“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, June 23, 2010

"I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team," General Stanley McChrystal

Remember when Obama did not talk to his general?

This story is about as good as it gets. You really do have to enjoy this one. Now keep in mind our President is more than likely still in his "Ass-Kicking mode." Obama the bowler, the baseball pitcher, the avid golfer, looking for his inner machismo, looking a little bad in the polls , needs a win.

Along comes this story.

The Guardian makes these points:

  • Obama is "uncomfortable and intimidated" by senior military officials.
  • Obama to make his decision on McChrystal by consulting US allies including David Cameron.
  • "I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team," McChrystal said.
  • Democratic member of Congress, Dave Obey, chairman of the House appropriations committee, called for McChrystal to be sacked.
  • Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, said he "strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years".
  • McChrystal voted for Obama.
  • McChrystal's aides are quoted as saying that he was less than impressed by Obama from the start.
  • The general mocks Biden, with whom he crossed swords over counterterrorism strategy.

General alarm as Barack Obama summons Stanley McChrystal to the White House
Commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan must face the music after mocking senior politicians in Rolling Stone magazine

Chris McGreal in Washington and Jon Boone in Kabul
Tuesday 22 June 2010 20.47 BST

Barack Obama will confront General Stanley McChrystal at the White House tomorrow as he decides whether to sack the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan over disparaging and "contemptuous" remarks about senior administration officials, including the president himself.

The White House said "all options are on the table" after an "angry" Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington to explain quotes in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine in which the general and his senior aides accuse the US ambassador to Afghanistan of undermining the war, call the president's national security adviser "a joke" and mock Joe Biden, the vice-president. There is also indirect criticism of the president as "uncomfortable and intimidated" by senior military officials.

Obama said he is considering McChrystal's future. "I think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed poor judgment. But I also want to make sure I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions," he said.

The president added that his decision would be based on what is best for making a success of the war in Afghanistan and that he would be consulting US allies including David Cameron.

However, the mood appeared to be shifting against McChrystal. Earlier the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, declined to give assurances about the general's position. He said US efforts in Afghanistan were bigger than one man and that McChrystal was not indispensable.

The general apologised in person and by phone to some of those criticised and issued a statement admitting "a mistake reflecting poor judgment". "I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team," McChrystal said. But it is not clear whether that will be enough to save McChrystal's job after what is the latest of a series of political blunders.

A leading Democratic member of Congress, Dave Obey, chairman of the House appropriations committee, called for him to be sacked. But the general had the backing of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who said he "strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years".

In the Rolling Stone article, entitled The Runaway General, McChrystal's aides are quoted as saying that he was less than impressed by Obama from the start. The general is described as believing the president looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" among senior military officers. McChrystal was also "disappointed" that the president "didn't know anything about him" during their early meetings.

The general mocks Biden, with whom he crossed swords over counterterrorism strategy. "Are you asking about Vice-President Biden?" McChrystal said. "Who's that?" A top adviser responds: "Biden? Did you say 'Bite me'?"

But the most stinging criticism is of other senior American officials with responsibility for what is now America's longest war, including the US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, Obama's special representative to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, and the president's national security adviser, Jim Jones.

Rolling Stone quotes McChrystal's aides as calling Jones "a clown" who is "stuck in 1985". Holbrooke is described as being "like a wounded animal".

"Holbrooke keeps hearing rumours that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous," said an aide. The magazine describes how McChrystal at one point checks his BlackBerry. "Oh, not another email from Holbrooke," he said. "I don't even want to open it."

Rolling Stone reports that Eikenberry cannot stand it that his former subordinate is now in charge. Earlier this year, the New York Times published a scathing critique by Eikenberry, a general in Afghanistan for three years early in the war, of McChrystal's military strategy.

It criticised Karzai and warned that the US risked becoming ever more deeply engaged, with no way to extricate itself. McChrystal told Rolling Stone he felt "betrayed" by the leak and questioned Eikenberry's motives: "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say 'I told you so'."

The aides also criticise leading politicians, including Senators John McCain and John Kerry, for turning up in Afghanistan, criticising Karzai and then getting back to Washington for the Sunday talk shows.

But the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is praised by the general's aides for watching his back and giving him "what he needs".

Rolling Stone said the general was present when many of the comments quoted were made by his aides. The entire tone of the article has infuriated the White House, but the president now faces a dilemma.

Obama became the first president in more than 50 years to sack a top general in wartime when he removed the then US commander in Afghanistan, David McKiernan, and replaced him with McChrystal. To fire McChrystal now would suggest misjudgment by the president as well as removing the architect of an Afghan military strategy that is far from complete. But it may be politically difficult to leave in place a general who has shown such public lack of confidence in those appointed by the White House to work with him.

McChrystal did not make any friends at the White House when his confidential report urging Obama to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan leaked.

The administration felt that the general was trying to strongarm the president by making him look weak if he did not agree. Obama did agree to most of McChrystal's request, including another 30,000 troops.

What McChrystal said

The Rolling Stone article is a broad assessment of General Stanley McChrystal's strategy in Afghanistan and his assessment of his critics.

It describes how, even though the general voted for Barack Obama, the two failed to connect. McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass at their first meeting. A second, one-onto-one encounter at the White House did not go much better.

"Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his fucking war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed," an aide to McChrystal told the magazine.

Later, McChrystal objected to going to an official Nato dinner in Paris: "I'd rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner." One of the aides was asked by Rolling Stone who the dinner was with. "Some French minister," he replied. "It's fucking gay."

The article describes the behaviour of McChrystal and his aides, who call themselves Team America, at an Irish bar in Parisare were reportedly drunk, while two officers did an Irish jig, mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance. They were singing a slurred song about Afghanistan. McChrystal said: "I'd die for them. And they'd die for me."

An unnamed British officer is quoted as saying: "The fucking lads love Stan McChrystal. You'd be out in Somewhere, Iraq, and someone would take a knee beside you and a corporal would be like 'Who the fuck is that?' And it's fucking Stan McChrystal."

The article relates the story of a 25-year-old staff sergeant, Israel Arroyo, who sent an email to McChrystal from the front line in Afghanistan: "I am writing because it was said you don't care about the troops and have made it harder to defend ourselves".

The general replied within hours: "I'm saddened by accusations that I don't care about soldiers, as it is something I suspect any soldier takes both personally and professionally – at least I do. But I know perceptions depend upon your perspective at the time, and I respect that every soldier's view is his own".

McChrystal then turned up at Arroyo's base and went on foot patrol with him in an attempt to understand what the soldier meant.

During a later visit to the same forward base after a soldier is killed, another soldier said to McChrystal: "Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we're losing, sir."

The general tried to explain his counter-insurgency strategy but afterwards said he did not think it had been been persuasive.

"This is the philosophical part that works with thinktanks. But it doesn't get the same reception from infantry companies," he said.

A senior aide to McChrystal said that the war would be even more unpopular with Americans if they thought about it: "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."

McChrystal had come to the attention of the American Left before. Here is a telling little interview with Speaker Pelosi from October 2009 :


  1. Frankly, it looks as if Obama is not paying attention to details on Afghanistan. McChrystal had not spoken to Obama for months after Obama hired him.

    The Democratic Speaker of the House was warning McChrystal about speaking out nine months ago. Obama is in crisis mode because his ego has been pricked, regardless of whether McChrystal is doing a good or bad job.

    Once again this is all about Obama.

  2. Obama needs to find a sheep to work for him.

    'Member the triple pirate take-down?

    He didn't make that decision.

    If he had've, it would've taken him 3 months to make it, and the cap'n would've been dead.

    That seal commander, giving the go-ahead on that one... man 'o man...

  3. I know where my sympathies lie in this little affair.

    And it's frustrating not to comment further but that's what I decided to do this afternoon.

    There's sometimes something to be said for not saying anything at all.

  4. McChrystal's gonna pre-empt him.

  5. If Obama were a man and had any balls he'd stand up and say,

    'Rolling Stone will not be altering the course of the war. Full steam ahead.'

  6. It is a mess. Men's lives will end on this decision.
    Obama has expanded a war he does not believe in. He has announced the end date. He did this in a country that he knows nothing about. He thinks he knows everything. Everything is politics to Obama. Obama leads a military culture that he does not understand and does not like. He leads a country where he has no natural affection. The Taliban and Islamists are loving it. They know they will win. Obama does not know what to do. He has to to consult with his allies. It is a mess. Obama needs to get on Air Force One. Play some golf. Shoot some hoops. It is a mess.

  7. Fuck the war.

    Hey, I know, let's team up with Calderon and sue the fuck out of Arizona!

  8. Imagine having to take orders from Joe Biden and Barrack hussein Obama? McChrystal is not a mercenary. He cannot believe in what he is doing and it got to him.

    Obama will find some ambitious suck ass to do his dirty work.

  9. We should empty the bombays of those B-52s and crush the mountaintops and what they call cities too or get the fuck out of there one or the other but not this pissing around.

  10. It's called major strategy.

  11. Why would any political leader from any country allow their troops to serve under US command in Afghanistan under these conditions?

  12. We are dying in Afghanistan to make it safe for the drug lords, one of which is Karzai's brother. That's why Karzai wants Obama to lay off Stan.

  13. "There's sometimes something to be said for not saying anything at all."

    Usually, very little.

    This is afterall a blog.

    If you have no opinion, fine, you don't say anything.

    If you have an opinion but don't want to express it, also fine.

    But if the latter is the case, then why bring it up?

    With your experience you could provide some insight (although some here might not agree with your conclusions).

    What do we get? Zippo.

    I'm going to have a cup of coffee.

    (Besides, on a subject like this, you know you can't resist it. Eventually, you will give us your views.)



  14. Justice is not blind...

    Judge who overturned drilling bans had shares in the oil industry

    The Guardian -

    The judge who overturned deepwater drilling bans allowing BP to resume oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, had shares in Transocean and other firms in the industry, it was revealed today.

  15. blah blah blah that's my views

  16. The Federals will now appeal that Judge's decision. More than likely, the moratorium will prevail, upon appeal.

  17. Just saw a shot of the beaches, in Pensacola, FL.

    From the looks of it, they'll be changing the name of that region, instead of the Emerald Coast we'll be calling it the Tar Ball Coast.

