“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."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How can you not like this guy?


  1. .

    The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized Awlaki’s killing. But so far, the only politician of note to do so is Rep. Ron Paul, the Republican presidential candidate with a touching reverence for the Constitution as written. “Al-Awlaki was born here; he’s an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes,” he exclaimed. Paul, though, gets dismissed as a constitutional kvetch.

    I do not share Paul’s indignation, but I do his dismay. Something big and possibly dangerous has happened . . . in secret. Government’s most awesome power — to take a life — has been exercised on one of its own citizens without benefit of trial. A guy named Barron and another named Lederman apparently said it was okay. Maybe it was. But I’d sure like to hear the attorney general or the president explain why...

    Does the Constitution Get in the Way?


  2. Yesterday, Libya failed a critical litmus test on freedom when it blocked exiled Libyan Jew David Gerbi in his attempt to reopen Tripoli’s synagogue and forced him to flee the country.

    For this we paid $896 million dollars and two downed aircraft.

  3. .

    Quirk: "...Government’s most awesome power — to take a life — has been exercised on one of its own citizens without benefit of trial..."

    There were 72,524 Confederates killed in action by the boys in blue...

    Your analogy is thin T, especially if you bothered to read the article.

    The question is not whether the man should have been killed but rather what was the justification for it under the constitution. There was no doubt as to why the Confederates were killed and Lincoln had no problem telling the nation publically what the justification was.

    No one is saying Awlaki shouldn't have been killed. But we are a nation of laws. Evidently, there was a justification for it formulated by some administration lawyers. What some are asking is that that justification be made public, something Obama and Holder have been unwilling to do.


  4. .

    The "Black Walnut" seems like a personable guy.

    Still not convinced I could vote for him as president.

    My being leery of his religious views and convictions wouldn't necessarily disqualify him when it comes to me voting for him.

    However, it is unlikely his 999 plan or the Fair Tax he proposes will ever be implemented in our lifetime. Likewise, in the absence of a complete re-write of the tax code, his ideas for 0 taxes on cap gains, repatriation, and the estate tax are impractical.

    He has made on general statements about the need to cut regulations so until he gets specific it's hard to praise or criticze him.

    On social issues I tend to agree with him. However, he justifies those positions on religious grounds. I don't.

    He accuses Liberals of name calling yet states his opposition to mosques, and having muslims on the courts.

    He is all for expanding oil production in this country which I agree with but is against the government promoting alternate fuel sources.

    On the military, he is firmly in favor of keeping or expanding current military spending levels. He favors our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, he is opposed to our policies involving Libya and Syria.

    He is pro big business which is fine. However, his quote, "When was the last time a poor person gave you a job?" gives me pause. It (to me) denotes an attitude that is prevalent among the GOP, business, and Wall Street. It's an elitist view used to justify tax cuts and bailouts.


  5. I find it funny, Quirk, that some folk get their knickers in a knot over the extrajudicial execution of an American citizen but they have no problem with an extrajudicial execution of a non-citizen. Seems to me the problem lies in the lack judicial process as opposed to the citizenship of the target.

  6. .

    ...Seems to me the problem lies in the lack judicial process as opposed to the citizenship of the target...

    It's two different issues. At least for Americans.

    When you declare a "War" on terror, you can pretty much 'justify' any actions you want and the courts are likely to go along with you. For instance, Obama's policy of using drones in
    Pakistan to take out terrorist targets has a lot going for it. It is cheap, effective, and saves American lives. Very few people I have seen criticize it.

    I personally feel there is no moral justification for the collateral damage it inflicts. It's easy to say that any innocents only have themselves to blame for hanging with the bad guys. However, that requires a bit of a stretch when the collateral damage is children. The other side of the argument is that by carrying out the raids without drones would result in more damage and death; ours, theirs, and possibly even the same innocents.

    On the matter of Awlaki, we have the Constitution as well as Presidential Orders and international law that restrict the killing of American citizens by the government.

    If it can be legally justified, that's fine. However, if it can be justified, why not make that justification public? Keeping it secret merely increases the perception that under the "War on Terror" and the Patriot Act, we live in a 'soft' police state that is getting harder.


  7. .

    Egypt’s Finance Minister Resigns

    CAIRO — Egypt’s finance minister resigned on Tuesday, becoming the first high-level official to leave in the aftermath of the deadly clashes between Coptic Christian demonstrators and military forces on Sunday that appeared to signify a turning point in the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak eight months ago...

