“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The US still has military spending that is higher in real, inflation-adjusted terms than it was during the peak of the Reagan cold war build-up, the Vietnam war and the Korean war. We seem to be in a state of permanent warfare, and – we have recently learned – massive government spying and surveillance of our own citizens. This is despite an ever-receding threat to the actual physical security of Americans. Only 19 people have been killed by acts of terrorism in the US since 11 September 2001, and none or almost none of these was connected to foreign terrorists. Also, there are no "enemy states" that pose a significant military threat to the US – if any governments can be called "enemy states" at all.


By: Patrick J. Buchanan
8/6/2013 09:31 AM

Apparently, the threat is both serious and specific.
The United States ordered 22 diplomatic missions closed and issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens.
The threat comes from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, the most lethal branch of the terrorist organization.
“After Benghazi,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “these al-Qaida types are really on steroids thinking we’re weaker and they’re stronger. …
“They want to drive the West out of the Mideast and take over these Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity … and if we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, there will be another 9/11.”
By the time this column appears, America may have been hit. Yet is it not time to put al-Qaida in perspective and consider whether our Mideast policy is creating more terrorists than we are killing?
In 2010 America lost 15 citizens to terrorism. Thirteen of them died in Afghanistan. The worst attack was the killing of six Americans at a Christian medical mission in Badakhshan Province.
Yet, in 2010, not one death here in America resulted from terrorism.
That year, however, 780,000 Americas died of heart disease, 575,000 of cancer, 138,000 from respiratory diseases, 120,000 in accidents (35,000 in auto accidents), 69,000 from diabetes, 40,000 in drug-induced deaths, 38,000 by suicide, 32,000 by liver disease, 25,000 in alcohol-induced deaths, 16,000 by homicide and 8,000 from HIV/AIDS.
Is terrorism the killer we should fear most and invest the lion’s share of our resources fighting?
Since 9/11, al-Qaida has not proven a terribly effective enemy. Some plots — the shoe-bomber on the airliner over Detroit, the Times Square bomber — failed from sheer incompetence. Other attacks have been thwarted by excellent U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism work.
Our home front has been well protected.
But by having fought a “war on terror” overseas in Graham’s way — invading, occupying, nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq — we lost 6,000 soldiers and brought back 40,000 wounded Americans.
Were the wars in which we suffered such casualties, and that cost us $2 trillion and counting, really worth it? Did they make us more secure?
The Taliban are making a comeback. Iraq is sinking into civil, sectarian and tribal war. Our influence in the Islamic world is at a nadir. And Graham concedes the enemy that we went over there to destroy, al-Qaida, is not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Mali, and is now “on steroids.”
Ten years ago, anti-interventionists warned that a plunge into the Islamic world would produce what it was designed to prevent. We could create more terrorists than we would kill.
For the root of 9/11 was Islamic hatred of America’s perceived domination and a fanatic determination to drive us out of their world.
They were over here because we were over there. And if we went over there in even greater force, even more Muslims would rise up to expel us from what is, after all, their neighborhood, not ours.
So the anti-interventionists argued.
Dismissing such warnings as “isolationism,” George W. Bush launched the war. The result? Precisely what opponents of the war had predicted, an al-Qaida that has metastasized and is now “on steroids.”
Now, Graham says, al-Qaida wants “to drive the West out of the Middle East” — their objective all along — and “take over these Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity.”
But was it not the United States that dumped over Moammar Gadhafi and opened the door to the al-Qaida that perpetrated the Benghazi atrocity?
Was not liberating Benghazi why we went to war?
We liberated it, but for whom?
Gadhafi, though himself a terrorist responsible for the Lockerbie Pan-Am bombing, was an enemy of al-Qaida. So, too, are Hezbollah, Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad. All are fighting to prevent a takeover of Syria by rebels whose principal fighting force is the Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaida.
Does not Vladimir Putin have a point when he asks why America is arming an insurgency dominated by the sort of people who did 9/11?
Graham says al-Qaida wants to take over “Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity.”
Yet the Muslim country al-Qaida has the best chance of taking over is Syria. And we are arming the rebels who are allied with al-Qaida and who want to take over Syria?
“If we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, there’ll be another 9/11,” warns Graham.
Graham is saying we must stay in the Middle East and fight on until al-Qaida, which has grown since our intervention and because of our intervention, is annihilated.
Otherwise they create a caliphate and come over here and kill us all.
After 58,000 dead we left Vietnam. How many Americans have the Vietnamese killed since we left?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”


  1. "The US still has military spending that is higher in real, inflation-adjusted terms than it was during the peak of the Reagan cold war build-up, the Vietnam war and the Korean war."

