“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, August 30, 2010

Who Was William Walker?

I have a Costa Rican friend, an architect, an amateur botanist with over three thousand orchids, stamp collector and all around renaissance man.

He is married to a stunningly beautiful raven haired woman and they have three very attractive children. They live in the mountains overlooking the Central Valley in Costa Rica, where the weather is suspended in a perpetual spring. I was invited to Sunday dinner and afterwards, my friend showed me some of his latest stamp acquisitions.

He specializes in early Costa Rican issues, printed by the now defunct American Bank Note Co. His research, attention to detail and analysis of his collection is fascinating. We talked for an hour about two old stamps, one of Juan Santamaria.

"Who was Juan Santamaria?" I asked.

He told me the story of how Santamaria defeated the US invasion of Costa Rica. US invasion of Costa Rica? When, why and how? It seems that Walker, prior to the Civil War, wanted to annex several Central American countries into the union, in order to balance the influence of the northern states. It seemed like a good idea at the time and had some support.

How did he do it?


William Walker
"Grey-eyed Man of Destiny"

Born May 8, 1824, Walker , in early life was a doctor, lawyer, and journalist. He invaded Mexico in 1853 with 46 men and proclaimed himself Pres., Republic of Lower California. He led a force of 58 men into Nicaragua in 1855; was elected its Pres. in 1856. In his attempt to wage war on Honduras, Walker was captured and executed Sept. 13, 1860, all before his 37th birthday.

The Saga of William Walker

By Don Fuchik
California Native

President of Lower California, Emperor of Nicaragua, doctor, lawyer, writer—these were some of the titles claimed by William Walker, the greatest American filibuster.

In the mid-nineteenth century, adventurers known as filibusters participated in military actions aimed at obtaining control of Latin American nations with the intent of annexing them to the United States—an expression of Manifest Destiny, the idea that the United States was destined to control the continent. Only 5'2" and weighing 120 pounds, Walker was a forceful and convincing speaker and a fearless fighter who commanded the respect of his men in battle.

Born in 1824 in Tennessee, Walker graduated from the University of Nashville at the age of 14 and by 19 had earned a medical degree. He practiced medicine in Philadelphia, studied law in New Orleans, and then became co-owner of a newspaper, the Crescent, where the young poet Walt Whitman worked. When the paper was sold, Walker moved on to California, where he worked as a reporter in San Francisco before setting up a law office in Marysville.

When he was 29, his freebooting nature led him to become the leader of a group plotting to detach parts of northern Mexico. Recruiting a small army, he sailed to Baja California and conquered La Paz, declaring himself president of Lower California. He then decided to extend his little empire to include Sonora, and renamed it “The Republic of Sonora.”

Marching on to the Colorado River, Walker found himself faced with harsh conditions and a high desertion rate, forcing him to retreat to California, where he surrendered to U.S. authorities on charges of violating U.S. neutrality laws.

One result of this incursion was that Mexico sold a part of Sonora to the United States—the transaction we call the Gadsden Purchase. Acquitted of criminal charges, Walker next turned his attention to Central America. Throughout this region, chaos reigned, as forces known as Democrats and Legitimists fought each other. The leader of the Democratic faction in Nicaragua invited Walker to bring an army and join the struggle against the Legitimists. In 1855, with his army of 58 Americans, later called by stateside romantics,

“The Immortals,” he landed in Nicaragua. Within a year, leading “The Immortals” and a native rebel force, he routed the Legitimists and captured Granada, their capital. His success roused concern in the other Central American countries, especially Costa Rica, which sent in a well-armed force to invade Nicaragua. Walker's army repelled the invasion, but a poorly executed counter attack into Costa Rica failed, and a war of attrition continued, in which disease killed more soldiers on both sides than enemy bullets.

Other enemies plagued Walker. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping magnate, seeking control of the San Juan River-Lake Nicaragua route from the Caribbean to the Pacific, armed Walker's enemies, while the British navy, attempting to thwart American influences in the region, regularly harassed efforts to supply him. In spite of these factors, Walker had himself elected president of Nicaragua. The United States briefly recognized his government but never sent him aid. Soon the other countries of Central America formed an alliance against him, and in mid 1857 he surrendered once again to a U.S. naval officer and returned to the U.S.

Landing first in New Orleans, he was greeted as a hero. He visited President Buchanan, then went on to New York, all the time seeking support for a return to Nicaragua. But support waned as returning soldiers reported military blunders and poor management.

Nevertheless he succeeded in raising another army, and returned to Nicaragua in late 1857. Again thwarted by the British navy, he abandoned his third Latin American invasion.

Still undaunted and seeking support for yet another venture, Walker wrote a book, The War in Nicaragua. Knowing that his best prospects lay in the South, he assumed a strong pro-slavery stance. This strategy proved successful, and in 1860 he once again sailed south. Unable to land in Nicaragua due to the ever-present British, he landed in Honduras, planning to march overland, but the British soon captured him and turned him over to the Hondurans. Six days later, at the age of 36, he was executed by a firing squad. The Walker saga had ended. This enigmatic man had come close to altering the history of the continent. Had he been successful, he might have brought several Central American countries into the United States as pro-southern states, altering the balance in Congress and postponing The Civil War.

Today Walker is far better known in Central America than in the United States. Costa Ricans honor Juan Santamaria, a young drummer boy who became a national hero by torching a fort in which Walker's army was encamped, and a national park, Santa Rosa, commemorates the battle where Walker's soldiers were expelled from Costa Rica.


