And Russia remains free to pursue the big arms deals with India and Venezuela.

    Iran and North Korea can keep on keeping on. And the official American unemployment rate remains at 9.7% nationally, closer to 20% counting those who've given up job hunts.

    One other thing. No, two, actually. Another American president named Woodrow Wilson -- coincidentally also a Democrat and also a former college prof -- went off to Europe about 90 years ago to sign an historic treaty ending World War I and establishing the League of Nations.

    Wilson was excited about the international deal and, of course, knew going in that all new treaties take a two-thirds ratification by the U.S. Senate. He didn't get it, primarily due to varying visions of this country's future by Republicans, who controlled the Senate then. Obama's party controls the Senate for now, but six seats shy of the treaty-affirming 66.

    The second thing is: While the president is off in that old Prague castle not addressing domestic jobs, a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll finds disquiet back home among 953 registered voters. They were asked: "How well are things going in the country today?"

    Not quite one-in-three said Fairly or Very Well. The other 67% said Very or Pretty Badly.

    The chance for them to vote on so much more than the treaty comes Nov. 2.

    -- Andrew Malcolm

  12. The regieme is now purging "Islamic Radical" from national security documents.

  13. Islam is not and never has been the enemy, doug-o

    That is and has been the bi-partisan Federal consensus.

    Islamic and radical should never have been linked, in any Federal document.
    It was always a false flag, from the US perspective, propagated by haters.

    Prayer breakfasts breaking the Ramadan fast, at the White House, with Mr GW Bush flippin' the flapjacks.

    That's the US Standard.

  14. Real Clear Politics

    Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak's Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter has yet to pick up steam, as a new Quinnipiac survey finds him trailing by 21 points in the May 18 contest.

    "With less than six weeks until the May 18 primary, Sen. Arlen Specter looks to be in solid shape for the Democratic nomination," said Quinnipiac assistant director Peter Brown. "Not only would Sestak have to win every undecided vote, he also would have to take away some who say they are for Specter."

    Specter's favorable rating is twice as high as Sestak's, as nearly 6-in-10 Dem primary voters still say they don't know enough about the congressman.

  15. 'Collateral Murder' in Baghdad Anything But

    There is nothing in that video that is inconsistent with the military's report. What you see is the air weapons team engaging armed men.

    Second, note how empty the streets are in the video. The only people visible on the streets are the armed men and the accompanying Reuters cameramen. This is a very good indicator that there was a battle going on in the vicinity. Civilians smartly clear the streets during a gunfight.

    Third, several of the men are clearly armed with assault rifles; one appears to have an RPG. Wikileaks purposely chooses not to identify them, but instead focuses on the Reuters cameraman. Why?

  16. I wathed that video, did not see armed men and saw no hostile action by the targets.

    I did see the slung object, which was not clearly an RPG nor a weapon.

    But a slung object, as easily identified as a telephoto lens, then as an RPG.

    Not a cause to fire, in support of troops in a fire fight, in another geographic locale, even if they were close to the wary Iraqi.

  17. The van used as an ambulance, the one that was fired up, it was clearly not hostile and definitely unarmed.

  18. Just a case of some excitable boys.

  19. The driver of that van, as brave a man as Captain Freeman.

    An Iraqi patriot.

    Those shooting at the unmarked by a Red Cross or Crescent evacuation vehicle, morally equivalent.

  20. They well could and possibly should, for the initial targets, but firing up the medical evac.

    They'll have to lawyer up, for the investigation into that part of the 'battle'.

    Ameros to doughnuts.

  21. "something" is not enough, to justify firin' 'em up, under the RoE that the US military was operating under, in Iraq, in 2007.

    Those RoE, that's the LAW, baby.

    Gotta enforce it, as all good policemen should.

    "something" does not justify use of "deadly force", by the Police.

    Not here, nor there.

  22. I already told you:
    They have all already been cleared.

    Who ya gonna believe, Bill Roggio, or 'Rat's Lyin eyes?

  23. Very few men in the last 100 years can be compared to Captain Freeman, wrt bravery, patriotism, and devotion to duty.

  24. WWII, Pork Chop Hill, and La Drang!

  25. Well, doug-o, though I have great respect for Roggio's war reporting, his ability to forecast US political trends, in that he is less accurate.

