“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."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Did we just kill a kid?': The moment drone operator who assassinated Afghans with the push of a button on a computer in the U.S. realized he had vaporized a child... and could not go on

A former U.S. drone operator has opened up about the toll of killing scores of innocent people by pressing a button from a control room in New Mexico.

Brandon Bryant, 27, from Missoula, Montana, spent six years in the Air Force operating Predator drones from inside a dark container.

But, after following orders to shoot and kill a child in Afghanistan, he knew he couldn’t keep doing what he was doing and quit the military. 

The first time he fired a missile, he killed two men instantly and cried on his way home.
'I felt disconnected from humanity for almost a week,' he said.

But it was an incident when a Predator drone was circling above a flat-roofed house made of mud in Afghanistan, more than 6,250 miles away, that really sticks in his mind.

Horrific: 'I saw men, women and children die,' said Brandon Bryant, pictured
The hut had a shed used to hold goats and when he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser.
The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact.
'These moments are like in slow motion,' he told the website. 

As the countdown reached seven seconds, there was no sign of anyone on the ground. 
Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. 
But when it was down to three seconds, a child suddenly walked around the corner.
The next thing he saw was a flash on the screen - the explosion. The building collapsed, and the child disappeared. 

Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach, he told the website.
'Did we just kill a kid?' he asked the pilot next to him.
'Yeah, I guess that was a kid,' the man replied.


The Reaper Presidency: Obama’s 300th drone strike in Pakistan
Please support our work - share this article: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

A US drone strike in Shin Warsak, South Waziristan on December 1 2012 marked the 300th drone strike in Pakistan of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to Bureau research.
The attack was the second since President Obama’s re-election on November 6. It reportedly killed Abdul Rehman al-Zaman Yemeni, described as an al Qaeda commander, along with up to three others.
Although the pace of strikes has slowed considerably this year, CIA attacks have struck Pakistan’s tribal areas on average once every five days during Obama’s first term – six times more than under George W Bush. Here, we look at the key moments of Obama’s drone campaign.
When Barack Obama entered the White House on January 20 2009, his national security team was already planning a massive increase in drone strikes. On the campaign trail Obama mentioned taking the war to Pakistan in over 30 speeches.
Obama’s drone campaign started three days into his presidency. But of the 12 – 23 reportedly killed in the pair of strikes, at least 12 were reportedly civilians, including four children. When the president was told of the civilian deaths he was ‘not a happy man’, Newsweek later reported. But this didn’t prevent the CIA from launching more covert strikes in the first year of Obama’s presidency than in all of Bush’s eight-year tenure.
Throughout the spring and summer, drones hunted the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and its leader Baitullah Mehsud, as the TTP carried out terrorist attacks on Pakistani targets and briefly formed an alliance with the Afghan Taliban at the request of al Qaeda. The CIA eventually killed Baitullah Mehsud – and his wife – on August 5.
Some strikes appeared to adopt shocking tactics, including two incidents where missiles hit funerals

As Pakistan’s government prepared to send troops into South Waziristan to flush out the TTP in October, drones focused on the Haqqani Network, which was attacking US and Nato troops over the border in Afghanistan.
Strikes killed al Qaeda commanders including planners Abu Sulayman al-Jazairi and Said al-Somali, explosives expert Abu Musa al-Masri, and commanders Abdullah Said al Libi and Zuhaib al-Zahibi.
But these scalps came at a cost: at least 119 civilians were reportedly killed between Obama’s inauguration and the year’s end. And some strikes appeared to adopt shocking tactics, including two incidents where missiles hit funerals. The second such strike, reportedly killing at least five, occurred eight days after Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
On December 30, a Jordanian triple agent Humam Khalil al-Balawi blew himself up in a CIA drone base at Khost, Afghanistan, killing seven CIA agents in the worst attack on the agency in almost 30 years. In a video released shortly afterwards, the bomber appeared with Hakimullah Mehsud, claiming the attack was in revenge for Baitullah Mehsud’s death.
The CIA responded to the Khost bombing with a furious spate of drone attacks, launching 13 reported strikes in the following month and maintaining a similar pace through February and March. Although the 31 strikes launched between January and March killed a number of named militants, one in three reportedly killed civilians.
On May 1 2010, Pakistani-US citizen Faisal Shahzad attempted to blow up a car in Times Square, New York. Intelligence sources quickly linked Shahzad to North Waziristan, making this the first terrorism attempt on US soil of Pakistan’s homegrown Taliban.
The sheer frequency of the bombings brought growing attention to the CIA’s campaign, and in June the UN’s expert on extrajudicial killings, Phillip Alston, called on the CIA to halt the strikes. The drone programme was a ‘strongly asserted but ill-defined licence to kill without accountability’, he said.
Bismullah’s three surviving children. (Photo: Noor Behram/Reprieve)
On August 23, missiles destroyed the Danda Darpakhel home of Bismullah, reportedly killing 20, of whom 10 were said to be civilians and three were children.
Officials anonymously claimed this strike led to a policy turnaround dictating civilians must not be harmed. Yet the Bureau has identified 25 strikes before the end of the year where the reporting suggests civilians died.
The autumn saw a furious acceleration of strikes in North Waziristan, as drones reportedly hunted militants allegedly plotting Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.
The increasing use of drones led to mounting resentment among civilians in the tribal regions – and tensions increased further in December, when the Islamabad CIA station chief, Jonathan Banks, was forced to leave the country after his cover was blown in a civil law suit brought by drone victim Karim Khan.
But strikes hammered down on Waziristan unabated: in total, 2010 saw an average of one strike every three days, making this by far the most intense year of strikes.
Initially it appeared strikes would continue at 2010′s furious pace – but broader events soon had a pronounced effect on the drone campaign.
In late January, US citizen Raymond Davis was arrested for shooting two men dead in Lahore. Davis was quickly revealed to be a CIA agent, adding a new dimension to the delicate US-Pakistan relationship. Drone strikes abruptly slowed – although they gradually picked up again as the US edged towards persuading Pakistan to release Davis in exchange for payments of $2m to the families of the dead.
Yet the relationship immediately plunged into a fresh crisis: the day after Davis’ release in March, a catastrophic strike hit a gathering of locals who had met to resolve a chromite mining dispute. Over 30 civilians were reportedly killed, including many tribal elders, and more were injured. The strike provoked instant outrage in Pakistan, with the Pakistan army’s chief of staff calling it a ‘senseless attack‘.
The drone strikes stopped for almost a month, and April saw just two strikes – the lowest number since the earliest days of Obama’s presidency.

