“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, March 17, 2011

How much worse can it get?


  1. Added new RNC chairman Reince Priebus in a Tweet: "How can @BarackObama say he is leading when puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?"

    Mr. Obama opened the ESPN segment by calling on Americans to go to and find charities through which they can make donations to the people of Japan. He said it would be a "great gesture" for Americans to donate, adding, "As you're filling out your brackets you can really help out some people who are going through a tough time."

    You can see Mr. Obama's full NCAA men's basketball bracket here. On the women's side, Mr. Obama also picked all #1 seeds to reach the final four; his full bracket is here.

    #1 Seeds

  2. Three cowboys were seated around the campfire out on the lonesome sagebrush prairie, and with the pride for which these men were famous; it was a night of bravado, a night of tall tales.....

    Tom, the hand from Wyoming says, 'I must be the strongest, meanest, toughest cowboy there is. Why, just the other day, a bull got loose in the corral. It had gored six men before I wrestled it to the ground by the horns with my bare hands and castrated that sucker with my teeth.'

    Ben, from Oklahoma, couldn't stand to be bested. 'That's nothing, I was walking down the trail yesterday and a 15 foot diamondback rattler slid out from under a rock and made a move for me. I grabbed that bastard with my bare hands, bit off its head, and sucked the poison down in one gulp and didn't even get a belly ache.'

    Old Bob, the cowboy from West Texas, remained silent, slowly stirring the campfire coals with his pecker…..

  3. .

    Dems face up to 14 years on fake filing xharges associated with the Tea Party in the 2010 election

    Two former high-ranking members of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing various election corruption charges in a bogus tea party scheme, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and County Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced Wednesday.

    Former Democratic Party Chairman Michael McGuinness and ex-operations director Jason Bauer, both of Waterford Township, were arraigned Wednesday before Oakland Circuit Judge James Alexander.

    They face charges related to Independent Tea Party filings, false affidavits and forged documents that occurred between July 23 and July 26 last year.

    Both stood mute to the charges and were released on $25,000 personal bond each, pending an April 13 hearing before Alexander.

    The charges include felonies that carry up to 14 years in prison. Neither could be reached for comment.

    Phony Filings Net Arrests


  4. Mot much worse.

    Unless Saudi goes.

    Legacy of Disaster --

    2012 can't get here fast enough.

  5. One should mention it was
    WiO who predicted all this in the Middle East when he talked about Egypt being one food riot away from chaos, from whence the chaos would spread.

  6. One could also remember that it was Osama that promised such discord, amongst the Islamic allies of the US and Europeons, across the Islamic Arc.

    Those autocratic regimes, supported by the "West", are all in turmoil. As are the Iranians, too.

    Nothing would be better, than to watch the royals of Saudi Arabia take it hard, while the Shiites of that country gain the inalienable rights granted by the Creator to all men.

  7. I have read, here at the EB, that the US should emulate the Germans, with regards to Industrial Policy.

    BBC News -

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a "measured exit" from nuclear power in response to the crisis affecting four reactors in Japan.

    Nuclear technology to generate civilian energy, now considered obsolete, by the "market leader".

  8. BEIJING (Reuters) -

    Eighteen months before Japan's radiation crisis, US diplomats had lambasted the safety chief of the world's atomic watchdog for incompetence, especially when it came to the nuclear power industry in his homeland, Japan.

  9. If long life is a measure of success, things are not so bad, here in the United States of America.

    AHN | All Headline News - ‎2 hours ago‎
    The death rate in the United States fell for the tenth straight year, according to federal statistics released this week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report also showed life expectancy in the United States increased to 78.2 years, ...

    How much worse can it get?

    That number could be moving the other way, if things were REALLY "bad".

  10. The residents of the US are living longer and have more material wealth than ever. Even more than ever before, when compared to the other 97% of the whirled population.

    We're still producing and consuming over 20% of the whirld's economy, while the rest of the whirled tries to "catch up".

  11. I doubt that this is "good news" -

    The US has signalled that the international community should "go beyond" a no-fly zone in Libya, suggesting military intervention for the first time.

  12. (Reuters) -

    Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala on Thursday to rally against the arrival of troops from Sunni power Saudi Arabia in Bahrain.