  1. I had forgotten about Mr Walker, having first read his tale, almost thirty years ago.

    Though his involvement in Mexico is a new chapter in the story, at least to me.

    I had always credited the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 more to the influence of U.S. Grant and the other young officers of the US Army who would later become famous in the War of Northern Aggression, and their march to Mexico City, to the Halls of Montezuma as it were, in 1848.

    As you say, an interesting side bar in the history of the Americas, hardly acknowledged or even remembered north of the Rio Grande.

  2. Then again, much of the United States involvement in Central America is little known or remembered, north of the Rio Grande.

    The 21 years we occupied Nicoland, hardly even recalled. The US occupation of Haiti and Honduras, largely forgotten.

    The invasion of Mexico, in 1914 remembered by those who know the story of Smedley Butler.

  3. There are those, in the US, that will even deny the invasion of Mexico and the subsequent annexation of California, in 1846 took place.

    That California was a major and important region of Mexico, largely ignored or denied, today.

  4. Interesting stuff.

    Hard to imagine a time when you and 50 of your best friends could waltz in and take over a country.


  5. It was, also, interesting to read about Britain's ubiquitous deployment down there. I think I'm going to be reading up on Latin America in the near future.

  6. Belize, rufus, was formally known as British Honduras.

    A lot of the troops in the Honduran army, red hair and freckles.
    First time I saw some of them, figured they'd speak English, I was wrong about that.

  7. I am sure that our forty year Marine vet, from the hills of the 'Nam to his recent retirement, can tell you a lot about the Marines involvement in the Banana Wars.

    Fellas like Joseph Henry Pendleton, Chesty Puller and John A. Lejeune all were down there, getting it done for the United States.

    Where they learned the art of war.

  8. The life and times of Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino and Anastasio Somoza García and the US influence in Nicoland through the last 100 years makes for an interesting topic of discussion.

    Especially for those that are confused about how the US has worked, hard, to establish a military/commercial empire, in the Americas and beyond.

  9. Yes, indeed, the Belmont Club has international cache. This could be due to Wretchard's gravitas and that of most of his subscribers.

    There is no doubt that Wretchard would cut off the water of anyone who made 70/218 (32%) of the comments on a single thread. (As the matter of fact, that is what he did do some years ago.) His tolerance for foul mouthed ranting and bigotry is notoriously short.

    There is a fascinating correlation between abusive bloggers and abusive spouses: What should appear patently sick becomes the norm - such as routinely highjacking threads to the tune of 70/218.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. The big W, he also acknowledged who was right, about Iraq and the effect it would have on US politics.

    Much like Buddy Larsen did, though W did it at his place, not here.

  12. You know, I'm worried about Trish. I hope her husband is alright.

  13. Foreigners, even those that were educated at elite universities in the US, they often misjudge US politics.

  14. Whit and Deuce,

    Well, your boy has started the backstabbing. If you cut him off now, you may save what could be an interesting and educational thread.

    Just sayin': An ounce of prevention is worth a tonne of horse manure.

  15. Hell, I often misjudge U.S. Politics.

  16. Income up a bit. Spending up nicely. Savings rate down a touch.

    Pretty good report.

  17. I have long thought, rufus, that she and he used the Bar as a messaging conduit.

    One of the reasons her/his posts were often ambiguous, to the unknowing reader. A marital code as it were.

    The lack of her posting, could be a sign that he is home, safe and sound.

  18. Well, that woul be good.

  19. Backstabbing?

    Are you not a Marine that humped the hills of the 'Nam, as you claimed?

    Are you not recently retired, from the Marines, as you claimed?

    The time line to your claims clearly amounts to forty years of service.

    Anyone that spent forty years in the Corps should be steeped in their history and traditions.

    I would think you'd want to educate us all as to the history of the Marines in Central America.

  20. An obscure little blog. Tucked away in a dusty, unused corner of the inter-tubes. Seems reasonable.

    Glad to be of service. (I guess I won't be getting any anonymous Christmas cards from Afghanistan, eh?)

  21. Well, I'll be honest, after My 3 yrs all I know is there's a place down there called "Montezuma," and it has some "Halls," and some Marines kicked somebody's ass, there.

    There ya got it. Marine Corps History in Latin America as known by Rufus.

  22. If a guy takes 365 positions per year on any topic, say, the Iraq war, the probability of his guessing correctly once is almost certain - 1/365.

    On the other hand, when guys like buddy larsen and Wretchard take a position based on principle and maintain that position 365 days per year, the probability of them being in error at least once is almost certain - 364/365.

  23. If 1/365 were the case, I doubt that W would have ever mentioned it, or that Buddy Larsen would have stopped by here at the EB, to tell me that I had been right and he wrong, about Iraq, and the political effects it would have.

  24. DR,

    You have no idea about my relationship to the Corps. But since you have now stated unequivically that I am a recent retiree, PROVE it, now, or be gone.

  25. But I digress, please, inform us as to the history of the US Marine Corps, in Central America.

    I can understand your ignorance with regards the Irish Battalion in the Mexican War, being as how that was a US Army operation.

    But the Marines have a long and vaunted history in Central America, tell us about it, please.
    You must have learned something about it, during your thirty to forty year long career with that organization.

  26. I know, allen, that you have claimed to have humped the hills of the 'Nam.
    That would have been no later that 1972.
    I know that you claim to have retired from the Corps, that takes at least 20 years service.

    It is 2010.
    Do the math, amigo.