And the relationship would plunge still lower: on the near-moonless night of May 1, three US helicopters crossed from Afghanistan, pressing far beyond the tribal regions into the Pakistani heartland. The US had tracked its public enemy number 1 to a compound in Abbottabad, 30-odd miles from the capital. Within hours, Osama bin Laden was dead.
Pakistan’s government was furious the US had not alerted it to the raid – while in the US many were outraged that the world’s most-wanted terrorist was sheltering in Pakistan’s suburbia.
But the CIA stepped up bombing, and in June Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, underlined the importance of ‘surgical’ targeted killings such as drone strikes in the US’s strategy for asymmetric wars. Not a single civilian had been killed in a drone strike since August the previous year, he claimed.
Drones were an increasingly contentious issue in a relationship that was stretched to breaking point
The following month the Bureau released data identifying 10 strikes that appeared to show civilians had been killed. The same month, legal charity Reprieve published a series of photos of drone strike victims taken by Noor Behram, a local photographer. The Bureau then released its full dataset, showing that the drone campaign had reportedly killed at least 385 civilians including 168 children.
That autumn, presidential hopeful Imran Khan made opposing drones central to his campaign. In late October, a Khan rally drew a crowd estimated at 100,000, underlining the growing anger at the strikes.
Drones were an increasingly contentious issue in a relationship that was stretched to breaking point. In November, a Nato airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border checkpoint. In retaliation, Pakistan closed the border crossing, cutting a crucial supply route into Afghanistan, and ordered the CIA’s drones out of the Shamsi air base.
Although the CIA could reportedly fly from bases other than Shamsi, amid a fraught atmosphere the strikes stopped: December was the first month of Obama’s presidency to see not a single reported strike on Pakistan’s tribal regions.
The pause endured well into January, amid reports that Pakistan’s government was cold-shouldering US diplomats and refusing to countenance drone strikes. Before the CIA’s first strike of the year, on January 10, vice-president Joe Biden and secretary of state Hillary Clinton reportedly led diplomatic efforts at the very highest levels of government, warning high-ranking Pakistan officials of the plans to strike.
Exactly three weeks later, Obama officially acknowledged the CIA’s drone campaign for the first time, devoting four minutes of a public web chat to the issue.
The strikes are not carried out ’willy-nilly’, he said: ‘I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties, for the most part they have been very precise precision strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates.’ Later in the year, he used a TV interview to lay out ‘five rules’ used to target strikes.
Continuing tension with the Pakistan government caused strikes to pause for much of April – and the month’s only strike was immediately denounced by Pakistan as being ‘in total contravention of international law and established norms of interstate relations’.
 ‘I support [drones] entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that policy’
- Mitt Romney

Anonymous insiders revealed Obama personally approves the ‘kill list’ of named militant targets in a New York Times investigation into drone targeting policies. The article also claimed the definition of combatant had been dramatically expanded to include all fighting-aged men in the target zone.
Scrutiny of the drones was rising elsewhere, too. In June, Russia and China issued a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council condemning drone attacks.
Three academic studies examined the casualty-counting work of organisations including the Bureau, and the impact of drones on the civilian population. The constant presence of drones caused suffering and distress, and was hardening anti-American sentiment among those who lived under them, academics found.
Imran Khan provided a rallying point for anti-drone campaigning in Pakistan in October, when he led a high-profile march aiming to reach South Waziristan. Although he was blocked from entering Waziristan, he was accompanied by the world’s media.
Weeks later, the UN announced a special unit to investigate reported civilian casualties. Its two leaders, special rapporteurs Ben Emmerson and Christof Heyns, have each referred to the reported tactic of targeting funerals and rescuers as potentially ‘war crimes’.
Yet the US presidential election came and went with no real debate about the Pakistan drone campaign. Asked about Obama’s use of drones in the foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney said ‘I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that policy.’
As Obama prepares to start his second term, the CIA is reportedly engaged in covert drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia, while a PR battle to prepare the public for a similar campaign in Mali has met little scrutiny or resistance. Pakistan has set the template for a form of warfare that’s here to stay.


  1. Disconnecting reality from technology has some nasty consequences for human beings. Those consequences, are they cynically understood or as they say, collateral damage?

    Coolness and slaughter.

  2. While we are contemplating our constitutional navel, did the framers or George Orwell, ever envision the horror show of an American king, usurping the power to kill at will, anyone anywhere on the planet?

    We can’t stomach the horror in Newtown because we have to see it.

    Is it too personal? Too close?

    There is hardly a mention or any national angst about technologically sanitized murder. Yes, murder it is.

  3. I can picture the horror of my beautiful granddaughter sitting in a classroom in Connecticut or innocently turning a corner exploring her little world in child-like fascination and then gone. Violently. Body broken into pieces. Slaughtered. Is either worse than the other?
    Is either forgivable?

    Don’t we have an obligation as men to protect and as human beings to object to killing being done by the madmen amongst us?

  4. Is there a distinction between a Predator killing a child in Pakistan or Newtown? Maybe, but not to the child or the parent.

  5. Does Obama shed tears for both as he strolls the palace smelling the 54 Christmas trees?

  6. RE the financing of the American military force and the rest of the world

    From BC:

    42. blert
    Must I refresh memories?
    The USD is international money and stands as the Reserve Base for all other currencies — along with gold.
    Hence every other nation on earth is compelled to import USD year after year after year…
    And in so doing FUNDS our Department of Defense.
    That is the mechanism that permits America to sustain such an outsized expeditionary force/ global Navy.
    Any reduction in pax Americana is going to have the exact same impact that hit Britain. When the Royal Navy shrunk to home waters — the Pound Sterling collapsed as international money.
    It would show a real sign of intelligence if American bitching about European defense expenditures would cease.
    They’re picking up the tab for forces that we control. That’s a great improvement over prior schemes.
    February 25, 2011 - 8:38 am

    Speaking of very smart guys, he's another one.


    Technology has sanitized the human slaughter of global conflict. I may have more to say later but I doubt it. So much of the modern world seems to defy the traditional dichotomies of good-bad, right-wrong, we-will-do-this vs we-won't-do-that while sliding into an "is what it is" temporary state. The historical trap is escaping the threat of self-annihilation while the developing world works its path away from tyranny and towards self-government, the demand for human freedom being non-negotiable, as the founders said, unalienable. Islam must bend to this. That will take some doing. Many more will die. Who is at fault?

    1. While I would agree the blert appears to be a smart guy he is just another wall street guy (some sort of banker if memory serves) and his statements don't neceassarily stand up to scrutiny.

      For example, in your quote above he says:

      "When the Royal Navy shrunk to home waters — the Pound Sterling collapsed as international money."

      He is stating that shrinking the Royal Navy caused the Pound Sterling to collapse. This is a very simplistic view of the history but, keeping things simple, I would suggest the causation was the reverse - the collapse of the Pound Sterling forced the Roayl Navy to return to home waters.

      In reality both occurred more or less concurrently and over a period of time.

    2. His sister was a bank examiner.

      Blert has engaged in multiple occupations, AFAICT, including running an export business out of Japan, but not including banking. I could be wrong.

      You know what they say about genius: the ability to pierce through a Liberal's obfuscations and alternative histories, or something to that effect.

    3. If you see him as a genius you might want to read up a little more on history and do some fact checking on his revelations.