    The Shi'ite ruling bloc in Iraq has denounced the deployment of troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in Bahrain, where a Sunni royal family has called in aid from its neighbors to help quell an uprising by mainly Shi'ite protesters.

    Confrontation between Shi'ites and Sunnis in the Gulf risks worsening Iraq's own sectarian divide after years of war.

  13. DR: The US has signalled that the international community should "go beyond" a no-fly zone in Libya, suggesting military intervention for the first time.

    Russia will support whichever option results in extending the crisis in Libya, which elevates oil prices.

  14. wow! What a powerful political statement that post was Deuce - juxtaposing pictures of Obama at leisure with pictures of disaster. oh sooooo compelling. Who could ever vote for the man after an expose like that!

  15. Well Obama did mosey over to the Japanese embassy today and sign the condolences guest book, took up a whole page too. I would have thought he'd fly over to Tokyo just for the publicity. Whatever did happen to never let a crisis go to waste?

  16. Remember ash,s concerns about FISA, Guantanamo, targeted drone strikes, rendition, etc.?

    Now the crickets are chirping and he's upset someone painted his Obama in an unflattering light

  17. "Islam is an ally"
    "Islam is our ally" --

    can't recall which but Desert Rat is responsible for one of the above quotes.

    I've always wondered what kind of Islamic Desert Rat really was - seems he's of the Shiite persuasion, today.

  18. deuce, the peasants are revolting

    ash, maybe you should write a letter to the la times about their expose

  19. Islam is an ally of the United States, anon.

    The varieties of Islam we support, well it comes and goes.

    Sometimes we give the Wahhabi weapons and training, other times it is the Shiites that receive the largess of US aid.

    But that the US has established two Islamic Republics, beyond dispute.

    One Sunni, one Shiite.
    We are not concerned with sectarian differences, in our support of Islam.

  20. Perhaps anon supports those that funded the attack on the United States, back in September of 2001, you all know it was the Saudi royals that allowed the Golden Chain to operate.

    You know, I know and anyone else that cares to know just who funded that raid, does.

    That you would defend their autocratic rule of that Shiite minority, in Saudi Arabia, showing your true colors.

    That of a closet Wahhabi.

    A supporter of terrorist regimes that maintain the status que.

  21. .

    Sorry accuses anon of being a Wahhabiist.


  22. .

    More humor on St. Patty's Day.

    I've denounced the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform bill. However, unlike the GOP I have denounced it because it adds a massive new bureacracy while not going far enough in in curbing the abuses in the financial industry that brought us to the mess we are in today. In other words, that it lacks effective regulation of the crooks.

    As for the humor I mentioned, the ABA has been asking the bank industry and its members to attend the GOP hearings on Dodd-Frank in D.C. (Almost seems a little like the bussed-in tactics Doug denounced when the Dems used it to get their people to rallys in WI, In, Oh, and Mi.)

    At any rate, since the GOP don't believe they can stop Dodd-Frank, they are attempting to defund the regulatory agencies (primarily the SEC) in an effort to slow down implementation as much as possible.

    Their professed reason: "To save jobs."

    Humorous enough. However, the real humor came when Sheila Bair began explaining certain portions of the bill. We were then treated to the picture of a chamber packed with bankers dressed in three-piece suits hissing and booing the Director.


    Dodd-Frank Tension


  23. .

    Evidently, Blogger didnt' like my dissing of rat's Wahhabi rant and deleted it.

    Since it was quite long (although amazingly articulate and spot on) I won't bother repeating it.


  24. .

    For any who still believe that U.S. foreign policy is handled on anything but an ad hoc basis ot that any positives that may accrue to us is anything more than dumb luck I offer the following:

    The seeming collision of American interests was evident in 2009, when the State Department’s human rights report on Libya was a gruesome inventory of disappearances and torture. Months earlier, however, a diplomatic cable, obtained by the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, called the Qaddafi government a “strong partner in the war against terrorism” and declared the relationship with Libya’s spy service “excellent.”

    A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment about the agency’s ties to foreign intelligence services. But Michael Scheuer, who spent two decades at the C.I.A. in counterterrorism operations, said it was absurd to believe that such work could be done without the help of unpalatable allies.

