“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, August 19, 2013

Are the interests of the state apparatus and the country indistinguishable? (You know my answer)

Are Manning and Snowden patriots? That depends on what we do next.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Published: August 16 E-mail the writer

Washington Post   

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”
Are Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden traitors or patriots? With Manning in jail and Snowden the subject of a global APB, the Obama administraYet for the rest of us, the question presumes a prior one: To whom do Army privates and intelligence contractors owe their loyalty? To state or to country? To the national security apparatus that employs them or to the people that apparatus is said to protect?
Those who speak for that apparatus, preeminently the president, assert that the interests of the state and the interests of the country are indistinguishable. Agencies charged with keeping Americans safe are focused on doing just that. Those who leak sensitive information undermine that effort and therefore deserve to feel the full force of law.
But what if the interests of the state do not automatically align with those of the country? In that event, protecting “the homeland” serves as something of a smokescreen. Behind it, the state pursues its own agenda. In doing so, it stealthily but inexorably accumulates power, privilege and prerogatives.
Wars — either actual hostilities or crises fostering the perception of imminent danger — facilitate this process. War exalts, elevates and sanctifies the state. Writing almost a century ago, journalist Randolph Bourne put the matter succinctly: “War is the health of the state.” Among citizens, war induces herd-like subservience. “A people at war,” Bourne wrote, “become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them.”
Bourne’s observation captures an essential theme of recent U.S. history. Before the Good War gave way to the Cold War and then to the open-ended Global War on Terror, the nation’s capital was a third-rate Southern city charged with printing currency and issuing Social Security checks. Several decades of war and quasi-war transformed it into today’s center of the universe. Washington demanded deference, and Americans fell into the habit of offering it. In matters of national security, they became if not obedient, at least compliant, taking cues from authorities who operated behind a wall of secrecy and claimed expertise in anticipating and deflecting threats.
Popular deference allowed those authorities to get away with murder, real and metaphorical. Benefits accruing to the country proved mixed at best, and the expertise claimed by those inside the Beltway did not automatically translate into competence. If doubts on that score persisted, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the mismanaged wars that followed ought to have demolished them.
Yet in Washington such setbacks, however costly or catastrophic, make little impression. The national security state has a formidable capacity to absorb, forget and carry on as if nothing untoward had transpired. The already forgotten Iraq war provides only the latest example.
Critics and outsiders are not privy to the state’s superior knowledge; they are incapable of evaluating alleged threats. Here is the mechanism that confers status on insiders: the control of secrets. Their ownership of secrets puts them in the know. It also insulates them from accountability and renders them impervious to criticism.
In such a mechanism, Bourne observed, “dissent is like sand in the bearings.” The metaphor is singularly apt. In the realm of national security, dissent matters only when it penetrates the machine’s interior. Only then does the state deem it worthy of notice.
To understand this is to appreciate the importance of what Manning and Snowden have done and why their actions have produced panic in Washington. Here is irrefutable evidence of dissent penetrating the machine’s deepest recesses. Thanks to a couple of tech-savvy malcontents, anyone with access to the Internet now knows what only insiders were supposed to know.
By taking technology that the state employs to manufacture secrets and using it to make state secrecy impossible, they put the machine itself at risk. Forget al-Qaeda. Forget Iran’s nuclear program. Forget the rise of China. Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist.
In the eyes of the state, Manning and Snowden — and others who may carry on their work — can never be other than traitors. Whether the country eventually views them as patriots depends on what Americans do with the opportunity these two men have handed us.


  1. Unlike most everyone else in Washington, Ron Paul tells the truth, on Snowden, Egypt and Iran.

    Mind our own business.

  2. The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours
    on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

    David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

    The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.

    Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

  3. Glenn Greenwald: detaining my partner was a failed attempt at intimidation

    Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.

    This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

    If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world - when they prevent the Bolivian President's plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today - all they do is helpfully underscore why it's so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.

  4. Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president overthrown in an uprising in 2011, will be released from jail in the next 48 hours after a prosecutor cleared him in a corruption case, his lawyer has said.

    Fareed el-Deeb was speaking after judicial authorities ordered the release of Mubarak in one of the remaining corruption cases against him.

    The only legal grounds for Mubarak's continued detention rest on another corruption case that will be cleared up later this week, Deeb said.

    "All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week," Deeb said.

    Mubarak, 85, still faces a retrial on charges of complicity in the murder of protesters during the 2011 revolt.

    1. Now they need to make Mubarak some kind of figurehead adviser to Sisi.

    2. A contrary opinion -

      >>>August 19, 2013
      Mubarak's lawyer says he will be released soon

      Rick Moran

      Bad move, guys. Mubarak is about as popular as rat poison and I imagine many Egyptians who otherwise might support the government against the Muslim Brotherhood will not take kindly to his release.

      Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president overthrown in an uprising in 2011, will be released from jail soon after a prosecutor cleared him in a corruption case, his lawyer and a judicial source said on Monday.

