“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Think Sputnik

The Sputnik Moment

Barack Obama’s “Sputnik Moment” sums up his speech best. In fact, there is no reason to fully dwell on his speech in light of the sputnik moment. What do I mean? Consider this: Barack Obama declared that “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” His reference was to the mobilization of the United States after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite. President Kennedy mobilized the United States to aggressively combat the Soviets with not just an arms race, but with a space race — a race to the moon.

President Obama declared our present economic climate our sputnik moment then proceeded to ignore NASA in his speech while defunding our space program. Nevermind that he did not identify an enemy hell bent on destroying us. He just wanted to use the metaphor without regard for its historic meaning — something this President all too often does.

Barack Obama’s bold leadership will not lead to a new race to space. Rather, in his own words, Barack Obama’s “sputnik moment” is . . . wait for it . . . no seriously, wait for it . . . “solar shingles that are being sold all across the country.”

Not exactly a John F. Kennedy oratory moment. But wait, it gets even better as Barack Obama announces his intention to return us to the 1950’s.

As much as the Democrats caricature the Republicans as hell bent on driving us back to 1950’s style culture, Barack Obama is hell bent on driving us back to 1950’s style economics where people work for large corporations that subsist on government program subsidies and the employees all belong to unions. In the history of the United States, that world view is very recent.

Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs — none of these people needed government subsistence to innovate. They did it on their own. And those, like Jobs, Gates, and others that built off of government inventiveness, the inventiveness on which they built off of came from technological advancements in national security and war — an area of the budget the President is willing to cut.

Barack Obama’s speech was a terrible speech. The only saving grace for him is that it will not be remembered by the American public. Paul Ryan had much more substance and, surprisingly enough, Michelle Bachmann had the best speech of the night with both style and substance.

All and all, Barack Obama’s “sputnik moment” should stand in American history for a great buildup without delivery. Barack Obama did not jump the shark; he sputniked.


  1. Cliche and flowery words. The Chicoms are marvelous. O..O
    Endless debt and overseas commitments, substituting not making things for a financial house of cards - ended that cliche.

    Hu Jintao is now the "most powerful man in the world". POTUS who?

  2. Obama’s speech was vague on specifics.

    Maybe this time is different.

  3. The sad fact is Obama went into this speech with a 50% rating support, This speech will bump him up. Obama will harp on Republican negativity. The Republicans will nominate the worst of the pack and Sputnik will be forgotten.

  4. Hu Jintao does not control his country's monetary policy. He is not the most powerful man, in all the whirled.

    Though he does wield a big stick.

    BH Obama, he does not control his country's monetary policy. He is not the most powerful man, in all the whirled.

    Though he does wield an even bigger stick, than Hu Jintao.

    It is not the size of the stick, or the willingness to employ it, that creates power.

    The ability to create the monetary standard, out of thin air, is what creates power.

    Who controls Ben Shalom Bernanke?

    Certainly neither BH Obama nor Hu Jintao.

    The Congress of the United States cannot even audit the books of the national bank he heads.
    So it is not that Federal institution that is in control.

  5. The most precious asset anyone has, is time.

    Invest it wisely.

    I meet many men who have reached their mid 50's. Men who have achieved financial wealth and security, in that regard.

    Yet, they remained emotionally unfulfilled, disenchanted with their lives.

    They yearn to ride.
    The wind, the waves and towards that far horizon.

    It's time to whip and spur, see you fellas, later.

  6. "surprisingly enough, Michelle Bachmann had the best speech of the night with both style and substance."


    Surprising to some.

    Bachman/Rubio 2012!

  7. ...which reminds me of greatest threat to this country.

    The Fucking Corrupt MSM

    Bachman is screwed, are we.

  8. Which Pub got to sit next to Nancy?

    (Not planning on watching the Deceiver in Chief...)

  9. 'Rat said...

    "They yearn to ride.
    The wind, the waves and towards that far horizon.

    It's time to whip and spur, see you fellas, later.

    Put some thought into what you'd really choose to do when the GD body starts to fail...

    ...wife and sister remind me it's no picnic.

    Make the best of it.

  10. Is there anything serious about national politics in this country besides the consequences?

  11. The "Sputnick Moment" refers to that which cannot be named "Our Depleting Fossil Fuel Resources" - Oil, in particular.

  12. I am still intrigued by the Sputnik metaphor. America won the race with the Soviets at an estimated cost of $100 billion in current dollars.

    We probably earned ten times that amount in technological spinoff's and got ripped off for most of it by the Chinese.

    We will have our Sputnik moment all right when the Chinese go to the moon, except this time to stay.

    Today our biggest export is stupidity in all its various forms.