    Just a guess, but I think you are leading with your jaw here.

    Some bright bulb will put some real figures to this assertion in due time but it isn't going to be me as I'm going to bed.

  2. Takes a rest on the low wattage shelf. You will be comfortable there.

  3. McCain and Graham are urging the interim Egyptian government to engage in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood. But in winter of 2011 just after the fall of Mubarak, this is what McCain said:

    ” SPIEGEL: What is your assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood?

    McCain: I think they are a radical group that first of all supports Sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned. They have been involved with other terrorist organizations and I believe that they should be specifically excluded from any transition government. “

    1. McCain wants the United States to arm those same type people in Syria.

      Anyone that supported John McCain to be President, thinking he would die within a month of taking office...

      They would have to be just plain NUTs, over the line insane!

  4. Just another Excellent Post, Deuce.

    You've turned this into one of the best blogs (maybe, the best blog, politically) on the internet.

    1. Meanwhile, California continues to churn out electricity from Renewables - Over 17% from non-large hydro, yesterday.

      California ISO

    2. 28% to 30% Spreads ubiquitous in Indiana

      Indiana Spreads

    3. We're dicking around in MENA (Middle East, North Africa) for one reason, and one reason only.

      And, we don't have to be there. We just have to throw off the Exxon, Shell, Halliburton propaganda, and take care of our Own business.

    4. "You've turned this into one of the best blogs (maybe, the best blog, politically) on the internet."

      Best anti-Jewish, anti-semitic, pro-'palestinian', pro rag-head, pro-Iranian hair-brained propaganda blog around these days.

      There is zero depth to it now.

      This is only a minor concern these days, keeping the loyalty of rats and drunks as it does.

    5. If memory serves correctly, and it may not, but if it does, and Deuce is dating some Palestinian or Arabian Lady, this may not offer a full explanation but might offer a clue as to the current lack of intellectual tension, the eroding away of intellectual form and the sloganering (A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose-wiki) currently in fashion here, a sad falling away from the more glorious days of the past. Or perhaps it is just the coming of the "grumpy old man syndrome", such as Luther suffered in his elder years.

    6. I post facts. You cast dispersions meant to divert attention from the duly deserved criticisms about Israeli politicians and policies that adversely affect the security of the US. The Israeli policies are widely criticized and held in contempt throughout the civilized world. Public opinion on North Korea and Israeli are similar.

      You stand behind what you believe to be your best defense, the anti-Semite all purpose aerosol.

      How was your nap?

    7. Good. Good nap.

      You never criticize the moslems. There is nothing balanced about your approach. There is no historical sense or feeling to it. No sense of the past, or how long this has been going on.

      When was the last time you mentioned the true repression of Jews, Christians and others in Arab or Persian lands?

      Never, unless I missed it. I don't recall one thread on the subject.

      But the noble 'Palestinians', o yah.

      I've come to think you simply do not realize this.

      Some of your 'sources' are so bizarre as to defy belief. You look for sources that agree with you. Disregarding the rest.

      Your 'facts' are hardly beyond dispute.

      You criticize an Israeli cop for giving a little kick to a stone thrower, disregarding that three or was it four Israeli kids had been killed with stones in the past month.

      etc etc

      Thankfully I am now awaiting a call from my niece.

      I have this to which to look forward. :)

    8. The liberal "Man of Feelings" is waiting for a call from his fantasy character.

      He still does not have the cognitive ability to sign on to blogger
      So Sad.


  5. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has said his government is determined to engage in “serious and substantive" negotiations with the west without wasting time in order to resolve the impasse over Tehran's nuclear programme.

    Two days after he was sworn into office and in his first press conference, Rouhani also said on Tuesday that he was open to direct talks with the US, provided that Washington showed "goodwill" in action and put aside "hidden agendas" – an apparent reference to its perceived policy of regime change. Rouhani’s remarks followed a statement by the White House on Sunday, which said Tehran would find “a willing partner in the United States" should it choose to engage.

    On the nuclear issue, the 64-year-old president said constructive dialogue and interaction could leave both sides in a "win-win" situation.

