“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, July 12, 2010

The States Are Already Broken, Is National Security Next?

Mothballed military aircraft in the desert.

Take one part of this article and consider the implications:

"The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries," Simpson said"

The Soviet empire crumbled without a shot being fired. American politicians and many of us had that triumphal feeling that we did it. We won. That was not very long ago. Suppose for a moment you were Chinese and wanted to break the United States without a shot being fired, what would you do? How about continuing loaning the US money?

The federal government is incapable of stopping itself from spending. All current discretionary spending is done so using borrowed money. The Chinese wittingly or not have maneuvered themselves into a position of being the lead financing agency for the US Pentagon? Consider the possibilities.


Obama's debt commission warns of fiscal 'cancer'
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 12, 2010; A02

BOSTON -- The co-chairmen of President Obama's debt and deficit commission offered an ominous assessment of the nation's fiscal future here Sunday, calling current budgetary trends a cancer "that will destroy the country from within" unless checked by tough action in Washington.

The two leaders -- former Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton -- sought to build support for the work of the commission, whose recommendations due later this year are likely to spark a fierce debate in Congress.

"There are many who hope we fail," Simpson said at the closing session of the National Governors Association annual meeting. He called the 18-member commission "good people with deep, deep differences" who know the odds of success "are rather harrowing."

Bowles said that unlike the current economic crisis, which was largely unforeseen before it hit in fall 2008, the coming fiscal calamity is staring the country in the face. "This one is as clear as a bell," he said. "This debt is like a cancer."

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries," Simpson said.

"We can't grow our way out of this," Bowles said. "We could have decades of double-digit growth and not grow our way out of this enormous debt problem. We can't tax our way out. . . . The reality is we've got to do exactly what you all do every day as governors. We've got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that."

Bowles pointed to steps taken recently by the new coalition government in Britain, which also faces an acute budgetary problem, as a guide to what the commission might use in its recommendations. That would mean about three-quarters of the deficit reduction would be accomplished through spending cuts, and the remainder with additional revenue.

Most Republicans in Congress are opposed to any tax increases, which has made the work of the commission far more difficult. Bowles and Simpson appealed for support to the governors, who have been forced by their states' constitutions to balance their budgets with deep spending cuts and, in many cases, tax increases.

Bowles and Simpson said the commission would have had a stronger hand politically had it been created by Congress, rather than through an executive order. Simpson was pointed in his criticism of seven Republicans who once co-sponsored such a measure but who helped block it in the Senate.

"As far as I can discern, it was to stick it to the president," Simpson said. "That's where we are in Washington." He later added that all seven "have now come to us to say, 'We're ready to help.' "

The presentation by Simpson and Bowles, which included repeated statements of determination to produce a bipartisan set of recommendations, drew praise from the governors.

"I don't know that I've every heard a gloomier picture painted that created more hope for me," said Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D).

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) said that many governors fear that the commission's recommendations will result in more demands on the states.

Bowles, who noted that the 1997 balanced-budget agreement between the Clinton White House and the Republican-controlled Congress included many provisions that put more burdens on the states, said that wasn't likely.

"I don't think you're going to see a lot of devolution coming from us because the states are all broke," he said.

Simpson also warned that the November elections could add another wild card to the work of the commission. "I have no idea what's going to happen on Election Day but it's going to be disruptive . . .," he said. "It's going to be a big wake-up call around the whole United States. I have no idea where it's going, but thank heaven we have a month then to work through the wreckage."


  1. National Security?

    What is that, mean, really?

    Can the United States be secure with five or six carrier battle groups, instead of eleven?

    No one else in the whole wide whirled can field even one.

    How much money should we borrow from China to secure the sea lanes for their oil shipments, from Iran?

    The United States represents 5% of the whirled population, our global footprint of 700 plus military installations on foreign soil is way to large when measured in that regard.

    As is our spending as much money on "National Security" as the rest of the whirled, combined. All the expenditures of our friends, let alone our foes, when combined do not match US and our prolific spending on guns, let alone butter.

    As we discovered just the other thread, all the money we owe to Charlie Chicom, it's almost exactly the amount we've spent policing Iraq, over the last eight years.

    That's the reality.

  2. See what lengths almost any addict will go to, to secure their fix.

    Even when there is a home grown alternative.

  3. Don't ever believe a politician, Deuce.

    Treasury Statement

    You will see that the payout for Soc Sec last month was $57.6 B. The payout for HHS (includes Medicare, and Medicaid) was $55.4 Billion. Total: $113 Billion.