  27. Even a twenty year Marine vet should be able to tell us about the Corps history, in Central America.

    Seems to me.

  28. Blogger Quirk said...

    I agree, Rat, your continuous anti-Israeli propaganda is bad for business.

    I got to agree rat

    bad for business??? What business? There is no business here, at all. If you are talking about stuff generating interest I'd guess the 'knock down drag 'em out of the bar by the hair bar fight' is the biggest generator of interest.

    Blogger allen said...

    Yes, indeed, the Belmont Club has international cache. This could be due to Wretchard's gravitas and that of most of his subscribers.

    Wretchard and his clan of followers are a bunch of blowhard faux intellectuals. They are serious, very serious, about their thoughts and reasoning yet they are really quite stupid.

  29. DR,

    You just claimed that I spent 40 years in the Corps and recently retired. I said nothing of the sort.

    You are a liar and a cheat. Those who placate you are no better. Those who provide you with a daylong soap box are no better - 70/218...Good grief!

  30. ash,

    Re: rube Wretchard

    You are kidding...Right

  31. desert rat said...
    Even a twenty year Marine vet should be able to tell us about the Corps history, in Central America.

    Seems to me Rat uses Google all the time to impress us with all sorts of cut and paste information that he actually has no clue about..

    It's quite apparent that several people here, who lack any real understanding of specific issues, think by cutting and pasting documents that "seem" to support" their positions actually prove to us that actually KNOW an issue, that they are full of crap.

    I do not post anything about the Marines of Central and South America's adventures.

    But I do find it interesting that those that know NOTHING of my tribal ways, seem to flourish on GOOGLE proof texting nonsense in apparent attempts to explain positions that they hold no real feel for...

    So Central America and the US Marines?

  32. SO Now I am an expert:

    The U.S., fulfilling the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, goes to war with Mexico and ends up with a third of Mexico's territory.
    1850, 1853, 1854, 1857
    U.S. interventions in Nicaragua.
    Tennessee adventurer William Walker and his mercenaries take over Nicaragua, institute forced labor, and legalize slavery.
    "Los yankis... have burst their way like a fertilizing torrent through the barriers of barbarism." --N.Y. Daily News
    He's ousted two years later by a Central American coalition largely inspired by Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose trade Walker was infringing.
    "The enemies of American civilization-- for such are the enemies of slavery-- seem to be more on the alert than its friends." --William Walker
    First of five U.S. interventions in Panama to protect the Atlantic-Pacific railroad from Panamanian nationalists.
    U.S. declares war on Spain, blaming it for destruction of the Maine. (In 1976, a U.S. Navy commission will conclude that the explosion was probably an accident.) The war enables the U.S. to occupy Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
    The Platt Amendment inserted into the Cuban constitution grants the U.S. the right to intervene when it sees fit.
    When negotiations with Colombia break down, the U.S. sends ten warships to back a rebellion in Panama in order to acquire the land for the Panama Canal. The Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla negotiates the Canal Treaty and writes Panama's constitution.
    U.S. sends customs agents to take over finances of the Dominican Republic to assure payment of its external debt.
    U.S. Marines help Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz crush a strike in Sonora.
    U.S. troops land in Honduras for the first of 5 times in next 20 years.
    Marines occupy Cuba for two years in order to prevent a civil war.
    Marines intervene in Honduras to settle a war with Nicaragua.
    U.S. troops intervene in Panama for first of 4 times in next decade.
    Liberal President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua proposes that American mining and banana companies pay taxes; he has also appropriated church lands and legalized divorce, done business with European firms, and executed two Americans for participating in a rebellion. Forced to resign through U.S. pressure. The new president, Adolfo Díaz, is the former treasurer of an American mining company.
    U.S. Marines occupy Nicaragua to help support the Díaz regime.

  33. I agree, Ash. Wretchard is a fairly decent writer, but the comment threads bore me to tears. Very low-quality thought, overall.

  34. That was hard...

    I guess I am an expert on US History in Central America now..

    Any questions?

    Give me 30 seconds and Google and I will be brilliant..

  35. ash,

    Expecting this comment to be taken down, let me say that you will not find Wretchard's crew "fucking" and "motherfucking" and "ass sucking" (ugh!!!) throughout the day.

    While kids "feel" empowered by public potty mouthing (one assumes the equivalent of public defecation), thoughtful adults do not.

  36. Ash: Wretchard and his clan of followers are a bunch of blowhard faux intellectuals. They are serious, very serious, about their thoughts and reasoning yet they are really quite stupid.

    It's hard business to dumb things down to your level ash, I will let them know they should include a cartoon section for you....

  37. Look at who has hijacked the thread, now.

  38. One can always measure the type of civilization the writer represents, by the level of their civility.

  39. WiO, you and allen will fit right in with that crowd. Maybe you can all work together to come up with a few more conjectures that will allow the world to be interpreted completely leaving no room for disagreement.

  40. Hey, DR, AnonX, Dr. Hiss, Panama Jack et al

    ...still waiting on the proof of my 40 year service and recent retirement...

    Making such outrageous claims is the cause of "highjacking", not the response to lies calculated to destroy someone's blog threads.

  41. Ash said...
    WiO, you and allen will fit right in with that crowd.

    That's the nicest thing you ever said to me...


  42. ash,

    There is plenty of room for principled disagreement at the Belmont Club. That you have found it otherwise may say something about you rather than the BC.

  43. The ONLY old history of the Marines I KNOW about was the war with the Barbary Moslem Pirates...

    Now not being an ex-marine, what do I know...