    His resignation came a day after thousands of Coptic Christian mourners gathered at the country’s largest cathedral to commemorate the two dozen killed on Sunday in fighting with Egypt’s military forces, which have ruled the country since Mr. Mubarak was forced from office in February and which have increasingly shown unwillingness to share power...

    Now political liberals as well as Copts said the brutal crackdown had finally extinguished the public’s faith in the ruling military council as the guardian of a peaceful transition to democracy...

    Others took an even darker view, saying that the violence suggested that the military may now hold an even tighter grip on power than Mr. Mubarak did...

    Military Crackdown in Egypt


  8. .

    Christie to endorse Romney ahead of debate.


  9. Quirk wrote:

    "When you declare a "War" on terror, you can pretty much 'justify' any actions you want and the courts are likely to go along with you."

    Yeah, and a war on a tactic renders all laws re war moot - which is a problem. The US government has moved to assassination as a a standard practice. The US is not at war with Pakistan yet the drones attack regularly. Bush started the US down the slippery slope and Obama has continued the slide.

  10. The US federal government has killed American citizens before without a trial or cause. Think not, look at this.. Go to the nine minute mark and listen what ATF agents have to say.

  11. well, gee, look at this timely breaking news:

    "U.S. thwarts alleged Iranian goverment plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador, bomb embassies

    Two people, including a member of Iran's special operations unit known as the Quds Force, were charged in New York federal court. Mr. Holder said the bomb plot was a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law.

    “We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at a news conference in Washington with Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller. "

  12. Cain's a hoot, but he's a little nuts. I guess it's Romney, or Obama.

  13. Mr Cain, the flavor of the week, at the GOP.

    The only one of the bunch I'd vote for is Dr Paul, and an ice cream cone in hell stands a better chance of gaining the nomination.

    No Change Ahead,
    little matter who wins the 2012 election.

  14. The "change" in Egypt, a plus for the Israeli

    JERUSALEM — Israel and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement on a proposal brokered by Egypt to exchange Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years, both sides said Tuesday. The Israeli cabinet was meeting in emergency session to discuss it.

    Despite the fears and missed calls of our own Story of "o".

  15. It's OFFICIAL!!!!

    One Israeli is worth 1500 Arabs.

    Yep it's all too true...


    So from now on, ONE Arab attack on Israel is worth 1,500 attacks on Arabs....

    If ONE Jew is KILLED? 1,500 ARABS must be killed in equal proportion!!!!!!!!!!!

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in Jerusalem that the deal was "finally summarized and both sides signed."

    In the Gaza Strip, Hamas confirmed that it only remained to conclude technical arrangements for the exchange in the coming days.

    The breakthrough pact, after many false dawns in years of secret efforts to free Shalit since he was captured in 2006, has no direct bearing on Middle East peace negotiations.

    But it was virtually certain to improve the climate for restarting talks that have been stalled for over a year.

    A source involved in the talks said the long elusive pact had been mediated by Egypt, playing a role which is likely to strengthen Israel's ties with Cairo, which have suffered since the fall of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian revolution this year.

    Abu Ubeida, a spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, told Reuters the agreement in principle was sealed.

    "We are in the process of completing the technical arrangements to complete the deal within days," he said.

    The agreement calls for the release of 1,000 Palestinians in two stages, the first involving 450 to be swapped for Shalit, with the remaining 550 to be freed later.

    The exchange was sure to be greeted with relief by both sides.

    So for all you Israel haters that always bashed the death and injury rate of the arabs?????

    Israel is owed several thousand more arab injuries and deaths to keep the record "even"!!!

  16. The Jew hating, Israel despising, anti zionist "Rat" says:

    Despite the fears and missed calls of our own Story of "o".

    There is no Story of "O", unless you are obsessed with porn.

    My Handle is What is Occupation or WIO for short.

    Your obsession with porn is quite disgusting...

    And you are a "bartender"

    What a bunch of inbred hilljacks this place is...

    Story of O
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    This article is about the erotic novel. For the film, see Story of O (film).
    Story of O

    Author(s) Pauline Réage
    Country France
    Language French
    Genre(s) Erotic novel
    Publisher Jean-Jacques Pauvert
    Publication date 1954
    Media type Print
    Story of O (French: Histoire d'O, IPA: [istwaʁ do]) is an erotic novel published in 1954 about love, dominance and submission by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage.
    Desclos did not reveal herself as the author for forty years after the initial publication. Desclos claims she wrote the novel as a series of love letters to her lover Jean Paulhan,[1] who had admired the work of the Marquis de Sade.

