“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."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Colombia Landslide for Santos and Common Sense. Trish Called It.

Despite the best efforts of the Latin and International Left, Juan Manuel Santos eviscerated his opposition and has been elected President of Colombia. Santos received 69% of the vote.

According to the national registrar, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, almost 16 million Colombians cast their vote between the opening of polls at 8 PM and the close at 4 PM. This figure is a one-third increase from the nation's 2006 turn-out.

If these preliminary figures are accurate, this would be the highest voter turnout in Colombian history.

Polling stations closed before many Colombians were able to cast their votes, due the high turnout, with long lines of people queuing outside stations.

For your entertainment, I have posted an interview with a Colombian Lefty made two days before the election.

Of course our gal, the ultimate non-toots, called that shot.


Colombia's Santos is elected president

By Juan Forero Washington Post
Monday, June 21, 2010

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- Juan Manuel Santos, who as defense minister in Colombian President Álvaro Uribe's government oversaw the biggest blows against an entrenched guerrilla force, was elected president Sunday in a landslide.

Santos, 58, will become caretaker of an American military aid package that has delivered $600 million annually over the past decade to help Colombia counter rebel forces and drug traffickers. Under Uribe, who took office in 2002 and will end his second term on Aug. 7, Colombia went from a country buffeted by conflict to one marked by solid economic growth and a reduction in violence.

Santos's victory was seen as a strong endorsement of Uribe's policies, which centered on making a revamped army more offensive-minded.

"This, too, is your triumph, President Uribe," Santos told followers in a victory speech.

With nearly all the votes counted, Santos had 69 percent of the vote to 28 percent for Antanas Mockus, an eccentric former mayor of Bogota. More than 9 million Colombians voted for Santos, giving him a victory even more resounding than the two presidential elections Uribe won.

Just a month ago, Mockus's quirky campaign and his pledge to attack corruption and cronyism had awakened excitement, with polls predicting he would squeak to victory. But in the first round of polling, on May 30, voters gave Mockus 21 percent of the ballots while Santos received 47 percent.

Political analysts said that Colombians fearful that Uribe's security gains might ebb with Mockus instead supported Santos, who had pledged to keep up the pressure on a despised guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

"We will keep fighting against the enemies of the state," Santos said, adding that "the time is up for the FARC."

Santos, an economist educated in the United States, is the scion of an influential family that for decades ran Colombia's biggest newspaper, Bogota's El Tiempo. His great-uncle Eduardo Santos was president from 1938 to 1942, and his cousin Francisco Santos is Uribe's vice president.

Juan Manuel Santos has held cabinet posts in three administrations, the latest running the country's armed forces, a position he held until 2009. Under his watch, an army reliant on U.S. training and military hardware severely weakened the FARC, breaking the group's aura of invincibility.

In March 2008, two of the FARC's top leaders were killed, one in a bombing strike on a jungle camp just inside Ecuador's northern border with Colombia. Four months later, in a daring raid that attracted international attention, a team of army commandos duped the FARC into turning over 15 high-profile hostages, including three American Defense Department contractors.

Santos's term as defense minister, though, was marred by revelations that army units throughout the country had killed hundreds of peasants and presented them as dead guerrillas to increase body count figures. Santos said he worked vigorously to shed light on the killings and dismissed dozens of officers and soldiers linked to the deaths.

But the scandal raised concerns among human rights groups, the United Nations and some Democrats in Congress, who questioned the near-unconditional stream of aid that Washington provides to Colombia. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who has been critical of rights violations under Uribe's government, said he thinks Santos did not do enough as minister to expose details of the killings or to ensure that those responsible were punished.

"I think this whole issue is not going to go away," said McGovern, who is asking for more energetic prosecutions of officers and troops accused in the deaths.

Philip Alston, a U.N. investigator who wrote an in-depth report about the killings, said that Santos was, overall, a "fairly consistent, positive force" in dealing with the scandal. But Alston said prosecutions have lagged badly, a situation that could be corrected in Santos's administration.

"He could certainly be speaking out now and saying this would be a priority of a new government," Alston said.

Santos will also face challenges from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who has clashed repeatedly with Uribe's government. In the past, Santos has maintained that the FARC receive sanctuary and support from Chávez.

To Colombia's south, relations are also tense with Ecuador, where a judge recently issued an arrest order against Santos for authorizing the bombing of the FARC camp in Ecuador's jungle in 2008.