    But it seems to me that the America's 1st war was against Islam

    "In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). Upon inquiring "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", the ambassador replied:
    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once. [2] [3]

  44. You'll be waiting a while, allen.

    You never claimed forty years, but did claim what I have already stated.

    I did the math.

  45. There is plenty of room for principled disagreement at the Belmont Club. That you have found it otherwise may say something about you rather than the BC.

    And yet you remain here at the EB, displaying your paranoia while you could be over at the BC fitting right in and displaying your pronoia.


  46. No war with Islam in 1783?

    No America becoming the United States of America

    No American creation of the Marines?

    Then we wouldn't be talking about William Walker today!!!!

  47. Raiding a pirate port does not a war make.

  48. The people of Tunisia fighting Europeons well before the founding of either Islam or Christianity.

    It is not the religions that are the cause of the conflict, but greed and geography.

    Re: the Punic Wars.

  49. What was true then, is true today.

    Religion is secondary, at best, to the cause of conflict.

  50. Quirk,

    Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

    Look who continues thinking (obsessing) about whom.

    Gosh, Quirk, I had not given you a minute's thought until you blurted out that last spital.


  51. It's true; Religion is, basically, just a trick to get the proles to support the war. The poorer ones to fight, the "better off" ones to "pay the tax."

    All of this done, of course, so "Someone" can get "Much, Much Richer."

  52. Blogger allen said...


    There is plenty of room for principled disagreement at the Belmont Club.

    Well, see allen, that is the crux of the problem -"principled disagreement". They basically accept a flawed set of principles and everything (argued with torturous detailed reasoning) flows from those principles.

  53. Really?

    Well I'm glad you deigned to read it.


  54. desert rat said...
    The people of Tunisia fighting Europeons well before the founding of either Islam or Christianity.

    It is not the religions that are the cause of the conflict, but greed and geography.

    Re: the Punic Wars.

    Had to dig pretty deep for that one?

    My point still stands.

    America's 1st war was with Islam.

  55. PSYOP is the art/science of getting inside an adversary's head, among other things.

    Quirk, every time you make one of your ill-considered sallies from the sanctuary of juvenile banality, you make my day. Thanks! :)

    It is amusing to see, however, that you have consulted a thesaurus; albeit, jarringly akin to the thought of the potential damage wrought by an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters.


  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Border Sweeps in North Reach Miles Into U.S

    “Are you a U.S. citizen?” agents asked one recent morning, moving through a Rochester-bound train full of dozing passengers at a station outside Buffalo. “What country were you born in?”
    When the answer came back, “the U.S.,” they moved on.

    "But Ruth Fernandez, 60, a naturalized citizen born in Ecuador, was asked for identification. And though she was only traveling home to New York City from her sister’s in Ohio, she had made sure to carry her American passport. On earlier trips, she said, agents had photographed her, and taken away a nervous Hispanic man..."

    Orient Express Rudux

    I guess this is necessary given events today; but the image brings to mind those old 40" movies showing officials moving through the Orient Express asking people for papers.


  58. DR,

    Re: 40 years

    Contrite confession is good for the soul. Your admission of gratuitous lying is such an act, with or without the math. You will be better for it.

    In the spirit of the moment, one wonders what else you and your little friends here make up.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. Hey, Allen, in your joy you seem to be stuttering.


  61. Quirk, time for a tutorial...

    Just keep thinking of me, day and night.

    I'll be at work.


  62. gee Quirk, it must be terrible being you what with you getting all beaten up intellectually by allen who has gotten your goat with those last few posts of his. Good luck ole boy dealing with that rapier wit.

  63. ...thesaurus...

    Had to look up pronoia, eh Allen.


    In fact, the first time I saw the word used was when it was used in a movie called Fierce Creatures a number of years ago. Jamie Lee Curtis used it in describing the antics of Kevin Kline's character.

    You are always good for a chuckle.

    Hey, I see you're out there producing again this morning.


  64. How do you "Bow" over the inter-tubes?

    Jamie Lee Curtis?

    Fierce Creatures?

    definitely, too good to check.

  65. ...rapier wit...

    Wit?...halfwit...nitwit...witless, they all seem to blend together when talking of Allen.

    Damn, I better get out my thesaurus.


  66. Hey, Ruf...

    Would I shit you?


  67. Quirk,

    Re: allen, allen, nauseum

    Even though you know I'm off to work, you just cannot get me out of you mind and mouth...creepy, creepy, Dude

    Hmm...If you lived in Atlanta, I would probably seek a restraining order. Given the written record (evidence) of your obsessive thought process, I would probably get one.

    Later, tatter


  68. wow, he got you again Quirk. You must be blushing a crimson red at the moment!

  69. That's Allen Ash.

    Always going but never gone.

    He's one of those guys who spends twenty minutes saying goodbye.

    Too paranoid that something might be said about him while he was gone.

    I've only been here about a year but he has left or threated to leave three or four times. Average time gone three or four times. Usually on weekends when he leaves for Shabbat anyway.

    He would have more credibility if he left right before his vacation that way he would be gone for at least a week (even if he did have to check in occasionally to see what was being said about him.)

    One expects he is out there lurking somewhere.
    He uses Whit or me as his excuse for staying around. If we weren't around, it would be that he had to be here as offset to rat. If not that, he'd have to make something else up. Mere excuses. Where could he go?

    If he went to BC, he'd be an indistinquishable blot on the wallpaper.

    No Allen will be here for a long time.

