“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."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Do these politicians think they are cool, tough, have street cred or are they just suffering from an anti-social behavioral disorder, calling themselves a “gang?” A Gang of Eight. These are supposed to be legislating our laws and representing the voters of their states and refer to themselves in terms reserved for criminals.

Gang Of Eight Immigration Bill Being Crafted, But Senators Remain Quiet

WASHINGTON -- The eight senators meet in private several times a week, alternating between Sen. John McCain's and Sen. Charles Schumer's offices. They sit in arm chairs arranged in a circle and sip water or soft drinks as they debate temporary workers and border security. In a capital riven by partisanship and gridlock, they are determined to be the exception and actually get something done.
This is immigration reform's "Gang of Eight." With them lies the best hope in years for overhauling the nation's byzantine immigration laws - and they know it. That's partly why they are, by all accounts, working amazingly well together as a self-imposed deadline approaches for their sweeping legislation to be released. The progress is happening even though the group includes some of the Senate's most outsized personalities, failed and prospective presidential candidates, one lawmaker dogged by scandal and another facing a potential re-election challenge that could be complicated by his stance on immigration.
"I tell you what, this is one of the best experiences I've had. Everybody's serious, everybody's knowledgeable, they've been around the issue," said Sen. Lindsey Graham-R-S.C., who's up for re-election next year and facing a potential GOP primary challenge from the right. He said it's "sort of what I came up here to do - sit down with serious people to solve serious and hard problems."
In addition to McCain, R-Ariz., Schumer, D-N.Y., and Graham, the gang includes Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential 2016 presidential candidate; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who's battling allegations related to prostitution and his ties to one of his donors.
They meet for an hour or an hour-and-a-half at a time on days when the Senate is in session. No reporters stake out these meetings and aides stand or sit in the background, behind their bosses. They're assiduous about avoiding leaks and tight-lipped on the details of how their talks are going.
"I'm guardedly optimistic," McCain almost invariably says when asked.
What Is a Gang? Definitions

There is no universally agreed-upon definition of "gang" in the United States. Gang, youth gang and street gang are terms widely and often interchangeably used in mainstream coverage. Reference to gangs often implies youth gangs. In some cases, youth gangs are distinguished from other types of gangs; how youth is defined may vary as well.
Motorcycle gangs, prison gangs, hate groups, adult organized crime groups, terrorist organizations and other types of security threat groups are frequently but not always treated separately from gangs in both practice and research.

Official definitions
Federal definition. The federal definition of gang as used by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is [1]:
  1. An association of three or more individuals;
  2. Whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity, which they use to create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation, frequently by employing one or more of the following: a common name, slogan, identifying sign, symbol, tattoo or other physical marking, style or color of clothing, hairstyle, hand sign or graffiti;
  3. Whose purpose in part is to engage in criminal activity and which uses violence or intimidation to further its criminal objectives.
  4. Whose members engage in criminal activity or acts of juvenile delinquency that if committed by an adult would be crimes with the intent to enhance or preserve the association's power, reputation or economic resources.
  5. The association may also possess some of the following characteristics:
    1. The members may employ rules for joining and operating within the association.
    2. The members may meet on a recurring basis.
    3. The association may provide physical protection of its members from others.
    4. The association may seek to exercise control over a particular geographic location or region, or it may simply defend its perceived interests against rivals.
    5. The association may have an identifiable structure.
Both the Department of Justice and ICE have distinct definitions for transnational organized crime and gangs. The federal definition of gangs excludes drug trafficking organizations, terrorist organizations, traditional organized crime groups, such as La Cosa Nostra, and groups that fall within the Department of Justice's definition of transnational organized crime.


  1. Gang rape, drug gangs, gang wars, street gang, gang related, gang colors, gang warfare, gang violence, gang banger, a group of persons working to unlawful or antisocial ends; esp: a band of antisocial adolescents 2: a group of persons having informal and usu. close social relations.”

    "bad person, evil person, no saint, sinner, hardened sinner, limb of Satan, Antichrist, evildoer, fallen angel, backslider, recidivist, lost sheep, lost soul... one without morals, immoralist reprobate, scapegrace, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well, black sheep, scallywag, scamp, rake...profligate, libertine, wanton, hussy, loose woman..., outcast, dregs, riffraff, trash, white trash, scum, object of scorn..."

    When the word “gang” is mentioned, we cringe, we become scared, we look for a cop.

    What a gang of assholes.

