“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, April 07, 2011

Shut Up or Shut it Down Dick Morris Style


  1. Reporting from Washington— Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the House of Representatives passed a spending measure Thursday that would fund the Department of Defense through September and also keep the government open for an additional week.

    Though there is broad agreement on the terms of the defense authorization bill, Democrats object to $12 billion in budget cuts that the measure calls for in the seven-day extension of funding for other areas of the government. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called instead for a one-week extension at existing spending levels.

    The House vote on the GOP proposal passed 247-181, largely along party lines.

  2. Give Uncle Sam the Rip van Winkle treatment. When he wakes up in 30 years Uncle Rip be amazed how most things have changed for the better.

  3. I think it was Will Rogers who said, "Send them All home, and then if we miss'em for anything we'll call'em back.

    I seem to be falling into a zone of ambivalence toward the whole "government shutdown" deal.

    It's probably not a good thing to shut down the government, but on the other hand, maybe everyone Needs a dash of cold water on the chops.

  4. Somewhere around here is the point where a couple of grown-ups are supposed to stand up, invite the nutso fringe "on both sides" to leave the room, and get to work hammering out a reasonable compromise.

    Maybe we're just not quite there, yet.

  5. Shock and aaaw told you so.

    (CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.
    Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers Thursday that added American participation would not be ideal, and ground troops could erode the international coalition and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.

    Ham said the operation was largely stalemated now and was more likely to remain that way since America has transferred control to NATO.

  6. Been out, and about all morning, but I loved what you posted in the prior thread: Before we get to "plan B," what was "Plan A?"

  7. Iron Dome

    Gotta give the Israelis props on this one.

  8. 1) Most of the World's malnourished are subsistence farmers in need of a "cash crop," and

    2) The United Nations, itself, estimates that there are over 1 Billion Acres of formerly cultivated land lying fallow.

    Searching is an oil company sockpuppet, and the NYT editorial dept is populated by econuts that want the whole world to drive nothing but electric cars powered by windmills.

  9. Rufus II said...

    Iron Dome

    Gotta give the Israelis props on this one.

    Oh, is that where it is? I posted a story earlier about Iron Dome, but I thought it was science fiction in some imaginary land, like Middle-Earth.

  10. econuts that want the whole world to drive nothing but electric cars powered by windmills.

    Unless the windmills are where they sail their yachts, or might harm endangered fowl.

  11. 2) The United Nations, itself, estimates that there are over 1 Billion Acres of formerly cultivated land lying fallow.

    We are assured that with oil prices as high as they are right now if there was any spare production capacity it would be coming on stream, ergo proof of peak oil.

    One wonders with the price of food as high as it is right now why in heavens name isn't all this extra capacity being brought on stream.

    Must be some kind of an oil industry plot kinda like those phony food riots in the ME and the developing world.


  12. It does not require many words to tell the truth.

    Chief Joseph of the Wallowa Band.

    Biggest belly laugh I had today was reading Qadafi the Thug with the Face to Match the Mentality coming out and and and ....backing .....Obama! --- for President of the United States. That must be some kind of.....muslim solidarity thing. The situation in Libya is surely fit for Saturday Night Live.

    Shut the government down except for defense and funding for the Elko Annual Cowboy Poetry Festival. The cowboys would still write and recite poety among themselves but I doubt they'd be willing to pay hard earned money to advertise the event. Long live Dirty Harry Reid.

    Don't call me a racist. This time around I have one red (used to have 5) one Latino two Hindus (the Saudi having bagged out) six blacks and a motley crew of whites in a pear tree.

    I was worried these two, who are from Mumbai, might be muslims, when the lovely lady said she didn't drive, so a little into to things I asked. And, do they love it here, and she says our psychology school is world class. They wanted to know about the smoke alarm, I said you can put one in the kitchen if you like, he said no no no I'd like to turn the one in the hall off. Just take the battery out says I. He's loves to cook Indian food, particularily chicken, and has trouble with smoke alarms. Looked like he'd eaten a lot of chicken in his life, she was slim trim and beautiful, like a lot of Hindu women. Neither had the red mark.