  18. It all resolves around the absurdity of the affirmatively-acted President, Obama the incompetent

  19. General Stanley McChrystal Tenders his Resignation - Daily Telegraph

    A senior Capitol Hill source tells me that General Stanley McChrystal had tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama and that the White House is actively discussing a replacement who could be quickly confirmed by the Senate. The source said that among the names being touted as possible successors are General James Mattis, the outgoing head of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and due to retire after being passed over as U.S. Marine Corps commander, and Lieutenant General William Caldwell, commander of Nato’s Training Mission in Afghanistan.

  20. Extensive investments in the oil industry, that Judge has, according to:

    Salt Lake Tribune - Curt Anderson, Michael Kunzelman

    AP The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry ...

  21. By Toby Harnden World Last updated: June 22nd, 2010

    Of course, offering to resign is not the same as actually resigning and it remains to be seen whether Mr Obama will accept the resignation. Donald Rumsfeld offered to resign as Pentagon chief on more than one occasion but President George W. Bush requested that he continue in post before eventually firing him in November 2006.

  22. On the news that Stan the Man has resigned, we should all get on board:

    Sail on Soldier

  23. So, perhaps Bobby Figueroa is a tad premature?

  24. From the looks of it, they'll be changing the name of that region, instead of the Emerald Coast we'll be calling it the Tar Ball Coast.

    That's a real shame, I went to A and C school in Pensacola, they had sugar white beaches that sparkled at night when you walked on them, lots of places to "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

  25. trish, what Quirk said - and your perspective would be interesting.

    Blogger Deuce said...

    "Imagine having to take orders from Joe Biden and Barrack hussein Obama? McChrystal is not a mercenary. He cannot believe in what he is doing and it got to him."

    I think you are misreading it Deuce. From what I can tell Obama went with McChrystal's approach and Biden disagreed.

    The poor judgment exhibited by McChrystal was his decision to allow such access to his inner circle by a reporter. He appears to be the one preening before the press with an eye to historical ass protecting simply by giving that reporter such access. There is always salty controversial talk at all levels, especially the highest but to air that dirty linen in public is just, simply, poor judgment which reflects poorly on his future potential as a commander.

    One upside to this whole kerfuffle is it might further open up the debate on what the Pfc guy was quoted as saying yesterday "Just what the heck are we doing there?"

  26. "WASHINGTON — Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal left the White House after meeting with President Obama for about 20 minutes, departing ahead of a meeting on the war in Afghanistan scheduled for later Wednesday morning, "

    Seems like he's gone...

  27. 5 Year-Old Ukranian Boy Slaughtered Like a Goat By Radical Islamist

    A 5-year-old Ukrainian boy was slaughtered by an alleged religious fanatic as he played in a sandpit with his friends, Pravda reported Tuesday.

    The stranger strolled up to little Viktor Shemyakin before pointing to a tree and saying:
    “Look, there is a bird up there.”

    When the youngster glanced upward the maniac plunged a knife into his throat, Pravda said.

    The June 18 killing has threatened to ignite tension in the town of Dneprovka, in Ukraine’s Crimea region, after it emerged that the 27-year-old knifeman was a suspected Muslim fanatic, the Russian online newspaper reported.

    The victim’s three-year-old sister Lena Shemyakina and her five-year-old friend were among a group of young children who witnessed the horrifying attack.

    Viktor’s mother, named only as Angelina, heard their screams and ran out of the house to find her child lying in a pool of blood.

    The man screamed Allahu Akbar (Arabic for ‘God is great’) when killing the boy, “said a shocked local. “The kid was slaughtered like a goat.”

  28. "One upside to this whole kerfuffle is it might further open up the debate on what the Pfc guy was quoted as saying yesterday

    "Just what the heck are we doing there?"

    Providing cannon fodder for the Military/Political PC Complex.

  29. ...fighting for democracy in Afghanistan!

    An Islamic Potemkin "Democracy"

  30. Salazar takes his LIE to court of appeals:

    Ken Salazar gets an ass-kicking.
    Over to you, Capitol Hill.

    In a scathing ruling issued Tuesday afternoon, New Orleans-based Feldman overturned the administration’s radical six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling – and he singled out Salazar’s central role in jerry-rigging a federal panel’s scientific report to bolster flagrantly politicized conclusions. In a sane world, Salazar’s head would roll. In Obama world, he gets immunity.

    The suit challenging Obama’s desperately political ban was filed by Covington, La., rig company, Hornbeck Offshore Services, which spoke on behalf of all the “small people” in the industry whose economic survival is at stake. As the plaintiffs’ lawyer argued in court, the overbroad ban promised to be more devastating to Gulf workers than the spill itself. “This is an unprecedented industry-wide shutdown. Never before has the government done this,” attorney Carl Rosenblum said.

    Scientists who served on the committee expressed outrage upon discovering earlier this month that Salazar had — unilaterally and without warning — inserted a blanket drilling ban recommendation into their report. In fact,seven panelists explicitly opposed a blanket ban as
    “punishing the innocent.”

  31. U.S. scores goal in 'injury time' (whatever the heck that is) and defeats Algeria 1-0 to move on to the 2nd round of the World Cup.



  32. Judge Who Nixed Drill Ban Reported Oil Investments
    Published: June 23, 2010

    Filed at 9:52 a.m. ET

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports.