      Mubarak, 85, was arrested after he was ousted. In scenes that mesmerized Arabs, the former leader appeared in a court-room cage during his trial on charges that ranged from corruption to complicity in the murder of protesters.

      More than a year on, the only legal grounds for Mubarak's continued detention rest on another corruption case which his lawyer, Fareed el-Deeb, said would be settled swiftly.
      "All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week," Deeb told Reuters.

      Without confirming that Mubarak would be freed, a judicial source said the former leader would spend another two weeks behind bars before judicial authorities made a final decision in the outstanding case against him.

      Mubarak, along with his interior minister, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of protesters in the revolt that swept him from power.
      He still faces a retrial in that case after appeals from the prosecution and defense, but this would not necessarily require him to stay in jail. Mubarak did not appear at a hearing in the case on Saturday. He was also absent from Monday's proceedings.

      Can Mubarak escape justice? With the military pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is doubtful the former dictator will see the inside of a jail cell. The young, especially, will not like the idea of letting Mubarak off the hook. They drove the initial protests that topped him and were the most vocal about trying him for the 800 deaths that resulted from the Arab Spring protests.

      If the young turn from the government, that would only complicate the situation and might even generate some sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. Needless to say, Mubarak is better off in prison for everyone concerned.<<<

  5. The US has deteriorated into an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations. Snowden and Manning rocked the boat and will pay the price for doing so.

    1. You exaggerate. A Judge just threw out 'stop and frisk'. What kind of 'authoritarian state' is that?

      The part about 2000 corporations is simple non sense.

      You part of Occupy?

    2. Actually, the judge didn't "throw out" stop and frisk. She merely said, in a nutshell, that they were going to have to S&F a few white folks while they were at it.

    3. Well, OK, you may be right.

      Still, it's some authoritarian state where you have to frisk everybody equally.

      So far, I've never been stopped and frisked. How about you, Rufus?

      Anybody here been stopped and frisked?

      Except Quirk of course.

      And out this way we don't allow drones in police work.

      And, the rules of evidence in Court still fully apply in my neck of the woods, along with the other basic protections.

  6. Condi Rice: "The Russia of today is a diminished power. It still has nuclear weapons. It still has a security council veto. But it is, on any given day, the 14th, 15th, or 16th largest economy in the world, in a world in which economic power matters."

    When American gay advocacy groups recently considered boycotting Russian goods over Putin’s homophobia, they were unable to identify a popular Russian good worth boycotting. Stolichnaya vodka was considered — but no, it’s not Russian

  7. Faux Noise: "Egyptian judicial officials have ordered former President Hosni Mubarak freed from jail, a stunning turnaround for the 85-year-old strongman who ruled the nation for three decades before being ousted in a popular revolution. . ."

  8. Lord Byron Fights The Turk, Leaves His Heart In Greece


    Byron was living in Genoa when, in 1823, while growing bored with his life there, he accepted overtures for his support from representatives of the movement for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.[43] With the assistance of his banker and Captain Daniel Roberts, Byron chartered the Brig Hercules to take him to Greece. On 16 July, Byron left Genoa arriving at Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands on 4 August. His voyage is covered in detail in Sailing with Byron from Genoa to Cephalonia.[44]

    Byron historian Donald Prell, wrote of a coincidence in Byron's chartering the Hercules. The vessel was launched only a few miles south of Seaham Hall, where in 1815 Byron married Annabella Milbanke. Between 1815 and 1823 the vessel was in service between England and Canada. Suddenly in 1823, the ship's Captain decided to sail to Genoa and offer the Hercules for charter.

    Byron spent £4000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet, then sailed for Missolonghi in western Greece, arriving on 29 December, to join Alexandros Mavrokordatos, a Greek politician with military power. During this time, Byron pursued his Greek page, Lukas Chalandritsanos, but the affections went unrequited.[26] When the famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen heard about Byron's heroics in Greece, he voluntarily resculpted his earlier bust of Byron in Greek marble.[37]
    Death (1824)

    Mavrokordatos and Byron planned to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. Byron employed a fire-master to prepare artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command, despite his lack of military experience, but before the expedition could sail, on 15 February 1824, he fell ill, and the usual remedy of bloodletting weakened him further.[46] He made a partial recovery, but in early April he caught a violent cold which therapeutic bleeding, insisted on by his doctors, aggravated. It is suspected this treatment, carried out with unsterilised medical instrumentation, may have caused him to develop sepsis. He developed a violent fever, and died on 19 April.[46]

    Death (1824)

    His physician at the time, Julius van Millingen, son of Dutch-English archaeologist James Millingen, was unable to prevent his death. It has been said that if Byron had lived and had gone on to defeat the Ottomans, he might have been declared King of Greece. However, contemporary scholars have found such an outcome unlikely.[26]

    Byron's body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at.<<<<

    Paintings -

    Lord Byron, in top form

    Byron in Albanian dress

    On his deathbed


    What the West needs is more queers of the caliber of Lord Byron. He, at least, didn't buy into "isolationism'.

