“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, November 15, 2011

Why is RT News a more interesting source of news than CNN?

RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a global multilingual television news network based in the Russian Federation run by RIA Novosti. It is an interesting channel and surprising in the depth and balance of its reports. Here is a link to RT America Capital Account


  1. Why would anyone be interested in Netanyahu, given the big fish to fry. Oy, yes, I nearly forgot.

    Syrian soldiers killed as crisis accelerates
    "Thirty-four soldiers were killed Monday in an ambush in Daraa, the birthplace of the uprising, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The brazen attack by army defectors suggests a new confidence among troops who have sided with the protesters and highlights the potential for an armed confrontation to escalate."

    Since turnabout deserves fair play...
    Israel Takes Care of Business

  2. Wow! And the news coverage isn't bad either :-)


  3. Allen: The brazen attack by army defectors suggests a new confidence among troops who have sided with the protesters and highlights the potential for an armed confrontation to escalate."

    Dr. Bashir Assad better start stretching out his down escalator with a cucumber or something to get 'er ready for his final act, if what happened to Qaddafi is any clue.

  4. Good grief, Miss T!


  5. Taliban Becoming Unpopular

    Maybe we ought to stay another decade. If we leave I don't want to think about the women.


  6. If the US were to stay, under a "b" regime, the women would not be safe from rapists, boobie.

    Whether in Idaho or Pennsylvania the failure to report a sex crime, well, that is a crime.

  7. Shove it up you down escalator, killer.


  8. Due to the field that we have prepared with the misuse of our military and misguided diplomacy, when Assad is eliminated Christians will also be vanquished in short order thereafter, and we will have effectively eliminated them from from the ME, as the Muzzies did the Jews before, to the apparent applause and approval by the sippers of the EB Koolaid.

    Too bad Cain didn't know enough to be confident in his CORRECT answer, namely that we have ONCE AGAIN, empowered civilization's worst enemies in Libya, as we did in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, ...

    PBU us all.

  9. Next, the Bar idiot, Rufus, will declare that a 3,000 page piece of shit calling for tens of thousands more pages of regulations, will IMPROVE healthcare in Amerika.

    Please explain HOW all the folks required to push all those papers and follow all the inhuman rules therein will work, you Socialist Moron!

    ...and tell us:
    How many pages is Romneycare, and how could Obamacare not be many times worse, given that it makes a mockery of the elegant execution of Mitt's flawed plan.

    Also, you could compare the relative sizes of Mass. vs the USA, the income levels and "diversity" of the populations, and explain why none of that will matter, or be an IMMENSE problem if Obamascam remains the law of the land.

    Do tell!

  10. Oh, and no one here but me will register any arguments with Rufus's absurd assertions.

    Why, is beyond me.

  11. Yep, some religious nutjobs are going to be mean to some other religious nutjobs. There's only one answer, Doug. We have to send your son over to the Middleeast to be killed.

    Not that it'll stop the religious nutjobs from killing each other, but it will at least accomplish . . . . . . . . . . . . .


  12. 99% of the poor, and sick, and disadvantaged in Mass have healthcare Doug.

    And, it increased their state budget by less than 1%.

    Did I mention that they have a very low (compared to other states) unemployment rate, a very high Median Family Income, and

    that they ran a Budget "Surplus" this year?

  13. Let me amend that. 100% of the "sick" in Mass have Healthcare. The 1% is just a group of people that hasn't shown up at a hospital, and they haven't, yet, been able to track down.

  14. Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poor’s. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008 & now they will do it again”. -- Michael Moore, tweeting in his gilded cage.

  15. Doug: Due to the field that we have prepared with the misuse of our military and misguided diplomacy, when Assad is eliminated Christians will also be vanquished in short order thereafter, and we will have effectively eliminated them from from the ME

    And they won't even have empty Cathedrals to use as concert venues for Lady Gaga like they do in Eurabia.

  16. The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.

  17. Damn, those clever Jews just saved us billions and billions on buying new tanks!! That would be logical, would it not?

  18. Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought to set limits on what American and NATO troops could -- and could not -- do in his country Wednesday in a lengthy speech to tribal elders.

    I suggest 250 to protect the US Embassy.

  19. Syrian army defectors have attacked a major military base near Damascus, Syrian opposition groups say.

    Parts of the notorious Air Force Intelligence building in Harasta were reported to have been destroyed, but there were no reports of casualties.

    It would be the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) most high-profile attack since Syria's anti-government protests began.

    The attack came ahead of an Arab League meeting to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed.

    Turkey, which is not a member but will be attending the meeting, has said Syria will "pay a high price" for its actions.

  20. I was completely taken with the reader's competence in the interview. She knows her stuff. Without doubt she could hold her own as W.F. Buckley would say, extemporare.

    For the record, I did not notice the four times the cameraman panned her from the soles of her cute little feet up to her soft, long hair, and pouty full lips...