  33. oh great quirk, you ruined it...I was just going to watch that game as it is just starting on the TV here in front of me here at work. I kept turning off the highlights in the last game as they kept saying it would give away what happened


  34. 229. Papa Ray

    I had something written up about McCrystal’s “comments”, but decided to leave a link to this:

    “McChrystal Goes Rogue… Again!”

    Which approximates what I wrote, but also that I truly believe that the General has reached the point of where he thinks that the war is going to be lost because of not only the lack of support and self defeating ROE from Obama and his handlers, but mainly from the rest of our government, especially our inept State Dept and the disappointing facts that several of NATO have stated that that they are going to abandon Afghanistan soon.

    He knows that the chances of any kind of win, went out the window or at least severely damaged when our State Dept lackey criticized and marginalized the President of Afghanistan and THEN we had to have three levels of brass to get approval for air or arty.

    The mistaken notion pushed by the media is that the General is the one who is behind this reduction of air and arty and restricted ROE. Not exactly true. His aim was to reduce civilian deaths but NOT by reducing the protection and support of our troops to the reduction of the use of air and arty to the level it has been. That has been pushed by the Afgan Government and our State Dept. as well as NATO brass.

    Yon foretold and tells of this and I have my sources too. There is quite a lot of discussion of this out of the sight of media or even on the net.

    But this is the problem with the military and always has been. The implementation by the lower brass to an order given from the top. I saw this repeatedly in my little war to where we even had to have unit identification of the enemy. Not just that they were enemy forces but who the hell they were.

    Stupid? Well, not near the most stupid I could tell you of.

    Afghanistan, I left my comment HERE on this earlier Belmont Club post, before the ROE changes, for anyone interested. Just beware it is a little longish…kinda like this little war in a far off place where our Warriors are enduring hardship, stupid leadership, and being told to not fight but just to make friends and not get into any situations where there might be contact with the enemy around civilians.

    Does that sound familiar? If you were in VN it will be very familiar. We won that fight only to have our politicians lose it for us and millions of innocent civilians.

    Is it about to happen again?

    Papa Ray

  35. "Judge Who Nixed Drill Ban Reported Oil Investments"

    That reflects nothing on the TRUTH of the matter:

    Namely - Salazar presented his case based on a LIE.

  36. Sorry Ash.

    I was just overcome with emotion and the joy of the moment.

    Of course if you'd like I can pull my post.




  37. hee hee, I guess I can work more efficiently secure in the knowledge that when the announcers tone gets more excited no goal will be scored until the very last bit of the game so I can keep my head down and plow on. Injury time is the amount of time added to the end of each half for time spent not playing - they don't stop the clock.

  38. Besides, as I think about it,
    why would anyone want to sit through an entire 'scoreless' soccer game when they can just watch the overtime period and the winning goal.

    It's the same rationale that prompts me to only pay attention to the final period of most NBA games.

    The more I think about it, I actually did you a favor.


  39. certainly knowing ahead of time that it would be scoreless does ruin the pleasure of watching the game. Soccer, unlike the NBA, rarely boils down to what occurs in the last minute.

  40. McChrystal is gone.

    The Reality Drama Continues.

  41. Rumor is Petraeus will replace...

    This could get interesting.

  42. "Soccer, unlike the NBA, rarely boils down to what occurs in the last minute..."

    I went to high school when soccer was just becoming popular in the US. However, I went to a Catholic high school and we couldn't afford grass. So I never got into it.

    However, while I can see soccer as a great game for those playing it, watching it (other than maybe some WC games) kinda leaves me cold. I mean when the highlight of the game is some guy hitting the goal post, well...


  43. yeah, my son plays the game and a few years ago while dealing with jet lag in Europe I started watching some soccer on the tube I noticed that if you actually sat down at the beginning of the game and followed it it actually became kind of interesting. With the world cup happening and many games being broadcast over the air in HD I thought I'd let the big screen tv display them here at work and see if I can find some of the excitement so many here in Toronto find - every time Portugal, or Italy, or Brazil or... their community goes nuts. They go driving down the streets hanging out of their cars waving flags an cheering. We've got a lot of discrete immigrant communities here in Toronto.

    Speaking of TO, there is that blasted G20 meeting firing up just around the corner from me...

  44. "But if the latter is the case, then why bring it up?"

    Demonstration of my exceptional discipline.

  45. Told you that damned place was "Vietnam - Redux."

  46. Blast from the recent past:

  47. Now, they've got Petraeus saying, "Winning in Afghanistan is about the ECONOMY."

    The whole bunch are nuttier than a fruitcake factory.

    To hell with "next July;" time to come home, Now.

    These people are Crazier than the ones leading us in Vietnam.

  48. rufus, you must have missed the news about how there is a TRILLION DOLLARS worth of minerals in those lovely rocks of Afghanistan.

  49. "Speaking of TO, there is that blasted G20 meeting firing up just around the corner from me..."

    Have you picked up a mask yet?

    I mean for the protests and rioting with your bros?



  50. So Ash

    you were rooting for ALG, correct?

  51. chem suits, helmets, and gas masks are a must for partying in the streets. Maybe I should try my hand at climbing the security fence as well. Maybe I'll make friends with a few of the maaaaannnnnny officers hanging about.

  52. no gag. Sorry if I may have mixed up you and j willie. j willie's the guy who isn't concerned about the oil in the gulf 'washing machine'. I thought it was you.