  13. If there really was a God, we'd live long and die young. tm

  14. President Obama’s State of the Union address met its promise for civility but the math behind his proposals didn’t entirely add up.

    For all his talk of reining in federal spending and cutting the deficit, Obama proposed an ambitious spending spree ranging from new clean energy technologies to expensive bridges and high-speed rail projects. He offered very few specifics about where spending cuts would come from, and one of the ideas he offered for offsetting some of his spending — eliminating oil and gas tax breaks — couldn’t get passed by Congress when the Democrats controlled both chambers. Now Republicans, typically more friendly to industry, are in charge of the House.

  15. "high-speed rail projects"

    Buy these maroons

    Lionel Train Sets

    and let them live out their nineteeth century dreams in peace.


  16. "beep, . . . beep, . . . . beep"

  17. High Speed Rail makes a lot of sense for certain routes.

  18. We are starting to get some decent threads again.

  19. I should probably delete the previous comment.

  20. When I get to the weekend I'll build up a stash of good'uns for ya Deuce.

  21. "I should delete"

    Here's my comment, plus the 'Rat addition, which was rejected as spam, by the machine brain that has become
    The Pajamas Censorious Media site.

    OK, you guys remind me of how blissful it was, in many ways, to have lived w/o any "utilities"
    (water, gas, electric) for ten years.

    ...but it was in the middle of a pristine California National Forest, before it was surrounded by third World squalor, which has become California's future, thanks to liberal rule.



    desert rat said...

    "The most precious asset anyone has, is time.

    Invest it wisely.

    I meet many men who have reached their mid 50's. Men who have achieved financial wealth and security, in that regard.

    Yet, they remained emotionally unfulfilled, disenchanted with their lives.

    They yearn to ride.
    The wind, the waves and towards that far horizon.

    It's time to whip and spur, see you fellas, later.


    'Rat's off to California to rustle, rescue, and train Mustangs for adoption.
    ...instead of leaving them to the tender mercies of the Federal BLM operatives.

  22. The fuckin MSM is less censorius than the
    "New Media"
    @ Pajamas

  23. How about if Sputnik falls out of the sky and hits you?

    The U.S. budget deficit this year will jump nearly 40 percent over prior forecasts, mostly due to the mammoth tax-cut package brokered by President Barack Obama and lawmakers last month, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.

    The CBO said the fiscal 2011 deficit will hit $1.48 trillion, up from last August's $1.07 trillion estimate, which was crafted before Bush-era tax rates were extended at a cost of $858 billion over 10 years.

  24. It seems as if Obama may have used a little plagiarism last night:

    The New Sputnik

    Published: September 26, 2009
    Most people would assume that 20 years from now when historians look back at 2008-09, they will conclude that the most important thing to happen in this period was the Great Recession. I’d hold off on that. If we can continue stumbling out of this economic crisis, I believe future historians may well conclude that the most important thing to happen in the last 18 months was that Red China decided to become Green China.

    Yes, China’s leaders have decided to go green — out of necessity because too many of their people can’t breathe, can’t swim, can’t fish, can’t farm and can’t drink thanks to pollution from its coal- and oil-based manufacturing growth engine. And, therefore, unless China powers its development with cleaner energy systems, and more knowledge-intensive businesses without smokestacks, China will die of its own development.

  25. Bachmann and Ryan did what Rs have been doing for decades. They complained.

    Point out Obama's and the dems' flaws, give lip-service to "limited government" then do the wedge social issues to mask your addiction to big government and incompetence.

    Bachmann at least touched on being able to buy healthcare from any company in any state, thus ending the federally-imposed monopoly statuses of insurance companies in states.

    At least the Rs have the gun thing right.

    If they came out and said bluntly:

    Abolish ALL subsidies - the Constituion does not provide for the FedGov to pick winners and losers. If your business can't live without federal largesse, then it isn't a real business.

    12% Flat tax for everyone. No more deductions of any kind.

    0% Corporate tax rate. Watch capital return to US at a level unprecedented in history.

    Marked to model is over. Forever.

    Defund redundant agencies starting this year.

    Defense, SS and Medicare will all have to be adjusted.

    Pass a law that makes it illegal for the EPA to create "carbon" regulations.

    Ignite the imaginations of the country.

    Shit, if you can't do half or 2/3 of them, at least you are showing people you are thinking boldly.

    Tired of the Rs constant whining and complaining. Get in there and create a platform that people are inspired to support.

  26. China is "going green" out of economic necessity. Their Coal Imports are skyrocketing, and they're importing a million barrels/day more oil Every year.

  27. We get about 40% of our coal from the Powder River Basin (400 Million Tons/Yr.)

    China will probably Import that much coal in 2012 (up from being a Coal "exporter" just a couple of years ago.)