  17. Plot

    Published in French by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Story of O is a tale of female submission about a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer, O, who is blindfolded, chained, whipped, branded, pierced, made to wear a mask, and taught to be constantly available for oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. Despite her harsh treatment, O grants permission beforehand for everything that occurs, and her permission is consistently sought.
    At the beginning of the story, O's lover, René, brings her to the château of Roissy, where she is trained to serve the men of an elite group. After this first period of training is finished, as a demonstration of their bond and his generosity, René hands O to Sir Stephen, a more dominant master. René wants O to learn to serve someone whom she does not love, and someone who does not love her. Over the course of this training, O falls in love with Sir Stephen and believes him to be in love with her as well. While her vain friend and lover, Jacqueline, is repulsed by O's chains and scars, O herself is proud of her condition as a willing slave. During the summer, Sir Stephen decides to move O to Samois, an old mansion solely inhabited by women for advanced training and body modifications related to submission. There she agrees to receive a branding and a labia piercing with rings marked with Sir Stephen's initials and insignia. At the climax, O appears as a slave, nude but for an owl-like mask, before a large party of guests who treat her solely as an object.

    One version of the Roissy triskelion ring described in the book

    Yep sounds like ole Rat is one sick puppy....

    Porn and death obsessed....

    After all, he is a self admitted killer on civilians in Central America....

    (no harm no foul since he did not get caught)

    And if you notice he is a bully.... A Passive aggressive one at that...

    But he REFLECTS this fine blog's standards...

    Pervert that is....

  18. Value is decided upon, in the market place.

    That the Israeli erroneously incarcerated 1,500 people, to have to trade for 1 POW, well, there you have it.

    The Story does rant on, does he not.

    Does anyone read more than a line or two?

    Please reply in the affirmative, if you do, with a legitimate blooger sign-on, por favor.

  19. Those 1,500 "terrorists" the Israeli are willing to trade, are of no threat to Israel.

    If they were, they'd not be released.

    The reality, those Palestinians, merely political pawns.

    Three cheers to the Egyptians, for getting a deal done.

    Bet Mrs Clinton and President Obama were using their influence with the rulers of Egypt, our proxies in their military, to get a deal done.

  20. The Story of "o" has been telling the same lies, for so long, I bet he believes they are true.

    Or is it just another symptom of his cultural schizophrenia?

  21. WiO: But he REFLECTS this fine blog's standards...

    Deuce, I happen to think this is an excellent blog.

    Chicago’s public libraries will reduce their hours in 2012, even as the city continues to build new libraries, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged Tuesday. Because...wait for it...wait for it...those are union construction jobs we're talking about.

  22. Teresita said...
    WiO: But he REFLECTS this fine blog's standards...

    Deuce, I happen to think this is an excellent blog.

    Now that's entertainment!

  23. Tim Tebow, who was vilified by the media for being too slow, a bad passer,and a Believer, who was jilted to second string, then third string by the Broncos at the beginning of the season due to pressure from the afore mentioned, will now start on Sunday.

    Good on him.

  24. Saw him in some of the high lights, last Sunday, gag.

    It certainly was a good day, for him.

    Didn't know his story.

  25. Rufus

    I have one more memory for you regarding the Bootheel.

    Have you seen or heard of the lights at Seneath?

  26. The failed murder-for-hire plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States could not have been carried out without the assistance of Mexican authorities, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

    Law enforcement agencies from all levels of government thwarted an alleged plan by Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen with passports here and in Iran, to murder the ambassador for $1.5 million. Arbabsiar met with a person he believed to be associated with a Mexican drug cartel – but was instead a confidential source of with the Drug Enforcement Agency, authorities alleged.

    "We commend the Mexican government for their cooperation in helping us uncover the plot," Holder said. "It was significant, and I don't think we would have been to accomplish this today without it."

    The alleged plot began in the spring, when Arbabsiar and his cohorts met with the informant in the Mexican city of Reynoso, which borers McAllen, Texas. He made two down payments totaling nearly $100,000, authorities said.

