“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, December 09, 2012

"I would be highly skeptical of any of the intelligence rendered by the $140-billion-plus US intelligence community as to weapons of mass destruction in possession of another country. Period.” - Lawrence Wilkerson, retired US Army Colonel Chief of Staff to Colin Powell


  1. Skeptical? How about total bullshit?

  2. Jeeze Duece, the guy himself says there are chemical weapons in Syria.

  3. And, there are Nukes in Israel; so what?

  4. I can't believe Obama's stupid enough to get caught up in that. And, Wilkerson's right (I'm sure he's relieved to know that Rufus agrees with him,) Turkey would squash Syria like a bug - and, probably, Iran as well.

    Those Patriots are a little bit "troubling."

    1. One would suppose those Patriots are there to protect Turkey from any retaliatory strikes when we start bombing the shit out of the Syrian Government (in the case that they do start using chemicals/biologicals on the rebels.)

  5. C’mom Elkie, you are smarter than that. Their known existence is as newsworthy as sex in a cat house. It is convenient red herring for a casus belli to engage in another illegal unconstitutional war. Syria’s problems are terrible for the Syrian people, but it is their problem.

  6. As part of the sinister plan for Syria at work, French military agents have recently held face-to-face meetings with the foreign-backed militants inside the country in a bid to “assess the situation on the ground.”

    A report carried by French paper Le Figaro on Friday indicates that “Their main task was to know who controls the battlegrounds around Damascus.”

    It seems that a West-orchestrated plan to invade the country is under way and that they are teaming up and gearing up for united military action against the country.

    The report adds that the meetings were held last month with the full knowledge of the French government and that the French government wants to know the “operational capacity of each group” and their “political colors.”

    To make matters worse, NATO has agreed to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syria-Turkey border under the pretense of defending Turkey as Britain has warned Syria of ‘serious consequences’ if the regime used chemical weapons. All the pieces of the puzzle are being meticulously put together by the ‘foes of Syria’ to lend a cloak of legitimacy to an imminent invasion of the country: that Syria mulls using chemical weapons against its own people and the militants, that the war may spill over into Turkey and that Turkey should be able to defend herself against any potential attacks.

    While in Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, William Hague, British foreign secretary, said that Britain had delivered a stark message to President Bashar al-Assad, echoing the words of the Obama administration on Monday.

    “We are worried about chemical weapons,” said Mr. Hague. “We have become more concerned about them in recent days for the same reasons the US has. We have already sent our own, clear, private message directly to the Syrians about the serious consequences that would follow from the use of those weapons.”

    Syria has blasted NATO’S decision to deploy Patriot missiles as “psychological warfare,” saying the new deployment would not deter it from seeking victory over the militants it views as terrorists.

  7. Over a year ago the Obama administration helped create through the services of the Islamist Turkish government, the Syrian National Council, which was a Muslim Brotherhood front group. (Twelve of the nineteen members were Islamists or apologists to their cause). The Obama administration must have been aware that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were funnelling weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Syria. It was the fallout from the Benghazi fiasco that brought about the pulling of support for the SNC. USA Intelligence Officers may be in Turkey to make sure nothing goes to al Qaida groups, but the Brotherhood and Salafists are of the same ilk, they may use different methods, but their final destination is the destruction of Israel, the West and the rebirth of the Caliphate.
    There is nothing moderate or democratic about the Islamists. They play the moderate and democratic game to gain power. When in office, they keep postponing elections to entrench themselves in the fabric of government and judiciary by brute force. In a recent interview Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the Tunisian leader explained that a democratic framework was the best way to put into power an Islamist regime with the full implementation of Sharia law. We have now entered the era of revolutionary Islamism, a more dangerous creed than Nazism and Communism.

  8. Turkey not only has 270 F16's, it is one of only 5 countries allowed to "Produce" the damned things.

    The Syrians, meanwhile, seem to have a handful of old Migs, for which the Russians have quit supplying parts.

    The Israelis went 85 - 0 against the Syrians in their last spat.

    1. According to the NYTimes, Syria hasn't actually "moved" any chemical weapons, yet. They have, supposedly, mixed some Sarin precursors at a couple of their sites.

      Some guy named "Curveball" saw'em doit.

    2. Now, we just need somebody to go to the U.N., and "spin the yarn."

      Hillary said she'd love to, but she's got a campaign to get ready for.

    3. Yesterday you said it was all about oil.

      Some striking beauty was just saying on Fox some town in Syria has just fallen that was a center for chemical weapons storage. So, she says, the rebs may now have chemical weapons too.

      Another man, not nearly so pretty, was saying, when asked if Assad might use chemical weapons, thought basically yes, if he gets isolated and surrounded, which is happening. And, he continued, it is possible Assad may make a break for it to the northwest where his cousins the Aliwites (sp?) are centered, using gas to make his escape.

    4. That's what I thought you said.

      Further, the idea is, that the chemical weapons now possibly in the rebs hands are in the hands of al-Qaeda.

      This is all the working out of the genius of Barky's foreign policy, which some here were giving as a reason to vote for the guy.

    5. Be careful with the Fox News. They haven't been too awfully in touch with reality, lately.

    6. None of the other news services are reporting such a thing.

    7. She was so pretty you just had to believe her.

  9. "Curve Ball" is always a reliable source. Just a little 'behind the curve' usually.

