“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."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ready for the next war in the Middle East?

"You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go."
-Siegfried Sassoon

The media consensus on Israel is collapsing

Across the political spectrum, once-taboo criticism is now common

With Hamas and Fatah meeting this week in Cairo, reconciliation between the rival Palestinian political parties is likely only a matter of time. Official U.S. policy holds that Hamas is only a terrorist entity, and any agreement between the two factions jeopardizes continued U.S. aid.  There is reason to believe, however, that more flexible, productive positions will be expressed in the U.S. media. Slowly but unmistakably, space is opening up among the commentariat for new, critical ideas about Israel and its relationship to the United States.
Freedom of this sort was visible in the pages of the New York Times last week. Thomas Friedman, the paper’s foreign affairs columnist, wrote that American leaders were betraying the country by outsourcing their foreign policy to Israel. A standing ovation given to the Israeli prime minister by the U.S. Congress this year was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” he wrote. Phrased bluntly as it was, Friedman’s sentence was startling. As the quintessential establishment columnist, Bill Clinton’sfavorite pundit and a thrice Pulitzer Prize-winner, Friedman is often seen in the U.S. as authoritative on the Middle East and rivaled only perhaps by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in the influence of his writing on popular discussion.
Not surprisingly, Friedman’s piece elicited furor from those policing the conversation about Israel. The Israeli ambassadorAmerican Jewish CommitteeJerusalem Postand even members of Congress gang-swarmed Friedman, accusing him of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel. It was not the first time in recent months Friedman has been critical of Israel policy. In September, he wrote of the Obama government that the “powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.” A more damning critique of Israel and the lobby would be difficult to make.
Even so, Friedman is not the only Times-man to let go the pro-Netanyahu line. Columnist Roger Cohen is even more critical of Israel than is Friedman, and like Friedman he is notable for being a liberal supporter of the Iraq War — not exactly a radical, in other words. Cohen now regularly writes about Israel’s “illiberalism,” says U.S. foreign policy has been “Likudnized,” and calls opposing Israeli oppression of the Palestinians the most important task currently facing diaspora Jews.
Cohen believes the new conversations he has contributed to represent “changes going on in the U.S. Jewish community,” he said in a phone interview. “Jewish identify in postwar America was built very much on the Holocaust and support for Israel, and for younger American Jews that may have less resonance. There may be a rethinking of that form of attachment to Israel.”
J Street, the organization devoted to lobbying for Israel from a liberal perspective, is both reflective of, and a stimulant to, a more balanced conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Cohen says. If he is right, J Street is performing its job well. Public discussion about the Mideast conflict is still nowhere near evenhanded in the United States, but it is more so than it used to be.
Three academics, Tony JudtStephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, deserve a lot of credit for expanding the permissible. Whatever one thinks of their analyses or prescriptions, they endured opprobrium and ostracism, to state the obvious: The unconditional U.S.-Israeli relationship is good for neither the U.S. nor Israel. Walt has an important perch at Foreign Policy’s website, which he uses to regularly espouse his once-radical views on Israel.
Criticism of the special relationship, once rare, is now frequent. Newsweek/Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan  has become a regular source of attacks on the unqualified U.S. support for Israeli policy. Time magazine’s Joe Klein has been similarlyoutspoken. “If you don’t think that the Israel Lobby has an enormous influence on the Congress, you’re deluding yourself,” he wrote recently.
Peter Beinart, also of Newsweek/Daily Beast, inspired headlines with his critique of the “Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” He has a forthcoming book sure to get a lot of attention called “The Crisis of Zionism.” Former New York Observer writer Philip Weiss has created a one-stop shop for critics of Israel and U.S. policy. And, of course, Salon’s own Glenn Greenwald regularly questions the bipartisan consensus on Israel.
As one would expect, these developments are causing a great deal of consternation from those determined that views favorable to the Palestinians never get a hearing. In 2006, the American Jewish Committee released its infamous report accusing these new critics of Israel of being simply anti-Semitic. Last year, Lee Smith of Tablet magazine made the odd charge that publications like the Atlantic and Salon encourage Jew-hating writers in the hopes of increasing page views. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol has lamented that charging Israel’s critics with “anti-Semitism” doesn’t effectively silence them any longer. And this week Iran-Contra convict Elliott Abramscriticized Friedman and Klein because they exemplify the mainstreaming of Walt and Mearsheimer’s ideas.
But it isn’t only pundits and academics. Diplomats and the people who would be on the center-right of American politics (if such a thing still existed) have been vocal about their alienation from U.S. discussion of Israel. Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution, an advisor to three presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues, told me in an email that “Fear of angering extreme evangelicals and the old lobby still inhibit real debate about Israel in American politics.”
Paul Pillar, former CIA bigwig, has become a stark critic of Israel for the National Interest. He has defended the comparison of Israel’s occupation policies with apartheid South Africa, and says that he agrees with all of Walt and Mearsheimer’s analysis, including the most incendiary charge — that the Israel lobby was instrumental in pushing the U.S. to invade Iraq.
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Colin Powell, has been similarly outspoken about the power of what he calls “the Jewish lobby.” Jack Matlock, Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, has written that by far the greatest threat to Israel’s security and well-being is the policies of its own government. And in 2009 longtime diplomat Chas Freeman blasted the Israel lobby for successfully ending his nomination to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
For all the discussion-widening in the chattering classes, official U.S. foreign policy has changed little, if at all. Obama has overseen unprecedented military deals between Israel and the United States, and all but abandoned the Palestinians in the international diplomatic arena. Newt Gingrich’s historically discredited claim that the Palestinians are an “invented people” shows that American politicians still take some of the most extreme positions in the Israeli polity as gospel.
Still, at the outset of his term Obama made the biggest rhetorical push against Israeli settlement policy that any U.S. president ever has, only to back down in the face of Israeli objections. The resulting animosity between Netanyahu and the administration is no secret. Democratic rank-and-file voters are also less supportive of Israel than they used to be, and less so than Republicans are now. The new conversation about Israel has yet to make its way into Congress and the executive branch, but that day may be coming