  1. Here is what the Colombians turned down:

    Antanas Mockus


    The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Antanas Mockus is a Colombian mathematician, philosopher and politician. After serving as rector at Bogota's Universidad Nacional, Mockus went on to become mayor of Bogota twice. He is renowned for his eccentric, outside the box thinking, which has led him to perform some unusual but thought-provoking stunts.


    1969: Mockus graduates from Bogota's Liceo Frances high school.

    1972: Keen on a career in academia, Mockus heads to France to study mathematics and philosophy.

    1988: Mockus begins a Masters in Philosophy at Bogota's Universidad Nacional.

    1990: Mockus is appointed rector at Universidad Nacional. During his time in the university's top job, he receives recognition for advancing academic reforms and welfare policies.

    1993: To gain the attention of students in a noisy auditorium, Mockus drops his pants and moons the crowd. He explains the act as an example of "the resources which an artist can use." Not long after, Mockus resigns as rector.

    1995: Mockus runs for and wins the position of Bogota mayor. Throughout his mayorship Mockus uses theatrical and thought-provoking stunts to promote his policies. He appears in the shower in a TV commercial to encourage people to conserve water, he hires mimes to poke fun at traffic violators, based on the principle that Colombians are more afraid of being ridiculed than being fined, and walks the streets dressed in spandex and a cape as "Supercitizen." He gains political support, but mainly from Bogota's middle and upper classes.

    1997: Mockus resigns as mayor so that he will be eligible to run for the 1998 Colombian presidency.

    1998: Mockus runs for the presidency but is unsuccessful.

    2001: Mockus returns to the Bogota political scene to run again as mayor and is re-elected.

    2003: Mockus resigns as mayor and takes a year's sabbatical to travel

    2004: As a visiting professor, Mockus teaches two Spanish classes at Harvard University for the Fall 2004-2005 semester.

    Lithuanian publication Draugas votes Mockus 2004's Lithuanian of the Year.

    2005: Mockus announces his 2006 presidential candidacy and plans to run with the Indigenous Social Alliance Movement.

    2006: Mockus' presidential bid is unsuccessful and he polls fourth in the election.

    2009: Along with two other former Bogota mayors, Mockus forms political movement the Green Party. The mayors decide that one of them will run in the 2010 presidential elections.

    2010: Mockus is elected presidential candidate for the Green Party following the party's primaries in March.

  2. Let me get this straight:

    Mockus displays his rectum...

    and then Mockus resigns as rector?

    What's up with that?

  3. Damn shame.
    Mockus is one fine academic.
    He would have gotten on famously with our academic genius in the Whitehouse.


    "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian."

    - Barrack Hussein Obama

  4. Wife says Chile lost one quarter of it's wine production in that Earthquake.

    ANOTHER Damn Shame.

  5. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel says BP CEO Tony Hayward has made another gaffe by going to a yacht race in England while oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

    Emanuel, speaking to ABC's "This Week," said Hayward had "got his life back."

    "I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting," Emanuel told ABC in an interview taped Saturday.


    It was the first break Hayward has taken since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers, BP spokesman Robert Wine said in the story.

    "He's spending a few hours with his family at a weekend. I'm sure that everyone would understand that," Wine told the AP Saturday. "He will be back to deal with the response. It doesn't detract from that at all."

    President Obama has also been criticized for partaking in fun activities during the spill. A recent ad by the Republican National Committee showed Obama golfing, singing a Beatles tune, and raising money in Washington while oil continues to gush.

    Out of touch Maroons.

  6. Department of Energy papers

    The higher numbers now being quoted have led the Coastguard to demand a better plan for dealing with the spill.

    The Coast Guard has told BP that its proposed plan for containing the runaway Deepwater Horizon well does not take into account new higher estimates of how much oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard demanded that the company provide a more aggressive plan within 48 hours.

    And that time is about up.


    (Should I wonder whatever happened to the team of experts who were coming up with an alternative?)

    He (President Obama) said US Energy Secretary Steven Chu was leading a team of "the world's top scientists, engineers and experts" in devising a contingency plan should the "top kill" attempt fail.

    The Administration plan, at the moment, seems to be to get as much cash out of BP as possible, as soon as possible.