    This is going to be quite the dust-up. Count on Congressional hearings. If the pilots do not lawyer up, they are fools.

    Right and wrong, those are judgmental postures that are not part of the issue. That we are going to get to hear from those pilots, up on the Hill, assured.

  26. That the investigation that "cleared" those pilots will be investigated and second guessed, guaranteed.

  27. As allen has informed us, repeatedly, no Federal report can be trusted in its veracity.

    No tale that the Federals tell can be believed.

    I read that here, at the Elephant Bar, it must be true.

  28. And allen, having told us that he has spent over forty years at the Federal feeding trough, knows how the Federals operate, well enough to be believed on that score.

  29. "They have all already been cleared."


    But let Rat amuse himself.

  30. Poor old allen will stop by soon enough with some warmed-over Hansonism, whining that US Grant is dead and no one's re-enacting Sherman's march.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Watch and learn.

    These are scenes that we've all seen, before.

    For over a year I have read that Obama and the Congressional Democrats hate the military and will do everything possible to undermine that branch of Federal service.

    Now that the perfect opportunity to besmirch the military is at hand, as it operated under Team Bush, I am told that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress will not pursue the case.

    That it is a dead issue.

    Pick one version of reality or the other, amigos.

  33. He's still waiting for Lieberman to drop the dime on the Joint Chiefs for MAJ Hasan.

  34. Surely, doug-o, the Marxist President will not let this opportunity to disgrace the military pass.

    Or is the entire structure of your continued anti-Obama rant built upon a falsehood?

    Is the truth that Obama is no more an anti-American Marxist than was Nixon or LBJ.

    As you continue to tell us that a life long FDR Democrat sets the conservative standard, in the modern United States.

    And that now, some how, that FDR Standard is considered "center-right".

  35. Rat's still waiting for the strap-in team and their monitoring crew at Langley to be hauled before the jackals to 'splain themselves.

  36. Rat's still waiting for the strap-in team and their monitors at Langley to be hauled out in front of the jackals to 'splain themselves.

  37. "Watch and learn."

    Can we get a Lester Crown reference to go with that?

  38. "Watch and learn."

    Can we get a Lester Crown reference to go with that?

  39. Mr Reagan said it often enough, he was, by his own admission, a life long FDR Democrat.

    Asked why he, an ardent New Deal liberal in his youth, had turned away from the Democratic Party, Reagan said simply: "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left me."

    His beliefs, his Standards, did not change. But liberal FDR era Democratic policies, even after 50 years, are not "center-right".

    Nor could they truly be considered "conservative" by any historical standard.

  40. Blogger's eating my comments, too.

    Probably just as well.

  41. There you go, trish, further proof that Mr Obama and the Congressional Democrats are tried and true blue Federals.

    That the rants that Mr Obama and his Team are out to deconstruct US security are built upon falsehoods.

    Since they failed to shine the light upon the water boarders, and they seem, to date, to be taking a pass on these pilots, then Team Obamamerica is just as true blue American as Team Bush.

    Which is, and has been, the point all along.

  42. The truth is that there is now more core support of the US military, by Team Obamamerica, than there was by Team Bush.

    The proof of that is that Team Obamamerica cleared these pilots, but the Marines of Haditha(?) were prosecuted, by the Bush Team.

  43. Obama's ...
    ... Policy is More of the Same

  44. Does General Dynamics stand to profit from this, trish?

  45. Not much other reason for input from Lester, otherwise.

  46. "There you go, trish, further proof that Mr Obama and the Congressional Democrats are tried and true blue Federals."

    It's the magic and wonder of the permanent bureaucracy. People come to town with all kinds of goofy ideas and expectations. Most of them are exterminated on the spot. Ideas and expectations, that is.

    And as was pointed out recently, Senators hold their seats for something like eighty years. They're a part of that bureaucracy.

  47. This administration, as others before it, does indeed fiddle with the punctuation of the last administration's policies and calls them NEW! AND IMPROVED!

    The only real drawback is that these re-branding operations cost oodles of money and lots of time.

  48. ...and fail to adjust the course of the misguided leviathan.

  49. desert rat said...
    And allen, having told us that he has spent over forty years at the Federal feeding trough, knows how the Federals operate, well enough to be believed on that score.

