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

Monday, March 07, 2011

Mustang Sally

We were greeted by the sight of the snow capped McDowell Mountains as we drove towards the Mustanger’s remount station in Rio Verde. After hooking up the stock trailer, we headed toward the Bush Highway on our way to the BLM Adoption center set up in Apache Junction. When we got there,in one of the stalls, we found the object of our quest, Mustang #3176, a 14h, grey mare, with black mane and tail.

We got the paper work processed and K. C. Fair backed the trailer up to the loading chute. The BLM associate haltered the mare while she was confined in the chute. Mustang #3176 loaded easily with the wave of the flag. On the drive back to Rio Verde, the mare was named Mustang Sally. Back at the Remount Station, it was time to initiate Sally’s training program.

The long lead attached to the halter and was tied to a catch rope and dallied to Travis Ericsson’s saddle horse. With steady pressure applied, Sally soon dismounted the trailer. A dance commenced, three steps forward, three steps back, move to the right, then to the left. Who leads, who follows? Numerous changes in direction over the next thirty minutes. Within an hour, Travis had led Sally around the station and into a stall in the barn. With the three of them, Sally, Travis and the saddle horse in the pipe pen, Travis began the gentling and handling process, using techniques that are at the heart of the “Ericsson Method”. After an hour or so, Sally was standing in the pen, saddled, ready for phase 2.

Seth Mertzweiller slipped into the saddle and Sally was off on her first ride. It was a short ride within the mare motel, less than eight hours after leaving Apache Junction.

On day 2, Sally was reintroduced to the halter, another session of the Ericsson Method, a repeat of ‘sacking out’ and saddling, another ride in the pen, lifting her feet and settling her mind. Days 3 and 4, Sally is ridden about the station, working in the arena, big circles left and right, introduced to cattle and the tools of the cowboy trade.

We ride to train,
and train to ride.


  1. You all may appreciate the following article. You should read it all if you are 'anti-government'

    Neil Reynolds
    The withering of the state

    "Controversial Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argued (in his brilliant The Rise and Decline of the State) that government – the most important institution in the world – peaked in the 20th century and was now, as another seer once memorably put it, withering away. Writing in 1999, Prof. van Creveld seemed perceptive but not necessarily persuasive. Now the evidence of shrinkage is overwhelming: The limitations of the state are obvious. Were he so inclined, Prof. van Creveld could write an epilogue: I told you so.

    Among the affluent democracies, countries now struggle to avert bankruptcy. Throughout the Middle East, civilian populations summarily fire dictators. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars from thin air – money to boost equity markets, to create an illusion of wealth. Everywhere, government bureaucracies expand and government debt rises. Governments get bigger, even as they grow weaker.

    The state peaked militarily, Prof. van Creveld said, on Aug. 6, 1945 – the “fine summer day” when an atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. The state had gone too far. Any greater deployment of military power would have required the annihilation of nations. People’s trust in government eroded. The armies of the superpowers proved ineffective in small-scale wars. (Prof. van Creveld once expressed doubt that the Israelis could ever win against the Palestinians: “When you are strong and you are fighting the weak, everything you do is criminal.”)

    With its ability to wage victorious war diminished, governments turned inward after the Second World War, adopted socialist economic models and built cradle-to-grave welfare states. They began by nationalizing industry, then vastly expanding bureaucracies to care for the old, the poor and the sick. Once established, these bureaucracies grew relentlessly. Canadian governments now employ more than three million people. U.S. governments now employ more than 21 million (not counting military personnel).


  2. I don't speak for anyone else but myself when I say I'm not anti-government.
    Rather, I would like a limited government.

  3. I'm for a government which actually follows the Constitution, which of course is the same thing as a limited government.

  4. Explorer, scientist and Jacksonville, Florida author, Bruce Nappi, has just released two volumes of his new book series LIARS! The books present over 40 major discoveries that answer many of the most critical unanswered questions of the ages, including why we have so much chaos and strife in modern society.


    Ultimately, the reader will learn how public statements claiming to represent broad "public opinion", are predominantly the voice of a small elite minority intent on maintaining superiority. Mankind's greatest social institutions: government, religion, science, education, law, medicine, and even the U.S. Constitution, are challenged and shown to be corrupt.

    A unified structure emerges which becomes the basis for a new social structure for mankind.

    High Speed Train

  5. Nelson Anaia, a provincial disaster officer at the Solomon Islands' National Disaster Management Office, said there was no threat of a tsunami and everything was "normal".

    A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said there was no tsunami threat to Australia.

    Comment is being sought from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    Solomon Islands

  6. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have died since Libya's uprising began, although tight restrictions on media make it nearly impossible to get an accurate tally.

    The US and United Nations have imposed sanctions on Gaddafi's regime, and US military forces have also moved closer to Libya's shores to back up demands that Gaddafi step down.

    Obama spoke alongside Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is in Washington for meetings.

    Action Possible

  7. Ride 'em, Cowboy!

    That's just about the coolest thing I have read here at the watering hole in many a moon.

    Keep 'em coming. We await the next installment of Sally's big adventure.

  8. Ditto, T on the scope and size of government.

    "That government is best which governs least" -- You pick one, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine or Henry Thoreau.

  9. To follow on Whit's last thread-

    Political Correctness run amok?:

    "Michigan Town Split on Child Pornography Charges

    Mr. Emory, 21, an aspiring singer and songwriter, became a household name here last month when he edited a video to make it appear that elementary school children in a local classroom were listening to him sing a song with graphic sexual lyrics. He then showed the video in a nightclub and posted it on YouTube.