  10. Colonel Hunt is now saying we ought to stay the hell out.

  11. There's no need for US troops in the ME. US foreign policy and money have already done enough mischief.

    The Arab Spring has set in motion a destabilization of the old order at a time when the Islamists can take the advantage. We'll soon see how moderate the Muslim Brotherhood and Erdogan really are.

    This is FUBAR and no one knows what's going to happen.

  12. Syria has WMD, as did Iraq, as DOES Iran.

    The continued murder of tens of thousands of arabs and moslems by arabs and moslems is not our concern,

    Our concern should be the fact that Israelis and Jews take barren hill tops and BUILD homes.

    That is the war crime we should focus on.

  13. Marking abandonment of the last shred of pretense of observing the rule of law, the Nobel Peace Prize winning European Union Foreign Ministers are to meet with the leader of the Syrian insurgency in Brussels on Monday 10th December, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star.

    Mouas al-Khatib, now heading the self-styled Syrian National Coalition: “will attend at least part of the meeting a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief “, confirmed today.

    The Ministers strategy to end the tragedy in Syria is to arm the insurgents, it seems and: “ … to look at ways of loosening an arms embargo in order to help rebel forces, EU diplomats said.”

    Al Khatib, the paper points out, has already visited London and Paris, where the “coalition” has been recognized as the: “sole representative of the Syrian people.”

    EU Foreign Ministers did not endorse full recognition at a meeting on 19th November though considered the “coalition” to be: “legitimate representatives” of the (un-consulted) Syrian people. The “sole representative” is clearly hoping for the jackpot at this gathering.

    Later in the week the EU, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other allies are meeting factions of the insurgency in Marrakesh, Morocco.


  14. {…}In the week the US has designated one of the Syrian groups, the Nusra Front, to its list of “terrorist organizations”, alleging its links to al-Qaeda, the decision would seem to have been made for Clinton also to announce in Morocco, recognition of the al-Khatib collection as fully “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people: “an endorsement Washington hopes will help the group mature in to a transitional government.”

    (“Treason: betrayal of one’s sovereign or country, especially by attempting to overthrow the government. Any treachery or betrayal.” Collins Oxford Dictionary.)

    Last week EU Member States decided to review the embargo on Syria “designed to cut off supplies” to the government, quarterly instead of annually: “to facilitate the supplies of non-lethal equipment to the rebels if necessary.” So “loosening the arms embago” and assistance in illegality in every way, bestowed by the collective Nobel Laureates.

    It has to be wondered, given US concern regarding the Nusra Front’s links with Al Qaeda, whether anyone has read Mouas al-Khatib’s cv. (resume)

    The highly educated fifty two year old, Damascus born al-Khatib is President of the Islamic Civilisation Society, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of Sheikh Badr al-Din al-Hassani Institute for Islamic Studies. A graduate of the Department of Applied Geophysics at Damascus University, he also holds a Diploma in Political Science and International Relations.

    The US Administration will not have missed his impeccable oil industry credentials.

    He worked at Syria’s al-Furat Petroleum Company from 1985-1991. The company was part owned by the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell (Shell Oil.) He maintained contacts with the company.

    On the death of his father in 1992, he inherited his place as preacher at Damacus’s Umayyad Mosque (“The Great Mosque.”) Built in 634, it is custodian of a shrine believed to hold the head of John the Baptist, revered as a Prophet by both Christians and Muslims. However he was banned from preaching in the historic and illustrious place of worship by Bashir al Assad’s father, Hafez.

    Al-Khatib then founded the Islamic Civilisation Society and taught Sharia Law and Islamic studies, in Damascus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Turkey, the UK, USA. He settled in Qatar – now a Syria opposition facilitator in the region.

    Between 2003 and 2004 he returned to Syria as a lobbyist for Shell Oil when Bashir al Assad, having inherited the Presidency from his father in 2000, was opening up the country to oil and gas concessions.

    He then returned again in 2012 to make what many considered inflammatory speeches, was arrested, imprisoned, then pardoned. He again left the country.

    Many of his writings were initially remarkably conciliatory, but then became more and more militant. Now Syria National Coalition Member Mahmoud al-Hamza: “states that the Coalition agreement signed by al-Khatib stipulates that a peaceful settlement will not be pursued.” (i)

    “The formation of the National Coalition ‘rules out any talks with Mr. Assad and stipulates that his regime must be toppled’ is a victory for the war party and spells disaster for Syria and the region.”

    He should have a warm welcome in Europe and North Africa next week. However, Washington would appear to have missed something:

    Mouas al-Khatib was implacably opposed to the Iraq invasion, regarding Western presence to be sacrilegious. Osama bin Laden held the same view. He is widely stated as having aligned himself to Osama bin Laden at the time.

  15. The last line deserves repeating.

    Mouas al-Khatib was implacably opposed to the Iraq invasion, regarding Western presence to be sacrilegious. Osama bin Laden held the same view. He is widely stated as having aligned himself to Osama bin Laden at the time.

  16. Foreign Policy profile of “Islamist in Chief”:,0

  17. Here's a moderate view - one that says we must stay engaged to prevent the wrong parties from taking power.
    Political Islam in Middle East
    Interviewee: Reza Aslan, Adjunct Senior Fellow
    Interviewer: Toni Johnson, Deputy Editor
    December 7, 2012

    The Arab Spring has led to significant political gains for Islamists in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.* CFR's Reza Aslan, an expert in religion and foreign policy, says Islamist parties initially benefited from being the most organized and having a reputation for being incorruptible, but are now faced with the challenges of governing. "[W]hat these Islamists are starting to learn, across the region, is that you can't maintain your incorruptible image while also having political power," he says, noting that the more political power Islamists gain, the more splintered they become. Aslan says the United States should continue to engage in these post-revolutionary states "in order to ward off the possibility that greater conflict and instability will allow the religious groups to take full control."

