“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, February 21, 2012

Amazing Stupidity in Afghanistan: Chinese Making Oil Deals, US Military Burning Korans

NY TImes

KABUL, Afghanistan — Attempting to contain a violent reaction already gathering steam, the NATO commander in Afghanistan issued a fervent apology on Tuesday for foreign troops having “improperly disposed” of Korans and Islamic materials.

Afghans threw stones toward Bagram Air Base on Tuesday.
As protesters swelled in numbers at the gates of Bagram Air Base, where the incident occurred, Gen. John R. Allen released a statement apologizing to President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people.

“ISAF personnel at Bagram Air Base improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans,” the statement said.

“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities.

“We are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. I assure you ... I promise you ... this was NOT intentional in any way,” he said.

There were unsubstantiated reports circulating among the protesters of NATO personnel taking a load of Korans and starting to burn them.

What is clear is that Afghan employees on the base intervened to stop them, according to a report from an employee on the base and General Allen’s statement.

“I would like to thank the local Afghan people who helped us identify the error, and who worked with us to immediately take corrective action,” said the statement.

Previous incidents of desecration of the Koran have set off extremely violent reactions in Afghanistan. The last one, when a Florida pastor burned the Koran a year ago, triggered protests across the country, including an outburst in Mazar-e-Sharif where a crowd overran the United Nations compound and killed 12 people, including seven foreigners.

It is not clear how close the NATO personnel came to destroying the Korans, but one worker, Abdul Wahid, 25, said that at 11 p.m.: “American soldiers brought a pickup truck loaded with new copies of the Koran in its trunk and dropped it in burning pitch and set fire and started burning the Koran.”

Mr. Wahid said that he and two friends tried to stop the soldiers. “We said, ‘We will give it to our mullahs,’” he said.

Western officials said they did not believe that any Korans were actually set on fire, but that an investigation was under way and they would have information later Tuesday.

The crowd at Bagram, estimated at more than 2,000, shouting “Death to America” and “We don’t want them anymore.” according to witnesses who were reached by telephone. Witnesses said gunfire could be heard and security forces were firing rubber bullets.

Some in the crowd were singing Taliban songs and several Urdu speakers, described as Pakistanis, were making speeches to the crowd.

The protesters closed the district government building and stopped people attempting to come to the center of the city.

Western officials warned foreigners to stay at home.

“I offer my sincere apologies for any offense this may have caused, to the President of Afghanistan, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan,” General Allen’s statement said.


  1. what is "occupation"Tue Feb 21, 06:09:00 AM EST

    You dont actually have to burn a quran.. Just circulate a story that infidels were thinking about it.

    that ought to cause a few dozen death due to the insanity they call "islam"

    maybe we should get out at once. take with us any and all that we trust and let the rest embrace darwin's natural selection.

    of course any trouble that comes from that land?

    maybe agent orange would work

  2. If China is making an oil deal in Afghanistan, they're the stupid ones.

    The explicit aim of the Istanbul Process -- currently backed by the Obama administration -- is to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.

    A Muslim fundamentalist group is organizing a conference focused on turning Austria and other European countries into Islamic states.

    The "Caliphate Conference 2012" will be held on March 10 in the Austrian town of Vösendorf, situated just south of Vienna.

    The main theme of the event will be "The Caliphate: The State Model of the Future." The conference is being organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir [Party of Liberation], a pan-Islamic extremist group that seeks to establish a global Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by Islamic Sharia law.

  3. If we had a President with the security of America in his heart?

    He'd announce the Keystone Pipeline.

    He'd announce the expansion of the strategic oil reserve.

    He'd offer a nationwide conversion plan to natural gas for the nation's auto/bus and truck fleet.

    He'd do this at once.

    But let's not forget....

    We dont...

  4. Love this quote from the article: "We Afghans don't want these Christians and infidels, they are the enemy of our soil, our honor and our Koran," said Haji Shirin, one of the protesters.

    "I urge all Muslims to sacrifice themselves in order to pull out these troops from this soil."

    The Afghan Taliban also strongly condemned the incident.

    "Since the invasion of Afghanistan by the animal Americans, this is almost the 10th time that they have degraded the holiest values of Muslims," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in an emailed statement.

    Yep, makes you really want to send our treasure, our blood and our will to help them walk across a bridge to the 21st century.