  53. "rufus, you must have missed the news about how there is a TRILLION DOLLARS worth of minerals in those lovely rocks of Afghanistan."

    That's why China and India are there and expanding their influence.

    Ironic (but typical)that the US discoveries the deposits and smooths the field for others to exploit just as we are leaving.


  54. Reminds me of that old song by the Statler Bros - "All the Gold in California is in a bank in Beverly Hills in somebody else's name."

    They sang the same song in Vietnam, Ash, except then it was "Massive Oil Fields."

    It's just the "Military-Industrial Complex" casting around, trying to find an excuse to stay, and make money." Nothing more/nothing less.

  55. Ash, I stay concerned about everything. Not overly, though, on very much at all.

    You seem to be anti-USA (good ole USA)in most of your posts, so I assumed you would enjoy seeing ALG beat USA. I stand corrected.

  56. Deuce seems to the biggest America hater of them all these days...

  57. I won't speak for Deuce, but my answer to that would be, "hardly."

  58. He's been very critical of the US. So many of you would scream 'america-hater' when folks made similar criticisms when Bush was in power.

  59. Skimming is a Sham

    EB's own Rodent.

    'Rat's also fond of "Strawmen"

    Sure would be nice to have millions of them to swim in the (non-existent) slicks to sop up the non-existent oil on the surface.

  60. "when the highlight of the game is some guy hitting the goal post, well..."

    When they center punch it feet first in the spread eagle pose, it's worth a rerun or two.

  61. If you read, what I actually wrote, doug-o, you would have seen that I said the deep plumes were not skimmable, until they surfaced, near the shoreline.

    So, in the early days of the leak, there was nothing much to skim.

    They also reported there was not much of a leak. Observers on the surface, well they concurred.

    The oil was not reaching the surface. It is now, weeks later.

    The Dutch ships have been, for well over a week, approved for use, now that there is an actual, visibly viable need for them, and their illegal, in the US, method of operation.

    That it only took fifty or so days for the Federals to be convinced of the need, remarkably fast, for the Federals.

    Look at the length of the learning curve in Afghanistan, for a viable comparison of Federal capacity and capability to learn and change direction, based upon results.

    That Judge's decision, it'll be overturned on appeal.
    Watch and learn.

    Regardless of the reasoning, the Federals have the power to shut down the drilling operations, in the public interest, regardless of the loss of jobs.

    That's the power they wield, and the consequences of that utilization, be damned.

    History is filled with the tales.
    Just look at the Civil War, Sherman's March.

    The Trail of Tears

    The internment of thousands of Japanese, without trial.

    Outlawing Swordfish with high mercury content.

    The Clean Water Act.

    Graduated Income Tax.


  62. The Lone Ranger was ambushed and captured by an enemy Indian War Party.

    The Indian Chief proclaims, "So, YOU are the great Lone Ranger" ...

    "In honor of the Harvest Festival, YOU will be executed in three days."

    "Before I kill you, I grant you three requests" "What is your FIRST request???'

    The Lone Ranger responds, "I'd like to speak to my horse."

    The Chief nods and Silver is brought before the Lone Ranger who whispers in Silver's ear, and the horse gallops away.

    Later that evening, Silver returns with a beautiful blonde woman on his back. As the Indian Chief watches, the blonde enters the Lone Ranger's tent and spends the night.

    The next morning the Indian Chief admits he's impressed.
    "You have a very fine and loyal horse", "But I will still kill you in two days."

    "What is your SECOND request???" The Lone Ranger again asks to speak to his horse. Silver is brought to him, and he again whispers in the horse's ear.

    As before, Silver takes off and disappears over the horizon.

    Later that evening, to the Chief's surprise, Silver again returns, this time with a voluptuous brunette, more attractive than the blonde.

    She enters the Lone Rangers tent and spends the night.

    The following morning the Indian Chief is again impressed. "You are indeed a man of many talents, but I will still kill you tomorrow. What is your LAST request?"

    The Lone Ranger responds,”I'd like to speak to my horse, alone."

    The Chief is curious, but he agrees, and Silver is brought to the Lone Ranger's tent.

    Once they're alone, the Lone Ranger grabs Silver by both ears, looks him square in the eye and says, "READ MY LIPS!!!!"

    FOR... THE... LAST... TIME...


  63. I read early this morning that the Judge's holdings in BP and Transocean amounted to less than $15000.

    According to the most recently available financial disclosure form for US District Court Judge Martin Feldman, he had holdings of up to $15,000 in Transocean in 2008. He has also recently owned stock in offshore drilling or oilfield service providers Halliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas. Feldman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

  64. Gag Reflex has over 15,000 dollars invested in Transocean (RIG) stock. Big deal.

  65. I wanted to post some dollar amounts because otherwise all you read is the Judge owns "substantial" amounts of stock. As though that automatically means he's biased. Also, the media makes it clear that he is a Reagan appointee.

    OMG! We're doomed.


    Good one Whit. My brother is throwing a party this weekend for the Hot Air Balloon Festival they hold by his house. I'll have to use it.

    (By the way, the The Indian Chief proclaims link you posted takes you back to the Blogger edit page again.

    And I thought I was computer inept.)


