“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, July 04, 2013

“Freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.”

7/4/2013 06:00 AM

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Ben Franklin is much quoted in today’s debate on the trade-off between freedom and security, as we learn about the National Security Agency’s easy access to our phone records and emails.
Yet we Americans have often sacrificed liberty for safety.
In World War II, Korea and Vietnam, we conscripted millions of men and sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths fighting against Italians, Germans, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese.
The greater antagonist of liberty is not the quest for security, but our insatiable demand and inexorable drive for equality — not equality of rights but equality of results.
To equalize incomes the government confiscates 40 percent of the earnings of the most successful Americans and uses that wealth to subsidize the food, health care, housing and income of that half of the nation that pays no income taxes.
A steeply progressive income tax was originally advanced by that great egalitarian Karl Marx.
The federal estate tax is 40 percent for the wealthy. Some states tack on 16 percent. Individuals may spend entire lives acquiring wealth for their progeny. And governments, in the name of equality, will seize half of it on their deaths. Socialism, said Winston Churchill, is the philosophy of envy and gospel of greed.
To guarantee equal pay for equal work, the government has created agencies to monitor the payrolls of every business, agencies empowered to identify, expose and punish employers who might dare to use their economic freedom to reward some workers more than others.
To ensure racial, ethnic and gender equality in the labor force and the front office, the government fields thousands of agents to police the hiring, promotion and dismissal decisions of executives.
Affirmative action and quotas have been imposed on colleges and universities, stripping those institutions of freedom of choice, to advance a greater racial, ethnic and gender equality in student bodies and on faculties than a free and fair competition might produce.
Contract set-asides have been established on which no white male may bid. To make minorities and women more equal, we make others less free.
Freedom of assembly, which produced men’s and women’s clubs and colleges, has been under assault for decades. Only a handful of men’s colleges survive. Even Augusta National Golf Club was forced to conform to the dictates of diversity and equality.
To achieve greater equality in the test scores of Asian, white, Hispanic and black children, enormous sums have been extracted from taxpayers and shoveled into an educational establishment with little to show for it in 50 years. Yet the clamor rises for more billions to achieve this modern form of alchemy.
In a decades-long intrusion on freedom that ignited a social rebellion, children were forcibly bused out of their home neighborhoods across cities to troubled schools to achieve a “racial balance.”
Why? Because it was said that through a process of osmosis, underachievers could attain greater equality with overachievers by having them sit beside one another in classrooms. Parental freedom yielded to social dictation.
“A man’s home is his castle,” was a concept we inherited from English law and proudly adopted as our own. No more. A man’s right to sell or rent his home is restricted by open housing laws.
Owners of hotels, motels, taverns and restaurants can lose their licenses if they conduct their businesses according to personal biases and beliefs.
In the land of the free, such freedom is now illegal.
“If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well,” said Obama in his second inaugural. Thus, homosexual unions will soon have to be treated equally with traditional marriage, though “marriage equality” contradicts Christian teaching.
Our Union was “founded on the principles of liberty and equality,” said Obama. But how could that be when the word “equality” does not appear in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Federalist Papers?
Egalite is rather a founding principle of Robespierre’s revolution, not ours. It is ideological contraband smuggled into America and the enemy of that freedom for which our fathers fought.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal in their God-given rights to life and liberty. Does anyone think that Jefferson, who kept slaves all his life, excoriated Indians in that same Declaration of Independence and spoke of a “natural aristocracy” that Providence had wisely provided to govern us, believed all men and all women were equal in any other way?
In “The Lessons of History,” Will and Ariel Durant wrote: “Leave men free and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917.
“Freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.”
As the Party of Equality triumphs, the Party of Freedom expires.
Happy Independence Day!


  1. .

    Pat is at his hyperbolic best but he does make a number of good points.


  2. .

    Late Wednesday afternoon, the silence from the White House about events in Egypt finally ended. In a statement, President Obama claimed that he is neutral on the question of who controls Egypt but wishes to uphold certain principles. The text contains anodyne proclamations about democracy and the participation of all groups in the government of Egypt that are unexceptionable. But it also clearly states that the president is “deeply concerned” about the ouster of Morsi and the suspension of the Egyptian constitution that brought him to power, calls upon the military not to arrest the deposed leader or other Muslim Brotherhood officials and then pointedly says that he has “directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.”