  21. Saying goodbye

    SOKUR, Iraq — The name of this dusty little village means falcon in Arabic, a reference to its history as a residential community for workers at a nearby airport. But most people in Iraq call it Traitor Town.

    Residents of Sokur say they have been left isolated.

    “It’s not fair, but it’s true,” one market vendor here said about the nickname, pointing down the street to the walls of a now-empty American base just beyond.

    Years ago, the residents of this town formed an alliance with the Americans who had moved into the airport and renamed it Speicher Base.

    Nearly every young man in the town worked at the base, making this place an illustrative, if extreme, example of the unfortunate turn of fate for Iraqis who took jobs with the United States military during the nearly nine-year war, and who are now being left behind.

    A United States visa program for them is stalled in red tape, while the Iraqi government has no formal program to help. Though these workers were laid off months ago, they are now, finally and irrevocably, deprived of their job opportunities, off the bases and being shunned, or worse.

    “At least they could come by to say goodbye, and say thank you, or maybe sorry to leave you in this disturbing situation,” the mayor, Adel Turki, said of the Americans in an interview. “But nobody said goodbye.”

  22. Deuce, I guess I'm slipping (some more.) I didn't understand the reference to the "tanks."

  23. Deuce said...
    Damn, those clever Jews just saved us billions and billions on buying new tanks!! That would be logical, would it not?

    Wed Nov 16, 07:38:00 AM EST

    This technology is one of the reasons those clever Jews have been perfecting a defensive "shield" for their armor - sorta of like Star Trek's "shields up!"

    You would have to admit that armor is no longer what it used to be. It may have some limited role in crowd control as the Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians have tried to prove, but on the open battlefield it is as obsolete as the battleship of WWII.

    Time marches on and so does technology...including that brought to market by those clever Jews. Come to think of it, all that Zionist research done under the Soviet/Russian noses has given us the makings of a very good missile defense system.

  24. Careful what you wish for. Arab Muslims will never blame it on Islam, they're too blind about their religion and will remain more so as the Western Liberal elites glorify Islam and its followers.

    There are lots of Jews in Syria and Christians in Syria and Syria is the iron gate of the Middle East and has kept the majority of the Syrians under the thumb of the Assad clan through fear and intimidation, unfortunately Christians and Jews will be hounded by the islamists when they take over just like in Iraq and Egypt. The Dictator will be replaced by 1000 dictators and mullahs.

    Maybe Assad has something up his sleeve-support of Iran or Russia! The West should stay out of it.

    Sadly, the Arab Spring will give rise to more turmoil to all Arabs. There will be no more women protesting ever again - they will be covered up and told what to do for the rest of their lives. Muslims will fight each other when they have no one else to fight. God help Israel because that will be their next focus.

    Turkey,like a vulture, is calculating on how to benefit from it all. Urdugan is dreaming of another Caliphate if Turkey fails to join the EU. Turkey's secularism is under attack and islamists are grabbing more powers.

    The defining difference between the European, israeli and US system is that they question themselves constantly, and they have active media always ready to point out the faults in western democratic societies. But arab and islamic cultures never admit that there might be fundamental problems in islam which causes repression, violence and totalitarianism. The Middle East will never know true democracy, it goes against sharia practices regardless of how muslims try to sell their religion as the perfect way to establish heaven on earth.

  25. Yields on French 10-year debt rose four basis points to 3.72 percent, with equivalent-maturity Spanish yields also four basis points higher, at 6.38 percent. The rate on German bunds increased three basis points to 1.81 percent.


  26. Breaking news -- the Italian government is just being announced.

    Two and a half hours late, but the important thing is that Mario Monti has reached an agreement.

    The top line is that Monti will take the role of economy minister as well as being prime minister (so no one will be able to accuse him of shirking the challenge).

    The list of ministers is longer than expected. Interestingly, Anna Maria Cancellieri becomes interior minister -- having raced to Rome today, leaving her students at Parma University to speculate that she was joining the government.

  27. FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Italy's 10-year government bond yield bounced back above the 7% level Wednesday. The yield fell earlier, with several strategists reporting heavy buying of Italian debt by the European Central Bank.

  28. From Robert Fisk at the Independent:

    In Damascus earlier this month, Syrian state television asked me for an interview on events in Syria. With much trepidation, I accepted, promising the presenter he would not like all I said, but warning – a bit of Fisk blackmail, this – that any censored words would be relayed to readers of The Independent. The interview went ahead and I said that President Bashar al-Assad was "running out of time – fast". The Arab people, I added, could no longer be infantilised; there was clearly an armed insurgency under way in Syria to overthrow the regime – foreign correspondents must be allowed to visit Homs and other areas where a host of YouTube pictures show protesters being shot down. When I was told later that the translation had not been finished in time, I smiled with my usual cynicism.

