“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."

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"9/11 as it entered the American psyche — helped facilitate the locking down of this society in ways that should unnerve us all. The resulting United States of Fear has since engaged in two disastrous more-than-trillion dollar wars and a “Global War on Terror” that shows no sign of ending in our lifetime”.


Paranoia Strikes Deep: A Cowering American still Haunted by Bin Laden’s Ghost (Engelhardt)
Posted on 02/06/2013 by Juan Cole
Tom Engelhardt writes at
Consider Inauguration Day, more than two weeks gone and already part of our distant past.  In its wake, President Obama was hailed (or reviled) for his “liberal” second inaugural address.  On that day everything from his invocation of women’s rights (“Seneca Falls”), the civil rights movement (“Selma”), and the gay rights movement (“Stonewall”) to his wife’s new bangs and Beyoncé’s lip-syncing was fodder for the media extravaganza.  The president was even praised (or reviled) for what he took pains not to bring up: the budget deficit.  Was anything, in fact, not grist for the media mill, the hordes of talking heads, and the chattering classes?
One subject, at least, got remarkably little attention during the inaugural blitz and, when mentioned, certainly struck few as odd or worth dwelling on.  Yet nothing better caught our changing American world.  Washington, after all, was in a lockdown mode unmatched by any inauguration from another era — not even Lincoln’s second inaugural in the midst of the Civil War, or Franklin Roosevelt’s during World War II, or John F. Kennedy’s at the height of the Cold War.
Here’s how NBC Nightly News described some of the security arrangements as the day approached:
“[T]he airspace above Washington… [will be] a virtual no-fly zone for 30 miles in all directions from the U.S. capital.  Six miles of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers will be shut down, with 150 blocks of downtown Washington closed to traffic, partly out of concern for car or truck bombs… with counter-snipers on top of buildings around the capital and along the parade route… [and] detectors monitoring the air for toxins… At the ready near the capital, thousands of doses of antidotes in case of a chemical or biological attack… All this security will cost about $120 million dollars for hundreds of federal agents, thousands of local police, and national guardsmen from 25 states.”
Consider just the money.  It’s common knowledge that, until the recent deal over the renewal of the George W. Bush tax cuts for all but the richest of Americans, taxes had not been raised since the read-my-lips-no-new-taxes era of his father.  That’s typical of the way we haven’t yet assimilated the new world we find ourselves in.  After all, shouldn’t that $120 million in taxpayer money spent on “safety” and “security” for a single event in Washington be considered part of an ongoing Osama bin Laden tax?
Maybe it’s time to face the facts: this isn’t your grandfather’s America. Once, prospective Americans landed in a New World.  This time around, a new world’s landed on us.
Making Fantasy Into Reality
Bin Laden, of course, is long dead, but his was the 9/11 spark that, in the hands of George W. Bush and his top officials, helped turn this country into a lockdown state and first set significant portions of the Greater Middle East aflame.  In that sense, bin Laden has been thriving in Washington ever since and no commando raid in Pakistan or elsewhere has a chance of doing him in.
Since the al-Qaeda leader was aware of the relative powerlessness of his organization and its hundreds or, in its heyday, perhaps thousands of active followers, his urge was to defeat the U.S. by provoking its leaders into treasury-draining wars in the Greater Middle East.  In his world, it was thought that such a set of involvements — and the “homeland” security down payments that went with them — could bleed the richest, most powerful nation on the planet dry.  In this, he and his associates, imitators, and wannabes were reasonably canny.  The bin Laden tax, including that $120 million for Inauguration Day, has proved heavy indeed.
In the meantime, he — and 9/11 as it entered the American psyche — helped facilitate the locking down of this society in ways that should unnerve us all.  The resulting United States of Fear has since engaged in two disastrous more-than-trillion dollar wars and a “Global War on Terror” that shows no sign of ending in our lifetime. (See Yemen, Pakistan, and Mali.)  It has also funded the supersized growth of a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy; that post-9/11 creation, the Department of Homeland Security; and, of course, the Pentagon and the U.S. military, including the special operations forces, an ever-expanding secret military elite cocooned within it.
Given the enemy at hand — not a giant empire, but scattered jihadis and minority insurgencies in distant lands — all of these institutions, which make up the post-9/11 National Security Complex, expanded in ways that would have boggled the minds of previous generations (as would that most un-American of all words, “homeland”).  All of this, in turn, happened in a poisonously paranoid atmosphere in Washington, and much of the rest of the country.


  1. The corruption of Obama is complete.

  2. You give Empty Suit way to much credit.

    He is merely riding the tiger

  3. Today, the heads of ten corporations are meeting with Obama to help him to develop an immigration policy. Any outrage there?

  4. And all those dumbass Americans think they mean anything.

    1. Think of the jobs it would create for the cleaning people trying to get his lingering stench out of the halls of congress.

