“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."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Should Julian Assange be Hanged or Given a Medal?

The U.S. government, apparently aided by freelance computer hackers, chased WikiLeaks from an American commercial computer network and temporarily stopped the leak of embarrassing diplomatic documents. But within hours, the website was back online, publishing from a fortified bunker in Sweden.

The virtual chase Wednesday was mirrored by a real-life pursuit as European authorities hunted for the site's fugitive founder, Julian Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on rape charges.

Undeterred, Assange continued releasing confidential government documents. Some showed how the Obama administration and Congress helped persuade Spain not to pursue charges against members of George W. Bush's administration for allowing torture of terrorism suspects.

Below Surface, U.S. Has Dim View of Putin and Russia
Published: December 1, 2010

Early in 2009, as recession rippled around the world, the United States Embassy in Moscow sent to Washington a cable summarizing whispers within Russia’s political class. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, the rumors said, often did not show up at his office.

The embassy titled the cable “Questioning Putin’s Work Ethic.”

“There are consistent reports that Putin resents or resists the workload he carries,” it said, citing Mr. Putin’s “fatigue,” “hands-off behavior” and “isolation” to the point that he was “working from home.”

The cable, approved by the American ambassador, John R. Beyrle, assessed the Kremlin rumors not as indicators of Mr. Putin’s weakness, but of the limits of his position in a period of falling commodity prices and tightening credit. Russia’s most powerful man sat atop Russia’s spoils. The recession left him with less to dole out, eroding “some of his Teflon persona.”

“His disengagement reflects,” the cable concluded, “his recognition that a sharp reduction in resources limits his ability to find workable compromises among the Kremlin elite.” Officially, the United States has sought since last year what President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri A. Medvedev, have called a “reset” in relations.

But scores of secret American cables from recent years, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations, show that beneath the public efforts at warmer ties, the United States harbors a dim view of the post-Soviet Kremlin and its leadership, and little hope that Russia will become more democratic or reliable.

The cables portray Mr. Putin as enjoying supremacy over all other Russian public figures, yet undermined by the very nature of the post-Soviet country he helped build.

Even a man with his formidable will and intellect is shown beholden to intractable larger forces, including an inefficient economy and an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignores his edicts.

In language candid and bald, the cables reveal an assessment of Mr. Putin’s Russia as highly centralized, occasionally brutal and all but irretrievably cynical and corrupt. The Kremlin, by this description, lies at the center of a constellation of official and quasi-official rackets.

Throughout the internal correspondence between the American Embassy and Washington, the American diplomats in Moscow painted a Russia in which public stewardship was barely tended to and history was distorted. The Kremlin displays scant ability or inclination to reform what one cable characterized as a “modern brand of authoritarianism” accepted with resignation by the ruled.

Moreover, the cables reveal the limits of American influence within Russia and an evident dearth of diplomatic sources. The internal correspondence repeatedly reflected the analyses of an embassy whose staff was narrowly contained and had almost no access to Mr. Putin’s inner circle.

In reporting to Washington, diplomats often summarized impressions from meetings not with Russian officials, but with Western colleagues or business executives. The impressions of a largely well-known cadre of Russian journalists, opposition politicians and research institute regulars rounded out many cables, with insights resembling what was published in liberal Russian newspapers and on Web sites.

The cables sketched life almost 20 years after the Soviet Union’s disintegration, a period, as the cables noted, when Mr. Medvedev, the prime minister’s understudy, is the lesser part of a strange “tandemocracy” and “plays Robin to Putin’s Batman.” All the while, another cable noted, “Stalin’s ghost haunts the Metro.” Continue here


  1. I have yet to read anything that an informed and interested follower of world events would not have known or suspected. What we have now are details.

    We know Putin is a KGB thug. George Bush excepted, it was obvious from the beginning that Putin was a very bad actor.

    We know the Arab leaders were duplicitous in their words and actions, wanting the US to do their dirty work regarding Iran, saying one thing in public and something quite different in private.

    We knew all along that we were getting skunked by China, but our leaders in Washington did nothing about it.

    Now we have a look as to what the world is really like, we have information that an informed citizen should have.

    Early on when these leaks occurred, I was alarmed that military secrets were being divulged and lives were at risk. I speculated that if Assange and his Wikileaks were so dangerous why has he been permitted to stay in business?

    Now things are different. We are learning about the cynicism and pettiness of those that lead, certainly no surprise there.

    Should Assange be hailed or hanged? I am thinking he should not be hanged.

  2. Could Ayn Rand have invented Julian Assange? Even his name has a Randian quality.

    She is dead isn't she?

  3. ... and Obama, oh my, the beat goes on.
    Where o where will all those undergraduates go next?

  4. "I have yet to read anything that an informed and interested follower of world events would not have known or suspected."

    It was wrong.

  5. It was wrong. Why was he not stopped?

    How on earth could we have a state and military security system where a PFC could have access to so much information?

    For seven years of my military experience it was hammered into our collective heads, "the need to know." Obviously our senior intelligence gate keepers did not keep up with technological implications of the digital age.

  6. Why was it not stopped?

    I don't know. I really don't.

    But Dana Milbank did the affair some justice.

    Along with some lonesome writer.