    But almost incredibly, the interview duly aired on Syrian state television – and to my utter astonishment, they ran the lot (they used near-perfect subtitling), including the remarks about Assad "running out of time – fast".

    What happened? Did this have the President's approval? Or was the government – or some part of the dictatorship – trying to show that they were in no doubt about how serious the near-civil war had become? I don't know. And my Middle Eastern crystal ball broke many years ago. But I'll hazard a dangerous prediction: Assad's time is running out, fast – but don't believe the State Department and the Washington "tink thanks" (as I call them) and the EU or the Arab League. He ain't going yet.

    Even the words of Jordan's King Abdullah this week were slightly bent by the press and television coverage when he supposedly told the BBC that Assad should "step down". What he actually said was that "if I was in his [Assad's] shoes, I would step down". Which is not quite the same thing. Far more important was that section of the interview – one of his best, by the way, and I'm not his majesty's fan – in which he said that if Assad stepped down, only to be replaced by the same "system" (ie the Baath party), the problem would not be ended. Too true. And running alongside King Abdullah's words, I thought, was the faint hope that perhaps Assad could still take the initiative and honour all his fine words (new constitution, political pluralism, real democracy, etc). Certainly, the West's pompous predictions of Assad's imminent demise – based more on YouTube than the reality on the ground – are hopelessly optimistic. True, there are deserters from the Syrian army. But you don't win revolutions with Kalashnikov AK-47s. Only the desertion of a tank unit or two plus generals – Libya-style – could have any chance of that. And so far, there is none. Assad is not Gaddafi.

    Furthermore, Russia's military support is not going to end. Only nine days after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria, the joint director-general of the federal Russian service of military cooperation, Viatcheslav Djirkaln, said that there would be "no restrictions at all on arms deliveries to Syria". The Russians talk, of course, of "contractual obligations".


  29. {…}Nor is that surprising. The truth is that Russia was once Libya's only arms supplier; it was selling combat jets, frigates, tanks and anti-aircraft systems to Colonel Gaddafi after the West's 1974 arms embargo and had 3,500 advisers in the country. Its ships could refuel at the Tripoli naval base. Now it is associated with the dead and hated regime. Russia was 73rd on the list of nations to recognise the Libyan National Transitional Council.

    So now the Syrian city of Tartous contains the only 24-hour port open to the Russian navy in the Mediterranean. Without Tartous, every Russian naval vessel in the sea would have to return through the Bosphorous to Odessa for every nut, screw and cigarette packet it needs. Friends, as they say, need each other.

    Does the Arab League's threat of suspension really matter? I suspect not – but clearly the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem thinks very differently. He said that the league had taken "an extremely dangerous step" in threatening Syria and that US support for the league's decision was "incitement". Armour had already left Syrian cities, prisoners were being released, armed insurgents were being offered an amnesty. YouTube bounced back with video of a Russian-made armoured vehicle firing thousands of rounds down a Homs street and a photograph of a half-naked murdered Syrian, hands tied behind his back, lying in a Homs street. But murdered by whom?

    One thing is now clear. Quite apart from the massive civilian casualties, even opponents of the regime now admit that Assad faces an armed insurgency. This may originally have been a myth promoted by the regime, but the monster has now been born. Anti-Assad activists now openly speak of "armed insurgents". Sixteen civilians were killed in Deraa three days ago. But 15 soldiers were killed on the same day in the same city. Who killed them? That's what we need to know.

  30. NOOoooo, we don't need to "know" that. We need to stay the hell away from it. All of it.

    We have wasted 10 years of energy, brains, and treasure in the Middleeast, and it's time to put it to bed.

    We could be energy independent three times over, with the money, and effort we've wasted over there.

    It was a huge mistake that we absolutely Can Not afford to continue.

  31. This is brought to you by RT News (I am liking this outfit more and more)

    Gerald Celente’s gold account was emptied by MF Global

    Roubini doesn't seem at all sanguine on the future viability of the Eurozone.

  32. Deuce quoted Fisk...
    But you don't win revolutions with Kalashnikov AK-47s. Only the desertion of a tank unit or two plus generals – Libya-style – could have any chance of that. And so far, there is none. Assad is not Gaddafi.

    Fisk sees the potent role of armor against civilians and lightly armed infantry. Some of that Zionist anti-armor technology would turn the tables in that everyone would be armed with AK's. Such an outcome would mean the almost instant death of al Assad.

    I am surprised that a super-sensitive guy like Fisk isn't jumping all over the Zionists for failing to help the Syrian Spring. Moreover, there would be an elegant symmetry to Israel's supplying anti-al Assad fighters with high tech tank killers, given the up-arming of Hiz in Lebanon by Syrian connivance with Iran.

    Were Turkey to take on an "administrative" role in a battered Syria, some peace might follow. A carpet bagging, self-interest by the Turks might just trump any voices within the Turkish government for the advancement of fundamentalist Islam (I am not sure there is another sort, but for the sake of argument...).