    "As Iran's president, I announce that the Islamic republic is determined to resolve this issue and remove the concerns of the other side while Iranian people's rights are preserved," Rouhani said.

    The moderate cleric was speaking to reporters in Tehran in a room packed with national and foreign journalists. It was broadcast live on national television.

    He added: "We are determined and ready to enter serious and substantive negotiations with the other side and if they are prepared like us, then I am confident that the concerns of both sides will be removed through negotiations within a period which will not be very long."

    Rouhani said he wanted Washington to hear the message of Iran's election and show its willingness in practical steps, promising that any constructive move by the Americans would be reciprocated accordingly.

    "What counts for us is the US's response in action, not their statements," he said. "We closely observe their actions and we will respond accordingly and similarly to any constructive and meaningful move."

    However, Rouhani said the difference between the White House's statement, which came shortly after the new president's inauguration ceremony on Sunday, and the US congress's new sanctions bill showed an inconsistency in the US's words and its actions. "There has been contradictory behaviour and messages," he said, adding that the new legislation posed a dilemma for the White House. "We never approved the US's carrot and stick approach."

    "Unfortunately, the warmongering pressure groups in the US are against constructive dialogue … and are imposing their will on the representatives of the US congress," he said.

  6. Then we have the ever ready “ Go get em boys” :

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to recent Sunday morning airwaves to spout tired talking points about the non-existent threat Iran’s safeguarded, civilian nuclear program poses to Israel, the United States, and presumably Neptune and Krypton.

    In a renewed propaganda blitz, Netanyahu told CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that Iran is getting "closer and closer to the bomb," and resurrected a number of embarrassing phrases including "red line," "credible military threat" and something about ticking clocks.

    "They're edging up to the red line," Netanyahu said. "They haven't crossed it yet. They're also building faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much faster rate — that is, within a few weeks." He also said Iran is "building ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] to reach the American mainland in a few years."

    Dismissing the recent Iranian election as irrelevant to what he insists are devious Iranian intentions, Netanyahu called Hassan Rouhani, who was inaugurated as Iran's new president on August 3, "a wolf in sheep's clothing," whose maniacal strategy will be, "Smile and build a bomb."

    The media carried the news with headlines like "Israeli PM threatens to strike Iran" and "Israel Increases Pressure on U.S. to Act on Iran," quoting Netanyahu as claiming that, when it comes to blah blah blah, "I won't wait until it's too late."

    We've been here before. It was boring then and it's boring now.

    "If sanctions don't work, they have to know that you'll be prepared to take military action — that's the only thing that will get their attention," Netanyahu said, suggesting that Iranians are subhumans who only understand grunts and shoves, rather than rational actors preserving and protecting their inalienable national rights and refusing to back down to offensive and illegal demands made by serially-aggressive nuclear-armed bullies.

    Netanyahu urged the United States government to "make clear that the nuclear option" - whoops, Freudian slip of the war criminal's tongue — "the military option which is on the table is truly on the table," but lamented that there seemed to be "no sense of urgency" when it comes to stopping Iran from doing something every intelligence agency on the planet — including Israel's — says it's not doing.

    The Israeli prime minister and his military and political acolytes have repeatedly called for the United States to issue a "credible military threat" against Iran. Netanyahu did so again at a Cabinet meeting prior to his appearance on "Face the Nation."

    Threatening, let alone committing, an unprovoked attack on Iran is unquestionably a violation of the United Nations Charter.

    Still, an obsession is an obsession and, at least, Netanyahu isn't ashamed of being obsessed. "Iran is the most important, the most urgent matter of all," he whined, before throwing up a silly hodgepodge of scary-sounding words in an attempt to be taken seriously. All the problems in the world, including Israel's ongoing colonization of Palestine, won't amount to a hill of beans, he cried, if the "messianic, apocalyptic, extreme regime" in Tehran acquires "atomic bombs."

    Such a ghastly scenario would present "a terrible, catastrophic change for the world and for the United States," he said, because the United States apparently isn't part of the world. (Actually, considering the isolation the United States and Israel — along with lackey states like Palau and Micronesia — face in the United Nations, Netanyahu may be on to something here.)

  7. Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least a few of the sycophants in the US media break ranks and yellow card this turd?

    1. As you sit on your own slice of occupied American Indian lands, (for whom America defeated in war with genocidal effectiveness) you judge that israel and it's current leader is somehow obsessed with Iran and/or Israel's security from being destroyed. To which you mock and ridicule as absurd.