  7. Welcome back Trish. You've been missed.

  8. Smile.

  9. Bradley Manning: Poster Boy For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

    Ann Coulter

    What constitutes being "openly" gay now? Bringing a spice rack to basic training? Attending morning drills decked out as a Cher impersonator? Following Anderson Cooper on Twitter?

    Also, U.S. military, have you seen a picture of Bradley Manning? The photo I've seen is only from the waist up, but you get the feeling that he's wearing butt-less chaps underneath. He looks like a guy in a soldier costume at the Greenwich Village Halloween parade.

    With any luck, Bradley's court-martial will be gayer than a Liza Minelli wedding. It could be the first court-martial in U.S. history to feature ice sculptures and a "Wizard of Oz"-themed gazebo. "Are you going to Bradley's court-martial? I hear Patti LaBelle is going to sing!"

    Maybe there's a reason gays have traditionally been kept out of the intelligence services, apart from the fact that closeted gay men are easy to blackmail. Gays have always been suspicious of that rationale and perhaps they're right.

    The most damaging spies in British history were the Cambridge Five, also called "the "Magnificent Five": Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, Donald Maclean and John Cairncross. They were highly placed members of British intelligence, all secretly working for the KGB.

    The only one who wasn't gay was Philby. Burgess and Blunt were flamboyantly gay. Indeed, the Russians set Burgess up with a boyfriend as soon as he defected to the Soviet Union.

    The Magnificent Five's American compatriot Michael Straight was -- ironically -- bisexual, as was Whittaker Chambers, at least during the period that he was a spy. And of course, there's David Brock.

    So many Soviet spies were gay that, according to intelligence reporter Phillip Knightley, the Comintern was referred to as "the Homintern." (I would have called it the "Gay G.B.")

  10. Fed May Be 'Central Bank of the World' After UBS, Barclays Aid

    Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve data showing UBS AG and Barclays Plc ranked among the top users of $3.3 trillion from emergency programs is stoking debate on whether US regulators bear responsibility for aiding other ...

    Welcome back, trish, it is good to see that the Den Mother has returned.
    The General, he must be flyin', again.

  11. Maybe the Dems are worried about Rangers getting tossed out after getting caught In flagrante Pedicuro?

  12. Well, the Wikileaks has confirmed that the Sauds are funding the radical Islamic terrorists.

    No surprise, that.

    That the Pakistani are playing to both sides, back channeling to Israel data sets informing them of terrorist raids in India. Raid that are supported by the Pakistani ISI.

    Par for the course.

    That Putin's power is proportional to the gifts he can bestow upon the governed and that Russia is still a corrupt place. That the US staffers, there, echo the local liberal press's view of things, too.

    Who'd have ever guessed?

    Oh, that the Israeli were trying to use Abbas against the Hamas elements, there in the Gaza slums. Well, that the Israel told US that they were trying to use Abbas, he denies that the Israeli even broached the subject.

  13. I think, rather than Gaza slums, the Gaza Ghetto has a more appropriate "ring" to it.

    A better historical perspective.

  14. While some gays may be double agents, doug, not all double agents are gay.

    Some, like Jonathan Pollard, are Jewish.

    I do not believe that membership in the Double Agent Club is exclusive to happy boys and girls.

  15. The other alternative, Deuce, is that the source for the material goes beyond the young PFC.

  16. Was/is the PFC a member of the:
    "Ask But Don't Tell Cell"?

  17. The Guardian -

    Russia's leadership and supine television channels were deafeningly silent this morning over revelations that US diplomats view Russia as a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy.

  18. The Guardian - ‎

    Pakistani and US officials presented a united front today against revelations in the WikiLeaks cables that portray a fragile relationship dogged by subterfuge, suspicion and worries over the safety of Pakistan's expanding nuclear arsenal.

  19. -

    FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear defended state tax incentives that could surpass $37 million for a religious theme park in Northern Kentucky, saying Wednesday he's happy to lend state support to a business that will bring hundredsjobs.

    State involvement in the $150 million project brought outrage from groups focused on the separation of church and state, but Beshear said there was nothing "remotely unconstitutional" about the proposal.

    "The people of Kentucky didn't elect me governor to debate religion," Beshear said. "They elected me governor to create jobs." ...

    Another Socialist, believing it is the State's responsibility to "create jobs".
    Farcical, at best

    Read more:

  20. I think the PFC is amongst the Rainbow Division.

  21. Good morning, Trish,

    ...lovely tune, says Megan Erin...

    While less lovely, this one has a certain cockeyed Irish flair.

    Irish Brigade

  22. "Good morning, Trish"

    It was Habu who first invited me here.

    It's a cold fucking morning.

  23. Talking of Irish, "The Old Guy" and "Mr. Old Guy" (me) gave the lads of Notre Dame a six hour run for their money last week on the paintball field.

    "Mr. Old Guy" is somewhat worse for wear after the battles and three subsequent consecutive days of PT under the watchful eye of another Irishman, Evan.

    Old Blue Light

    Trish, ...hope your Old Man is doing well...

  24. DR: I think, rather than Gaza slums, the Gaza Ghetto has a more appropriate "ring" to it.

    Gaza Strip is surrounded on three sides by an electric fence with all entrances and exits controlled by the IDF. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is monitored by the Israeli army through special surveillance cameras. Official documents such as passports, I.D. cards, export and import papers, and many others must be approved by the Israeli army. Israel totally controls the Gaza Strip's territorial waters and airspace.