  33. The top line is that Monti will take the role of economy minister as well as being prime minister (so no one will be able to accuse him of shirking the challenge).

    That makes Merkel and Sarkozy pleased as punch, it means Italy will be run of the bankers, by the bankers, for the bankers. None of this referendum shit.

  34. Well, boobie, the disdain with which you hold women, exemplified by the lack of concern you have for the safety of the women of your community, is well documented.

    That you and yours put the women of the community in dire danger, through your conspiracy of silence, a "real" tribute to your forebears, fer sure.

  35. Strong Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization Report, today.

    Ind Prod UP 0.7%

    Cap Util UP from 77.4 to 77.8%


  36. The Hezbollah elements in Lebanon showed, without doubt, that high tech solutions are not required to stop an armored assault.

    They stopped Israeli armor, cold.

    With wire guided missiles and good fighting positions.

  37. DR: They stopped Israeli armor, cold. With wire guided missiles and good fighting positions.

    And the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'. Battleships gave way to aircraft carriers in WW2. Drones are the aircraft carriers of WW3.

  38. Unlikely, Ms T, that drones alone will carry the day.

    Airstrikes have never won a war, unless they were nuclear.

  39. Even at that, it took more than one, to get 'er done.

  40. DR wrote...
    They stopped Israeli armor, cold.

    On that score, I am not yet as certain as you. Furthermore, you have to give due credit where it is really due: Rice and Olmert. Remember that air power was wasted in the on-again, off-again war orchestrated by the highly qualified Dr. Rice and her Israeli lap dogs.

    Mr. Olmert hung on like the decaying corpse of Eva Peron because he was able to bribe a handful of religious fanatics - four if memory serves - preventing a vote of confidence and elections. Your missing this factoid comes as a surprise.

  41. Newt supported Medicare Part D, TARP, and ethanol subsidies. He wrote in his 2008 book Real Change "we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy [health-care] coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond". In 1987 he tried to pass the Fairness Doctrine, forcing the Gipper to veto his ass. In 2007 he supported cap and trade. In 2008 he sat on a couch with Pelosi and said, "We do agree our country must take action to address climate change."

    In the 1930s when Thomas Dewey ran against FDR he did not oppose the New Deal per se. His pitch was that Republicans would run the New Deal programs more efficiently. So yeah, vote for Newt, and get a new improved, whiter Obama.

  42. Neither Ms Rice nor Mr Olmert were on the ground, in Lebanon.

    The IDF was.

    It was stopped, cold.

    It's armor unable to penetrate the HB defensive lines. While commanded by the "best" the Israelis had, at the time.

    Armor, even under the command of George S Patton, has a hard time taking down well entrenched defensive positions.

    Exemplified at Metz.

  43. Texans have 100% healthcare coverage,too.

    Some of us pay for it, the rest just show up at the ER.

    "no habla, enviar la factura a mi vecino rico gringo.

  44. Armor, even under the command of George S Patton, has a hard time taking down well entrenched defensive positions.

    That's when he leaned on his friends in the Army Air Corps, and when the weather was no good he got his chaplain to talk to the Big Guy.

  45. If there are elements of the Syrian Army that have defected from Assad's forces and they are given access to dragons and TOWs, well, the armor advantage that Assad holds could be neutralized in the urban environments that the combat is taking place in.

    Hopefully the Turks or the Kurds in Iraq are providing access to the weaponry required.

    Even if they are not, the turmoil in Syria is proof positive that what is needed, in regards Iran ...

    Sabotage and Sanctions are Sufficient

  46. Keeping that insurgency in Syria simmering for another year or two, at least.

    That'd certainly be sweet.

  47. Stealth, and anti-missile technology, and Drones, T. That's the triumvirate of the future.

    But, just as the battleship navy resisted the A/C Carriers, a lot of people will be/are resisting Drones.

  48. The "Small Footprint" formula of US military enhanced by a technological advantage and alliances with local elements is the way forward.

    As exemplified, most recently, in Uganda. Also in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

    It is of course, going "back to the future", to the Indochina conflict, prior to 1964.

  49. When the conventional US military took control and came to rely upon artillery and air power, rather than the locals.

    Indeed, mismanagement of the local regime became the Achilles Heal of the US effort in the conflict.

    Lessons to be learned.

  50. Well, this explains it. There's been a dramatic narrowing of the Brent/WTI spread the last few days, and it wasn't understandable "why." Now, some of that Bakken, and Oilsands Oil will be able to get to the Gulf, and onto the "World" Market.

    Oil in New York climbed above $100 a barrel to a five-month high as Enbridge Inc. said it would reverse the direction of the Seaway pipeline, opening an outlet for crude from the central U.S. and Canada.