    Wed Apr 07, 10:08:00 AM EDT

    Allen neither said nor implied anything of the kind.

    One of the few definitive things said by Allen was that he lives in Georgia, and not much else. The chance of Allen sharing anything personal with a sadistic psycho is slim to none.

    Those imaginary little friends, who whisper top-secret stuff into our hairy, pointy, tiny ears, cannot be trusted.

    The drugs probably have some effect as well, whether purchased off the street from a homeless vet or gotten on one's own account from the VA pharmacy.

  50. Correction!!!!

    Allen has shared personal information with sadistic psychos, but what happens on dating sites doesn't count.

  51. I shudder to do this, but I'm going to venture another opinion.

    The rabid right-wingers have, through their knee-jerk acceptance of the worst-possible case as regarding Federal Deficits, made it "Easier" for the Dems to push through the, Absolutely, Positively, Worst Possible Thing - The VAT Tax.

    Now, THIS Sucker IS an Economy-Killer.

    Listen up, If you "Really" believe that we're on the road to "Continued" Trillion Dollar Deficits there is not much you can do but grit your teeth, pour up a "Double," and Accept the VAT.

    You have just accepted your descent into Hell.

    However, if you can maintain your objectivity, and examine the underlying numbers of the economy you will, quite likely, realize that the "Trillion Dollar Deficits as Far as the Eye can See" is a Stalking Horse that needn't be ridden.

  52. I'll bite: How is the VAT an economy-killer?

  53. allen said...

    Allen has shared personal information with sadistic psychos, but what happens on dating sites doesn't count.

    Allen, we have shared much at our ZOG meetings, please do not discount our friendship.

    And remember when we went to the private meeting in the DC safe house for the Mossad? That was cool...

    And don't forget those scavenger runs before passover to kidnap those kids so we could make matzoh....

  54. Trish, 70% of our economy is private "Consumption." We are a "Consumer-driven" Economy.

    One reason for that is we have just about the Cheapest (least-taxed) Consumer Goods of any country in the World. I think there might be one, or two, little dinky economies, somewhere, that are a little bit lower than us.

    Look at Europe; they just can't get out of their own way. They just slid back into non-growth in the last quarter. They are the Poster Child for the VAT.

  55. WiO,

    OK...Now you are just name dropping gratutiously.

  56. Trust me on this one, Trish. The VAT Tax really is the Socialists' Wet Dream.

    What makes it so insidious is it's collected all up, and down the chain. The Gov. can take huge amounts of money, but the "Consumer" doesn't see it "Directly." Prices just get higher, and they don't know why.

  57. Thanks, rufus.

    I ask, in part, because although the VAT is commonly associated with (for want of a better term) European social democracies that have fallen on hard times of late, Colombia has a VAT, too.

    A whopper of a VAT.

  58. It, also, tends to direct taxation away from the Higher Income Earners to the Middle Class. For this reason, you won't see the talking fat-asses on CNBC howling about it as you would expect.

    The "States" also take it in the shorts. Their primary source of revenue is weakened, and they become even more dependent (subservient) to the Federal Government.

  59. I have secured the Righteous Gentile billet in the buried conex and fully expect the sharing of the secret handshake, along with brisket, upon arrival.

  60. We are a "Consumer-driven" Economy.

    - rufus

    And yet this latest economic episode has generated a lot of debate concerning the extent to which we can reasonably continue along that road.

    I'm not saying you're wrong on the VAT. I'm just sayin'.

  61. Not among serious people, Trish. The more "advanced" an economy becomes the more it will be "consumer-driven." It's a natural evolution.

    The "Greens" hate it. They want you to shiver, starving, in your cave until you're eaten by a bear, or die of disease.

  62. Well. I certainly have no intention to shiver, starve, or be eaten by a bear.

    I certainly wouldn't want that either for my fellow Americans.

    Save, maybe, Rat.

  63. Rat?

    You better "pull" for the Bear. He'll need all the help he can get, I think.

  64. In the end, I couldn't manage it.

    I have a wholly inexplicable soft spot for the little toad.

  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. I have friends who have roped bears, from horse back, in the Tonto Basin.

    Bring 'em on.

    allen has certainly said that the Federals cannot be trusted to relay the truth, that their reports are biased and self-serving.

    That he now denies making such comments, comical.