    But we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, on purpose.

    triple the troops, change the rules of engagement and wait...


    a "teachable" moment.

    exactly as I said years ago..

    all this is to teach us that there is no military solution to control moslems.

    now all of us, let's bow down and apologize to our future islamic masters...

    not to worry, I still have some yellow stars of david I can sew on to my clothes...

  5. Is see WiO is still quaking in his boots fearing "the muslims".

    There are other things worth worrying about:

    'Restructuring Greece Within the Euro is Illusory',1518,816410,00.html

  6. Oh God, Santorum is talking about the doings of Satan this morning. This guy ought to zip his lip already.

  7. Copper Wire Discovered

    After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year outside of New York City, New York

    scientists found traces of copper cable dating back 100 years. They came to the

    conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100

    years ago.

    Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a Los Angeles,

    California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet somewhere just outside

    Oceanside. Shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: "California archaeologists

    report a finding of 200 year old copper cable, have concluded that their ancestors

    already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier

    than the New Yorkers."

    One week later, a local newspaper in Wallace, Idaho reported the following: "After

    digging down about 30 feet deep in the hillside near the community of Burke, Bubba,

    a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Bubba

    has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Idaho had already gone wireless".

    Just makes a person proud to be from Idaho

  8. This is not just idiocy of the highest order; it's Expensive idiocy of the highest order.

    Bin Laden's dead. Time to get our asses out of there.

    Tue Feb 21 2012 09:27:20 ET

    "Satan has his sights on the United States of America!" Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has declared.

    "Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition."


    The former senator from Pennsylvania warned in 2008 how politics and government are falling to Satan.

    "This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country - the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?"

    "He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions."

    Santorum made the provocative comments to students at Ave Maria University in Florida.


    The White House contender described how Satan is even taking hold of some religions.

    "We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."

    Quite the thumping.

  10. If the Great Satan attacks the Great Satan, how can he stand? A house divided will fall.

  11. According to analysts who think the euro zone's approach could work, these sums may be enough to ensure sufficient financial protection for other euro-zone governments to convince financial markets that Greece is a special case. They also say Portugal is likely to be offered more bailout money if needed this year, so that euro-zone investors don't have to endure another debt restructuring.

    Some analysts worry that the euro zone's political masters have been made complacent by how the European Central Bank has taken pressure off the region's financial markets by flooding the region's banks since December with cheap three-year money. Since that offer to banks in December—to be followed by another next week—interest rates on the bonds of Italy and Spain have fallen sharply.

    Some economists argue that Greece is an extreme case, but not alone, and the main worries for the future may be as much economic and political as financial.


  12. “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”

    Mark Twain

  13. “We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talent”

    Mark Twain

  14. “Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America”

    Jerry Falwell


  15. “The Media is ruled by Satan. But yet I wonder if many Christians fully understand that.”

    Jimmy Swaggart

  16. “There are in every man, at every hour, two simultaneous postulations, one towards God, the other towards Satan”

    Charles Baudelaire

  17. “Guess what country is getting itself out of a financial problem by some draconian measures?” Robertson asked his co-host Terry Meeuwsen. “Greece?” she asked. “No, not even close. Iceland!” Robertson exclaimed. “They are putting people in jail. Prime ministers are being indicted. They are going after banks. The people said the banks are ripping us off. We don’t like what they did, and they brought our country to ruin. Suddenly, Iceland is turning around and they look like a big success story!”

  18. A China policy that does not reflect American values from a president who is not willing to assert those values cannot be sustained. The Obama administration has, with much fanfare, announced an “Asia pivot” to shore up security in the Far East.

    Some in Asia are skeptical that Washington is serious about remaining a Pacific power. Cuts in the defense budget have created a credibility gap.


    The Obama administration missed an opportunity to do this during Xi’s visit. But at least it chalked up another meeting with a Chinese leader.

    Xi Whiz!

  19. On this day in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, where he was poised to address a rally. He was 39 when he was shot and killed.

  20. Of course, Obama’s rise is not entirely accidental. A major characteristic of modern liberal/leftism, indeed one of its hallmarks, is a kind of determined fakery, using a pretense of anti-capitalism as a masquerade for greed.

    It’s an old and cynical game. Many of the richest people in the world are self-described liberals who shout loudly for supposed “progressive” causes, creating foundations proclaiming their goody-goodyism while quietly salting away billions for personal gain.

    Obama is the perfect president for them.

  21. Malcolm X was shot with a sawed off shotgun by Talmadge X with the help of Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson.

    That's the XYZ of it.