    Futures rose much as 2.7 percent after Enbridge agreed to acquire ConocoPhillips (COP)’s share of the pipeline that runs between Cushing, Oklahoma, and the Gulf Coast and announced the reversal. The change may alleviate a bottleneck at the Cushing storage hub that had lowered the price of West Texas Intermediate, the grade traded in New York, versus other oils.

    “In the short term, this will definitely clear some of the crude out of Oklahoma,” said Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Corp. in New York. “This may not be enough to eliminate the glut in the Midwest because output is growing by hundreds of thousands of barrels a year. We still need additional transportation capacity.”

    Crude oil for December delivery rose $2.08, or 2.1 percent, to $101.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures reached $102.06, the highest level since June 10. The contract traded at $99.70 before the Seaway announcement.

  51. I'm convinced the "Energy" Markets are the crookedest markets in the history of the universe.

    Every week the "market" Correctly anticipates the EIA Report by one to three hours.

    The correlation in the last few months has just been phenomenal. Way too bang-on accurate to be coincidence.

  52. Heard, just this morning, that Newt received over $1.3 million, from Fraudie Mac, over the course of six years.

    Payments for his historical perspective, he was not lobbying.
    He was comparing Fraudie Mac to the Transcontinental Railroad, in his discussions with conservative Congressmen.

    Heard him say that, himself.

    $1.3 million, doug.

    Is that more or less than the Democratic Congressmen received?

  53. When the conventional US military took control and came to rely upon artillery and air power, rather than the locals.

    Rely on the locals, heh, shit, the locals had always been against the foreigners.

    It's why they still speak Vietnamese.


  54. "Zionism equals Nazism"

    Desert Scat

    Shit, what a nasty cartoon he is.


  55. I will still vote for who ever the Pub nominee is over Obama.

    Buford Pusser
    Alfred E. Neuman

    I don't care how much money they took, who they buggered, what their religion is, or how many "oops" moments they have.

    Take your pick.

  56. The goals of both, were the same, boobie.

    To rid Europe of its Jewish population.

    Both define what it means to be Jewish, by the Nuremberg Laws.

    Neither use the historic Judaic methodology to determine how a soul categorized, as Jewish.

    Indeed, as Ms T has offered, many of the original Zionists, active in Israeli politics, were not even Jewish but secular socialists.

  57. Perhaps the Zionists are trying to "Grow the Tribe", using the NAZI Nuremberg standard, rather than the more ancient Judaic one.

  58. As to the Vietnamese, boobie, of course.

    The "Big Footprint" puts the US in charge of the foreign locale.

    Which, in and of itself, generates anti-US animosity.

    Whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq.

    There was a study that validated that the occupation is what leads to terrorism.

    Which is why using locals is paramount. If there are no locals that are suitable, they must be created, then supported.

    The idea that the US can go to foreign lands, then micro-manage those territories, just fanciful thinking.

    That point made clear in Vietnam, then again in Iraq.

    It is being made in Afghanistan, as we live and breathe.

  59. While we have success in the "Small Footprint" operations, even today.

    Predators strike at known terrorist leaders all across the Islamic Arc. With selective strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.

    South into Africa. Kenyans are involved in Somalia and the US has expanded it's presence in Uganda, by 100.

    From Libya in the west to Pakistan in the east the US can strike with a vengeance with but a few boots on the ground.

  60. We should leave President Karzai to his own devices.

    Hamid Karzai has told a national gathering of Afghan elders that he will not sign a much-delayed military pact with the US until night raids by foreign forces come to an end, a demand that threatens to complicate the deal.

    In a fiery speech on Wednesday, at the opening session of a loya jirga, a grand assembly of more than 2,000 delegates held amid tight security, the Afghan president said continued US military and economic help beyond the end of the Nato combat mission in 2014 was vital to avoid civil war.

    But he presented himself as the leader of a proud country whose national sovereignty must be respected and set firm conditions before any such deal could be concluded. "We want to have a strong partnership with the US and Nato, but with conditions," he said. "We want our national sovereignty, and an end to night raids and to the detention of our countrymen."

    Night raids and Nato-run prisons have long been the main sticking points between the two sides during private negotiations. Some diplomats have predicted the president's rhetoric on the raids could reduce room for compromise and delay the signing of a strategic partnership.

    We should be rolling ...
    ... out.

  61. I'm with Gag, I'm voting Republican no matter who the nominee is. If for no other reason than the coming Supreme Court picks.


  62. From NBC:

    Gingrich denied having lobbied on behalf of the mortgage giant, but said his staff was looking into a Bloomberg News report that said Gingrich "made between $1.6 and $1.8 million in consulting fees" in his work for Freddie Mac between 1999 and 2008.

  63. Two votes in two States, Texas and Idaho, that are not in question.

    States that will be at Electoral College, voting for the GOP candidate.

    New Mexico could make a difference.
    Colorado, tambien.