    Tony Tague, the Muskegon County prosecutor, stands firmly in the first camp: He charged Mr. Emory with manufacturing and distributing child pornography, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and 25 years on the sex offender registry."

  10. oops, wrong link

  11. 'It's real fierce fighting, like Vietnam,'' said another rebel fighter, Ali Othman. ''Every kind of weapon is being used.


    Ibrahim Boudabbous, who took part in the rebel advance at Bin Jawad, said: ''Gaddafi's forces attacked with aircraft and shot from on top of the houses.''

    Throughout Sunday, Libyan state television repeated false claims that most of the cities under the control of the rebellion had been recaptured.

    Home Town Targeted

  12. Nice post DR. Good on you. Horses are magnificent beasts. Thanks

  13. Press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters travelling with Gates that this was "not a decision-making trip" but said: "This will certainly inform him (Gates) on making those decisions in coming months."

    The defense secretary, who plans to step down this year, is also expected to visit troops in Afghanistan's south during the trip, as well as holding talks with Karzai, Petraeus and US ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry.

    Gates is due to travel to Germany and Brussels on Wednesday ahead of a meeting of NATO defence ministers from Thursday, where the war in Afghanistan and current crisis in Libya are expected to top the agenda.

    Child Deaths

  14. Rat,

    Just stopping by to reprovison, so to speak, and caught your post.

    Good work and much appreciated.

    As Whit has already metioned I'd also appreciate updates on Sally.


  15. A Fear of Three Letters

    Traveling through Ingushetia, a republic where people are more frightened of Russia's shadowy security forces than the Islamist militants.

  16. .

    As far a Q's comment goes, of course Obama's performance is going to be compared to Mr Bush's. He was the previous alternative...

    Sorry rat, it takes me a while to catch up these days.

    Admittedly, Obama's performance will be compared to Bush's. It will be done so by pundits and pols and some bloggers skewed towards either the Dems or the GOP in their political leanings.

    I say GWB is a dick, and I say Obama is a dick. On the other hand, you say GWB is a dick and you say Obama is a dick but...

    I describe politics as it is. You play politics (just as the pundits and the pols do).

    You talk about equivalancy in generalities when it suits you but your application of the term is selective such as your discussion of abortion in Israel or in your defence of Obama. It is often an effective progaganda tool but its selective application would be obvious to a high school debating class.

    A comparison can be used in two ways. It can be done to prove two things are the same or it can be used to point out the differences.

    You use the comparison to try to show that Obama is not as bad as Bush, but that is irrelevant to the basic question. You ignore the fact that Bush is gone and can do little harm anymore. So the only fact that is relevant is the performance of the current president.

    It's like me trying to say Bush is a genius when compared to LBJ because he only got a tenth of the combat dead that LBJ did in his war of choice.

    And the comparisons can run the other way by someone on the other side. Bush spent a trillion on a war of choice. Obama chose to budget yearly trillion dollar deficits into the forseeable future. Who is doing more harm to the republic?

    The money Bush spent is dead money. Long gone. As is the money Obama has already spent. Nothing you can do about either. The only pertinant question is what is the current president doing right now.

    All the rest, merely partisan haggling.


  17. .

    Arid was captured, Osama was not.

    That one of our many allied proxies captured Arid, a good thing. To bad the Pakistani have failed to capture Osama. If they had, or do, whomever was/is President will reap the credit for it...

    As Gag has indicated, really a stretch rat, all except the last sentence.

    You speak of Arid being captured as if it had anything to do with Obama's performance. The Germans picked the guy up and arrested him for a crime committed there. And I would think the Germans would probable laugh at the suggestion they were acting as Obama's proxies.

    As for bin Laden, to this point, it's meaningless to bring him into the conversation for comparison. While true Bush did not capture him, Obama has been president for two years. What has he done with regard to capturing him?

    It's true if Osama is captured the credit will fall to whoever is president at the time. But you play the role of Obama apologist. You are willing to credit him for any of he positive things that occur; but you still, like him, blame anything negative on the previous administration.

    Time to move on rat.


  18. .

    Here I thought we were measuring Presidential performance, just not bashing Obama. Especially when he shines bright, when compared to GW Bush.
    Obama's provides performance that exceed rhetoric, in Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya. US foreign policy, devised by Bush is being successfully implemented by Obama.

    If I see something I think Obama deserves credit for I have no problem pointing it out. I have done so on this blog on a number of occasions.

    In general, I think he is a dick the same as what I think of GWB but for different reason. Comparing their performance is meaningless except as a political tool.

    With regard to your last statement, if you really believe that US foreign policy over the past couple months significantly influenced events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya I stand amazed. Especially with the flip flopping that occurred in Egypt early on.


  19. Dang! I finally get back and blogger eats my first post.

    Anyways, don't pay the ransom; I exscaped.

    Wonderful post on the mustang training, Rat. By all means keep'em coming. It's just a great story.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. China's biggest overseas deals:

    China Netcom (Hong Kong)
    China United Telecom

    Rio Tinto

    Addax Petroleum
    Mirror Lake Oil & Gas

    Since '00

  22. I gotsta check-up on that Rio Tinto deal. I distinctly remember that getting squashed by the Ozzie guv'mnt.

  23. Top uranium producers:

    1. Kazakhstan
    2. Canada
    3. Australia

    Production By Country

  24. There's an old sea story about a ship's Captain who inspected
    his sailors, and afterward told the first mate that his men smelled bad.