      Maybe if we study the HISTORY of the Jewish people over the last 70 years? 200 years? 500 years? 2000 years? We can see a pattern of expulsions, pogroms, mass murder and genocide. And maybe if we LOOK around at Iran and her's associates (Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Assad of Syria) and listen to there very own words maybe Bibi and Israel are not so "radical" to believe what Iran and company says.

      Why would a nation such as Iran, 100 times larger than Israel, with major oil and natural gas, spend BILLIONS on several secret nuke programs? When they sit atop huge supplies of fossil fuels?

      If Iran has lied to the IAEA, it has, If Iran has hidden complete uranium enrichment plants, it has, if Iran has openly threaten Israel (and the USA) to wipe them off the face of the earth why do you ridicule Israel right to survival.

      The turd is the government of Iran, the turd are those so blinded by hatred of Israel that they cannot see the hundreds of thousands of rockets, ammo and arms illegally provided to terror groups that surround Israel.

      Today Iran is fighting in Syria, Iran is trying to destablize the sunni world, Iran has been caught trying to blow up targets in Washington DC.

      Some even think that Iran was behind Benghazi to stop the moslem brother/al queda from smuggling arms to the rebels (terrorists) in Syria.

      So call Bibi a turd. It's your right. But your aim is off... as usual

    2. And your aim is truly messed up WiO. You justify Israel's treatment of the Bedouin by highlighting other genocides. Above you bemoan the "expulsions, pogroms, mass murder and genocide" of Jews and you seem to think that means that Israel now has a right to do the same.

    3. .

      While other issues are raised on this blog, a good portion of it has turned into a mini ME conflict involving balls out supporters of Israeli on one side and promoters of the PA on the other. Neither side will grant that the other side has some legitimate grievances. Neither side will admit that for the most part they, in their support of their chosen side, are supporting a bunch of sectarian dicks.

      There will be no end to the conflict here just as there will be no end to the actual conflict in the ME, just repetition of the same old arguments and repetition of the same old examples, unless of course rat can find a way to link the fall of Montezuma II to the Israelis.

      IMO, of course.



    4. Conflicts do, eventually, end. While I am pessimistic that a peace agreement will be formed this time around I do think that it is possible. I think a key ingredient in achieving a peace agreement is that the Israelis be enticed/coerced to make a deal and the US has considerable leverage to do so and, maybe, just maybe, Obama the stones to do it (the press hasn't portrayed him and the Israeli government being too, ummmm, friendly and he doesn't have to worry about re-election). The obstacles are many and formidable though and the Palestinians aren't the easiest folk to make a deal with. Things are pretty bad though and the prospect of eternal conflict doesn't appeal to either side but, on the other hand, the Israelis haven't had much incentive to make a deal to date and they've been slowly and steadily expanding under the status quo...

    5. .

      You are a cock-eyed optimist, Ash. I'm surprised your potato doesn't have more of a smile and is not pictured giving the thumbs up.

      If it ever does happen (a two-state solution) it won't happen until after the current players are long gone, if then. Bibi and Abbas, even if they thought an agreement was in there peoples' long term interests, are constrained by their current coalitions. That is why both have indicated any potential agreement will have to be agreed upon by a referendum of the people.

      Both sides could buy into agreement on some issues. For instance, if Israel would offer to take a small number of the refugees back as a token to allow the PA to save face, I suspect the PA would sell the rest of the refugees out in a heartbeat just as all the other Arab nations have.

      On the other hand, when it comes to Jerusalem or the PA recognizing Israel as a 'Jewish' state, I don't see it happening. These are issues where the leaders have no room to maneuver, not Abbas with the PA and the rest of the Arab world looking on, not Netanyahu with a majority of his people and the bulk of the ruling coalition. And in Israel it will just get worse over time since the fastest growing percentage of the population includes the conservatives and the settlers.

      Isn't going to happen, not in my lifetime and likely not in yours.


    6. Well, Q, we do have the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Israel Court that ruled Israel a belligerent occupier.

      The religious and legal system of the Israeli have already moved away from lockstep support of the secular government of the socialist state of Israel.

      Now, if only the government of the US were to do the same, progress towards saving the US taxpayer billions of dollars each year could be made.

    7. .

      "...their people's long-term..."


    8. .

      The opinion of the Chief Rabbinate and six or seven shekels might get you a service taxi ride in Tel Aviv. Besides the settlers biggest supporters are amongst the religious. The Court has ruled that Israel is an 'occupying force' in the occupied territories. Have they ordered Israel to leave the territories?