  1. There is a clique in this country determined to drag the US into another war in the Middle East. I for one am sick of it, as are many others. Ask the question in the right manner and you will find the vast majority of Americans would be against another needless war. They, as we all, will pay for it with money or lives. Enough is enough.

  2. Question:

    Are you for another needless war?

    Answer: O no, quite, quite, quite against that, yes, yes, indeed, everyone is against that.

    No more needless wars!!


  3. It does seem the way the question is framed here is, well, a little loaded.


  4. I'm going to bed.

    The way this whole thread is set up is just propaganda.


  5. Of course you are speaking as someone that fought in one of our useful wars.

  6. The propaganda scales are well tipped in the direction that you support. Given the choice of discussing the merits of the post or dragging out the garlic, you chose the latter, which ironically is the subject of the post.

  7. Thank you this post. I have posted on several sites and am heartened by a noticeable change in informed opinion.

    Israel makes life difficult for Americans by sucking in billions of our tax dollars every year for decades--Israel receives the largest portion of foreign aid in our foreign aid budget.

    Israel makes life difficult for Americans because our tax dollars subsidize that state's brutal, racist apartheid regime, ethnic cleansing on a routine basis, the total military subjugation of 3 million people for decades for the crime of not being Jewish.

    Americans suffer because we support a an archaic, ethnically exclusivist, colonialist, militarist racist apartheid state.

    Israel is not a state with a military - it is a military with a state. And many Americans are sick to death of paying for its brutality with our money and our lives.

  8. Well,

    "we won't let that happen," he says.


  9. Watch the second video. After you do so, tell us about the part that is lying.

  10. oppositionresearchWed Dec 21, 11:46:00 PM EST

    Scholars Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer called the “Israel lobby” for what it is. They proved that reckless charges of anti-Semitism are used to narrow the discourse. It is really sad that "anti-Semitism" is a term that has been misused so often; I fear that it may lose its impact. Even here, it is almost impossible to speak out about the shortcomings of the Israeli government without the accusation being served up--sometimes blatantly, and sometimes obliquely; you are an anti-semite.

    Back to the article: When Pat Buchanan said this same thing, he was called a blatant anti-semite.

  11. Leon Panetta looked like a man whose wife had stayed, and dog had left.

    I think he's been told "the way it is," and, although he hates it, he's too weak to throw the bullshit flag, and leave.

  12. The most depressing/sobering part of the second video was the old Evangelist, Hagee.

    That video saddens me, greatly.

    I don't know if the U.S. can handle the knock-ons from a War with Iran, at this time.

  13. I didn't think there was a chance that Obammie would go for this craziness, but I couldn't imagine, in a thousand years, Panetta saying that if the die wasn't cast.

  14. How can Aipac be that powerful?

    It just takes your breath away.

  15. Congratulations, Deuce, you are attracting the arsenics of the world, like flies to shit.



  16. Israel makes life difficult for Americans because our tax dollars subsidize that state's brutal, racist apartheid regime, ethnic cleansing on a routine basis, the total military subjugation of 3 million people for decades for the crime of not being Jewish.

    This place is turning into a farce, Deuce.

