“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."

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The right man for the job.

BAGHDAD — A series of more than 20 attacks across Iraq killed 51 people and wounded over 250 in two days, security and medical officials said on Sunday.

In the deadliest attack on Sunday, two car bombs exploded in a market near the shrine of Shiite Imam Ali al-Sharqi in south Iraq, a security official said.

Dr Ali al-Alaa, a Maysan province health department official, said the blasts killed 14 people and wounded 60.

In another attack, gunmen opened fire late on Saturday on an Iraqi army checkpoint near Balad north of Baghdad, followed by a roadside bomb that exploded when additional soldiers arrived.

Eleven soldiers, including two officers, were killed and eight others were wounded, an army colonel and a medical source at Balad hospital said.

And on Sunday, a car bomb exploded about 7:30 am (0430 GMT) in a car park at the rear gate of the state-owned North Oil Company, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the northern city of Kirkuk, killing seven people and wounding 17 others, a high-ranking police officer and Dr Othman Abdul Rahman said.

Violence in Iraq is down significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, and killed 278 people in August according to an AFP tally based on security and medical officials.


  1. Turbulence and instability run rampant across the Islamic Arc,

    Another good day for the USA.

  2. KALU VALLEY, Afghanistan — If there is a road to a happy ending in Afghanistan, much of the path may run underground: in the trillion-dollar reservoir of natural resources — oil, gold, iron ore, copper, lithium and other minerals — that has brought hopes of a more self-sufficient country, if only the wealth can be wrested from blood-soaked soil.

    But the wealth has inspired darker dreams as well. Officials and industry experts say the potential resource boom seems increasingly imperiled by corruption, violence and intrigue, and has put the Afghan government’s vulnerabilities on display.

    It all comes at what is already a critically uncertain time here, with the impending departure of NATO troops in 2014 and old regional and ethnic rivalries resurfacing, raising concerns that the mineral wealth could become the fuel for civil conflict.

    Powerful regional warlords and militant leaders are jockeying to widen their turf to include areas with mineral wealth, and the Taliban have begun to make murderous incursions into territory where development is planned. In the capital, Kabul, factional maneuvering is in full swing, including disputes over lucrative side contracts awarded to relatives of President Hamid Karzai.

    Further, a proposed mining law vital to attracting foreign investment is up in the air, with the delay threatening several projects. The cabinet rejected it this summer, saying it was too generous to Western commercial interests. But some Western officials fear other motives are at work, too, including an internal fight for spoils, and perhaps an effort by some neighboring countries to sway sympathetic officials to keep Indian and Chinese state mining companies out.

    “If you were to pick a country that involves high risk in developing a new mining sector, Afghanistan is it,” said Eleanor Nichol, campaign leader at Global Witness, a group that tries to break the link between natural resources, corruption and conflict. “But the genie is out of the bottle.”

    Already this summer, the China National Petroleum Corporation, in partnership with a company controlled by relatives of President Karzai, began pumping oil from the Amu Darya field in the north. An investment consortium arranged by JPMorgan Chase is mining gold. Another Chinese company is trying to develop a huge copper mine. Four copper and gold contracts are being tendered, and contracts for rare earth metals could be offered soon.

    1. The US Marine Corps is already providing security to the heroin trade, in Afghanistan.

      Whether or not the US should be providing security for JP Morgan Chase and CNPC, well, that is what Smedley Butler told US military intervention was REALLY all about

      I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
      I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    2. Never mind I see it. Interesting.

  3. I wish them well.

    Remind them (as we leave) to drop us a post card, and let us know how it's going.

    1. We, however, have things to do.

      We have some ethanol plants, and high-efficiency cars to build.

      Not to mention those light rail, and Interstate, electrified rail projects.

    2. $2 Trillion we pissed away over there. My God, the things we could have accomplished spending that money on Renewable Energy/Mass Transit Projects in the United States.