      The US cut off aid to Israel? Lord, and I called Ash a cock-eyed optimist.

      Move over Ash, her comes Pollyanna.


    9. As I tried to express in my initial post I don't think it will happen but there is a possibility. Yes, the US would have to threaten (and be prepared to follow through) on withdrawal of financial support to Israel. That, in itself, wouldn't be enough to force Israel into an agreement but the hammer combined with carrots could.

      As to the two issues you've raised they really shouldn't be that difficult for either side to climb down from. The "right of return" of Palis won't happen but some compensation could satisfy and Israel being recognized as a "Jewish" state really is neither here nor there vis a vis the Palestinians but rather an "add-on" to traditional demands. The status of Jerusalem I think is a more thorny issue but a 'shared city' is generally the 'solution'.

      I don't think the Israelis want, or have ever, wanted a deal unless it is on impossibly sweet terms from their perspective and that is where the hammer needs be waved by the US (and the rest of the world). The Israelis are betting that the US will never pressure them that much and they may very well be right 'cause they sure haven't to date. The US should ratchet up the pressure in my view. Will Obama? Maybe but I doubt it. Kerry is trying though and we don't have a clue what is said behind closed doors. Obviously something is going on because the negotiators have been thrust together somewhat recently after a long hiatus.

      No negotiations plays right into the Israelis hand and Bush went that route I'm hoping that Obama is looking to his legacy. Ya, ya, his power and manhood appear limited. Still, here's to hoping as opposed to your sad sack cynical existence (you know that a cynic is a fallen idealist don't you?) ;)

    10. It did take a while, but the US cut its ties to South Africa, disinvestment can happen, not easily but with time and effort, we will get 'er done.

      One way or another.


    11. p.s. the real hard nut to crack is the settlement issue and what land actually makes up "Palestine" - for example the last agreement foundered on, among other things, the Israeli desire for all the aquifers.

    12. In the desert, it is all about the water.

    13. Ash you should expand your vision.

      The issue of water is important.

      Look to the larger region to understand it better. Learn about Israel's pumping water to Jordan beyond any agreement.

      Look at usage, water recovery, sewage usage it name a few points.

      Also learn about the below issue:

      Hasbani River
      The Hasbani River (Arabic: الحاصباني‎ / ALA-LC: al-Ḥāṣbānī; Hebrew: נחל שניר‎ / Nahal Snir), also known as Snir Stream within Israel, is a tributary of the Jordan river. The Hasbani River derives most of its discharge from two springs in Lebanon,[1][2] the Wazzani and the Haqzbieh, the latter being a group of springs on the uppermost Hasbani.[3] The Hasbani runs for 25 miles in Lebanon before crossing the border and joining with the Banias and Dan Rivers at a point in northern Israel, to form the River Jordan.[4] For about four kilometers downstream of Ghajar, the Hasbani forms the border between Lebanon and the Golan Heights.
      The Wazzani's and the Haqzbieh's combined discharge averages 138 million m³ per year.[5] About 20% of the Hasbani flow[6] emerges from the Wazzani Spring at Ghajar, close to the Lebanese Israeli border, about 3 kilometers west of the base of Mount Hermon. The contribution of the Wazzani spring is very important, since this is the only continuous year-round flow into the river, in either Lebanon or Israel.[7]
      Utilization of water resources in the area, including the Hasbani, has been a source of conflict and was one of the factors leading to the 1967 Six-Day War.[8][9] The Hasbani was included in the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, proposed in 1955 by special US envoy Eric Johnston.[10] Under the plan, Lebanon was allocated usage of 35 million mcm annually from it. The plan was rejected by the Arab League. Instead, at the 2nd Arab summit conference in Cairo of January 1964 the League decided that Syria, Lebanon and Jordan would begin a water diversion project. Syria started the construction of canal to divert the flow of the Banias river away from Israel and along the slopes of the Golan toward the Yarmouk River. Lebanon was to construct a canal from the Hasbani River to Banias and complete the scheme[11] The project was to divert 20 to 30 million cubic metres of water from the river Jordan tributaries to Syria and Jordan for the development of Syria and Jordan.[11][12] This led to military intervention from Israel, first with tank fire and then, as the Syrians shifted the works further eastward, with airstrikes.