    The few remaining churches are burning or are going to be burnt in Egypt, there aren't any in S. Arabia or Iran, in Iraq too the Christians - your historical people, mine too - are taking it in the ass, and that kind of crap is posted here.

    It's flies to shit, is what it is.


  17. It's a start. They need to burn All churches, synegogues, mosques, temples, and religious crack-houses everywhere.

    The crazy religious bastards will get us all killed, yet.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Watch the video, give us a report on the part that is wrong.

  20. NATO vs. Syria
    American Conservative

    By Philip Giraldi | December 19, 2011
    Americans should be concerned about what is happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. Calls for regime change have come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who several weeks ago predicted a civil war. That is indeed likely if the largely secular and nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, pitting Sunni against Shia against Alawite. Indigenous Christians will be caught in the meat grinder. Ironically, many of the Christians in Damascus are Iraqis who experienced the last round of liberation in their own country and had to flee for their lives.
    NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.
    Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.
    CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.

    In the United States, many friends of Israel are on the Assad regime-change bandwagon, believing that a weakened Syria, divided by civil war, will present no threat to Tel Aviv. But they should think again, as these developments have a way of turning on their head. The best organized and funded opposition political movement in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

  21. Are you so blind, you cannot see?

  22. These are the guys that wouldn't let the 4th ID through, right? Now, we're going to trust them to help us blow a hole through Syria, so we can mount a "ground-offensive" against Iran?

    Nah. even the CIA and Pentagon combined couldn't come up with a plan that nuts.

  23. Has Tel Aviv entered into some sort of secret alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood?

  24. There's only one thing in that entire rigion that's worth anything (that the Turks would really, really like to have.)

    Kurdistan - and the Kirkuk Oil Fields

  25. Cedarfart's gonna show.

    This thread is like dead decaying rhino on the hot savanna and the hyenas thirty miles downwind are snouts in the air excited, and Cedarfart's gonna show.


  26. Anonymous said...
    Cedarfart's gonna show.

    This thread is like dead decaying rhino on the hot savanna and the hyenas thirty miles downwind are snouts in the air excited, and Cedarfart's gonna show.

    B boy, be careful for what you wish. Do they pay you to work for their interests, or do you do it voluntarily, for free - like with many of their plants inside our government? Or are you another Pentecostal nut job hoping to be blown up to Paradise?

    Considering the Israelis have managed to alienate every other country that once supported them save what AIPAC holds on to in the US and some small Pacific island they bribe to vote their way - no, the Israelis really aren't as smart as you think they are.

    Even in the Republican ranks and in Israel and the NYT there are voices being raised that unless they are brought to heel, we should be able to walk away and leave them to their own fate.

  27. Bwahahahahhahaaaaahaawbbbawa...

    And pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old comedy.....

    Cedarfart of old.

    I can call spirits from stinking deep.....


  28. Even here at the Elephant Bar, the Zionists have beaten a hasty retreat.

    Charges of antisemitism have fallen flat on their face, as effective debating points.

    Let the Turks invade Syria.

    Allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take control, and watch the last of the Arab Christians be pushed into the sea.

    The big boobie, who never donned the uniform of his country, for any reason, claims that thousands more of our young US citizens need to bleed out in the sand.

    To what end, he never mentions.

    He has denounced the Dick Cheney Standard for deploying US troops, as did Dick Cheney, himself.

    Who is the enemy and how do we know when we've won?

    The Muslim Brotherhood, folks that boobie called a danger in Egypt, are the Saviors of Syria?

  29. Panetta said that he thinks the Iranians will develop a nuclear weapon within a year. He said the same thing we've been saying about Iran having a nuclear weapon; that is, "we won't have it." Well, that remains to be seen.

    Obviously, Panetta's job was to send a strong message to those in Iran who may be able to stop their headlong march into madness.

  30. Shia Islam is seen as a threat to Sunnis throughout the M.E. and South Asia. Iran has been indirectly destabilizing and threatening the middle east for years.

    US troubles date back to the early fifties but have been especially bad since the Iranian/Islamic Revolution in 1979.

  31. Arsene: Americans suffer because we support a an archaic, ethnically exclusivist, colonialist, militarist racist apartheid state.

    Americans suffer when we support any state outside of our own with free money (that we borrow from China). Not just Israel. Now WiO will come on here and bitch about the money we give Saudi Arabia. Well, that's different. Quid pro quo. Value for value. We get their liquid gold, they get our green pieces of paper.

  32. Whenever two women kiss, an angel gets her wings.

  33. Obama wanted a year extension on tax cuts.

    The Pubs passed a bill including a year extension.
    The Dems insist on a two month tax cut.