  67. Once again, with feeling:

    desert rat said...
    And allen, having told us that he has spent over forty years at the Federal feeding trough, knows how the Federals operate, well enough to be believed on that score.

    Wed Apr 07, 10:08:00 AM EDT


    Stick with your topic. (I know it is difficult when you are medicated and tardive dyskinesia is in play, but try, Man, try!)

    There is nothing "comical" about illiteracy and innumeracy. There is also no excuse. I am certain pseudo airborne rangers can take night classes in elementary education in the great SW. (A little finance and real estate law along the way would be an added benefit.)

  68. rufus, there are certainly some "serious" people that disagree with your pontifications on a VAT.

    In Canada we have a VAT called the GST (goods and services tax) soon to be merged with my provinces PST (provincial sales tax) to produce an HST (Harmonized sales tax).

    Some of the benefits of the tax are that it is capable of raising a rather large amount of money rather simply. It is broad based and fully in view of the consumer (hence often hated) but it helps thwart the bandying about of the joke "What is the definition of a Canadian? Answer - someone who things their income tax refund is a gift from the government" In other words it helps alleviate the governments dependence upon the hairball of income taxes. It is very difficult to cheat the VAT but not on income taxes. The administration of the VAT can be very elegant. Basically a business collects the tax, subtracts what one pays in the tax and remits the balance to the government. Yes, it is regressive but that helps keep the 'flat tax' folk mollified and there are other means to address the regressive problems (i.e. grants and other direct subsidies).

  69. "Serious"

    Translation: Those who agree with me.

    "Actually, I think most "serious" economists are in favor of VAT's."

    Perhaps some serious economists are in favor of the VAT tax. But I suspect they favor it as opposed to favoring other specific types of tax.

    However, you miss the point.

    Any VAT tax we get here will merely be an add on to the income tax system we already have. The POLS have too much invested in the currently structured tax system to let it slip away from them.

    Any VAT tax we get would continue as an add-on until it was not, that is, until it became the dog wagging the tail rather than the other way around.


  70. Well, yes, definitely in relation to other forms of taxation. Everything is relative dontcha know? however the general political tone in the US seems to be a knee jerk rejection of tax period. When the GST was introduced, by a conservative government, here in Canada the howling was very very loud. That government fell to the incoming Liberals with one plank of their platform being repeal the GST. They won a majority, ruled for many a year, and never touched the hated GST. Still, it is a very reasonable elegant tax that can lessen the income tax and corporate tax rate.

  71. "Elegant," "Can raise Large Sums of Money"

    You could be describing Bank Robbery, or almost any form of Financial Crime. Color me, "unimpressed."

    The point I've been making all along. NO POLITICIAN WILL EVER Vote to DO AWAY with a "Tax." Not a Democrat, Not a Republican, Not an Anarchist Totalitarian Rosicrucian.

    When you've got the VAT, you've got Cancer. Lethal, Terminal Cancer. It will, eventually, eat your economy Alive.

  72. And, I've got a flash for you. Half the Republicans on Capital Hill are secretly ejaculating in their pants at the thought of a VAT.

    It will not be fought nearly as vociferously as you probably suppose.

  73. Lay off the fucking Rosicrucians!!

    We are a non-political secret brotherhood.

    Our only commerce is in secret knowledge.

    You sectarian running dog.


  74. "It will not be fought nearly as vociferously as you probably suppose."

    Wrong. It's an election year.


  75. "I have friends who have roped bears, from horse back, in the Tonto Basin."

    This explains a lot.


  76. Given the lack of rational political discussion in the US particularly regarding taxation I would be very surprised if a federal VAT was instituted. If I were a politician and I wanted to sell the idea I'd pair it with a decrease in income taxes particularly for the middle and lower incomes. Ideally it would be sold as revenue neutral but given the deficits increased revenues are needed.

  77. Snake Eaters?!? I Got Your "Snake Eaters!"

    Meet My Buddy, The Bear-Roper.

    I think we're going to have some fun with this in the days ahead.

  78. This fella takes a road trip, to Bear roping country.

    Tonto Basin, Arizona.

  79. Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax

    Apr 7, 12:34 PM (ET)


    WASHINGTON (AP) - Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.