    Left his heart at Missolonghi.......

    1. Byron's body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at.....Left his heart at Missolonghi.......

      Sorry for sloppy.

    2. I visited a site in Greece once, I believe it was the Templeof Poseidon. It was early morning in October and there were no more than three or four other people taking photos. Byron had been there. He left his version of “Kilroy was here.” His name and date were carved in the base of one of the standing columns.

  9. Do Voter-ID Opponents Speak With Forked Tongues?

    By John Fund
    August 19, 2013 8:20 AM

    Last week, Hillary Clinton used a speech to the American Bar Association to rail against states that are requiring voters show a photo ID before they vote. She called ID requirements part of “the greatest hits of voter suppression,” but she was ignoring evidence that minority turnout has gone up in states with even the toughest ID laws, even in elections where Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot.

    Civil-rights activists are often of two minds on voter ID. Last year, when the NAACP hosted Attorney General Eric Holder at its annual convention, one of the requirements to cover his speech was that “all media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license).” Meanwhile, NAACP president Ben Jealous introduced Holder by attacking ID laws.

    “We must overwhelm the rising tide of voting suppression,” he said.

    Jealous isn’t the first minority leader to say one thing while something else is done right in front of his eyes. North Dakota blooger Rob Port has a hilarious post on how several Native-American tribes require an ID to vote in tribal elections, while vehemently opposing the concept for other contests.

    In Montana, the Chippewa Cree election board has gone so far as to invalidate a July tribal election for chairman because some people didn’t show the proper ID when they voted. But just last January, Native-American groups testified against a bill in the Montana legislature that would have toughened ID requirements for state elections.

    “So, if you want to require an official ID card to vote in the election for the U.S. House or U.S. Senate in Montana — you’re a racist,” notes Montana talk radio host Aaron Flint. “But, when it comes to tribal elections on at least one American Indian reservation here in Montana, if you want to vote — you better have your ID.”

    When it comes to voting-rights issues, there appear to be no boundaries to one side’s hypocrisy.

    1. With all that Casino money up for grabs they should have an honest vote.

  10. The 'grass roots' structure of the MB in Egypt - heh -

    >>>>The generals have thus demonstrated that they understand the Brotherhood's vulnerabilities, since the Brotherhood cannot function effectively once its top leaders have been apprehended. After all, the Brotherhood is at its core a hierarchical vanguard, in which legions of fully indoctrinated cadres are organized under a nationwide, pyramidal chain-of-command. Specifically, decisions are voted on by a 120-member consultative (shura) council and executed by the 18-member Guidance Office, which passes directives to its deputies in each regional sector (qita’), who call their deputies in each province (muhafaza), who call their deputies in each subsidiary area (muntaqa), who call their deputies in each narrower populace (sho’aba), who finally communicate the order to the chiefs of each family (usra), which is essentially a five-to-eight-member cell........

    .....Still, the military’s decapitation of the Brotherhood is a double-edged sword. By removing the top layers of the organization, the military has made it impossible for the Brotherhood to execute a change in strategy. The military thus has no way of compelling the Brotherhood to abandon its disruptive protests and instead re-enter the political process, as the military says is its goal, because all of the top and provincial leaders who could command their cadres to change course are being removed from the scene.

    Even worse, by disorganizing Egypt’s most cohesive Islamist group, the generals have turned hundreds of thousands of deeply ideological Muslim Brothers into free radicals, who will no longer listen to their typically cautious leaders. Many younger Muslim Brothers, in particular, lean towards Salafism, and their upbringing in the Brotherhood—whose motto concludes with the phrase “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations”—has made them willing to die for Islamism, and possibly willing to fight for it as well.

    In other words, while the military has seemingly won its battle with the Muslim Brotherhood, its prize may be an undisciplined Islamist insurgency.

    Eric Trager is the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. <<<<


    The Islamic Insurgency That Could Soon Hit Egypt
    The danger in destroying the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership



    is for nitwits in the United States.

    August 19, 2013
    Time for a New American Revolution?
    By Richard Winchester

    Read more:

    No, it is not time for a 'revolution'.

    Our system of voting still works - we get what we vote for - and we should vote the bums out.

    This kind of talk seems naive in the extreme and juvenile in addition.

    Besides, the 'revolutionaries' might well lose.

    And then we'd have seven devils worse than the first.

    1. More tyranny/revolution talk -

      August 19, 2013
      America's Tyranny Threshold
      By Eileen F. Toplansky

      Read more:

      If AT keeps up this foolish line they may lose a reader.

    2. .

      Come to the light child.


  12. >>>Wetterich's starting point is a somewhat trivial observation:

    "Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable." <<<

    This is what I've always maintained. The Universe may be expanding but we are shrinking, except for our egos.