  4. Another States Rights issue coming to the forefront.

    (NEWSER) – The Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in February, but that ruling did not touch on the most controversial aspect of DOMA, the federalist test—that is, whether gay marriages have to be legally recognized in other states or by the federal government. With a federal appeals court expected to start hearing arguments on Sept. 27, three states that support gay marriage have filed amicus briefs saying that the federal government cannot "unmarry" anyone after a state has granted a marriage license, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

    The specific case is over a $350,000 tax bill that feds say a lesbian widow owes, since DOMA states her marriage didn't really exist so she cannot claim a marital tax deduction.

    1. The new States Rights battles ...

      Gay Marriage and Marijuana.

  5. gag mentioned yesterday that in the event of a GM bankruptcy, the working folks would not have lost their jobs.

    Well, when GS Technologies went into bankruptcy, in part of a industry wide downturn ...

    GS Technologies, needed expensive updating, and demand for its products was susceptible to cycles in the mining industry and commodities markets.

    Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they'd been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.

    What's more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.

    Some private equity folks profited by the bankruptcy, the taxpayer lost.
    Doubt the GM story would have been much different.

    Bain should not be blamed for the company's failure, noting that a wave of cheap imports forced nearly half of the U.S. steel industry into bankruptcy during that period.

    A story similar to the auto industry, in the downturn of 2009.

    1. Virtually every bona fide expert that has looked at that has said that the length of time involved in a standard bankruptcie for GM, and Chrysler would have likely destroyed virtually All of the U.S. auto industry, including All the parts suppliers, etc. Gag is dead wrong.

    2. Yep, I'm dead wrong based on conjecture. But guess what? No one will ever know for sure.

      We rewarded bad behavior and stupid business decisions. Remember the private jets coming in to get the money? Pure greed.

  6. More good news from the Middle East.

    Syrian jets bomb Aleppo district after rebels seize base

    The Baathists and Muslim Brotherhood continue their war.

    Another good day for the USA.

  7. Obama has a Seven Point Bump, so far, in the Rasmussen Poll of Likely Voters (from -3 to +4.)

    Everyone they've polled, as of last night, has heard Clinton's speech. 2/3rds have heard Obama's Speech, and 2/3rds have been polled since the last jobs report.

    1. And, Rasmussen is showing a +5 for Obama in Job Approval.

      Hardest Hit: Some guy named Adelson.

  8. Little wonder the "big bopper" does like the course of the threads

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows President Obama attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while Mitt Romney earns 45% of the vote.

    1. This is the president’s biggest lead over Romney among Likely Voters since March 17. See daily tracking history. Obama’s convention bounce is evident both in the head-to-head numbers with Romney and in his Job Approval ratings (see below).

      The president has made significant gains among voters aged 40-64.

    2. A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 52% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. That’s his highest approval rating in more than a year-and-a-half, since January 2011.

    3. While Rasmussen reports no change in the

      Electoral College
      Obama: 247 - Romney: 196 - Toss-up: 95

    4. When a guy is around 50 to 55 is when he starts wrestling around with the "put grannie in a nursing home" problems.

      That's when he becomes aware of MEDICAID. Probably, the most vital piece of information that emerged from the Dem Convention was that 2/3rds of Medicaid goes to keeping Grannie in the Nursing Home.

      That's when the Romney/Ryan Budget started to stink.

  9. I figured Billy Bob would like Clinton's speech. I wasn't so sure about Obama's, and the Convention as a whole.

    It looks as if he thought it was okay.

    1. Mitt Romney better have one hell of a debate.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. RealClearPolitics has the average +1.8 to Obama
      Both Rasmussen and Gallop have Obama +4

      The RCP "No Toss-up" Electoral College map

      332 for Obama and 206 for Romney
      Takes 270 to win.

    2. That Gallup Head to Head Number is from yesterday. And, it's a Seven-Day Moving Average number. It has the potential to go a lot higher.

      In fact, the Gallup "Approval" numbe is a 3-day moving average number, and it's up to a gaudy +10 (up from -5 on Sept first.)

      It's a real strong "bounce."

    3. Love him, or hate him, Bill Clinton is a Powerful Political Force.

  11. I knew I should have brought a 1200 lb alfalfa bale along. Could have taken the Blue in the Wyoming Forage Competition on today. Winner goes to the World Forage SuperBowl in Madison Wisconsin. Damn. Winner gets a trip to some cheese factory in Europe.

