“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, December 11, 2013

Thunder on the Slightly Right of Center

US runs $135.2 billion budget deficit in November ( less red is the new green)
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Boston Herald

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government ran a much smaller deficit through the first two months of the budget year than the same period last year, signaling further improvement in the nation's finances.
The November deficit — the gap between what the government takes in and what it spends — totaled $135.2 billion, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. That's 21.4 percent lower than November 2012. And through the first two months of the budget year the deficit totaled $226.8 billion, or 22.7 percent lower than the same period a year ago. The budget year begins on Oct. 1.
Higher tax rates and a better economy have boosted revenue. At the same time, spending has slowed. Those trends helped shrink the annual deficit last year to $680 billion, the lowest deficit in five years. Private economists predict the annual deficit this year will fall further, to around $600 billion.
The government ran annual deficits of more than $1 trillion in the previous four years, including an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in the 2009 budget year. The Great Recession led to a drop in tax revenue and an increase in emergency spending, such as unemployment benefits.
The economy has gradually improved since the recession ended four years ago. And hiring has accelerated in the past four months. As more people find jobs, tax revenue rises and the deficit shrinks.
Through the first two months of the budget year revenue has increased 10.2 percent to $361.8 billion compared with the same period last year. At the same time, spending in those months has fallen 4.7 percent to $608.2 billion.
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on a budget deal on Tuesday that would avoid another government shutdown in January and bring some stability to the budget process for the next two years. The deal must be approved by the full House and Senate.
The agreement sets overall discretionary spending for the current budget year at $1.012 trillion. That's slightly higher than the level sought by the Republican-controlled House. But it is below what the Democratic-controlled Senate had wanted. The additional $45.5 billion in spending would be paid for by a range of measures, including a higher fee on airline tickets to pay for airport security
Discretionary spending is roughly one-third of the federal budget and must be approved each year by Congress. The rest of the budget covers mandatory programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Those spending levels are determined by the number of qualified beneficiaries.
While the deal calls for a $63 billion increase in spending over the next two years, the increase would be coupled with $85 billion in added deficit reductions over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate of the deal's impact. That's a net deficit reduction of $23 billion over that period, the CBO said.
Congress and the administration have struggled to reach agreement on further improvements in the deficit outlook. Republicans have refused to boost taxes further and Democrats are opposed to making significant reductions in government entitlement programs such as Social Security without additional tax revenue.

The deal reached this week funds the government. But it does not address the need to raise the borrowing limit. The current suspension of the debt ceiling ends on Feb. 7.


  1. The Right might be in a corner as far as this budget deal goes, but hey, in India, they banned gay sex, so Righties, cheer up, you win some, and you lose some.


    1. “If people try to judge you or shame you for doing safe,
      consensual things that make you happy,
      I can guarantee you they're bad people.”

  2. Quirk,

    Pavarotti / Brown



    1. Meanwhile Baby Jesus has been kicked off Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, he was out of uniform and didn't salute senior officers.

  3. A newly minted budget deal to avert future US government shutdowns gained important ground among House Republicans who are more accustomed to brinkmanship than compromise, even though it would nudge federal deficits higher three years in a row.


    In the current climate, though, it means a return to something approaching a routine, where spending committees will be able to write and pass individual bills each year, removed from the threat of a shutdown.

    1. Sam, the thing is, if Republicans don't screw this us, there's gonna be a clean sweep next November thanks to Obamacare. But if they shoot this budget thing down and we go into the shutdown drama again, it's gonna suck all the oxygen out of the room.

  4. On this day in 2008, Bernard Madoff was arrested for running a multibillion dollar Ponzi Scheme. The fraudster is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Yeah, the Libertarian blog is where yet another Permanent Victim Class wails and moans about their lot in life.

    2. Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski.
      was a Polish Jew and businessman who was appointed as the German Nazi-nominated head of the Ältestenrat ("Council of Elders"), or Jewish authorities in the Łódź Ghetto.

      Some remember him for his haunting and tragic speech,
      " . . . . Give Me Your Children" . . . .,
      in 1942, when the Germans insisted on deporting 20,000 children to death camps.

      He was also remembered as an autocrat and tyrant who built a personal empire within the ghetto.
      He made work the basis of survival and created profit for the Germans

      Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski was a Fifth Columnist.

