“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, September 22, 2010

“If you are a person who is drowning, you put all your efforts into trying to swim.”

LONDON — After she died earlier this month, a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was known as a pauper’s grave.

After World War II, Eileen Nearne, here in a photo from that era, faded into obscurity.
But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away.

Asked by her postwar debriefers how she kept up hope, she replied: “The will to live. Willpower. That’s the most important. You should not let yourself go. It seemed that the end would never come, but I always believed in destiny, and I had a hope.”

“If you are a person who is drowning, you put all your efforts into trying to swim.”

Read the rest


  1. Eileen Nearne is a far cry to look at from Josh Holloway but an interesting story non the less.

    When I was a teenagers I worked for a man who both him and his wife were Nazi camp survivors. It was never talked about but the numbers on their forearms told a thousand words.

  2. Ah…now this is the way a morning should start. Almost to good to get up and get ready for work.

  3. Quirk, this post is for you, where ever you are.

    I am guarding your stool.

  4. And I won't ever give up.

  5. It's not a felony. It's a simple way to get my jollies.

  6. Those National Socialists were really something evil.

    Water boarding prisoners, burning books and practicing eugenics, just some parts of their campaign against enlightened civilization.

    Just the worst, most uncivilized and barbaric aspects of the Europeon civilization, used as a matter of course, standard government policies, by the National Socialists.

    Beyond that, the National Socialists differentiated people by class, race, creed and their national origin. Not treating people as individuals, but as members of groups.

    Creating ghettos in captured territories, using military force to control civilian populations and implementing the use of National Socialist laws and courts upon the peoples of those occupied lands, as in Poland. Where the National Socialists did not occupy the round, militarily, they set up proxy governments that followed their dictates, as in Vichy France.

    All aspects of governance that we in the United States find abhorrent. That the enlightened peoples of the world agreed should not be practiced and attempted to outlaw, implementing the structure of the Geneva Accords in 1949 to prevent such conduct in future conflicts.

    The National Socialists persecuted those groups that they saw as undesirable, by first declaring them to be less than human. The Gypsies of Romania were persecuted in this manner. Beginning with economic discrimination and persecution, the National Socialists then, with time, upped the ante to genocide.

    National Socialists denied the basic humanity of their victims.
    Denied them what we who believe in the principles of the Enlightenment as inalienable rights, endowed upon man by the Creator. Including, but not limited to, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Which, in Mr Jefferson's original draft, was described as the pursuit of property.

    National Socialists denied both personal and property rights to those population segments they found objectionable, based upon race, creed and national origin.

    Good thing that the policies and programs of the National Socialist were defeated and those governments that attempt such practices in the 21st century are held apart from enlightened society, declared outlaws, out of step with modern times.

  7. 90 today and the term less is best will take action. Talk about jollies. If only it will last but I couldn't be so lucky.

    Autumn equinox….11.09 am ) :

  8. O Quirk where art thou, where are you, o Quirk. I think of him, tenderly, and of his oddly innocent ways, there in his tree house, studying out his charts, searching out the meaning of things, peering at the stars through Barski binoculars, his dutiful wife roping food to him, and he with his bad back too, all on our behalf. Gone to another plane of existance he has, gone forth before us, fearless, into the realms of darkness, as a knightly being of light, for us, for us! each one of us!! He will not fail, he cannot fail!! And to think some would steal his stool. I will not let it happen. Never! Ever!!

  9. Interesting happenings in New York

    ALBANY, N.Y.

    A poll released Wednesday finds long-shot tea party Republican Carl Paladino is closing in on front-running Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the race for New York governor.
    The poll found the straight-talking Buffalo developer, the upset winner in last week's GOP primary, had 54 percent of the support of women voters to Cuomo's 34 percent. Men supported Cuomo, the one-term attorney general, 49 percent to 46 percent.
    Just two in 10 felt a candidate needs to share their values and about the same felt honesty was a top quality.

    The way to victory may be opening for the Right to Life candidate. Only 20% feel the need "to share values" with the candidate.

    With the majority of women supporting Carl Paladino, either because of his hard stand against abortion, or in spite of it.

  10. He is crossing the river now, I can feel it, I can intuit it, the temporary river of despair, the swirling river of gray, between the planes, the boundary twixt this and that, like fighting one's way through mushroom soup, cold. He emerges strengthened by the ordeal, resolute, confident, his senses crisp, alert for any danger, alert as a saint or a dog, his strong body quivering with anticipation. Forward he goes, stealthily into the landscape, into his new unknown, unafraid. O our hero.

  11. The book, Obama's Wars, by the veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward, is out on Monday, but extracts published overnight by the Washington Post and the New York Times make it clear that it will hurt the administration in the runup to mid-term elections, ...

    Extracts from Obama's Wars portray president anxious to pull US troops out of Afghanistan and at odds with senior advisers

  12. It has come to me, like secret knowledge in the night, Grendel is the code name of his mission.

  13. Catholics are accused of money laundering!

    Vatican bank chief investigated over money laundering claims

    In unprecedented move, judge freezes €23m held in account at financial institution with close church links

    The head of the Vatican bank has formally been placed under investigation in an inquiry into a suspected violation of Italy's money-laundering laws, judicial sources said today.