    4. I should add, I'm quite sure, with that level of obvious intellect, that blert is on an intelligence payroll somewhere. I sort of think the same thing about "low key" Kashkari.

    5. It's a blog Miss Marple. Don't ever confuse me with a grad student.

    6. I remember ole blert ranting up and down through the financial crisis how "naked shorts" were the cause of it all.

    7. Oh no, I wouldn't confuse you with a grad student. A retired lady is would be my guess.

    8. Silly boy Dissing grandma with dripping condescension. You'll know in a few decades that we don't care at this age.

    9. No diss intended. Sorry you thought so.

  7. While I'm at it, blert on Mohammed:

    75. blert
    The prospect of modern productive capitalism in the sands of the Middle East are ZERO.
    The environment is anti-human. It is NOT where we want to live.
    Manufacturing is located where costs are low. The only value-added manufacturing to be seen in Arabia is based upon proximate oil and gas supplies.
    Once the oil runs out the only thing that’s going to follow is a ghost town writ large.
    Humans don’t adapt because they have to. Normally they just die. That’s the nature state of nature. You see it all the time with other species.
    Bubonic Plague didn’t hit Europe because it was required to advance their economic structure.
    What twaddle.
    Plague was an exogenous event. Period. It had nothing to do with making ETAB’s dream schemes come do be.
    By far the most common event to occur with a drastic shock to society is mass death. Easter Island being a perfect example.
    Mohammed got rolling for one reason only: circa 536-539 AD Krakatoa erupted sending ash planet wide. MAJOR die-offs occurred from Japan and China to the New World to Constantinople to the community of Petra.
    The Petrans picked up their toys and moved to the only location within reach that had ground water. Like everywhere else the rains failed to come for years on end. They took with them their rock carving methods and their alphabet. As you’ve probably guessed it’s the alphabet of the earliest koranic writing.
    But they were not alone. All over Arabia every dang last man had to congregate on Mecca and Medina.
    The die-off of Maghreb/Egyptian/Roman populations was staggering. Contemporary accounts tell of Death Camp conditions and mass exoduses from all urban areas.
    Roman losses were so heavy that Rome could never come back. As you might expect, Europeans in northern lands were less affected. Rain still came to England, Denmark and the rest. Being in a colder latitude provided benefits. It was safer to be cold and wet than cool and dry, dry, dry.
    While crops failed everywhere, the forested lands still held game and overcast skies made for good fishing.
    Back in Arabia the climate normalized and a few generations later super-fecundity triggered good times.

    1. Still it took a century for re-growth to create the world of mohammed. The ex-Petrans had fused with the locals and established a rentier economy based upon water sales. Funny, that’s what the Petran’s had been doing before! To top off the revenues a good-luck/ religious hustle was developed. What caravan wouldn’t want good luck when departing across the dunes?
      Now it turned out that Krakatoa had not only ejected ash but a hunk of obsidian or two, or three. And it is the habit of desert travelers to do so at night. And so it was that not quite orbital ejecta managed to make it all the way to Arabia from Krakatoa. And being a desert no vegetation obscured the impact zone — and spectacular it was — the hot rocks could be found glowing into the night long after impact.
      Not quite knowing about Krakatoa — but likely hearing it — the stones were recovered forth with. After all, surely they must be pieces of heaven?
      Of course, the timing and the strange turn of the weather/ climate did seem more than passing strange — ominous one might say.
      And so it was that the Arabs/Petrans mounted their prizes and began to caress the stones so dark as to be night in solid form. They had more than a few stones. Naturally the largest had a pet name: allah. The others were considered daughter stones and carried feminine sobriquets.
      It took mohammed to re-write the rite: the daughters were kicked to the curb. To worship them meant that you were a polytheist. Only the big stone: allah, represented purity and deserved commitment.
      Not too surprisingly mo’ became allah’s PR rep — able to channel the stone during his epileptic fits.
      Now we know that Lenin was a syphilitic, that Hitler was jacked on crack and was convinced he was syphilitic, and that Stalin was stark raving paranoid, and that Napoleon lost at Monte Ste Jean because he was riven with a syphilitic out break + intestinal ailments second only to Hitler, and that Caligula was a paranoid schizophrenic — what with his harsh youth and all — SO is it too hard to believe that an epileptic psychopath could conjure up a new world vision evil enough to sweep up all of his fellow criminals?
      Once he got rolling, mo’ discovered that his criminal band could run wild over the countryside. It was still massively de-populated. Thusly, areas that the modern mind associates with massive populations were still astoundingly empty. The Petrans never went back to the old home. Their alphabet shifted and simplified.
      Mo’ was able to ravish the neighborhood before the settled farmlands could recover. Like the Mongols — mobility was his ace. THAT’S how and why early muslim conquests went so far and so fast. They were pre-Mongols.
      By concentrating all of their efforts on criminal exploitation and ruthless expansion the muslims were able to enslave vast lands. Timing was everything. It would not have worked even fifty years later. Target populations would have been too great for raiding parties. Siege engines were not yet necessary.
      In all of the centuries between then and now — never have the muslims ever deviated from enslavement and exploitation. It’s the only ‘economy’ they’ve known.
      When the oil runs out — there will be a catastrophic decline of muslims. Based upon current trends I project that many now living will see that occur within their lifetime.
      The fracturing of gas bearing shale is a lethal blow against the mullahs. They don’t have much more oil to export. Their entire hope was massive methane exports. Thus their desire to conquer Arabia is genuine, and intense.
      February 13, 2011 - 3:58 pm

    2. oh lord, you quoting that stuff of blerts brings back memories of BC and why I had to get out of that place. A whole bunch of faux intellectuals (Wretcherd being the king of the bunch) pompously pontificating as if they knew what the heck they were talking about. That one little quote you've put up there is so full of BS it is, well, stoopid. I can't even bring my self to plow through it fully.

      Faux intellectual, heck, that crap doesn't even rise to that. Blert wrote:

      "Roman losses were so heavy that Rome could never come back."

      Say what? It took 900 years or so for the Roman Empire to fall and it was perpetrated by a single incident? Do tell.

    3. If by "Mullahs" he's referring to the Iranians, there's some truth to what he says. "Their" oil is running out, and They do have a trove of natural gas (just the opposite of the Mohammedans on the other side of the Persian Gulf.)

      This would be another reason to ask, "why, then, have we tied a large part of our Army up on their Eastern Flank, when all the action is going to be to the West?"

    4. Hyperventilating is not rebuttal anymore than the world according to blert (or Ash) is history. I believe it's called a point of view. And he's got so much competition in the blog category of "pompous pontification" that one might excuse him for "writing for effect."

    5. I don't know who this character "blert" is, Doris; but his timeline in bonkers. "ROME" was deader'n Kelsey's nuts by 539. What was left had been moved to Constantinople.

      By Krakatoa Time every wandering minstrel show on Earth had sacked, and pillaged Rome.


    6. To top off the revenues a good-luck/ religious hustle was developed. What caravan wouldn’t want good luck when departing across the dunes?