  7. Just saw, on the Starbuck Show, a Mr Fineberg. Seems he is in charge of dispersing that $20 BN USD provided by BP to begin making the preliminary payments to the victims of the results of BP's criminal negligence, on the Deepwater Horizon.
    Mr Fineberg not using the words "criminal negligence".

    He appeared to be a capable accountant and administrator.

    He also addressed the collateral damages of the Deepwater Horizon, promising to "make whole" the legitimate victims of BP's negligence.

    Collateral damages to include losses by restaurants in Boston that cannot obtain Gulf shrimp. The cause of that shortage of shrimp being the spill. Making BP responsible for the lost dinner entree sales, in Boston.

    That $20 BN, only a down payment, according to Mr Fineberg.

    Seems he is a capable administrator.

  8. Bleed BP dry.

    That'd be "Good" on Team Obamamerica.

    Killed eleven people and destroyed the economy of a region, due to negligence by cost cutting beyond industry norms, BP did.

    Hope the Federals well and truly burn BP and its' management.

    BP, an industrialized version of the Joran va ser Sloot story.

    Past criminal behavior excused and dismissed, only to followed by even more anti-social behavior.

    Until it explodes in society's collective face.

  9. Word for the Day:


    "Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability. [11]"

    What follows is an interesting article from the The Opinionator blog in the NYT
    (the first in a five part series).

    This is a long article. The first part of it is interesting from a human interest, stupid criminal standpoint. The second part is much longer and addresses the question are some people too incompetant to realize how incompetant they are, a question very pertinent in duscussing actions coming out of DC.

    "Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight. What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise. The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest. There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money. Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving. “But I wore the juice,” he said. Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras...

    DAVID DUNNING: Well, my specialty is decision-making. How well do people make the decisions they have to make in life? And I became very interested in judgments about the self, simply because, well, people tend to say things, whether it be in everyday life or in the lab, that just couldn’t possibly be true. And I became fascinated with that. Not just that people said these positive things about themselves, but they really, really believed them. Which led to my observation: if you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent...

    DAVID DUNNING: That’s absolutely right. It’s knowing that there are things you don’t know that you don’t know. [4] Donald Rumsfeld gave this speech about “unknown unknowns.” It goes something like this: “There are things we know we know about terrorism. There are things we know we don’t know. And there are things that are unknown unknowns. We don’t know that we don’t know.” He got a lot of grief for that. And I thought, “That’s the smartest and most modest thing I’ve heard in a year...”

    How Stupid is Stupid?


  10. The erosion of 1st Amendment freedoms continues.

    Can Obama Shut Down the Internet?

    "A new bill rocketing through Congress would give the president sweeping powers to police the Web for national-security reasons. Could this be a way to block WikiLeaks?

    Is cyberspace about to get censored?

    More Political Censorship Coming? Count on It.


  11. Go ahead, Obama, shut down the US Internet to shut up the teabaggers, it's not like our economy depends on it or anything.

  12. "Despite the best efforts of the Latin and International Left, Juan Manuel Santos eviscerated his opposition..."


    I love it when you talk like that.

    I'm here to claim my prize.

    Let's see. What would be good?

    The stuffed and mounted head of the Bar patron of my choice.

  13. Who in their right mind would drink beer out of a can? That is just morally and ethically, and what the fuck, politically incorrect.

    heh, I plead guilty.

  14. God Almighty the wife did it she got four more football players in the big duplex, huge place, four bedrooms three baths each side, we got two whites one red from Lapwai, their language had/has lots of llls and wwwws if you pick it up, Land of Butterflys, Lapwai, and five blacks, don't call me no racist, you couldn't prove it, we will go through our usual routine and send 'em all turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. Go Vandals!

  15. And let us say some of these Nez Perce women are so goddamned beautiful you would mot believe what with their dark hair and all and their tawny brown skins jesus they drive a man mad mad I'm shacked up here with an Irish girl she runs the show tho she runs the check book too very well and she knows how to do o you what...where in hell did they come..these Nez Perce girls? I think of Irtaly...

  16. Teresita said...
    Go ahead, Obama, shut down the US Internet to shut up the teabaggers, it's not like our economy depends on it or anything.

    It's my opinion the only "teabaggers" that exist are on the left...

    They seem to be the ones seeking normalizing ball dipping into other males mouths....

  17. "I'm here to claim my prize."