    There was an article in the paper today about the good old Idaho Legislature passing a bill allowing the shooting of wolves on sight, and being signed by Governor Butch. Now we are at war legally with the Federal Judge and the Feds. :0:0 :):):)

    I love it. I'm obeying Idaho Law. Those farmers and ranchers down there usually get it right.

    Man of few words, usually mostly bosch, ANONYMOUS BOSCH/DEADWOLFRUNNING

  13. You stepped in it on that one, Q.

    Global food production is up, substantially, since 2005 (an ex: I expect U.S. corn production in the range of 14.5 Billion bushels this year, as opposed to, I don't know, maybe, 12 billion bushels in 2005,)

    While Global Oil Production has, actually, fallen a bit.

  14. One wonders with the price of food as high as it is right now why in heavens name isn't all this extra capacity being brought on stream.

    Must be some kind of an oil industry plot kinda like those phony food riots in the ME and the developing world.

    An astute thought by Quirk. I also wonder why the O administration is going to increase the acreage -at last I read anyway - of the CRP.

    My wife has switched from Romney to Trump :)

    That boy knows how to make a deal, she says.

    I am glad the birth certificate is finally getting some real mileage, though I've always thought the real issue is deeper.

    Trump has his investigators on the ground in Honolulu as I write.

    TRUMP :)


  15. Forgot to mention I have one felon, drug conviction. My wife is death on drugs, but he couldn't find any place else, all requiring a background check. She takes him in, being an old time Methodist and knowing a man seeking to go straight when she sees one.


  16. Egypt is one food riot away from chaos

    WiO, from my memory.

    I hope the Egyptian Army Officer Corps makes some sensible decisions.


  17. Libyan Stalemate

    Just what I hoped for with partition possibly to come.


  18. Question:

    Which is more likely to put a family into severe financial distress? The corn in a box of corn flakes going from $0.04 to $0.08, or their monthly gasoline bill going from $120.00 to $240.00?

  19. .

    You stepped in it on that one, Q.

    Did I really, Ruf?

    You have sidestepped the issue of the billion acres of fallow land and why it is not being worked with food prices so high?

    You were the one who brought up the billion acres.

    Food prices are high. There are food riots in the ME and Africa. You say ethanol has nothing to do with it despite the article Bob posted.

    You use supply and demand on one issue when it suits you but ignore it when it doesn't.

    You and rat have indicated that we could solve our need for imported oil in a year and still have plenty of food to go around. All we have to do is do it.

    Yet, with demand for food and ethanol driving prices to extremely high levels we don't see it happening.

    Go figure.


  20. The cost of the wheat in a loaf of bread is about $0.10. The plastic wrapper costs more.

    Grains are higher than they were last year (when they were very low.)

    Russia Ended Exports of Wheat. China (the world's second largest corn producer had a total bust of a harvest. Droughts in Australia, Argentina, and damned near everywhere, and a bad harvest here have driven the cost of a two liter of coke up Not a Cent. (the main use of field corn is livestock feed - that that's used for human consumption, about 10%, is primarily for HFCS for soft drinks.)

    It's likely the price of corn will drop by forty or fifty percent by August, but that the price of gasoline will be $4.00+ and rising.

  21. BTW, Q, I heard the Sauds said they were going to tap that {snicker} spare capacity {snicker} "any day now." :) NOT. :)

  22. Q, farming costs a LOT of money. Even American farmers don't rush out and plant an extra 10, or 20 Million acres just because there was a bad harvest the year before, and prices are high. They would go busted in a heartbeat if they did business like that.