  5. How about those superbowl commercials.

  6. U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, blasted President Barack Obama today for conducting private meetings at the White House with business leaders and civil rights groups to discuss immigration reform.

    Obama met this morning with labor and civil rights advocates to discuss his push for comprehensive changes to the nation's immigration laws. This afternoon, he met with executives from leading banks and corporations to rally support for his plan to put undocumented residents on a path to citizenship.

    Notable participants include AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, labor and immigration activist Eliseo Medina, and Yahoo! president Marissa Mayer, according to a list of attendees provided by the White House.


    1. The President opens the White House, to both labor and management, brings in the bankers and seeks their input on a new policy direction.

      How allowing such diverse perspectives into the formulation of policy is going to be dismissed as show booating, beats me.

      The AFL-CiO & Goldman Sucks.
      If Obama gets both to sign on ...
      He'll ... Get 'er Done.

    2. .


      Why one fox in the hen house when you can have two?


  7. The White House said Monday that the meetings were part of a coordinated effort to build momentum for Obama's immigration push, introduced by the president during a speech in Las Vegas last week.

    “The President and his team will continue to highlight the importance of comprehensive immigration reform this week, meeting with key stakeholders, CEOs and law enforcement officials to discuss the benefits from an economic and a security perspective while also underscoring the historic progress that has been made when it comes to securing our nation’s\ borders,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.


  8. Here's full list of attendees at today's meetings, as provided by the White House:

    Progressive and Labor Leaders

    Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change

    Marshall Fitz, Center for American Progress

    Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

    Marielena Hincapie, National Immigration Law Center

    Deepa Iyer, NCAPA/SAALT

    Ben Jealous, NAACP

    Cristina Jimenez, United We Dream

    Eliseo Medina, SEIU

    Mee Moua, Asian American Justice Center

    Janet Murguia, National Council of la Raza

    Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum

    Arturo Rodriguez, United Farm Workers

    Frank Sharry, America’s Voice

    Rachel Tiven, Immigration Equality

    Gustavo Torres, Casa de Maryland

    Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO

    Business Leaders

    Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group

    Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions

    Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution LLC

    Joe Echevarria, CEO, Deloitte LLP

    Paul Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm

    Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca Cola Company

    Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa

    Monica Lozano, CEO, Impremedia

    Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo!

    Greg Page, Chairman and CEO, Cargill

    Jeff Smisek, Chairman and CEO, United Continental

    Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International

    1. Closest thing there to a farmer is Greg Page and he is no farmer.

      We're sunk.

      Only thing left to do is move to Vegas, drink all night, IV in the morning.

    2. If Ben Jealous, NAACP, had any brains and was really speaking for black people, he wouldn't be signing on to this shit.

    3. Hey, at least he is publishing an attendee list. Ole dubya refused to do that. Him and his Enron friends would meet and plan.

    4. secret, of course.

  9. Who at the White House is speaking for the working people of this country? Who is speaking for the $15-an-hour legal worker who doesn’t want to lose his job to federally subsidized illegal labor? Who is speaking for the taxpayers who don’t want to burden their children and grandchildren with more debt to provide free federal benefits to the millions of people who are unlawfully present? Who is speaking for the victims of drug cartel violence that could be prevented if the borders were secure?

    This will never be fixed.

  10. No one speaks for them. Duece.

    Certainly not the GOP. Looking at the past two standard bearers makes that perfectly clear. The GOP is represented by multi-millionaires, it does not speak for the 'Average Joe'.

    Gary Johnson spoke for the $15 per hour worker.
    Gary Johnson spoke to the issue of liberty and freedom.
    He got about 3% of the popular vote.

    Have a happy!

    1. Gary Johnson.

      The Ralph Nader of our day.

      Skimmed off enough GOP and Independent voters to ensure an Obama win.

      Thanks to Gary.

    2. Anyone that voted Libertarian in our last, very important election is an idiot.

      About as bright as voting for the Natural Law Party.

    3. And for all we know today it might have been our last important election.

    4. That is jibberish, boobie.

      Both McCain and Romney carried Az.
      Neither won the White House.

      Those who voted for Mr Johnson did not change the outcome.

      I challenge you to name the State where it did.

      Prove that those who voted for Johnson would have otherwise have voted for Romney.

      The preelection polling contradicts your assurtions of Romney carrying the majority of Johnson support.

      I would never have voted for Romney, no matter the opponent.

    5. Ah -

      General Crapper is back to calling names


  11. Paul Krugman comes out for death panels -

    February 6, 2013
    Paying for Obamacare with death panels
    Ethel C. Fenig

    Oh how the liberals laughed when vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R), bursting their feel good we know it all narrative, prophesied Obamacare would lead to death panels by uncaring government bureaucrats to keep it minimally cost effective. But when Nobel Economics Prize winner, Princeton professor professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman predicts the same thing--and throws in higher taxes to pay for it--why these same liberals nod their heads in agreement while simultaneously praising Obamacare for bringing affordable health care to everyone. As Krugman recently admitted in a talk

    "Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising...there is this question of how we're going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give.... .... We're going to need more revenue...Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won't be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes... on the middle class, maybe a value added tax...And we're also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version...which I shouldn't even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this."