    “Foreign policy and intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with values,” Mr. Scheuer said. “It has to do with material interests and security. We would be blind in most of the world if we only dealt with Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

    Some former C.I.A. operatives believe that Libya’s help in counterterrorism has been overstated. Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of the C.I.A.’s Libya branch, said Colonel Qaddafi often tried to paint his political enemies as terrorists, and that the C.I.A. became “sucked in” to working with a ruthless government because the spy agency was desperate for information about potential militants.

    “I understand that to get intelligence about bad people, you can’t just deal with nuns and Boy Scouts,” said Mr. Cannistraro. “But in the case of Qaddafi, you’re talking about dealing with a murderer...”

    Pragmatism? Idealism? Maybe it's more complicated than that?


  25. Sound Familiar?

    Danger of Spent Fuel Outweighs Reactor Threat

    Years of procrastination in deciding on long-term disposal of fuel rods are now coming back to haunt Japan.


    Keeping the fuel pools topped up would have been achievable with easily airliftable rudimentary farm or construction equipment and widely available plumbing hardware prior to the site becoming a radioactive Hellhole.

    In retrospect, it is becoming obvious that Tokyo Electric crews were basically on their own until after things had spiraled out of control.
    Kan's crews were largely absent prior to Tuesday.

    No doubt most attention was taken by the monumental challenges elsewhere, and it was hoped/assumed that Tokyo Electric could handle the plants.
    ...if only they could have a do-over...

    Preparing an SOP to prevent this ever occuring here would have been child's play in less litigeous times when engineers rather than lawyers had primacy.

    Now Harry and The Won have wiped out decades of work toward addressing Nuclear Storage.

  26. "Since it was quite long (although amazingly articulate and spot on) I won't bother repeating it."


    My day is ruined.
    This on top of my neglecting to read your jewels in the previous thread.

    Wo is me, I'll stumble endlessly in the darkness of my politically Judgemental Hell.

  27. .

    My day is ruined.
    This on top of my neglecting to read your jewels in the previous thread.

    Come on Dougo.

    You know you read them.

    You couldn't help yourself.



  28. .

    Wo is me, I'll stumble endlessly in the darkness of my politically Judgemental Hell...

    You've almost convinced me to reconstruct it Doug.

    After all, I still consider your place my fall back place to crash if I ever get stuck on Maui after the last commuter plane leaves for the day.


  29. long as I have control of any text editing devices, and you agree to wear a muzzle.

  30. When Hillary puts herself out to pasture, BHO should replace her with a newly named

    Sendentary of State

    The better to match his "leadership" style.

  31. .

    ... you agree to wear a muzzle.


    By the way, haven't heard anything in a while but I hope you wife is doing well.


  32. hee hee. I guess you don't really need a sarcasm font :)

    On a more serious note - do you have any evidence that Obama is kicking back playing golf and such when he should be out exercising his immense power and fixing things like the messed up Japanese reactors?

  33. US military launches Operation Sock Puppet, pays contractor $2.76m to generate phony Facebook, Twitter psyops accounts.

    Blogger is handled by a sub-contract.

  34. Good thing that it's a secret.
    They'll never know.

  35. .

    Sorry Ash, while I have to admit I thought Duece's extended post was a little overkill, I have to agree with it's main thrust.

    Obama spending time on ESPN talking hoops with everything going on in the world right now indicates he is either tone deaf to public opinion or doesn't give a shit.

    The question "What can he do?" is really not key? Whether he can do anything substantial does not effect the impression that he is basically disengaged.

    Worse, U.S. policy appears ad hoc and unfocused. They are reluctant to do anything less they be blamed while at the same time mouthing whatever sound bites they think will allow them to take credit for any positives that may occur.


  36. While I am agreement with you on the foreign policy issues I think there is little evidence that Obama isn't engaged. It reminds me of all the whining about Bush spending at his ranch in Texas - as if one were out of the loop and couldn't make decisions anywhere but whilst sitting in the Oval Office.