    In other words, you don’t have to read too closely between the lines to understand that Obama is angrier about regime change in Cairo than he ever was about the Islamist attempt to remake Egypt in their own image.

    President Obama stood by passively for a year as Morsi and the Brotherhood began to seize total power, repress critics and pave the way for a complete transformation of Egypt into an Islamist state without threatening a cutoff of U.S. aid. Now Obama has finally found the guts to use America’s leverage over the country but only to register his protest against the downfall of the Brotherhood.

    It was reported today that Morsi has been taken into custody by the military and that they are currently searching for hundreds of Mulim Brotherhood officials.



  3. Too many deviations from the truth to even bother - after all, it is . . . . . fuck, I can't even bring myself to type the old racist, nazi asshole's name.

  4. The Creed of the United States, was established in its founding document, the Declaration of Independence. The publication of which we celebrate toady, as the birth of the nation.

    In that document, the one that established the legitimacy of the new nation, equality is mentioned.

    Because of this salient fact, one which Patrick intentionally omitted, his case is greatly weakened.

    1. Today, not toady ...

      Man oh man ...

    2. Not to be pedantic, “equality” is not mentioned, “equal” is. It also does not say that there is an aspiration for equality, it says, “, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,” . I take that to mean that that there are two separate factors that made men, those factors are separate but equal. The equal factors are “nature” and the “god of nature” and they are the two things to which men are entitled, the temporal and spiritual world.

      What is more interesting is the term, “Natures’ God.” Why not “God’s nature?”

    3. They were just hypocritical assholes, trying to justify their ownership of slaves.

    4. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ...

      Now, in a nut shell, that is the creed of the United States, the lofty aspirations for which the United States strives. That many of the Founders fell short of those aspirations in their private lives, not surprising. That the American Revolution they began continues to this day, not surprising at all.

      The attempt by government to create equal opportunity, for all Men, has been corrupted by the bean counters. It is nearly impossible to quantify opportunity, much easier to quantify outcomes. So it is outcomes that are used to judge equality of opportunity.

      A flawed system, to be sure, but it is a better system than the government of the United States ignoring the basic creed and principles of the American Revolution.

      As to Nature's God rather than God's nature ...

      The Founder fellas were Deists.
      ... the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge ...

  5. To doug's query in the lst thread ...

    Yes, the fireworks will fly on this Fourth of July, well, the Fifth is when most of the organized celebrations will commence.

    As to the fire on Yarnell Hill, it was not started by man. It was, however, a product of poor forest management.

    The failure of the forest management to have cleared the under brush, for years, caused an accumulation of fuel to build.

    If Mr Obama is serious about finding the root cause of the deaths of those 9 Prescott firemen, he need look no further than the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service and the poor forest management decisions they have made for the past twenty years or so.

    The lightning strike that ignited the fire was an act of nature, the shifting and gale force winds, come with the summer thunder storms and are uncontrollable. The accumulation of tinder dry fuel on the forest floor, a management decision of the Forest Service.


    1. If Mr Obama is serious about finding the root cause of the deaths of those 19 Prescott firemen ...

      Gotta get a proof reader

    2. Last time I checked, that crap was still going on in California.

      ...then there's the matter of the pathetic size of our water bomber force, and the need to let the fire burn up til it meets the rules when the pathetic federal bomber force can be called in.

  6. Morsi’s Fall in Egypt Lauded by Syria’s Assad
    Published: July 4, 2013

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — The jubilation among opponents of Egypt’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood president in Cairo was matched on Thursday in the halls of power in the Syrian capital, Damascus, where President Bashar al-Assad declared that the Egyptian events signified the fall of “political Islam” and a vindication of his government’s fight against the two-year Syrian uprising.

    Even as the Egyptian Army was busy rounding up the Brotherhood’s entire leadership, Syrian state media were quick to seize on an inescapable fact: that the most prominent of the leaders brought to power by a series of Arab popular revolts that inspired the Syrian uprising had met an ignominious downfall, yet Mr. Assad, after becoming practiced at wielding uncompromising force against his opponents, was still standing.

    Mr. Assad, in an interview with the pro-government Al Thawra newspaper, said the fall of Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, proved that Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood were unfit to rule, and drew pointed comparisons to the movement against him in Syria, in which Islamists play a prominent role.

