“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, September 13, 2010

Islamism Gains in Turkey

TURKEY | 12.09.2010 DW
Turkey votes for constitutional reform

Initial counts show a slim majority voted "yes"

Turkish voters went to the polls on Sunday to decide on a divisive reform package. A clear majority of voters appear to have eventually voted in favor, handing the government a decisive victory.

About 58 percent of Turkish voters approved constitutional changes to reshape the judiciary and curb military powers, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.

Erdogan, who campaigned across the country for the reforms, hailed the provisional poll results.

"We have passed a historic threshold on the way to advanced democracy and the supremacy of law," he said at a press conference in Istanbul.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the result and said he was confident that Turkey would make further progress. "The constitutional reform is another important step for Turkey on the way to Europe," he said. "I am confident that the reform process in Turkey, in the sense of greater openness in society, will be continued."

Turkey's current constitution was written under a coup government

The vote was described as "a step in the right direction" to fulfilling European Union entry criteria by enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele, adding that Brussels would want to see words put into practice. "A raft of implementation laws will be necessary and we will observe developments closely."

Erdogan is eager to bring Turkey more in line with European norms and distance it from its current constitution, which was established in 1982 after a coup d'etat.

Supporters say the amendments will improve the state of Turkey's democracy and the fundamental rights of individuals, steps the EU has long called on Turkey to take.

"In normal times people say that they are against the coup and the constitution of the coup, so they now have chance to change it," Erdogan said, asking, "How can any one against the coup oppose these reforms?"

Opposition fears for Turkey's secularism

Yet the country's two main opposition parties - from both the right and left of the political spectrum - campaigned against the proposed judicial reforms in the package of 26 new or revised amendments.

Opposition leaders claimed that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), marked by its Islamic roots, would use the reforms to seize control of the judiciary, thus undermining Turkey's secular state.

The proposed judicial reforms included a bid to increase the number of Constitutional Court judges from 11 to 17, giving parliament great power to select the new appointees. The reforms would also lead to changes in the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the center-left Republican People's Party, said the proposed measures would put critics of the government in danger.

"My call is to all the business people, all the artists and intellectuals," he said. "If 'yes' comes out of the referendum, one morning your home can be raided, you can be taken into custody, and spend months in prison."

A society divided

Opponents fear the government will arrest more secular "enemies"

Opponents have said the government already enjoys a massive majority in parliament, adding that passing the reforms would mean lifting one of the last checks on government power. They have also criticized the move to have voters decide on the entire package of reforms rather than on individual amendments.

Erdogan declared at the outset of the referendum process his hope that the reform package could unite the country by severing ties with its legacy of military rule. But instead, the referendum appears to have further deepened the division within Turkish society.

"On secularism and conservatism, it is divided between half and half," said political columnist Nuray Mert. "On the definition of secularism and definition of democracy, people have strongly different opinions from each other and the gap between the two camps is widening each day."

Author: Dorian Jones /dl/ Sarah Harman, Richard Connor (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Sean Sinico


  1. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Krugman on Chinese Currency Manipulation


  2. And you are my next door neighbor.

  3. "There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases."
    That sounds like a stern headmistress dressing down some sophomores who have been misbehaving. But it's actually from a letter sent Thursday from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans -- the chief lobbyist for private health insurance companies.

    Sebelius objects to claims by health insurers that they are raising premiums because of increased costs imposed by the Obamacare law passed by Congress last March.

    Don't Get Me Mad


  4. Democracy, Liberty and the Will of the People gained in Turkey.

    Another success for the US policy developed by the neo-cons and implemented by the administration of GW Bush and the Republicans.

    Moving Turkey another step closer to membership in the EU, which Mr Bush championed his entire tenure. Verified by the statements of the German government.

    We have another US success and the boys of the Bar are ever more disgruntled by that success.

    Looking through the glass, darkly.

  5. The EU is damaged goods anyway. Turkey would be part of Club Med, not part of the clique of grownups that pay for the free ride.

  6. What have I ever done to deserve even one
    Of the pleasures I've known
    Lord, what did I ever do to deserve loving you
    And the kindness you've shown

  7. Obama's Top Econ Chief: No Relief Coming In The Jobs Market

    That suits Obama. One in six Americans receive government assistance, and they are inclined to vote Dem.

  8. Never fall in love on the internet.

  9. I recall that advice being given.

  10. "After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn't have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle class Americans like Jim, or Leslie, or Denise, who really do need help," Obama said, referring to three people who joined him in the Rose Garden.

    What's wrong with that picture?

    Tax cuts are not "spending" unless you assume a baseline of entitlements, which Democrats do.

  11. I had a dream last night that you thought I was the hacker in your computer.

    Sounds like you have a bigger problem.

  12. "Never fall in love on the Internet."

    Sounds like a problem to me. Especially if you don't know what you're getting.

  13. The new head of Belgium's Catholic Church has pledged to focus on the victims of alleged sexual abuse in a first attempt to rebuild public trust.

    Archbishop Andre Leonard said that although the Church would not be able to offer immediate solutions, it would set up a victims' support centre.

    An independent body to investigate alleged abuse found it had occurred in every diocese over decades.