    This is discussed here as Pubs being against tax cuts and Dems for them.

    What am I missing by never watching the MSM or hearing 'Rat's wife discussing politics?

    Confused on Maui.

  34. Doug: This is discussed here as Pubs being against tax cuts and Dems for them.

    Discussed in the mainstream media. Which is in the tank for Obama. No brainer there, Doug.

  35. Here is how the Cheney, Bush and Pearl investment paid out.

    A Neocon’s Dream From CNN:

    Baghdad (CNN) -- A wave of explosions in Baghdad Thursday killed at least 63 people and wounded 185, authorities say, raising fears about the stability of the country amid political upheaval that threatens to undo Iraq's government just days after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.
    Nine car bombs and six roadside bombs went off and a mortar round was fired in a two-hour period, targeting residential, commercial and government districts in the Iraqi capital, two police officials told CNN.
    The violence comes as Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political leaders square off over a warrant issued for the arrest of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is accused of organizing his security detail into a death squad that targeted government and military officials.
    Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has demanded Kurdish lawmakers hand over the Sunni vice president, who has denied the charges and refuses to return to Baghdad from northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

  36. The wife, doug, is a "real" Republican.

    Likes Mrs Palin and McCain.
    The two are a team, you know.

    Her Congressman, "Son of Quayle" voted to kill the tax holiday.

    So said "Maverick" McCain.
    She believes, him.

    She "needs" that $2,000 per year.
    It is already budgeted to other expenses. It was an Obama tax cut she did not even realize was part of his past policy performance, until Mr Boner "killed" it.

    A little enlightenment goes a long way.

  37. The Senate piece of legislation, which passed 89-10 is being played as bi-partisan and the Conference Committee a locale where the tax holiday will die.

    So says "Maverick" the GOP standard bearer.

    She believes Big John.
    The man that brought Mrs Palin from obscurity, into the light.

  38. No millionaire surtax on income over $1 million per year, Republican policy, an economy killer they say.

    But a 2% tax increase upon those that earn under $106,800 a year that's good to go for the Republicans, her Congressman?

    She'll not vote for "Son of Quayle", again, if the $160 is taken from her check, come January.

    Nor for the GOP candidate for the White House. She is pissed at the acceptance of inequality shown by her Congressman.

  39. The brinkmanship, shown by the GOP House is ruining her Christmass spirit.

    Pissed off is less than accurate.
    She is well beyond that, at this point.

  40. So a two month tax cut beats a one year tax cut?

    I remain, confused on Maui.

  41. The demands of Reid and Obama are not brinkmanship, but Boehner's are?

  42. No, two months beats the Conference Committee where the legislation will die.

    It is not 2 months vs a year.

    It is 2 month of holidy vs an 2% tax increase.

    During those two months the details of a longer holiday will be worked out.

    So says Big John, GOP Standard bearer.

    She believes Mr Boner wants to kill the holidays by raising taxes upon working folk.

    Is what it is.
    Confusing, or not.

  43. Yes, the brinkmanship is in the House.

    The Senate has come to a bi-partisan agreement, 89-10, that will not affect her check, in January.

    Mr Boner's position will raise the taxes she pays, in January.

    She is not looking to August.
    She is looking at January.

  44. She wants to have a "small" Christmass, because of the financial uncertainty.

  45. Multiply that by 160 million and the GOP is in deep shit.

    McCain may be nuts, but he is not stupid.

  46. The Senate did not approve the House's 1 year bill.

    The House does not approve the Senate's 2 month deal.

    Senate Right, House Wrong.

    As it is written, let it be done.

    Message from on high.

  47. Where ever the message was sent from, doug, it is the message she heard.
    Even the Wall Street Journal told her so, a source she believes, tambien.

    Blame Mr Murdock, if that makes your day
    Blame Big John, if you wish.

    Blame Obama, if you'd rather.

    She will not hear you.
    She has heard the message ...
    ... and believes.

  48. Being a big supporter of Big John,
    no doubt 'Rat concurs...

  49. Weiner's Weiner Works

    Anthony Weiner becomes a father

    Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and his wife Huma Abedin gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday.

    Jordan Zane Weiner was born 10 days before his New Year’s Eve due date at a little more than seven pounds, according to a report from an ABC affiliate in New York.

  50. Myself ...

    I don't pay much FICA.
    Earning capital gains income saves me from paying that portion of the income tax.

    Until I turn 60, then I'll transfer to earned income, pay the tax, and maximize my Soc Sec income for the balance of my life, post 62.

    Gotta get my share of Federal welfare payments, tambien.

  51. McCain: Obama needs to show 'more leadership than going shopping'

    Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) blasted President Obama for not doing more to resolve the standoff in Washington over extending a payroll tax cut.