  18. Opening up to Islamists

    A prerequisite for America's "opening up" would be Washington's relinquishing of any support of freedom and democracy in Iran, Egypt, Iraq and other countries. Any tangible support for the spreading of these principles, save for lip service and the annual human rights reports from the Department of State, would be seen as a deal breaker for the Islamists.

    The Islamists would then get a free hand to tighten their grip on power. The Iranian state will continue basking in its self-bestowed divinity, forcing women to cover their heads and men to grow their beards, censoring the press, destroying art, killing homosexuals, and prohibiting alcohol. By opening up to Islamists, America would be throwing every non-Islamist in the Middle East under the bus.


  19. in the interim the U.S. Government is not increasing pressure but apparently moving to extend the waiver of sanctions not only to Turkey, but also to a total of 21 countries, a list that includes China, India and South Korea.

    Two officials said an announcement of the six-month extensions was expected from the State Department on Friday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the step.

    In addition to China, India and South Korea, the waivers will apply to Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. All nine were originally granted six-month renewable exemptions from the sanctions in June.

    The exemption means that banks and other financial institutions based in those places will not be hit with penalties under U.S. law enacted as a way of pressuring Iran to come clean about its nuclear program.

    A total of 20 countries and Taiwan have been granted the waivers. The others—Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Japan—will come up for review in March.

    Yet Turkey, which gets some 20% of its natural gas from Iran, taking roughly 90% of Iran’s natural gas exports is resisting pressure to lower its gas purchases, since the fuel is the primary source for most Turkish electricity. And further, with estimates of Turkish needs estimated as rising to 655 kbd by 2016, the ability of the country to sustain an adequate supply of power supply may become more difficult without reliance on Iran.

    Turkey, for example, which is caught up in dealing with Syrian refugees and the adjacent civil war is also largely dependent on Iranian fuel to get it through the winter. In October Turkey is reported to have imported 75 kbd of Iranian oil with larger portions of the total 417 kbd import coming from Iraq (105 kbd) and Russia (103 kbd). The volumes that continue to flow are now becoming a source of friction, since

    Nope, jest cain't figure it out

  20. Hugely important article:

    Even then, changes in the global economy were coming into focus that made this more than just an exercise—changes that have continued to this day.
    • Oil prices are three times what they were in 2000, making cargo-ship fuel much more expensive now than it was then.
    • The natural-gas boom in the U.S. has dramatically lowered the cost for running something as energy-intensive as a factory here at home. (Natural gas now costs four times as much in Asia as it does in the U.S.)
    • In dollars, wages in China are some five times what they were in 2000—and they are expected to keep rising 18 percent a year.
    • American unions are changing their priorities. Appliance Park’s union was so fractious in the ’70s and ’80s that the place was known as “Strike City.” That same union agreed to a two-tier wage scale in 2005—and today, 70 percent of the jobs there are on the lower tier, which starts at just over $13.50 an hour, almost $8 less than what the starting wage used to be.
    • U.S. labor productivity has continued its long march upward, meaning that labor costs have become a smaller and smaller proportion of the total cost of finished goods. You simply can’t save much money chasing wages anymore.

    So much has changed that GE executives came to believe the GeoSpring could be made profitably at Appliance Park without increasing the price of the water heater. “First we said, ‘Let’s just bring it back here and build the exact same thing,’ ” says Kevin Nolan, the vice president of technology for GE Appliances.

    But a problem soon became apparent. GE hadn’t made a water heater in the United States in decades. In all the recent years the company had been tucking water heaters into American garages and basements, it had lost track of how to actually make them.

    The GeoSpring in particular, Nolan says, has “a lot of copper tubing in the top.” Assembly-line workers “have to route the tubes, and they have to braze them—weld them—to seal the joints. How that tubing is designed really affects how hard or easy it is to solder the joints. And how hard or easy it is to do the soldering affects the quality, of course. And the quality of those welds is literally the quality of the hot-water heater.” Although the GeoSpring had been conceived, designed, marketed, and managed from Louisville, it was made in China, and, Nolan says, “We really had zero communications into the assembly line there.”

    To get ready to make the GeoSpring at Appliance Park, in January 2010 GE set up a space on the factory floor of Building 2 to design the new assembly line. No products had been manufactured in Building 2 since 1998. An old GE range assembly line still stood there; after a feud with union workers, that line had been shut down so abruptly that the GeoSpring team found finished oven doors still hanging from conveyors 30 feet overhead. The GeoSpring project had a more collegial tone. The “big room” had design engineers assigned to it, but also manufacturing engineers, line workers, staff from marketing and sales—no management-labor friction, just a group of people with different perspectives, tackling a crucial problem.

    1. “We got the water heater into the room, and the first thing [the group] said to us was ‘This is just a mess,’ ” Nolan recalls. Not the product, but the design. “In terms of manufacturability, it was terrible.”