    3. Teresita RedingerWed Dec 11, 08:51:00 PM EST
      Yeah, the Libertarian blog is where yet another Permanent Victim Class wails and moans about their lot in life

      Have you not got the memo Ms T?

      Some of us Jews are not victims. In fact? We don't shy away from calling those (like you) anti-Semitic garbage when we see it.

      You seem to get your feathers in a bunch when we call you out on it...

      Well tough cookies...

      The days of 2nd class citizenship are over.

      I WILL lobby MY representatives, as is MY RIGHT.

      I WILL gain influence, power and position, as is my RIGHT

      and finally? I will use my legal and constitutional rights to get my representatives to SUPPORT my points of view.

      I bet that just pisses you off since I am far more effective and successful at it than you could ever dream...

      What you and the jew hating, Israel bashing retards don't understand?

      That the Jewish "lobby" is a myth. But there is an oil lobby, a tobacco lobby, a teachers lobby, a arab lobby...

      They are all about one thing... MONEY....

      I don't BUY influence, I don't stuff the pockets of Congress with cash..

      No, all I have to do to get a representative in my pocket for LIFE?

      Is get him or her to take a trip to Israel.

      See the real facts on the ground.

      See the citizens of Israel, jews, arabs, christians, bhia's, druze, gays and more..

      See freedom and liberty...

      Then visit the palestinians, the lebanese, the iraqis, the iranians..

      the contrast is BLINDING...

      Ever wonder WHY so many people try to break INTO Israel?

      Egyptians, Ethiopians, Sudenese, Yemenites, Iranians, Russians, Americans, French...

      israel has people from all over the globe!

      maybe you should go, you might learn something and thaw out that frozen black heart of yours

    4. In our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us.
      But let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.

      I insist on the truth, not out of respect for scientific but political realities.
      The acknowledgement of this truth leads to inevitable and serious conclusions regarding our work in Palestine let us not build on the hope the terrorist gangs will get tired.

      If some get tired, others will replace them.

      A people which fights against the usurpation of its land will not tire so easily…
      it is easier for them to continue the war and not get tired than it is for us...

      The Palestinian Arabs are not alone. The Syrians are coming to help.
      From our point of view, they are strangers; in the point of law they are foreigners;
      but to the Arabs, they are not foreigners at all …

      The centre of the war is in Palestine, but its dimensions are much wider.
      When we say that the Arabs are the aggressors and we defend ourselves -
      - this is only half the truth.

      As regards our security and life we defend ourselves and our moral and physical position is not bad. We can face the gangs and were we allowed to mobilize all our forces we would have no doubts about the outcome...

      But the fighting is only one aspect of the conflict which is in its essence a political one.

      And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.
      Militarily, it is we who are on the defensive who have the upper hand
      but in the political sphere they are superior.

      The land, the villages, the mountains, the roads are in their hands.
      The country is theirs, because they inhabit it,
      whereas we want to come here and settle down,

      In their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside.

      They defend bases which are theirs, which is easier than conquering new bases...

      let us not think that the terror is a result of Hitler's or Mussolini's propaganda —
      this helps but the source of opposition is there among the Arabs.

      ○ Address at the Mapai Political Committee (7 June 1938)
      as quoted in Flapan, Simha, 1979.

    5. David Ben-Gurion
      ○ Address at the Mapai Political Committee (7 June 1938)
      as quoted in Flapan, Simha, 1979.

    6. "Marine" still has to be capitalized.


  6. Deuce, Bill Richardson has asked a personal favor of Mr. Obama, the release of Pollard during the Christmas dispensation of pardons. I cannot wait to see how you juxtapose Pollard and Snowden.


    Oh, two Jews were awarded Noble prizes in medicine today.That brings to 23% the number of prizes won by 0.2% of the world's population.


    1. Nobel Prize, Mr. 'capitalize Marine if you wanna look smart."


    2. Stella {Goldschlag} Kübler Isaacksohn.
      was a Jewish woman born in Germany who collaborated with the Gestapo during World War II, exposing and denouncing Berlin's underground Jews.

      Kübler was very successful at finding her former schoolmates and handing their information over to the Gestapo.

      The number of her victims varies from between 600 to 3,000 Jews.
      Kübler's charisma and striking good looks were a great advantage in her pursuit of underground Jews.
      The Nazis called Stella "blonde poison".

      Stella {Goldschlag} Kübler Isaacksohn was a Fifth Columnist..