  28. Global Crude Oil Extraction has been on an undulating plateau since 2005, and will probably start an inexorable decline somewhere around the latter part of 2012.

    Everything since 2001 has to be looked at through that prism.

  29. Global Crude Oil Extraction has been on an undulating plateau since 2005, and will probably start an inexorable decline somewhere around the latter part of 2012.

    Not even God can predict the future. But there is hope. It's called human ingenuity and market messages. $3.75 gas will be one such message.

  30. Adam, Obama was so proud of his Sputnik moment.

  31. Deuce said...

    "Adam, Obama was so proud of his Sputnik moment"


    Did he relate it to a day in the life of The Won, as per usual?

    If so, it was another "Edmund Hillary moment," as little Barry Soetoro did not make his entrance until 1961.

  32. ...Actually a Sir Edmund Hillary story in reverse:

    "They named it "Sputnik" which is Russian for Soetoro."

  33. Heard a guy on the radio describe China as being the World's largest "Apartheid" system:

    Partly racial, but totally separate in terms of city folk v the impoverished billion souls in the country.

    Their inability to keep that together, along with the demographic disaster, is probly our best hope of being able to (barely) afford enoough non-renewable resources to get along.

  34. China, like All Communist countries, can do everything Except "Feed its Citizens."

    Commies cain't do agriculture.

  35. 54. Josh

    – in Obambus’ SOTU last night (if that’s what it was), … “sputnik”? WTF kind of resonance does that have with the current American populace? I’ll bet half the population under 40 thinks it’s something to eat, or perhaps a medical condition, or the rock and roll hit of the month in Happyland.

  36. "Commies cain't do agriculture."

    Luckily, wrt Cuba and Russia, reporting on this fact in the USA has been less than stellar.

  37. MSM loves Commies, and Wall St. hates farmers. Perfect convergence.

  38. With rapidly, ever-increasing oil, and coal imports, and with more corn, and soy imports every year from us, China will have to continue to let the Yuan increase in value. This will help our "balance of payments" at a time when they really, really Need some help.

  39. California's politicians regard for agriculture also a prime example of biting the hand that feeds us.

  40. Habu is writing volumns on economics @ BC Rufus:
    A report from you would be interesting.

    His most pertinent point to me is this:

    "Do you believe it is possible for a country to get out of debt by issuing more debt that fewer countries are buying?"

  41. I'd shorten it to this:

    "Do you believe it is possible for a country to get out of debt by issuing more debt?"

  42. Here's the Sputnik thing. Obama had to search for some metaphor for what he claims we're up against without offending anyone, well almost. He cannot talk about 9/11, that's Bush's deal. He cannot talk about defeating the Soviets in an arms and economic race (Reagan). His side has been on the wrong side of every issue that's come down the pike for the last 70 years.

    He had to pick something - the race into space - that is fucking vanilla enough it doesn't offend the Left. With Sputnik, he can paint it as a friendly competition with the good ole Russians under old Uncle Nick Khrushchev.

    Unfortunately, nobody gives two shits about Sputnik in 2011. They wonder 1) whether all promises will be kept and 2) what happens if they are (bankruptcy) or are not (Greece-style riots).

  43. The question is moot, Doug. It presupposes that "getting out of debt" is "Good" for a sovereign country with a fiat monetary system (it ain't.)

    The informative question for the U.S. is "how much debt is good?"

    A better question is "Is it sometimes necessary to borrow money to keep your enterprise from failing?"

    Of course, the Real question for Us is "Are we getting Too Far into debt, and, if we are, what can we do about it?"

  44. "Do you believe it is possible for a country to get out of debt by issuing more debt?"

    …and is that supposed to be profound?

  45. One of many Habu links:

    He's got two thousand bucks worth of nickels!

  46. "…and is that supposed to be profound?"

    The extent to which it is ignored is profound.

    ...considering the consequences.

  47. My answer:

    "The Fed won’t be able to keep interest rates artificially low forever:

    Debt service at that point will be completely unmanageable, to put in mildly."

  48. Itlooks like Obama was not being plaigiaristic, he was recycling:

    If any of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address struck you as familiar, don't be surprised. Much of it was a rehash of familiar phrases and policies he'd proposed earlier.

    Telling terrorists: "We will defeat you."

    He said exactly the same words in his inaugural speech two years ago.

    "This is our generation's Sputnik moment."

    He told an audience in North Carolina last month that this was "our generation's Sputnik moment."

    A five-year freeze on some federal spending? He proposed a three-year freeze last year.