      The GeoSpring suffered from an advanced-technology version of “IKEA Syndrome.” It was so hard to assemble that no one in the big room wanted to make it. Instead they redesigned it. The team eliminated 1 out of every 5 parts. It cut the cost of the materials by 25 percent. It eliminated the tangle of tubing that couldn’t be easily welded. By considering the workers who would have to put the water heater together—in fact, by having those workers right at the table, looking at the design as it was drawn—the team cut the work hours necessary to assemble the water heater from 10 hours in China to two hours in Louisville.

      In the end, says Nolan, not one part was the same.

      So a funny thing happened to the GeoSpring on the way from the cheap Chinese factory to the expensive Kentucky factory: The material cost went down. The labor required to make it went down. The quality went up. Even the energy efficiency went up.

      GE wasn’t just able to hold the retail sticker to the “China price.” It beat that price by nearly 20 percent. The China-made GeoSpring retailed for $1,599. The Louisville-made GeoSpring retails for $1,299.

      Time-to-market has also improved, greatly. It used to take five weeks to get the GeoSpring water heaters from the factory to U.S. retailers—four weeks on the boat from China and one week dockside to clear customs. Today, the water heaters—and the dishwashers and refrigerators—move straight from the manufacturing buildings to Appliance Park’s warehouse out back, from which they can be delivered to Lowe’s and Home Depot. Total time from factory to warehouse: 30 minutes.

    2. The Insourcing Boom

      I was hoping something like this might be coming. Maybe it is.

    3. I mistakenly linked to the Second Page. Here's the Beginning of the article:

      First Page

    4. NOW, we need to do 3 things:

      1) Get the Corporate Tax Rate Down to a reasonable level (I'd prefer 10%, but would settle for 20%.)

      2) Pass a nice little Tax Credit for companies "Bringing Jobs Home," and

      3) Aggressively going after Chinese "subsidized" Imports with punitive tariffs.

      Eh, make that 4) Build 3,000 Ethanol Refineries. :)

    5. 5) Get rid of that tax on the passage of time, the capital gains tax on real estate.

    6. Income from labor and capital should be taxed at the same rates.
      The Federals should not be using the tax code for social engineering purposes.
      Should not be picking 'Winners' for US taxpayers to flock to.

      Why someone's time at labor should be taxed at a higher rate than capital, boobie has never managed to explain.
      Taxes on wages earned at labor are a ...

      'TAX on Time', too.

  21. I had a Chinese made waterheater. It was really, really crappy. If they're selling them for twenty-five dollars, I would tell you not to waste your money on a State waterheater.


  22. Opinion » Columnists
    Obama's Soviet Mistake

    By Xavier Lerma

    Obama's Soviet Mistake. 48555.jpeg

    Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

    After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.

    Pravda - your source of reliable news.

  23. What next, Culinary tips from Idi Amin?

    Good Lord!

  24. Demographic Trends:

    “The marriage competition is fierce, and statistically, women hold the cards. Given the nation’s gender imbalance, an outgrowth of a cultural preference for boys and China’s stringent family-planning policies, as many as 24 million men could be perpetual bachelors by 2020, according to the report.”

    And this:

    Abstract: The fraction of U.S. college graduate women who ever marry has increased relative to less educated women since the mid-1970s. In contrast, college graduate women in developed Asian countries have had decreased rates of marriage, so much so that the term “Gold Misses” has been coined to describe them. This paper argues that the interaction of rapid economic growth in Asia combined with the intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes causes the “Gold Miss” phenomenon. Economic growth has increased the supply of college graduate women, but men’s preference for their wives’ household services has diminished less rapidly and is slowed by women’s role in their mothers’ generation. Using a dynamic model, I show that a large positive wage shock produces a greater mismatch between educated women and men in the marriage market than would gradual wage growth. I test the implications of the model using three data sets: the Japanese General Social Survey, the American Time Use Survey, and the U.S. Census and American Community Survey. Using the Japanese data, I find a positive relationship between a mother’s education (and employment) and her son’s gender attitudes. In the U.S., time spent on household chores among Asian women is inversely related to the female labor force participation rate in husband’s country of origin. Lastly, college graduate Korean and Japanese women in the U.S. have greater options in the marriage market. They are more likely to marry Americans than Korean and Japanese men do, and this gender gap is larger among the foreign born than the U.S. born.

    I'm not sure what that last one means but I don't see a good future for the institution of marriage, which is ironic, after all the gay marriage brouhaha, emphasis on the "haha."

    1. Translation:

      Only men would be surprised

      That if women got more education

      They wouldn’t want to marry them.

      Maybe we need better men.

      Or as we wore on our T-shirts in the 60's:

      "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." (Steinem, I think. Sounds like her.)

    2. My takeaway: Educated Asian women seem to prefer American men.

    3. "...the increase in Gold Misses is less severe when the fraction of “less traditional” men in the marriage market is larger. In contrast to Korea and Japan, I find that college graduate Korean and Japanese women in the U.S. are as likely to be married as the noncollege graduates."

      Educated, young women do not want a neanderthal for a spouse. But then, who does?

    4. What all these women are really looking for is someone adorable, steamy and seething. Alas, all the good ASSers are picked off early, leaving only a motley assortment of farmers, ranchers, herders, lawyers and wolf shooters as the left overs.

    5. And various down and out 'magicians' from Detroit.

    6. And a few Mississippihicker moonshiners as the dregs.

    7. Just salting the stew. Didn't get much of a response.

      Which is good. Gender issues on conservative sites tend to elicit a deluge of misogyny - or, on rare occasions, misandry, or even more rare, misanthropy.

      Education makes all of us try harder.