    Did Empty give his speech yet? What about Joe 'the plagiarist' Biden? Did Bill 'the rapist' introduce Biden too?

    Nothing but Republicans here, and antelope. Hundreds of antelope.

    Great state.

    No property taxes.

    Se ya....suckers.....

    1. Any of you nitwits remember that when Biden first ran for President he had to drop out because he was caught copying all his speeches from some guy in England?

      Really embarrassing.....

  12. Wife just said the 'help wanted' section in the newspaper is filled with hundreds of job openings here.

    1. Then those antelope should have no trouble finding a job. Being as there are hundreds of each.

  13. boobie has gone from touting Rasmussen to calling him fuel for suckers.

    He's becoming a bit of a reality challenged revisionist.

  14. Just read that Romney, on NBC this morning, said that he'd keep parts of Obamacare. Wouldn't allow companies to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

    What he didn't mention was that the only way they could figure out how to do that in Massachusetts was to have a MANDATE.

    :) He's in a hell of a mess.

    1. Mr Romney now proposes that he'll have an Imperial Presidency?
      He won't allow ...

      Such low regard for Congress.
      How in the whirled will he overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate on his proposed Healthcare changes?

      He said he'd "Repeal and Replace" ...

      Repeal which parts and replace with what?
      Where is his proposal for a remedy to the unfunded Mandates?

    2. Mr Obama and the Democrats have already implemented the "Conservative" solution he was touting back in 2009.

      What does he propose now?
      What is the "NeoConservative" solution?

    3. I'll tell you one thing; you can't have guaranteed issue without guaranteed participation. It just won't/can't work.

  15. So, you think you know enough about Iran to go to War, there? Read on.

    The Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance was told to allow the media to raise awareness of population issues and family planning programs, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting was entrusted with broadcasting such information. Money saved on reduced maternity leave funds these educational programs.

    From 1986 to 2001, Iran's total fertility-the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime-plummeted from seven to less than three. The United Nations projects that by 2010 total fertility will drop to two, which is replacement-level fertility.

    Strong government support has facilitated Iran's demographic transition. Under the current president, Mohammad Khatami, the government covers 80 percent of family planning costs. A comprehensive health network made up of mobile clinics and 15,000 "health houses" provides family planning and health services to four fifths of Iran's rural population. Almost all of these health care centers were established after 1990. Because family planning is integrated with primary health care, there is little stigma attached to modern contraceptives.

    Religious leaders have become involved with the crusade for smaller families, citing them as a social responsibility in their weekly sermons. They also have issued fatwas, religious edicts with the strength of court orders, that permit and encourage the use of all types of contraception, including permanent male and female sterilization-a first among Muslim countries. Birth control, including the provision of condoms, pills, and sterilization, is free.

    One of the strengths of Iran's promotion of family planning is the involvement of men. Iran is the only country in the world that requires both men and women to take a class on modern contraception before receiving a marriage license. And it is the only country in the region with a government-sanctioned condom factory. In the past four years, some 220,000 Iranian men have had a vasectomy. While vasectomies still account for only 3 percent of contraception, compared with female sterilization at 28 percent, men nonetheless are assuming more responsibility for family planning.

    Iran's Model for Reducing Fertility

    Still think you're an expert on Iran?

    1. And, This is the country that some of you think is going to build a couple of low-yield atomic bombs, and Start a Nuclear Exchange with Israel (and her U.S./European backers?)


  16. For approx. 1/4th of what we spent on Iraq, and Afghanistan we could put a 20 Mil Gal Yr Ethanol Refinery in Every County in the United States.

    That, plus the new fuel standards, and we would Never Have to Import Another Drop of Oil, Ever.

    1. Cellulosic Refineries - Turning corn stalks, Grass, Municipal Waste, etc. into fuel.

    2. And, if you think this isn't the "long-term" plan, you just haven't thought it through.

    3. Actually, by the time you get the "cookie cutter" working, it will be more like 1/5th or 1/6th what we spent in those two lash-ups.

      And, doesn't even consider the cost of keeping two carrier groups, an air wing, and God only knows how many logistical troops in the Persian Gulf.