      Nuphar lutea in Snir stream nature reserve, Israel
      In 2001 the Lebanese government installed a small pumping station with a 10 cm bore to extract water to supply Ghajar village.[13] In March 2002 Lebanon also diverted part of the Hasbani to supply Wazzani village. An action that Ariel Sharon said was a "casus belli" and could lead to war.

      As with many issues about the arab/israeli conflict, when you only examine the crimes of Israel and do not look at the complete picture you get a distorted view.

    14. As Rat said, in the desert "it's all about the water". The Israelis have been known to be very good at making the desert bloom.

      To your point - yes, the Arabs are not easy to deal with and water and who controls it is a thorny regional issue that also plays a direct role in the Palestinian and Israeli peace negotiations.

  8. Speaking of turds, our best of friends, the Saudis are showing the world who they are:

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the sentence of seven years in prison and 600 lashes that a Jeddah criminal court has passed on the cyber-activist Raef Badawi for allegedly offending Islam and violating articles 6 and 7 of the 2007 Anti-Cyber-Crime Law.

    Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu Al-Khair said his client, held since June 2012, will have 30 days to appeal against sentence from today when his law office is to receive written notification of the verdict, which was handed down on 29 July. “We are appalled by this extremely harsh and unfair sentence, for which there is absolutely no justification,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the Saudi authorities to overturn this conviction and to repeal all the 2007 Anti-Cyber-Crime Law’s repressive provisions. Saudi citizens must no longer be threatened for using their right to free speech and freedom of information. “This verdict is symptomatic of the tension between the Saudi authorities and Internet users. The government is relentless in its censorship of the Internet, the only space where a degree of freedom of expression and information has developed in recent years.” The founder of Saudi Liberals, a website for political and social debate that has been censored ever since its creation in 2008, Badawi was been held in Jeddah’s Briman prison since his arrest on 17 June 2012. He was accused of creating and moderating a website that insulted religion and religious officials, including the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and violated the Sharia’s basic rules.

    1. No news of this outrage on FOX News, could it be that Saudi ownership of Mr Murdock stifiles the truth being told.

      The MSM in the US really is not very good. They fail to report, we all get to decide.

  9. If you need another example of the disconnect between the barons in DC and their vassal subjects, we have Eric Holder:

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder billed the taxpayers more than $4 million in travel costs for trips during President Obama’s first term in office, documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act revealed.
    The travel included 213 separate trips, made between March 2009 and August 2012, The Daily Mail reported. All were paid by taxpayer dollars — including some that were personal in nature.
    The attorney general flies on a $53.5 million Gulfstream V jet.
    Judicial Watch, which made the FOIA request for documents on Mr. Holder’s travel, released the information Monday. Among the revelations: Mr. Holder billed taxpayers more than $113,000 for four trips he made to address advocacy groups with a liberal political bent, The Daily Mail reported.
    His first trip in 2009 was to a U.S.-Mexico Arms Trafficking Strategy Meeting, during which Mr. Holder said he was “committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner,” the precursor to Operation Fast & Furious, the documents showed, The Daily Mail reported.
    The memo is notable in that Mr. Holder later told Congress he didn’t know anything about Fast & Furious tactics, later writing in a letter that “prior to early 2011,” he had “no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious,” The Daily Mail reported.
    A sampling of Mr. Holder’s other trips: Personal travels to Atlantic City, Chicago, Miami, Cleveland, Savannah, Martha’s Vinehard and Farmingdale, N.Y., The Daily Mail reported.
    Most of the travel expenses were for meetings and events — but some included bills for travel tied to commencement speeches at universities with endowments that reached the billions of dollars, the documents showed.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


  10. U.S. National Defense Spending

    Focusing just on the post-World War II period, U.S. national defense spending as a percent of GDP has ranged from a high of 15 percent in 1952 (during the Korean War) to a low of 3.7 percent in 2000 (the period of relative tranquility preceding the terrorist attacks of the following year).
    U.S. National Defense Spending

    In the post-Cold War world, the U.S. national defense budget has fluctuated within a relatively narrow band. It fell by about three percentage points of GDP as the nation reaped the peace dividend of the 1990s, then rose after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

    President Barack Obama's budget proposes cutting security spending to 2.4% of GDP in 2023. This would represent the lowest allocation of GDP to defense spending in the post-World War II era.
    Defense spending stood at 7 percent of GDP at the height of the Reagan defense buildup. But, beginning even before the breakup of the Soviet Union, it began a decline, reaching below 6 percent in 1990, below 5 percent in 1994 and bottoming out at 3.6 percent of GDP in 2001, about half the level of 1985.