      I cannot get that phrase out of my mind - "low information content voter."

      I used to think medicine was the next frontier. It might be education. (ref why the wealthy Chinese are emigrating here previous thread.) ME notwithstanding, I don't think it will be war. But I am nearly always wrong.


    Bunny snuff video: Syrian rebels have chemical weapons too
    posted at 3:31 pm on December 9, 2012 by J.E. Dyer

    After apparently setting off the chemical agent in a glass box containing the hapless rabbits, the speaker in the video issues this warning (translation cited at Breitbart):

    You saw what happened? This will be your fate, you infidel Alawites, I swear by ALLAH to make you die like these rabbits, one minute only after you inhale the gas.

    Breitbart speculates that the chemical used on the rabbits is a nerve gas, due to its observable effects. That’s a good guess. The close-ups early in the video, of potassium chlorate and sodium nitrite containers, show explosive agents that could be used to disperse the toxic chemical. This latter is actually interesting, as it seems to suggest that the rebels or their terrorist compadres have the capability to build their own chemical weapons.

    They may not have to do that, however. In the back-and-forth battles across Syria over the last year, it’s not impossible that the rebels have gotten hold of weapons from Assad’s own stash. They could also have weapons from Saddam’s Iraq that didn’t go to Syria before the 2003 invasion, but were taken by terrorists afterward, on an opportune basis. (In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, there were numerous reports of chemical agents and weapons turning up fields and barns around central Iraq. The likelihood of these items getting directly into terrorist hands is high.)

    Is it wrong to hope the fighting continues? I really don’t want either side to win.

    rbj on December 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

  26. End times -

    The Obama Watch
    Planting the Seeds of His Own Demise

    By Peter Ferrara on 12.5.12 @ 6:10AM

    The conservative comeback begins now -- on the assumption that a majority of Americans will not welcome a second Great Depression.

    Stop that cringing! I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it's not pretty for today's neo-Marxist Democrat party.

    The man you see before you as your President today bears a striking resemblance to the main character in a Greek tragedy. He so reeks of hubris. Every word that drops from his lips speaks a haughty derision of the lesser beings not benighted to be a cog in his political machine. All witness Obama the Magnificent, the conqueror of America, which was the world hyperpower, but is now the Sick Man of the 21st Century, en route to terminal illness.

    Nice long cheery article from The American Spectator ending with our own demise.

  27. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House Sunday for budget talks, the first face-to-face meeting between the two men in weeks as both sides attempted to speed up negotiations heading into a crucial period.

    "This afternoon, the President and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff," both sides said in identical written statements. Aides declined to provide details, but the statement added, "The lines of communication remain open."


  28. Green Room (HotAir)

    73 percent of new jobs created in last five months are bureaucratic
    posted at 9:00 am on December 8, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

    Hey, I’ve got a neat idea — why don’t we just keep growing the government, until we all can have government jobs? That can work, right?

    Seventy-three percent of the new civilian jobs created in the United States over the last five months are in government, according to official data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. …

    In the same five-month period since June, the number of people employed by government increased by 621,000 to 20,559,000. These 621,000 new government jobs created in the last five months equal 73.3 percent of the 847,000 new jobs created overall.

    1. The teachers went back to the classroom, dumbshit. "Guvmint" actually shed 1,000 jobs in Nov.

      Haven't you caught on by now that they, from time to time, post NON-SEASONALLY ADJUSTED Numbers to get the idiot Idaho alfalfa farmrs all excited?

    2. Another of their tricks is to assume that their typical dumbshit republican semi-reader doesn't understand that some months the gummint runs large deficits, some months, small deficits, and some months, surpluses.

      So, they pick out a particular high-deficit month, and throw up a headline like "GOVERNMENT BORROWING 46% OF DOLLARS SPENT."

      Knowing full well that their viewership (oftentimes their clientele are more "viewer" than "reader" orinted) doesn't have the sense, or the desire to go get the real numbers.

    3. Dumbshit!

      I'd continue but my wife is waiting in the car.

    4. A simple "Thank You" will suffice.

    5. Ag Report -

      The new numbers mean that an estimated one in 6.5 people in America were on food stamps in September.

      In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.

      Read more:

      As the economy improves --

      A simple "Thank You" will suffice, Rufus, for this information.

      From the Ag Department.

  29. blackelkspeaks

    I found myself literally laughing out loud as I read this article. I laughed at the criminal stupidity of Judge Gerber who disastrously ruled in favor of the GM bailout by circumventing 230 years of bankruptcy law, yet now finding out he was bamboozled and trying to walk this fiasco back, which is impossible given the incredible harm that has now ensued in the process, particularly the destruction of the rule of law, which has itself become a joke. I laughed at the imbecility of the people of Michigan who think that voting for RTW is going to be enough to help them recover what they've lost and will continue to lose after voting for the monster Hussein and the Marxocrats a mere three weeks ago. Then I laughed at the writers suggestion to rename Detroit to "Gramsci Park", which I might have found ludicrous not so long ago, but not today. It would actually be totally apropos. I laughed especially hard when I read Brodsky's comments about what makes for a successful democracy, because I realized that every trait needed was once in place here in the US but has now been lost to us during the era of the tyrant Hussein and the rise of the Marxocrat minority-majority. I mean the part that said, "...a vibrant society, state institutions, a strong middle class, respect for the rule of law, concepts of individual liberty, and an independent judiciary." We have now devolved into the model of a third-world hellhole and have lost our 230 year old Constitutional Republic, perhaps forever. Finally, I laughed bitterly when I considered the comments about the collapse of the Middle East, given the titanic amount of blood and treasure the US has squandered in that god-forsaken dung heap, before and after 9/11/01, to absolutely no good end. I laughed a lot reading this article, but it sure wasn't funny.