    The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would

    change their underwear occasionally.

    The first mate responded, "Aye, aye sir, I'll see to it immediately!"

    The first mate went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced,

    "The Captain thinks you fellas smell bad and wants you to change

    your underwear."

    He continued, "Garrett, you change with Bowen, Smith, you change

    with Crean, and Brown, you change with Ferguson."


    Someone may come along and promise "Change",

    but don't count on things smelling any better.

  25. After both suffering depression for a while, me and the wife were going
    to commit suicide yesterday...

    Strangely enough.....Once she killed herself I started to feel

    So I thought &#@% it.....I'll soldier on....!!!!!

  26. Nice post, rat.




    Equality comes from the barrel of a gun.

    If it has to be TAKEN from someone else, to GIVE to you, it is not a right. To force another to work, so that you may reap the reward, is called slavery. All the other talk is just obfuscation.
    March 8, 2011 - 7:16 am


    I could lump universal health care, wind power, and blended ethanol into a similar argument with a little time and another pot of coffee...paradigm shifters like the Volt come to mind...anything's possible if your heart's in the right place and you're usin' someone else's money...just ask's that backyard still comin' ruf?

  27. Strangely enough.....Once she killed herself I started to feel

    Reminds me of how quickly my chronic suspected hiatal hernia condition went away after the divorce...

  28. Calls are growing for a no-fly zone over Libya, but a power or coalition of powers willing to enforce one remains elusive.


    It has been pointed out that a no-fly zone is not an antiseptic act. In order to protect the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone, one must begin by suppressing enemy air defenses.


    The more important question is what exactly a no-fly zone would achieve. Certainly, it would ground Gadhafi’s air force, but it would not come close to ending the fighting nor erode Gadhafi’s other substantial advantages.

    Could Backfire

  29. The object of the post, Q, was, to my mind, Obama and his promise to "Do something".

    Deuce made it appear as if Obama was breaking new ground, with empty promises.

    My point was, and continues to be, that Obama is just another President. He is neither better nor worse than the average President. Certainly on par with his predecessor.

    As to the US and the influence it has had in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and the other restive countries in the Islamic Arc, that was the "Plan".

    Much heralded by those supported Mr Bush and even those that did not, as the way forward, post 11SEP01.

    While the specific actions of the US in each of the specific cases may not be known to the public, the course which we have stayed certainly is.

  30. "You all may appreciate the following article."

    Can we shoot you?

    Just asking.

  31. .

    As to the US and the influence it has had in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and the other restive countries in the Islamic Arc, that was the "Plan"...

    Developing a plan is one thing. Forcing its implementation quite another.

    The US is currently struggling to keep up with events that are evolving in the ME. If you are saying that the unrest that is developing in the ME is the result of us invading Iraq as opposed to decades of poverty, growing inflation, food shortages, rising unemployment, and corrupt government, as I've said, I would be amazed.

    Obama is currently going with the flow. Initially, indicating their support for Mubarak, it was only after the protests grew and the military started to shift allegience that we called for Mubarak to go. In Libya, it was easier as things moved faster and the opposition was much stronger.

    It will be interesting to see what Obama does if the same type of unrest erupts in Saudi Arabia. Do you think the administration will immediately begin calling for the Sauds to step down? If the king decides to crack down hard on any dissidents, will Obama and Hillary immediately condemn him as they have the Big Mo in Libya?

    If there is a "plan", does it require consistency? Or does the fact that SA has 20% of the worlds proven oil reserves make the "plan" situational?


  32. "21 Priests Suspended in Philadelphia

    The mass suspension was the single-most sweeping in the history of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, said Terence McKiernan, president of, which archives documents from the abuse scandal in dioceses across the country.

    The archdiocese’s action follows a damning grand jury report issued Feb. 10 that accused the archdiocese of a widespread cover-up of predatory priests, stretching over decades, and said that as many as 37 priests remained active in the ministry despite credible accusations against them.

    Of those 37 priests, 21 were suspended; three others already had been placed on administrative leave after the grand jury detailed accusations against them. Five others would have been suspended, the church said in a statement, but three are no longer active and two are no longer active in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The church said that in eight cases, no further investigation was warranted. "

    Maybe it is time for a congressional inquiry into the matter - just like the one for muslims in America.

  33. Over 1,000 ObamaCare waivers... Wow, this law is great!

  34. Maybe it is time for a congressional inquiry into the matter - just like the one for muslims in America.

    Maybe it is time for snarky residents of Canada to look to their local HRC issues, and leave the Catholic Church and the Congress to deal with wayward priests and islamofascism in the US.

  35. Michelle Obama read a Dr. Suess book to school kids last week. It was Barry's favorite: "Green Eggs and Hamas".

  36. Lack of aid isn’t the problem. The oil resources of many Arab states give them more than enough to care for their own people.

    Lack of modernity is the problem. So long as many Arab states continue in their feudalistic mentality and suppression of half their population (women), prosperity and the ‘‘blessings of liberty’’ will not wish to pay them a visit.

    No matter how these numerous uprisings turn out — and some could turn out very badly for the people of those nations and for U.S. policy — America’s policy of arms sales to Arab states definitely needs to change.

    Sales To Arabs

  37. Quit listening to Republicans, quit listening to Democrats, and buy a flexfuel vehicle.

  38. Can that Mustang carry 2?

    The EIA is estimating that by Sept the world will be using 1.7 Million bbl/day MORE than it's producing.