      I always suspected that the desert environment had something to do with the evolution of a harsh fatalistic religious doctrine. And now is rests like an obsolete yoke on their shoulders in the modern world where technology has conquered the desert.

    7. At one point in history it was the "fertile crescent".

    8. Recent Theories surrounding the Eruption of Mount Krakatoa

      In 535 AD Mount Krakatoa (in the Sunda Straight between the islands of Sumatra and Java, Indonesia) exploded. Vast quantities of volcanic ash was thrown high up into the earth's atmosphere with disastrous effects.

      It is established fact that this occurrence, let to a darkening of the skies and a diminished amount of sunlight as, over a period of many years, the very fine ash slowly settled down again. The overall temperature dropped by several degrees centigrade. Furthermore the impact for the people was such of less rain, extreme droughts, and on the other hand, flash floods.

      If the Eruption of Krakatoa was in 535 AD, then the first ever appearance of the Bubonic Plague in Europe in 542 AD is believed to be directly related to it.
      The Monk Evagrius wrote a chronicle of the occurrence in Constantinople of an awful, until then unknown disease which over a frighteningly short period of time killed over 250'000 of the city's inhabitants, until alas one stopped counting the dead.

      It was the arrival of a disease which should wreak havoc on Europe for centuries to come. Evagrius believed the illness to have come from Ethiopia. Modern scientists believe this a distinct possibility, as such illnesses incubate in the area of the great lakes of Africa.

      The inclination to seek new sources for fresh blood of the flea which spreads the disease increase enormously once the temperature drops below a certain point (the flea's gut gets blocked and it desperately seeks blood as its own intestines starve it to death).

      It is therefore believed that once Krakatoa erupted the Plague spread at phenomenal speed in the area of the great lakes in Africa.

      Constantinople at the time entertained a thriving ivory trade with those very areas. The flea therefore travelled either on a human or vermin host in ships to the Gulf of Suez across the isthmus and then via ship across the Mediterranean to Constantinople. Once the horrific disease began claiming thousands of victims in Constantinople, many of its citizens fled, spreading the flea and the disease all across the Roman Empire.

      But the effects on the Romans are believed to be yet greater than drastically diminishing their population figures.

    9. As for Petra:

      From wiki,

      Petra declined rapidly under Roman rule, in large part from the revision of sea-based trade routes. In 363 an earthquake destroyed many buildings, and crippled the vital water management system.[13

      It was shot long before Krakatoa, also.

      History ain't simple.

    10. As for ol' Mo: He was born on, or about, 570 AD. The effects of Krakatoa would have been 10 years past by the time he was born (at least 60 years past by the time he was starting to rock and roll the local heads.)

      The theory is crackpot.

    11. As for Constantinople, it fell to the Muslims (Ottoman-Turk variety) in 1453!

      Over 800 yrs after the death of Mohammed.

  8. Now it turns out that David Petraeus was carrying Fred and Kimberly Kagan around with him as "Special Advisors," and gave them an office right next to his own.

    The Kagans are the King and Queen of the Neocon War Movement.

    It's time to start cleaning house. Fire the Generals, and get our troops the hell out of there.

  9. .

    The 99%?

    To 98-99% of the public the wars we are involved in are an abstraction. They are an annoyance in that we never seem to win and they go on forever but it is not something we think about all that often. There is no draft so there is only a small proportion that suffers directly from our constant state of war. We are not taxed to pay for these wars, we merely add it to the tab. It is not even news anymore. If you do see anything in the news, it's a short announcement that two Marines died when a roadside bomb exploded. It's become background noise to most people.

    Unless you search for it, you won't even find stories on the collateral damage we cause. For their own reasons, Big Brother and the boys publicized their wars constantly. Here, we have sanitized them out of existance.

    Collateral damage? A euphemism used to tranquilze a populace all too willing to be tranquilized.


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  12. Tranquilized is right. By the way, why are our friends, Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al, so silent on the Newtown incident? We all know the answer to that one.

  13. Since we are comparing dead children in CT versus Afg., what's the difference between an unborn child being snuffed versus one outside the womb? Do they have to be in Little League first before we grieve?

    1. Obama wants to snuff some of them even outside the womb. Those that survive an abortion sent to the 'comfort room' in Obamaland.

      "comfort room"

      My God, my God.

  14. I always suspected that the desert environment had something to do with the evolution of a harsh fatalistic religious doctrine.

    You always suspected wrong. Judaism came from that same desert environment, at least nearly so, and it is not at all fatalistic. It tells you that every day you have choices to make, choose life. It is up to you. Christianity is not fatalistic either, except in that minority view as I take it, non sense about predestination to damnation.

    And Islam is reforming itself now. Almost Luther like. Not Lutheran like, these days anyway. Back to the Bible. Back to the Koran. Sola scriptura. The Koran now, the Koran always, the Koran the only way. Read the clear sense of the Bible. Read the clear sense of the Koran, not some fancy metaphor that tells you jihad is an inner struggle, imitate Jesus, imitate Mo, etc. Osama and the MB and the other turds are reformers in this sense.

  15. let's pretend a brave teacher had a gun, knew how to use it, and took Mr. Kanza out before he gunned down so many.

    According to MSM, the kids who watched her shoot would all be traumatized by the violence, would need years of Psycho Therapy, and Ms. Teacher would be sued by the surviving members of the Kanza family because she double tapped their little innocent Adam, who had a few social ills.

    1. Social ills, and trapped in the romper room drama of wanting mommy to love only him, and seeing those school kids as competing sibs, taking mama away.

      The mother seems to have been moving to have him committed, and he found out about it, touching it off.

  16. I think this whole post is so incredibly off base that it almost sounds like jihadi/evil jinn propaganda, so I guess I'll stay out of it. It also seems to use the Obama tactic of isolate the topic, make it single, make it emotionally personal, concentrate it into up and down, odd and even, black and white, and to forget about all the other stuff, all, and it's a lot, that argues another/other point/points of view.

    Didn't know you had a grand daughter, deuce. Wonderful, I'm sure she is beautiful. Grand daughters like grand dads that buy them horses. (hint, hint)

  17. As for the decline of England: Lord have mercy. Tomes upon tomes. However, don't overlook that their industry (And Navy) was powered by coal, and England's Coal Extraction Peaked in 1913.

    At the same time, the United States was building the first OIL-Powered ships (the Nevada, and the Oklahoma.)

    England Had No Oil.

    Then there was the matter of Social Change sweeping the world, most notably Labor Unions.

    The island was too small, its power source in decline, and its people rebelling from servitude. Did I mention WWI?

    Its time was up.

    Ash is right. They pulled in their horns because they were out of money.

    They didn't run out of money because they pulled in their horns.

    1. They won the war, lost the empire. Exhausted.

    2. And, Anyone who thinks keeping 60 or 70,000 troops in Europe is anything but a money-losing proposition is nuts (or is selling something.) Sometimes you just have to revert back to common sense.