    About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

    Most people still are required to file returns by the April 15 deadline. The penalty for skipping it is limited to the amount of taxes owed, but it's still almost always better to file: That's the only way to get a refund of all the income taxes withheld by employers.

  80. I would pay big bucks to see some dude on a horse get close enough to a grizzly to rope it and live to tell the tale. Of course, a seriously wounded bear might make a difference, but that would not be very sporting.

  81. allen (and doug) wikileaks has the full 39 min. video posted. You watch, you decide.

  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

  83. Has anyone noticed the increased seismic activity lately?

    Earthquake activity lessens below Alaska volcano
    (AP Online)
    ...ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Earthquake activity below Mount Redoubt is subsiding. The Alaska Volcano Observatory says the rate of...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    Earthquake rocks Sumatra, prompts brief tsunami alert : 7.8-magnitude temblor causes panic but not much apparent...
    Associated Press, A10 (Post)
    ...JAKARTA, INDONESIA -- A 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia's northwestern island of Sumatra early Wednesday,...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    Earthquake rocks southcentral Alaska
    (AP Online)
    ...Alaska -- A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has rattled southcentral Alaska...buildings in Anchorage. The Alaska...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    Many of Haiti's most-wanted on the loose after earthquake
    Manuel Roig-Franzia (Edition)
    ...behind bars now, if not for the Jan. 12 earthquake that shattered Port-au-Prince...gang problem under control prior to...
    Video | 04/07/2010
    Indonesian earthquake triggers tsunami warning...
    (The Associated Press)
    ...Indonesian earthquake triggers tsunami warning...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    No deaths in Indonesia quake; tsunami alert lifted
    Ahmadi (Reuters)
    ...SINABANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - A major earthquake of 7.7 magnitude struck off the coast of Aceh in north...most active...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    Chile's latest quake toll is 486 dead, 79 missing
    (AP Online)
    ...SANTIAGO, Chile -- Chile's government has raised the number of confirmed deaths from the Feb. 27 earthquake and tsunami to...
    Article | 04/07/2010
    7.7 quake strikes off Indonesia's Sumatra island
    CHRIS BLAKE (AP Online)
    ...JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook Indonesia's northwest island...made of wood, which fares better..."

    Could we be building up to a cataclysmic December 21, 2012?

    If so, a little shout-out to Doug-o and T and our other compadres inhabiting the Ring of Fire.

    Dylan: Black Diamond Bay


  84. Ash,

    Yes, they do, and that was the point of my counterpoint.

    Hurray for Hollywood...Where even a 5'3" guy named Alan can become a towering cinema, cowboy hero, bringing down a real giant named Jack (6'4"). Why, with the magic of Hollywood, you can even create the legendary "griz" ropers of Dirty Dog Canyon.

    Anyone stupid enough to rope bears has just got to be dumb enough to be holding a camera to film the exploit...waiting...

  85. Thanks for that link Allen. I remember when Geraldo Rivera was a reporter with some Filipino insurgents and they massacred Filipino troops, I thought he should have been shot. If a reporter wants to march with the enemy, he is fair game.

  86. In a stark assessment of shootings of locals by US troops at checkpoints in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in little-noticed comments last month that during his time as commander there, "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

    The comments came during a virtual town hall with troops in Afghanistan after one asked McChrystal to comment on the "escalation of force" problem. The general responded that, in the nine months he had been in charge, none of the cases in which "we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it."

    In many cases, he added, families were in the vehicles that were fired on.

    - TPM

    A study was undertaken in Iraq a couple of years ago to determine why Iraqis were subjecting themselves needlessly to the use of deadly force by running roadblocks and checkpoints. We were killing lots and lots of Iraqis at even highly visible, permanent, well-signed control points.

    Come to find out that Iraqis were instinctively doing what many Americans themselves are trained as a matter of immediate survival to do in combat and other situations: Drive right through it.

    The Iraqis were, in their own way, simply trying to "get off the X."

    I'm sure that some careful, public education program was undertaken to try to lessen the incidents.

    We do try.

  87. Yet we still wonder why we aren't winning their hearts and minds...

    death from above. In that 39 min. video I was struck by the Hellfire missiles sent into the building and the collateral damage done to the odd passerby.

    gotta luv the occupier!

  88. And I neglected to mention last night that not only are Volvos passe among Progressives, so are Birkenstocks.

    It's all about the Crocs.

