“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."

Friday, January 17, 2014

From Al Jeezera....

An Al Jazeera Arabic anchor recently asked his audience why Arab armies, and, in particular, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in Syria, can’t behave more humanely towards civilians, like the Israeli and French armies do?


  1. .

    On January 22, the Syrian Peace Conference starts. It should be fun. I expect a lot to be accomplished. Like planning for a new conference six months from now.


    1. Israel, was not invited to attend, just like the Iran talks, Israel is not allowed a seat at the table.

    2. Because Israel is waving the threat of air strikes around. One doesn't negotiate under threat.

    3. .

      Israel wasn't invited? Join the club.

      Iran won't be there. A few days ago, they weren't sure which rebel factions would be there.

      Kerry was still talking to one of the chief resistance groups trying to convince them to change their mind and come.

      Iran won't be there due to the fact they wouldn't agree to the US demand that any solution to the problem precludes Assad involvement in any new governing arrangement, basically regime change.

      You can imagine what Assad will say about that.

      The conference might not be quite as loud as the Al Jazerra interview but I would judge the chances of getting anything done as pretty slim.


    4. Re: One doesn't negotiate under threat.

      Really, we've been demanding Israel do so for 65 years. Is this one of those occasions when there is a rule for Israel but for no one else?

      I do wish Mr. Netanyahu would use that line with Kerry.

    5. Teresita RedingerFri Jan 17, 07:57:00 PM EST
      Because Israel is waving the threat of air strikes around. One doesn't negotiate under threat.

      Israel received at least 10 rockets from Gaza during the last 2 weeks... As well as over 200 terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank. All the while Israel is required to negotiate with the very people murdering Israeli civilians.

    6. Fact is? Hamas and Iran are BOTH in an official state of war with what they call the zionist entity.

      Maybe the only solution is a complete military one...

    7. I don't require Israel to negotiate anything. All I require Israel to do is put her hands back in her own purse.

    8. That line is getting old.

      America funds and supports over 100 nations across the globe. Your bitching about Israel should be consistent with the % of total dollars spent. Please factor in the non-aid trillions spent on the support of Europe (nato) and the oil nations and of course the decades of keeping your family's homeland safe.

      When and if you were to be consistent with a standard for all? then you might have something to add. But since you are broken record about "your tax dollars" spent on Israel? It gets old, let's say you EARN 100k a year. less than .001 cent of your taxes go to Israel. Far more go to welfare, food stamps, servicing Chinese bonds, Nato, aid to africa

  2. Pork Rinds for Allah back in the saddle again.

    An Al Jazeera Arabic anchor recently asked his audience why Arab armies, and, in particular, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in Syria, can’t behave more humanely towards civilians, like the Israeli and French armies do?

    In an interview given on September 30, 2002, for the October 6 edition of 60 Minutes, American Christian minister Jerry Falwell said: "I think Muhammad was a terrorist. I read enough by both Muslims and non-Muslims, [to decide] that he was a violent man, a man of war." The following Friday, Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari, an Iranian cleric, issued a fatwa calling for Falwell's death, saying Falwell was a "mercenary and must be killed." He added, "The death of that man is a religious duty, but his case should not be tied to the Christian community."

    1. Death to all non-Muslims who say Muslims advocate violence!

    2. And??? Uh...(toe tapping, arms tightly folded)

    3. ...which brought to mind the question - Why have I never seen a Muslim chef on the cooking network? What an endorsement for Chicago Cutlery.

    4. The Ginsu Knife cuts off the head of this tourist without a fuss! BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

    5. While just a rumor, I heard that no one (including Anthony Bourdain after a snoot full) felt comfortable judging a Muslim near cutlery...even behind bullet proof glass. Stereotypes are just so darned unfair.


      (See if they'll air that one today)

    7. ...very edgy, T, very edgy...


  3. For a change it was good to hear a tempered, measured, thoughtful discussion.

  4. In answer to the question, לֹא תִרְצָח (no murder).

  5. I am going to mark this day on my Special Days Calendar.

    Believe me, as I tell you true, I never thought I would live to see the day that WiO puts up a thread here.