    1. Standing+Wolf

      So the only question that remains is Obama, Hillary and the radical Czars that ignorant of history and politics, or are they totalitarians implementing Sharia or its equivalent. I think that the answer is obvious.

      I don't often disagree with you, VonMisesJr, and in fact, I'm not sure I disagree at the moment; I merely have a hunch there's a third possibility to be considered.

      Profoundly ignorant?
      Could President You Didn't Build That, that Clinton woman, and the rest of the foreign policy "experts" be profoundly ignorant of history? They're not only profoundly ignorant, but deliberately and proudly so, yet is that the full explanation? I doubt it.

      Do they mean to inflict sharia or some equivalent on America? Yes and no. YDBT is at least an Islamic sympathizer and perhaps a Muslim; the rest of the "progressive" oligarchy, however, is thoroughly anti-religious, and surely wouldn't care to submit to sharia. I could make a case for saying sharia is a form of repression intrinsically no different from communist, socialist, fascist, and assorted other forms of repression, though I suspect that would beg the question.

      An old adage
      I think a large part of the most plausible explanation is the "progressive" oligarchy has fallen for one version or another of the old Arabic adage: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." In short, our political masters believe whatever harms America advances their fundamentally anti-constitutional, anti-capitalist, anti-moral, anti-American cause.

      How much sense does it make to buddy up with a nest of rattlesnakes? Not much, I think, but how sensible is oligarchy in the famous first place? How sensible, ultimately, is it to hate America, Americans, and the American way?

      On cozy terms
      Specifically, it seems not merely apparent, but self-evident the YDBT regime is on cozy terms with various Islamic jihad players and organizations: dictator Morsi in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, (one of whose highest members, Huma Abedin, doubles as the personal assistant to that Clinton woman,) anti-Gadafi guerrillas in Libya, Assad opponents in Syria, et alia. The oligarchy has gutted U.S. military orders and efforts in Afghanistan, helped high officers make public fools of themselves, and turned U.S. intelligence agencies into scapegoats. Do I even need to mention treating Israel as an enemy rather than one of our nation's few friends abroad?

    2. Much of the YDBT foreign agenda would be wholly unacceptable to the citizenry, so it's being kept out of sight—or at least, the oligarchs are trying to keep it out of sight and out of mind. The former main stream "news" media are playing their assigned role for all they're worth: energetically, albeit somewhat less than fully effectively.

      Why, I've wondered once or twice, would the oligarchy let itself get bogged down in sneaky arms deals with jihad groups and the Middle East in general? Isn't there a greater risk of incurring damage than potential reward in choosing sides and playing dirty politics in that nastiest corner of the world?

      The rest of the explanation
      "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" explains part of it; I believe the rest of the explanation is both extremely simple and extremely loathsome: Jew hatred. I think the desire to punish Israel and Jews in general is exactly like the desire to punish capitalists and capitalism with demagoguery and tax increases and vastly extended regulation: an oligarchic first principle. We're not talking about diplomacy, but base, crude, age-old hatred.

      If you look at the Fast & Furious conspiracy at all closely, it's obvious it was based in large measure on hatred of the Second Amendment and citizens who dare assert the right to keep and bear arms. If you look at YDBT's economic policies, it's clear he's at once adamantly determined to harm "the rich" and utterly indifferent to any and all consequences of his policies for the nation. At every turn, his foreign policies have insulted and weakened America and advanced the cause of Islamic jihad, as well as turned a blind eye to Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. In each instance, we're looking at hatred in action.

      Evil versus stupidity
      Never ascribe to evil that which can be explained by stupidity? No. Sorry, friends, but stupidity didn't eviscerate our constitutional republic in all but name and replace it with a "progressive" oligarchy, nor has mere stupidity made a bitter mockery of the primacy of law, nor has stupidity made skin color the litmus test of domestic policy, nor has plain old-fashioned stupidity gone to bed with the worst of the worst in the Middle East and turned on Israel, nor has economic ignorance deepened and prolonged the depression—yes, I said "depression," not the more popular "depression"—nor does stupidity in any way, shape, or form explain the "progressive" oligarchy's eagerness to risk serious economic disruption by playing childish political games at the top of the oft-cited "fiscal cliff."

      Blind hatred
      Ultimately, I believe, the hatreds that have motivated the "progressives" a century and longer and driven them to such frenzies of destruction will prove the undoing of both them and the oligarchy they've cobbled together. It's not called blind hatred for nothing.

    3. These Native American guys always make good sense.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Meanwhile, support for Assad using chemicals weapons grows among our people -

    December 9, 2012
    Syrian government divided on use of chemical weapons against rebels
    Rick Moran

    See comment section.

    If this speculation is right, that Iran is urging Assad to use those chemical weapons to gas the folks, just maybe it might stir some to reconsider their firm belief that Iran can be deterred and will be totally responsible with their new found nuclear toys.

  32. The question we should be asking is "WHY are all those 'Working' people qualifying for food stamps?"

    Will we ever again get to the point that wages of the working poor will be sufficient to pay for rent, utilities, medical care, and food?