    "Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay," Renato Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily Il Sussidiario. "Conditions in Gaza increasingly resemble a big concentration camp."

  25. While I'm generally a "freedom" loving guy this article made me give the wikileaks release some thought:

    WikiLeaks just made the world more repressive
    Scott Gilmore

    I am an aid worker, the kind who rants about transparency, open governments and reforming the United Nations. But, I used to be a diplomat and I used to write secret cables, like the ones being released by WikiLeaks. And I said some very frank and nasty things in those cables.

    Why? I was posted to Jakarta. My job was to find out as much as I could about the human rights abuses being committed by the Indonesian military, and to help apply whatever pressure we could to make them stop. I wrote cables back to Ottawa that would raise the hair on the back of your neck, describing abuses that still make me sick years later. These cables gave the Canadian government the ammunition it needed to lean heavily on the Indonesian leadership at the UN and at summits like APEC.

    Allow me to illustrate with an example. Every few months, I would visit a little whitewashed school in the hills of Indonesian-occupied East Timor. The young teacher who ran the school would cheerfully bring me into her office, and we would chat about small things while her uniformed students would serve us homemade buns and strong coffee in chipped porcelain. Once the students left and the office door closed, the teacher would open her desk drawer and with a shaking hand give me horrifying photos of disinterred bodies. The Timorese resistance would dig up the fresh graves of torture victims, take photos for evidence, and pass them through their underground networks to this teacher, who would then get them out of the country through me and other diplomats. With that information we knew what the Indonesian military was doing in secret. We could better confront Jakarta, and we could assert more pressure on them to stop.

    When we sent the reporting cables back to the Department of Foreign Affairs, they were secret for a reason. If they were published in The Globe and Mail instead, I would have been thrown out of the country in 24 hours and the Indonesian officials would not have permitted a replacement. The local politicians would have hired a rent-a-mob to stone the Canadian embassy. Their leaders would have told the Jakarta media I was a liar and would have blamed the Timorese for feeding me calumny. And the police would have arrested and killed the young teacher before the week was out.

    The third most common topic in the WikiLeaks cables is human rights, with American diplomats doing the same thing we were trying to do in Indonesia: Make the world a little better.

    That’s hard to swallow for the cyber mob that is celebrating the embarrassment being inflicted on the U.S. government this week. But the damage done to Washington is nothing compared to the pain that is about to be inflicted on the confidential sources in Russia, China and Sudan.

    It’s not just the militant activist in Guelph, Ont., reading the cables. It’s the military dictatorships and the secret police in capitals all around the world. In the days and weeks ahead, people who dared to share information with U.S. diplomats will be rounded up. And thousands more who may have been willing to pass on pictures of tortured bodies will keep them in the desk drawer instead.

    Ironically, WikiLeaks is inflicting the same collateral damage it so loudly abhors. The “Cablegate” release is not a real victory for a more open world. It will lead to a more closed world, where repressive governments will be more free to commit atrocities against their own people and the people who try to stop them will have even less information to help prevent this. Thankfully, for the Timorese at least, WikiLeaks did not exist in the 1990s.

    Scott Gilmore is a former Canadian diplomat and the founder of Peace Dividend Trust, a New York-based charity that finds, tests and implements new ideas for improving aid and peacekeeping.

  26. Ms T writes: Gaza Strip is surrounded on three sides by an electric fence with all entrances and exits controlled by the IDF. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is monitored by the Israeli army through special surveillance cameras. Official documents such as passports, I.D. cards, export and import papers, and many others must be approved by the Israeli army. Israel totally controls the Gaza Strip's territorial waters and airspace.

    "Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay," Renato Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily Il Sussidiario. "Conditions in Gaza increasingly resemble a big concentration camp."

    Written by a someone who has no grasp of the facts..

    Egypt controls the Rafah border.

    There are 1000's of tunnels that go in and out of gaza and egypt that cars, livestock, people, ammo and weapons are transported.

    Egypt controls Gaza.

    There is not an argument that Israel has sealed off Gaza from Israel. They have no rights to go to Israel

    However for some stupid reason, Israel provides fuel food water and medical care to the people of Gaza.

    It's interesting to note that Egypt the HISTORIC holder of Gaza provides almost no official food, water, medical or fuel supplies with it's brothers in Gaza.

    Gaza is not a slum. it has a 5 star hotel, billions in aid, sky scrapers, 10's of thousands under arms, factories and yes the ability for it's citizens to leave via Egypt when egypt allows...

    Now let's let Ms T and the Rodent distort, lie and fabricate more anti-israel and anti-jewish lies...

  27. some slum, just like the real ghettos eh?

    With Hamas telling tales of deprivation and suffering in Gaza, Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu al-Houl has added his report to others who were surprised to discover a “prosperous” Gaza in which prices are low and luxury businesses are booming. Al-Houl's story of his trip to Gaza and his realization that “in actual terms, Gaza is not under siege” was written up in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

    A sense of absolute prosperity prevails, as manifested by the grand resorts along and near Gaza's coast. Further, the site of the merchandise and luxuries filling the Gaza shops amazed me,” he reported.