  14. Although, something is brewing I didn't wake up in the usual way.

  15. Here are some of the reforms, all of which seem reasonable, as seen from here.

    In all, the reform package includes 26 amendments to the 1982 constitution, many of them backed by the EU.

    Civilian courts will have the power to try military personnel for crimes against the state, while sacked military officers will have the right to appeal against their dismissal.

    Gender equality will be strengthened, and discrimination against children, the old and disabled banned.

    Workers will be allowed to join more than one union, and the ban on politically motivated strikes will be removed.

    In parliament, elected lawmakers will be able to stay on if their party is disbanded by the court.

    Courtesy of the BBC.

  16. This is the second time I've read that the Mexican Marines were involved in their "War on Drugs", the first being in the deaths of those migrant workers.

    The Mexican Marines may just be the last uncorrupted institution in the Mexican government's arsenal.

    (CNN) -- Mexican marines have captured an alleged top leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel, handing authorities a major victory in their fight against powerful drug organizations, the government said Sunday.

    Sergio Villarreal, who is known to Mexican officials as "El Grande," was taken in the central Mexican state of Puebla, Alejandro Poire, a spokesman for Mexico's president on security issues, told reporters. Villarreal has appeared on the attorney general's list of Mexico's most wanted and had a bounty of more than $2 million on his head.

    He offered no resistance when he was arrested mid-afternoon, along with two suspected accomplices, said Poire. He added authorities also recovered weapons and armed vehicles in the operation.

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  18. You beat me by a few minutes, Panama Ed.

  19. Echoes of my sentiments are found at the top of the Pentagon's organization chart.

    Gates grumbles about perks and posh quarters—generally defended by senior officers as a reward for decades of stressful family moves every couple of years—but those are not his real targets. The defense secretary’s deeper complaint is about what he calls “brass creep.” Roughly translated, it means having generals do what colonels are perfectly capable of doing. Generals require huge staffs and command structures: three-star generals serving four-stars, two-stars serving three, each tended by squadrons of colonels and majors. This sort of elaborate hierarchy may have been called for in Napoleon’s day, but in an era of instant communication, Gates thinks the military could benefit from a much flatter, leaner management structure.

    These entourages are symbolic of a military leadership that, in the view of its civilian leader, is suffering from an inflated sense of entitlement and a distorted sense of priorities. If Gates has his way, the top brass will have to shed old habits and adjust to leaner times. Some of them will become civilians. The number of generals and admirals has increased by more than a hundred since 9/11, to 969 (and counting Reserves, roughly 1,300). Gates plans a first cut of at least 50. He intends to disband an entire headquarters, the Joint Forces Command, created after the Cold War with the noble aim of making the different armed forces work better together, but which has grown into a $250 million-a-year, 6,000-strong operation of questionable usefulness.

    Robert Gates has one last, crucial mission before he leaves office, and it’s not in Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s in Washington—within the hallowed halls of the Pentagon.

  20. In conversation with NEWSWEEK, Gates was frank about the challenge he faces in forcing what Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” to adjust to the new budget realities. Since 9/11, “what little discipline existed in the Defense Department when it came to spending has gone completely out the window,” he says. He is measured but scathing in his judgment: “I concluded that our headquarters and support bureaucracies, military and civilian alike, have swelled to cumbersome and top-heavy proportions, grown over reliant on contractors, and grown accustomed to operating with little consideration to cost.”

    When Gates was first called to the Pentagon in late 2006 by President George W. Bush, he spent 15-hour days trying (with some success) to salvage an Iraq War on the brink of disaster. He found that the military was at war but that the Pentagon was not. The needs of the young men and women slogging around Iraq and Afghanistan took a distant second place to the service hierarchies’ plans for future conflicts—which usually involved expensive new high-tech weapons systems

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. While the capitalists seem to back the Turkish reforms, their stock market moving to record highs on the news that a large majority of the electorate voted "yes".

    (Reuters) - Turkish shares .XU100 hit a fresh all-time high on Monday, rising 2.14 percent to 61,905 points after Turkey gave its support to government-backed reforms in a referendum, in a boost for the ruling AK Party.

    Investors welcomed a much higher-than-expected "yes" vote of 58 percent as signalling a strong chance of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan winning an election due next year outright.

    Trust the Markets.
    That's the American Way.

    Money Never Sleeps.

  23. We have seen this before.

    The proposed judicial reforms included a bid to increase the number of Constitutional Court judges from 11 to 17, giving parliament great power to select the new appointees.

    As I recall FDR got shot down when trying to stack the court.

    The fact that the EU and Obama view this as a good thing, well...


  24. Mr Obama supports the continuation of US policies in the Islamic Arc and in the EU, same policies that Mr Bush supported and implemented using military force, in Iraq.

    Democracy prevails against the political remnants military dictators.
    The neo-cons dream come true.
    Both in Turkey and in Iraq.

    The case that it is a "bad" thing, not convincingly made by anyone here at the EB.

    Obviously it was not convincingly made in Turkey, either.

  25. Democracy prevails against the political remnants of military dictators.

  26. FDR could not get his Judicial reforms through the political system.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did. Good on him.

    He did not use force of arms to implement his reforms, he held an election.