    Prolonged high prices (a couple of years, or more) will start to bring in appreciable acreage. It will happen faster in the U.S. than overseas. There is an incredible amount of Good fallow land in places like Russia, and Brazil, and Africa but "financing" is hard in some of those places, and nonexistent is some (Africa, for ex.)

  23. Which is more likely to put a family into severe financial distress? The corn in a box of corn flakes going from $0.04 to $0.08, or their monthly gasoline bill going from $120.00 to $240.00?

    Once again you offer us the false choice. The price of gasoline is going up regardless. Ethanol is not bringing it down. You can argue with the reasons that the current price is rising (I've already given mine), but they are rising.

    The other side of you argument is equally as silly. Corn prices have doubled since last summer. And suprisingly, corn doesn't just go into corn flakes. More importantly, the push for more corn despite all the fallow land laying around has resulted in farmers cutting back on soybean and other crops thus driving up prices for those commodities.

    The other part of your comparison is equally as silly. Assuming that the average American's ability to cope with rising food prices can be equated to the ability of the poor in Mexico, the ME, Africa and Asia to adjust to those same inflated prices is ludicrous.

    As Bob's asrticle pointed out, they grow the crop in Thailand but Thailand's ethanol industry is sucking wind because they can't afford to buy the crop they grow.


  24. And, Cassava? Good God have mercy. You could raise enough Cassava in Africa to feed the world a dozen time over.

    The Africans have eaten so much of it they get sick looking at it. You can't "give it away" in Gwondonaland.

    Those 1.7 million malnourished aren't starving. They're malnourished from eating cassava, cassava, cassava. They can't afford to buy fruits, and vegetables for their diet because they don't have a "cash crop."

    If they could sell some cassava to be used in biofuel production they would be on their way. They would have a little "cash money" to buy the other foodstuffs they need.

  25. BTW, Q, I heard the Sauds said they were going to tap that {snicker} spare capacity {snicker} "any day now." :) NOT. :)

    A month ago in responding to your snickering (and asking the question where is that Saudi Crude) I responded

    1. That Saudi indicated they would only respond to an actual shortage not to prices driven up by speculation. At the time, we had't invaded Libya.


    2. There could be some issues with them replacing directly Libya's light crude with their own quality of oil.

    You already know my opinion why oil prices are up right now. In order to use Saudi oil to replace the Libyan oil, it requires a good deal more processing.

    You can snicker or you can go back and look at my post at that time.


  26. Q, you have No idea what you're talking about. Soybean Planting this year is UP, not down.

    And, ethanol's not making a difference? You see what happened when Libya's 1.3 Million bpd went offline (Tapis Crude is selling for $129.00 bbl, as we speak, btw;)

    What do you think would happen if the approx Two Million barrels/day of Global Ethanol went Offline?

  27. If they could sell some cassava to be used in biofuel production they would be on their way.

    Yet they don't. I'm assuming what you said is right. The only place I've seen cassava being grown as a biofuel crop is Thailand and they can't afford to use it for biofuel.


  28. No, Q, they're using the cassava for ethanol; it's just that they Chinese biorefineries are Outbidding the Thai biorefineries. Whass new about dat? They're outbidding everyone, all over the world, for whatever it is they happen to want. Including Oil.

    It's the "New Normal."

  29. For instance:

    Fonterra said this week it estimates China’s dairy demand will expand by 36 million tons by 2020 and consumption in India will grow by 45 million tons. Chinese demand for New Zealand milk products last year surged more than fivefold from 2008 to about 353 million kilograms, the company said.

    It's all about Chindia

  30. BTW, Q. U.S. refineries are only running at 84% capacity. Many underutilized refineries, here, and around the world can utilize that Heavy Saudi Crude. If they had more of it why wouldn't they just sell it to the U.S. refiners, and then they could sell the products, gasoline, and diesel, to the Euros?

    Two possibilities, I think.

    1) As in 2008, they're full of shit, and don't have squat.

    2) They are waiting for a better price, gambling that they don't destroy the world economy ala. 2008.