    “Whoever brings religion to use for political or factional interests will fall anywhere in the world,” Mr. Assad said, adding that he was confident that nothing short of foreign military intervention would bring him down.

    “The countries that conspire against Syria have used up all their tools,” he said. “They have nothing left except direct intervention,” he added, calling that step unlikely.

    It was a politically dismaying day for Mr. Assad’s Syrian opponents, as Mr. Morsi has been increasingly vocal supporter of the Syrian uprising.

  7. By a popular uprising and the support of the Egyptian army, an Islamic government is overthrown in Egypt. Sardinia will be next.

    Why is the US supporting Islamists in Syria? Obama will back off in Syria. Other than the usual suspects, the neocons, Israel and the Gulf Arabs there is no popular cry for US involvement in what may see is a lost cause supporting the overthrow of Assad.

    1. Did you, perchance, mean "Anatolia?" :)

    2. : ) I meant Tunisia! I had Sardinia on my mind for other reasons.

    3. More on Sardinia:

    4. I had no idea that Sardinia was such an interesting place. Old Stone Heads, ala, Easter Island, and "Stonehenges." My, my. I've got to learn more about the Minoans (of course, it looks like a lot of that stuff pre-dated them.)

    5. I learned a bunch about the Minoans in college.
      Don't remember a damned thing.

  8. I am certain Erdogan is having his “Bashar Assad who?” moment. I would expect the crowds will be clamoring for a change in Turkey.

    1. 52.8% defined themselves as "a religious person who strives to fulfill religious obligations" (Religious)

      34.3 % defined themselves as ""a believer who does not fulfill religious obligations" (Not religious).

      9.7% defined themselves as "a fully devout person fulfilling all religious obligations" (Fully devout).
      2.3% defined themselves as "someone who does not believe in religious obligations" (Non-believer).
      0.9% defined themselves as "someone with no religious conviction" (Atheist).

      25% of Turks are under the age of 16. It's a very young population.

      And, it seems like the only religion those young people are interested in is the religion of iphone.

    2. The Young Turks (Turkish: Jön Türkler (plural) or Turkish: Genç Türkler (plural), from French: Les Jeunes Turcs) was a secularist Turkish nationalist reform party in the early twentieth century, favoring reformation of the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire. Officially known as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP),[1] their leaders led a rebellion against Sultan Abdul Hamid II.[2] They contributed to establish the Second Constitutional Era in 1908 and The İttihat ve Terakki (Committee of Union and Progress) based on the ideas of the Young Turks ruled the Ottoman empire from 1908 until the end of World War I in November 1918.[3]

      Like other revolutionary societies, the Young Turks had their origins in secret societies of "progressive medical university students and military cadets",[4] driven underground along with all political dissent after the Constitution was abolished by Hamid.[2] CUP favored a re-installation of the short-lived constitution of 1876,[2] written by progressive Midhat Pasha.[5]

      In 1913 the Committee of Union and Progress seized power in a coup. The CUP-led government was headed by Minister of the Interior and Grand Vizier, Mehmed Talaat (1874–1921). Working with him were Minister of War, Ismail Enver (1881–1922) and Minister of the Navy, Ahmed Djemal Pasha (1872–1922). Until German archives were opened,[6] historians treated the Three Pashas' government as a "Dictatorial Triumvirate". Now it appears that the party was rent by internal disagreements and loosely headed by a large number of the party's Central Committee.[7]

      The term "Young Turks" has since come to signify any groups or individuals inside an organization who aggressively pursue liberal or progressive policies, or advocate for reform.[8]

    3. The question is:

      Do they favor the I-Phone or Samsung?

      I have more faith in the young Iranians, tho.

  9. Tax code needs to be more fair less government in our lives

    Owner Cel Financial Services
    IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer
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  10. To little ...
    ... to late?

    Thursday, July 4, 2013
    1:37 PM EDT

    ANKARA, TURKEY—A lawyer says an Istanbul court has annulled a government-backed redevelopment project that ignited widespread protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule last month.

  11. The only way I can figure all this is,

    "history is running away from all power structures, everywhere."

    I'm considering this a Marshall McLuhan moment.

    1. Remember, the "Big Surprise" in our own election was the very large turnout of "Young" Voters.

      It turns out that the "hippies" got the effect right, they just missed the timing by a couple of generations.