    You can stand with Mao and the Turkish military, believing that political power grows from the barrel of a gun, or you can believe in the ballot box.

    Personally I prefer the ballot box to bullets. It's the civilized way, the results of our labors in that region bearing fruit.

    What we have bought and paid for, with blood and treasure. Just as was described and predicted, by Mr Bush and Company.

    It is a success for the US.

  27. The case that it is a "bad" thing, not convincingly made by anyone here at the EB.

    Likewise, the fact that it is a "good" thing not convinvingly made by anyone here at the EB.


  28. Sure, like democracy prevails in Iran, after Carter sent a mission to Iran to persuade the Iranian military from making a coup after the Shah departed.

    Secular Iran vanished and we have the current delight to behold.

  29. If you supported the efforts of GW Bush, in Iraq, than this is what you supported, democracy in the region.

    It has cost US a $$ trillion USD, to obtain this result. Both in Turkey and in Lebanon.

    Soon we will be seeing success in Egypt, as the elections move forward there.

    Getting what we have paid for.

    The ripple of change moving through the Islamic Arc.

    Rejoice, do not despair. The over all goal of US policy, as designed by Mr Bush, has been achieved.

    We won!

  30. Just proves, Deuce, to be careful what you wish for.

    The US did not only wish for these elections, we've spent blood and treasure to achieve these results.

  31. We are allied with Islam, joined at the hip, make no mistake about that.

    That was "The Plan"

    Taste the pudding.

  32. In the last days of 1978, just before the Shah left Teheran and as the Soviet hand was deepening in Afghanistan, a series of proposals on the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia occupied President Carter’s attention. The hawks, led by Brzezinski and Schlesinger and convinced that the Shah was through in Iran, favored a military takeover in Teheran to create a buffer between American interests and the mullahs. This, it was believed, would be a key move in restabilizing the region. Ambassador Sullivan also wanted to see a barricade built, especially against the far left, and he was sifting the alternatives in Teheran. President Carter, generally opposed to coups anywhere, heard out the many proposals. After much jockeying and tense debate in Washington, a temporary compromise was struck: U.S. policy would attempt to see fashioned a moderate civilian government in Teheran backed (not dominated) by the military.

    The man chosen to convey this compromise position to Iranian authorities was an American Air Force officer serving in Europe, General Robert E. Huyser. Huyser was instructed to tell the Iranian generals that Washington would continue its logistic support of the armed forces but wanted them to transfer their loyalty to the centrist government of Shahpur Bakhtiar, provided that government had a good chance of survival.22 The generals predictably wanted assurances for the future. Working closely with Sullivan, for three weeks Huyser met daily with the generals, discouraging a coup. After sending final reports to Washington which have been described as "upbeat," Huyser left Teheran on 3 February.23 A very different picture of what was happening in Teheran was contained in Ambassador Sullivan’s cables. Sullivan, whose reporting earned him the enmity of Brzezinski and possibly others in the White House, insisted that the military had lost its will, that important elements of the armed forces were defecting, that the mullahs were relentlessly gathering strength, and that the Bakhtiar government, some of whose ministers had left the country, had only the thinnest layer of support. The masses in Teheran were with Khomeini.24 The religious leader returned to Teheran on 31 January. Ten days later mobs armed with machine guns attacked the U.S. embassy, and Iran’s armed forces went to pieces. On 3 November 1979, the American embassy was stormed again, and 66 U.S. personnel were taken prisoner. Thirteen were released in a few days, but the remainder stayed captive in Iran until 30 minutes after Jimmy Carter had turned the White House over to Ronald Reagan at noon on 21 January 1981.

  33. We handed Iraq to the Islamic Revolutionaries. The Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.


    We've destroyed the secular government where ever we've interfered in the Islamic Arc.

    It was no accident that we've done what we've done. Planning and forethought went into our actions. Our "Best and Brightest" put US where we are, today.

  34. Reagan and his Team, they went on to "Do Business" with the Iranians.

    Remember that, too?

  35. ...and what happened to Shahpur Bakhtiar?

    August 9, 1991, Shahpur Bakhtiar, who was found stabbed to death in France yesterday, had caught the attention of the world for a brief 39 days as Prime Minister of Iran between the reigns of Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    Virtually unknown outside Iran before January 1979, he made headlines that month by reluctantly accepting a call by the ailing Shah to lead the country's faltering Government. At that moment, Mr. Bakhtiar stood in stark contrast to the imperious ruler he had steadfastly opposed and the Shiite militants who were clamoring in the streets for the Shah's ouster and death.

    Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile that February, an Islamic revolution swept the country, and Mr. Bakhtiar was driven away by the Ayatollah's fundamentalist followers.

  36. Many things are viewed as a success initially.

    The cynic realizes that they ofttimes go to hell over time.

    Democracy has the potential for good that can rapidly retrograde to bad given the quality of the people it serves.

    Over time, all things being equal, I'll take a government run by secular principles rather than one run by religious ones.


  37. This infatuation with democracy will kill us yet.

  38. We know nothing about these cultures. We know virtually nothing of our own. I doubt 80% of the US population under 50 could fill in a blank map of the US and identify more than 35 states, and we are going to show everyone else how to do it.