    1. In that excellent Atlantic article that I linked the point was made that, although the jobs were coming home, the work that previously had required 10 People making $21.00/hr

      now required 3 People making $13.50/hr.

    2. Doris, I think that THIS is the "Question of our Time."

    3. The jobs that had, previously, put you squarely in the Middle Class, now, trap you in "the working poor."

    4. I actually agree with you about that. Though the definition of poor keeps rising.

    5. So, here's the deal, you can't raise taxes too much on the Corporations, or they just move the jobs offshore.

      And, you're left with the 9 Waltons owning a larger percent of the Gross National Net Worth than the Bottom 150 Million.

    6. So, where, oh, where, do we get the money to run this railroad?

      You can't get it from the Corps; and the poor don't have it.

      And, that, Bob, is why your Capital Gains, and Dividend Taxes Will NOT be going down.

    7. No dividends here. No Casino Cash either.

  33. "God must love the poor. He creates enough of them."

    Either Lincoln or Whitman, can't recall.

  34. Ol "Ambrosia" is about to throw in the towel on Europe.

    Like the generals of the First World War, Europe’s leaders seem determined to send wave after wave of their youth into the barbed wire of tight money, bank deleveraging, and fiscal austerity a l’outrance.

    The Telegraph

  35. We were half-way up to the great German fort at Syreneset when Tore turned to me and suggested that Muslim fundamentalism thrived because of the failure of education in parts of the Arab world.

    I didn’t agree. Weren’t some of the killers of 11 September 2001 rather well educated?


    Tore Mydland, a retired Norwegian bank manager, thought about this. He believed that young men taught in mosques believed everything they were told.

    Teaching The Modern World

  36. How much longer before that 3 employees become One Employee?

    1. Or, what had been 100 employees, and is now 30 employees become One Employee?

    2. It IS coming, kiddos. You know it, and I know it.

      The only question is: "how long?"

    3. Remember what Bill Gates said?

      "We overestimate the change of the next 2 years, and we Underestimate the change of the Next 10."

  37. .

    How on earth did we get here? As every sane political leader knows by now, this is not just a temporary emergency created by a bizarre fit of reckless lending: the crash of 2008 simply blew the lid off the real scandal of western economic governance. Having won the Cold War and succeeded in settling the great ideological argument of the 20th century in favour of free-market economics, the nations of the West managed to bankrupt themselves by insisting that they could fund a lukewarm form of socialism with the proceeds of capitalism...



  38. .

    Traditionally, U.S. labor markets have featured enormous turnover: Workers voluntarily leave jobs or are fired. Job changes vastly exceed net job creation, as hires often fill slots that someone else just left. On the whole, this has been a good thing, argues a new study. Workers can often find a better-paying job. But this "churning," as the study calls it, is abating. Because employers are creating fewer net new jobs, workers won't give up the ones they've got. As the labor market freezes up, the young lose bargaining power.

    "Because job change accounts for a substantial portion of earnings growth, especially for younger workers, this decrease in churning reflects a decrease in workers' opportunities for [higher wages]," write the study's authors, economists John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Henry Hyatt, Erika McEntarfer and Liliana Sousa of the Census Bureau.

    The glut of job seekers depresses wages in a second way, argues the study. New firms -- which create a disproportionate share of new jobs -- don't have to pay as much to hire. In 2001, workers at firms 10 years old or less earned 85 percent as much as workers at older firms. By 2011, they were paid only 70 percent as much. And these newer firms matter. From 1998 to 2011, they created 40 percent of net new jobs despite representing only 25 percent of total employment.

    It's usually a mistake to generalize about entire generations. The bad luck and bad timing of today's 20-somethings may pass. Birth rates could bounce back. "In the past, women who have postponed births make up for it later," says Pew's D'Vera Cohn. The economic recovery may strengthen; the retirement of baby boomers will create new job openings; and surveys indicate the young remain optimistic despite setbacks.

    So the economic escalator may again accelerate. Still, the question nags: Could this become a lost generation?

    National Birthrate Drops Due to Weak Economy


  39. Excellent article.

    Yes, you've turned pure loon, Rufus.

    Next, I expect you to start posting the speeches of van Jones.

    Gave a ripper at Berkeley the other day. Calling for bodies piled high in the streets.

    1. The most difficult thing for the slower-witted to comprehend, Bob, is the Exponential Function.

    2. Tell it to the bankruptcy judge.

    3. I'd like to see a link to that "bodies piled high in the streets" speech.

      I've never read, or listened to any of his dissertations, but that one I'd like to see.

    4. GE goes bankrupt when no one has a job (and, thus, no one can afford to buy their products.)

      It's the greatest republican "blind-spot."

    5. I listened to it last night on Fox, parts of it. Tried to find it on utube, but wasn't there yet.

    6. Edited by Fox?

      I'll wait for the video. :)

  40. China is in the 'bargain bazaar'. That's us.

    Largest ever acquisition 'to be submitted for national security review'...
    Own $7 Billion in U.S. Housing Market...
    Buy up Obama's solar darling...



    That 'solar darling' is A123. Another Obama bungle.

    Not buying the defense part of it, though. Yet, anyway.

  41. .

    Now, however, Snyder, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, has created a police-and-firefighter carve out. The reason is purely political—in Michigan, as in Wisconsin, the police and firefighter unions often support Republicans for state and local office, and Republicans want to make sure that they’ll continue to do so with undiminished clout. The carve-out, said Michigan House Democratic leader Tim Greimel, “makes it very clear that this is not about sound economic policy. It’s motivated by a desire to punish supporters of the Democratic Party.”