    This place is just getting better, and better, and better !!!


    1. I am sorry to say I had paid no attention. Congrats WiO...good catch...

  6. As for negotiating under threat, it's done all the time.

    Almost all lawsuits are negotiated under some kind of threat, and the negotiations before the lawsuits are even filed are negotiated under the threat of lawsuits.......

    Anyone that thinks negotiating under threats is any thing to the world was just very recently born.

    Some white European dude once said war was just diplomacy (negotiations) by other means......

    And an American President once said, "Walk softly (or was it speak softly) but carry a Big Stick".

    Negotiations are basically threats, carried out in a civilized (supposedly) manner between pros. But the B-52 lurks in the background, or the threat of withholding aid, or any manner of other inducements....

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Teresita RedingerFri Jan 17, 08:22:00 PM EST

    I don't require Israel to negotiate anything. All I require Israel to do is put her hands back in her own purse.

    I'm certain the Israelis will be relieved to hear this.

    I've been reading some Israeli sites, and they are always talking about, and deeply concerned about, what Miss T may or may not require of them.

    I even saw one article where a clandestine operation was being considered to make certain Miss T got her beauty sleep each night, so that in some grumpy mood she wouldn't get up on some rainy clammy Seattle morning and all of a sudden be requiring shit of them. This Jewish plot mentioned warm milk and Citalopram before beddie each night.


  9. Can a Mexican Spring be far behind? Mexico is primed and ready. G-d only knows the suffering of these good people over the centuries.

    California kids enlist in Mexico militias to rout a drug cartel

  10. One wishes them well.

    They may be up against guns provided to the cartels by Holder and Obama.

    1. How much of this gear is going to make it into Syria? Coincidentally, it was reported today that the Russians are shipping Assad many new toys. Hmm...

      US agrees to send new arms, artillery to Iraq to fight Al Qaeda

  11. That Al Jeezera guy is funny as hell.

    What a question !!

    As if we don't all know the answer.

    Which is, the arabs have been genetically changed by all the learned behaviors passed down to them like rote for generations, in a Lamarckian sort way. The latest research confirms this - and Rufus was right all along when he said:

    "It's in their genes."

    Culture counts.

  12. And you thought Desert Rat was a die hard...

    An imperial Japanese soldier who spent 29 years in hiding on an island in the Philippines after World War II has died aged 91.

    Hiroo Onoda was one of about 60 soldiers who fought on from their jungle strongholds after the war, refusing to believe that the Japanese empire had been defeated.

    The former army intelligence officer spent three decades waging his own guerrilla war on Lubang Island in the north-western Philippines.

    In 1974 he laid down his arms, but only after his former commanding officer returned and personally ordered him to do so.

  13. Wonder how the transition back to civilian life went back in '74?


  14. 'Ethnic cleansing' in 'Palestine'

    Exclusive: Joseph Farah asks, why is U.S. supporting creation of anti-Semitic hate state?

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is citing a cold, hard, inconvenient fact I have been pointing out for a number of years – one that has the potential to reframe the entire Israeli-Palestinian debate.

    In an hour-long interview with Canada’s CTV this week, he explained that the official position of the Arabs on a Palestinian state is that the land must first be “Jew free” through ethnic cleansing that is rejected everywhere else in the world today – an argument first made by me 10 years ago, and I alone have continued to make it repeatedly ever since.

    When interviewer Lisa LaFlamme pointed out that one in five Israelis are Arabs, Netanyahu responded: “Sure, we’re not asking them to change their religion. They have full civic rights. Now in the Palestinian state, the way it’s being contemplated, no Jew can live there. It has to be Jew free, ethnic cleansing. Well, what is that? There are Arabs who live here, but they can’t contemplate Jews living there.”

    That’s exactly what the Palestinian Authority is demanding – ethnic cleansing of it land so that a future Palestinian state can be Jew-free.