    Oh no Professor Krugman, you won't get in trouble for stating the snarky obvious version--you'll just get another honor and praise for speaking courageously. However Sarah Palin, an attractive female Republican moose hunter and non economist, and therefore not credible to liberals for not agreeing with them, got in trouble for bravely stating the truth.

    But in the ongoing Democratic war on women, her non snarky version was mocked because she said it first.

    1. Those three certain things -

      Death panels



    2. Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to take your money and your life.

      At least back in Jack Benny's day the phrase was your money or your life -

      Sorry, all I could find was the audio of this wonderful clip.

  12. Is Raul going wobbly?, or, never trust a man whose first language is Spanish? -

    But already, there is pressure back home on Labrador, even as he has carefully positioned himself a little to the right of Rubio.

    GOP’s Raul Labrador quietly emerging as middleman for immigration reform

    BOISE, IDAHO — Rep. Raul R. Labrador is the only Puerto Rican, Mormon, tea party immigration lawyer in Congress, which the Idaho Republican figures makes him the perfect bridge between hard-line GOP resistance to an immigration overhaul and the urgent sense among Democrats that the November election won them a free hand on the issue.

    Labrador spent his first two years on Capitol Hill earning and burnishing a reputation as not just a “no” but a “hell no” vote on nearly every spending and fiscal bill that came across his desk.

    But on immigration, he is seeking a different role.

  13. Real life: Hitchhiker with a hatchet saves woman from rampaging, murderous lunatic
    posted at 9:01 pm on February 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

    Fuckin' Kai fuckin' saved woman, was there cause hitchen', hatchet the bad guy good, lookin' for surf work or somethn'.......

    Time to say:


    1. Fuckin' modern American hero, he is, one must admit.

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  15. One must say the democrats are always creative in their endeavours -

    Own a gun? Time to buy violence liability insurance, California Democrats say

    Published February 06, 2013

    Associated Press

    Read more:

    1. Following that out, now that the government can force us to buy insurance, why not felony insurance? Why not assault and battery insurance? That way if someone beats the crap out of you, at least they got a pocket with some insurance money in it that you can attach.

  16. Guy is a great pick for Barky.

    A bootlicking incompetent Fudd with a blank stare in the pocket of the arabs with a chip on his shoulders for Jews.

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  17. In the days of the Ottoman Empire, British diplomats referred to the Arabic-speaking territories of the empire as “Turkish Arabia.” It was these Arabic-speaking lands that Britain and France, in the aftermath of the First World War, divided into the modern Arab states we know today: Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. Those arbitrary colonial boundaries have endured for the better part of a century, but the people within them have never fully acknowledged the legitimacy of the lines that British and French officials drew for them.

    I was going to mention this when the gentleman from Arizona was saying Israel was such an artificial creation of the European powers.

    February 6, 2013

    defining ideas

    The Coming War in the Middle East

    by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburn (contributor to the working group on Islamism and the international order)
    Imagine a sectarian conflagration, fueled by Al Qaeda, raging across the Fertile Crescent.

  18. Interesting, Mark Levin is calling for state defiance of federal law! Love it.

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  19. His point is that Obama defies federal law, the courts and the constitution, why not the states?

  20. I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
    In Dixie Land I'll take my stand
    to live and die in Dixie.
    Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
    Away, away, away down south in Dixie

    1. .

      Not if you were retired.

      Just saw a study showing the 10 Worst Places to Retire primarily based on services, crime, healthcare, and I think taxes. If you consider Tennessee and Kentucky the south, then all 10 states were in the south.


    2. Doubting the taxes part.

      Lexington might be OK to retire. If one has the big house. And if one were a horse commanding a big stud fee, well then......

      Everything else I've seen in the south looks like a big trailer park. And humid, too.

  21. Of course Levin loves Lincoln. Politics does make strange bed fellows, almost as strange as Lincoln’s and his young officer bedmates.

    1. Slander, innuendo, gossip, insinuation, aspersion, rumor, character assassination.....


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  22. Lincoln lives in the hearts of the people. Lenin doesn't even have a town named after him any longer.

    And Levin is right, we ought to just ignore any further federal edicts.

  23. I was thinking if the CSA has survived, Utah might have gone for slavery. They were down on the blacks, until fairly recently too, until the President had another revelation in private session.

    1. The President being of course the Pres of the Mormon Church, who goes periodically into seclusion, or semi-seclusion, and comes back with a whole new way of thinking bout shit. Number of wives, race relations, women and the vote, that sort of thing.

      This may all just be for public consumption however, in accordance with their doctrine of getting along with the powers that be, until the day......

  24. Just for Deuce -

    The Glory is not forgotten.


    2. Here's a good one -

      The Charlie Daniels Band