  39. he EIA is estimating that by Sept the world will be using 1.7 Million bbl/day MORE than it's producing.

    Bring it on...faster...the sooner the shit hits the fan, the sooner sanity will prevail and we'll begin utilizing proven US energy resources. Until then it's all smoke and mirrors and windfarms and propaganda. Cold and hungry people will have their attentions and rational powers focused like a sharp pencil. Ask them then what they think of the leadership who declare CO2 a poison and who deny our drilling and development while subsidizing foreign drilling and greenie wet dream energy programs.

  40. Well, Q, it would seem that consistency is not the hallmark of US foreign policy. Never has been, before, little reason for consistency to become a feature, today.

    The Democratization of the Islamic Arc was the "Plan". How the US was going to destabilize the "Golden Chain" and alleviate the despair that permeates that Arc.
    We have spent well over a trillion USD on the implementation of the policy.

    On a bi-partisan basis.

    That we are seeing positive results, a good thing. That there may be some unintended consequences, to be expected.

    The US has a lot of influence with the Egyptian military. Just because the US did not lead the charge against Mr Mubarak does not mean that the US did not influence the Egyptian military, behind the scenes.

  41. .

    The rat, a dreamer and an optimist?

    Well, I suppose that can be a good thing at the scale of the individual.


  42. .

    We have spent well over a trillion USD on the implementation of the policy.

    One man's view.

    Another's, mine in fact, is that we may have spent up to $50 billion trying to implement the plan.

    The balance of the $ trillion?

    Tying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and reach a point where we could at least 'claim' mission accomplished without the world smirking.


  43. 'Rat:

    In case someone is interested in the next level of video production:

    Portable Live Production

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    There is a reason that TriCaster is the standard in portable live production for major players like Fox Sports, MTV, VH1, NBA D-League and the NHL. Its small footprint makes it possible to broadcast from anywhere, and TriCaster's flexibility allows you to deliver live productions on your own or with a team. No matter where your plans for live broadcast take you; there is a NewTek TriCaster perfect for you.


  44. Kamal Sheik, another rebel fighter, said: "Gaddafi is a madman. He's raining fire down on us but we are human beings.


    Zawiyah and Ras Lanuf would be valuable prizes for Colonel Gaddafi as he battles to crush the uprising that looked likely to end his 41-year rule only a few days ago. The fall of Zawiyah would allow him to redeploy forces to the rebel-held east.

    Recapturing Ras Lanuf would prevent the rebels advancing on Sirte, which guards the coastal highway to the capital itself.

    Accuses West

  45. Well, Q, I can certainly understand your position, I have also held such views. I do not claim infallibility though.

    The situation on the ground, in the Islamic Arc is providing ample evidence of success of the publicly declared US policy of democratization in the Islamic Arc.

    Both Mr Bush and Mr Obama campaigned in the US, at the UN and in the region for the success of the "Plan".

    Hopefully the Shiite in Saudi Arabia will revolt and claim their inalienable rights that have been denied them by the Wahhabi fundamentalists in the Saudi regime.

    In doing so they may provide the justice so long denied US.

  46. And as Lugar looks toward a re-election campaign in 2012, he says his main concerns are looming worldwide food shortages amid rising populations, and control of weapons of mass destruction.

    “I’m still working to reduce the number of warheads aimed at the United States right now, and likewise to reduce the possibilities of very bad either accidents or deliberate acts of provocation with chemical or biological warfare,” he adds.

    “That is a quest that has gone on for many years. I would like to continue it.”

    No-Fly Zone

  47. Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday night to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers after discovering a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats.

    Bargaining Rights

  48. Tahar Souifi, a Tunisian from Tripoli, said his driver had not dared to go through Zawiyah as it was too dangerous, but he had heard shooting in the distance and seen a police station that had been totally wrecked.

    His companion, Mohammed Saidi, said at one checkpoint a Libyan army colonel ordered them to get out of the car to clear a blazing garbage bin from the road.

    When they refused the colonel threatened them with a Kalashnikov, Mr Saidi said, showing burns on his hands.

    Teeters On Brink

  49. 40% of Chicago Public School Teachers Send Own Kids to Private Schools

  50. The focus of the tremor was 10 km (6 miles) below the seabed off the coast of Aomori prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said.

    The regional utility, Tohoku Electric Power, said its Onagawa nuclear plant was operating normally after the quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc also said there was no impact on its power plants in the region.

    Bullet trains resumed running in northeastern Japan after stopping briefly, Kyodo reported.

    NE Japan

  51. rat wrote:

    "The situation on the ground, in the Islamic Arc is providing ample evidence of success of the publicly declared US policy of democratization in the Islamic Arc.

    say what? I'm seeing revolution but little evidence, so far, of democracy. Seen any free and fair elections yet?

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. The policy, ash, was developed to destabilize the regimes in the region, especially those that had plotted against US in the cross border raid of 11SEP01.

    I would submit that Iraq was targeted for a variety of reasons, beyond the evil that Saddam did.

    Evil that the US was well aware of and that G HW Bush had ratified by inaction in the face of the Shiite revolt, in Iraq. A revolt that he had encouraged and then ignored.

    I could submit that the Pakistani have been well played, since 11SEP01. The country has been in total turmoil since the raid on DC and NYCity.

    Its General-President, deposed.
    Its economy stagnate.
    Its civil fabric torn asunder.

    The "Democratization Plan" was the US answer to a border raid. One that could destabilize and possibly depose those regimes that were "allies" of the US in name only.