    It’s amazing to me that the rest of the civilized world doesn’t categorically reject such a premise. But it doesn’t. In fact, no one even speaks of it. An idea that would be condemned anywhere else in the world is considered appropriate – even commendable – in the Middle East.

    There’s one thing almost all civilized people can agree on – “ethnic cleansing” is bad. “Ethnic cleansing” is defined as a policy of eliminating unwanted ethnic or religious groups by deportation, forcible displacement, mass murder or by threats of such acts, with the intent of creating a territory inhabited by people of a homogeneous or pure ethnicity, religion, culture and history.

    1. Nevertheless, even with this broad consensus opposing ethnic cleansing, there’s one place in the world nearly everyone supports ethnic cleansing.

      It’s in the lands known as Judea and Samaria on the West Bank of the Jordan River under the administration of the Palestinian Authority. There – and only there – does the entire international community favor the complete elimination of all Jewish residents by deportation and forcible displacement if not by mass murder or threats of such acts.

      That’s because the Palestinian Authority insists the “Palestinian state” it seeks to create be 100 percent “Judenrein,” as Hitler would say – free of Jews. And that’s OK with all those supporting the concept of creating a new state based on ethnic cleansing and bigotry that would make Himmler blush.

      Did you know this is a prerequisite for a Palestinian state?

      Very few do.

      It is simply never discussed in the media.

      It is the only place in the world where it is perfectly acceptable to insist on the eradication of residents of a particular religious or ethnic background.

      This is one of the great untold stories of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      In any other part of the world, this kind of racist, anti-Semitic effort at ethnically cleansing a region would be roundly condemned by all civilized people. Yet, because most people simply don’t understand the clear, official plan by the Arab leaders to force out all Jews from the new Palestinian state, those leaders retains a degree of sympathy, even political support, from much of the world.

      Think about what I am saying: It is the official policy of the Palestinian Authority that all Jews must get off the land! Why is the United States supporting the creation of a new, racist, anti-Semitic hate state? Why do American taxpayers send hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the leaders of this movement? Why is the civilized world viewing this as a prescription for peace in the region? Why is this considered an acceptable idea?

      Can you think of any other place in the world where that kind of official policy of racism and ethnic cleansing is tolerated – even condoned?

      Why are the rules different in the Middle East? Why are the rules different for Arabs? Why are the rules different for Muslims?

      Why do we accept as a fait accompli that Jews should be forced off their land in the coming state of Palestine?

      Can you imagine the U.S. backing a plan to uproot forcibly people from their homes because they are Muslim or any other religion?

      Of course not.

      But the monsters who control the Palestinian Authority, even the so-called “moderates,” demand that all Jews leave. Jews will simply be unwelcome in this future Palestinian state. End of story. It’s a non-negotiable demand.

      Isn’t that the definition of ethnic cleansing?

      Why is that acceptable?

      I’ve been asking this question for a decade. Thankfully, Netanyahu has made the point. It must be repeated over and over and over again until the whole world recognizes the diabolical Nazi-like plan afoot within the Palestinian Authority


    2. While Joe is not exactly my cup of tea when it comes to religious matters, nevertheless he is right on the money on this.

      Exactly why is the U.S. supporting the creation of an anti-Semitic hate state?


    3. .

      Not a clue.

      Why did you single out me and Miss T? And before you answer, you know where this will be going.


    4. Not singling you out, just casting about for a response from someone.......

      But I should have known you wouldn't have a clue.....


    5. Should have said Quirk, Miss T, Buehler, anyone? I guess.

    6. Not singling you out, just casting about for a response from someone.......and you two being Gentile posters I much admire.....etc

      How's that for dodging your bullet?

    7. .

      Dodging a bullet? Naw, you were just merely proving a point.

      " two being Gentile posters..."

      You have gone all in. Haven't you?