  67. Oooh. Fox News just went to commercial break with the teaser about Al Gore and unwanted advances towards a masseuse.

  68. Nonsense.
    No woman alive would want to reject Algore's advances.

  69. It happened in 2006 in Portland but the woman involved did not want to prosecute.

  70. I always thought he was gay, with that whole lisp thing going for him.

  71. Blago says Obama is henpecked by his Simean wife, Michelle.

  72. Across the nation and around the whirled....

    All I see is one Charley Foxtrot after another.

  73. JERUSALEM – Iran said Tuesday it would send a blockade-busting ship carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza, fueling concern in Israel, where commandos were training for another possible confrontation at sea.

  74. What kind of provocative crap is this?
    Iran's state television reported that an Iranian ship called "Infants of Gaza" would sail Sunday for Gaza carrying 1,100 tons of relief supplies and 10 pro-Palestinian activists.

  75. This report:
    Banks repossessed a record 257,944 homes in the first quarter, 35 percent more than a year earlier, according to Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc. More than a fifth of U.S. mortgage holders owed more than their homes were worth, Seattle- based real estate data provider reported last month.

    triggered a thought of the Great Depression when farmers were being turned out.
    * Stocks were overpriced due to speculation, meaning they were not worth their sale price
    * Massive fraud and illegal activity occurred due to a lack of regulation and rules
    * Margin buying, or buying using credit

    * Due to surpluses and overproduction, farm incomes dropped throughout the 1920’s.
    * The price of farm land fell from $69 per acre in 1920 t0 $31 in 1930.
    * Agriculture was in a depression which began in 1920, lasting until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.


    The construction industry is in a depression and could be there for many years to come.

  76. No Ash I am not an America hater.

    I simply am not afflicted by the Stockholm Syndrome affection for the temporary occupying power in Washington, the media and academia.

    I watched this rot roll in during the late 1960s and infect most of what was good about American and spread through most of the world.

    My America was the America of the 1940s, fifties and early sixties. There has been a lot of damage done, but it will be fixed, probably at a terrible cost.

    I believe in the US Constitution and reject a lot of the nonsense that is chirped about by the non-thinking non-critical situational ethicists and boomer nihilists.

    I subscribe to objectivism, understanding that there is a permanent minority of those who have no respect for anything except the concept of "now and me, me me" the rodents who have infested the ship.

    I have contempt for the concepts of diversity, affirmative action, multiculturalism and other pap that is supposed to be what America is all about.

    Think what you like Ash and as was said in the sixties, "It don't mean shit to me."

  77. It was getting worse on the farm during the 20's, and then the Republican President, and the Republican Congress President passed Smoot-Hawley, which brought International Trade, and, thus, farm Exports to a Dead Stop.

    The Rest, as we say, is History.

  78. Should have read: "Republican President, and Republican Congress passed"

  79. Recessions are part of the natural business cycle. Depressions are when the Banks fail.

    The Banks haven't failed, but they are laid up in bed with multiple "self-inflicted gunshot, knife, hand-grenade wounds," and aren't much use in the fight."

    This is looking to me like a "semi-depression" coming on.

  80. Big Loser of the Day has to be David Petraeus.

  81. Isn't that a de-motion for him?

    Why would he accept that?

  82. How come a Fallujah-like op doesn't work for Kandahar?

  83. Different President. Different Goals.

    Obama just wants to try to hold the casualties down until next July.

  84. I think Petraeus might resign pretty quick. (Before November?)

    He does want to be President.

  85. My America was the America of the 1940s, fifties and early sixties.

    Me too, by God.

    That's why I go fishing so much.

    The good old America, and we can bring it back.

  86. The Afghans are not Iraqi.

    The societies not even similar.

    Then again, sam, which Fallujah Operation, 1, 2 or 3?

    It took three tries, and in the end, it was the Iraqi that took control of Fallujah and stabilized it, not US.

    We took the city, but could not control the population.
    Pretty much the same story, all across Iraq. Anbar and Sadar City, both exemplify that point, as does Basrah.

    We are trying the same techniques, in Afghanistan, that failed in Iraq. Their society did not abandon the local leadership of the tribes. Which was the US goal, at least when we started.

  87. When is Hillary going to get out of town, and look for some greener pastures? About round November? I bet. The bitch of all our lives. The worst person living.

  88. Segregation, Jim Crow and Interment Camps for US citizens from California that were not white Anglo Saxons.

    Think I'll pass on that America.

  89. Interment Camps for US citizens from California that were not white Anglo Saxons.

    o come on there weren't no interment camps you know that

  90. Afghanistan is barren, remote, inhospitable, land-locked purgatory of 251,000 Sq. Miles.

    I Repeat: 251,000 Sq. Miles

    28,000,000 of the poorest, most ignorant, backward, modernity-hating, parochial, anti-Western people on Earth.

    A country that has NEVER had a "functioning" central government.

    250,000 Sq. Miles, of miserable desert, mountains, and grime inhabited by 28 Million people that hate, and despise us.

    And we send in 90,000 troops with orders to "talk, not shoot."

    One man with a popgun, and no artillery, to "police" 2.5 square miles, and 400 hateful "curs with IEDS."

    Madness beyond description.

  91. Rat, I swear you could luck out with a fine looking woman and you would find one pimple on her ass.

    Off course there were problems and injustice, there always is, but then you know that.

  92. wow, the 'good America' ended in the 60's - that really does put you in the America Haters camp!!