  39. I would not disagree with either of you two, on those sentiments. Unfortunately there is no one in DC that has any authority that agrees with either you.

    Not on an operational or strategic level. Certainly no elected Republicans or Democrats.

    So, we march to the beat of the drummer we have, not the drummer we wish we had.

    Paraphrasing Mr Rumsfeld.

    We have had success in achieving our stated goals.

    Let US bask in our bi-partisan success!

  40. US foreign policy over the past 50 years has been a complete disaster.

    Our political "elites" have screwed up everything they've tried; Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, now Afghanistan. Even when we did do something right it was pretty much by accident. We brought down the Soviet Union by bankrupting them, not as an actual plan but in a defensive posture assuming they had the political and military might to challenge us.

    Please don't talk about how the US has won anything.


  41. Growth Energy is the answer.

    But the powers that be do not even believe the question is prudent.

  42. Come now, Q, it's not all that bad.

    We have won, we have achieved our stated goals. Victory is ours.

    That our leaders do not have any idea as to what they've really set out to do, or have accomplished, just one of those "little" things.

    A detail that to be lost in the spin cycle.

  43. US to sell $60 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia.


  44. Deuce: I doubt 80% of the US population under 50 could fill in a blank map of the US and identify more than 35 states, and we are going to show everyone else how to do it.

    Not only could I do all 50 states, I could draw the blank map from memory. Did that on the cover of my transistor text book in "A" school, the instructor got pissed, called me "Miss America" and said if I boofed the test I would get written up and stand in front of the CO. I aced it, of course. It was just transistors.

  45. I say again:

    Growth Energy is the answer.

    But the powers that be do not even believe the question is prudent.

  46. And something equally as important:

    Singing in Tongues


  47. re: Krugman:

    "...what would happen if the Chinese stopped buying American bonds. But this fear is completely misplaced: in a world awash with excess savings, we don’t need China’s money — especially because the Federal Reserve could and should buy up any bonds the Chinese sell."

  48. Turkey's gays, transsexuals decry increasing homophobia
    By Nicolas Cheviron (AFP) – Apr 3, 2010
    ISTANBUL — When Turkey's family affairs minister recently described homosexuality as a curable disease, she was roundly criticized for discrimination and flouting human rights.
    But for activists her remarks only underscore what they say is increasing prejudice, discrimination and violence -- even from police -- against homosexuals and transgender people in this Muslim-majority country stuck between its conservative roots and flourishing modernism.
    A total of 45 gays and transgender people were killed over three years in "hate murders", said Demet Demir, a transsexual and leading activist from Istanbul-LGBTT, a civic body promoting homosexual rights.
    "In February alone, five people were killed. In Antalya (southern Turkey), a transsexual friend was brutally murdered; her throat was slit.

  49. Everything Is on the Table,’ Imam Says of Plans

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf promised on Monday to resolve the fierce dispute around plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, and he gave personal reflections about Islam and terrorism and about his identity as an American and a Muslim.

    Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, he promised to find a way out of the current impasse around the planned center, which opponents say is insensitive to the memory of 9/11 and which supporters say sends the opposite message, that Muslims, like other Americans, object to and were victims of the attacks.

    “Everything is on the table,” he said. “We really are focused on solving it” in a way that will be best for everyone concerned, he added. “I give you my pledge.”
    He did not specify what compromises or measures might be part of the solution, although he welcomed what he said was a flood of good will and advice being offered, and suggested that a deliberate pause in moving forward was one possibility...

    Mosque Plans BEing REviewed


  50. He's got a bunch more videos on his youtube channel if you are looking for some humorous time passing Quirk.

  51. Here's an indicator the state of our country--

    Farmer Cited For Growing Too Many Crops

    Cabbage Gate

  52. Heh--political ad

    Nancy Pelosi--Wicked Witch of the West

    Actually, my cousin Sal is the Wicked Witch of the West, according to my wife, and I agree.

  53. 2. Terry, Eilat - Israel

    I read something very smart the other day, sorry I don’t remember on which blog, which I think comes down to the essential – Was Islam’s prophet Mohammed a moderate?
    Anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of the career of Mohammed knows very well the answer to that question. Everything you need to understand Islam is contained in that question & the obvious answer.

    Muslim Disloyalty To America and Its Military

  54. What happens if the Chinese stop buying our bonds?

    Better yet, quit selling them to them. See what that does to our trade imbalance then.

  55. Yeah, stop selling the bonds to them and ... what? Do what Krugman suggests and turn on the printing presses big time? or Cut down the military and kill SS?

  56. Hell, the Chinese quit buying our bonds quite some time ago. In fact, as their short-term U.S. Treasuries have come due they've been rolling them into other investments.

    I read a few weeks ago that their overall U.S. Debt holdings are down significantly (about 10%?) from this time last year. It was such a big deal no one noticed.

  57. Krugman did, actually, say 'Chinese selling bonds...' as opposed to not buying them.

    Didn't someone point out recently that recent auctions didn't go so well?

  58. The Monthly Treasury Budget comes out in 30 minutes. It's projected to show a Deficit of about $95 Billion for August. That would be slightly better than last year, but worse than the long term average for the month.