    Bet on door number two if you want. I'm taking the other side.

  31. BTW, when you read that ethanol is consuming 40% of the corn crop, and the author doesn't mention that you get half of that back in the Distillers Grains, you know you're not reading a Serious article.

    I expect that ethanol will use about 18% of the U.S. corn crop this year, after accounting for DDGS, which would be about 2% of the "Global" grain crop.

  32. BTW, when you read that ethanol is consuming 40% of the corn crop...

    Haven't read that. Have read a report by CBO that stated that 40% of the increase in corn prices betwen 2000 and 2008 were attibutable to ethanol.

    We should have a good idea where this is going within a few years. Government has mandated the usage of 20.5 billion gallons of ethanol in 2015 double what we produced in 2008. By 2022, that number goes to 36 billion gallons. However, it's also mandated that only about 15 billion of those mandated numbers can come from corn starch.

    Will the agriculture industy develop the alternatives to corn, perhaps, on all those fallow acres? Will the government continue to provide new subsidies? Or will they just say "Never mind" we didn't mean it.


  33. An Irish boy stands crying at the side of the road. A man asks 'What is
    wrong'?? The boy says Me ma is dead' 'Oh bejaysus' the man says 'Do you
    want me to call Father O'Riley for you?? The boy replies 'No tanks
    Sex is the last ting on my moind at the moment'.

  34. Jan, Sue and Mary haven't seen each other since High School. They rediscover each other via a reunion website and arrange to meet for lunch in a wine bar.

    Jan arrives first, wearing beige Versace. She orders a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Sue arrives shortly afterward, in gray Chanel. After the required ritualized kisses, she joins Jan in a glass of wine. Then Mary walks in, wearing a faded old tee-shirt, blue jeans and boots. She too shares the wine.

    Jan explains that after leaving high school and graduating from Princeton in Classics, she met and married Timothy, with whom she has a beautiful daughter. Timothy is a partner in one of New York 's leading law firms. They live in a 4000 sq ft co-op on Fifth Avenue , where Susanna, the daughter, attends drama school. They have a second home in Phoenix .

    Sue relates that she graduated from Harvard Medical School and became a surgeon. Her husband, Clive, is a leading Wall Street investment banker. They live in Southampton on Long Island and have a second home in Naples , Florida ..

    Mary explains that she left school at 17 and ran off with her boyfriend, Jim. They run a tropical bird park in Colorado and grow their own vegetables. Jim can stand five parrots, side by side, on his dick.

    Halfway down the third bottle of wine and several hours later, Jan blurts out that her husband is really a cashier at Wal-Mart. They live in a small apartment in Brooklyn and have a travel trailer parked at a nearby storage facility. Sue, chastened and encouraged by her old friend's honesty, explains that she and Clive are both nurses' aides in a retirement home. They live in Jersey City and take vacation camping trips to Alabama .

    Mary says that the fifth parrot has to stand on one leg.

  35. We're, already, doing about 14 Billion Gallons from corn; so that gun has just about shot its wad.

    The oil guys are scared to death that cellulosic is going to work, and they've got the Pubs fighting hard against it. No guarantees how it's going to work out.

    The Inbicon/Novozymes technology will get another 5 Billion Gallons/Yr from Corn Cobs/Stover. That should start coming online at the end of 2012.

    Municipal Solid Waste to Ethanol is expected by many to start produce another 10 Billion Barrels/Yr, and, also, should start showing up around 2012.

    Energy crops, such as switchgrass/miscanthus, will easily finish off the 36 Billion.

    The oil company sockpuppet Republicans are fighting hard, though; and they Are good. They might be able to kill any further progress. I make it no better than 50/50.

  36. This is neat....when you're done with the 30 seconds....look at the back of your hand while it is still on the mouse....

    Follow the directions!

    You have just gotta try this!!! Make sure you look at the image for a full 30 seconds before looking at your hand! Have fun!