    3. It's not the troops in EU - it's the medical and retirement benefits for the troops returning from active duty, or so I read, but it makes sense. Also R&D for the hardware. Bribe money for the mullahs. And Congress..........

    4. All of the above, dear; all of the above. :)

      See my comment, below, about "Empires."

    5. Although, I might exempt a lot of the Research on Hard (and soft) ware.

  18. History ain't simple.

    And wiki should be a first cut only.

    Last paragraph from the link above:

    Their military skill and particularly their horsemanship gave them the edge over the Roman legion and soon had them blackmailing Constantinople with the threat of war. Phenomenal amounts of gold were paid by the Romans to the Avars in order to save Constantinople from any war with them. However one views it, the eruption of Mount Krakatoa appears a significant piece in the force that brought the Roman Empire to its knees, either by depleting its population with the plague and ruining its economy, or by delivering barbarians to its borders who possessed superior knowledge of warfare.

    Which supports the impact of Krakatoa on the decline of the Roman Empire, the point disputed above. I suspect, if I were to research the subject, I would find scholarship supporting the pound silver theory as well. Needless to say I'm not going to do that. But his point about military funding relating to US dollar as reserve currency is a good one.

    Blert is provocative (and borderline obnoxious) but he's far from stupid. (Yes, BC has more than its share of wanna-be intellectuals. Blert isn't one of them, any more than buddy larsen was. At its peak, blert and buddy were two little peas in a pod.)

    As per the masthead: "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. " ― George Orwell


    Regarding "the Obama tactic" of whatever it was, I made two points: first to the relationship between USA military and reserve dollar, which relates to MIC, which relates to military policy, including drone employment; and second, to the intractability of Islam as a doctrine that is out of touch with the demands of both governance and spiritual guidance in the modern world, and arguably as, if not more, responsible for the western policy of engagement than any of a multitude of potential causative factors; neither point having jack shit to do with Obama.


    Regarding the naked shorts, at that time everybody was discussing the subject in the context of causation, including buddy larsen and Michael Lewis whose book was titled The Big Short. Didn't mean they were all bankers (even though Lewis worked as a trader.)

    1. I thought blert had said at some point he worked in the banking industry but I'm not sure of it and don't really care.

      I have trouble taking most of those guys at BC seriously after having spent some time discussing stuff with them and trying to pin them down on the accuracy of their claims. Buddy and I had a number of discussions regarding the advisability of invading Iraq. He was gung ho to the nines and I disagreed - neo con to the bones. Blert was adamant that curing naked shorting was the answer to the 08 valuation crisis.

      I just skimmed the comments of blerts you copied here today. The Rome statement and the Easter Island statement jumped out at me as being... suspect.

      I'm currently reading Jared Diamonds "Collapse" and coincidently enough the section I'm reading now is his analysis of Easter Island so when Blert blerts "By far the most common event to occur with a drastic shock to society is mass death. Easter Island being a perfect example." I'm like, wellll, ok, where is he going with this and he uses this to launch of on how Mohammed got rolling...

      ...anyway, you can spend a lot of time chasing your tail with those boys theories...

    2. Well, if you want to exercise your debating skills, I suggest you take your Jared Diamond thoughts over to BC. I know for a fact, the more erudite among them (Storm-Rider and whiskey I believe as well) have serious issues with his "Guns, Germs and Steel." And "Collapse" has also generated some heated debate - for simplifying history into a wiki-sound bite - such as this guy writing in Salon.

    3. I'm not sure I agree with Diamonds thesis (seems to be based on environmental degradation as a key) but I've got to get through the book first. Guns Germs and Steel left me largely flat but had an intersting big sweep of history.

      That Salon argument seems to be touting 'America's imperialism gone done the bad deed' though that is only based on the first few paragraphs of it. Thanks for the link!

      Whiskey, really, you've got some respect for him? If I remember correctly and it is the same guy, he is verbose on way out there. Didn't he go on, and on, and on, about racial basis for stuff? Maybe I'm thinking of someone differnt...

    4. You know Ash you make quite a few illogical leaps of your own. My technical number-crunching days are over. Can't handle it any more, but to the point before dinner, the "erudite" label does not imply total spectrum respect. In this case, both of the mentioned posters have a substantial grasp of history, and excellent prose writing skills. I disagree with Storm-rider's religious views and with whiskey's sociocultural observations, which got him removed from BC, but retained in their blogroll, now abandoned with the new format I see installed sometime after I left.

    5. Please point out any illogical leaps you see. I'd appreciate it.

      Storm-rider I know nothing of but Whiskey's writings were friggin' bonkers (enough to get banned for awhile from the BC as you mentioned). I found trying to separate the wheat from his chaffe to be a mugs game. I think time would be better spent reading the published historians than wacko's on the net to try to gain historical insight but if you are stimulated by wading through the maze of the faux intellects at BC, have at it.

    6. Whiskey was not banned but was politely asked to refrain from posting at the site which he politely agreed to do.

      Conflating a label of erudite with respect is illogical, as I have already written. Getting the impression that you're a dyed-in-the-wool gotta-have-the-last-word girl. Maybe Matt and wio were correct - you're female.

    7. er·u·dite
      Having or showing great knowledge or learning.
      learned - scholarly - lettered - wise

      A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
      Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

      Where is the conflation? While you are at it why don't you point out where my contention that Blert was engaging in circular reasoning is false?

      bow to ad hominem if you like but that doesn't rise to decent argument.

  19. .

    And wiki should be a first cut only.

    I always took Wiki entries with a huge grain of salt until this year when the Encyclopedia Brittanica decided to do away with their print version and go strictly on-line. At that time, there was much discussion about that venerable old publication and the question eventually came up as to how Wiki compared to Brittanica.

    Somewhere along the line some independent group checked it out and found that Wiki tended to be more up to date and accurate than Brittanica.

    I give Wiki a little more respect now.


    1. .

      Or, maybe I was just giving Brittanica too much respect before.


    2. The complicated subjects, of which history is one, deserve a multi-dimensional review. Wiki is an excellent resource. It is not the final word. Any more than blert, Ash, Rufus, or Quirk.

    3. Wike is pretty accurate as to dates, and timelines, which is what I used them for.

      I'm sorry, but your boy, blert, sounds a bit wordy.

      As for currency, as in stocks, the baseline value is created by "supply" in ratio to the underlying "economy."

      However, there is a continuum. In "good times" the value is most strongly influenced by Trade Balance. In War, or other uncertain times, Military Might is more of a Driver.

      But, to say that the value of our currency is enhanced by the number of troops in Europe is nonsense to the bizarro.

      It does, however, affect our balance of trade; so, I would have to give it a "negative" effect.


    4. But, to say that the value of our currency is enhanced by the number of troops in Europe is nonsense to the bizarro.

      His argument is that the value of our currency is related to its being the world's reserve currency, which is true, and which in turn is related to USA having the largest military force on the planet, which I think is also true.

    5. My comment on that is below.

    6. :) Oops

      that would be "above"

    7. In summation, you can have "The World's Greatest Military X 10, and still not have 60,000 troops hanging around the beer gardens, and coffee shops of Stuttgart.