  59. Rufus, I'm glad you're around. Trying to follow that kind of stuff drives me nuts, and I gave up long, long ago. Now, you do it for me.

    A hearty thank you.

  60. 51% of our bonds are owned by U.S. entities (citizens, and corporations.) Of the 49% that are owned by foreign interests the Chinese own about IIRC $700B, or a little less than 20% (less than 10% of overall outstanding bonds.) It's no big deal.

    The "Big Deal" is: No one wants to start a "trade war." They are very bad for the economy. On the other hand, the Chinee are being assholes (and hurting our economy.)

  61. I only got two more meetings on my development--one with Planning and Zoning and a final City Council meeting to vote. I'd bore you to death telling you how farcical and illogical most of it has been, so I won't. But that's my economic life.

    Some good news now is my wife has promised her eight football players that if they beat Nevada/Las Vegas they get a big buffet and drinks at the Sandpiper, courtesy of her. They're in her good graces caused they called her from Nebraska about the late rent. :)

  62. If the Chinese can't find a buyer at a price, they would have to drop the price. That has no affect on the US Treasury for existing bonds. The Fed could buy them and the Chinese then have to take dollars.

    It would have the affect of limiting the ability to sell new bonds. Imagine that, horror of horrors we may have to balance a budget and cut spending.

    The Chinese would be prohibited from buying new bonds so they still have to dispose of their dollars and buy something from the US

  63. Was it Harry Truman, Bob, that said he wanted to find a "one-handed" economist? This shit is just way more "art" than "science."

    Having said that, the most prosperous countries, and empires have always been the alpha "traders."

  64. I suppose we could also call our Chinese Bonds in and send them a check.

  65. That's right, Deuce; Mr. Market bats last.

    Eventually, the value of those U.S. Bonds start to deteriorate, and the Interest Rate paid by the U.S. Government will go up (like a rocket, I think, one of these days - maybe soon.)

    As the cost of debt service goes up the gummint will Have to 1) Raise Taxes, 2) Cut Benefits, 3) Borrow More - causing interest rates paid to rise even higher, and rinse, repeat.

  66. What's the sound of a one handed economist clapping?

    koan of the day

    gotta run

  67. Deficit for August - $90 Billion.

    Vs. $103 B in Aug '09.

    Long term average for Aug is about -$70 B.

    The Smarts were pretty close.

  68. Wow. The President is in the neighborhood. Well, kinda sorta. It's a big county.

    Speaking in someone's back yard.

  69. The Good News is: "Revenues" are Up almost $19 Billion over last year. The Bad news is: "Expenditures" are up about $5 Billion.

    Monthly Treasury Statement

  70. I'd be interested to see where and to what extent you would choose to cut government spending Deuce. My impression is that you are talking some pretty extreme cuts in order to be able to limit Bond sales to only US citizens. I'm sure rufus could help us out by giving us some pie charts on proportions of US budget to various things. I would imagine the sacred cow of the Military would need bear heavy cuts as well as Social Security. Homeland security, the Coast Guard. I presume a larger recession would follow given the withdrawal of so much money from the the system..

  71. I love that song.

    Anyway, the thing about not looking at an object directly in order to see it through a telescope...

    My daughter made that observation many years ago and it's just odd that it popped up at Sullivan's blog.

    But I really am losing my mind.

  72. We're still collecting about 16% of GDP in taxes, fees, etc. That has to increase to 20% (another $550 Billion.)

    We're still spending 25% of GDP. That has to decrease to 22% (gotta cut about $420B.)

    A Deficit of 2% of GDP is perfectly sustainable with our business model.

  73. I'd be interested to see where and to what extent you would choose to cut government spending Deuce.

    It's easy to complaign. Harder to come up with a solution. That's why the GOP is faking it right now.
    T points out Brown has a secret plan for California that he is unwilling to share until after the elections.

    The GOP is doing the same thing. They said they were going to lay out their plan in September. Haven't seen it yet.

    Krugman has a solution. So does Ryan. Who is right? Who the heck knows?

    Do you let the economy drift and take the chance of having 10% unemployment for year's? Do you throw more money at it? Or do you cut big right now and try to get the pain out of the way quickly?

    I don't know and I suspect no one else does either.


  74. Who bought you the kitty pajamas? Please don't wear them with the crocs.

  75. This just in:

    Noted Virgo Gag Reflex turned 55 years old today. It was also determined that he was born in '55.

    When asked for a comment regarding this phenomenon, Gag said, "I think this only happens once in a person's life. I will have to do the math and determine if it is true."

    When asked how he would spend his special day, Gag replied," I think I will go down to the EB and have a cold one."

    Gag Reflex said he appreciates the well wishers, but so far, has been disapointed in the number of gifts received. Blaming this on the economy, he said he doesn't expect to celebrate another birthday until sometime in September of next year.

  76. Ash, the truth is we really can't do it. You could get maybe $100 B out of the Military by winding down Iraq, AND Afpak, and you can cut some "future" liabilities by jiggering around with SS; but, in the final analysis YOU HAVE TO GROW YOUR WAY OUT.

    That is the way it's always been.

    Which brings us back to our True long-term problem - OIL.

    It's the elephant that won't leave the room.