  93. Newt Gangrene on Fox talking about how we need to build them some roads. Build them some roads.

    $100 Billion/Yr to get the poppy crop to market (while we're running an unsustainable $One Trillion Deficit.

    These people are insane.

  94. This World Cup is like World War II. France leaves early, USA turns up at the last minute, and England is left fighting the Germans.

  95. I look across the United States and see that it is much the same, today, as it has been for as long as I remember.

    Lots of cluster fucks, everywhere.
    As is and has been, the norm.

    What I do see, also, is that the standard of living has improved, for everyone, across the board.

    People are living longer and have gained multiple material benefits of prosperity. Refrigerators, Televisions, Microwave ovens.

    Even in door plumbing, in some cases.

    No, amigos, life is better in the United States, for more people than anywhere else in the entire whirled. And it is better here, now, for more people, than it has ever been, in the past.

    Like it or not.

  96. I'm telling you; that "indoor plumbing" was a big step up.

    Especially in February.

  97. “Those who want to vote to continue funding the war that I disagreed with and they want should be allowed to make that vote,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who has opposed the Afghanistan war from its start. “For those of us who want to see the creation of jobs, Haiti [earthquake aid], all of the other domestic priorities, we should have a separate vote.”


    Democratic lawmakers said they’ve yet to decide how to move forward after a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.

    “While we continue to have discussions on the supplemental [spending bill], our troops are our priority, and unlike Republicans, we are not interested in scoring cheap political points,” a Democratic aide said.

    GOP Ire

  98. "wow, the 'good America' ended in the 60's - ..."

    Naw, the Zen Master has it wrong. Not everyone in the 60's was involved in the excesses. Probably not even a majority. And for those of us who took advantage of the freedom, a good portion returned to normality as they got older.

    The problem was that the hard line dead enders of the PC, multicultural crowd migrated into education and government work. Because of tenure(one of the 7 Deadly Sins I believe) and gerrymandering it is difficult to root this cadre out. They still influence young minds and public policy.

    There has been some movement back towards the center but it has been sporatic. We'll probably have to wait for the hard line lefties to die off. I do agree with Deuce that it will get fixed but it will take time.

    As far as blaming all the Boomers. Probably a little harsh. I was a little too young to enjoy the sixties but the 70's (pre-AIDS, pre-multiculturalism)? Good times. Real good times.

    I think Ruf would probably agree.


  99. " inept...

    Sorry, Whit.

    Probably, a little harsh.

    I was rushing to get to the health club.

    Should have come up with something like ' challenged..."


  100. Seasoned, Toots, Seasoned.

  101. Had a semi-girlfriend, once. Hated to be called, "Darlin."

    You Know what I always called her when I was bored, and wanted to see her get huffy. :)

  102. What do you want to bet that when things get quiet, and Obama's laying there in his nice comfy White House bed it occurs to him that, Now, the Good Genral Peetrayus has those li'l ol' ebony nuts of his laid out on a tree stump with a big ol' ball peen hammer in his hand, an everthing to gain, and absolutely nothing to lose by Crushing those li'l things into a squishy, red stain.

  103. Sounds like a bob daydream to me.

  104. I'm just dreaming bout Melody.

    We had a hell of a big thunder storm through here, an hour ago, boom!

    You wouldn't believe it, boom!

    Sky is clear now though.

  105. The same name surfaced at every meeting, according to sources familiar with the discussions: Gen. David Petraeus. And Petraeus already was in town for a group meeting with the president to discuss the status of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Defense officials said McChrystal went into the meeting with Obama believing he was out -- that he was certain to be relieved of command, and that reconciliation wasn't possible.

    Less than a half-hour after the Oval Office doors closed, the meeting was over. A solemn McChrystal left the White House compound -- not from the ceremonial West Wing portico where a Marine guard stands in dress uniform, but rather from a below-ground exit.

    Afghanistan Commander

  106. The average age in my wee neighborhood is, oh, seventy-five.

    Sweet people, devoted gossips, remember Eisenhower.

    We are mere children to them, who hold the Wisdom of the Ages.

    Actual infants are mere fetuses.

  107. What does the "Chosen One" do when Gen P gets pissed about something and threatens to Resign?

  108. I always did "Like Ike".

  109. Ed Rollins: The president made one of the most difficult decisions of his presidency today. By firing Gen. McCrystal, President Obama showed he was the boss and nobody better disrespect the boss.


    Ed Rollins, senior political contributor for CNN, is senior presidential fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. and was White House political director for President Reagan.

    Julian Zelizer: In the short-term, President Obama resolved this crisis. He has demonstrated that he is in control of the military and that he will keep a tight leash on everyone under his command.


    Julian Zelizer is professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and author of "Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security: From World War II to the War on Terrorism."

    Patrick Cronin: President Obama has converted a crisis of command into an opportunity for leadership. By his decisive action to relieve Gen. McChrystal for eroding trust in civilian-run military, while simultaneously appointing Gen. Petraeus to head operations in Afghanistan, the president has renewed the unity of effort across our government that will be necessary to meet some of the most salient security goals of the nation.


    Patrick M. Cronin is senior adviser and senior director of the Asia Program Center for a New American Security.