    Read more:

    Wonder if that 50/50 American, Manssor Arbabsiar, spoke Spanish?

  27. The wisdom of Teddy's words, exemplified.

    We can have no '50-50' allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  28. Why, it must be asked, did it take two years to bring this case to trial?

    The trial of a Nigerian man dubbed the "underwear bomber" got underway Tuesday, nearly two years after he allegedly tried to blow up a passenger plane with a device concealed in his clothing.

  29. Umm, no, Gag, I don't recall such a thing (of course, I, also, don't recall what I had for dinner last night.) :)

  30. .

    Why, it must be asked, did it take two years to bring this case to trial?

    The wheels of justice greind slowly.


  31. .

    Greind is old Latin for grind.


  32. Certainly does not seem to be "speedy".

    Wonder if all such Federal proceedings take so long to process.

    I imagine they do, that this fellow was not singled out for the slow lane.

    His compatriots in Gitmo still have not seen a trial or tribunal, in almost a decade, for some of them.

    We have stayed the course set by Mr Bush. Despite pledges, promises and protestations by Mr Obama.

  33. I'm an Obama supporter and wish he would come out against the Federal Reserve being in the hands of private citizens - unaccountable to anyone. I continue to hold out hope that he is a true agent of change instead of just hot air.

    There's much to like about Ron Paul and some of his stances on civil liberties, foreign policy etc...It's just too bad Ron Paul doesn't believe in evolution!

    Sadly, this forces me to throw congressman Paul into the illogical, crackpot pile of candidates.

  34. .

    The detention facitities in the Detroit area are not known for either their food or their services.

    Time also is a relative thing. It may seem like it's taking forever to us; but I suspect the guy who did the shooting down at Fort Hood probably thinks time is flying, knowing what awaits him in the end.


  35. Arbabsiar and Shakuri are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries, among other charges.

    Arbabsiar appeared in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday and was ordered held without bail. He did not issue a plea, but his lawyer said he would plead not guilty, FOX News Channel reported.

    Arbabsiar's next hearing was scheduled for Oct. 25. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on all of the charges.

  36. Oh, I have no doubt that the wait has not been pleasant, for that miscreant.

    As for the Fort Hood fella, he is doing better than his Mullah.

    Same destination, different routes.

  37. Reading between the lines of Mr Holder's statement, that DEA informant in Mexico, more than likely, a Federale.

  38. “There are people out there who want to try to paint me as the Jeremiah Wright of the right,” Jeffress said on MSNBC. “My comments are not fanatical.


    “The fact that some moron can stand up and make a comment like that — first of all, it’s outrageous,” Huntsman told CNN in an interview Monday. “This kind of talk, I think, has no home in American politics.


    Perry’s campaign said the governor disagrees with Jeffress, but stopped short of rejecting what he said.

  39. Who keeps the $200,000 in prepayment penalties?

    Betcha it stays in Mexico.

  40. So did Mr Cain.

    So did Mrs Bachmann.

    It's the "Tea Party Line"

  41. Ray Sullivan, communications director for Mr. Perry, responded to news of the endorsement on Fox News. “Well that’s the way it works in this business sometimes; the Northeast Republicans are sticking together in this case,” he said.

    “We’ve got a debate tonight that’s supposed to talk about the economy. I’ve got a governor, Governor Perry, who’s got the strongest jobs record in the country, six balanced budgets, cutting billions in spending.


    Mr. Christie made it clear in recent months that he wanted to remain a force in helping to unseat Mr. Obama. Endorsing Mr. Romney will give him a national platform without having to run himself.

  42. To say Mormons are not Christians, though they self proclaim to be ...

    Not fanatical, but the Christian thing to do.

    According to the Pastor.

  43. Here are five key things to look for in tonight’s debate:

    1. Is Herman Cain a contender or a pretender? In previous debates, Cain was the genial candidate-without-a-prayer on the very end of the stage, talking up his 9-9-9 tax plan and his preference for the Chilean model of social security. Tuesday night, because of his rapid rise in national polls, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO will have Mitt Romney to his left and Texas Governor Rick Perry to his right.


    2. Can Romney take a punch? Romney has come out of every debate with hardly a hair out of place, able to keep focused on his anti-Obama message, and deflect and dismiss his rivals with a simple turn of phrase.