    A Serious Recession requires, at least, 7% Nominal Growth, and 4% Real Growth - sustained for several years - to get back to normalcy. I just can't see that happening under current circumtances.

    Strong growth in the U.S., combined with strong growth in China, India, the rest of Asia, the Middle East, and SA, is guaranteed, I think, to drive oil prices back over $100/Barrel.

    And, oil prices over $100/barrel is, almost certainly, going to put Us right back into slow growth/recession.

    That is why I'm very pessimistic about our near/medium term prosperity. Let's just hope I'm wrong.

  77. Happy Birthday, Gag.

    Deuce is buying.

  78. It's a 'Hello Kitty' world.

    Hello Kitty

    But I still don't get it.


  79. Happy B'Day Gag.


  80. Quirk would probably throw in a hedge-trim; I'll ask him. :)

  81. For starters cut the White House budget 75%.
    Sell the post office.
    Close the Departments of energy, education, the labor relations board, HUD, Fannie and Freddy, break up the department of agriculture, the civil rights commission, separate disability from social security retirement. Keep Congress open for thirty days per year. Raise military retirement to 55. Switch federal employees to a medical co-pay. Suspend Davis-Bacon. Freeze all other spending to 2005 levels. Allow retirees to defer retirement for one year periods and allow them to work and pay no income tax in exchange for not taking their pension. They will continue to pay into social security. Raise the cap on social security to double the present rate. That should be good for starters.

  82. You may not want to supply the ladder, though (I hear he's kind of hard on ladders.)

  83. "Who bought you the kitty pajamas?"

    IIRC it was my daughter.

  84. Right now I might just do it.

    I have been doubling up on the meds.

    Time for that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" Sam was playing the other night.


  85. There are 37 million on food stamps. 60% of all the citizens on st. Thomas in V.I. have some form of government assistance, 30% in Puerto Rico.

  86. I suspect no one else does either.

    No. Everyone knows.

    What we have here is

    A Failure to Execute.

  87. How can you not get Hello Kitty?

    The world of Hello Kitty is a bright, pink, happy place.

  88. No. Everyone knows.

    Share CL.

    Do we do as Deuce suggests and put another million out of work right now?


  89. Me? I'd just do a crash-course program of constructing an ethanol plant in every county, mandate all vehicles be flexfuel, and bring the troops home from Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    We would be "rocking, and rolling" within 3 years.

    And the Aerabs would be screwed.

  90. The world of Hello Kitty is a bright, pink, happy place.

    If so, why haven't you worn those pajamas?


  91. It would be interesting to see some numbers pegged to those suggestions Deuce!

    I wonder what it would do to the budget to "close" Fannie and Freddie given the massive liabilities on their books - would it actually put anything positive on the ledger? Not allowing them to buy any more mortgages might save a few bucks but the ensuing tightening of mortgage credit would be interesting to watch. Closing the dept. of Energy, what would that entail? A regulations free environment? The post office is certainly a relic of a past era. I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in buying the money losing operation but one could save it's deficit each year. Is the White house budget really that much in the grand scheme of things?

  92. Blogger trish said...

    How can you not get Hello Kitty?

    The world of Hello Kitty is a bright, pink, happy place

    riiight, as evidenced by your bright happy stream of postings?

  93. I prefer an old pair of men's plaid pajama pants and a short sleeve t-shirt.

    That's why.

  94. Good point, Ash.

    I think I need a nap.

  95. The important news of the day via my wife is that Viktor Newman had his own daughter arrested at her wedding to Abbot's son but the daughter said the I Do's as she was being dragged from the church by the cops Viktor had charged her with bribing an official so he could get some cosmetics contract in a foreign country she did so but he turned on her when he heard about the marriage but he failed to stop the marriage to his life long enemy's son.

    Update on The Young and the Restless

    You people think you got trouble.

  96. You need to start somewhere. It would have been far easier to cut government when the good times were rolling. One million less government workers on the payroll would have a net positive affect on the economy. 70% of them would be working in the private sector within one year. They would be paying taxes instead of eating taxes.

    The average person would not miss the services of any of those cuts. The present situation is simply unsustainable.

    If we were heading in the right direction, we would be adding new departments and more benefits to everyone. It is time to take our medicine.

    Freddy and Fanny are busted. We already lost the money. Put their paper in the Enron file. The only reason to keep them running is to protect the architects that wrecked them.

  97. Clarification: Viktor had put the daughter up to bribing the official in the first place but turned on her when he heard about this marriage shit, and done got really pissed.

    Every family needs a strong man at the steering wheel. :)

    Is Susan Lucci still at wherever she was at?

    Viktor and Susan might it off.

  98. Hello Kitty doesn't really do much for me.

  99. What this country needs is a good strong successful scheming bastard at the helm, someone like worldly wise Viktor Newman, who generally comes out ok in the end.

  100. Soap operas are reality!

  101. Hello Kitty never did much for me neither.

  102. Freddie Mac is a joke. I just went thru the process. They have the Mortgage companies over a barrel and they know it.

    I plan to pay off my mortgage in 10 years and get off the grid. The government grid, that is.

    Any room left in Costa Rica?