    Speaking on CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday, McCain said the deadlock over extending the tax holiday "requires presidential leadership."

    He said "previous presidents I've served under … would be calling them over to the White House, looking them in the eye and telling them, 'We need to fix this,' " said McCain.

    McCain added that prior presidents "exerted a lot more leadership than going shopping," a reference to Obama's holiday outing on Wednesday.

  52. Well, it is that time of year again and we've created our annual "Holiday Card". Not your traditional holiday greeting but y'all might enjoy it:

    With Christmas just a day away, Ash gets a surprise visit from an old friend, but all is not well at the North Pole…

  53. How will the transfer from Cap gains to earned income be accomplished?

  54. Mr Obama does delegate.

    That has been the case at least since he had Mr Ayers pen those books, for Mr Crown.

  55. The capital gains will be held in a LLC and it will pay me a salary.

    Tax law is easy to manipulate, if you have a Jewish accountant and tax lawyer.

    As I do.

  56. Merry Christmas Ash or Happy Yule, if your pagan roots are a stronger draw. I for one, am enjoying the solstice, one of my favorite days of the year.

  57. and a Merry Christmas to all!

  58. I rely on a Jewish Cardiologist for my security.

  59. Wish I could query him on his personal life w/o endangering this relationship:

    Got taken to the cleaners by a Jewish Princess, then married a no-nonsense surgical nurse/Master Sergeant.

  60. Security, that I leave to the good works of Mr Browning.

  61. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

    Pagan gods not running around with a constant long look on their deified faces, the triple goddess and the horned god, two worthy of note.

    In Iceland, never far from their pagan roots:

    According to a 13th century legend, two ogres lived in the mountains. The woman's name was Gryla and her husband's name was Leppalothi. Leppalothi was bed ridden and Gryla went from house to house begging food. At Christmas time, she stole children that had been bad during the past year. In 1746 the king of Iceland forbade the telling of this folk tale. From then on, the children (Jolasveinar) of the two ogres became associated with the Christmas season.

    The 13 Jolasveinar live in the mountains and are dressed in red or in native Icelandic costume. Beginning on December 13th, the Jolasveinar start to come into towns and villages, one Jolasveinar a day. Originally the Jolasveinar would play tricks on the people. They were responsible for stealing things, playing tricks and begging food, candles and other things. Today they are responsible for giving gifts. For 13 days, one of these goblins or elves will leave a gift in the children's shoes, which are placed on the windowsill if the child has been good. If the children have been bad they leave a potato or other reminder that gifts are for good children. The Jolasveinar start returning to the mountains on Christmas Day, one a day until, the last one departs on January 6th.

    Historically, Christmas traditions have been intermingled with ancient Yule tradition of the winter solstice. These traditions can be found in the Icelandic Sagas. Medieval writings tell of Yule celebrations held in conjunction with Christmas. The Medieval period also gave rise to many superstitions surrounding Yule Eve (Jretthdinn). At this time of year the dead walk the earth; the river Oxar is turned into wine; you can find your future mate by looking into a mirror in a pitch-black room.

  62. I root for Christianity because of it's status as underdog everywhere in the public square and all the lib dominated institutions.

  63. Aha!
    'Rat flourishes under the protection of the LDS Cult!

  64. You better believe it, doug.

    A man's religion is not that important, to me.
    Performance is.

    Nothing performs better than that .45ACP, up close and personal.

    Though the 9mm Hi-Power has its virtues, too.

  65. "tambien- no dictionary results"

    My head is going to explode :)
    What does it mean DR?

  66. Spanish to English, D-man.

    Tambien = also

  67. Some of US that live near the southern frontier, well, we encourage that a basic understanding of Spanish be spread amongst US.

    No reason why only the Mexicans should be bi-lingual.

    Why give them that advantage?

  68. Of all the "Establishment" Republicans, Huntsman stands head and shoulders above the other dwarfs.


  69. CBS News -

    GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is in a virtual tie for second place in Iowa. The economic crisis seems to be opening voters' minds to his libertarian ideas.

    Joy to the Whirled!

  70. CBS News - ‎

    You know it's bad for Republicans when Karl Rove says it's time to cave and move on. Republicans "have lost the optics on it," Rove told Fox News, "the question now is how do the Republicans get out of it.

  71. When Karl Rove tells my wife it is the fault of the Republicans, if her tax payment increases, doug, she will believe it.

  72. Does she give credence to McCain, Kyl and Rove ...

    ... or the "Son of Quayle"?

    Seems pretty easy choice, for a "real" Republican.