    4. We will end up driving for around $0.08 to $0.10 a mile, and the money will "Stay Home."

    5. And,

      This One

      This one should be Producing any day now.

    6. And, This One is the real knock-out. Poet's "Project Liberty"

      Co-located with existing corn ethanol plants

      Take The Tour

  17. They can’t keep the peace in Iraq but they can keep the hangman busy.

    A court has sentenced Iraq's fugitive vice president to hang. Meanwhile, attacks across Iraq killed more than 70 on Sunday.
    Hashemi, tried in absentia along with his secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan - also sentenced to death - dismisses the charges as politically motivated. The trial for the murders of a lawyer and a brigadier general, which began in May, covered some of the 150 charges against Hashemi and his bodyguards. The case has triggered a crisis in the power-sharing government.
    On Sunday, the prosecution asked the court to condemn the Sunni Hashemi to death. The defense then read a lengthy closing statement protesting that the trial was unfair and that the court had been exposed to political pressure.
    "You are attacking the judicial authority, and you will be held responsible if you continue," the presiding jurist warned the defense before the panel of three passed the sentence, which can be appealed.
    Multiparty man
    Hashemi, born in 1942, became one of Iraq's vice presidents in 2006, about the same time his brother and sister were shot dead in separate attacks. When he assumed the role, Hashemi headed the Iraqi Islamic Party, said to have connections to elements of the Sunni insurgency. The party had represented the driving force in the National Concord Front, which masterminded the Sunni return to the political process after they boycotted the 2005 elections.

  18. More Arab springtime news

    LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, the experienced Algerian peacemaker who recently replaced Kofi Annan as the UN’s special envoy for Syria, describes his new task as “nearly impossible”. That seems a sound judgment. Syria’s beleaguered but ruthless regime refuses to talk to its opponents until they lay down their arms. For their part, the outgunned, fractious but resilient rebels will not talk to the regime until President Bashar Assad goes. The rest of the world watches in dismay or quietly fuels the conflict, as misery mounts. In August alone, the number of Syrian refugees applying for asylum abroad doubled, to 200,000.

    Mr Assad has tried various tactics to stamp out the uprising, now entering its 18th month. First he promised reform, as his security forces shot at peaceful protesters. Then the regime claimed that all was well but for a few rogue “terrorists”. Now, having admitted that he is fighting a real war, Mr Assad is offering a choice: his regime must be accepted or his army will scorch the earth of those who go against it.

    The regional governor in charge of Daraya, a rebellious working-class suburb of the capital, Damascus, that was devastated by Mr Assad’s forces in August, recently visited it bearing bread. A kindly speech about resupplying the stricken town was followed by a stark warning, says a resident at the scene: harbour the rebels again and Daraya will be razed to the ground.

  19. Why exactly was it that we hanged Saddam?

  20. MG: Politically, one of the difficulties was the two-part messaging. You’re doing short-term recovery and transforming the economy in the long term. You’re doing tax cuts and spending. You’re doing stimulus now, and you’ll pivot to fiscal responsibility. You’re doing shovel ready and also looking for shovel worthy.

    But after the financial crisis, everyone knew it wasn’t going to turn around quickly. That changes the rules on timely, targeted and temporary. You’re not worried about overheating the economy if it didn’t spend out in six months. So what they did was [give] aid to states to prevent layoffs, which went out right away. Food stamps to get money into people’s pockets. And then other stuff, the infrastructure, the clean energy, the health IT — that was understood to take longer. But even there, take wind energy, which obviously it takes awhile to get a wind farm going. By the end of 2008, that industry was dead in the water. The day after the stimulus passed, one of the major wind companies, which was pulling out of America entirely, turned around and announced a $6 billion investment in the United States.

    Health IT is another example I love. That’s one of the few where even they would admit there was no pretense of stimulus. The money didn’t go out the door till 2011. But right now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health IT is America’s fastest growing industry.