  103. I'm having a laugh of a morning for a variety of reasons.

    The wife looked up this guy we rented a duplex to on the Judicial records site. Big mistake. Rap sheet on and on. Debts unending, three divorces, domestic violence, speeding and DUI, failure to pay child support, on and on.

    And he seemed like such a nice young man, recommended by the former tenant, such a nice man himself. heh, we haven't received a dime.

    She's gonna boot him, make no mistake. Three day notice.

  104. Happy Birthday Gag.

    Don't get any older.

  105. Bob

    thanks for the bday wish.

    BTW, we have a scheming bastard at the helm now.

  106. That Judicial site is neat. Even shows when I got busted sitting in the car having a smoke in the nearby park after closing hours listening to Art Bell, cause the wife didn't want me to smoke in the house. Being in the park after closing hours, fifty buck fine. I didn't know there were closing hours.

  107. Yes, but not a successful one, Gag.

  108. I'm more like Barbie with a riding crop

    Must have left the crop in the bedroom.


  109. Looks like my daughter at her horse back riding class.

    And, I'm payin' for it.

    That's what dads are for, pay the college education tuition.

  110. Reminds me of when I first started out working at one of the Ford plants.

    Three of us went out for lunch, picked up a six pack and subs, and parked in this city park located on Lake St. Clair.

    No problem getting in but the gate was locked when we wanted to leave. Lunch hour ran over about two hours before we found someone that could let us out.


  111. Yup, right along side the boots.

  112. I wish they had an elephant riding class. She might be able to fandangle that into a job, like in India maybe.

  113. Share CL.

    I tried twice but no cigar.

    The basic idea is growth energy as Rat writes.

    Right now, it's the Momentum.

    Which means pass the Pickens proposal tomorrow.

  114. Think energy---think Sarah Palin, CL.

  115. Anonymous bob said...

    " Looks like my daughter at her horse back riding class.

    And, I'm payin' for it.

    That's what dads are for, pay the college education tuition."

    Horse back riding class is a college course?? yikes, that ranks right up there with basket weaving - talk about a liberal arts education!!

  116. You must have two pairs of boots.

    Ash, all us upper class landowners teach our daughters how to ride for God's sake.

    The foxes and all that. Polo. You should know.

  117. Beats a liberal education at Haaavard.

  118. Fuck, I can't even get that right.

    I meant GR

  119. Just for the record, have I been banned?


  120. You gotta work pretty damn hard to get banned here CL.

  121. Happy Birthday, Gag. Double nickels, huh? Remember 55 mph on the interstate during the Carter years?

    I'm buying a round for everyone except, Trish. I'll buy her a soft drink and I spot her some ambien, too.

  122. My girlfriend's baby is due 10/10/10

  123. "Hello Kitty doesn't really do much for me."

    Yeah, I had a feeling.

  124. I don't care for soft drinks.

    Unsweetened iced tea. Luzianne.

    I'm sure you've got it.

    The Ambien's a nice thought.

  125. And where are my manners?

    Happy birthday, Gag.

  126. I just won two hundred bucks at the Casino. This has been a good day and a laugher, too.

    Reading you comments over the months, Melody, I think I know your whole wardrobe.

    You don't have any real riding boots at all, but probably lots of fancy city boots, and some earth shoes.

  127. My girlfriend's baby is due 10/10/10

    I read something spooky about 10/10/10 the other day, but can't recall what it was.

    Tell her to try for the 9th or the 11th.

  128. Ice tea us the best drink there is.

  129. Senate Republicans say they'll block tax reduction to Middle Class unless the Rich keep theirs

    President Barack Obama claims it's still a "wrestling match," but with Senate Republicans in uniform opposition, his plan to raise taxes on wealthier people while preserving cuts for everyone else appears increasingly likely to founder before Election Day.

    Both Republicans and Democrats are already using the looming expiration of Bush-era tax cuts as a defining battle in elections to determine control of Congress that are just seven weeks away.

    Gridlock appears to be an increasingly likely result in the Senate. Republicans said they had the votes to block legislation to extend the middle-class tax relief if Democrats follow through on their plan to deny tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. The issue is more likely to be decided in a postelection session.

    Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the GOP whip, said Monday that his party was united in opposing Obama's proposed tax hike on the wealthy.
    "Just before the recess we had a meeting and we discussed this, and every Republican was absolutely supportive of the idea that there shouldn't be any increases in taxes," Kyl said.

    Screw You Middle Class

    Your GOP at work. Using the Middle Class as pawns in order to benefit the rich.

    Class warfare?

    You bet.


  130. Sickening- since Turkey has always been a country held high as having a secular government with a majority populace of Muslims what does this say for the rest of the Muslim world?

  131. On Sunday, House GOP leader John Boehner said he would support renewing tax cuts for the middle class but not the wealthy if that was his only choice. Though Boehner was clear that he supports extending the full range of tax cuts, the White House jumped on his remarks as a possible change of heart.

    Boehner has proposed a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, which would push the question into the 2012 presidential election. Obama has declined to say that he'd veto such a plan.

  132. New Superbugs Discovered in US

    She did not know how the three patients were treated, but all survived.

    Doctors have tried treating some of these cases with combinations of antibiotics, hoping that will be more effective than individual ones are. Some have resorted to using polymyxins — antibiotics used in the 1950s and '60s that were unpopular because they can harm the kidneys.