    At the same time, a judge in Rome ordered a freeze on €23m (£19.5m) held in an account opened by the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), at another financial institution in the Italian capital. It was thought to be the first time such action had been authorised against the IOR in Italy.

    Since last September, the Bank of Italy has classified the Vatican bank as a non-EU institution whose dealings with other banks are thus subject to especially close scrutiny.

    The sources said that last Wednesday, on the eve of Pope Benedict's departure for Britain, a unit of the Italian revenue guard alerted prosecutors to an anomaly in an account owned by the IOR at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano, which has close historic ties to the Catholic church.

  14. I fear, I freeze, this may all bode ill for the Quirker. He may become a primordial sacrifice. This is what I fear.

    I return to bed, wondering if I'll have to buy gas, before I head north, my thoughts turning to Miss Marion.

  15. It is not just Catholics that are accused of sexual misconduct, with members of their flock

    Today, the 57-year-old minister, known for his public crusades against homosexuality, faces serious allegations.

    On Tuesday, two young men who were members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church filed lawsuits claiming he used his position as their spiritual counselor to coerce them into sexual relationships.
    The men -- Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20 -- allege Long used a private spiritual ceremony to mark a "covenant" between them, with both becoming his "spiritual son."
    Flagg alleges that Long then used that relationship to take him on overnight trips where they shared a bedroom and engaged in kissing, masturbation and "oral sexual contact."

    Accused pastor crusaded against homosexuals

  16. Bob: Quirk, this post is for you, where ever you are.

    I am guarding your stool.

    That reminds me of the scene in The Last Emperor where they adjusted the diet of the little brat from analyzing his guarded stools.

    Lawrence Summers to leave post as one of Obama's top economic advisors

    Summers, the director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, will step down at the end of the year.

    I love this part:

    Obama said in a statement. "Over the past two years, he has helped guide us from the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s to renewed growth.

    With growth like this who needs depressions?

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  18. Just goes to show how badly the Republicans and the Bush Administration had managed the country before they were deposed, by the voters.

    Now the voters may exchange the Democrat majority in Congress for another round of Republican majorities and even more gridlock.

    While that for the past 26 years the US has been exporting jobs, another incontrovertible truth.

    Bi-partisan tax and economic policies coming home to roost.

  19. Quirk, I'm heading north in a little while, but not to worry, I've hired a couple retired rent-a- cops to look after your stool in my absence, and I'm going to ask The Cleaning Lady if she would be willing to work undercover, plus I am going to have it wired up with an explosive whoopie cushion, in case anyone is fool enough to try and, say, steal and hide your stool. You may not hear from me again for a while. Best wishes.

  20. What does Selah mean, Miss T? Is it a musical notation, or some kind of instruction on how to sing a psalm? If the latter, you'd think it would be placed at the beginning. Or something else entirely?

  21. Selah means, "Pause and reflect."

    There is also a town called Selah near the exit for the Yakima Firing Range.

  22. When you start getting depressed think of Spray On Solar Tint for Windows.

    Half the Scientists that have ever lived are in their offices, Today. And, they're working from a hell of a base of knowledge.

  23. Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like a war monger.

    From Woodward's book: “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

    After all, America is to blame too.

  24. Please try not to distract Bob, Selah.
    He's very busy inspecting Quirk's stool.
    A shitkicker from way back.

  25. Don't miss this amazing WaPo piece:

    Do-nothing Democrats

    Given the circumstances, Hoyer was surprisingly cheerful as he greeted reporters Tuesday morning. "You know things are bad when you're happy to see the press," he said.

    The happiness was short-lived, because Hoyer was soon answering questions about the party's "death knell." To defend the Democrats, the majority leader had to employ some inventive math. At one point, he erroneously added up quarterly growth rates, asserting that GDP had seen "almost a 25 percent turnaround from negative to positive."

    At another point, he made the impossible claim that from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, "you lost 250 percent of the value of your stock portfolio."

    It just doesn't add up. "Your members are going to go home with no appropriations bills passed, no budget resolution, record deficits," David Lightman of McClatchy News noted. "How can they go home and say they did good jobs?"

    Hoyer said something about a "302(a) allocation" and "statutory PAYGO."

    "We have a powerful message to send," Hoyer said, then asked himself: "And what is that message?"

    That you named a lot of post offices?

  26. BHO gets off on America taking it in the ass.

  27. One thing that always gave me a queasy feeling was all the apologists on the right wrt addressing 'Rat's truism that we have banished great swaths of industry from the land.

    Rufus being but one example, citing figures showing that "it really isn't that bad."

    Not so much anymore, nor are there as many chest-thumpers @ BC.

  28. Jeeze, kick a few nests, wait, come back to an empty bar.

    Where have all the whores and addicts gone?

  29. BHO:

    "The Federal Government is less intrusive now than 30 years ago."

  30. Doug, do you have anything, anything at all, positive to add other than knocking me?

    Fuck you.

    My back hurts, and I'm in no mood for your shit.