    But 9/11, the terrorist attack on iconic US buildings in 2001, changed that, and defense spending began a substantial increase in two stages. First, it increased to 4.7 percent by 2005 for the invasion of Iraq, and then to 5.1 percent in 2008 for the the “surge” in Iraq.

    Spending increased further to 6.0 percent in 2011 with the stepped up effort in Afghanistan. Defense spending is expected to decline to 4.7 percent of GDP by 2015.

    Viewed across the two centuries of US power, defense spending shows four spikes. It spiked at 12 percent of GDP in the Civil War of the 1860s (not including spending by the rebels). It spiked at 22 percent in World War I. It spiked at 42 percent in World War II, and again at 15 percent of GDP during the Korean War.

    Defense spending exceeded 10 percent of GDP for one year in the 19th century and 21 years in the 20th century. The last year in which defense spending exceeded 10 percent of GDP was 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War.


    After World War II, the US stablized defense spending at 8 to 9 percent of GDP, boosting it to 15 percent during the Korean War. During the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union US defense spending fluctuated at around 10 percent of GDP.

    At the height of the Vietnam War in 1968 defense spending was 10 percent of GDP. But then it began a rapid decline to 7 percent of GDP in the mid 1970s and hit a low of 5.6 percent of GDP in 1979 before beginning a large increase to 7.0 percent in 1985.

    Starting in 1986 defense spending resumed its decline, bottoming out at 3.6 percent of GDP in 2001. After 2001, the US increased defense spending to a peak of 6 percent of GDP and is expected to reduce spending to 4.7 percent of GDP by 2015.

    1. .

      Percentages are meaningless when taken out of context, especially when they are a 'percentage of GDP'.

      What 'is' meaningful is the rise or fall of defense spending in 'real terms'. Also, the percentage numbers didn't break down what constitutes 'defense spending' in their numbers. Is it just the pentagon budget? Does it also include domestic and international security costs? Does it include veteran's benefits or health and medical assistance from past wars? Does it include black ops money that is off budget and growing? Are all contract workers captured in the budget? These are questions that have to be asked. While official numbers may run $700-$800 million annually, some inclusive studies put the costs at closer to a $ trillion.

      See the following where some of these issues are addressed. Chart 2 shows current numbers vs those in the Regan error in real terms.


    2. .

      s/b "...closer to $700-$800 billion..."


  11. Obama cancels Putin in his own country. What a foolish rookie error, how does he walk back from that? Who is he playing to?

  12. President Obama prides himself on being cool, calm, and collected. But his latest move—cancelling a summit meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin—suggests that he is having a hissy fit, succumbing to peevishness. It’s wholly counterproductive.

    In attempting to cow Russia into releasing Edward Snowden, he isn't showcasing American power but its limitations. The more Obama seeks to challenge Putin, the stiffer Russian resistance will become. Obama's persecution of Snowden is singlehandedly transforming him into a Russian hero.

    From the outset, Obama has bungled the Snowden affair. He elevated a minor National Security Agency employee into a worldwide hero by pulling out all the stops to capture him even as he proclaimed that he would not. This turned out to be malarkey. The president who said he wouldn't scramble jets after Snowden then scrambled them in Europe to ground the Bolivian president. In his contempt for Bolivian sovereignty, Obama's actions were more reminiscent of the old Soviet Union than American democracy. But it is Obama, more than any president since George W. Bush, who has displayed palpable contempt for American freedoms. Perhaps the former constitutional-law professor is afraid of being deemed weak by the military and intelligence establishments. Or maybe he truly believes that it's necessary to curb freedoms in order to protect them. Either way, he himself appears to have become a hostage of the intelligence agencies, which will relentlessly attempt to expand their reach as they seek what Admiral John Poindexter once termed total information awareness.

    Obama seems barely aware of his transformation. His administration has relentlessly tried to track down leakers, imposing draconian penalities on govenrment employees who are either whistleblowers or have committed minor infractions. And in the more serious case of Bradley Manning, as John Judis of the New Republic has observed, Obama presided over what amounted to a "show trial."