    $113 B X 12 = $1.36 T

    Our Tax Receipts in a Normal Economy should be approx $2.8 Trillion.

    $1.36/$2.8T = 48.5%

    I'm afraid old Alan Simpson has "lost a step - or three."

  4. Sorry about the link. Try This One.

  5. So in the upside down World of Rat and Rufus, we are not broke, and if we were, it would be the fault of defense expenditures, not free medicine, free lunches, and free government checks.

    Carry on, nothing to see here.

  6. Feel the rationality draining from your cranium, as if it were vented by a .223.

  7. Anybody know what crazy Al is getting at here?

    Sounds ominous to me, fearing lame ducks as I do.

    "Simpson also warned that the November elections could add another wild card to the work of the commission. "I have no idea what's going to happen on Election Day but it's going to be disruptive . . .," he said. "It's going to be a big wake-up call around the whole United States.

    I have no idea where it's going, but thank heaven we have a month then to work through the wreckage."

  8. National security rests on three things:

    A. Credible unified ideology.
    B. Economic strength.
    C. Military strength.

    The Soviets lost all three.

    Americans are split on ideology. Our economic strength is in serious question. Our institutions have been discredited.

    Sixty years of fighting wars of nation building with massive amounts of money has yet to enjoy a victory.

    Davis Brooks wrote in a column:

    “Look at the society we have become: We are a bi-polar nation, a bureaucratic, centralised state that presides dysfunctionally over an increasingly fragmented, disempowered and isolated citizenry.” In a separate essay, he added, “The welfare state and the market state are now two defunct and mutually supporting failures.”

    How do you argue against that? There is no fix without radically diminishing the power of the federal government, transferring that power to local government and states, and how will that happen?

    I was in rural northern California yesterday. How could politicians and government regulations screw that up, but they did.

    I have been in airports where there are up to thirty TSA agents at a single gate. That in salary and benefits is probably over two million a year. What size farm in California can produce a profit of $2 million annually?

    In the world of economy that farm would be needed to support that government controlled gate. It make no sense and is unsustainable.

  9. David Brookes is a dick.

    Even this year with greatly diminished revenues Soc Sec, and HHS are only taking up 68% of revenues.

    I've heard all this shit before. I was too young, then, to realize it was nonsense; I'm NOT, now.

  10. How can the output of a large and profitable farm in California be equal to the output of 30 federal security cops who are more intent on avoiding racial profiling that actually providing security?

  11. Debt doesn't matter? Deficits don't matter? Wasteful spending doesn't matter?

  12. Deuce, what in the world would one have to do with the other?

    Alan Simpson is a dottering old fool with an agenda.

    He's running around saying Soc Sec is spending more than it's taking in This year when all you have to do is look it up: There's more money in the Trust Fund than there was at the beginning of the year.

    I consider the whole soc sec - left pocket/right pocket - game to be a little silly, anyway; but if you're going to bloviate you might at least be accurate. Especially if you're "in charge of fixin" the economy.

  13. Look at your own statistics:

    Even this year with greatly diminished revenues Soc Sec, and HHS are only taking up 68% of revenues.

    Where is the remaining 32% going?

  14. Well, the point is, Deuce, before one gets the folks all riled up he shoud, at least be Accurate.

    You can't base your budget on revenues from the bottom of the worst recession in 70 years.

  15. And, these aren't MY statistics. The numbers are from the Treasury of the United States. They are What they Are.

  16. Just go to my "2nd" link, and look. It lists ALL the expenditures from ALL the departments of the Federal Government.

  17. The Pubs want a VAT. It shifts the tax burden off of them, and onto the lower classes. The Dems want to "tax the rich."

    They Both have one thing in common. They want more money to spend.

    They want to fund their war in Afghanistan. They want their 11 Carrier Groups, and they want their EXXON stock to go up.

    Their interests, and yours, might be aligned. But, my interests lie elsewhere. I want the troops, home. I want the troops in Europe, Home. I want the troops in S. Korea, and Japan, Home.

    I want to buy my fuel from a producer in Mississippi. I want the taxes that go to Aid to Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Africa, and the Middle East back in my pocket.

  18. It is not that hard to understand. It is a real world way of demonstrating what it takes to earn $2,000,000 and how easily the government can dispose of it.

    The real economic output of the representative farm is $2,000,000. That takes a lot of land capital and work. That is a real economic return on enterprise.

    Wasteful or extravagant governmental spending taxes the ability of private enterprise to reinvest. You can look at 30 TSA workers at a gate and think it is no big deal.