  110. Those crack-heads are just "getting high." Afghanistan "Was" a Stone around Obumble's neck. Now, it's a "Boulder."

    This thing IS going to end badly. It's just a matter of how bad Obumble looks in the process. If Petraeus quits on him, now, as he's likely to do, and this star-crossed adventure continues to deteriorate, as it's guaranteed to do, Obumfuck is going to look more ragged by the day.

    This is likely to be very ugly.

  111. DR, Ash and any other economic knuckleheads who want to show your ass, please explain why it's a conflict of interest for the Judge to own a few shares in his portfolio, but not for those who make laws and regulate industries.

    Before you start to do so, please review this nicely done interactive chart from the staunchly conservative Washington Post -

    If any public company executive attempted to do what Senators and Congressmen do day in and day out in terms of making decisions in which their interests are in gross conflict with that of the public, the media, the Senators and the Congressmen would crucify said businessman. But, if they do it, no big deal. Such is the hypocrisy of Washington, DC.

    Looking at the stock price history for Transocean, I would guess that the Judge owned 1000 share, which would have peaked in value during 2008 at around $16,000 and would have been worth $5,000 at the end of 2008 and about $5,500 currently. Compare that to the weight of the conflicts of our elected leaders in the nice little WP graphic, then tell me who is corrupt.

    Stop flapping those gums, DR. You might hurt yourself.

  112. With oil still flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, problems on the coastal areas of Alabama are still brewing. Governor Bob Riley said Baldwin and Mobile counties have taken a nose dive in tourism dollars.

    Since income tax and sales tax revenue are the main funding source for public schools, superintendent of Madison city schools, Doctor Dee Fowler, says the oil spill is something to be worried about.


    "One thing that we've been doing in Madison City is trying to keep our budget as lean as possible," said Doctor Fowler. Fowler believes making small adjustments now will help avoid major cuts in the future.

    Fishing sector to tourism sector to education sector now.

    Oil Spill

  113. "It may be said that McChrystal's defect is only a deficit of political acumen. Only? Again, the mission in Afghanistan is much more political than military. Counterinsurgency, as defined by McChrystal's successor, Gen. David Petraeus, and tepidly embraced by Barack Obama for a year or so, does not just involve nation-building, it is nation-building.

    "This does not just require political acumen, it requires the wisdom of Aristotle, the leadership skills of George Washington and the analytic sophistication of Tocqueville. But, then, the grinding paradox of nation-building is this: No one with the aptitudes necessary for it would be rash or delusional enough to try it.

    "The McChrystal debacle comes as America's longest war is entering a surreal stage: The military is charged with a staggeringly complex task, the completion of which — if completion can even be envisioned — must involve many years. But when given the task, the military was told to begin bringing it to a close in a matter of 18 months...

    No One is Indispensible


  114. "Fannie and Freddie hold or guarantee more than $5 trillion worth of mortgages. That is approximately one-third of U.S. GDP. Because of their federal backing, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide capital and guarantees to the mortgage market at lower prices than private financial institutions can offer, which ultimately transfers risk from the two entities to taxpayers. To date it has cost us close to $150 billion and conservative estimates by the Congressional Budget Office as of last January were that it will cost roughly $389 billion. Less conservative estimates have put the cost as high as $1 trillion. That is a very expensive dream.

    "A darker side of this story is that our reliance on funding this dream by selling these U.S. government guaranteed mortgage securities abroad has distorted our ability to deal with the insolvency of the GSEs and subjected us to blackmail by foreign holders of these liabilities…

    "This episode [Russia liguidating their holdings in the GSE’s in 2008] illustrates one of the great dangers of relying on foreign sources to fund our American obsession with owner-occupied homes. Not only did it expose us to economic blackmail, it made it more difficult for us to think about resolving the bankrupt institutions in a rational way. As an interim measure we essentially nationalized them--the U.S. stake is about 80% or more. We do not, however, include them on the government's balance sheet or in the budget, and we don't treat their liabilities as government debt. But U.S. taxpayers are still on the hook..."

    GSE's De-listed. Next Step? Liquidation


  115. I made no comment upon the Judge's financial holdings, other than to post the AP wire.

    It was not my gums a flappin', Mr J. Wahhabi.

    In Louisiana, the average annual per capita income, is $31,000 per year. This Judge is holding six months of the average folks wages, in oil shares. That could easily be considered "extensive", in Louisiana. The reporters word choice was accurate.

    My comment, as to the Judge being over ruled, was not due to his own personal financial holdings, but his misunderstanding of the Executive Powers that the President of the United States wields, now-a-days.

    Watch and learn, J Wahhabi, watch and learn.

  116. $159 Billion, or maybe $389 billion, or up to a $Trillion USD, total? To be covered over a decade or so.

    An expensive dream?
    Are you talking the Iraq Adventure?

    We've spilled much more than that into the Persian Gulf, in less than a decade.

    Home ownership in the US is deservedly subsidized, as compared to the military and economic subsidies we have paid to benefit the family Saud.

  117. That is an expensive reality.

    Much less a dream.

  118. "God, you people are old."


  119. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.

    Your blog provided us valuable information to work
    on. You have done a wonderful job!

    Here is my website; LeBron James Shoes 2013

  120. Very good article, I often read articles on topics like this but never this good. Don't forget to read our article which is certainly no less interesting.

    piala eropa 2021
    casino indonesia