    Virginia, Ohio, even Indiana could be important swing States. Where every vote matters.

    But in Idaho, Texas and Arizona, one can vote his principles, and it'd not effect the outcome of the election.

  64. From the Chi-town Trib:

    Earlier in the week, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill to put employees of the mortgage-finance companies on the federal pay scale, cutting pay for thousands of employees.

    The uproar over executive pay shows how far Fannie and Freddie, once major players with considerable influence on Capitol Hill, have fallen from favor in Washington. The companies remain legally separate from the government, though they have been propped up by the U.S. Treasury, a rescue that has cost taxpayers nearly $151 billion to date.

    The firms' chief executives have base salaries of $900,000 annually. They stand to make as much as $6 million a year after receiving deferred pay and bonuses.

    The executives' compensation packages remain 40% below the levels before the government took the firms over in 2008, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the two firms.

    Edward DeMarco, the acting head of FHFA, argued that cutting workers' pay would lead to losses for taxpayers in the long run. For example, he cited the agency's lawsuits against the nation's largest banks for poorly underwritten loans during the housing boom. "I need to have qualified and experienced counsel," for those lawsuits, he said.

    At Wednesday's hearing, Republicans sought to tie Fannie and Freddie with the Obama administration, contrasting the pay for the mortgage giants' executives with President Barack Obama's strong denunciations of pay for top Wall Street CEOs.

    Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Fannie, Freddie and their regulator for not reducing loan balances for troubled borrowers, a step the companies' regulator has resisted.

  65. DR wrote...
    desert rat said...
    Neither Ms Rice nor Mr Olmert were on the ground, in Lebanon.

    The IDF was.

    It was stopped, cold.

    Now, that is about as silly as saying that Hitler was not responsible for the Wermacht catastrophe at Stalingrad. Get real or you will find yourself pushed to the margin.

    Israeli armor worked Lebanon right up to the day of withdrawal (end of hostilities). It could not, however, move with impunity without requisite air and ground cover.

  66. Well, Ms Rice is not in the IDF chain of command. So none of the responsibility for Israeli actions is hers.

    Mr Olmert, just another of those adored Israeli leaders.

    The point is, allen

    Armor cannot move with impunity against well prepared positions.

    That is true of Israeli armor and it is true of Syrian armor.

    Artillery and aerial bombardment are not as effective as many of their advocates would like us to believe.

    Iwo Jima and Okinawa both exemplify the limits of overwhelming fire superiority against well prepared defensive positions.

  67. The tough Alabama anti-illegal immigration law has created a whirlwind of 'unintended consequences' that key Republicans now vow to fix. Bottom line, says Sen. Gerald Dial, 'We're not hateful and mean.'

    But the economic effects of the law have begun to pile up as many immigrants have left the state, fearing deportation – and have taken their purchasing power with them. Prof. Samuel Addy at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama recently predicted that HB 56 will reduce the Alabama economy by $40 million as income and spending by both illegal and legal Hispanic immigrants will decline.

    What's more, employers face troves of fresh paperwork and licensing requirements to comply with the law that they say will potentially hurt business.

    Indeed, the driving force behind revising the law, Republicans say, is its impact on legal Alabamians.

    Senator Dial says it's primarily complaints from constituents – farmers, doctors, lawyers, and contractors among them – that are driving him to alter the law by Christmas. Among the bill's requirements that Dial wants to change:

    A requirement that mandates proof of legal residence or citizenship for every transaction with the state and local government.

    Requirements that force, for example, pharmacists to check the residency status of specific suppliers, which promises to create an avalanche of new paperwork.

    Requiring that "officers of the court" report illegal immigrants, which means that lawyers may have to break confidentiality agreements with their clients.

    Dial says he wants to add a "good samaritan" clause so people who help illegal immigrants out of charity – such as at a soup kitchen – aren't in danger of being arrested for a felony.

    He also wants to take out a provision where schools check the immigration status of new students, the fount of much of the criticism of the law.

    "Everybody's for a strong immigration law, and we're not looking at anything that would foster illegals or provide extra benefits … but we need to correct unintended consequences causing a lot of undue heartaches and extra work for our citizens,"

  68. Tanks were developed with infantry support in mind. One of the best shots of this is from the movie Patton, where Patton ambushes the Desert Fox and exclaims, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"

    At this writing, even infantry support is not enough against cheap, shoulder fired weapons with a two mile (or more) range. The Israeli phosphorous munition is absolutely devastating. Additionally, recyclers should love it: you just take out a crane and lift the giant melted Fe ingot onto a hauler - reheat and serve.

    I began this discussion of Syrian armored vulnerability to make the point that there is more than one way to take out both Syria and Iran without directly attacking Iran from the air. Force the bad guys to fight with boots on the ground and they are dead men walking. Moreover, I still believe removal of the Syrian thugs to be the key to freedom for Lebanon and stability for the region generally.