    Concerned that his initial impression of prosperity may have been misleading, “I toured the new resorts, most of which are quite grand, as well as the commercial markets, to verify my hypothesis. The resorts and markets have come to symbolize prosperity, and to prove that the siege is formal or political, not economic,” Al-Houl said.

    Gaza's markets are filled with a “plethora of goods,” he wrote. Prices on many items, particularly food, are much lower than they are in Egypt, he said. With goods entering Gaza from both smuggling tunnels to Egypt and humanitarian aid shipments coming in via Israeli crossings, “supply is much greater than demand,” he stated.

  28. I love it when our resident jew haters like to use the language of the Holocaust and make comparisons to Israel and the Palestinians...

    Our Rodent and his side kick some how now want to call Gaza a "concentration camp"

    So for a moment let's give them their point of view...

    My question is simple...

    Since the typical REAL "Concentration Camp" murdered 100,000 jews each during WW2, can we assume that the Rodent and Ms T is giving permission to Israel to start the death rosters?

    After all Israel (in war) has killed less than 1000 gazans, and most of them were armed...

    So Rat and T are saying, for Israel to be honest of it's treatment of gaza it NEEDS to start actually killing about 99,000 MORE Gazans asap in order to make their claims valid!

  29. Rodent and T remind me of the Boy who cried wolf...

    So many times they scream concentration camp, war crimes, genocide and so many times it proven that they distort, lie and fabricate...

    It's kinda funny...

    100's of thousands starve around the globe, not a peep..

    100,000 women torched to death in india not a peep

    millions of women gays and minorities all abused in the islamic world, not a peep...

    and I could go on...

    One might start to ask...

    Why does our rodent and his sidekick obsess about all things zionism, israel and jewish?

    they obviously hate them but why....

    It's actually quite a display of sick obsessed behavior...

  30. WiO: Why does our rodent and his sidekick obsess about all things zionism, israel and jewish?

    Just to jerk your chain, WiO.

    It's a demonstration project. I want to see what kind of posts Deuce wants removed vs. which ones can stay.

  31. Selah said...
    WiO: Why does our rodent and his sidekick obsess about all things zionism, israel and jewish?

    Just to jerk your chain, WiO.

    It's a demonstration project. I want to see what kind of posts Deuce wants removed vs. which ones can stay.


    Thanks for jerking my chain, I just figured you were a jew hating, israel hating zionist hating cunt...

  32. Our resident Jew hating Ms T aka who the hell knows (she's a multiple personality) states about making up lies about Israel:

    "It's a demonstration project. I want to see what kind of posts Deuce wants removed vs. which ones can stay.

    Black lesbians murder man for being heterosexual

    In St. Louis. No hate crimes charge, of course, even though the victim’s sexual orientation was a major factor in the crime. Hate crime charges are for white people. On very rare occasions a non-white who assaults a homosexual or member of another non-white group is charged with a hate crime, but the concept of “hate crimes” was invented to target white people.

    And I’m pretty sure this story won’t get nearly as much attention as the murder of Matthew Shepard over a decade ago still gets, let alone the attention it got when it first happened. Homos murdering heterosexuals is no big deal. Especially when they’re black homos.

    And if you think I’m exaggerating, and this really doesn’t qualify as a hate crime, then just imagine the media and police reaction if a straight white man beat a gay guy to death for making sexual advances to him. Or beat a lesbian to death for coming on to his girlfriend. You’re dreaming if you think it wouldn’t be nationwide non-stop news and that he wouldn’t be charged with a hate crime. This case is no different, but the reaction is the complete opposite. Because hate crime charges are for white people.

  33. ST. LOUIS — Two women accused of beating a man to death in Forest Park were charged today with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and filing a false police report.

    Dawn E. Fulks, 25, and Mellonie D. Jones, 20, both of St. Louis, are being held at jail without bond, St. Louis police said.

    Police described the women as lovers and said the two beat the man after he made unwelcome advances toward Fulks, but she refused, police said.

    The two are accused of fatally beating Willard Bryant Payne, 26, of University City, who was found dead early Monday in the Kennedy Forest area of Forest Park. Police said Payne died of head trauma.

    Either late Sunday or early Monday, Payne went with the women to smoke marijuana in the park, police said. When Payne made an advance at Fulks, police said Jones allegedly hit Payne.
    He tried to run, but the women caught him and continued to beat him with an object not identified by investigators, police said.

    Police said both women were larger than Payne. According to data from Payne’s driver’s license, he was 5-foot-5 and weighed 140 pounds.

    The women told police that Payne tried to rape Fulks, but police do not believe that happened, resulting in the false police report charge.

  34. Lesbians murdering straight men...

    Yep that's a topic for a thread..

  35. desert rat said...
    I think, rather than Gaza slums, the Gaza Ghetto has a more appropriate "ring" to it.

    A better historical perspective.

    Let's all be honest here...

    Rat's family actually served in the Gestapo.

    So what kind of historical perspective could he have?

    He is a self confessed murderer, that killed civilians in Central America, and it's well known he has issues with Jews, Israel and Zionism...

    I put it to the bar, do we really care about anything he has to say? He has admitted such terrible things in the past...