    8. Nor was blert's point narrowly targeted at the 60,000 troops. The subject wasn't budget cutting - it was the relationship between a reserve currency and a global military. I expect he might agree with you on that point, and other specifics. It's getting harder to find dispute on ME military engagement policy, which does nothing to refute his fundamental point.

    9. DDR wrote:
      "His argument is that the value of our currency is related to its being the world's reserve currency, which is true, and which in turn is related to USA having the largest military force on the planet, which I think is also true."

      I don't understand why you think the second half of that statement is true. How does having the largest military force on the planet cause a currency to be a reserve currency? In the British case that you referenced below, the Sterling was still a reserve currency after WWII, but Britains military power had vastly declined by that point. Most analysis I've read peg the final end of the British empire at the World Wars yet the currency appears to have lived on as a reserve for awhile.

      In short I think there are a lot of factors that go into making a currency a reserve currency but being a big ass military power isn't a necessary condition. Historically the two go together I would imagine (not having done much research on the relation of the two) but it makes sense that, historically, the dominant powers have dominant currencies and dominant currencies tend to become reserve currencies.

      In the specific case, Britain, was the cause of Britains currency decline due to its choice of withdrawing its military or, in my view, a result of its declining power. No matter how much they applied themselves to militarily dominating the world would it have made much diffence to their currency or to their decline.

    10. In fact, as detailed numerous times through out history in Nial Fergusons "The Cash Nexus" currencies are pooched because the governments over-extended themselves militarily.

    11. Reread his comment, Ash, the part where he says:

      The USD is international money and stands as the Reserve Base for all other currencies — along with gold.
      Hence every other nation on earth is compelled to import USD year after year after year…
      And in so doing FUNDS our Department of Defense.
      That is the mechanism that permits America to sustain such an outsized expeditionary force/ global Navy.

      I believe you guys are ankle-biting this subject rather than entertaining his macroscopic point.

    12. .

      Probably just a coincidence but Mr. blert's point is very similar to that made in an article I read over the last day or two in either The Guradian, Real Clear World, or Real Clear Politics.

      Very similar.

      If I get a chance, I will go into the archives, pull it up, and post it.

      As for blert's being wordy, that doesn't bother me much. However, the way he started his post tended to touch a raw nerve.

      Must I refresh memories?

      Sounds like something we would get from Rufus.



    13. And one set of circumstances does not preclude another. As Churchill said, "Events, dear boy, events."

      There's a distinction between a military force and a military policy of engagement. I believe blert was talking of the former while you folks are talking of the latter.

    14. Yes, Quirk. As I acknowledged, he writes with "attitude." We can safely assume he doesn't do the Neel Kashkari swim-along.

    15. (I think he has some late-in-life issues but it's none of my business.)

    16. How, DDR, does another country buying US dollars to fund a transaction (oil being denominated in US dollars for example) fund the military? The only way that immediatley comes to mind is by doing the transaction one keeps the value of the US dollar higher (demand via purchase) but no tax is levied other than seignorage yet I fail to see how that funds the department of defense. I think it is obvious that if folks stop using US dollars for things like oil purchases that the value of the US dollar will fall and those US treasuries and bonds won't look so tasty even if the Fed vows to mop up any excess.

    17. And that comment you just cited brings to mind the circular logic one runs into at BC.

      First we have the statement that 'being the military power keeps the currency as a reserve' and then we get the statement 'because the US currency is the reserve it funds the military'.

      in short: military makes reserve followed by reserve makes military.

      my head spins


    18. Quirk, I would be interested in seeing that article if you can find it. Perhaps others would as well.

  20. “Both Britain and the USA recognised that a run on sterling could only be stemmed by Britain’s retreat from the international economy and an acceleration of the retreat of its global military presence.”

    However, some more general lessons might be learned. Firstly, retiring a reserve currency is likely to be easier in a time of inflation (which decreases the real value of outstanding liabilities) and growth in international liquidity, so that the shift is achieved through acquisition of new reserves rather than exchanging or replacing existing assets (flow, rather than stock adjustment).

    [graph] Secondly, the global political environment is important. The stability of the international monetary system was closely linked to Cold War interests in the 1960s. Generally, it was believed that a collapse in the global reserve system would destabilise capitalism. More specifically, both Britain and the USA recognised that a run on sterling could only be stemmed by Britain’s retreat from the international economy and an acceleration of the retreat of its global military presence. Thus, during the Vietnam War US support for sterling was often linked to British strategic commitments in Southeast Asia.

    [graph] The global context today is much altered and the relatively cosy G10 has been expanded to a much more diverse group of international political interests. Existing predictions of the timing for any decline in the dollar as the dominant international reserve currency usually set the change well into the future, mainly due to the impact of inertia. The experience of sterling suggests that extending the tipping point and avoiding a landslide effect may require more deliberate management than the trends predicted by changing economic fundamentals suggest. The gradual retreat of the pound should not give comfort to those hoping for a smooth transition from the dollar.


    At a minimum, the subject of incestuous relationships is complicated and not well served by the staccato dogmatism of some of the prose commentary.

    1. None of that applies in a world of "floating, fiat currencies," Doris.

      The world (individual nations/businesses, etc) will do business in the currency that fits their needs (or, desires.) Nothing more, nothing less.

    2. And, Krackametoo had ezzackly Squat to do with the Byzantines committing the same error that every empire in history has made - biting off way more than it could chew.

    3. As per the commentary: The global context today is much altered...


    4. And Krackyou2 is an interesting historical theory relating climate with biology and those enduring human traits of ignorance, delusion and denial.

    5. BTW, The Housing Market is really starting to recover a bit.

      From Bloomberg

      An easing in the number of distressed properties on the market is definitely giving the housing sector a lift with the latest evidence coming from existing home sales which surged 5.9 percent in November to a 5.04 million annual rate that beats even the high-end Econoday estimate. The number of distressed sales came to 22 percent in the month, down from 24 percent in October. Distressed sales had been making up a third of all sales through much of the year.

      Hurricane Sandy seems to have had no significant effect on sales where in the Northeast they surged 6.9 percent following a modest decline in October. Sales in the other three regions all show gains for both November and October as well.

      Scarcity of supply is definitely an issue in the housing market, one that is limiting sales but one also that is helping prices. Supply fell sharply, to 4.8 months at the current sales rate from 5.3 months in October which was already a multi-year low. The number of existing homes on the market, at 2.03 million, is the lowest since 2001. The median price, getting a boost from higher priced homes, rose 2.1 percent in the month to $180,600. The year-on-year gain, at 10.1 percent, is in double digits for a second month in a row.

      This is a very strong report that confirms confidence in the residential sector which is increasingly taking leadership for economic growth. The Dow is moving higher following the report which should be a solid positive for the market through the session.