    I've not seen a pair of Birkenstocks in many a year. There's a store near me and I don't know how they manage to stay in business.

    I caved and purchased two pairs of Crocs myself on a trip back to the States a couple of Christmases ago. Unbelievably comfortable.

    And shocking but true: They're the footwear of choice for not a few people in war zones.

  89. "Yet we still wonder why we aren't winning their hearts and minds..."

    Sometimes we manage to do this pretty well. Even amazingly well. Sometimes we unavoidably give people reason to hate us.

    And some people, of course, are just raging assholes no matter what we do. Or don't.

  90. yes, many an asshole out there, many a bad guy, but, on balance, those that march through town packing heat clad head to toe in body armor knocking down doors and calling in the rain of death don't have a hope in hell of winning hearts and minds. Unfortunately sitting in the local watering hole and having a beer or two just isn't an option. Mind you, stomping on a local's enemy may engender some warm feelings - for a short time at least.

  91. Ash, there is only so much warm and fuzzy you can attach to the business of what is, in its essence, the application of violence.

    But in myriad ways we plug along, dispensing warm and fuzzy where we can.

    We really do like to be the Good Guys.

  92. Ash,

    This is not a game. Bad guys die and good guys die.

    When you are in the position of hanging over an area, your odds of taking a hit rise dramatically with the time on point. Succinctly, Ash, you take your shots as they come and then get out of Dodge. If you succeed, why, you get to take another shot. If you don't, a bunch of barbarians will burn your mangled body to a crisp and hang you by your heels from the tallest overhang at hand. O, and they will broadcast it home to your wife and kids.

    There is no instant replay, rewind or resume play. It's one shot between you and death. When faced with that prospect, ones sense of proportionality is around "zero".

  93. "It is broad based and fully in view of the consumer (hence often hated)"
    None is so blind...

    Yes, the "sales tax" part of the transaction is visible, all the rest AREN'T, and cumulatively add up to a massive burden liberally sprinkled in bits and drabs throughout the chain from producer to consumer.

  94. "Based upon visual evidence I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything,"
    Assange said.
    Nearly every Iraqi household has a rifle or an AK. Those guys could have just been protecting their area.
    Just some average brown guys taking a stroll on an oddly deserted street, Allen.

    Move right along...

  95. Yes trish, the desire to be the good guy permeates most all we do. Alas the application of force, by the biggest bestest fighting force ever just isn't conducive to warm fuzzy touchy feely. We build schools, lay water pipe, build roads but the rain of death and the errant shot quickly override all that other stuff - unfortunately.

    allen, and your point is - ewwww it's scary out here therefore I can kill whomever I like?


    A VAT is lies plainly in sight, unlike corporate taxes, income taxes, and manufacturing taxes - it sits there as a line item on every receipt and, no, the hidden cumulative cost simply is not there as you allege because, at least in the Canadian model, you subtract what you pay from what you collect and remit the difference.

  96. p.s., the remit difference part is what businesses do, not consumers - consumers don't collect the tax, they just pay...ya use it ya lose it.

  97. Yes trish, the desire to be the good guy permeates most all we do. Alas the application of force, by the biggest bestest fighting force ever just isn't conducive to warm fuzzy touchy feely.

    - Ash

    Many of the people we've pissed off most are those whose areas we've clear, but then promptly abandoned, leaving the bad guys to regather and reassert control.

    Sometimes, winning hearts and minds requires not only dispatching True Believers but staying behind to make sure that they don't, say, come back in and start picking off the family members of those who supported our efforts. As a mere prelude to dragging you off in the night and beheading you.

  98. "the biggest bestest fighting force ever"

    But THIS is what galls me, Ash. Your sneering tone with regard to what is, in all truth, an almost stupefyingly impressive institution.

  99. The 2006 Lebanon War photographs controversies refers to instances of photojournalism from the 2006 Lebanon War that misrepresented scenes of death and destruction in Lebanon caused by Israeli air attacks. As a result of the scandal, Reuters fired freelance photographer Adnan Hajj, and the AP disciplined several others. Reuters also fired a photo editor, and implementing stricter controls on its photo-gathering process.
    The controversy began as an investigation of documents by individual bloggers, and spread to print and television media sources.[1]
    The pseudonymous photoblogger from zombietime claimed that Reuters had engaged in four types of misleading photojournalism:[2]
    Digitally manipulating images after the photographs had been taken.
    Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
    Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
    Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.