    Is The Universe Expanding, Or Are We Shrinking?
    By Johannes Koelman | August 18th 2013 10:17 AM

    "Wetterich stresses that his model provides an alternative perspective on the standard cosmological model, rather than an alternative model:

    "Our model should be interpreted as a new complementary picture of cosmology, not as opposing the more standard picture of an expanding universe. The different pictures are equivalent, describing the same physics. This can be seen by a redefinition of the metric, which leads to the “Einstein frame” with constant Planck mass and particle masses and an expanding universe. In the Einstein frame the big bang has a singularity, however. The possibility of different choices of fields describing the same reality may be called “field relativity”, in analogy to general relativity for the choice of different coordinate systems. Field relativity underlies the finding that strikingly different pictures, as an expanding or a shrinking universe, can describe the same reality."

    >>>So is the universe expanding or are we shrinking?

    The correct answer is "whatever you prefer". Physicists like such freedom of choice as it gives them the opportunity to simplify their models by changing perspective whenever convenient. The key question then is: "will Wetterich's perspective allow us to simplify our cosmological models?" So far, cosmologists have worked with models in which gravity remains constant, simply because allowing for a dynamic gravitational constant was assumed to represent a burden without any clear advantage. Wetterich now has challenged this assumption. Time will tell how useful varying gravity models will be.<<<

    Clear as a bell.

  13. "More than a decade ago, in The National Interest magazine, Walter Russell Mead described the four factions into which Americans fall on foreign policy: Jeffersonians for an idealistic peace policy of non-intervention; Hamiltonians for building international institutions that protect commerce; Wilsonians for liberal interventionism, recently “democracy-building”; and Jacksonians for a tough policy of national self-interest."

    Quirk would be a Jeffersonian and Rat a Jacksonian. Deuce was a Jacksonian but now appears to have drifted to Jeffersonian. Bob, Rufus, and WiO would be a Wilsonian...

    1. .

      More bull from north of the border, 85% of what Sullivan had to say in the article was bull (the 15% that described US policy in Egypt and the situation after WWII were pretty much correct) and 95% of what Ash had to say was bull, at least with regard to me. I will leave it to the rest here to say whether he has pigeonholed them correctly.


    2. "Idealistic peace policy of non-intervention" encapsulates all your foreign policy proscriptions to a T Quirk.

    3. .

      Nonsense, Ash.

      You look at a few recent posts, misinterpret them, ignore numerous posts that I have laid down here in the past, and think you have a clear picture.

      Absurd. But expected from someone who views everything in terms of monochrome.


  14. Hey Dougman,

    I'm still waiting to read about your experience(s).

    1. I'm at work right now.
      Save me a spot at the table and I'll see if I can use my In-Laws computer tonight.

    2. Ah, what the hell.
      It's kinda slow here so if need be I can write in installments.

      10 Years ago, I was working as a "specialist" for an office supply company.
      Started out as a driver and filled any role that was asked of me over the 13 years I worked for them.

  15. Over those years I had relied on my back to make a living, but my back gave out.
    A disc had just disappeared and two vertabrae fused together by themselves.
    The pain kept me from being able

    1. The pain kept me from being able to work a full week. I was calling in about two or three times a week. After a few months of that, having not been fired yet, I left the company and cashed in my 401k.

    2. I had applied wherever I could.
      Even McDonalds wouldn't hire me.
      Because I told the truth about my back on every application.
      Trying to act with honor & adhere to the truth wasn't going to pay the rent or put food on the family table.
      I was without work for a year and watched as everything slipped away until I finally broke down.


  16. The Stone

    The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.


    Evolution (Biology), Philosophy, Science and Technology


    This is a brief statement of positions defended more fully in my book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False,” which was published by Oxford University Press last year. Since then the book has attracted a good deal of critical attention, which is not surprising, given the entrenchment of the world view that it attacks. It seemed useful to offer a short summary of the central argument.

    The scientific revolution of the 17th century, which has given rise to such extraordinary progress in the understanding of nature, depended on a crucial limiting step at the start: It depended on subtracting from the physical world as an object of study everything mental – consciousness, meaning, intention or purpose. The physical sciences as they have developed since then describe, with the aid of mathematics, the elements of which the material universe is composed, and the laws governing their behavior in space and time.

    We ourselves, as physical organisms, are part of that universe, composed of the same basic elements as everything else, and recent advances in molecular biology have greatly increased our understanding of the physical and chemical basis of life. Since our mental lives evidently depend on our existence as physical organisms, especially on the functioning of our central nervous systems, it seems natural to think that the physical sciences can in principle provide the basis for an explanation of the mental aspects of reality as well — that physics can aspire finally to be a theory of everything.

    However, I believe this possibility is ruled out by the conditions that have defined the physical sciences from the beginning. The physical sciences can describe organisms like ourselves as parts of the objective spatio-temporal order – our structure and behavior in space and time – but they cannot describe the subjective experiences of such organisms or how the world appears to their different particular points of view. There can be a purely physical description of the neurophysiological processes that give rise to an experience, and also of the physical behavior that is typically associated with it, but such a description, however complete, will leave out the subjective essence of the experience – how it is from the point of view of its subject — without which it would not be a conscious experience at all.