    Best get used to it.


  70. That hurt, Ruf.

    Oh, I share your concern about Trish. However, it's only been a few days.

    Some people actually do have lives.


  71. Hey Rat, you mentioned to not having a problem with the morning after pill killing the fertilized embryo. Why not? I thought your position on the start of life was conception. Similarly wouldn't you have a problem with the use of IUDs? They prevent the fertilized egg from successfully attaching to the uterus wall I believe. That is also murder in your book is it not? If not, where are you drawing the line for the start of life requiring equal protection under the law?

  72. Not really, ash, to my mind.

    The morning after, that is hardly even a tissue mass. The fertilized egg, about the same situation.

    But that's just me. Others are free to feel as they will. I think if one looks at the Rabbis position, posted yesterday, they center around the appearance, the look, the feel of humanity of the yet unborn.

    Look at the sonograms. I think they best tell the story.

    But, be that as it may.
    It is just what I think, which is of little consequence in the whirled.

  73. The Story of "o" forgets the first war that the US engaged in was the revolution against England.

    The next, another War against England, in 1812.

    The raids on Tunisia, in 1803, were just that, raids of little real import.
    Much like the tale of Mr Walker.

    A few one sided naval engagement and a raid on Tripoli. There were not even 100 Marines involved.

    And no Declaration of War.

    Not much of a battle, not even close to a war.

  74. well, if you are going to go by look a fetus monkey will look like a person. P.K. Dick once wrote a short story where the arbitrary cut-off for being a person was when the kid was able to learn higher math, around Grade 5, I think it was. In that world you could get rid of your kids at any time up to that point.

    I think the more rational approach is to acknowledge life at conception but draw the line as to the viability of that life form and allow the individual(s) the choice up to that point. Once a fetus can survive outside of the mother's body it is protected. Similarly if a human life can only be supported through life support systems the family has the choice. The choice to have an abortion should not be treated lightly by the folks involved by thinking it isn't a human life. Many involved with abortions do take the decision seriously, very seriously.

  75. My comments the other day represented my general view of the issue. On the other hand, I wouldn't judge any one specific individual even if their views differed from mine.

    It's why for the same reason I wouldn't pick sides if one of my friends were getting divorced.

    You have no idea what is actually going on in someones private life and what drives them to make a specific decision. As I said, it's a moral issue and as such something each person has to decide for themselves based on their own circumstances and attitudes.

    Judging them is usually pretty presumptuos.


  76. I just heard one of the local theatre complexes was closing. It's going to open in a few months under the Imagine franchise.

    They will have tables between the seats, two drink maximum, and food.

    I can imagine what it will cost if it currently costs $10 bucks just for a coke and some popcorn.

    I guess they have to do something to compete with cable and Netflix.


  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. It is both a societal and personal choice, seems like to me, the termination of a life.

    The "right or wrong" of it, legally debatable. But it does go to the core of being cultured and civilized.

    Which abortion is definitely not.
    Not by any of the old school standards of Western Civility.

    The cultured and civilized extend the rights of Life and Liberty to all of humanity. As the Founders of our Republic put US on a rhetorical course towards.

    I have never made claims to the United States being all that cultured or civilized, though I personally try to be civil to one and all.

    Others, though, claim to be the fount of culture, sophistication and of "Western" civilization, when the reality is that they are really the equivalent of Philistines and Carthaginians.

    In the last 100 years look at the industrialization of death. It has reach proportions that makes "Western Civilization" seem pretty barbaric.

    The fount of which some proudly lay claim to. Being that they are Philistines at heart.

    I tend to agree more than disagree with Gandhi, when it comes to Western Civilization.

    We should try it sometime.

  79. Returning to the Story of "o" and the misconception that the raid on Tripoli was something less than war. Some kind of a battle against Islam.

    The historical record does not support this position, either.

    No, not at all.

    The Marines staged out of Egypt, an Islamic land. They did not attack Algeria or Tunis, another set of Islamic sultanates that the US had been paying cash tribute to.

    No, both Tunis and Algeria were spared the wrath of the US, because they acquiesced to our refusal to continue those tribute payments. But neither of those countries abandoned Islam.
    We never attacked either of them.

    No, the authorization of force that the Congress passed named Tripoli as the enemy, not Islam.

    That is the historical reality.

  80. When the US went to war with England, twice, it was not all Christendom that was declared the enemy, it was not Protestants that were the enemy, it was England that was the enemy.

    We were not at war with Lutherans, when we went to war with Germany, twice.

    When we invaded Italy, it was not the Catholic Church that was the target, though almost all Italians are Catholic and we destroyed a monastery or two along the way.

    Nope, that is not how we roll, then or now. The United States goes to war with countries, not religions.

    Another historical reality.

  81. That movie thing sounds a lot like dinner theater, Q.

    We had one here, Bob Crane of Hogan's Heros fame got murdered at a local hotel while doing a gig there.

    The Windmill Theater, didn't last.

    Tough deal, the movie business now a days. Big multi-screen cineplexs are the order of the day. The few times a year the wife and I go, the place is mostly empty. We hit the matinees, not prime time, so that may be why.

    Not many Blockbusters, those and most of the other video stores have closed, too.

  82. Everyone says Netflix is wiping the others out what with two day turnaround on movies, streaming videos directly to your tv screens, etc.

    I don't get it myself.

    One of my daughters got me a three month membership for Christmas last year. I didn't use it for a month, felt guilty, and then tried to make up for it. Looked up all the movies for 2008 and 2009, went through the list, and then went through all the major ones we'd missed along with some old classics.