  22. On Sunday, Iran's oil ministry announced a retaliatory halt in oil sales to French and British companies, though that step will be largely symbolic as those firms had already greatly reduced purchases of Iranian crude.

    On Monday, the European Commission said Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands had already stopped buying Iranian oil, while Greece, Spain and Italy were cutting back purchases.

    Tighter sanctions including the pending embargo on Iranian oil imports into the EU have helped push oil prices up to $119 a barrel from $107 at the start of the year.

  23. One reassuring point: Bulls say stock valuations remain at attractive levels, as consumer sentiment continues to improve. That has helped push investors into the stock market.


    Among individual stocks, Dell, which rose five cents, or 0.3%, to $18.21, fell more than 4% in after-hours trading, after the computer maker announced fourth-quarter results that missed expectations and forecast a sequential decline in revenue.

    Wal-Mart Stores was the biggest Dow decliner, sliding 2.41, or 3.9%, to 60.07, after reporting somewhat disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter results, and provided outlooks for the current quarter and fiscal year that were less than upbeat.

  24. Good Lady Sarah comes to Santorum's defense.


    And, really, when you think about it, a devil is as good an explanation for certain awful things as an id, or maladjusted superego, or some complex or other.

    When Santorum is asked, "Do you really believe in good and evil" he ought to answer, "You mean you don't?"

  25. I like those Sarah fireside chats.

  26. Just for Rufus -

    Satan Red Beer

    One taste you'll put the pitchfork in that BudLight forever.

  27. .

    Rick Santorum is proving to be a whack job. Sarah Palin? Good lord, Bob. (Notice the religious reference.)

    Santorum was on a run here in Michigan and leading Romney. Then he went to the west side of the state and started his 'preaching'.

    The latest poll I saw tonight saw Romney back up 32% to Santorum's 30%. And remember that Romney is not liked here.

    Part of Santorum's problem may be the stupid adds he puts up.



  28. .

    Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes are trying to gain control of the internet by putting it under multinational control in the UN.

    They have their reasons to want to take it over, money and control of dissident voices. the problem is their plan would destroy the internet as we know it.

    And while they push this proposal at the UN, Obama is busy running for reelection and doesn't seem to have the time to appoint anyone to be negotiating for us.

    Internet Heist


  29. .

    FED Getting Uppity On Housing

    If anything, FED policy has hurt housing. Now, frustrated that their actions have done nothing to move the economy, they want to become more active in fiscal policy.


  30. .

    WASHINGTON — President Obama will ask Congress to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

    Mr. Obama also would establish a minimum tax on multinational corporations’ foreign earnings, the official said, to discourage “accounting games to shift profits abroad” or actual relocation of production overseas...

    28% Corporate Rate


  31. I liked that ad. Good ad, appeals to the video game crowd.

    Not a stupid adds at all.

  32. Still too high. I'm assuming he's going to let the Pubs beat him down to 25% (although, he might be surprised by the lack of interest on the right to any "improvements" to the Corporate Tax Code.

    I wish he would have started at 25, and let'em beat him down to 22%.

    But, none of it matters unless profits earned overseas become taxable, Immediately, and Not of "repatriation."

    28% of Zero is, still, Zero.

  33. The next debate might be worth watching. Pressure is on now for Gingrich, Romney and Santorum. High stakes match.

  34. .

    Here is the Liberal Case Against Santorum

    Jennifer Rubin lays out the liberal case against Santorum. I disagree with most of what she says though it is too long an article to critique piece by peice.

    She makes the point that Santorum's critics are merely quoting his own words; however, it is their interpretation of those words that I find fault with. Their interpretation of his comments on Obama's 'theology' are a good example.

    That being said, I find the man to be a moralyzing dick. His views on abortion are perfectly legitimate and shared by millions. However, when he starts preaching that our problems are caused by Satan, he loses me.


  35. .

    PC on you.

    Unfortunately, in today’s America, actual instances of racism are so rare that false allegations of racism are the new racism. We are left with bizarre new English language rules with perplexing vagaries on usage: May I use “chink in the armor” when referring to the weakness in the game of non-Asian basketball players, or has the very meaning of a non-racist phrase been so consumed by the slurred meaning of one of its words that we must never again speak, even with historical accuracy, of the practice developed by the men in armor?

    First Amendment be damned – political correctness is forming a list of words we can’t say. Sometimes, the new rules hold that certain people can say words, but others cannot.