    So the physical sciences, in spite of their extraordinary success in their own domain, necessarily leave an important aspect of nature unexplained. Further, since the mental arises through the development of animal organisms, the nature of those organisms cannot be fully understood through the physical sciences alone. Finally, since the long process of biological evolution is responsible for the existence of conscious organisms, and since a purely physical process cannot explain their existence, it follows that biological evolution must be more than just a physical process, and the theory of evolution, if it is to explain the existence of conscious life, must become more than just a physical theory.

    This means that the scientific outlook, if it aspires to a more complete understanding of nature, must expand to include theories capable of explaining the appearance in the universe of mental phenomena and the subjective points of view in which they occur – theories of a different type from any we have seen so far.

    1. There are two ways of resisting this conclusion, each of which has two versions. The first way is to deny that the mental is an irreducible aspect of reality, either (a) by holding that the mental can be identified with some aspect of the physical, such as patterns of behavior or patterns of neural activity, or (b) by denying that the mental is part of reality at all, being some kind of illusion (but then, illusion to whom?). The second way is to deny that the mental requires a scientific explanation through some new conception of the natural order, because either (c) we can regard it as a mere fluke or accident, an unexplained extra property of certain physical organisms – or else (d) we can believe that it has an explanation, but one that belongs not to science but to theology, in other words that mind has been added to the physical world in the course of evolution by divine intervention.

      All four of these positions have their adherents. I believe the wide popularity among philosophers and scientists of (a), the outlook of psychophysical reductionism, is due not only to the great prestige of the physical sciences but to the feeling that this is the best defense against the dreaded (d), the theistic interventionist outlook. But someone who finds (a) and (b) self-evidently false and (c) completely implausible need not accept (d), because a scientific understanding of nature need not be limited to a physical theory of the objective spatio-temporal order. It makes sense to seek an expanded form of understanding that includes the mental but that is still scientific — i.e. still a theory of the immanent order of nature.

      That seems to me the most likely solution. Even though the theistic outlook, in some versions, is consistent with the available scientific evidence, I don’t believe it, and am drawn instead to a naturalistic, though non-materialist, alternative. Mind, I suspect, is not an inexplicable accident or a divine and anomalous gift but a basic aspect of nature that we will not understand until we transcend the built-in limits of contemporary scientific orthodoxy. I would add that even some theists might find this acceptable; since they could maintain that God is ultimately responsible for such an expanded natural order, as they believe he is for the laws of physics.

    2. the above was a commercial break - and now back to the main event --

      Dougman sir!

    3. "Mind, I suspect, is not an inexplicable accident or a divine and anomalous gift but a basic aspect of nature"

      Well good grief Ash the Hindus have been saying that for thousands of years.

      Mind and matter always appear together, mind being more or less veiled as the case may be.

  17. Welcome back.

    I had applied wherever I could.
    Even McDonalds wouldn't hire me.
    Because I told the truth about my back on every application.
    Trying to act with honor & adhere to the truth wasn't going to pay the rent or put food on the family table.
    I was without work for a year and watched as everything slipped away until I finally broke down in the middle of a graduation party. (I only consumed 1 beer before this happened so it wasn't the alcohol).
    I moved away from everyone around me to a place in the pole-barn that was on the property. Once there I just cried out "What do you want me to do!"

    An instant after this I closed my eyes an in that instant, I was lifted out of the depression.
    I also had a vision at that moment. A vision I've only shared at one website. But I feel I need to keep it to myself now as a reward that I earned.

    1. To paraphrase, "Draw nigh unto me and I will draw nigh unto you."

  18. Now I call that place in the pole-barn the Holy Place :)

    After that I couldn't get enough of studying the Bible, History, psychology, Hebrew meanings of passages that I couldn't possibly understand without an explaination. I had a hunger for Knowledge and studied on my own for years.

  19. When one day at Bill Whittle's early blog, eject!eject!eject!, I told him my simple thought that Truth is God. And to give me a truth loving atheist anytime.
    Whereas a couple years later on that same blog I met a self professed Militant Atheist,Lionel.

  20. Lionel found it interesting that a Christian and a Militant Atheist could come to the same conclusion. That being truthful and holding to the truth was so very important to the both of us.

  21. And that is why I believe that for an instant those years ago I was in the "Body Of Christ".
    Suffering for the Truth.

    1. Psa 34:18 The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

    2. Jhn 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

    3. Thanks for sharing your experience Dougman!

    4. That was the 'Big Bang" for me.
      There were Ripple Effects thoughout the years since but nothing that compares to that whopper. :)

  22. Doesn't sound to me like you had anything to be contrite over, but stress and anxiety are often, not always, but often, associated with experiences that are out of the ordinary course of daily life.

    1. adjective
      1. caused by or showing sincere remorse.
      2. filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent: a contrite sinner.

