“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 02, 2012

The simple solution is for House Republicans to announce that they are enacting their version of the Balanced Budget Amendment by permanently foregoing any increases in the national debt.

As limited government fans ponder where we go next, here is my advice; forget fantasizing about woulda, coulda, shoulda, and how we can revolutionize our approach to government.    

The simple solution is for House Republicans to announce that they are enacting their version of the  Balanced Budget Amendment by permanently foregoing any increases in the national debt.    

If they do so, as long as the Republicans control the House (or Senate),  the executive branch will be forced to eliminate incremental borrowing when the debt limit is reached.   So the federal government will immediately stop borrowing thirty cents of every dollar spent.    

At a four trillion dollar annual spend rate, this will force an  immediate reduction in 1.2 trillion dollar of annual deficit spending.   Republicans should make a Contract with America to force a balanced budget by this approach.    Government spending will plummet below current levels, and the interest rate on the national debt will stay low because there will now be a limited supply of US bonds.   

In the absence of a growing supply, the competition for those that already exist will make them more valuable and therefore a smaller interest rate will be sufficiently interesting to keep buyers in the market.   

The Republicans can say, we are willing to permit an increase after the Constitution is amended to allow a state vote to add a Balanced Budget Amendment, but only after the amendment is voted out of Congress and states choose to ratify or not.  We don’t need a revolution, we just need Speaker Boehner to say no to new debt. 

- Citizen  


  1. "Jes Say No."

    Why didn't We think of that?


  2. Reminds me of that old joke, the punch line of which is

    I'd wake up my co-driver.

    You'd wake up your co-driver? Why would you do that?

    'cause he ain't never seen no wreck like we're getting ready to have. :)

  3. Back to coinage.
    That $Trillion dollar platnium


  4. Standing+Wolf

    They live in a utopian dream world where they ignore the consequences of their actions.

    (((Utopianism is the opiate of the other side of the IQ bell curve.)))

    CPUSA and Obama Voters: Perfect Together


    And, in case you missed her, the steamy Sarah on the prowl --

    Good ol' Sarah!

    Talking about Benghazi.

    BobSun Dec 02, 02:19:00 AM EST

    First half about Benghazi, second half about 'the cliff'.

    "We went over the cliff a long time ago."

    BobSun Dec 02, 02:23:00 AM EST

    By God, isn't she something! And nice to look at and listen to as well.


    Nifty art of the elephant on the tightrope over the cliff, deuce.

  5. Constitutional amendment? Good luck with that!

    Watching the Egyptian experience trying to create a new constitution and I wonder what it would be like in the US if America were trying to write a new constitution. In particular I wonder how similar the Christians would be to the Islamists in insisting that the good book form the basis of the document.

    1. You are a goddamned and irritating fool.

    2. LOL, and what would that make you?

      You don't think that the majority, or a near majority, of Americans think that Christianity forms the basis of what America is?

    3. .

      Easy, Bob.

      You have to realize Ash comes from an academic background.

      Forgive him, for he knows not what he does.

      The PC View

      When a guy is raised in that kind of environment, what can you expect?


    4. You are a goddamned fool, Ash. Around Thanksgiving we had a long discussion of the early and heavy influence of Christianity and Judaism in the forming of this country.

      All you are is continually irritating. A nitwit that has convinced himself that he is bright.

    5. I am curious, Quirk, as to how that link relates to anything I've said. Could you expand please? Have I advocated censoring speech here as I don't believe I have since I am committed to ones right to express oneself even if what is expressed is wrong.

      Bob, it pleases me that I irritate you. Yes, I saw that discussion regarding the influence of religion in the forming of the Constitution and it is interesting that they adopted a Constitution that severely limits the influence of government on religion. Given the politics in the US today I'm not convinced that a similar secular constitution would be created.

    6. .

      I meant it as an object lesson for you, Ash (and as a gratuitous swipe). :)

      It relates to what you have said in the same manner that criticism of the Palestineans relates to pedophile priests.

      I'm sure you remember our discussion on that.

      That was my initial intent; however, the more I think of it there is a broader relevance. You constantly confuse religion with morality and values. While religion can form a framework for developing that morality and value system, it is not a requirement. I would suggest that confusion is the result of the environment you were raised in.