    The two Canadian cases were treated with a combination of antibiotics, said Dr. Johann Pitout of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. One case was in Alberta, the other in British Columbia.

    Both patients had medical emergencies while traveling in India. They developed urinary infections that were discovered to have the resistance gene once they returned home to Canada, Pitout said...



  133. They developed urinary infections that were discovered to have the resistance gene

    That almost rings a bell.

  134. Welcome L-chup. We sometimes have a rough crowd in here but you look like you can handle yourself.

  135. Trish you will be happy to know that Mercury has moved out of retrograde yesterday and your life should get back on track now. Your 'out of my mind craziness' should all come the hello kitty world you've come to know.

  136. Venezuela goes to the polls on Sept. 26 in a parliamentary election that opponents of President Hugo Chavez see as “a chance to turn the tide,” as Reuters news service puts it. Chavez may be taking on more authoritarian powers, but he also has to defend what the latest data show is the worst economy in the world. And you thought the Democrats had problems!

    Venezuela On The Brink

    These thugocracies never seem to work out.

  137. Melatonin is a good all natural sleep aid and so is valerian.

  138. I tried both those forever, didn't do a thing for me, though I'm a tough case.

    I'm looking up my horoscope in the paper. Also some cowboy had a 90 point ride on a bull last night at the rodeo. He has real riding boots :)

  139. Four star day--Keep talking and sharing. You are able to make all the difference. Honor who you are and move a project forward. Others discover that you had a firmer grasp on a situation than they did. Tonight: Don't you want to treat yourself or a friend?

    Who needs Quirk?


    Final day starts with stiff competition on bareback; bull rideer in fair condition after being hit.

    Tribune--When Ryan Shanklin drew Buckle Up, he took the namesakes advice seriously.

    The Rocksprings, Texas cowboy got the crowd's engine going Sunday with a 90 point ride, reviving close to the chutes with the beast that emanated both anger and a stream of snot.

    "He was a good bull", Shanklin said, "I was excited to have him. I knew I could get some points on him."

    The run was good enough for first place in the bulls, though it was Shanklin's third 90 point ride of the season.

    I knew a steer wrestler who was big, muscular and brave, and would faint dead away anytime he saw blood.

    It takes all kinds to make a world.

  141. I tried Valerian and melatonin together, double dose, didn't do a thing.

    "Stay awake" Jesus told his fellows when he prayed at the Garden.

    They all fell asleep.

  142. Though my wife can use both to good effect, likewise most people, I think. It's a good suggestion.

  143. Mine are as real as I'm gonna get equipped with chain and buckle at the ankle.

  144. A MAN accused of plotting a terrorist attack on an army base said he wanted to be the best martyr on Earth, a Victorian jury has heard.

    Prosecutor Nick Robinson, SC, said Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 33, repeatedly asked his parents to pray for him because he wanted to die for Allah's cause.


    On trial are Saney Edow Aweys, 26, of Carlton North, Yacqub Khayre, 22, of Meadow Heights, Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 25, of Preston, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 33, of Melbourne, and Nayef El Sayed, 25 of Glenroy.

    Planned Terror Attack

  145. The White House and its Democratic allies hope to use the tax-cut fight to cast themselves as defenders of the middle class and Republicans as a party eager to revive the days of a still-unpopular former president, George W. Bush.

  146. We have Melatonin. Thanks for reminding me.

    My mother-in-law, the nurse, found half a Benadryl often did the trick.

    I'm going to dig out those pajamas this week. They're in a box somewhere in the garage. One of about a hundred.

    I recall now that they were a gift from my in-laws some Christmases ago.

    How thoughtful of them.

  147. Shadow boxing is healthy.

    As long as the shadow is real.

    The Cleaning Lady Koan of the Day

  148. I bought a betty boop lunch box…four years ago. She was riding a harley.

  149. Though my wife can use both to good effect, likewise most people, I think. It's a good suggestion.

    Mon Sep 13, 07:22:00 PM EDT
    Blogger MeLoDy said...

    Mine are as real as I'm gonna get equipped with chain and buckle at the ankle.

    You ought to be able to walk off the calories with that setup, though you don't need to.

    You could even put a iron ball on that chain, then when you went out your husband could say, the old ball and chain has left :)

  150. how'd i get that screwed up

  151. ''The university is obviously extremely, extremely unhappy and disappointed,'' Professor Coaldrake said yesterday. ''It may have occurred in the individual's private time or on a weekend - it doesn't matter.

    ''There is always, in the community, collateral damage to these sorts of things.''

    Mr Stewart had not been sacked, Professor Coaldrake said, but the university would review the matter.

    Books Burnt

  152. Wife is reading "I, Claudius"

    Did you know Caesar means 'head of hair'?

    I thought not, neither did I.Can Caesar go to the barber?

    What this country needs is some sacred Sibyls to tell us what to do.

  153. Shit I didn't even notice your new pic. Fancy dancies, indeed.
    They are such a turn on, you might consider putting little spikes on the toes, so as to say, be polite, I have a no touch policy.

  154. I don't need spikes on my toes I just hang a sign around my neck.