    I was so sick of movies, I didn't watch one for months.


  83. This morning, I posted a thought about the integrity of Wretchard and the Belmont Club. Shortly thereafter, the jackels came slinking.

    Of the 83 comments posted on this thread, 41% were directed at me or about me. That's pretty darned good for a guy who just wanted to pay another guy a single tribute for intellectual integrity and moral courage.

    The Arab took his first unprovoked shot at 08:04:00 and continued until 09:44:00. During this period, he outright lied about statements attributed to me. His total number of shots - 8.

    The jackel followed the Arab's lead, posting 6 comments and lying about the use of a thesaurus. I say "lie", because I did not state what I thought was his use for that aid. As is his fashion, he jumped the gun, assuming that, because he needed help in finding "pronoia", I would.

    Ash was ash, posting 5 empty comments.

    To the gang bangers, I made 14 responses in defense.

    Before noon, 41% of this thread had been trashed.


  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. well I, for one, am on pins and needles wondering what allen might deign to tell us next.

  86. Used to a little old lady at the BC that would do that to doug, back in the day, count his posts.

    A sweet little bitty. Nothing else to do but critique his posts by counting, not content. Always made me chuckle, now another little bitty has come amongst us.

    An even funnier Philistine.

    No one cared then, fewer care now.

  87. Ole cut and pastie Ash prefers to call unborn children fertilized embryoes to keep his guilt to a minimum.

    Kind of like calling an illegal alien an unregistered democrat.

    your friendly neighborhood gay pedophile.

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. no gag, I've stated I thought life starts at conception.

  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. Hey, I like it.

    From now on you guys can call me The Jackel.

    Bob, is going to shit from jealousy.


  92. When the bitty cannot beat you on content, she harangues about "style"

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. :)

    Good one rat.

    I had something like this in mind however:

    The Jackel


  95. I tried setting it up as an avatar, but as you know I am quite computer illiterate.


  96. Nice clip Ash.

    "How do you stop the Jackel?"

    He is like the wind, here then gone.


  97. Here's one I can use in the "Looters and Pirates" hour:

    Looter The Jackel


  98. My favorite.

    The everyday cool Jackel.

    The Jackel


  99. In 2000, while on a bowhunting safari in Zimbabwe, I watched a male Jackel snatch a baby baboon right off a water hole before the mother could respond. He was gone with his dinner before the troup knew it.

    It caused quite the confusion amongst them. Noisy, nasty creatures, baboons are. The full grown males have canines like tent spikes. And red asses to boot.

  100. Quirk,

    I love ya, man!

    Ready!...Fire!...Fire!...Fire!...aim :(



    a.An accomplice or a lackey who aids in the commission of base or disreputable acts.
    b.One who performs menial tasks for another.

    Jackals are considered negative creatures because they scavenge dead bodies. In Egyptian mythology, the jackal led souls to the land of the dead.

    The expression "jackalling" is sometimes used, in some countries, to describe the work done by a subordinate in order to save the time of a superior. (For example, a junior lawyer may peruse large quantities of material on behalf of a barrister). This usage came from the tradition that the jackal will sometimes lead a lion to its prey.

    In other languages, the same word is sometimes used to describe the behavior of persons who try to scavenge scraps from the misfortunes of others. For example, by looting a village from which the inhabitants have fled because of a disaster.

    Again, we are in agreement. I will always wonder what you would have said had I said, polecat or jackass...O, well...We shall never know.

  101. This comment has been removed by the author.

  102. DR,

    My goodness, Sport, you are too modest.

    Why, many people used to complain about your abuse of space and time at the BC. You were one of the reasons for Wretchard's hardening of policy. He could have you or he could have a reputable audience.

    Were Wretchard ever to glance this way, he would thank his lucky stars.

  103. Gag,

    Do you do black powder hunting?

  104. Allen

    I did many years ago, before the fancy in-line rifles they have today. There is nothing primitive about those things, just single shot rifles effective out to 250 yards. I have nothing against them, they are just not for me. Bows and arrows are simple, my preference.

  105. Gag Reflex said...

    I did many years ago, before the fancy in-line rifles they have today. There is nothing primitive about those things, just single shot rifles effective out to 250 yards. I have nothing against them, they are just not for me. Bows and arrows are simple, my preference.

    I respect that...

    I have a nice 30.06 for hunting, which I do not do at this time, I figure if things get bad I have 6-10 months of stored food, after that I will learn to hunt if needed, or better yet, I will let others hunt, I'll do the 15 hour smoking....

    I been thinking about a crossbow for home defense....

    quiet and lethal

  106. Gag,

    It has been years since I've shot black powder.

    You are right: Today there is no sportmanship involved.

    Now, this is black powder hunting :)

    no frontiers

  107. Nope, that is not how we roll, then or now. The United States goes to war with countries, not religions.

    So what country is "Terror" ... as in the War on Terror.

  108. DR: I think if one looks at the Rabbis position, posted yesterday, they center around the appearance, the look, the feel of humanity of the yet unborn.

    Every time a binary yes/no, black/white, right/wrong template is forced onto something as analog as life, you get screwy boundary effects.

  109. Every time a binary yes/no, black/white, right/wrong template is forced onto something as analog as life, you get screwy boundary effects.

    I think this might be a profound thought T.

    I'm not sure exactly what it means but I like it.


  110. This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. Gee, Allen, you had to Google to find out what a jackel is?