      You talk of religious versus secular influences but you seemingly fail to realize that any law is built on some form of value system, on some moral ground or lack therof.

      When you speak of secular, I suspect what you mean is, something you believe in.

      I mentioned The Brave New World yesterday. When it was written it was meant to be a parody of the 'utopian' writings of the many prominant writers of the time. Unfortunately, IMO, like so many parodies much of it has come true.

      As for the Constitution, I would disagree with you. I'd suspect, if anything, it would provide less religious freedom. We have already seen the coursening of society and that perp walk towards the brave new world.



    7. .

      I should have qualified the last sentence to

      "In the last half century, we have already seen..."


    8. I agree that if a Constitution were produced in the US today it would provide less religious freedom but it would bias the religions toward Christianity as opposed to the current Constitution which is secular, as in, not specifically referring to a particular religion.

      I do not believe that religion is necessary to form credible morals and values. I'm not sure what confusion you see there.

      I see the Pedophile Priest analogy has you bothered, again, so let me re-iterate the logic for you:

      If you condemn all of Islam for the actions of the radical Jihadists then you should, and probably with more intellectual credibility given the Priests role in Catholic religion, also condemn all Catholics for the actions of the pedophile priests.

      In fact I think neither group should be condemned for the actions of a minority of them but that seems to have gone over your head.

    9. to further expand upon:

      "I do not believe that religion is necessary to form credible morals and values. I'm not sure what confusion you see there."

      Many folk, however, disagree with the above statement and that would be particularly true of Religious people, whether Christian or Islamic. They fail to see how a credible moral and value system could be achieved without the fundamentalism of Religion. I think we are seeing this in the Middle East where the Islamists insist that Islam be noted as the source, the basis, for the constitution being created. I think many of the Religious folk in the US would make a similar argument today that Christianity is the historical source for Americas moral and values and thus should be referenced in the constitution. Fortunately that debate is not happening and the hurdle is very high to amend the present constitution so I don't think we will see the debate anywhere in the near future.

    10. .

      Pardon my confusion, Ash.

      You're clarification on the Islam/Priest issue was helpful. And I have to say, it provides a lot more clarity, to me, than either your initial statement or the explanation you previously provided. Given you latest clarification, and the studies I linked to previously showing that the percentage of priests involved in the practice mirrors the population in general and is multiple times less than in some industries such as academia, I would expect we will hear less from you on the subject in the future.

      As for the secular/Christian issue, after re-reading your initial post, I have to bow to you on that subject. I agree that a certain percentage (not a majority) of Christians would push for a more dominant role for Christianity within any new constitution.

      However, I still feel it would be a wasted effort on their part since the majority of Americans including major religious groups (Christian and otherwise) would reject the idea.


    11. All the mainstream Protestant denominations would reject the idea. In Lutherland, we pray for our leaders, and leave it at that. Religion is a rainbow, and we are just one color in it, is our outlook. The United States is a rainbow, and the religious are one color in that. We fully support the separation of church and state.

  6. December 2, 2012
    Obama wants $255 billion stimulus to offset his tax increases on the rich
    Rick Moran

    No - this is not a joke. The president is absolutely serious.

    Acknowledging that his tax increase on the wealthy will slow economic activity, the president wants $255 billion in new spending.

    Read more:

  7. I can't stand people who park their money overseas -

    Liberals blast Susan Rice's 'outrageous' investments in Canadian pipeline firm
    By Julian Pecquet - 11/30/12 10:48 AM ET

    A liberal group launched an online petition Friday demanding that potential secretary of State nominee Susan Rice divest herself of “every dollar of stock” in the Canadian company seeking approval for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations owns between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada Corp. stock, according to her financial disclosure forms. The pipeline needs approval from the State Department before it can go forward.

    The revelation has opened Rice up to criticism from environmentalists at a time when several Senate Republicans have vowed to oppose her because of her early statements about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

    hmmm, on the other hand, having a financial interest in the affair, she might just sign off on the project, the hell with Obama. It only lacks the Secretary of State's signature now, I read.


    1. Was just funnin'. Doesn't bother me. And, if the teachers unions and the University of California want to invest with Bain, that's cool too.