  73. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argues that Paul’s ideas cannot be ignored, and that, for Tea Party Republicans,

    “A vote against Paul requires either cognitive dissonance—never in short supply in politics—or a fundamental rethinking of the whole theory of politics that so recently drove the Tea Party movement.”

  74. Doug,

    You asked about the Canadian Housing Market awhile back. A few headlines in todays rag:

    IMF casts nervous eye on Canadian housing market 65
    • Economy Consumer confidence hits 2 1/2 year low
    • Also Canada’s housing boom among longest in Western world

  75. Merry Christmas!

    Enjoy your Aðfangadagur and keep up the good work in 2012!


  76. the problem in america is that now we are being influenced more from the vietnam generation peeps than ever before. they are a defeatist, depressing lot who don't think anything is really worth fighting for anymore. your ww2 generation nothing was impossible. same goes for the gulf war/desert storm vets. its the damn vietnam generation whose spirit has been broken and decayed and whose guidance comes from a dark dark place. no offense as its not really their fault.

  77. There are plenty of things worth fighting for.

    While the Iranians certainly do not threaten those things worth fighting for.

    Those things worth fighting for, they are here at home, not in Iran or Southwest Asia.

    Simply put.

  78. If the Gulf War generation is in the "right", then so is Dr Paul, as he receives the most financial support, from current members of the military than all the other candidates, combined.

    anon is an idiot.


  79. (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner has informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will set a vote in the House on a Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, a Democratic leadership aide said on Thursday.

    Earlier on Thursday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on the House to pass a temporary extension of the tax cut and then move to congressional negotiations on a payroll tax cut that would extend through 2012.

  80. The O'man done kicked some Pub ass this time.

  81. Interesting, Healthcare costs actually Fell in the 3rd Qtr.

  82. Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the goal of the U.S. and NATO forces is to learn from the mistakes made by both sides. The U.S. will take “whatever corrective measures are required to ensure an incident like this is not repeated,” he said.

    “More critically, we must work to improve the level of trust between our two countries. We cannot operate effectively on the border — or in other parts of our relationship — without addressing the fundamental trust still lacking between us.

    We earnestly hope the Pakistani military will join us in bridging that gap.”

  83. The completion of the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq on Dec. 16 opens a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. One of this chapter’s key features will be the efforts of the United States and its regional allies to limit Iranian influence inside Iraq during the post-Saddam, post-U.S. occupation era.


    The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad sits on a 104-acre compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The size of the compound provides significant standoff distance from the perimeter to the interior buildings.


    Because of the size and construction of the chancery and the consulate buildings, there is very little chance of an armed assault or IED attack succeeding against these facilities. While an indirect-fire attack using mortars or artillery rockets could get lucky and kill an American diplomat outside of the building, the biggest threat posed to American personnel is probably when they travel away from the compound.

    After the Withdrawal

  84. The Japs are stepping up from the F-4 Phantom.

    Good news and another win for US foreign policy, in the realm of mutual defense and trade.
    The Japanese not buying from the Europeons, but US.

    Japan has chosen the F35 as its next mainstay fighter, as it opted for stealth, over proven combat records. The pick reflects concern over North Korea and China's introduction of its own stealth fighters. Defence Minister Yasuo Ichikawa says the order of 42 F35s would help Japan adjust to a changing security environment after the death of Kim Jong-il.

  85. Romney has already filed his petitions with Virginia's State Board of Elections, the only candidiate to do so by late Wednesday.

    Gingrich is holding another petition-gathering rally Thursday afternoon in Richmond prior to turning the signatures over to the State Board of Elections.

    "Once again in Virginia we're going to disappoint the Republican establishment because tomorrow in Richmond we're going to turn in vastly more signatures than we need," Gingrich said.

  86. F-35's for Japan (and, we're trying to get India to buy them.)

    Just goes to show who we Trust, right?

  87. I was working out at the gym when I spotted a sweet young thing walking in....

    I asked the trainer standing next to me, "What machine should I use to impress that lady over there?"

    The trainer looked me over and said; “I would recommend the ATM in the lobby.”

  88. .

    A few months late with that one George.

    Sam put it up a while back.


  89. .

    The O'man done kicked some Pub ass this time.

    That either side would fold due to politics.

    Surprise. Surprise.

    That everyone on Capital Hill had their bags packed and ready to hit the road. Obvious.

    That Obama had anything to do with the final decision. Doubtful.


  90. the Obama administration has made three more big announcements this week that should make anyone who values clean air, clean water, and a livable climate happy. A 300-MW solar PV project in Arizona and a 186-MW wind project in California were approved for construction on public lands. Additionally, the “first step” of a major offshore wind transmission line (or ‘superhighway’) in the Atlantic Ocean — the one Google has invested in — went forward.