    There were some new touches, to be sure. It was the first time he's said he wants to cut corporate income tax rates, as well as close corporate tax loopholes. And the audience was definitely new - there are a lot more Republicans in the Congress, and a Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner of Ohio, was peering over his shoulder instead of Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

    But from Obama's choice of words to his proposals, much of the hourlong speech was old news. Examples:

    Tough talk for terrorists.

    "We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you," he said this week.

    "You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you," he said in his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2009.

    "To those who would tear this world down, we will defeat you," he said on Nov. 4, 2008, the night he was elected.

    Sputnik moment.

    In his call for greater federal spending on research to better compete with foreign rivals, Obama this week likened the moment to the U.S. response when the former Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space in 1957.

    "We had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs," he said Tuesday night.

    He road tested the line first back in December, during a visit to a community college in Winston-Salem, N.C.

    "That was a wake-up call that caused the United States to boost our investment in innovation and education, particularly in math and science," he said then. "And as a result, once we put our minds to it, once we got focused, once we got unified, not only did we surpass the Soviets, we developed new American technologies, industries and jobs," he said.

    "So 50 years later, our generation's Sputnik moment is back. This is our moment."

    Read more:

  49. Here's what I think:

    We are going to have to cut Social Security Benefits in some way (this one, by the way, Really chaps my ass inasmuch as I'm the first one to the wreck.)

    We're going to have to do something about how we tax corporations that utilize offshore loopholes to pay virtually No Federal Income Tax - we gotta do this, NOW.

    We're going to have to get a little more from the "high earners" - the "low earners" just don't have enough to get the job done. Common sense has to prevail on this one.

    We must import Less Oil, and we have to construct a "realistic" trade regime with China.

    We've gotta cut back on the Foreign adventurism (and "aid,") and

    ALL government agencies/programs (including defense) should be cut across the board, preferably 10%, or so.

  50. I love Obama's goal to freeze spending.

    ...following years of unprecedented increases.

  51. Deuce:

    Somebody on the a radio quoted from BHO's book about how much he despised Reagan.

    Now he's gonna piggyback on his popularity.

    Who knows, with this MSM almost anything is possible.

  52. You wife has been hitting your credit card to the tune of 4 grand a month running the household etc for a couple of years, driving you crazy and requiring you to carry a balance most months.

    One day she tells you due to the economy she will vow not to spend anymore than 4 grand a month in order to help you out.

    Same scenario with Nobama's proposal to freeze spending.

  53. High sped rail along the I 95 corridor would be a Godsend to those folks living over there.

  54. U.S. Loan Guarantee for World's largest Solar Pholtaic Farm in Yuma County, Az

  55. Would I take the High Speed Rail from Memphis to St. Louis? Probably not.

    Would I take it for a weekend in New Orleans (about the same distance?) Yeah, I probably would.

    The Destination matters.

    From L.A. to San Francisco? Nah.

    From L.A. to Las Vegas? You betcha.

  56. The low low speed rail from Memphis to New Orleans is called AMTRAK :)

  57. Took that low-speed (sometimes, No-speed) rail to Chi-town, once.

    Ne'er agin.

  58. An Ohio mom has been sent to jail for giving her dad's home address as hers in order to send her daughters to a better school? The school district hired a PI to track her movement. Why? Because she is a black woman.

    Don't even TRY to leave the plantation.

  59. One more little comment before I put Bonzo to beddybye. This deal would look a whole hell of a lot better if we were to get out of recession, and back to a decent level of employment. We "should" be taking in close to $3 Trillion by now (rather than $2.2 T,) if the economy was cookin'.

    The real, "God help us all" Danger is that the price of Oil/Gasoline might keep us out of a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness, Strong "Recovery."

    And, that, kiddos, Is a distinct possibility. And, a Terrifying one.

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. It has been almost 11 years since the Saudi financed attacks upon the US occurred.

    That is a fact beyond dispute.

    Yet we are still dependent upon Saudi oil.

    That is a fact beyond dispute.

    Some folks think that GW Bush did not waste a trillion dollars on the "War on Terror".

    They are foolish partisans, at best.

    That may be disputed, but not by the observant or any independent minded patriot.

    The fact that BH Obama has continued on the course set by GW Bush, beyond dispute.

  62. Suicide is painless, doug.

    The game of life is hard to play
    I'm gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I'll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.
    suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    The sword of time will pierce our skins
    It doesn't hurt when it begins
    But as it works its way on in
    The pain grows it grin.
    suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

  63. Wall Street Journal -

    Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday unanimously decided to continue buying government bonds to boost the economic recovery, even as they acknowledged that the US economy looks in better shape and three of the four new Federal Open Market Committee ...

  64. Crazy, maybe, but not insane ...

    By AP TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -

    A man accused in the deadly Tucson shooting rampage reportedly researched lethal injections, solitary confinement and political assassinations in the days before the attack.