    As to those the effects of the policy on those countries within the region that have been long term thorns in the US side, especially Libya. Even though they were not actively involved in the 11SEP01 raid, the governments there were keystone to anti-US activity, for years on end. Culminating with the miraculous recovery from terminal cancer of the man convicted for downing Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988 killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

    If one were to buy into the idea that there is a long term clash of civilizations under way, then the US is well ahead.

    If we think that the US policy was developed in response to the raid of 11SEP01, then justice is beginning to be served, at long last.

    With collateral damage to friend and enemies, alike.

  54. The despots being removed or embattled by their local residents.

    The Iranian nuclear program stagnated.

    While the US has not suffered major combat losses during ten years of combat and policing operations in the heart of the Islamic Arc.

  55. That while the rest of the whirled smirked, the US was getting it done.

    Imperial power projection, done in such a way that is totally deniable.

    But which elevates the play of both GW Bush and BH Obama. Moving them from the status of pretty inept to that of accomplished players.

    One could think that the US would be represented by those that are pretty accomplished. That no one individual nor the entire leadership team of the United States was as inept as many would want US to think.

    That it is partisanship or basic political negativity that denies the success that is so presently evident.

  56. .

    A re-write, if not total re-write, of history rat.

    The 'plan' was developed by the neocons over a thirty year period. Their plan took on added prominance with the fall of the Soviet Union when the US became the world's hyper-power and some felt it was pretty much free to write history to its liking.

    The 'plan' was laid out in papers to the Israeli government by American neocons working as consultants for that country in the 90's. In that case, Israel was encouraged to take on Iran. The Israeli's didn't bite.

    When Bush took over all you had to do was change the names on the paper.

    As for 9/11 being the reason for the invasion on Iraq? Laughable. While it may have been a key factor to the neocons, it wasn't even mentioned until Bush ran out of excuses for us being there (ignoring UN resolutions, WMD, Saddam, etc.).

    Pakistan well played? :)

    Friends in name only? Egypt? :)

    If we think that the US policy was developed in response to the raid of 11SEP01, then justice is beginning to be served, at long last.


    But that's the point rat. There are some of us who don't believe it. Afghanistan? Admittedly. The rest? Not so much. But it's been the wet dream of the neocons for decades.


  57. rat, none of the above supports your contention that there is "ample evidence of success of the publicly declared US policy of democratization in the Islamic Arc."

    Instead you argue that the current instability of the region is by US design. In fact, I believe, the goal was stability in the region so that US interests can be served - primarily continuous flow of oil. There is ample evidence that US foreign policy in the region is primarily directed in that goal. All this democratization talk is political crap for the masses as it has always been when justifying US projection of power. This characteristic of public posturing goes back to the founding days.

  58. .


    While it (The Plan) may have been a key factor to the neocons, it wasn't even mentioned until Bush ran out of excuses for us being there (ignoring UN resolutions, WMD, Saddam, etc.).


  59. I would say, Q, that the US was seeking the destabilization of those regimes in the Islamic Arc that plotted against US.

    While at the same time ensuring the flow of oil out of the Gulf.

    The stable flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf being the paramount goal.

    To this end US policy has been successful. The US and its primary trading partners, China &
    India, are receiving their allotments without interruption.

    The Europeons, those that are dependent upon Libya for their energy needs, are given the lead position on how to deal with the insurrection in Libya.

    Which is how it should be.

    While those regimes that have been hostile to US interests suffer from the increasing instability that comes with the removal of despots. In Egypt the removal of an autocratic figurehead has not changed the power structure of the country.

    US interests continue to be served.

  60. The most important play yet to come, the removal of the Saudis from control of eastern Arabia, while ensuring the flow of oil from that Shiite dominated area.

    To this end the US has established reasonable relationships with the Shiite leadership just north of the area, in Iraq.

    The US military has a cadre of leadership that is now very experienced in Arabic operations. As the primary target comes into view, the US military is now well versed in the tactical environment.

    Things are looking up, at long last.

    Justice delayed is not justice denied.

  61. .

    If you believe what you have stated in the previous few posts about the plan, the Iraq war, and the quality of US leadership, then I would suggest that there is only one honorable course for you to take at this point.

    We have heard here a number of times how Buddy Larsen came over and apologized to you about Iraq and that he now agreed with your original opinion of the war.

    I guess, living up to Buddy's example, you shuld head over to the BC and explain to Buddy you were wrong and that you now realize it was all part of 'The Plan".

    While there is the possibility that Buddy might disagree with your new view, a gentleman still has to do what a gentleman has to do?

    I can guarantee whether you do it or you don't I shall find it all mildly amusing.



  62. yikes, I think that tongue must be firmly planted in Rat's cheek!

    I think the US elite are terrified of the Saud Kingdom falling for any instability in that country would threaten the smooth flow of sweet crude bring the US economy to its knees (if we are lucky it'll only be to its knees).

  63. "Representative Peter King said that to yield to controversy over the hearing on homegrown Islamic terrorism would be a “surrender to political correctness.”

    He sure would fit right in here!



    Maybe, with luck, deuce will be reincarnated as an elk, the last one standing, in the Lolo, surrounded by fangs, without a lawyer of PETA member near.

    "When the taxes are too high, the people won't pay, when the law is repugnant the people won't obey."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    There have been reports of poisoned carcasses found in good old Idaho County.


  65. .

    It appears Newt Gingrich is likely to make a run for the presidency in 2012.