    3. You want a post about Israeli spying and espionage against the USA?


    4. No, Deuce, I want to see how you handle two traitors, one whom you have demonized and the other whom you have lionized.

      You changed the subject of my observation. If it gets too uncomfortable you will take it down.


    5. Nobel Prize

      But I thought you were never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever going to address me. Your little two-chambered heart was filled with boiling hatred,


  7. .

    D.C. arithmetic.

    While the deal calls for a $63 billion increase in spending over the next two years, the increase would be coupled with $85 billion in added deficit reductions over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate of the deal's impact. That's a net deficit reduction of $23 billion over that period, the CBO said.

    Net deficit reduction of $23 billion? How can anyone take these guys seriously?


    1. Let's take what we can get. The narrative next year is Obamacare, not government shutdowns.

  8. For those that have studiously avoided ever going to any of the links that I've put up on this subject over the years, certain months Always run deficits. Oct, and November are two of those months.

    A lot can happen in the year that the CBO is not allowed to consider in its projections (this is why they are often so gawdawful.) That said, this coming year is wildly more complicated than most.

    The deficit, this year, could come in modestly to the better, or it could come in crazy-better; it just depends on whether the economy continues to grow at its 1.8%ish rate, or if it starts cooking at around 3.5%, or so.

    Your guess, I'll guarantee you, is as good as anybody's.

    1. If a booming economy will redound to the political benefit of the left, Rufus is bullish. If it's the other way around, he's a bear.

    2. Aww, that's silly, Teresita. I pulled for the USA under Bush, Clinton, and Reagan, and I pull for it under Obama.

    3. I do think that there are "different horses for different courses," and that in a time of "liquidity trap" the best horse is good, old-fashioned Democratic pump-priming.

    4. Who was it that said, "When the Facts change, I change my position, sir. What do you do?"

    5. And, don't bet the farm on Obamacare being a real big "net plus" for the Pubs next year.

  9. Borderland Beat Reporter ChivisWed Dec 11, 11:32:00 PM EST

    SInaloa Cartel Lieutenant "R5" Killed

    Jesus Gregorio Villanueva Rodriguez aka "R5" was killed in Sonora today.

    The Sinaloa Cartel lieutenant was in charge of Hermosillo operations.

    Villanueva was travelling in his 2012 Passat Volkswagen, in the Hermosillo Colonia Pimentel at around midnight when the shootout occurred.

    He was with his 16 year old girlfriend, Karely Inzunza Aguilar, who suffered two gun shots. They were on the way to buy fast-food when confronted by unknown assailants.

    The two were transferred to the hospital where within one hour Villanueva was pronounced dead. The girlfriend was not seriously injured from the bullet impacts she received

  10. Borderland Beat Reporter ChivisWed Dec 11, 11:42:00 PM EST

    The Federal Police arrested three men in Jalisco that belonged to La Familia Michoacana
    -now are with The Knights Templar -
    who are allegedly linked to more than 200 killings of hostages,
    members of antagonistic groups of organized crime and drug dealers.

    200 murders of kidnapped victims, members of rival gangs,
    and drug dealers, a 30-year-old man has been arrested in Mexico.

    Felipe Viveros Garcia is being held responsible for 200 murders
    and was arrested by police in Jalisco in Mexico,
    according to a news report by Latino Daily News and Mileno..

    Along with 30-year-old Felipe Viveros Garcia,
    two other men were arrested including 43-year-old Jose Bernabe Lopez Alcaraz
    and 40-year-old Froylan Barrera Morales,
    said the the Mexican National Security Commission in a statement on Tuesday.

    All three men were arrested in a joint operation with the Attorney General's Office
    after an investigation by police in the cities of Tomatlan and Zapopan.

    All three men are accused of having committed criminal conspiracy,
    kidnapping, extortion, murder, arms trafficking, and arms possession.

    “Lopez Alcaraz and Barrera Morales allegedly led gangs that monitored the activities of the authorities, provided security to members of the criminal organization and managed communications gear.”

    Being able to monitor activities of authorities gives drug cartels and vigilante groups
    in Mexico an upper hand in a drug war that has recently become even more bloody.
    Just on Monday, Mexican authorities found the bodies of eight kidnap victims,
    some dismembered, on a highway in Guerrero.

    The famous resort city Acapulco,
    which is in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico,
    is only about 186 miles southwest of Mexico City.

    Acapulco, along with other cities in Guerrero,
    is seeing again an increasing number of murders and kidnappings.