    Given the recent security council decision it looks like another front will be taken up by the US in the pan arab war. I'll admit that it is far better that the administration has worked the multi-national route on this one but given the fiasco currently underway I'm not sure governing Libya is going to be much fun and profitable.

  37. I want to hear Quirk's rant, and I'm happy the UN decided to give Qadafi a dirt bath.

    With the French leading the way! And Qatar! (I think)

    After all he killed a couple hundred of us.

    If they can establish a Mexican standoff, then let them kill themselves for awhile, and we end up good buds with the oil producing regions, that's perfect.

    Qadafi sure looks the part, doesn't he?

    Looks count.

  38. At a Senate hearing, Undersecretary of State William J. Burns agreed that actions would “include a no-fly zone but could go beyond them,” to include targeted air strikes, jamming of government communications signals and handing over internationally frozen Libyan government assets, including $32 billion in the United States alone, to the rebel leadership.

    Burns confronted sharply differing views about the Libyan crisis that crossed party lines. Some, led by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), charged the administration has been too cautious in its response.


    But Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), along with several committee Democrats, warned of the “risk that our involvement would escalate” and said the administration should “seek congressional debate on a declaration of war” against Libya before U.S. forces participate in any action.

    UN Vote

  39. Let the UN send in their own planes. It is none of our business. Qaddafi needs killing and has for some time, but kill the SOB and be prepared for someone worse.

    Stay the hell out of picking winners and losers in the ME. Kill Qaddafi and be prepared for the rest of the ME to blow up and keep your enthusiasm for the ascendancy of Iran. Fuggin geniuses all.

  40. Let Obama smoke a big fat joint and enjoy his b-ball.

  41. The Libyans were cheering in Benghazi when the vote for the No Fly Zone came in, 10 in favor, 5 abstaining. They haven't cheered so much since the Lockerbie Bomber stepped off the plane in Tripoli.

  42. .

    Stay the hell out of picking winners and losers in the ME.

    The funny part is that we don't even know who it is we are helping except that they are "rebels".

    However, I understand Clinton did meet a couple of them about a week ago. I guess she looked into their heart and pronounced them good ala Bush and Putin.

    I suppose that is sufficient prep for the U.S. to go to war.


  43. 60. Doug

    ...You and I could have jury rigged a fix for the pools a week ago!

    Most any small farmer could have.

    Even one spouting poetry from Idaho? I think not.

    Temps seem to be stabilizing, more workers are pouring in to back up the early shifts, and radiation levels on site are dropping. Stay away from the worst radiation threats folks...your TV sets.

  44. AH... The arab/islamic occupiers of north africa are killing each other....


    On one side we have jew hating, israel hating, inbred goat fuckers (and for this one time I am not referring to the Bar's resident Jew hating, Israel hating goat fucker, Rat) and on the other side, we have Jew hating, Israel hating goat fuckers...

    Both sides remind me of why we need to send condoms to the arab & islamic world...

    Stay out of the conflict and for what we dont spend?

    Invest in domestic energy exploration, mining and drilling...

    Hard to pick a side...

    As I have said, in 1783 we went war once with north africa moslems that had declared war on us...

    From the Hall of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.

    No more direct war on Libya, but no medicine, no food, no, money, no arms, no technology, no trade and certainly no tourism and no cultural exchanges.

    Hacking and destroying any and all computers, infrastructure and communications is all game....

    OK, I have popped by corn, time to start totaling the number of dead and wounded moslems across the globe (of course this only applies to moslem on moslem barbaric actions)

  45. Thanks to the anon for remembering my statements about food riots...


    and rat's real name is ishmael....

  46. Historically, many biotech crops are grown to feed livestock or as ingredients for biofuels, rather than for direct human consumption. But that's changing.

    China, eager to expand its farm production capabilities, is running field tests of biotech seeds to grow wheat and rice.

    Monsanto Co., which shelved its biotech wheat effort six years ago amid political and consumer backlash, has revived its research. So have rival seed firms, including Syngenta.

    Prices Rise 3.9%

  47. Doug can piss on the reactors and Linear can put his finger in the electrical plug in spot.

  48. and rat's real name is ishmael....

    he's a product of the Moorish invasion of Sicily.

  49. We could get a little practical experience with our F22's.