    Commenting on his marital infidelity, Newt offers,

    "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,"

    So it wasn't about power and sex. It was about love of country and having to work too hard. And, well, things just happened.

    Gee, it appears Newt should be awarded the Medal of Freedom for all that he has been forced to bear.


  66. Quirk:

    I had a friend in college who bragged he could argue both sides of any argument and win.

    ...given sufficient time and dope.

    Perhaps 'Rat collects mushrooms as well as Mustangs in the desert?

  67. Medicaid Is Worse Than No Coverage at All

    New research shows that patients on this government plan fare poorly. So why does the president want to shove one in four Americans into it?

    Across the country, cash-strapped states are leveling blanket cuts on Medicaid providers that are turning the health program into an increasingly hollow benefit. Governors that made politically expedient promises to expand coverage during flush times are being forced to renege given their imperiled budgets. In some states, they've cut the reimbursement to providers so low that beneficiaries can't find doctors willing to accept Medicaid.

    Washington contributes to this mess by leaving states no option other than across-the-board cuts.

    Patients would be better off if states were able to tailor the benefits that Medicaid covers—targeting resources to sicker people and giving healthy adults cheaper, basic coverage.
    But federal rules say that everyone has to get the same package of benefits, regardless of health status, needs or personal desires.

    These rules reflect the ambition of liberal lawmakers who cling to the dogma that Medicaid should be a "comprehensive" benefit. In their view, any tailoring is an affront to egalitarianism. Because states are forced to offer everyone everything, the actual payment rates are driven so low that beneficiaries often end up with nothing in practice.

    Dozens of recent medical studies show that Medicaid patients suffer for it. In some cases, they'd do just as well without health insurance. Here's a sampling of that research:

  68. MPS teacher total comp: $101k (includes $23,820 health ins plan w/ NO premium); avg WI worker: $48k comp + $14,656 plan w/ 20% premium.

    Why I'm Fighting in Wisconsin


    In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

    Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules...

  69. 6. toadold - You remind me:

    More Obamacare Lunacy: Prescriptions required for over-the-counter meds for Section 125 Accounts

    We received a letter today from the American Fidelity Assurance Company, the company that handles our Flex and Section 125 Account for our Unreimbursed Medical Expenses, notifying us of changes to take place due to the "Affordable Care Act": "Effective January 1, 2011, in order to be reimbursed for over-the-counter drugs and medicines, the participant must provide a medical practitioner's prescription for the items."

    The letter goes on to detail all the information that must be included in the prescription the doctor must now write for every single over-the-counter medication the participant wishes to submit for reimbursement. In addition to the normal prescription details that are required for actual prescription drugs, it also requires "a description of the condition for which the drug is being prescribed."

    The letter continues with a list of items that will now need a prescription under this program: acid controllers, allergy and sinus meds, antibiotic products, anti-diarrheals, anti-gas, anti-itch & insect bites, baby rash ointments and creams, cold sore remedies, cough, cold & flu, digestive aids, feminine anti-fungal/anti-itch, hemorrhoidal preparations, laxatives, motion sickness, pain relief, respiratory treatments, sleep aids & sedatives, stomach remedies.

    The logic of having to go to a doctor to get a written prescription for a medication that is readily available over-the-counter before I can submit the expense for reimbursement

    (from my own medical account from which my own income has been withheld for this very purpose) escapes me!

    Doctors are going to really hate this too.

  70. Someone has stolen Rats blogger password.

  71. Top 3 richest people:

    1. Carlos Slim HelĂș
    Net Wort: $74bn
    Origin of Wealth: Telecoms
    Citizenship: Mexico

    2. Bill Gates
    Net Wort: $56bn
    Origin of Wealth: Microsoft
    Citizenship: United States

    3. Warren Buffett
    Net Wort: $50bn
    Origin of Wealth: Berkshire Hathaway
    Citizenship: United States

    Top 10

  72. Yet in watching Shiite unrest continue to simmer in the nearby island of Bahrain, the Saudi royals are growing increasingly concerned about the prospect of Shiite uprisings cascading throughout the Persian Gulf region, playing directly into the Iranian strategic interest of destabilizing its U.S.-allied Arab neighbors. By showing a willingness to use force early, the Saudi authorities are likely hoping they will be able to deter people from joining the protests, but such actions could just as easily embolden the protesters.

    There is a strong potential for clashes to break out March 11 between Saudi security forces and protesters, particularly in the vital Eastern Province. Saudi authorities have taken tough security measures in the Shiite areas of the country by deploying about 15,000 national guardsmen to thwart the planned demonstrations by attempting to impose a curfew in critical areas.

    Energy speculators are already reacting to the heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf region, but unrest in cities like Qatif cuts directly to the source of the threat that is fueling market speculation: The major oil transit pipelines that supply the major oil port of Ras Tanura — the world’s largest, with a capacity of 5 million barrels per day — go directly through Qatif.

  73. Democrats, meanwhile, condemned the move as an attack on working families, a violation of open-meetings requirements (because most of them were not aware that the vote was to be held until shortly before it happened), and a virtual firebomb in a state already polarized and consumed with recall efforts, large-scale protests and fury from public workers.

    “In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin,” said Mark Miller, the leader of the Senate Democrats who fled to Illinois on Feb. 17 to block just such a vote from occurring. “Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten.”


    “To pass this the way they did — without 20 senators — is to say that it has no fiscal effect,” said Timothy Cullen, another of the Democratic senators. “It’s admitting that this is simply to destroy public unions.”