    Maybe that's the reason they won't let you play over at the BC.

    We might not have the 'international cache' of the BC but I think most of the boys and girls here at the EB know what a jackel is.

    You appear to be attempting to mock but I suspect that is only because you probably have never tasted fresh baboon.


  112. The "War on Terror", Ms T, was a marketing mishap, from the get go. There never was such a thing in real life.

    Go read the Authorization of Use of Force, 13SEP2001.

    It does not mention a "War on Terror", not once. It does permit the President to use all means he deems prudent to deter and pre-empt future acts of terrorism against the US.

    But that is such a wide loop, that it is really meaningless. That is the Presidents job, even without a special authorization. A feel good "catch all" clause.

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, harbored, committed, or aided in the planning or commission of the attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001, and to deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.

    There never was a "War on Terror" authorized. It was a marketing invention by Team Bush that was foolish, at its very best.

    Terror being a tactic, not an enemy.

    The US certainly used "Terror" as a tactic, however we called it "Shock and Awe" in Iraq.

    When I was younger, we called it
    "Death from Above". A Spectre gunship is absolutely terrifying if you are on the receiving end of its' capacities.

    We were not at war with terror, but with the terrorists that attacked US, on 11SEP2001. To conflate the two, as a marketing effort, truly poor strategic thinking.

    Just as the strategic thinkers that developed the "Long War" concept in Iraq sealed the election of Barack Obama.

  113. The US certainly used "Terror" as a tactic, however we called it "Shock and Awe" in Iraq.

    When I was younger, we called it
    "Death from Above". A Spectre gunship is absolutely terrifying if you are on the receiving end of its' capacities.

    The rebel yell terrified the Yanks.

    The Army of the Cumberland running up that ridge at Chattanooga terrified the rebs.

    Nathan Bedford Forrest was a terror to anyone driving a chuck wagon for the boys in blue.

    Sherman was a terror from Atlanta to Savannah, and he was just getting started.

    War is cruelty and it cannot be refined.

  114. To true, Ms T, which is why calling the War on Cross Border Raiders from the Pashtun region of Southwest Asia a "War on Terror" was a strategic mistake.

    It did allow Team Bush to conflate the actions authorized on 13SEP2001 with the later "War in Iraq" that required a new Authorization.
    That Authorization to invade Iraq included a clause that related it to the attacks of 11SEP2001:

    Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

    was an error on at least two strategic levels.

    The first being that their presence in Iraq was next to non-existent, so minimal that its' inclusion was just another part of the marketing and sales effort.

    The proof of that and the second strategic error being that if the President really believed that aQ was in Iraq, then he needed no further Authorization from Congress to proceed against Iraq.

    When the public came to realize that aQ was not in Iraq, in strength, prior to the invasion they began to sour on the Iraq adventure.

    Allowing Barack Obama to smack Mr Bush and his hoped for successor with that reality about the head and shoulders, all the way to the Oval Office.

  115. That aQ Iraq did not develop until after the invasion, long argued over at the BC, but with hindsight it is easy to see that they had no standing in Iraq before the invasion.

    As the US public came to that conclusion, over the course of the "Long War" support for Mr Bush and the entire effort there went down the tubes.

    Then with the melt down of the economy, in part because of the hundreds of billions of USD borrowed from Charlie Chi-com to finace the operation, the entire GOP political structure sunk.

    Welcoming President Obama to Washington.

  116. All of which, except for the depth of the economic collapse, foreseen.

    The War in Iraq the GOP's effort at stimulating the economy through Keynesian policies. Which worked in the short term, but like all Federal borrowed money stimulus packages, it ran out of gas.

    Leaving US almost $ 1 trillion USD in debt to Charlie Chi-com.

  117. The US strategy came to be referred to as a tactical "Fly Strip".

    Which it certainly was, the problem being that it was Osama's strategy and the US was the fly, stuck on the strip.

    Not the other way around.

  118. We were, and still are, that far behind the strategic curve.

    The terrorists mention in the 13SEP2001 Authorization still having a "safe haven" in the Pashtun region of Southwest Asia.

    The President still unwilling to utilize the full authority granted him on 13SEP2001.

  119. I will say that the only thing that good old habu was really right about, in all of our discourse, was the derivative disaster.

    Which I had no clue of, high finance being far from my field of knowledge. He did call, and was more than right, about that.

    We never argued that point, I did not really understand what he was talking about. It still boggles my mind, the depths of deceit that Team Bush and the SEC allowed the bankers to dive to.

  120. Add up the costs of the Iraq adventure with the Bush bailout through TARP and the GOP left US down at least $1.8 trillion dollars.

    For a whole bunch of nothin'.

    Scum bags.

  121. Osama's overall strategy was a screaming success.

    He did get US to over commit, he did get US to bankrupt ourselves in foreign wars, just as he had seen happen to the Soviets.

    That we doubled down, invading and bogging down in both Afghanistan and Iraq, gave him double the payoff that was expected.

  122. That we have expanded our footprint in Afghanistan, while still allowing aQ safe havens in Pashtunistan, just more of the same.

    Mr Obama no more a strategic visionary than Mr Bush was.

  123. The US military more adept at pouring concrete and building little kingdoms for themselves than taking down the enemy.

  124. But Sa’ad Al-Izzi, 36, a former New York Times reporter who fled Iraq after he was threatened for working with Americans, said he fears such intelligence cooperation between the United States and Iraq will cause problems.