      I was guilty of not providing for my family.
      I was remorseful that I gave up my job and didn't hold out until they either fired me or put me in a different position.

      I was crushed.

  23. Cruz is out for me. I'll not ever vote for him. A 'dual citizen', born abroad, renounces the land of his birth....heh.

    At least I'm consistent!!

    >>Cruz will renounce Canadian citizenship.

    By Aaron Blake, Published: August 19 at 8:57 pmE-mail the writer

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday evening that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, less than 24 hours after a newspaper pointed out that the Canadian-born senator likely maintains dual citizenship.

    “Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”
    The Dallas Morning News wrote in a story posted late Sunday night that Cruz likely remains a Canadian citizen, by virtue of being born there to an American mother. Having never renounced that citizenship, Cruz was technically a Canadian and an American citizen, according to legal experts.

    Cruz said his mother told him that he could claim his citizenship if he ever wanted to, but that he never pursued it and thought the matter was settled.

    Legal experts say that Cruz is a Canadian citizen regardless of whether he asked for it or not.
    “Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter,” Cruz said.

    Cruz, who released his birth certificate as part of the Morning News story, accused the media of focusing on trivial issues.

    The release — combined with Cruz’s recent travel to Iowa — has re-animated the debate over whether he qualifies to serve as U.S. president since he was foreign-born. Most legal scholars say yes, but they also say it’s not 100 percent clear.

    “Given the raft of stories today about my birth certificate, it must be a slow news day,” Cruz said.<<<

    He is even more ineligible than Obama, who, as far as we know!!, doesn't maintain formal allegiance to two countries. To the MB yes, but, heh, that's 'just religion'.

    This is the very kind of thing our Fathers were trying to avoid, electing someone Commander-In-Chief who has dual citizenship, a real pull towards another country, etc.

    Cruz seems also to have tried to cover up his dual citizenship. At least he wasn't bringing the issue up. And you know he had thought about it. If he had not thought about it, he's too damn dumb to be President, though the bar is admittedly really low these days.

    1. Ted Cruz: I’m not going to get into a legal debate about whether I’m also a Canadian citizen

      Oddly enough, per DrewM, the media’s suddenly very interested in this subject and would indeed like to debate it. From where does this newfound respectability for Birtherism spring, I wonder. Byproduct of a typically slow August news month? Or just hassling a conservative with presidential buzz whom they loathe, maybe partly as payback for anti-Obama Birthers hassling Precious for his own birth certificate for so long?

      Via Mediaite and MFP, here’s Cruz on the radio this morning recusing himself from further debate on the subject. That’s wise, and I agreed with Ed’s take this morning that he was probably just tweaking the media in deciding to release his birth certificate. But I don’t see the logic in having his spokesman then deny that he’s a dual American-Canadian citizen by birth, as he almost certainly is under Canadian law. That only encourages lefty media to challenge him on it, which in turn will fuel “Can we trust a dual citizen as commander-in-chief?” hysteria on the fringe. Maybe he’s better off doing a just-in-case-I’m-Canadian citizenship renunciation now, to check the box. Four months, no problem. Start the new year off finally free and clear of Ottawa’s sinister America-sabotaging influence.

      In other news from a bored, Cruz-hating media, some of his liberal classmates at Princeton didn’t like him.

      "I’m not going to get into a legal debate about whether I’m also a Canadian citizen"

      That a boy, just refuse to have 'a legal debate'.

      In other words, F the Law.


  24. Obama is either power mad or going mad

    Obama administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches
    By Timothy B. Lee, Updated: August 19, 2013

    If the police arrest you, do they need a warrant to rifle through your cellphone? Courts have been split on the question. Last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and rule that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cellphone searches.

    In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from “My House.” They opened the phone to determine the number for “My House.” That led them to the man’s home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns.

    The defendant was convicted, but on appeal he argued that accessing the information on his cellphone without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the man’s argument, ruling that the police should have gotten a warrant before accessing any information on the man’s phone.

    The Obama Administration disagrees. In a petition filed earlier this month asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, the government argues that the First Circuit’s ruling conflicts with the rulings of several other appeals courts, as well as with earlier Supreme Court cases. Those earlier cases have given the police broad discretion to search possessions on the person of an arrested suspect, including notebooks, calendars and pagers. The government contends that a cellphone is no different than any other object a suspect might be carrying.

    But as the storage capacity of cellphones rises, that position could become harder to defend. Our smart phones increasingly contain everything about our digital lives: our e-mails, text messages, photographs, browser histories and more. It would be troubling if the police had the power to get all that information with no warrant merely by arresting a suspect.

    On the other hand, the Massachusetts case involves a primitive flip-phone, which could make this a bad test case. The specific phone involved in this 2007 incident likely didn’t have the wealth of information we store on more modern cellphones. It’s arguably more analogous to the address books and pagers the courts have already said the police can search. So, as Orin Kerr points out, if the Supreme Court ruled on the case, it would be making a decision based on “facts that are atypical now and are getting more outdated every passing month.”