    I took a real example of where the $2,000,000 to support them could come from.

  19. Obama is almost half way through his presidency. The Dems control both houses of congress. Which carrier group are they retiring?

  20. Deuce, you've never been to an airport gate in your life that had 30 TSA people around it. You be hyperbentilatin, son.

  21. I want the troops, home. I want the troops in Europe, Home. I want the troops in S. Korea, and Japan, Home.

    I want to buy my fuel from a producer in Mississippi. I want the taxes that go to Aid to Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Africa, and the Middle East back in my pocket.

    on that we can agree.

  22. Rufus baby, I have been to more airports than I care to remember, five in the last week, two more before I sleep tonight in my own bed.

    I can count. I count everything. I am a compulsive counter. i use a bamboo place mat when I eat. It has 13 rows and 22 columns. I have not seen it for ten days.

    Their were thirty. I counted them.

  23. Naw, they don't wanna retire any carrier groups. Hell, Defense spending is up, I believe, 9% this year.

    I don't want to "gut" our defense. I want the missile defense that we're capable of. I want the F22, and the F35 in abundance. I want to fund the next "Stealth" Bomber. I want to put more money in the Airborne Laser.

    I just Don't want to waste our resources, and troops slogging around Afghanistan, watching the farmers harvest their poppies.

    I want to build an ethanol refinery in every county, and send a big "Fuck You" to the Sauds, and all the rest of the Terrorist-funding assholes in the middle east.

  24. :)

    Okay. I believe you.

    I think they thought you were a terrorist.

  25. There were TWO lines, right?

  26. Immigration agents get too inquisitive with interesting passports.

    hmmm, I'm starting to get a funny feeling about this.

  27. It is not that interesting in the US. More so in other countries.

  28. In the US, it gets you patted down more.

  29. Now I know why my wife doesn't like to fly.

    I'm not going on a cattle car, she says.


    And she hasn't been on a plane since we got married.

    Some girls are like that.

    She doesn't drink either.

    Damn Methodists.

    She doesn't even use makeup.

    But cooks a great breakfast.

  30. The British done built themselves an Unmanned, Stealthy Jet that flies on Artificial Intelligence, and has Intercontinental Capabilities.

    The British?

    Say it "ain't so."

    Mean looking bugger, too.

  31. I don't think any party wants a VAT. A VAT collected at the retail point of sale is way too obvious. It's much easier and safer politically to withhold a tax before an employee ever sees a check.

    How anyone can look at two budget categories consuming 48.5% and not be alarmed is beyond me. Especially when the categories are social spending and the deficit spending is through the roof.

  32. BTW - I just read that in June, unemployment was in double digits for 45 of Florida's 67 counties

  33. Flagler county leads the state with 15.4% unemployed.

  34. If one looks to the norm, the Whirled Standard, the "Social Spending" in the US, as a percentage of anything, does not lead the way.

    The percentage we spend on armaments, outstrips all others. In real dollars, we spend more than all the rest, friend and foe, combined.

    That is the social and historical aberration, not medical care for the indigent and the lazy.

    The cost of the War in Iraq, matches, almost to the dime, the great debt the Federals owe to the Chinese.

    Yet the spin is to talk of Health Care and Social Spending, as the cause of this economic reality.

    Poor choices, made time and again by the last Administration, papered over, as if they had no effect upon calamity that effects US, today.

    It is not Obama or Bush, but the System, the Wahhabi/Defense Conglomerate.

    Ike was right.

    The Military Industrial Complex was, still is, the greatest threat to American liberty.

  35. The great Generals all tell the same tale, give the same warnings.

    Smedley Butler & Eisenhower both warned of the mis-use of the US defense needs as a tool of the elites.

    Most of US "conservatives" failed to heed those warnings, despite the obvious expertise of the men making the case and the historic record that supports it, at least until it was "to late".

    Now that MIC Ike spoke of, why:

    "It's to big to fail"

    Our bad.

  36. Those jobs at Boeing and General Dynamic, making weapons, trucks, planes, and such, just as 'temporary' and Federally funded as those Census Jobs, but no one speaks of them, that way.

  37. To solve most of the world's issues is to render middle east's & othrt despot's energy supplies irrelevant.

    We should have done this 1973 but we still haven't.

    Iran likes to say "A world without America"...

    How about we say "World where Iran's oil is worthless"

    Now multiple that with..