      Existing Home Sales

    6. And, in another pleasant surprise, the Philly Fed jumped to + 8.1

      Manufacturing strength is coming from an unexpected place, from the Philly Fed report whose general business activity index, which has been depressed through most of the year, has popped back into expansion at 8.1 vs November's minus 10.7. New orders are at plus 10.7 in this month's report which is only the third positive reading since April. Unfilled orders are also in positive ground, at plus 2.3 for the first gain since April.

      Shipments really surged, at 18.3 this month vs November's minus 6.7 in a swing tied no doubt to Hurricane Sandy which clobbered the Mid-Atlantic region in late October and early November. Employment is also positive and optimism in the six-month outlook is more positive.

      This report is definitely positive and though it contrasts with weakness in Monday's Empire State report, it confirms the wide strength in the prior week's PMI flash for the national manufacturing economy. Watch for the Kansas City Fed's manufacturing report tomorrow.

      Philly Fed

  21. Fear keeps Egypt's Christians away from polls
    Dec 19, 7:34 PM (ET)


    ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) - A campaign of intimidation by Islamists left most Christians in this southern Egyptian province too afraid to participate in last week's referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution they deeply oppose, residents say. The disenfranchisement is hiking Christians' worries over their future under empowered Muslim conservatives.

    Around a week before the vote, some 50,000 Islamists marched through the provincial capital, Assiut, chanting that Egypt will be "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." At their head rode several bearded men on horseback with swords in scabbards on their hips, evoking images of early Muslims conquering Christian Egypt in the 7th Century.

    They made sure to go through mainly Christian districts of the city, where residents, fearing attacks, shuttered down their stores and stayed in their homes, witnesses said.

    Read more

  22. Whew! Some on this blog have some THIN skin!

  23. Well, so far so good. 14 more hours until December 22. Think we might, wait... Holy shit! It's getting hot!,hot,hot...ahhh!..It burrrns!...arrrgghhhkkkkk!!...a;sdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdflsdfl

  24. Some images to go out with: Not sure what the category is, but some great costumes (and some of the 'what were they thinking' variety.)

  25. I'd be happy to go out with -

    Miss Indonesia

  26. Calvin Rickson, an engineer from Texas A&M University has designed a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling, bouncing up and down, and stops nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

    After a news conference announcing the invention, a large group of men took Mr. Rickson outside and kicked the shit out of him.

  27. Those crazy Mayans are fucked up in the head.

  28. All this worry over a millenia for nothin'. What a fizzler.

  29. Congressional hearings to help unravel details behind the September consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, morphed into a political face-off Thursday as Democrats and Republicans sought to position themselves and their parties for the months and years ahead—possibly including 2016, the next presidential election year.

    Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, used his hearing Thursday to articulate views on American foreign policy that went well beyond the Benghazi assault and called for a well-funded and diplomatically aggressive State Department in the coming year.

  30. The Attorney General, Eric Holder, was to travel to Newtown last night to meet lead investigators of the shooting, while in Washington, Vice-President Joe Biden opened the first meeting of the task force announced by Mr Obama.

    The plan is to nail down a set of measures, likely to include a new assault weapons ban, for Mr Obama to unveil in his State of the Union address at the end of January.

    All eyes this morning, meanwhile, will be on a press conference by the powerful National Rifle Association which so far has issued only a brief statement saying it would contribute to the debate on how to ensure massacres like last Friday’s don’t happen again. While a number of moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill have rushed to endorse a tightening of gun laws, Republicans have largely remained silent on the topic.

  31. Egypt’s chief prosecutor withdrew his resignation on Thursday, just days after submitting it. The move was the latest bizarre turn in a complicated three-way struggle among the new Islamist president, the institutions of the old government and the president’s opposition in the streets.

    President Mohamed Morsi appointed the prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah, in a Nov. 22 decree that set off protests across the country and prompted a political crisis because it also sought to exempt presidential edicts from judicial scrutiny.

  32. Instead, why not have government do something much simpler and that has proven successful: limit access to guns. And not another toothless ban, riddled with exceptions, which the gun lobby would use to “prove” that such bans don’t reduce violence.


    The problems that produced the Newtown massacre are not complex, nor are the solutions. We do not lack for answers.

    What we lack in America today is courage.

  33. The markets, as most people reading this should now well know, no longer reflect in any way the true economic health of our country. If one was to measure the financial “recovery” of this nation by the strength of global stocks alone, he would probably come to the conclusion that the collapse of 2008 was a mere hiccup in the overall success of the worldwide economic system.


    Despite the sugar coated claims of insane Keynesians who only a few years ago were predicting a “resurgence” of American industry and exports due to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing devaluation of the dollar, production in the U.S. has remained pathetically weak, and continues to decline.


    China’s export growth fell far more than expected in November, something which many Chinese economists are attributing to a complete lack of revival in American markets.

  34. The Ministry of Defence has paid out £14m in compensation and costs to hundreds of Iraqis who complained that they were illegally detained and tortured by British forces during the five-year occupation of the south-east of the country.


    After a hearing, the high court highlighted matters supporting the allegations of systemic abuse. These included:

    • The same techniques being used at the same places for the same purpose: to assist interrogation.

    • The facilities being under the command of an officer.

    • Military doctors examining each prisoner at various stages in their detention.


    Prosecutors eventually decided that the matters were insufficiently serious for war crimes charges and that disciplinary charges were unlikely to lead to convictions. They concluded that one soldier had committed offences, but that this was "in accordance with the training that they had been given"; it would be inappropriate to charge him.

  35. Boehner couldn't even get his Own ridiculous piece of crap through the House.

    Everybody up fer a little Cliff-diving? :)

    Whatta bunch a maroons.

    1. GOP: We have the votes to pass 'fiscal cliff' compromise...

      Boehner: 'I Did My Part'...

      Harry Reid refuses to consider...

      'We Are Not Going to Do Anything'...


      Hell, Rufus, they haven't even voted yet, have they? You might want to wait until the roll call if they haven't.

    2. It's all your guys fault, spending us to oblivion, running up 16 trillion in debt, killing jobs, killing the pipeline (so far), killing kids with drones, not backing up the Ambassador, letting them die, lying like hell, GM broke, Solyndra broke, countless others broke, on and on, running guns to Mexico, running guns to Syria, backing the MB every last place he can, the list is endless.

      Maroons? Just who should you really be talking about? Look inward, angel.

    3. Bigger war criminal than Bush ever thought to be, people are saying.

    4. No, Bob; they didn't have the votes. They went home for Christmas.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Not having the votes for a symbolic vote suggests they are in a pretty darn weak position. I would think that bodes well for settlement...

      ...then again, how spiteful are the buggers?

  36. I would bet an Amero to a donut right now that the Pubs (tea party) will take us all the way to the Debt Ceiling, sometime in Feb, and force Obama to say, "fuckit, fuck you, I'm paying the debts; sue me."

    It will make a hell of a piece of theatre,

    ending in the Supreme Court.

    I just feel sorry for the poor families, whose unemployment will be cut off Jan 1st.