  2. Replies
    1. This is confusing. A core value of a democracy is that it fosters open debate and compromise but the only time the US Senate can get anything done is behind closed doors and in secret sessions. Is there something wrong with this picture?

      it is amazing how cooperative the elites of both parties can be when conspiring to advance the economic interests of the upper class at the expense of all other citizens. I can think of no other issue on which the difference between elite opinion and that of ordinary citizens is greater than on the issue of immigration. Perhaps that is because unlimited immigration generally benefits the elites while harming the interests of most other citizens. It is interesting that push polls--encouraging respondents to give the "right' answer--are now being used in behalf of legalizing immigrants. Polls that ask direct questions--e.g. are you more in favor of providing citizenship to immigrants or more in favor of enforcing current immigration laws--show large majorities in favor of enforcement. Most citizens do understand where their intersts lie. Unfortunately, the elites also understand where their interests lie, and they are the ones making the decisions. The end result will be a disaster for most people in this country. No wonder the "Gang of Eight" is meeting surreptitiously. Democracy in action!

  3. Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq claimed an attack on a convoy in west Iraq that killed 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi guards, in a statement posted on jihadist forums on Monday.

    The soldiers, who were wounded and received treatment in Iraq, were being transported through the western province of Anbar on their way back to Syria when the attack took place on March 4, according to the Iraqi defence ministry.

    But the ministry blamed the attack on a "terrorist group that infiltrated into Iraqi territory coming from Syria."

    The statement on jihadist forums said that Islamic State of Iraq fighters were able to destroy a column of "the Safavid army with its associated vehicles" carrying "members of the Nusairi army and Syrian regime 'shabiha.'"

    Safavid is a word implying Shiites are under Iranian control, while Nusairi is a derogatory term for Alawites, the sect to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs, and shabiha is a name used for Syrian pro-regime militia forces.

    Baghdad has consistently avoided joining calls for the departure of Assad, against whom rebels are battling, instead saying it opposes arming either side and urging an end to the violence that has ravaged Syria for the past two years, leaving at least 70,000 people dead.

    But the deadly ambush in its territory threatens to entangle Iraq in the Syrian conflict.

    Baghdad is caught between conflicting pressures over Syria -- its powerful eastern neighbour, Shiite Iran, backs Assad's regime, while the United States and many Arab states want the Syrian president to bow to opposition demands and step down.

    The March 4 ambush was not, however, the first time the conflict has crossed the border into Iraq.

    US officials have also repeatedly called on Iraq to stop allowing overflights by Iranian planes that Washington says are being used to transport weapons to Assad's forces.

    On March 3, the Syrian National Council, a key opposition group, alleged that Iraq "gave political and intelligence support to the Syrian regime."

    And like other countries bordering Syria, Iraq has seen the arrival of a flood of refugees fleeing the conflict -- more than 109,000, according to the United Nations, most of whom are located in northern and western Iraq.

  4. It is sad, that history is written by the winners. Imagine if we were told the truth. The more this Syrian conflict goes on, the more desperate the US, UK and France will get. No wonder, they probably have the Saudis calling them every day, complaining about the large payments, yet no results in the ground.

    The longer it goes, the more lies will surface as well, the only sad thing is the plight of the millions of Syrians, whose life had been uprooted by this fake, western and gulf sponsored 'revolution'.

    However I think those jihadis, who want to send Syria back to the middle ages, will get a reality shock. I do not think any right minded Syrians want to be ruled by sharia law or see their wives confined to the 24 hour house duties.

    1. "I do not think any right minded Syrians want to be ruled by sharia law or see their wives confined to the 24 hour house duties."

      Maybe not but when your womenfolk get hounded (and worse) while out in public, when the men get beat down or killed as examples, they often "submit".

    2. Safety and security become paramount issues.

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  6. Do they actually refer to themselves as a gang or is it a media term?

  7. Gang of Four

    The Gang of Four (simplified Chinese: 四人帮; traditional Chinese: 四人幫; pinyin: Sìrén bāng) was the name given to a political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and were subsequently charged with a series of treasonous crimes. The members consisted of Mao Zedong's last wife Jiang Qing, the leading figure of the group, and her close associates Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen.
    The Gang of Four effectively controlled the power organs of the Communist Party of China through the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution, although it remains unclear which major decisions were made through Mao Zedong and carried out by the Gang, and which were the result of the Gang of Four's own planning.
    The Gang of Four, together with disgraced Communist general Lin Biao, were labeled the two major "counter-revolutionary forces" of the Cultural Revolution and officially blamed by the Chinese government for the worst excesses of the societal chaos that ensued during the ten years of turmoil. Their downfall in a coup d'état on October 6, 1976, a mere month after Mao's death, brought about major celebrations on the streets of Beijing and marked the end of a turbulent political era in China.