    Everything People Think They Know About the Stimulus is Wrong

  21. Report on Car Henge, out of Alliance, Nebraska, tomorrow. Too tired tonight. Overnighting at Henge with Linear and Quirk. Something about half moon convergence. Looks like Henge may be only economic winner in Nebraska, as the corn around here is craparoo, plow under stuff.

  22. One bright spot from the meeting was the decision by leaders to sign off on an extended list of 54 environmental goods, which will have tariffs capped at 5% or less by 2015. Just what goods were to be included in the list had been a thorny topic since APEC announced the tariff goals last year.

    The list in the end was expanded 54 items from 25 in one day. While some countries were unable to get all the items they wanted on the list—a person familiar with the matter said Indonesia pushed hard but failed to have crude palm oil included—they nonetheless rated the agreement highly, as it applies to a large industry facing a brewing trade war between member nations China and the U.S.

    One senior Japanese trade official said: "If I had to grade the agreement, I would give it 100 out of 100."

  23. Obamateurism of the Week

    Flies to see storm damage in Louisiana only after Romney beats him to it 20.24% (1,248 votes)

    "Hey, I hear you." 1.9% (117 votes)

    Tells CNN that he couldn't improve bipartisanship because he had to spend time with his family 26.81% (1,653 votes)

    Citing a fact check and getting the quote wrong 3.45% (213 votes)

    Ordering platform change after criticism over God, Jerusalem 47.59% (2,934 votes)

    Total Votes: 6,165

    You too can vote at Hot Air

    Heading back to Henge now. Picking Quirk up in corn field across from Henge, and across from Alliance City Cemetary.

    Dressed like a scarecrow, he has been holding a sign saying




    Has a donation cup.

    Linear was heading to the liquor store, last I heard.


  24. Hong Kongers have grown increasingly wary of Beijing's influence, especially in the way that property prices have spiralled out of control because of the growing influx of rich mainlanders buying up apartments.

    There have also been complaints about rising corruption since 1997, and a widening wealth gap between rich and poor.

    In July, more than 100,000 Hong Kong residents marched through the streets to send a message to Beijing that Hong Kong values its autonomy and does not want to be its puppet.

  25. A northern California man accused of ripping out the heart and tongue of a friend after the two had taken hallucinogenic drugs has pleaded guilty to murder, four days before his case was set to go to trial.

    Jarrod Wyatt, 29, of Crescent City, Calif. accepted a plea deal in which he will serve a 50-years-to-life prison sentence in the March 2010 death of his sparring partner, 21-year-old Taylor Powell, Del Norte County prosecutors told The Associated Press.

  26. By 51% to 44%, women in the U.S. are more likely to say that, if free to do either, they would rather have a job outside the home than "stay at home and take care of the house and family." Women's preferences for working outside the home have been consistent in Gallup polling since 2007, and were also evident in 2001; however, at other times in the not-too-distant past -- 1992, 2003, and 2005 -- the majority of women favored the domestic role.


    Women with at least some college education would opt for having a job outside the home over being a homemaker, 57% to 38%. By contrast, women with no college experience tilt the other way, with 53% preferring to stay home and 41% preferring to have an outside job.


    Republican women are more likely than Democratic women to say they would ideally want to stay home and care for the home and family: 57% of Republican women vs. 37% of Democratic women. At the same time, Republican men show a stronger leaning than Democratic men for working outside the home: 81% vs. 71%.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Found Linear asleep in the back seat of an old Cadillac. He's OK.

  29. The government has also increased fiscal spending and accelerated approval for new investment projects. The National Development and Reform Commission—a powerful government planning agency—approved 1,555 major investment projects in the year to August, a 13% increase over the same period in 2011.

    Most recently, the commission last week approved dozens of infrastructure projects such as subways and highways, which Nomura estimated would add up to one trillion yuan ($157.6 billion) of investment over four years.

    There could be more to come. Speaking at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on Saturday, President Hu Jintao warned that China's economy faces "notable downward pressure" and addressed the need to upgrade infrastructure to promote stable growth and recovery.

  30. Thiѕ ρiece of wгitіng ωill aѕsist
    the іnternet users for setting up new web site oг
    even a ωeblog from stаrt to enԁ.
    Feel free to visit my site :: Hunted Season 1 Episode 8