  36. On the XBOX live they give each user the ability to 'mute' other players in the game. You can individually mute one of them, or unmute, as you choose. Great feature! Google should consider its implementation.

  37. Ash said...
    On the XBOX live they give each user the ability to 'mute' other players in the game. You can individually mute one of them, or unmute, as you choose. Great feature! Google should consider its implementation.

    Did Ash say something?

  38. Both.

    Give him a medal; then hang him.


  39. A lot of the gasoline that Europe Was exporting to us is starting to go to China.

    Say "Hello" to $3.00 Gasoline - coming soon to a pump near you.

  40. Republicans will eliminate a House panel designed to explore issues related to climate change, incoming House Speaker John Boehner announced on Wednesday, arguing that the committee is unnecessary and that its eradication would cut government waste.

  41. Stupid Ass Republicans

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — House Republicans called into question a universal, federally sponsored do-not-track tool for the Internet saying in a hearing Thursday that it would curb profits for the Internet advertising industry.

    In a report released Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission endorsed the idea of a do-not-track system to protect consumer privacy on the Web, where advertising companies store user data in an effort to display ads targeted at their interests.

    If I choose not be bothered by being tracked on the Internet by hucksters, isn't that up to me?
    No, The Republicans know best, given the choice between big commercial interests or an individual's privacy the Republicans lay down for big business.

    “I assume most customers would be interested in seeing advertising that was relevant to them,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican,

    No Ed, assume for yourself. Dopes.

  42. Dumb ass Ed says he assumes most people would be interested in being profiled and receiving advertising.

    Well dumbass, if that is true then they won't opt out, will they?

  43. Ed, the ignorant, and his band of fools must have missed the big story about Wikileaks. If the Federal Government, military and Dept of State can't keep secret files from getting on the Internet, how do they expect there will be any security to a private citizen's choice of what internet sites to visit?

  44. I suppose any country can withdraw from a treaty that they feel is not in their interests. However, to do what?

    On the other hand, the writer states:

    Since there's no longer a legal or practical basis for them, Israel should immediately break off the futile negotiations with the 'Palestinians and annex the Israeli controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, while moving the 'Palestinian' non-Israeli citizens to the 'Palestinian' occupied areas.

    The author complains that the Palestinians are withdrawing form a treaty, which is legal and the Israeli response should be to round them up and send them to camps. That is what the Islamists are doing to Christians and Jews throughout the Middle East.

    That rarely has a happy ending.

  45. .
    Dumb ass Ed says he assumes most people would be interested in being profiled and receiving advertising...

    They say whatever they want Deuce when looking out for their constituency. And let's face it, that is not us.

    You'd have to be a moron to believe anything these guys says no matter which side they are on.

    I heard Mike Pence on CNBC today. What a dick. He just submitted a bill that would keep the Bush tax cuts in place ad infinatum for everyone. He gave the usual BS about helping small business as the rationale when what he really meant was I need to help my constituency, the richest people in the US. However, he then added insult to injury by stating he thinks "the majority of Americans want the bill."

    No, Mike, they don't. Numerous polls indicate 60% of the public don't want them extended for the rich.


  46. .

    Boehner and McDonnell have pretty much said that the only things they will support in the lame duck session will be extension of the tax cuts and boosting the debt limit.

    Extending unemployment benefits. Naw. Spending cuts. N'importante.

    They are all a bunch of dicks.


  47. Aren't they just like Deuce - anything it takes to thwart Obama and make sure he doesn't get a second term? "It's the economy, stupid" and if the economy is still bad in 2 years - Sionara Obama!

  48. They could fix the unemployment problem by changing to a declining amount. Say you start at $375 week for 12 weeks, then start dropping by $25 in week 13-16, another $25 drop in week 17,18 and then a drop of $25 each week till you are down to $100 per week allowing for part time work to supplement. That would reduce the disincentive to work from those gaming the system.

  49. I would rather have a strong economy with Obama than a bad economy without him.

    I try to have an open mind, not always successfully.

  50. My day started off nicely enough with a howdy do from Red and is ending well with my daily shot from Ash.

    How sweet it is.

  51. .
    And let's not leave Obama out.

    He goes on tv and says he is freezing federal pay raises. I'll give him credit for baby steps.

    However, that does not mean there won't be federal pay increase. All he did was cut out across the board pay raises. He didn't cut out bonuses, he didn't cut out raises for longevity, increases associated with job transfers, etc.

    (Longevity? Why do you have to pay an employee to keep his federal job when the job in pay and benefits is paying double what the guy can get in the private sector?)

    Under Obama, the overall number of federal jobs has increased by about 7%. The number of jobs with people making more than $150,000 has more than double while the number of those making $70,000 or less has dropped.

    This all during a period when vast numbers of federal jobs are being outsource to private contractors.

    Stuff gives me a headache.


  52. You have to read this:

    With the New Jersey bear hunt scheduled to start next Monday and run for six days, activists against the hunt are pulling out all the stops. Their hope: convince Governor Christ Christie — the only one who can stop the hunt now — to cancel it.

    Their second choice is to at least force postponement of the hunt through a temporary restraining order.

    Two lawsuits, a report documenting political corruption, legislators' appeals and a rally in Trenton near the governor's office are among the efforts and events this week.