    “It is dangerous to hand this information to the Iraqi government and security forces, which are infiltrated to a great extent by militias and insurgency groups,’’ he said. “It would be useful for a national trusted official security force.

    But are they a professional, national, trusted security force? In my opinion, they are not.’’

    Data on Iraqis

  125. The building of an Iraqi professional, national, trusted security force tasked to General P., in 2003.

    Great job he did at it, aye?

  126. He now being the "best" General we have.

    After he redefined success in Iraq from cultural revival and civilization building to paying cash tribute to the enemy.

  127. "Success" that he wants to emulate in Afghanistan.

  128. Pentagon and administration officials acknowledged that the guidelines drawn up by Petraeus and his staff at their Kabul headquarters — in particular a goal of redeploying troops pulled from contested areas to other tasks — may clash with timetables set by some NATO nations to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan.

    But a range of military and administration officials said the guidelines were designed to set the conditions for fulfilling Obama's pledge to begin reducing the U.S. military presence by July.

    Petraeus and his team now are writing specific projections for security transition by time and region in 2011 to be presented at a meeting of NATO leaders in Lisbon, Portugal, in November.

    Guidelines for Transition

  129. Sam, our overseas correspondent checking in from SA.

    So what do you think the Australian elections will mean to US/Australian relations Sam?


  130. The election is crazy here. It was held last Saturday.

    A party needs 76 seats to form a government. Nobody has 76 seats.

    Labor (read liberal) - 73
    Liberal (read conservative) - 73
    Independent - 4
    Greens - 1

    Liberal is ahead in total votes by 1,900.

    Labor is the sitting party.

    Both Labor and Liberal have been courting the Independents to join with them to form a majority party.

    Analysts/people are now saying the Independents should honor the will of the people (1,900 in favor of Liberal) and join with the Liberals.

    And indeed, watching the news this morning, analysts are saying that Liberal is going to take it

    Both Labor and Liberal support the Afghan war. General population is split 50/50 on the war.

    Other than than the Liberal party being at odds ideologically with the Democratic leadership in the US, I don't see any negative impact on relations.

  131. Make that Saturday the 21st. Been over a week now.

  132. Well at least it doesn't sound like you will need another election. It was starting to sound a little like Iraq.

    I read an article about the 10 Best Asian nations and it had Australia and New Zealand listed near the top (considered issues like GDP per-capita, political and individual freedoms, education, etc.)

    Then I read an article on the Richest Asian Nations based on GDP alone and neither country showed up in the top 20.

    Couldn't understand it.

    Is Australia considered an Asian nation?


  133. Advances Offer Path to Shrink Computer Chip

    "Scientists at Rice University and Hewlett-Packard are reporting this week that they can overcome a fundamental barrier to the continued rapid miniaturization of computer memory that has been the basis for the consumer electronics revolution.

    "The announcements are significant in part because they indicate that the chip industry may find a way to preserve the validity of Moore’s Law. Formulated in 1965 by Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, the law is an observation that the industry has the ability to roughly double the number of transistors that can be printed on a wafer of silicon every 18 months..."

    Moore's Law


  134. Construction in Beijing.

    Reulted in an 18 mile traffic jam that lasted all day.

    The had one not too long ago that was 60 miles long and lasted a week.


  135. Farmers' Almanac: Kinder, gentler winter on tap

    "Good news, winter haters: After record snowfall in the mid-Atlantic and unusually cold weather down South, the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a "kinder and gentler" winter.

    "After eyeing the skies, tidal action and sunspots, the folks at the 194-year-old publication say in their 2011 edition going on sale Monday that it'll be cold but nothing like last winter, when 49 states saw snow and it got so cold in Florida that iguanas fell out of trees.

    "Overall, it looks like it's going to be a kinder and gentler winter, especially in the areas that had a rough winter last year," said managing editor Sandi Duncan..."

    Farmers Almanac

    Note: Big cage match between NOAA and the Almanac.

    "For the record, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center anticipates a warmer-than-normal winter for the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and colder-than-normal weather in the Northwest. That puts it at odds with the almanac, which calls for mild temperatures in the Northwest and cold in the Southeast.


  136. Detroit man held for suspicious items in flight to Amsterdam

    ABC News reported that Dutch authorities arrested two men at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and they have been charged with preparation of a terrorist attack. The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi of Detroit and Hezem al Murisi, ABC News reported..."

    Terrorist Trial Run?


  137. Dems here in Michigan tried to pull fast one by putting a whole bank of unknown candidates up for the elections under the banner of "The Tea Party". Evidently, the courts saw through their little ruse.

    'Tea Party' won't be on fall ballot, Michigan Appeals Court rules

    Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the so-called "Tea Party " will not be able to put its candidates on the ballot this fall.

    "Th court today rejected a request by the group's attorney to force the state to put their names before voters.

    "At this point, the court of appeals ruled (The Tea Party) will not appear on the ballot," said Kelly Chesney, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

    The Michigan Board of Canvassers tied 2-2 last week in a motion to put The Tea the Party on the ballot, meaning they would not appear. That decision was appealed by the group headed by a man from the village of Reese with Democratic ties.

    Many Republicans and conservatives have criticized The Tea Party as a Democrat-backed attempt to mislead voters and siphon off conservative votes..."

    Dirty Tricks


  138. They usually lump the Pacific countries in with Asia and call the region AsiaPac. So yes, it's included with Asia.

    Wiki's telling me it's #7 in total GDP of Asian countries.

    It could be #1 per capita 'though, as there's only 22 million people here.

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