  74. Well! Our Tax-Dodging Corporations outdid themselves this month. Total Contributions to Federal Income Tax? Minus ( - ) $1.3 Billion.

    Yep Minus

    Then, they paid out their profits in dividends to Warren Buffet, and his buds, and They Paid 15%.

    Do you feel like the biggest sucker in the Universe, yet?

  75. So, in the last two months American Corporations have made approximately $310 Billion, and Paid $2.3 Billion in Income Taxes.

    But, they're "overtaxed," don'cha know?

    Meanwhile, you will notice that "off-budget" (Soc Security) is showing a Profit.

    Can I get a "Fuck You, Republicans?"

  76. EDUCATION OPTIONS: Eliminating $1.3 billion in temporary taxes for next year's North Carolina state budget is leading to some sobering options about where to cut, particularly in public education. A joint House-Senate education budget subcommittee spent much of this week looking at what it might take to cut $760 million more than Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue proposed in her education spending plan last month.


    IT'S BACK ON: House Republicans refused to give up on their effort to override Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto of a bill to challenge the federal health care overhaul one day after they fell four votes shy of canceling her veto. Using a procedural move, GOP leaders essentially gave themselves another chance to tally the votes again whenever they want to try again during the 2011-12 session.


    LAURA'S LAW: An effort to toughen North Carolina's drunken-driving laws following the death of a Gaston County teenager has received unanimous approval in the House. "Laura's Law," given tentative approval by a vote of 116-0, would require an impaired-driving offender to face more jail time, higher fines and electronic monitoring at home.

  77. Things are getting better, though. The Sauds are going to flood the market with that sweet, sweet crude any day now.

    I say, "Any day, son; any day."

    "Gonna flood that market any day now." Jus' like they did in July of '08. Any day now.

    Whass'at? "Days of Rage?" Saudi Arabia? Tomorrow?


    Ne'er mind :)

  78. BTW, jes in case you're interested, Iran had 25 Million Barrels of oil, tied up in floating storage, that they couldn't get past sanctions. In the last two weeks they've moved that to Egypt, and then sold it in Europe.

    Thus, Iran got rid of the last of their embargoed oil, and Saudi Arabia got the credit. OPEC "production" is, actually, down over the last month.

    So, between Libya drawing down their tank farms at the ports, and Iran selling their forbidden oil a shortage in Europe has been avoided - up till now.

    By June, I predict, we'll be in shit over our ponytails.

    Sumpin's gonna happen; and, odds are "some bastids is gonna die."

  79. .

    Sumpin's gonna happen...

    Yea, the speculators will continue running up the price of oil.

    The rich will get richer.

    And the rest of us will pay the price.


  80. Over the past week, five motorists have swapped SUVs and pickups for gas-sipping hybrid Priuses at Sheridan's Freemont Toyota dealership.


    If prices continue rising, the ripple effect could crimp corporate profits and derail consumer spending, the main driver behind the economic recovery. "We're starting to see other prices creep up — tires, clothing, food," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight.


    Other drivers are paring back, moving to public transit.

    The American Public Transportation Association says the Durham (N.C.) Area Transit Authority posted a 21.8% increase in year-over-year ridership in February, while traffic was up 10% in Philadelphia, 19% in Tampa and 14% in Oakland.

  81. You can always rely on a Socialist to be fair and balanced.

    Trust me.

  82. .

    To me, energy consumption is a more important indicator than energy production. Oil production while obviously effected by available resources at the top end is also driven by demand and the amount of oil in storage at a given time as well as the ability to pull it out of storage efficiently.

    I just took a quick (5 minutes on google) look to see what energy demand has been. I wasn't able to find anything later than 2009 with that quick search.

    In 2009, global energy consumption dropped by 1.1%. Oil was down 1.2 million b/d or 1.7%. NG was down 2.1%. Coal consumption was flat even though it became a bigger part of total energy consumption.

    Major oil users (US and Europe, etc.) cut consumption 4.5-5.0 percent. China ws the only big player that increased consumption significantly.

    Didn't see any 2010 consumption data. However, its safe to say we are still hurting economically. Logistical issues with WTI supply also affect the current situation.

    Speculators are driving the current higher oil prices. Hard for me to see how we can draw major conclusions on oil strictly off current production especially given everything that is going on right now.


  83. .

    "...Oil production while obviously affected..."




    "When the law is repugnant, the people won't obey." RW Emerson

    Quirk, as I'm using my daughter's computer for the day, I take the opportunity to apologize to you for dissing your Boscos. You were right about Allen, I was wrong. My concdern for Israel blinded my judgement, which is often far off the mark. You didn't take it far enough, is all. I was thinking of challenging to a duel, and asking you to be my second, but then the anger went away like always, like a summer storm, and now I agree with Trish when she said: "I feel sorry for
    Allen, I really do." So do I.

    I am buying my daughter a horse, with consequences unknown. Thankfully I've got some hay.

  85. 1080 Poison, which is showing up here.

  86. My wife's sense of humour -


    After being married for 50 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said ...
    "Fifty years ago we had a cheap house, a junk car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 18-year-old girl.

    Now ... I have a $500,000.00 home, a $35,000.00 car, a nice big bed and a large screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 68-year-old woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of things."

    My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 18-year-old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap house, driving a junk car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

    Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve an old guy's problems.

  87. Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.

    Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working. Japan's Coast Guard has set up task force and officials are standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said.

    "I'm afraid we'll soon find out about damages, since the quake was so strong," he said

  88. One of five biggest, ever.

    Largest in Japan in over 300 years.