    Okay, this is downright weird. Don't be suspicious, nothing is going to jump out or scream at you. Just follow the instructions. Wait the entire 30 seconds.

    1.- Open the link

    2.- Then "click me to get trippy",

    3.- Look at the center of the screen for 30 seconds, and then.

    4.- Look at your hand holding the mouse, without moving it away from the mouse.


    ( It is no joke, it is called "cenesthetic hallucination")

  37. .

    The government's energy policy like it's foreign policy is ad hoc and ludicrous.

    Example. The EPA mandated that blenders (you know the oil guys, Exxon's and Sunoco's that are making a bundle on the mandated blending subsidies) had to use 5 million gallons of cellulosic ethonol in 2010.

    EPA admits the 5 million target was based on the 'potential' for there being 5 million gallons produced. Most estimates I've seen say there might have been about 1 million gallons produced for commercial use in 2010.

    However, because they weren't able to procure enough cellulosic ethanol to meet their government mandated target, the blenders have to purchase government waivers, one more tax or should I say incentive.

    (It could be worse. Congress mandated 100 million gallons before EPA stepped in and cut it to 5 million).

    Ruf, you see no problem with meeting the government mandates. God bless you, I hope you are right.

    I'll believe it when I see it.


  38. The US government last closed its doors in 1995 and early 1996, when Newt Gingrich, then Republican House speaker, squared off against Bill Clinton, the Democratic president.

    A shutdown would be only partial, with some 800,000 out of 4.4m federal workers temporarily laid off.

    Nevertheless, a wide range of government services would be suspended, from the processing of federal home and small business loans, tax returns and visa applications to the staffing of national parks. Military pay cheques would be delayed until after the standoff ended, but lawmakers would continue to receive their salaries, despite efforts in both the House and the Senate to halt their own pay.

    Budget Deal

  39. NO, Q, I did Not say that. You might reread my post. I said it was a fifty/fifty chance cellulosic was deader'n a doornail for the foreseeable future. (at least, that's what I meant to say.)

    Those laws, and regs are complex, and under fire. Serious fire. Oil is likely to win.

    The Only way to get cellulosic, or any ethanol, in the fuel supply is to Force the oil companies to blend it. You can bet your rusty red ass they will Not blend a nickel's worth if they don't have to.

    The only way to get the Billions invested is to Guarantee the mandates, and incentives will be in place. And, that's iffy.

    Examples: The Cellulosic Producers Credit expires Dec 31, 2012. Hell, if you started building a cellulosic refinery, today, you would have a hard time producing your first gallon before the expiration of the credit.

    It might get extended, but the Pubs are fighting it hard. Would YOU invest money in a new technology under those circumstances?

    There is a little payment to farmers for the first couple of years that they produce biomass for ethanol. It's small money, but very necessary. It's under intense fire from the Pubs.

    The loan guarantee program has proven to be useless for any real technology that has a strong possibility of working.

    I truly believe the whole thing would be a slam-dunk w/o the intense opposition of the Pubs, but only a 50% (if that) proposition the way things stand, now.

  40. Tapis Crude (that's the source of oil closest to China) is selling on the Spot Market for $129.81, as we speak.

    I'm tired; Later.

  41. So with this newfangled iron dome thingy, muzzies go back to throwing rocks and fatwas?

  42. The Democratic Senate doesn't like the House continuing resolution, and proposes a spending bill of its own, never mind what the Constitution says.

    "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives" (Article 1, Section 7).

  43. Peak oil theorists and other Malthusian moralists are — as ever — being made to look ridiculous. Private-sector ingenuity has most recently upset the depletionists in orchestrating a shale gas revolution, which promises hundreds of years of additional supply. The IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, admitted earlier this year that shale gas would further undermine wind and solar. Meanwhile, other recent studies have suggested that improving technology may soon unlock the vast resource of shale oil.