    2. But, of course, it wasn't just young people in Tahrir Square; there were a lot of middle-aged men, and women, also.

      And, what was the first thing out of their mouths? Fuel Shortages.

      Egypt has, in just the last couple of years, gone from "oil exporter" to "oil importer."

      And, without oil exports to pay for their "Food Imports," (Egypt imports a little over half of their food) and tourism in the toilet from the "problems," they're in a hell of a mess, and will Be in a hell of a mess, no matter Who is trying to run the show.

    3. I read a report that said that's why the Military wants to hand power off as soon as possible:

      They don't want to be at the Tiller when the really high seas hit.

  12. fourth amendment

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."


    Please enlighten us how looking through internet data for patterns, aka "data mining", violates the fourth amendment.

    1. .

      I assume this post is from the Anonymous I spoke to the other day on this subject. To keep things clear, I will refer to you as Anonymous (A) so as to delineate you from the numerous other Anonymous Anonymi that pass through here. The ‘A’ could represent the first name of current or prior posters here or merely the general term asshole (with apologies to Ash who I would never accuse of lacking the balls to post under his own tag).

      The following should be obvious to anyone who has been following the evolution of this subject in the press; however, in response to your request, I will attempt to ‘enlighten’ you.
      At this point, although it is suspected that the government programs specific to the ‘internet’ are violating the Fourth and First Amendments and Occam’s Razor would suggest that it’s likely true, the only definitive answer is ‘who knows’.

      The term data-mining has been used to cover a number of government collection programs from phone numbers to emails to medical records. In the case of domestic phone number collection, the so-called metadata, the program is obviously a case of government overreach that is also illegal since it is purportedly based on section 215 of the Patriot Act. Yet a reading of 215 clearly shows that the Act does not cover that type of activity.

      However, when it gets to ‘internet’ data it gets a lot more complicated. The Fourth Amendment was originally written to protects against issues like writs of assistance ostensibly used to enforce the Stamp Act under British rule. It centered on a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his own home. However, through the years as technology advanced and life styles changed the interpretation of rights under the Fourth Amendment was expanded through laws and court decisions.

      Court rulings have revolved around issues like reasonable expectations (both personal and the public’s), foreign versus domestic, warrant versus subpoena, public versus private, probable cause versus reasonable expectation. However, SCOTUS reviews have been limited and they have been confined to domestic rather than foreign cases where the assumption is that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply.

      With regard to the NSA internet surveillance programs, the ones that have been in the news lately, what has been referred to as warrantless searches, the government has indicated that their use of these programs is targeted to foreign individuals and entities only and that any ‘vacuuming’ that picks up info on U.S. citizens is accidental and quickly corrected. If this is true, it is probably perfectly legal. However, given recent events one would have to be a credulous fool to not question whether what the government does is the same as what it says it does. How can we ‘trust them’ when in recent testimony they have weasel worded comments, attempted to mislead, and outright lied to the public and to Congress.

      One example is Clapper, the guy who supposedly runs the intelligence apparatus. Every time he opens his mouth, we get a different story. First he lies, he then admits he lied, then he says he didn’t understand the question, then he says he forgot about the NSA metadata program. Next he will be telling us the devil made him do it. This is merely a case of lying liars lying. When you add in the fact that everything is classified secret, that they won’t even tell Congress how they are interpreting the laws Congress passed, all you do is say, ‘Who knows’.

      However, you can certainly suspect. Hopefully, one of the court cases that have been filed on this matter will make it to SCOTUS.


  13. As the Egyptian military effectively declared a coup, overthrowing the elected government of repressive Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, the Obama administration struggled to come up with a coherent strategy to deal with the situation.

    President Obama released a statement on Morsi’s ouster, suggesting that his administration “does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the law.” With those principles in mind, Obama declared himself “deeply concerned” and called for a transition to civilian rule. He refused to state whether the United States would withdraw aid to Egypt, saying only that he had directed a comprehensive review process.

    Simultaneously, the State Department, which issued a mandatory evacuation order to non-essential personnel on Wednesday, said it would not take sides in the Egyptian situation. “We haven’t taken sides and don’t plan to take sides here,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
    In an embarrassing signifier of the level of chaos plaguing the administration, Secretary of State John Kerry called into the top level meetings from a secure phone. According to CBS producer Mosheh Oinounou, Kerry was on the “Isabel” on Wednesday afternoon. Oinounou said that when another CBS producer yelled “Morsi!” to Kerry, she received no response. Oinounou tweeted this photo:

    Later, Oinounou reported that the State Department denies his claim that CBS reporters saw Kerry aboard his yacht; the State Department maintains that Kerry has been working on Egypt “all day."