    In 1854, an earthquake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale devastated the region from Tokai to Kyushu and killed an estimated 10,000 people.

    In 1896, an 8.5-magnitude earthquake hit the Sanriku coast; the earthquake and the resulting tsunami killing some 27,000 people.

    Looks like casualties will be relatively light,

    80 miles offshore helped, forget how deep.

    4 Million w/o power in Tokyo!

  89. The government has declared an emergency situation at one of Tokyo Electric Power company's nuclear power plants in quake-stricken Fukushima Prefecture. It says no radioactive materials have been leaked.

    Tokyo Electric said an equipment failure has made it impossible to cool two reactors at the Fukushima Number One plant.

    The firm says it does not have enough electric power to cool the reactors, which automatically stopped operating when the quake struck.

    The government has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of nearby residents. But it says that the residents should remain calm, and that currently no evacuation is needed.

    The power company is sending eight power generators to the site, and the Ground Self Defense Force is sending one more.

  90. AP Reports tsunami swamping the beaches of Waikiki, surging over the breakwall and sweeping through the island chain.

    In fact, hardly visible.

    Midway reports 5 feet.

  91. Doug: Midway reports 5 feet.

    Yes, but the highest hill on Midway is six feet.

  92. ..."a lack of adequate pension coverage in China means that financial dependence on offspring is still necessary for approximately 70 percent of elderly people.31 Pension coverage is available only to those employed in the government sector and large companies. In China, this problem has been named the “4:2:1” phenomenon, meaning that increasing numbers of couples will be solely responsible for the care of one child and four parents"...

  93. The Sweet Spot is when all 5 of the couple's charges are in diapers.

  94. After spending the last 15 years widowed, Gag will be getting married today. His friends who have met his future wife say Gag has way out kicked his coverage.

  95. Today! -- Congratulations!!!

  96. hee hee, I'm sure she'll show...

    are you off on honeymoon to some exotic locale?

  97. We are staying at a really cool hotel in Dallas, Za Za this weekend. In May we will go to the Aria in Vegas!
    Thanks, Ash!

  98. There are reports, gag, that married men live longer lives, than single men do.

    Live long and prosper.

  99. Since there is no sense of agreement that the political situation across the Islamic Arc is evidence of US success, I am dissuaded from he argument.

    The US will continue to be seen, as just muddling along.

    Fits my own theme better, to be in denial of US foreign policy success.

    That the success is easily deniable, even though civil discord amongst the enemy camp is soothing to the soul.

    Other "root causes" to this discord are easily pointed to, just as the collapse of the Soviet Union was not tied to the Saudis and Team Reagan/Bush driving down the price of oil, ruining the Soviets cash flow.

    Just happenstance, I guess.

  100. Ha Ha...No pat down or body scan for me.

    Kinda disappointed.

  101. There's an old quandry in the atheisst/theist debate that goes with the atheist asking the theist is there anything that could happen, anything at all, in the human world or world of nature that would convince you that no, it's not like I thought, it's not like that at all. An earthquake doesn't do it for me, though it did for Voltaire, in a way. Surely nothing humans can do to one another. Maybe that space rock coming our way in a few years big enough to take out the USA? What if it hits Yellowstone? One dodge on this question is the fallen world gambit, another, similar, is Liebniz's claim that God can't create a perfect world, as a perfect world would collapse back into the perfect God trying to create it. Another is the gap between human and divine understanding, and another might be to have a creative existence one must live in a world of contingencies. This is all food for thought :)

    I wish my daughter would get up, I need to get out of here, got things to do.

  102. Egypt is begining to resemble Iraq wrt terrorizing/killing/eliminating Christians.

    I don't regard this as progress even though Compassionate Christian Crusader GW Does.

    Whole F..... Family disgusts me.

  103. Has Bob returned on Meds as anon?

  104. Wolves, God, 1080, Daughter, things to do,

    When the poetry returns, I'm checking out.

  105. Horse, Doug, don't forget the horse, which we are taking for a test ride on the 20th. I really just dropped by to apologize to Quirk. What does one look for when inspecting a horse? I only know combines and pickups. Daughter says you must get permission from the seller to talk to the horse's veterinarian, which sounds reasonable enough.

  106. I'd find one that had been trained by someone like the Ericson Dude.

    ...but I'd never be in the market, as there are easier ways to commit suicide.

    Wife's sister bought an Arabian when we lived on the farm:

    As soon as I got on, it headed for the Oak Forest.

    How I managed not to be decapitated, I'll never know.

  107. I've taken up the Airborn Saucers where you left off:

    Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

    Daryl Hannah 1993

    Longer Clips, Including Grotesque Death/Vaporization Scene

    Original 1958 Movie

    Unforeseen Effects of Radiation:

    The New Atomic Miracle Should have been Mankind's Greatest Boon.

    Instead Man is Confronted with his Most Shocking Blunder

  108. Anon said,

    Fri Mar 11, 01:17:00 AM EST

    "Quirk, as I'm using my daughter's computer for the day, I take the opportunity to apologize to you for dissing your Boscos. You were right about Allen, I was wrong. My concdern for Israel blinded my judgement, which is often far off the mark. You didn't take it far enough, is all. I was thinking of challenging to a duel, and asking you to be my second, but then the anger went away like always, like a summer storm, and now I agree with Trish when she said: "I feel sorry for
    Allen, I really do." So do I."


    One hopes the daughter's computer is all that is being used.