    On Wednesday, the Animal Protection League of NJ (APLNJ) and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) held a joint press conference at the State House in Trenton. Reps of the groups discussed both the law suit filed Nov. 30 seeking to stop the bear hunt, and the release of an investigative report titled "Blood for Votes: Political Corruption and the New Jersey Black Bear Hunt."

    According to Stuart Chaifetz, SHARK investigator, the report contains information that should cause the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission to find that both Christie and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance PAC violated state law.

    As a pro-hunting political action committee (PAC) whose mission was to both elect Christie and reinstate a black bear hunt, NJOA reportedly spent nearly five times its legally allowed limit for campaign expenditures on a campaign rally for Christie.

    Then Look at this

    Check out the photo of the bear.

  53. I'm still not sure that Obambi ain't "trickin'em."

    Today, or tomorrow, the Dems will pass an extension of the "middle class" tax cuts in the House.

    Then, with the meme that they want to extend the tax cuts for "everyone" the Pubs will kill the Middle Class Tax Cut in the Senate.

    THEN, Harry Reid will "stall the ball." They will "negotiate" until it's time to go home.

    The upshot will be that the Republicans "Killed the Tax Relief for the Middle Class (read: Voters.)"

    When they come back at the beginning of the year the Dems will "Propose a TAX CUT for the Middle Class." The Pubs will be well, and truly, F***ed.

  54. They didn't become known as "The Party of Stupid" fer nuthin.

  55. .
    The House passed the bill today Ruf.

    McConnell has already said it's not going anywhere in the Senate.

    Regarding 'the bear', it looks like something they would hunt in Idaho.

    I may join SHARK just for the t-shirt.


  56. .
    I saw an article today that said they fear there is lead in the D.C. drinking water.

    That would explain a lot.


  57. That explains that "Bear-roping" thing, huh?

  58. .
    You're right Ruf.

    Idaho or the Tonto (whatever the heck that is)?


  59. Libtard Nazi Symp votes to raise taxes on small business:

    "Three Republicans, Walter Jones (N.C.), Ron Paul (Texas) and John Duncan (Tenn.), voted with Democrats to renew only the middle-class cuts."

  60. "McConnell has already said it's not going anywhere in the Senate."


    Please do not disturb Rufus's sweet dreams of further Pub humiliation, Quirk.

  61. .
    Americans are hosers, eh.

    The bashing goes both ways in the Wikileaks files.

    Diplomats Noted Canadian Mistrust Toward U.S.

    In early 2008, American diplomats stationed in Ottawa turned on their television sets and were aghast: there was an “onslaught” of Canadian shows depicting “nefarious American officials carrying out equally nefarious deeds in Canada,” from planning to bomb Quebec to stealing Canadian water supplies...

    Canadian Media Gigs US

    The are some additional links in the article where you can pull up the synopsis from some of the shows. I like the one with the sexy DHS officer.


  62. Ah, another Republican bashing thread, pardon me for interrupting:

    The MSM needs all the help it can get.

  63. .
    Libtard Nazi Symp votes to raise taxes on small business:

    Once again Doug you buy into the GOP meme without checking on the facts.

    You need to get out more.


  64. .

    Federal Reserve May Be `Central Bank of the World' After UBS, Barclays Aid

    UBS was the biggest borrower under the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, with $74.5 billion overall, more than twice as much as Citigroup Inc., the top U.S. bank recipient, according to the data released yesterday.

    Federal Reserve data showing UBS AG and Barclays Plc ranked among the top users of $3.3 trillion from emergency programs is stoking debate on whether U.S. regulators bear responsibility for aiding other nations’ banks.

    UBS was the biggest borrower under the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, with $74.5 billion overall, more than twice as much as Citigroup Inc., the top U.S. bank recipient, according to the data released yesterday. London-based Barclays Plc took the biggest single amount under another program that made overnight loans, when it got $47.9 billion on Sept. 18, 2008.

    “We’re talking about huge sums of money going to bail out large foreign banks,” said Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent who wrote the provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that required the Fed disclosures. “Has the Federal Reserve become the central bank of the world? I think that is a question that needs to be examined.”

    Helicopter Ben: Banker to the World


  65. .
    Fed aid in financial crisis went beyond U.S. banks to industry, foreign firms

    The financial crisis stretched even farther across the economy than many had realized, as new disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to motorcycle makers, telecom firms and foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009.

    The Fed's efforts to prop up the financial sector reached across a broad spectrum of the economy, benefiting stalwarts of American industry including General Electric and Caterpillar and household-name companies such as Verizon, Harley-Davidson and Toyota. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada while rescuing money-market mutual funds held by millions of Americans.

    The biggest users of the Fed lending programs were some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss-based UBS and Britain's Barclays, according to more than 21,000 loan records released Wednesday under new financial regulatory legislation.

    FED Hand's Out Low Interest Loans


  66. I may be a libtard, national socialist/communist, or whatever, but I'm sure of one thing; spending has to go down, and taxes have to go up.

    The only debate is: where, and how.

  67. Deuce,
    Israeli response should be to round them up and send them to camps.

    The article contains no such plan.