    Given the huge arms contracts now held by American and EU contractors, neither will be delighted by the prospect of peace.


  69. DR said...
    Mr Olmert, just another of those adored Israeli leaders.

    Really, DR, you have got to get out more. At one point following the Lebanon fiasco, Olmert had a 1% approval rating. Doubtless, the US State Dept. found him much more agreeable, but the Israeli public not so much.

  70. Force the bad guys to fight with boots on the ground

    Where exactly, on whose ground?

    Send the IDF into Iran?

    Good luck.


  71. Hezbollah made a special effort to confront Israeli armour with a huge number of anti-tank weapons, including the Soviet Malyutka anti-tank guided-missile complex (NATO code AT-3) with 9M14 series guided-missiles (including licensed Yugoslav versions and the Iranian Raad and Raad-2T tandem warhead clones, the Fagot (AT-5), Konkurs (AT-5, including the licensed Iranian Towsan-1 version), the French MILAN, the American TOW (including its Iranian Toophan and tandem warhead Toophan-2 copy), recoilless guns and several versions of the Soviet RPG-7 hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher. Iran and Syria were the main suppliers of these weapons, with some western systems apparently reaching the Shiites from the arsenal of the Lebanese Army.

    Aside from that, Hezbollah used a small number of modern 9K115-2 Metis-M (AT-13) and 9K129 Kornet-E (AT-14) portable anti-tank guided missile systems, and RPG-29 Vampir anti-tank rocket launchers, delivered by Russia to Syria in 1998 & 1999. These three new systems penetrated armour exceptionally well thanks to their tandem High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warheads. The close-range Metis-M system have a range of up to 1500 meters and are armed with 9M131 guided missiles weighing 13.8 kg with wire-guidance. The heavier Kornet-E fires 9M133 laser-guided missiles weighing 29 kg up to 5500 meters. Both systems are made by the Tula Instrument Design Bureau and were equipped with 1PN86V1 Mulat thermal sights. The hand-held RPG‑29 Vampir anti-tank rocket launcher is one of the latest products of Moscow-based Basalt. Weighing 11.5 kg, it fires rocket-propelled grenades that weigh 6.2 kg up to 500 metres from a telescopic pipe.

    Hezbollah's defences were structured around these anti-tank weapons, which were used in great numbers. According to Israeli estimates, the fighters launched over 500 anti-tank guided missiles in July alone, and about 1000 through the course of the conflict. Moreover, the anti-tank guided missiles were used not only against armoured objects, but also against Israeli infantry. The fighters sought generally to employ the weapons from the maximum possible range.

    On the whole, both the scale of Hezbollah's use of anti-tank systems, as well as their possession of modern systems with superior armour penetration capability, came as a surprise to the Israeli command.
    According to various Israeli and Western sources, during the course of battle in Lebanon, between 46 and 50 Merkava main battle tanks (of the 400 deployed) and 14 APCs were hit by anti-tank weapons, including 22 incidents where tank armour and 5 cases where APC armour was penetrated. Another six tanks and at least one APC were blown up by mines and IDEs.

    Of those tanks hit by anti-tank weapons, 18 were the newest Merkava Mk 4 version (from the 401st armoured brigade), and six of these had their armour penetrated. Twenty-three tank and five APC crew members were killed.

  72. The Syrian Free Army provides the boots, boobie.

    At least in Syria.

    In Iran there are a variety of tribes and sects that could be manipulated to provide the boots required.

  73. For whatever the reason, boobie, you fail to comprehend that it is preferable to allow the Iraqi to perform poorly, in support of our goals than to have an American do it well.

    That is true across the globe.
    Especially in the border wars and insurrections that we have propagated across the Islamic Arc.

    Better to see fighting in Yemen, Libya, Syria and even Egypt and Israel than to allow the Islamoids the opportunity to perpetrate another raid, here in the United States.

  74. It is a grand success for the United States that the Kenyan Army is in Somalia.

    One not often mentioned.


  75. ... we can see that the newest Western tanks (included the well-protected Merkava) burn up when hit by modern anti-tank weapons in just the same way as the old Soviet T-72 tanks deployed in Chechnya and Iraq.

  76. According to "LiveLinks" article, it was tactics on the ground that cost the IDF, not the lack of air support,

    As for the tactical application of armour troops, it is clear that the Israelis used their tanks in small groups almost exclusively for immediate support of line infantry. It was precisely this well equipped and trained infantry that played the decisive role in battle. Attempts to use armour troops to achieve a breakthrough without infantry support and reconnaissance inevitably led to senseless losses, as befell the forces of the 401st Israeli armoured brigade at Vadi Saluki on 9 August.

    The tank battalion of this brigade, pushing forward with no infantry, fell into a fire trap of anti-tank guided missile systems (mostly Kornet-E, according to Israeli sources), losing eleven Mk 4 Merkava tanks damaged and eight crew killed, including the battalion commander. The Israeli armour troops were clearly not well prepared for action against modern anti-tank weapons.