    Even as America retreats back into the Bush-Cheney era under Obama, the president is blaming Russia for reverting to cold war tactics. He said on Tuesday on the "Tonight Show" that

    There have been times where they slip back into cold war thinking and a cold war mentality. And what I consistently say to them, and what I say to President Putin, is that’s the past and we’ve got to think about the future, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate more effectively than we do.

    But who is really stuck in a time warp? How does snubbing Putin enhance cooperation?

    When it comes to Snowden, it is America, not Russia, that is behaving as though the frostiest days of the cold war continued to prevail. It seems clear that Snowden has become an obsession with Obama. WIth no one listening to Obama at home, perhaps he felt that this was the one arena where he could flex his muscles. If so, he had it wrong. Obama initially declared that the presidency was bigger than Snowden. If only he had believed what he said. Instead, he has transformed Snowden into a dissident who has found refuge in, of all places, Russia.


  13. Still not a Western target mentioned.

    Yemen says it has foiled a major al-Qaeda plot to blow up oil pipelines and seize two of the country's main ports. Government spokesman Rajeh Badi said the plans included taking control of the al-Dhaba oil terminal and killing or kidnapping foreign workers.

  14. Go! Go! Go it alone!

    Los Angeles Times

    JERUSALEM -- Alarmed by the prospects of renewed U.S.-Iran negotiations and suggestions that the new Islamic leadership might chart a more moderate path, Israel is ramping up its threat to take unilateral military action against Iran's nuclear program.

    1. Neither Israel or Iran are Western powers, hope they get it together, unifying the Middle East on a common cause.

      Maybe it should be regional nuclear disarmament?

    2. An Israeli attack against Iran would seal Israel’s fate and they know it.

    3. Interesting that the Israeli do not want there to be any negotiations, wanting to derail any move towards a more moderate Iran. Seems Bibi cannot function without a boogy man over the horizon. Must be outside his skill sets.

    4. The Iranians are too tricky for American negotiators. Bibi is only trying to be helpful.

    5. Dumb and dumber discussion things above their paygrade...

      how fun.

  15. Los Angeles Times

    BEIRUT -- Syrian government forces ambushed and killed more than 60 rebel fighters Wednesday in the suburbs of the capital Damascus ...

    Wonder if any of the 60 killed were carrying US supplied weapons?

    If they were, the forces of the dictator Assad holds them now.

  16. Someone had to die and the quicker the better

    New US drone strikes reportedly killed seven alleged al-Qaida members in southern Yemen on Wednesday after the government in Sana'a claimed to have foiled a large-scale terrorist attack and the US and Britain evacuated their embassy staff.

    Security officials told the Associated Press the latest drone attacks hit targets in Shabwa province, where residents reported seeing two vehicles and several bodies on fire.

    The news came as details emerged in the capital of an ambitious plan by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a "franchise" of the global terrorist network, to attack oil installations and towns.

    Rajeh Badi, press adviser to Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa, said the plot involved dozens of fighters in Yemeni army uniforms storming the facilities on Sunday night, and holding them. Yemeni officials spoke of a plan to take control of the Mina al-Dhaba oil terminal, which is run by Canada, in the Mukallah region on the Arabian Sea.

    The US state department said on Tuesday that its decision to close its embassy and to repeat a call for all US citizens to leave the country had been prompted by a "specific and immediate threat."

    US intelligence is reported to have earlier intercepted "chatter" indicating an impending terrorist attack, along with a conversation between the al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of AQAP.

    1. Hate to say these strikes against "premier targets" were predicted, here at the .The Libertarian, but they were.

  17. Had the seven ”AQ” been in Syria we would have supplied them with weapons instead of killing them.

  18. The Daily Deuce and rat B.S. Dialogues.

    1. peppered by boobie droppings!

    2. He is not welcome any where else, don' know if he's welcome here, but he refuses to leave.

  19. .

    Something MUCH more interesting than the ME or the dicks in D.C.


  20. Newly minted Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney, in a memorable public debut, on Wednesday mapped out the biggest change in the central bank's policy framework since 2009, giving a qualified pledge to keep interest rates low and its bond-purchase program at current levels at least until the U.K.'s jobless rate falls to 7%.

    The new focus on job-market conditions resembles the U.S. Federal Reserve's strategy and marks an attempt by the BOE to keep a fledgling economic recovery on track by dispelling market expectations that it could soon tighten monetary policy.

  21. On this day in 2007, baseball slugger Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron as baseball’s career home run leader. He knocked his 756th home run in San Francisco against the Washington Nationals.

  22. I like my women like I like my gas...