  101. Will Wilkinson:


    Unless there is some kind of major realignment, like the one following the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Republican Party will likely remain home to those most strongly committed to an imagined “traditional” conception of the American creed and identity. Conservative conceptions of American identity are ad hoc, opportunistic, and evolving, but they are conservative conceptions in large part because they deny that they are in fact contingent or historically conditioned. That’s how they go on meeting the needs of Americans who long for rootedness, continuity, and a sense that that their political commitments are based on transcendent, fixed moral truths and the authority of tradition. But, I’d argue, those aren’t the primary ideological needs of those with libertarian inclinations.

    I think there is good evidence that those inclined to favor libertarian policies are closer temperamentally to liberals than conservatives. But the vogue of socialism in the 20th century split the ranks of temperamentally liberal Americans. (Some thought democratic socialism was the fulfillment of liberalism, while others thought steps in that direction would take us down the road to serfdom.) During the Cold War-era especially, the conservative imaginary highlighted libertarian elements of American tradition and identity in a way that was especially attractive to libertarians. Because anti-leftism is a core element of this conservative conception of American identity, older libertarians raised on fusionism sometimes have a hard time telling the difference between loving liberty and hating the left.

    However, since libertarian personalities are close to liberal personalities, and since young folks with a libertarian cast of mind have little or no memory of the threat of socialism at home and communism abroad, there is little in the right-wing politics of traditional American identity that resonates with them. The party of liberal-minded Americans, the Democratic Party, just feels more like home, despite its often pointedly un-libertarian economic policy.

    And I think this might pose a problem for liberals like Chait, who continue to see moderate social democracy as the ideal of American liberal government. If libertarian-ish young people drift into the Democratic Party simply because they’re grossed out by everything responsible for making Sarah Palin a hero, they’ll have to be convinced by old-guard liberals that, say, turning Social Security and Medicare into forced savings programs defies all that is liberal and holy before the youngsters manage to convince other Democrats that this type of thing is a pretty good idea.

  102. A little bigger footprint than I had in mind, doug, but sweet enough.

  103. I have no doubt that, at least, half the "cowboys" in Texas would be willing to "rope a bear." That is not why I am demanding Video.

    It's the Horse. That horse has got to be worth a million dollars. Two million if ya got it.

  104. The story goes like this, rufus.

    I am watching the TV when a 1950 era news reel came on. The cowboys of Tonto Basin capturing bears for zoos and such. Roping them, head and heal.

    Well, I take some interest and watch the entire thing. A week or so later I am at the ranch and mention the news reel to one of the fellas.

    He then proceeds to tell me how his dad roped one, right across the hard road from where we were.

    He got more descriptive than I am about to, but needless to say, when the bear turned and charged the horse, it got a little country.

  105. USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON - Federal authorities arrested a California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  106. The World's best roper on the heel, the World's fastest horse under my butt, A million dollars deposited in my bank account, and a quart of Wild Turkey wouldn't even come close to getting my interest.

    At the very least I want a 30-30 in the scabbard (not for the bear, but for the heeler if he missed.)

  107. Tough country, breeds tough men, rufus.

    That's why we don't stand a chance, in Afpakistan.

    We won't leave our trucks or the roads.
    Just like most city slickers when they hunt. They hunt where the roads go, not where the game is.

    Then when I see the the vids and commentary, how we need better vehicles, it makes me laugh.

  108. I wish I was more computer literate.

    I came across some pictures of rat bear hunting that I would like to put into a post if I knew how.

    The before picture shows rat riding the horse.

    The after picture shows the bear riding the horse.


  109. "The situation is under control," said one of the law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The airport remained open during the incident, according to a statement from airport officials.

    "There has been no impact on flight operations, and there are no flight delays or cancellations," the statement said.

    One of the passengers on the flight was James Graybeal, director of public affairs for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Graybeal told CNN's Barbara Starr that he was not aware of the incident on board until after the plane landed.

    Airliner Disturbance

  110. "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

    "... none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

    NONE, that is not one!

    Killing the wrong folk does not move US towards victory.