    © The Washington Post Company

  25. Consensus in Egypt
    By Mark Steyn
    August 18, 2013 8:09 AM

    Further to Andy’s and David’s observations on Egypt this weekend, I would add only that everywhere except Washington people are thinking strategically: General Sisi has made a calculation that he has a small window of opportunity to inflict damage on the Muslim Brotherhood that will set them back decades and that it is in Egypt’s vital interest to do so. Grasping that, the Brothers are pushing back hard.

    For the same reason, the Gulf monarchies, having weathered the immediate storms of the Arab spring and understanding the longer-term threat the Brotherhood represents, have supplanted Washington as Cairo’s principal paymasters: The $1.5 billion subvention to Egypt was always a drop in the great sucking maw of the US Treasury; compared to what the Saudis and the Emirs are ponying up, it’s looking less and less consequential from the Nile end, too.

    Out in the wider world, Putin figures there’s a regional power play to be made, and that Moscow can be back in Cairo in a big way for the first time in four decades.

    All these parties are pursuing their strategic interest. Does the United States have such a thing anymore? Not so’s you’d notice. As a result, the factions in Egypt are united only in their contempt for Washington. Obama is despised by Sisi and the generals for being fundamentally unserious; by the Brotherhood for stringing along with the coup; by the Copts for standing by as the Brothers take it out on them; and by the small number of genuine democrats in Egypt for his witless promotion of Morsi’s thugs as the dawning of democracy. Any “national-unity government” of the kind the usual deluded twits are urging on Egypt would be united only in its unanimous loathing of Obama, his secretaries of state, and his inept ambassador.

    Meanwhile, out on the streets, Washington is reviled both for standing by Mubarak too long and for pushing him out too soon (eighty per cent of Egyptians say things are worse than under the old man). And, with the 2011 “Facebook Revolution” all out of “Likes”, the King of Jordan and the Gulf emirs understand the meaning of the ailing, abandoned strongman in his military prison cell in purely geopolitical terms – that (as Bernard Lewis once warned) America is harmless as an enemy but treacherous as a friend.

    Whatever regime emerges in Cairo, it will be post-American.

    A year before the fall of Mubarak, David Pryce-Jones, in a conversational aside, quoted to me Lord Lloyd, British High Commissioner to the old Kingdom of Egypt in the Twenties: “Ah, the jacarandas are in bloom. We shall soon be sending for the gunboats.” There’s more wisdom about Arab springs in that line than in all the blather of Obama, Clinton, Kerry and Anne Patterson combined.


    That Arab Spring Speech in Cairo......practically the first thing out of Obama's Pandora's Box, where in not even Hope rests in the bottom, after first being elected.


    He has succeeded in bring ALL Egyptians together in hating our guts. Even the Copts.

    A rip roaring success. No one else has ever been able to do that.

  26. Apparently Snowden was into industrial espionage (Dell) before he went to the heavy NSA stuff. Tell me again how this guy is a patriot?

    1. What's wrong with a little industrial espionage? Keeps the competition sharp. Besides it's good training for the heavy NSA stuff.

    2. The short lived heyday of 'Souls' was facilitated by commercial espionage. All those original creative ideas didn't just leap into some gin soaked brain. Alas the failure of the management was deep and profound, and early. After the first five it was finished and shortly thereafter I got it through a Court Judgement and Execution of Lien. It was all there was - I got about 1/2 cent on my dollar.

    3. It was at this point that I seriously began to reconsider the utility of Debtors' Prisons.

      >>>A debtors' prison is a prison for people who are unable to pay debt. These prisons have been used since ancient times. Through the mid 19th century, debtors' prisons were a common way to deal with unpaid debt in Western Europe.[1] Though increasing access and lenience throughout the history of bankruptcy law have rendered debtors' prisons irrelevant over most of the world, as of May 2013, they persist in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Greece.

      Since the late 20th century, the term debtors' prison has sometimes come to be applied when a court sends someone to prison over criminal duties which would normally be imposed monetarily, but can not be paid. For example, in some jurisdictions within the United States, people can be held in contempt of court and jailed after non-payment of child support, garnishments, confiscations, fines, or back taxes. The charge for going to jail is being in contempt of court. The reason for the contempt of court charge is negligent non-payment, obstruction, or fraud.<<< wiki

      As a practical matter the choice comes down to putting them on welfare, or the dole, or in the hole. On the dole they will immediately go out and continue their fraudulent ways, costing society dearly. On balance putting them in the hole seems to be slightly more economical to society as a whole than the dole.

    4. .

      Apparently Snowden was into industrial espionage (Dell) before he went to the heavy NSA stuff. Tell me again how this guy is a patriot?

      No link, T?

      Industrial espionage? Way too vague. Give us some details. Where did the info come from? Inside information? Party line? Government officials? Looks like something Keith Alexander might have had posted on the bulletin board at the NSA lunchroom.



      And, well ok, one last time.