  8. The internet is truly amazing. I just found a declassified document on one of the project s that I worked on called the 440L program:


    Document 12: State Department Airgram to U.S. Embassy Rome, CA-6065, "Project Clear Sky", 26 February 1968

    Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, U.S. Department of State, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1967-1969, file DEF 18-8 US

    This message discloses AFTAC's plans to upgrade its nuclear test detection capabilities by using a new technological development. The means described, ionospheric detection, developed as a result of Over-the-Horizon Forward Scatter Radar, or 440-L radar, developed during the 1960s to detect missile launches from Chinese or Soviet territory. Not actually radar, 440L was a series of high frequency radio transmitters and receivers on either side of the Sino-Soviet landmass producing continuous signals which bounced between the ionosphere and the surface of the earth until reaching the receiving stations. Any disturbances in the pattern indicated missiles penetrating the ionosphere. As this airgram suggests, because atmospheric nuclear tests influenced the signals produced by 440L transmitters, AFTAC quickly added forward scatter to its bag of nuclear detection techniques.

    As the U.S. Air Force had established a 440L site at Aviano Air Base in Italy, AFTAC wanted to co-locate additional equipment there to upgrade its capabilities. When employed jointly, equipment used for detecting low frequency phase anomaly, atmospheric fluorescence, and changes in the magnetic field would make the ionospheric detection network "more effective." AFTAC, however, could not deploy 440L technology unnoticed and would have to conduct special surveys to identify the most suitable area.


    You had to love the Cold War. I was fortunate to have one of the coolest jobs ever!

  9. It all happened so long ago, that it seems as unreal as a dream. Something quite nostalgic at seeing it in writing on documents that I never saw and knowing all the things that never got documented.

  10. In fact by the time that this memo written, we had sites in Cyprus, Larisa, Greece, Spain, Brindisi in Southern Italy, RAF Lakenheath near Cambridge and Kassel Germany. We had transmitting site in Okinawa and the Philippines.

    They refer to a nuclear detection capability but no details of a Chinese test at Lop Nor that scared the living shit out of a few generals at NORAD. We were all Marlboro men that night.

  11. Not many people understand the ongoing effect of two world wars, local shooting wars and a protracted cold war. All that is happening now is a direct result of what happened in the 20th century, and the 19th, and the 18th-all the way back to the beginning.

    It's a continuum, a cascade of cause and effect events all with a common thread, continuously unraveling since mankind first pull.

  12. This has the odor of determinism, the bad breathe of Allah's will, the shifting of the stars.

    What is the content of the common thread?

  13. The common thread at the Elephant Bar is like the loose thread on a garment, keep pulling it and you will not be sure where it ends.

    1. Why hell, there ain't nothin' to it, really. You can go to town Saturday night and sleep in the gutter Sunday, or you can stay in the bunkhouse Saturday night and go to town to Church on Sunday. It's up to you. The stars got nothin' to do with it. They'll twinkle just the same. You can treat the horse kind, or you can abuse 'em. You can treat the women right, or you can abuse 'em. You can treat you neighbors right, or you can abuse 'em. It's up to you.

      That Marx fella predicted the great proletarian revolution was comin' to an industrial country like Germany, or France or maybe England. Happened in Russia, where most folks had pitchforks and scyths for the hay and wheat.
      Dialectical materialism and determinism is the devil's workshop.


    2. You ever hear of that quantum uncertainty thing? Even the quantums make choices, some how. I think. Never know what they are gonna do, I read.


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  15. A poem
    posted at 2:01 pm on December 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

    Ostensibly from a newspaper clipping deep in the past, but I have no way of knowing. In any event, a political holiday poem, submitted without comment. (Though yours are most certainly invited.)


    Father must I go to work?
    No my lucky son
    We're living on easy street
    On dough from Washington

    We've left it up to Uncle Sam
    So don't get exercised
    Nobody has to give a damn -
    We've all been subsidized

    But if Sam treats us all so well
    And feeds us milk and honey,
    Please, Daddy, tell me what the hell
    He's going to use for money?

    Don't worry, bub, there's not a hitch
    In this here noble plan -
    Se simply soaks the filthy rich
    And helps the common man

    But, father, won't there come a time
    When they run out of cash
    And we have left them not a dime
    When things will go to smash?

    My faith in you is shrinking, son
    You nosy little brat;
    You do to damn much thinking, son
    To be a democrat

    Friday, November 14, 1949

    after Truman's pie for everybody speech