    You have been declared "Seeress of the EB" by the great Deuce.

    Even the rueful Rufus has acknowledged your prescience.

    I bow to your oracular powers.


  18. "Teabaggers"---

    To show you how far out I am, and old fashioned, I actually had to ask my daughter what the hell that meant, and I was an original bsgger myself, in C d Alene, Idaho. My wife was with me.

    But I will tell you this, practice makes o so perfect, and after thirty years of it, with an o so willing Irish, you know what the hell you are doing, believe me.

  19. But...No trophy head?

    I'm crestfallen.


    Onward to November.

  20. ...and I was an original bsgger myself, in C d Alene, Idaho. My wife was with me...

    you know what the hell you are doing, believe me.

    I wish I knew what you were doing Bob.

    No wait. I don't think I do.

    Your post was somewhat confusing and on many levels disturbing.


  21. "But...No trophy head?

    I'm crestfallen."

    A word of advice to my favorite Muse.

    The transit from Sybil to Kali is a dangerous one.

    Why ruin the moment?

    Better to bask in the fluid and ephemeral adulation of your fellow patrons for as long as it lasts.

    As far as November, you might want to make a copy of my last post and save it.


  22. BTW, there's a post on the subject of the Lieberman bill at Talking Points Memo.

    A few posts down from the top. Left hand side.

  23. Foreclosure is becoming a way of life

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For Alex Pemberton and Susan Reboyras, foreclosure is becoming a way of life — something they did not want but are in no hurry to get out of.

    Foreclosure has allowed them to stabilize the family business. Go to Outback occasionally for a steak. Take their gas-guzzling airboat out for the weekend. Visit the Hard Rock Casino.

    “Instead of the house dragging us down, it’s become a life raft,” said Mr. Pemberton, who stopped paying the mortgage on their house here last summer. “It’s really been a blessing.”

    State by State Map:
    Number of Days in Default and Foreclosure Over Time

  24. "A few posts down from the top.

    Left hand side.

    Why am I not surprised?

  25. "Your post was somewhat confusing and on many levels disturbing."

    Has someone been holding a gun to your head?

  26. Should take a poll on who we think would be most likely to ask for conjugal visits when Bob is sent to the nuthouse.

  27. "Has someone been holding a gun to your head?"

    Hey Doug, your back.

    What happened? Run out of pina colatas?



  28. Bubble Doc says many homes kept off market so banks don't have to put the loss on the books.

    Japan Inc Redux

  29. I was busy rioting after the Laker's Victory.

  30. "California on 'verge of system failure’

    Barrie McKenna

    Los Angeles — Globe and Mail Update Published on Friday, Jun. 18, 2010 6:01PM EDT


    It’s a story that’s being repeated all across California – and throughout the United States – as cash-strapped state and local governments grapple with collapsed tax revenues and swelling budget gaps. Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.

    California’s fiscal hole is now so large that the state would have to liberate 168,000 prison inmates and permanently shutter 240 university and community college campuses to balance its budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

    Think of California as Greece on the Pacific: bankrupt and desperately needing a bailout.


    “This is a classic American dilemma,” explained Peter Dreier, a professor of politics and director of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College in Los Angeles. “Americans expect a lot of their government. But politicians have convinced them they’re not getting what they want.”

    Americans have been “brainwashed” into believing they pay a lot of taxes, Prof. Dreier added. In fact, they are among the least-taxed people in the Western World, particularly if they’re wealthy, he said.


    Experts say the U.S. government will inevitably have to come to the rescue, using its borrowing clout to save the state from near-bankruptcy or devastating service cuts. Do nothing, and the entire U.S. economy could be put at risk. California, like the country’s banks, may be too big to fail. "

  31. "Americans have been “brainwashed” into believing they pay a lot of taxes, Prof. Dreier"

    Ash didn't need to be brainwashed, he was born that way.
    His dad is a Prof. also.


    Maybe Ash should be committed with Bob?

  32. BHO still popular in France.
    ...along with Jerry Lewis.

  33. President Obama’s relationship with America, like many a young marriage, is growing sour.

    On the other side stands Obama — solid and sober, rooted in the belief that his way is the right way and in no need of alteration.

    He’s the emotionally maimed type who lights up when he’s stroked and adored but shuts down in the face of acrimony. Other people’s anxieties are dismissed as irrational and unworthy of engagement or empathy.