    Together, the Sonoran Solar Energy Project and the Tule Wind Project will create enough power for nearly 150,000 homes and will create 700 jobs at peak.

    “Salazar’s announcements are the latest in a series of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission facility approvals resulting from Interior’s renewable energy program that has focused the Department’s resources to prioritize and process existing applications in a coordinated, focused manner with full environmental analysis and public review,” the Department of the Interior notes.

    “In the past two years, Salazar has used this approach to approve 25 major renewable energy projects on public lands. When constructed, the projects are expected to create nearly 12,000 construction and operational jobs and produce nearly 6,200 megawatts of energy, enough to power 2.2 million American homes. These projects include 15 commercial-scale solar energy facilities, three wind projects and seven geothermal plants.”

    Source: Clean Technica (

    Administration Approves Two Large Renewable Energy Projects

  91. Anonymous said...
    the problem in america is that now we are being influenced more from the vietnam generation peeps than ever before. they are a defeatist, depressing lot who don't think anything is really worth fighting for anymore. your ww2 generation nothing was impossible. same goes for the gulf war/desert storm vets. its the damn vietnam generation whose spirit has been broken and decayed and whose guidance comes from a dark dark place. no offense as its not really their fault.

    Anon, your ignorance is only surpassed by your inability to recognize it.

  92. "Anon, your ignorance is only surpassed by your inability to recognize it."

    actually you're gen. is the epitome
    of the "me hedonism generation".
    also you "doth protest too much, methinks" on this topic as dr and ruff did.

  93. Then you know nothing of my normal level of protest, anon.

  94. .

    And my question is why would anyone take seriously anything posted by one of the anonymous anonymi.


  95. Interesting comments one and all. Thanks for the entertainment value.

    I'm with rat on the .45 acp. Happiness is a warm gun mama yes it is. When I put my finger on your trigger....well you get the picture.

  96. Interesting comments one and all. Thanks for the entertainment value.

    I'm with rat on the .45 acp. Happiness is a warm gun mama yes it is. When I put my finger on your trigger....well you get the picture.

  97. Didn't mean to repeat myself

  98. It happens. It must be a gag reflex.

  99. Happiness is a warm gun mama yes it is. When I put my finger on your trigger

    Well, if you put it that way I might have to try that warm finger trigger thing with a gun...well, you get the picture, right.

    And a warm winter solstice to everyone at the bar.


  100. Damned Apple IPad. Gag just plain ole Gag.

    It's been a long hard year in the truckin bidness. Glad to finally be off for a few days. I think I will have another Titos and pomegranate. Not my first choice but it's what my girl had poured for me when I got home.

    Titos is made down ar Dripping Springs, just west of Austin. Not bad vodka. That is, if you are in to vodka. Cheers.

  101. It was 65 degrees for about a minute today in north Texas. Then the wind shifted around and started blowing out of Oklahoma (damned okies). Now it is 39. So much for golf tomorrow.

  102. Guess I'll go get tires put on the Sierra tomorrow. Michelins I think.

  103. I know, shut up and give someone else a chance.

  104. Some Senator got in trouble for commenting on Michelle's lard orangutan ass. He be in big trouble. Word is he's a little large in the ass himself.

  105. My mama always said, "dont be a hypocrite, Gag!"

  106. Sensenbrenner, from Wisconsin. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

  107. I'd say "he's a dick," but that would be giving 'dicks' a bad name.

  108. Well, golf is not my style, ya know, hitting the ball off a tee and all, kinda makes me feel a little weary.

    But Vodka? Try sweet tea. Jeremiah Weed or Sweet Carolina. yum. It's nice and smooth and when drinking out of a flask makes it all that much more fun.

  109. I use cooper tires. I don't find them any better or any worse than any other brand. And I get mine for free so I could get the top of the line. But I don't.

    It is what it is.

  110. My sister promised that warm whiskey would get rid of my head ache.

    I wonder how much I have to drink.

  111. Who is Michele Lard? I googled her and nothing.

  112. Bwahahahahahaha

    I guess one warm shot of whiskey didn't do the trick.

    You have to admit, though, at one time you could eat an eight course meal on that thang, but she is down to less than half that now.

  113. He's right though. It's funny that Michelle is pushing all this healthy shit on everyone, and she does have one big large orangutan ass. No disrespect Rufus, as I know you are fond of the Obamas. Just another hypocrite politician.

  114. Some voters, however, weren't overly impressed with Romney's standing in the state.

    "Of course, he's going to win here," said Concord's Deb Jacobs. "So what?