  68. This meme of 250k tax level hurting small business has me puzzled. Income, usually, is calculated as revenue minus expenses. If a small business person gets taxed for an income of 250k how is that different from a worker getting taxed at 250k rate? Surely you wouldn't calculate a small businessman's tax rate on his revenue!

  69. .
    The Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the financial crisis, according to newly revealed data released Wednesday.

    The loans were made through a special loan program set up by the Fed in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse in March 2008 to keep the nation's bond markets trading normally.

    The amount of cash being pumped out to the financial giants was not previously disclosed. All the loans were backed by collateral and all were paid back with a very low interest rate to the Fed -- an annual rate of between 0.5% to 3.5%

    Latest Financial Crisis

    The Fed and Treasury probably saved our bacon in the latest financial crisis. Jobs were saved and most parties helped are paying back what they borrowed with interest.

    I am still pissed with both as well as the government because

    1. They helped create the crisis they had to respond to.

    2. They loan out $9 trillion in loans creating a tremendous amount of risk. Luckily, it turned out about as well as it could but that doesn't wipe out the risks they took.

    3. What are we doing bailing out foreign banks? And even if you think it was the right thing to do, why did we do it for almost zero interest?

    4. Doesn't the fact that it took a lawsuit to get the FED to disclose who they lent money to a big argument for having the FED audited?

    5. The big banks got bailed out on the cheap. They are still getting by on the cheap. Why?

    6. The big banks had to be bailed out becuse they were 'too big to fail'. Those same banks are now larger than they were before bailouts. What's wrong with this picture?

    7. FINREG was supposed to take care of the problem of too big to fail. It didn't. Why?

    8. FINREG was supposed to take care of regulating hedge funds, dirivatives, and other exotic financial arrangements. It didn't. Why?

    9. We go through these same types of financial crisis about every decade. We are still suffering from the latest and nothing has changed. Why?

    10. Fannie/Freddie, AIG, the large banks, Wall Street, the regulatory agencies, the FED, Congress. Zip has changed.


  70. Countries that offer birthright citizenship

    1. United States

    That's right, every other modern
    developed nation in the world has gotten rid of birthright citizenship policies.


    Folks, the U.S. stands alone.

    There used to be all kinds of Developed countries that gave away their citizenship as freely as we do in the U.S.




    * Canada was the last non-U.S. holdout. Illegal aliens stopped getting citizenship
    * for their babies in 2009.
    * Australia's birthright citizenship requirements are much more stringent than
    * those of H.R. 1868 and took effect in 2007..
    * New Zealand repealed in 2006
    * Ireland repealed in 2005
    * France repealed in 1993
    * India repealed in 1987
    * United Kingdom repealed in 1983
    * Portugal repealed in 1981

  71. .

    The 'save small business meme' being pushed by the GOP is BS.

    First, under the Dem proposal, any small business earning $250,000 would keep the lower tax levels.

    According to 1040's, the average earnings for small business are around $40,000.

    In fact, less than 2% of all small businesses would be affected by the increased taxes.

    The people who would be affected would be the very rich who make their money off the markets. These people wouldn't be adding jobs. How do we know? They are not doing it now.


  72. well, maybe a few jobs, luxury boat sales...

  73. The highest honor, the Zenith award, was presented to Bevins Bennett Jr., who launched Bentron Personalized Photography in 1985.


    In addition to Bennett, the second annual Ascension Awards recognized:

    * Executive of the Year: John Howard of PBC Black Business Investment Corp. The not-for-profit corporation provides loans to qualified black-owned businesses that cannot secure traditional financing.


    Small Business of the Year: Emerge Consulting. The firm's clients include the Palm Beach County School District and the city of Fort Lauderdale.


    Nonprofit of the Year: Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and its executive director, Daisy Fulton. The museum in Delray Beach is about to celebrate its 10th year.

    Ascension Awards

  74. As a "Small Businessman" I worried about tax rates ONE day out of the year - the day I did my taxes. all the rest of the time I worried about staying in business, finding customers, making a buck.

    The ONLY reason you hire an employess is: He, or She will Make You Money. Tax rate has Nothing to do with it. The new employee will either make you money or he/she won't.

    The Republicans are as full of shit as a yard-full of Christmas turkeys.

  75. Brian Block is a professional mountaineer and president of Ames Adventure Outfitters - a leading rep group in the outdoor industry. He was in Pakistan this summer and successfully climbed K2, the second-highest mountain in the world.


    He continued, "The Pakistanis I know are regular people like me . . . just trying to live a normal life. Sometimes, I feel they are better people than me and many of my American counterparts as they are completely selfless in good times and beyond, accommodating and helpful in the worst of them.

    If anyone has ever deserved support in a time of need, it would most definitely be the people of the Northern Areas of Pakistan."

    Nothing at All

  76. I found/find it necessary to worry about my income taxes (and my employees) throughout the year. It really comes as a surprise when you've earned just enough to get by in a year and then you've got to face the fact that you actually made an income and it is taxable. I remember my first year in business and eeking out a living, something like a profit of 15k and coming to the end of the year and the government looking for a 1/4 of that. I was just able to make enough for food and lodging and the buggers wanted for 3k out of me. riiiight.

    I'm sure this applies to regular old employees in the US where the employer withholds tax for the government but "What is the definition of a Canadian? - Answer- they think that their annual income tax refund is a gift from the Government".