    1. It might encourage them to go find a job?

  37. Numerous temporary business tax breaks expired a year ago or are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. These include a big credit for corporate research, as well as breaks for alternative-energy producers and for banks operating overseas.


    The list of these temporary breaks has grown from a handful in the 1980s to more than 40.

    In theory, Congress could address any of these issues independently of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But there are no signs lawmakers will take them up apart from other major budget legislation.

  38. Women's Logic:

    When you like a guy, do nothing about it and expect him to magically know and make the first move.

  39. Replies
    1. uh oh, the little lady is steaming.

      DRR, My mom, long ago, gave me a little hint about all those erudite folk that you may respect with fancy letters after their names, you know college educated historians, scientists, and the like:

      You get your Bachelor of Science - a BS = Bull Shit
      your MBS = More Bull Shit

      and then with loads of education you get your PhD = Piled Higher and Deeper.

      The folks at BC may not have all them fancy letters, or maybe they do, but the sure do pile it up deep over there.

    2. I see.

      One "silly boy" gets raised to one "little lady"

      Your are an ass. And an incompetent one at that.

      Blow me. Silly Boy.

    3. heh heh, actually I thought your big insult was to call me a girl. Ironic, no?


    4. Your are an ass. And an incompetent one at that.

      Mega-dittos, DRR.

    5. You hear what she called you, Ash? She called you an ass. And an incompetent one at that. She didn't call you adorable. Nor seethy. Nor even steamy. She called you an "incompetent ass".

      Ninner, ninner, ninner, you'll never be a winner


    6. Ohhhh nooooooo! b00bie's piling on too. What's a tater to do?

    7. I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and shit out a smarter statement than that.

    8. :)

      You hear that one, Ash? Sam could take a shit and make more sense than you.


  40. A man in Missouri faces assault charges for allegedly drawing a weapon outside a barber shop and shooting at another customer after an argument about the Sandy Hook massacre.


    Though not fatal, it is the latest example of gun violence since Sandy Hook. A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino, three people were shot in an Alabama hospital and three police officers were killed in incidents in Topeka and Memphis.

  41. Women suffering from breast cancer may benefit from giving their breasts an extra squeeze – literally. According to researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, placing mechanical force on malignant mammary cells can actually reverse their irregular growth process and put them back on track for a normal growth pattern.


    Time-lapse microscopy showed the change in the compressed breast cells over time.
    While their research is compelling, the researchers do not advocate for compression bras or force alone to treat breast cancer.

    Bob, Rufus - I figure we should open up a clinic and offer free service, to promote women's health...

    1. I don' know, man. I think I'd end up spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning up after you know who. I gotta think about it. :)

    2. I don't see the name Ash mentioned. What the hell you talking about, Rufus?

  42. Dear Santa,

    How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? I hope everyone, from the

    reindeer to the elves, is fine. I have been a very good boy this year. I

    would like an X-Box 360 with Call of Duty IV and an iPhone 4 for

    Christmas. I hope you remember that come Christmas Day.

    Merry Christmas,

    Timmy Jones

    * *

    Dear Timmy,

    Thank you for you letter. Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves are all

    fine and thank you for asking about them. Santa is a little worried all the

    time you spend playing video games and texting. Santa wouldn’t want you to

    get fat. Since you have indeed been a good boy, I think I’ll bring you

    something you can go outside and play with.

    Merry Christmas,

    Santa Claus

    * *

    Mr. Claus,

    Seeing that I have fulfilled the “naughty vs. Nice” contract,

    set by you I might add, I feel confident that you can see your way clear to

    granting me what I have asked for. I certainly wouldn’t want to turn this

    joyous season into one of litigation Also, don’t you think that a jibe at

    my weight coming from an overweight man who goes out once a year is a bit



    Tim Jones

    * *

    Mr. Jones,

    While I have acknowledged you have met the “nice” criteria,

    need I remind you that your Christmas list is a request and in no way is it

    a guarantee of services provided. Should you wish to pursue legal action,

    well that is your right. Please know, however, that my attorney’s have been

    on retainer ever since the Burgermeister Meisterburger incident and will be

    more than happy to take you on in open court. Additionally, the exercise I

    alluded to will not only improve your health, but also improve your social

    skills and potentially help clear up a complexion that looks like the

    bottom of the Burger King fry bin most days.

    Very Truly Yours,

    S Claus

    * *

    Now look here Fat Man,

    I told you what I want and I expect you to bring it. I was

    attempting to be polite about this but you brought my looks and my friends

    into this. Now you just be disrespecting me. I’m about to tweet my boys

    and we’re gonna be waiting for your fat ass and I’m taking my game console,

    my game, my phone, and whatever else I want. WHAT EVER I WANT, MAN!


    * *

    Listen Pizza Face,

    Seriously??? You think a dude that breaks into every house in the world on

    one night and never gets caught sweats a skinny G-banger wannabe? “He sees

    you when you’re sleeping; He knows when you’re awake”. Sound familiar,

    genius? You know what kind of resources I have at my disposal I got your

    shit wired, Jack. I go all around the world and see ways to hurt people

    that if I described them right now, you’d throw up your Totino’s pizza roll

    all over the carpet of your mom’s basement. You’re not getting what you

    asked for, but I’m still stopping by your crib to stomp a mud hole in

    your ass and then walk it dry. Chew on that, Petunia.

    S Clizzy

    * *

    Dear Santa,

    Bring me whatever you see fit. I’ll appreciate anything.


  43. After an excitingly hot 69-er with his girlfriend, Jerry suddenly remembered he had a dentist appointment.

    He was worried that the dentist would smell pussy on his breath, so he brushed his teeth 5 times,

    used dental floss 3 times and to be absolutely sure, he gargled a full bottle of mouthwash.

    As he arrived at the dentist he sucked 2 strong mints.

    Feeling confident and relaxed, Jerry got in to the chair and opened his mouth wide.

    The dentist said, "Holy crap, did you have a 69 before you came here"?

    Jerry looked guilty and said, “I'm so sorry, I tried so hard to get rid of any trace. Does my breath smell like pussy”?

    The dentist replied, “No, your forehead smells like shit.”

  44. On this day, NY Mets third baseman David Wright turns 30 years old. The franchise cornerstone last month agreed to an eight-year, $138 million contract, the richest in team history.

  45. My cat Leo has now mastered the art of opening the sliding glass window from both the outside, and the inside!

    Stray ally cats are the smartest cats the world has to offer.

    Now if I could only teach him to close the window behind himself, on entering and exiting, I'd never have to get out of bed again. For his sake, I mean!


    Ray Conniff - "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" & "The Little Drummer Boy" (1963)


  47. Here's the girl for you, Sam. I think she's a surfer. Anyway, she seems to be saying it says in the Constitution that we all must get laid, or something.

    The Greatest Pageant Answer Ever

    1. She must mean the Venezuelan Constitution, cause I can't find it in ours, and I just looked. There is an Amendment procedure, however.


    Flash Mob In Philly