    He seems quite comfortable with this aspect of his personality, even if few others are, and shows little desire to change it.

    It’s the height of irony:
    the presumed transformative president is stymied by his own unwillingness to be transformed.

    He would rather sacrifice the relationship than be altered by it.

  34. Mon Jun 21, 08:10:00 AM EDT
    'Rat misses the point.

    Point is, Admin is failing in most important job:

    Enabling a maximum mitigation response.

  35. ...2 months on, and no blanket waiver of the Jones Act.

    A perfect example of the destruction caused by his union driven criminal enterprise.

  36. Rat wants to kill the goose which lays golden eggs. Rather than keeping them profitable and viable he's ready to lynch them.

    Wouldn't be better to let them continue to serve the US energy market, make profits and make restitution to the damaged parties?

  37. Why deliver a blanket waiver, when there has not even been a request for one?

    That Jones Act is a straw man.

    Which ship was turned away, because of it?

    Certainly not those Dutch tankers, that was EPA, not the Jones Act.

  38. BP is not an American Enterprise.

    It is a Foreign firm, that has despoiled the United States.

    Haywood as bad if not worse than Osama.

    Those BP assets would still be producing, the revenue from their liquidation sale, going direct to the US treasury, for disaster relief.

    The Goose would live, it'd just be in a different flock.

  39. If this is Obama's 9-11-01, then Haywood fills the role, of the terrorist that has destroyed US assets through criminal behavior.

    Not as many deaths, but more negative economic impact, before it is over.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. Oil wells and other producing assets do not lose their value when ownership is transferred, at the sheriff sale.

  42. "Why deliver a blanket waiver, when there has not even been a request for one?

    That Jones Act is a straw man.

    Which ship was turned away, because of it?

    Certainly not those Dutch tankers, that was EPA, not the Jones Act.

    Mon Jun 21, 05:55:00 PM EDT"


    Gibbs is God

  43. One example:

    Admin should have ordered BP to bring in Supertankers.

  44. Provide a fact, doug.

    A "LINK"

    If it is so evident that the Jones Act has held up the clean-up, there MUST be at least ONE link that names the ship that was turned away.

    Come on, get on the data search, if there really is such a ship.

  45. That the Federals should have ordered BP to perform, that has NOTHING to do with the Jones Act.

  46. Asserting that the Jones Act is a straw man is like BHO (and Jerry Brown) asserting that Public Employee Unions are not bankrupting the country.

  47. "That the Federals should have ordered BP to perform, that has NOTHING to do with the Jones Act."

    Jones Act would have to be waived to legally carry out the order.

  48. You've built a scarecrow for yourself, there, doug-o.

    Unless there is a link, that names the ship, that was turned away.

    The Dutch, their clean-up tankers did not meet US legal requirements.
    Long standing US law and regulation. Through the EPA.

    The Dutch, not up to snuff.

    Now, it may be that the Law and Regulations were to severe, not realistic, but...

    That's the Law, regardless,
    and the Dutch, they did get an EPA waiver.

  49. A link, doug-o, you're getting worse than trish, now.

  50. Why, doug?

    No one requested those tankers. If the Federals wanted them, they'd have waived what ever needed to be waived.

    But no one, especially not the man in charge, Admiral Allen, thought them required.

    Still are not, seems to be.

  51. Thad joins Gibbs in 'Rat's pantheon of truth.

    We have excess capacity on hand down there 'Rat:

    Just keep telling yourself that, and perhaps wishing will make it so.

    Couldn't hurt, and better than spending your time making up more flawed arguments.

  52. Mon Jun 21, 06:29:00 PM EDT

    More evidence of Administration FAILURE.

  53. I have no idea as to the capacity, "down there", but then again, neither do you.

    Provide the link, doug.

    You have made ehat seems to be a factually incorrect statement. Which if you could, I'm sure that you'd rectify.

    The question of whether or not the Federal response has been adequate, what would have been different if Obama had removed BP from its' legal position of responsibility ...

    But the Federals are so FUBARed, that we'd be right behind the 8 Ball, regardless.

    Admiral Allen would be even further over his head. But he'd still be the Commander on the Ground. Well, water and beach, really.