      Snowden is a patriot because at great personal risk he gave up a well paying job and a sweet chick and went into self imposed exile so he could reveal to the American people the abuses being perpetrated against them and the Constitution (4th and 1st Amendments) and, at least, one section of the Patriot Act (Section 215) by officials of the US government and the secret bureaucracy for which they stand.

      As far as we know Snowden received no monetary or other compensation for his actions and has indeed suffered quite a bit. The truth of his statements is confirmed as more and more information on these secret programs is leaked or released every day. Yet, despite this, these same government officials right up to and including the president continue to call Snowden a traitor while continuing to lie to the American people. That is if you can believe the following article from Salon.

      Salon is not the only publication to point out that Obama is either a liar or incompetent. There is also a Pew poll that addresses the matter.

      In fact, how can we trust either the government or the MSM when now people are allowed to go back and 'correct' their 'quotes'. The Bureau of Truth lives.


    5. SOP for the fear mongering character assassins in DC. Snowden has higher approval ratings than Obama. Manning and Snowden both deserve the Freedom Medal.

    6. If Obama is about anything, it is deception and politically motivated intimidation. Not much else.

  27. Taylor Swift sent me this music video after Quirk dumped her for danger and adventure -

    "He's sure got a way with women, Bob, oooo" she wrote.

    1. .

      Is there any man Taylor Swift hasn't accused of 'doing her wrong'?


  28. .

    Guardian says Britain forced it to destroy Snowden material

    Rusbridger said that in meetings with British officials, before the computers were destroyed, he told them the Guardian could not do its journalistic duty if it gave in to the government's requests.

    In response, he wrote, a government official told him that the newspaper had already achieved the aim of sparking a debate on government surveillance. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more," the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

    The Guardian's decision to publicize the government threat - and the newspaper's assertion that it can continue reporting on the Snowden revelations from outside of Britain - appears to be the latest step in an escalating battle between the news media and governments over reporting of secret surveillance programs.


  29. .

    The US and its puppy, butt-bros in intimidation.

    Terrorism law watchdog calls for explanation of Miranda detention

    There is some irony in the fact that it was a guy named Miranda that was rousted by the Brits.


  30. .

    Our 'friends and allies', the Saudis

    CAIRO — Saudi Arabia has emerged as the foremost supporter of Egypt’s military rulers, explicitly backing the violent crackdown on Islamists and using its oil wealth and diplomatic muscle to help defy growing pressure from the West to end the bloodshed in search of a political solution.

    As Europeans and the United States considered cutting cash aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia said Monday that it and its allies would make up any reduction — effectively neutralizing the West’s main leverage over Cairo. With Egypt’s economy in free fall, the country’s authorities might not have survived international outrage at a crackdown that has left as many as 1,000 dead and 4,000 wounded without the deep pockets of its Persian Gulf allies...


  31. I didn’t make this up:

    More than 40 years ago, the Miami Dolphins missed out on a date at the White House. So President Obama will make it up to them on Tuesday.

    What Richard Nixon let get away, Obama seeks to honor this week. (Though Nixon vacationed in Key Biscayne and was a fan of the Dolphins, Miami’s opponent in Super Bowl VII was the hometown Washington Redskins, and Nixon had told coach George Allen he was rooting for them in the big game that year.)

    Believing it’s never too late to use a White House rain check, the 44th president will salute the team’s historic 17-0 season -- an achievement that took place when Obama was a grade-schooler living in Hawaii. The undefeated team never got an invitation to the White House in the months after their Super Bowl victory, in part because Nixon was a tad preoccupied.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

  32. Obama is not tied up with too much.

    1. .


      Obama is back from his vacation but unavailable as is Jay Carney; however, Asst. Press Secretary, Josh Earnest tells us in addition to the Dolphins fete

      He is also, Earnest disclosed, looking forward to a bus trip at the end of the week, during which he will talk about paying for college. “I think it is going to be, hopefully, both fun and informative,” the spokesman said, tipping the reporters off to the fact that Obama believes that “never has a college education been more critical to the economic success of middle-class families in this country.”

      “What’s the fun part?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked.

      “Getting on a bus for a couple of days and seeing America? Sounds pretty good to me,” the earnest man at the microphone replied. “Maybe you don’t think it’s fun. I think it’s going to be.”

      Best of all, Earnest said, “the current plan is for the vice president to join the president in his home town of Scranton. So that should be fun.”

      Reporters agreed: Biden is fun. “Okay. See? We’re lots of fun,” Earnest said.


  33. .

    Earnest also got more serious on a variety of issues.

    On the Economy,

    “As you’ve heard the president talk about quite a bit, the economic interests of middle-class families is his top domestic priority,”

    On the NSA,

    “The president believes and understands that his chief responsibility as president of the United States is the national security of the United States of America and her citizens,” he announced.

    And all the people dying in Egypt,

    “What you’re asking is a pretty broad question,” Earnest said, “because we’re talking about a large number of people in a large country, under a lot of different circumstances.”