    Like I've said on more than one occasion. They are all dicks.

    It Appears Michigan is Poised to Become a Right-To-Work-State

    I agree this is all politics. However, in this case, it was pretty much brought on by the unions, primarily the public-sector unions.

    Right-to-work has been a wet dream of some in the legislature here since the GOP took over both houses. Rick Snyder (R Gov) has tried to avoid the issue stating it wasn't on his agenda and that Michigan isn't Wisconsin.

    However, this year the public-sector unions tried to push through a resolution that would have changed the constitution and would have voided existing and future laws restricting workers' ability to organize unions, or to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions. But it still would have permitted lawmakers to pass legislation prohibiting public employees from striking. The measure would have also overridden state laws regulating hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflicted with collective bargaining agreements. And it would have pre-empted any right-to-work laws.

    When the proposal got shot down, the GOP as is their wont misread the intent of the public and assumed an anti-labor mandate. The right-to-work legislation is the result.


  42. I wonder how a "battery" company all of a sudden is a "solar" company? Magic?

    I guess it's not completely worthless, though; the Chinese are paying, what?, $270 Million, or so?

    1. Maybe that is why it went under. They didn't know what they were doing.


    2. Probably trying to power solar panels with batteries. After all, everything Barky does is ass backward.

  43. Replies
    1. Yeah, but under Bush?

      Does the phrase "Calamity" ring a bell.

      "Unmitigated Disaster?"


    2. .


      Gee, wasn't he president something like four years ago?

      You are to old to be living in the past, Ruf.


    3. Time sense is the first thing to go.

  44. Quirk is on fire tonight, all we need do is listen carefully, and read with skill -

    Friday's "Employment Situation" report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that 5.4 million Americans have dropped out of the labor force since Barack Obama took office. The labor force declined by 350,000 in November, despite an increase of 191,000 in our working age population.

    The unprecedented decline of labor force participation under President Obama is not news. However, it also appears that millions of brain cells have dropped out of the mental labor force of America's economic analysts. How else can we account for headlines like these?

    "Jobs report: A pleasant surprise" (Jared Bernstein)

    "The employment emergency is over" (Felix Salmon)

    "Fiscal cliff? What fiscal cliff? No evidence in jobs numbers" (Stephen Gandel)

    "All in all, not a bad report" (Rufus II)

    In case anyone didn't notice, the BLS jobs report was terrible. Unemployment didn't go down in November (from 7.9% to 7.7%) as the BLS reported, it actually went up. The true unemployment rate, calculated at the labor force participation rate that existed when Bush 43 left office (65.8%), increased from 10.7% to 10.8%. This put the true unemployment rate 1.3 percentage points higher than when Obama's so-called "economic recovery" began, almost 3.5 years ago.

    1. Read with "skill," eh? Okay. Tell me how the "labor force" is calculated. Wha's at you say? You really don' know?

      Well, let me hep ye. You don't drop out of the labor force when you turn 65. The "Labor force" is all non-institutionalized adults over the age of 16. Now, refigure.

    2. Now, tell me how many people retired in the last 4 years.

    3. Here, read the actual report; don't just take some bozo's word for it.

      BLS Report

  45. This is "what's ridiculous."

    Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.

    By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 2011.

    So, who pays?

    Hint: it ain't mitt.

    1. Do Indian tribes pay taxes?

      Indian tribal businesses do pay a wide variety of taxes, including taxes on wagering, occupational taxes, and employment taxes. For federal income tax purposes, however, Indian tribes are governmental entities and, as such, are not required to pay taxes on the income generated by the Indian tribes, including income generated by commercial activities.

  46. I misheard that van Jones quote, Rufus. It's the republicans want the bodies piled up. On the beach, not the streets. Was pretty tired and lying in bed at the time.

    Anyway, it seems I'm a treasonous son of a bitch and an asshole.

  47. December 10, 2012
    Government borrows 46 cents for every dollar we spend
    K.E. Campbell

    For all the hubbub about an impending "fiscal cliff," at the current federal spending and borrowing levels we have already gone over the cliff and are free-falling. The only questions are when and how hard we will land. Some will say it doesn't feel that way. Maybe so, but as the old saying goes it's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop. We are in what Peter Schiff and others have correctly described as a "government bubble." And bubbles pop.

  48. Syrian rebels: Christians can only live in post-Assad Syria if they pay the jizya
    Dec 09, 2012 05:32 pm | Robert

    "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel...

    Syria: Rebels confiscating Christian properties, desecrating Christian symbols
    Dec 09, 2012 07:08 pm | Robert

    But don't be concerned. They're not Islamic supremacists. They're secular freedom fighters. All the learned analysts say so. "ASIA/SYRIA - Appeal of the Assyrian Christians in the Syrian opposition: 'Stop Salafi groups," from Agenzia Fides, December 7 (thanks to The Religion of Peace): Hassaké (Agenzia Fides) - It is urgent...

    I can understand why some people back Assad. I am beginning to myself.

  49. .

    Now, tell me how many people retired in the last 4 years.

    Gee, I don't know. Why don't you look it up and get back to us.

    And while you are at it why don't you check on how many of those where 'forced' to retire because of buyouts and downsizing programs where they had little choice.

    Also, let us know how many young people entered the working-age group during that period.