  54. doug, hater of big gov, with gnashing teeth, panties in a bunch, cries about governments failure. lol

  55. I wish I knew what you were doing Bob.

    O no you don't, you'd be shocked shocked in the lessons we'd give, my wife and I, how to move with the wind, flow like the river, wax like the moon, and shine like the very stars. You couldm't handle it though Melody might.

  56. Deuce said:

    I can't sign into this blog.

  57. Maybe it's time to loose the Mac and get a PC.

  58. Didn't you hear about the vote Deuce?

    (Or receive that ball? We had to use Trish's 8-Ball. It was the only black one around.)


  59. A doctor in South Africa thinks she’s finally found a way to take a bite out of rape. Dr. Sonnet Ehlers has invented “Rape-aXe,” an “anti-rape condom” that features razor-sharp, teeth- like barbs designed to sink into a man’s penis upon unwanted penetration.

    Biting Back

  60. Quirk:(Or receive that ball? We had to use Trish's 8-Ball. It was the only black one around.)

    In this place we say "8-ball of color".

  61. Relations between Chavez and outgoing President Alvaro Uribe have been tense for years. During the presidential campaign Chavez called Santos "a war monger" and warned that tensions with Colombia could worsen if Santos were elected.

    Colombia, meanwhile, has long complained about Chavez giving leftist rebels refuge inside Venezuela. Chavez denies the accusation, but the testimony of rebel deserters supports the Colombian claim.

    As Colombia's defense minister, Santos dealt withering blows to the rebels. His election was a ringing endorsement of his promise to continue the U.S.-backed security policies of Uribe.

    Colombia's President-elect

  62. Google didn't recognize me, but I lurked and tricked them.

  63. Top general in Afghan war: US envoy betrayed me

    In article, top US general in Afghan war accuses US ambassador of self-serving betrayal

    AP News

    Jun 21, 2010 15:41 EDT

    The top American commander in Afghanistan is complaining that he was "betrayed" by the U.S. ambassador during discussions of sending more troops to fight the war.

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal is quoted in the upcoming edition of "Rolling Stone" magazine as saying that Ambassador Karl Eikenberry (EYE-kin-berry) blindsided him last year with harsh criticism in a leaked internal document of the war strategy and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    In a profile due out Friday, McChrystal says the criticism was Eikenberry's way of protecting himself should the war go wrong.

    There was no immediate response from Eikenberry. Testifying alongside McChrystal in December, Eikenberry told Congress that he has confidence in Karzai and the war plan.

    It was a somewhat unfortunate pair from the beginning. Too much Mutt and not enough Jeff.

    Why would Stan voice it in an article now? It leads one to believe that he and Eikenberry are no longer on speaking terms. If Stan's not on speaking terms with the ambassador, he's not on speaking with the administration. One side dumped the other.

    He'll probably be gone before the withdrawals begin.

    And nobody in his right mind is gonna want to replace him. Though they have to find just that person.

    Hell, put Karl in charge. Make DOS run the damn show.

    That'd be a fucking hoot.

  64. Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy:

    The contours of the response to the Gaza flotilla fiasco are now coming into sharper public view: the Israeli government will significantly ease the blockade of Gaza in exchange for American support for a whitewash of the investigation of the flotilla incident. As I've said many times on Twitter, this is a good deal. No investigation was ever going to produce anything of any particular value, but easing the blockade of Gaza could have significant positive effects for the people of Gaza, the prospects of Palestinian reconciliation, the peace process, and American credibility in the region. None of those will happen on their own, of course. And nobody is likely to be fully satisfied with the new measures. I've been quite critical of how the Obama team has handled the Israeli-Palestinian track, and particularly the Gaza situation -- and if they had moved strongly to resolve the Gaza blockade a year ago, the issue wouldn't have been there now to exploit. But now, I think they deserve some real credit for nudging Israel towards finally making a move which could over time open up some real new possibilities for progress.


    "...American support for a whitewash..."

    Niiiiiiice language, Marc.

    In any case, this just isn't a demonstration of our diplomatic abilities - and certainly isn't a pink pony prize. Credit, to the extent credit is due for winning gestures, goes to the UK, which can increasingly engage. As we (that is, the current WH) increasingly don't want to.

    Will this attitude end up biting the admin in the ass? I dunno.

    If some anonymous official, ahead of the PM's rescheduled visit, lets slip the phrase "flotilla attack," we'll know just how cold the political relationship has grown.