    3. Rick Perry rebound? Perry’s individual debate performances have been very much like the trajectory of his candidacy so far: he starts strong, then fades down the stretch. His Saturday Night Live-worthy showing in the last debate triggered his downward spiral in the polls, and his statements on military intervention in Mexico and the revelations about his family’s hunting camp further damaged him.

  44. Mr Christie, like Mr Romney, another Rockefeller Republican.

    Not that there is anything really wrong, with being a Rockefeller Republican.

    Defines one as being corporate and liberal, by "Real" Republicans.

  45. The last time I visited Cairo, prior to the ouster of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a feeling of helplessness pervaded the streets. Young Egyptian men spent the hot afternoons in shisha cafes complaining about not being able to get married because there were no jobs available.


    Sunday, Oct. 9, began calmly in Cairo. Though Egyptian opposition forces are growing more vocal in their discontent with Egypt’s interim military government, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the main demonstrations have been taking place a few hours after Friday prayers — and declining in size with each passing week.


    What struck me most about the riots was the polarization on the streets when it came to the general perception of the military. On the one hand, I saw crowds along the street cheering in support of the army as armored vehicles and buses filled with soldiers made their way to the scene of the conflict.

    Riots in Cairo


  46. “Shifting political dynamics and changes in rhetoric about free trade tend to play out in unpredictable ways against the background of a bipartisan desire to get tough with China,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University. “A lurking concern is that this bill won’t help the U.S. economy significantly and could instead hurt job growth if China retaliates aggressively and trade tensions compound economic uncertainty, setting back an already fragile recovery. I suspect both parties are a little concerned about supporting such legislation if it backfires. “


  47. Thanks, sam ...

    ... I saw crowds along the street cheering in support of the army as armored vehicles and buses filled with soldiers made their way to the scene of the conflict. ...

  48. Ron Paul: I don't accept the theory of evolution

    (CBS News)

    Congressman Ron Paul, who is campaigning for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, says that the theory of human evolution is just a theory - and one that he does not accept.

    In a YouTube video of Paul addressing what appears to be a town hall meeting in 2007, the Texas representative let listeners know where he stood on the issue.

    "Well, first i thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter," he said. "I think it's a theory...the theory of evolution and I don't accept it as a theory. But I think the creator that i know, you know created us, every one of us and created the universe and the precise time and manner and all. I just don't think we're at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side."

    Seems reasonable. No deal breaker.

  49. Obviously then, anon, you're no Obama supporter.

  50. Shalit, a member of a tank crew, was seized in June 2006 in a cross-border attack by militants from Hamas who tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip and attacked an army post.

    Public pressure has been building on Netanyahu to agree to a deal for the 25-year-old soldier’s release, but he had argued in the past that such a swap would free dangerous militants and put Israel’s security at risk.

    On Tuesday, Netanyahu said that the deal reached had struck “the right balance between all these considerations.”

  51. Ron Paul: I don't accept the theory of evolution

    What a moron. But he already uttered the deal breaker when he called for Obama's impeachment for taking out Al-Milwaukee.

  52. Obama advisers said they were working with Senate Democratic leaders on how and when to break out separate aspects of the overall jobs bill for votes.

    Even before Tuesday’s defeat, the White House was casting the Senate vote as but the first act in what one Obama adviser called a long-term play — essentially, an autumn full of action to force Congress to take action on jobs. Senior Obama officials said it was important for the Senate to act to keep pressure on the Republican-led House.

    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was recuperating from surgery and did not vote.

  53. "Virtually every American has a reason to be angry," Gingrich said, when asked about the protests. He went on, however, to argue sharply that politicians should be the target of anger rather than the business community.

    He had harsh words for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who he claimed was making bailout decisions in secret. "Bernanke has in secret spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out one group and not bailing out another group," Gingrich said.

    "It is corrupt and it is wrong for one man to have that kind of secret power," he said.

  54. .

    You think OZ is bad. You should live in Topeka.

    Topeka Decides to Decriminalize Domestic Violence

    Three arms of government, all ostensibly representing the same people, have been at an impasse over who should be responsible for — and pay for — prosecuting people accused of misdemeanor cases of domestic violence.

    City leaders had blamed the Shawnee County district attorney for handing off such cases to the city without warning. The district attorney, in turn, said he was forced to not prosecute any misdemeanors and to focus on felonies because the County Commission cut his budget. And county leaders accused the district attorney of using abused women as pawns to negotiate more money for his office...

    911 Rules Out House Calls