    Whether Kerry was working all day or not on the strategy, it's clear that confusion reigns at the highest levels. President Obama in Cairo in 2009 decried the "overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government" in the 1950s; when Honduras' military ousted a would-be dictator, the Obama administration originally kicked back before caving. Now, it seems that the administration can’t label the military coup a military coup, and won't label it a democratic movement.

    President Obama isn't even leading from behind at this point, simply because he can't tell which direction is behind.

    1. Nope, Nobody knows "come here" from "sic'em," anymore.

    2. I heard he can't call it a coup, because legally we then cannot send aid.

    3. He's leading with his behind.

      The Egyptians can thank Allah it's not Michelle, as they would all be crushed.

  14. The “Isabel” is Kerry’s yacht.

  15. It has been reported that the Obama Administration has refused the British Government's direct request to set up a cultural program in Washington DC on July 4th. David Cameron's office put out a terse statement decrying the American government's refusal:

    "How dare the American government refuse our right to hold a program for the enrichment of our youth this being the 237th anniversary of the "catastrophe". July 4th, 1776 is a national day in England of mourning the loss of our great lands of the America. How shallow that America refuses our right to teach our history to the children of Washington DC.

  16. My niece reports "Happy Independence day uncle bob I want big hug right now" but makes no statement on Egypt. "I have to get back to work" but requests pics of fireworks.

    Lots of people wanted to get away from the British.


    I think I'll send her a video of the Vegas fire works.


  17. She is Number One on the dreaded "Get Off Your Ass And Do Something" Index.



    1. Apparent Military Coup Puts Obama in Bind on Aid.

      The military ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday places the Obama Administration in a difficult situation: if President Obama accepts that a coup has taken place, U.S. law will force him to cut off American military and economic aid to one of America’s closest Middle East allies.

      Under federal law, U.S. nonhumanitarian aid must be cut off to “the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” The developments in Egypt appear on their face to fit the bill precisely. In the past, the U.S. has cut off aid to Mauritania, Mali, Madagascar and Pakistan following coups.

      “The law is pretty clear,” said Jon Alterman, a Center for Strategic and International Studies scholar, who formerly worked for the policy-planning staff at the U.S. State Department. “This is going to be an issue.”

      At stake is $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt’s military, or about 20% of the funding for the country’s most stable public institution, which removed Morsi from power Wednesday after weeks of escalating protests and demonstrations. Another $250 million in annual economic aid could also be at risk.

      Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, said aid to the Egyptian military should be cut off following the military takeover. “Egypt’s military leaders say they have no intent or desire to govern, and I hope they make good on their promise,” he said. “In the meantime, our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree.”

      The White House and the State Department did not respond Wednesday afternoon to developments in Egypt, though aides say Obama has been regularly briefed on the situation. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to specify earlier Wednesday what would constitute a military coup, though she affirmed the U.S. recognition of Morsi as the democratically elected leader. “I’m not going to speculate,” she said, speaking one hour before Morsi was removed from power. “I’m not going to get ahead of where we are in the process or where things are on the ground.”

      Egyptian military officials have argued that their actions do not constitute a coup. Retired General Sameh Seif el-Yazal said on CNN Wednesday that the ousting of Morsi was not a coup because the military would not take on an enduring role in Egyptian politics.

      There is some precedent for the U.S. government hedging on a legal determination of whether a coup has taken place. In 2009, after the President of Honduras was removed from office, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the event a “coup” at a press conference, but then added, “We are withholding any formal legal determination.” Aid to Honduras was eventually suspended for a time under a different provision of U.S. law.

  18. From Quirk first comment:

    "President Obama stood by passively for a year as Morsi and the Brotherhood began to seize total power, repress critics and pave the way for a complete transformation of Egypt into an Islamist state without threatening a cutoff of U.S. aid. Now Obama has finally found the guts to use America’s leverage over the country but only to register his protest against the downfall of the Brotherhood."

    Barry's Behind is Vacillating.
    Needs a shot of vaseline and a big stick.