    On the Israeli side, it is also clear that the armoured reserve units were insufficiently prepared, especially in the use of countermeasures (smoke screens, advancing fire to disturb aiming, reverse gear withdrawal, etc). As such, the quality of the training of the armour troops and the ability of the commanders to effectively combine tanks and other forces remain the key elements for the successful use of main battle tanks on the field.

  77. One assumes that the Syrian Army is still less effective than the IDF.

    So, it is evident that the insurgents could cut the Syrian armor up, if they were properly armed.

    Sanctions and Sabotage are Sufficient

  78. Interesting that allen tries to move responsibility for faulty combat tactics and training from the officers of the IDF and place it upon the adored, in America, politico.

  79. Watch the odometer flip over to fifteen trillion.

  80. Was talking about Iran, not Syria, Scat.


  81. In Iran, boobie you have the Kurds and the Balochi, both of which are historic enemies of the Persians.

    The Balochi, in particular would be a good group to cultivate, as they are spread across the Pakistani-Afghan-Iranian Arc...

    ... and they are not Pashtuns.

  82. Indeed the Pashtuns tend to discriminate against the Baluchis.

    Making them useful assets in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

    But they could definitely supply the boots required for sabotage.

    The spark of insurrection.

  83. The smartest move in the ME at this time is for the West and israel to do very little. The entire Arab League is lined up against Syria. Army units are starting to defect and the sands are changing fast. If Assad falls, which to me looks inevitable, there will be an extraordinary push back against the Iranian Mullahs from within. Any attack by Israel or the US on Iran will coalesce support for the present regime. Watching them collapse from within will be so much more fun.

    500,000 Glock 28’s please. To Go. Don’t bother wrapping them.

  84. The Muslim Brotherhood gains control of the Syrian Army, some how that does not seem like cause for celebration.

    Better the civil war rages for a couple of years.

    There is little inevitability to the fall of Assad, without Predators and F-16s striking Assad's assets.

    Without that, the Libyan experience will not be repeated.

    Yemen provides a more realistic scenario.

  85. Low grade conflict for the foreseeable future.

    The armed opposition to Assad may be able to raid government installations, but they cannot:

    Seize - Hold & Build

    The armed opposition has no secure city in the entire country.

    Far behind the Libyan insurgents were when NATO created a No-Fly Zone over that country.

  86. Turmoil across Islamoid Land, leaving the raiders little time to think of US, here in North America.

  87. While the US military footprint in those Islamoid lands continues to shrink.

    Stay the Course!

  88. desert rat said...
    Interesting that allen tries to move responsibility for faulty combat tactics and training from the officers of the IDF and place it upon the adored, in America, politico.

    Wed Nov 16, 04:46:00 PM EST

    That is incomprehensible. You just cannot play nice. Oh, well...You are having a rough day of it, to be sure.

  89. By the way DR, how many tanks did Israel lose in the 2006 war? By lose, I mean lost to future service.

  90. Read the data set in the link, allen.

    No mention of Mr Olmert of the lack of air support.

    No, the story is that some elements of the IDF were ill prepared for combat.

    One assumes the Syrians are equivalent in their training, or lack there of.

    If the armed insurgents in Syria were provided Dragons and TOWs, along with a few thousand LAWs, well ...

    The conflict would stalemate, the opposition could secure Hama or Homs, if they were adequately equipped for the task of stopping the T-72s.

    While, in a side bar CBS reports that:
    Kurds to determine success of Syria's revolution

    The Kurds hold similar sway in Iran, if that bubble were to burst.

  91. Assume they rebuilt those they could, allen.

    No reason not to, the shaped charges not destroying the chassis or engine blocks.

    If some of the internal munition loads went off, as described, I think the report said 4 of the Mark IV's or V's were destroyed by secondary detonations.

    You'll have to tell us.

    I just realize that many of those 400 Israeli tanks committed to the battle, 50 of 'em, were out of the fight the day they were needed.

    The armed opposition in Syria could do the same, to Assad's T-72s. If they were armed up.

  92. As described in the Livelink report, the older anti-tank munitions were ineffective against the Israeli tanks, but the more modern munitions cut 'em up.

    Then when magnified by the poor tactics employed by elements of the IDF, well, the lessons are there to be learned.

    Or be snidely dismissed.

    Matters little to me.

  93. DR,

    From 2-5 tanks were lost at the cost of thousands of Russian state-of-the-art munitions and about 500 dead Hizzies.

    On the last day of the war, Israeli armor made a highly successful push from the border to the Litani River.

    Oh, of the lost Israeli tanks, 2 were lost to enormous IEDs (350-400lbs of high explosive)

    The Muslims have not yet faced the Merkava IV (advanced) or the Merkava V.