    In the US, the employer does withhold income tax for the employee, no? Usually they withhold a little more than is needed and you get a refund at the end of the year when you file? Anyway, that is the Canadian way.

  77. As my landlords Dad said "At least if you are paying a lot of money to the Government in taxes you are making a lot of money!"

  78. He's an old Jew - my landlords Dad (he' the patriarch who started his little business years ago and now buys buildings with the excess cash which his kids run). I'm sure the Jew's in the hood here can picture him shrugging his shoulders as he talks about taxes and making lots of money.

  79. Allen, am I reading this wrong?

    The Israelis ought to make a huge deal out of this. Since the 'Palestinians' are no longer bound by Oslo, neither is Israel and Netanyahu should make that crystal clear immediately.

    Since there's no longer a legal or practical basis for them, Israel should immediately break off the futile negotiations with the 'Palestinians and annex the Israeli controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, while moving the 'Palestinian' non-Israeli citizens to the 'Palestinian' occupied areas.
    End game.

  80. .
    House censures veteran Rep. Rangel for misconduct

    Veteran Rep. Charles Rangel, the raspy-voiced, backslapping former chairman of one of Congress' most powerful committees, was censured by his House colleagues for financial misconduct Thursday in a solemn moment of humiliation in the sunset of his career.

    "I brought it onto myself," Rangel told the House. But he also said politics was at work.

    After the 333-79 vote, the 80-year-old Democrat from New York's Harlem stood silently at the front of the House and faced Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she read him the formal resolution of censure.
    Then, in response, he admitted he had made mistakes, including his failure to pay all his taxes, filing misleading financial statements and improperly seeking money from corporate interests for a college center bearing his name.
    But he also declared, "In my heart I truly feel good." He said, "A lot of it has to do with the fact that I know in my heart that I am not going to be judged by this Congress, but I am going to be judged by my life."

    It was only the 23rd time in the nation's history that a House member received the most severe punishment short of expulsion. Aside from the embarrassment, censure carries no practical effect and ends the more than two-year ordeal for the congressman who was re-elected to a 21st term last month with more than 80 percent of the vote.

    Relief and defiance took over the moment Rangel finished speaking. Somber, Pelosi quietly slipped out of the chamber, but some Democrats gave him a standing ovation. Rangel made it only a third of the way up the aisle when a phalanx of well-wishers stopped and hugged him; he responded by saying something that made them laugh. He was smiling for the rest of the 10 minutes or so that it took to get through his colleagues to exit the chamber, his humiliation past...

    Charlie Censured

    Charlie says he wasn't corrupt because he made no 'personal gain'. Perhaps true now; however, what about the taxes he wouldn't have paid if he hadn't been caught. Another indication of how they think in D.C.

    Lead in the water?

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day and all will be well in our own little OZ.


  81. Hey there!

    There's only room for one OZ in this world.

  82. Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also had sharp words for Washington, saying the cables highlighted US hubris.

    "They have laid bare a mindset in which the Americans thought they were better than other,'' he told Brazilian radio.

    As the leaks piled on embarrassment for his administration, President Barack Obama named Russell Travers, an anti-terrorism expert, to lead efforts to mitigate the damage and prevent future illegal data disclosures.

    Julian Assange

  83. .

    Senate to take symbolic votes on taxes Saturday


    Voters in the November 2 elections gave Republicans big gains in Congress, though polls have show most Americans side with Democrats on the tax issue.

    A CBS News poll this week found 53 percent of Americans want the Bush-era rates extended for household income only up to $250,000 - the Democrats' preferred option.

    About 26 percent want the additional cuts for the wealthiest, the poll of 808 adults nationwide found. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points...

    Playing The Game


  84. That Schumer bill calls'em out.

    When most Americans see the words "Small Business" they don't think about someone making $1,000,000.00/Yr.

  85. "My day started off nicely enough with a howdy do..."


    I half expected to come back and find the Bar closed.

    Dreaded it, really.

    The Land of Odd. Shuttered and dark.

    Oh, how I missed it. And not.

  86. Well, no, that's not quite right, as the Land of Odd encompasses my zip code.

    And others.

    In re saying one thing in public and something quite different in private: It serves its purpose. Or A purpose.

    Not just for us, obviously.

  87. According to my maximal oxygen intake estimated from my submaximal heart rate I am not fit. The devastating news came this morning after an initial assessment using a ride on cycle. All the time and energy I spend staying healthy means crap shit if I can't fucking breathe. I feel robbed of all that is. I will reassess the situation in the morning and go forth with a new plan.

    Peace out

  88. So where have you been hiding?

  89. Hiding?

    : )

    Oh, how I wish.

    Avoid heart trouble.

    (When possible.)

    So sayeth the Cleaning Lady.

  90. The "Land of Odd," huh?

  91. This, from someone who serves "wine" with chili.


  92. Hope you've been well, Trish. :)

  93. Or whine with everything.

    I do a pretty decent chili, actually.

    Not bad at all.

    If I do say so myself.

  94. "Hope you've been well, Trish. :)"

    Where to begin?

    I'm not adding the smiley face because it's been done to death.

    Need a new emoticon.

  95. "Smiles" get Old? :)