    Controversy recently surrounded the word “niggardly.” It is a word of Nordic etymology that means a small sum, having nothing to do with race. The N-word* is a slur of Latin etymology (Latin for the color black is niger) that has nothing to do with sums. They aren’t even homonyms as they are spelled differently (note the “er” vs the “ar” difference). At best, they share an inexact phonetic sound, making the two words about as related as Jeremy Lin and Loretta Lynn.

    Back in 1999, David Howard was a white aid to black DC mayor Anthony Williams. Howard referred to that year’s budget as “niggardly,” noting of course its size, not its color. Swift came the allegations of racism and Howard tendered his resignation and the Mayor accepted it. What happened next confounds those of us trying to navigate the new language rules. Howard is gay. The gay community lobbied for his reinstatement, and the Mayor offered to re-hire him. I’m not sure if that means gays can’t be racist, blacks can’t fire gays, niggardly is not the N-word for thee but is for me, or something else...

    PC Police? Who the Hell are They? And Why Do We Give A Shit?


  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. When people say a country wants to "get control of the Internet" they don't know what they are talking about.

    When you type my website into the address bar, behind the scenes it resolves into a four byte IP

    If you type in the address bar your browser takes you to the same exact place.

    So the issue is translating the words into the numbers. This is handled by a US company called ICANN. If the UN gets control of this job, big deal.

    Most people get to a site by googling it anyway, and that will still work. And the raw numbers will always work.

  38. .

    So the issue is translating the words into the numbers. This is handled by a US company called ICANN. If the UN gets control of this job, big deal.

    Nonsense, you take a technician's view and miss the big picture.

    Try reading the article to see what they hope to accomplish.


  39. Adding to the list of people that have endorsed Obama for President 2012 --

    Rufus II party

    Maxine Waters

  40. The Usual Bullshit from the Usual Sources

    Remember Tony Blair’s dossier? All those US troops looking for secret weapons caches?

    Netanyahu has done the calculation and knows the chances of a successful Israeli attack on Iran are not in his favor. So, out they drag the proposition that the US East Coast, Washington, DC is vulnerable to an Iranian attack on the US. What US politician can resist? Certainly none of the dumb ones.

    This is the story on Netanyahu. It is all about him and his political career. No existential threat to Israel and the US and he has no job. Like every other career egocentric politician, he will do anything and say anything to advance his political being.

    Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz says Iran investing billion of dollars to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles, that they hope to pose "direct nuclear ballistic threat" to Europe, US.

    Iran may develop inter-continental missiles that can reach the east coast of the United States in two to three years, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a CNBC interview Wednesday.

    Iran is investing billions of dollars, Steinitz said, to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles. "We estimate that in 2-3 years they will have the first inter-continental ballistic missiles that can reach the east coast of America.”

  41. Santorum is being defined by the media and is being smeared but he almost deserves it because he brought up most of these subjects. His eye should have been steady on Obama.


  42. That's a marvelous misreading.

    Iran is a heartbeat from Israel.

    Iran is developing a nuclear bomb(s).

    Iran says we are going to wipe Israel off the map.

    Deuce says it's Netanyahu's fault.

  43. As usual you miss the point.

    Netanyahu is trying to drag the US into an unnecessary war. He can’t seem to get up enough juice to take Iran by himself so he wants the US to do it for him.

    If you have enjoyed the fruits of our Iraqi and Afghanistan ventures, you will love the consequences of an unprovoked attack against Iran.

    I wish you were as concerned about protecting your ilk as you are about protecting your elk.

  44. From the other perspective: Israel is a heartbeat from Iran, and Israel HAS Nuclear Weapons, Delivery Systems, and Missile Defense Systems.

  45. "Graham Allison, a leading expert on nuclear strategy at Harvard University, has long compared the evolving conflict over Iran’s nuclear program to a “slow-motion Cuban missile crisis,” in which each side has only murky intelligence, tempers run high and there is the danger of a devastating outcome.

    “As a student of history, I’m certainly conscious that when you have heated politics and incomplete control of events, it’s possible to stumble into a war,” Mr. Allison said. Watching Iran, Israel and the United States, he said, “you can see the parties, slowly but almost inexorably, moving to a collision.” "

    Which has been my prime worry - all those 'small' decisions, the political rhetoric ('Iran cannot have a nuclear power'), and now Rats favourite "Sanctions and Sabotage are sufficient"...