    The story would be if he lost. He's been here for years.

  115. Melody

    Don't kid yourself. If she wore a white dress you could show home movies on her ass.

  116. Listen. My daughter just graduated with a bachelors in science and exercise science. I think she is setting a good example in healthy eating and exercising. If she lost all that weight in less than a year, I would have to worry.

    Don't get me wrong, she's not a poster child for Sports Illustrated Swim suit edition but she has come a long way. It's not easy when you're fat.

  117. :)

    I have no love (or hate) for the Obamas, Gag.

    There's nothing personal about it. I just happen to agree with "most" of his politics right now.

  118. Damn! I could have used her for my sister's birthday slide show.

    Listen, I am the most vain person you could ever meet. I eat healthy. I watch my weight because everyone in my family is three sizes too big, and I make sure Sam gives me frequent updates on what clipper size to use to stay in touch with what is hip at the moment.

    No one really likes her but I think she has proven herself since the beginning.

  119. The key to not being fat is to not get fat. It is all in the process. And I don't mean processed cheese! Sometime I really make myself laugh.......I have to hang up now. Nighty nite.

  120. And plus you know those black asses are hard to get rid of

    I think she is doing a swell job. Really.

  121. Sam you know what I'm talking about.

  122. I think someone spiked my whiskey because my sister swore one warm shot would do it.

    I should have been asleep two hours ago.

  123. Red wine will knock you out.

  124. Also?

    Paula Dean can take her ham and shove it up her ass.

  125. Meg McCain is an airhead.


  126. T Bone has a song I think 'Drink Yourself To Sleep' but I couldn't find it you might try to find that.


  127. Sam would that be with the trunk up or down?

  128. I knew you wouldn't let me down.

  129. Well, you keep them girls smiling over there and always remember to keep those clippers oiled. ( :

  130. .

    Things continue to get curiouser and curiouser in OZ. It makes one think we don't really need more Dems or more Pubs, just some honest to goodness adults.

    From the WAPO:

    Boehner's office cuts off C-SPAN cameras during debate.

    A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

    As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away.

    Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

    Evidently, the GOP didn't like Stoyer complaining about them walking out on the vote. Boehner informed C-SPAN last February that they would no longer be able to control their own cameras.


  131. .

    Perhaps the speakership goes to these guys heads.

    Gingrich was ready to shut down the government because he was asked to move to the back of the plane. And Boehner gets his panties in a twist because he doesn't want people to see Denny Stoyer calling him on his childish walkout.


  132. .

    For anonobob, a follow-up to yesterday's conversation on the 'Shroud of Turin' from what we have been assured is the "greatest newspaper in the world", The Telegraph.

    The Turin Shroud is fake. Get over it.

    Tom Chivers Gives Us indisputable Truth: His Opinion

    I found the following interesting.

    Tom Chivers is the Telegraph's assistant comment editor. He writes on science, culture and anything that crosses his mind.


  133. When you write 'on anything that crosses your mind' it is good to put in a disclaimer like the Shroud is, almost certainly, a fake as he does at the end of the article.


  134. .

    When you write 'on anything that crosses your mind' it is good to put in a disclaimer...

    Exactly my point Bobbo. The headline says it all, "The Turin Shrould is a fake."

    The word fake assumes, in this case, something was created to deceive and further that there is someone doing the decieving. However, no one knows the origins of the Shroud although they do know some of its history. They don't know if it is a relic or a piece of art. Though they may assume it, no one knows that the figure on the shroud is or was meant to represent Christ. While there are 'scientists' that say it was a construct of the 13th century, there are just as many that say it wasn't.

    With regard to the second part, whether the shroud is a relic or a piece of art it is still a marvelous piece. If it is a piece of art, all we can do is make assumptions as to the reasons it was produced, there is no way of knowing for sure. More importantly, the shroud is owned by the Catholic Church and they have taken no position on the shroud being one or the other, a relic or a piece of art. Further they have presented the actual shroud to many scientific groups for evaluation and analysis. They have even offered parts of the shroud to be destroyed for carbon dating. Where is the fakery?

    In a world populated by people who see a stain on a wall and call it the Virgin Mary or a burnt image on a piece of toast and call it an image of Christ, the fact that many people believe the shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Christ should not be surprising. However, in a world where science has failed to produce the Higgs Bosin, dark matter, and so many other issues that are theorized, it is a bit troubling when a columnist for the 'best newspaper ever' categorically identifies the shroud as 'fake' when there is still much evidence disputing that.

    Whether the shroud is a relic or a piece of art, it is still a marvelous piece and hardly deserves being called 'fake'.


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