    "World where Algerian oil is worthless"
    "World where Angolan oil is worthless"
    "World where Ecuadorian oil is worthless"
    "World where Iranian oil is worthless"
    "World where Iraqi oil is worthless"
    "World where Kuwaiti oil is worthless"
    "World where Libyan oil is worthless"
    "World where Qatari oil is worthless"
    "World where Saudi oil is worthless"
    "World where Venezuelan oil is worthless"
    "World where UAE's oil is worthless"
    "World where Russian oil is worthless"

    Did I miss anyone?

    Start with this one idea...

    Turn those nations fossil fuels into the modern day whale blubber industry...

    Then picture a world without the funding of those nations and what they do in the world...

  38. Obama has not, will not, retire a carrier group. Nor would have McCain.

    They were one and the same, two sides of the same Federal coin.

    That's the whole point of the matter.

    McCain would not have found a submersible to pilot to the wellhead, himself. To save the day or the Gulf.

    He'd have sided, at least at first, with the Agency Heads, as he always has done. Not until there was public uproar or unfavorable legal decisions would he alter his position, supporting the other Federal Socialists as long as he could.

    Would defense spending under McCain have increased more than the 9% that it has under the auspices of President Obama, as rufus mentioned eariler?
    If so, I'd be against it.
    9% should have been cut from the Federal budget, not added to it.

    If the debt is a "bad thing"

    And not an economic stimulant.

    If it is a stimulant, I'd rather stimulate the United States, rather than build schools and hospitals, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Better we better fund schools and hospitals, here in the United States, with that borrowed money. Leaving the Iraqi and the Afghani to their own brand of stimulants.

  39. Ethanol is the only practical way to make oil obsolete.

    There are 300 million vehicles on the road in the US, today, that speak to the reality.

    The only alternative that mixes in and can blend seamlessly with gasoline, functional in most all of the current fleet.

  40. It's funny how you always come to the defense of Obama by pointing to the others.

  41. McCain did not get elected nor was he the first choice of most here at the EB.

    The Republicans do not control either House of Congress, nor the White House, nor do they control the Supreme Court.

    You may be right in that certain special interests are entrenched in DC but we cannot ignore the ideological differences between liberals and conservatives. Regardless of the party in power, there has traditionally been a certain continuity from one Administration to another. Obama's administration and the Pelosi/Reid Congress have disrupted the continuity and wish to take the country in a direction (leftist) that traditionally it has been uncomfortable with.

  42. Interesting article in New York Magazine on John McCain.

    “That’s no way to go out,” says Grant Woods, a longtime friend of McCain’s. “You don’t live the life he’s lived and lose to a goof like J. D. Hayworth.”

    "People who have spent years with McCain say he has always been emotionally remote, virtually alone even while surrounded by staffers. When he calls his own mother, he announces, “Hi, Mother, this is John McCain.”

    "Ironically, both McCain’s opponent and his own supporters agree on one thing: If he wins, he’ll probably morph yet again, a lame-duck senator with nothing to lose, tacking left to reclaim his old mantle as a thorn in his party’s side. It’s what friends like Graham envision for him."

    For myself I could never trust a man that had been imprisoned as long as he had. Especially under such horrendous conditions. I won't go so far as to say he is a manchurian candidate but Lord'a mercy!

    I'll leave the wild horse (God bless Gram Parsons!) issue to rat.

    My tilt tipping moment was McCain's apparent sellout of the MIA's over the Bud franchise in Viet Nam.


  43. My penultimate airport, a two hour layover in Chicago,and then home and what have I missed?

    You have to love this:

    First Lady Michelle Obama brought renewed energy to the NAACP today, delivering the keynote speech at the annual convention one day before the nation's largest civil rights group is expected to condemn what it calls racist elements in the Tea Party movement.

    Here is a group, the NAACP, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, condemning the Tea Party Movement for racism.

    I suppose that means there are too many whites in the Tea Party Movement as opposed to some neutral group like say the NAACP? Oh dear, they are 95% black, what a coincidence!

  44. It is all about race for Michelle and Barack:

    ""When African American communities are still hit harder than just about anywhere by this economic downturn, and so many families are just barely scraping by, I think the founders would tell us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels. When stubborn inequalities still persist -- in education and health, in income and wealth, I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren," Michelle Obama said to the NAACP."

  45. OOPS:

    An Israeli military inquiry into the naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla says commandos were under-prepared and mistakes were made at a senior level.

    The report says the operation suffered from flawed intelligence-gathering and inadequate planning.

  46. That's what I'm tired of. We can't have a National Association For The Advancement Of Nordic Peoples, o no that's Racism, but we have to put with the NAACP, and La Raza.

    Svetlana and bob