    There is more in the article that is interesting:

    "In Din Over Iran, Rattling Sabers Echo Iraq War"

  46. With an interesting perspective -

    Michael Savage Says Santorum Right About Satan, On The Right Track

    One would think if Savage is onto something then Santorum would do well in the upcoming primaries. I was taking the majority view, he is putting his foot in his mouth and it will hurt him.

    Whole topic certain to be a big deal in the debate tonight.

  47. The 'pubs seem desparate to find someone other than Romney but Santorum? Oh My God that would be bad. And you, Bob, bitch about Mullahs well Santorum would fit right in a similar religious nutter mode as the Mullahs you so despise.

  48. I'm not big on Santorum, Ash. What are my choices though? Sarah's not running, Romney wears celestial underwear, and keeps his money in the Caymans, Gingrich was laughed out of doors here for wanting the moon to be the 58th state, and gramps Paul is senile.

    O, tell me what to do, Ash!

  49. Well, gosh, Bob, guess who that leaves?


  50. heh heh, and who says negative ads don't work!?

  51. RBOB $3.09

    add in $0.13 to bring it up to 87 Octane, and you're at $3.22/gal.

    CBOT Ethanol $2.19/GAL.

    And, the Pubs are fighting E15, Hammer and Tong.

    We're the stupidest people in the history of the Solar System.

  52. But, I gotta go with Mittens On This One

    At least it wasn't Poor Aunt Edna On The Top Of That Car

    My Brittaney loved riding fast in the back of the pickup.

  53. Maxine Waters for Secretary of Energy!

    Nationalize the oil companies!

  54. from Beltway Confidential -

    February 22, 2012 10:48am 45 Comments
    Team Santorum: U.S. is with Rick on devil belief
    byByron York Chief Political Correspondent
    Follow on Twitter:

    MESA, Ariz. -- Some of Rick Santorum's advisers are frustrated and angry that reporters are focusing more on their candidate's statements about Satan than on his positions on the issues. Here in Arizona Tuesday, Santorum faced repeated questioning about portions of a 2008 speech at a Catholic university in Florida in which he said, "Satan is attacking the great institutions of America."

    "I don't know what's newsmaking that Rick Santorum believes in right and wrong, good and evil, God and the devil," says one campaign aide. "I really don't know how that's out of the mainstream."

    It's not. In 2007, the Gallup polling organization asked Americans whether they believe in God, in heaven, in hell, and in the devil. The results: 86 percent of those questioned said they believed in God, 81 percent in heaven, 70 percent in the devil, and 69 percent in hell.

    Just 21 percent of those questioned said they do not believe in the devil, giving Satan a healthy 70-21 believe/disbelieve ratio. (Eight percent said they weren't sure.)

    Remember now, the devil's biggest tactic is to make you think he doesn't exist.

  55. .

    But, I gotta go with Mittens On This One

    Dumber than a skunk.


  56. Quirk, to the roof with you!

  57. While I share your concerns about international regulation of the internet Quirk I'm not so confident in the US propensity for spying. In Canada we've had a big uproar about a proposed bill, C-30, forcing ISP's to gather and keep IP logs and police access to them but I think the US government has been tapping into the intertubes...

    anyway, I saw this in the NYTimes:

    "“Age?” delmarm4fun asked.


    “Aha,” came the response. “New York or Pa.?”

    A graphic flirtation ensued. At one point, delmarm4fun asked “Emily” again if she was 18.

    “No, I’m 15,” Venneman replied.

    “Aha,” delmarm4fun said again. “My bad.”

    “What’s wrong?” Venneman asked.

    “Didn’t realize you were 15. . . .”

    “So why u don’t like me,” Venneman typed, mimicking an adolescent’s mangled syntax.

    “I do, very much. LOL. Just don’t want any trouble.”

    After about an hour of this, according to logs later presented in court, the man Venneman was talking to masturbated in front of a webcam and announced he was off to take a shower.

    “U know ur in a lot of trouble, don’t you,” Venneman typed.


    “I’m a undercover police officer. U need to call me A.S.A.P.”

    “Nah,” delmarm4fun wrote. “Your not 15. Yahoo is for 18 and over. It’s all fantasy. No crime.”

    “I have your phone number and I will be getting your IP address from Yahoo and your carrier,” Venneman wrote. “We can do this 2 ways call me and you can turn yourself in at a latter date or I’ll get a warrant for you and come pick you up.” "

    Big brother is watching it seems. Look out for the 'thought police'.

  58. oy vey, just imagine if Santorum got his hands on the controls for the intertubes!!