    Far from it.

  111. Post the URL of the photos, Quirk,
    the https/www. address

  112. Times Online -

    Opposition leaders in Kyrgyzstan announced today that they had taken control of the government after a day of rioting that left as many as 100 dead and hundreds wounded.

    Will this effect our basing rights, there?

  113. "He then proceeds to tell me how his dad roped one, right across the hard road from where we were."

    That would have been interesting to see. (Of course it also depends on the age and size of the bear.) You figure, on average, the horse and the bear probably have the same speed (30-35 mph?). However, then it gets a little tricky.

    The bear can probably outrun a lot of horses. But say you have one that is bred for speed. He could outrun the bear when he is up to speed but it takes him a while to get up to speed. The bear gets up to speed from the get go. Advantage? I'd have to think the bear.

    Of course, if you had a quarter horse, he could probably outrun the bear over fairly short distances. However, the bear can run at speed for miles. Advantage? I guess it would depend on how quickly the bear got bored.

    Assuming it was a full grown bear, and it was just the one guy rather than a bunch of guys, I'd have to say you hang with some real dumb fucks rat.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    (Also, not being big on horses or bears maybe I'm missing something here.)


  114. "Post the URL of the photos, Quirk,
    the https/www. address"

    There is no URL specific to the pictures. The two of them are in two separate groups of photos. You would have to look for the photos in the group.

    My posts would have the words but not the music.

    I'm sure there is a way of just posting the specific pictures. Obviously I have a little research to do.


  115. It's not really a straight line race, but more of a dance.

    Think matador and bull.

    In an attempt to keep the rope around the bear's neck tight, while letting the healer get his shot.

    The horse, it was said, was bucking and spinning, while the rider applied some spur.

    I've jumped a herd ofjavelina and had one run at the horse, wasn't my first rodeo but it did get exciting.

  116. Your talking about the dance rat.

    I'm talking about options if things go wrong. You know, the Plan B.

    It's the way my mind works.



  117. Change of Government in Kyrgyzstan

    "MOSCOW — After a day of bloody protests against the repressive rule of the president of Kyrgyzstan, which forced him to flee the capital of Bishkek, an opposition leader said on Thursday that a transitional government had taken over and would remain in power for six months...

    "The unrest which erupted on Wednesday seemed to pose a potential threat to a critical American air base supporting the NATO campaign in nearby Afghanistan. But Roza Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister who has emerged as head of a coalition of opposition groups, was quoted on Thursday as saying the military supply line would not be affected by the turmoil..."

    Crisis in Kyrgyzstan

    The situation in Kyrgyzstan IS one where the term "herding cats" aptly applies.


  118. U.S. looks to nonnuclear weapons to use as deterrent

    "As the White House pushes for cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the Pentagon is developing a weapon to help fill the gap: missiles armed with conventional warheads that could strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

    "U.S. military officials say the intercontinental ballistic missiles, known as Prompt Global Strike weapons, are a necessary new form of deterrence against terrorist networks and other adversaries. As envisioned, the conventional missiles would give the White House a fresh military option to consider in a crisis that would not result in a radioactive mushroom cloud.

    "The Prompt Global Strike program, which the Pentagon has been developing for several years, is already raising hackles in Moscow, where Russian officials predict it could trigger a nonnuclear arms race and complicate President Obama's long-term vision of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. U.S. military officials are also struggling to solve a separate major obstacle: the risk that Russia or China could mistake the launch of a conventional Prompt Global Strike missile for a nuclear one..."

    Prompt Global Strike


  119. Q, the American horse has "Two" Top Speeds. (1) Top Speed, and (2) Top Speed when being chased by a Bear.

  120. My Dearest Ash,

    It is scary out there (that is in the real world away from your computer).

    Because it is scary, we have to do what we can to make it safe for munchkins, even Canadian munchkins.

    Sometimes errors occur (An error is something like the Israeli armed forces attacking an American spy ship in the heat of battle.)

    In short, Ash, in the imperfect world in which some of us live (obviously not Canadians) stuff happens. When stuff happens, we do your best to sort things out so that the chance of it happening again is diminished. Do understand, Ash, in the most antiseptic of wars, fully 16% of all casualties come from friendly forces.

    Hey, Man, tomorrow is mosque day...Enjoy!