    In Mexico, about 1,000 people are killed each month in drug-related homicides.
    Kidnapping victims, who are sometimes being held over long periods of time in so-called “safe houses”.

    Even though Felipe Viveros Garcia is the youngest of the three men arrested,
    he has been identified as one of the leading figures of a group extorting various authorities in Jalisco.

    According to investigators, Felipe Viveros Garcia
    “ordered and participated in more than 200 killings of kidnapping victims,
    members of rival gangs and drug dealers in different cities in Jalisco and the southern state of Guerrero.”

    Big thanks to reader Luis who sent this story to me yesterday.

  11. The NSA chief says he knows of no better way his agency can help protect the U.S. from foreign threats than with spy programs that collect billions of phone and Internet records from around the world.


    He said the NSA knows of no other way to connect the dots between a foreign terror threat and a potential attack on the U.S.

    1. .

      He said the NSA knows of no other way to connect the dots...

      This kind of worries me. Just as the drone seems to be the go-to weapon system for tracking and killing terrorists, it appears COMINT is becoming the chief tool being used by our intelligence agencies. HUMINT and other methods of gathering intelligence seem to be taking a back seat to cyber intelligence.

      It's worrisome because these guys talk a good game (well, not really) but they have provided very little (no?) evidence that the resources they are investing are at all effective. We are forced to give up basic rights and are getting zip in return.


  12. Borderland Beat Reporter Havana PuraWed Dec 11, 11:52:00 PM EST

    Missing Journalist in Zacatecas, Feared Kidnapped

    Organizations of defenders of freedom of expression warned about the disappearance
    of the reporter for Agency TV Hotline (, Zoila Edith Márquez Chiu,
    whose whereabouts are unknown since Saturday December 7.

    Article 19 and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported in separate statements
    of the disappearance of Márquez Chiu, who was last seen midday on Saturday the 7
    in Zacatecana capital.

    The organizations demanded local authorities, and eventually federal authorities take into account the
    practice of journalism as the line of investigation.

    Article 19 called for the intervention of the Special Prosecutor for (FEADLE)
    the Investigating of Crimes against Freedom of Expression,
    which depends on the Attorney General's Office (PGR),

    while RSF noted that the Zoila Edith case should be added to
    the Sergio Landa Rosado of Diario Cardel, whom nothing is known about him since January 22,
    and Gerardo Blanquet, of Radio Grande of Coahuila,
    whose whereabouts remain unknown since April 30.

    RSF, an organization based in Paris, France,
    said that in the past 10 years, 18 journalists remain missing,
    one woman María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, of Diario Cambio de Michoacan,
    disappeared on November 11, 2009.

    "None of these cases have been solved, in which, by their nature,
    could involve corrupt police officers," said RSF.

    “We hope enough resources will be deployed to find Márquez safe and sound as soon as possible,”
    Reporters Without Borders said.
    “The authorities must respond to her family’s appeal. There is so far no proof that she has been kidnapped but the police should investigate the possibility her disappearance is linked to her work.”

  13. I, Anonymous

    Post-Mushroom Remorse

    by Anonymous

    To the young lady in the Starbucks men's room:
    I would like to apologize if I caused you to feel uncomfortable, disgusted,
    and/or whatever else you may have felt when I found you washing your hands.

    After my initial shock of wondering how I had just wandered into the women's restroom,
    you kindly said, "You're all good," assuring me that I was indeed in the men's room

    . I thought nothing of just walking toward the sink to put cold tap water into my coffee to cool it down.
    I was high on mushrooms, and since I wasn't there to unload a #1 or #2,
    I thought I was still "all good."
    I failed to take into account that even though I'm one of the good guys,
    I probably do look pretty devious, a
    nd walking in there with you by yourself and letting the door close behind me was not "all good" but was pretty rude and insensitive.

    It didn't even dawn on me until I was on my way home to eat my watermelon and pistachios.
    I don't remember what you look like, so I'll never be able to apologize in person.

    I just don't want to be seen by you as "That Creep from the Men's Room."
    I don't know if what I did was unforgivable, but rest assured that I do feel like an asshole.



  14. "We must expel Arabs and take their places."

    -- David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

  15. "There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault?
    They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country.
    Why would they accept that?"

    -- David Ben Gurion, -- Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122.


  16. "We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us.
    Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?'
    Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said

    'Drive them out!"

    -- Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs,
    published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.