  15. This is really good - must read time line included -

    Devastating Benghazi timeline: Obama missed intel briefing five days in a row before jihad attack, went to campaign rally right after it


    Note that Obama says, "Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat" the day before a Libyan defense militia warned State Department officials about the jihad threat in Benghazi. "Devastating Benghazi Timeline Reveals Obama MIA," by Wynton Hall for Breitbart, January 16:

    The government watchdog group that revealed that President Barack Obama failed to attend over half of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) released a devastating Benghazi timeline Wednesday....
    As the GAI timeline reveals, Obama failed to attend his daily intelligence briefing for the five consecutive days leading up to the September 11, 2012 attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

    The Benghazi timeline catalogues Obama’s continuous campaigning even as terrorist forces vowed Libyan attacks and State Department officials were warned of security threats.

    The day following the deadly attacks, Obama departed for a Las Vegas campaign rally.

    Posted by Robert Spencer on January 17, 2014

    1. Here's the link -

  16. 40 More Maps That Explain The World -

    Link included to the first set of maps that explain the world......

    REALLY nifty the ebb and flow of WWII day by day for instance, really fast......human migration around the world....income equality.......what Africa would look like with colonialism......

    1. What a coinkadink, I read that one the other day.

  17. Jerusalem panel meets amid Israel-EU settlement row

    (AFP) – 16 hours ago
    Marrakech — Palestinian president Mahmud

    Abbas was speaking in Morocco at a meeting of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee amid heightened concern by Arab and Western nations over new Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    The US-brokered peace talks must “not serve as a cover for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories," said Abbas.

    Israel last week announced plans to build some 1,800 new homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem.

    The announcement came only days after the latest peace mission by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who slammed the settlements as “illegitimate” and “unhelpful".

    The controversial decision prompted Britain, Italy, France and Spain to summon Israeli ambassadors in protest, with the Jewish state calling in European ambassadors on Friday in a tit-for-tat move.

    “There can be no peace without stability, nor agreement without occupied east Jerusalem being recognised as the capital of the Palestinian state," Abbas said.

    The Al-Quds Committee was founded by the pan-Muslim Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 1975 to resist the confiscation of Palestinian land and assets in Jerusalem.

    Speaking at the opening of the two-day meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco’s King Mohamed VI, as president of the committee, called for "a strong mobilisation of our own means and resources... to defend the Holy City."

    After Israel unveiled its new settlement plans last week a furious row erupted with the United States, when Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon launched a bitter personal tirade against Secretary of State John Kerry for his “obsession" with brokering a framework peace deal with the Palestinians by April.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday accused the European Union of a "hypocritical" attitude toward the Middle East peace process, saying it should be more concerned by Palestinian militancy than Israeli housing construction.
    The international community considers all settlements to be illegal that were built on land seized by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.

    The Palestinians want any peace deal to recognise borders based on the lines that existed before then, when Israel captured the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.

  18. Protesting Egyptian students loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood set fire to two buildings at Al-Azhar University’s Cairo campus following clashes with police on Saturday, state television reported.

    At least one student was killed in the fighting, a doctor told the AFP news agency. Reuters also quoted an activist as saying a protester had been killed, although this was denied by a security source.

    State TV broadcast footage of black smoke billowing from the university’s faculty of commerce building and said “terrorist students” had set the agriculture faculty building on fire as well.

    State-run newspaper Al-Ahram said the fighting began when security forces fired teargas to disperse pro-Brotherhood students who were preventing their classmates from entering university buildings to take exams. Protesters threw rocks at police and set tyres on fire to counter the teargas.

    The Brotherhood was officially designated as a terrorist organisation by the state earlier this week after 16 people were killed in a suicide attack on a police station, although the group condemned the attack and it was claimed by a radical faction based in the Sinai Peninsula.

    Mass protests by Brotherhood supporters across Egypt followed on Friday, with at least five people killed in clashes with police and hundreds arrested.

    The Brotherhood has been at the forefront of demonstrations against what it calls the “military coup” that deposed Islamist Mohammed Morsi as president after a year in office.

    Al-Azhar, a respected centre of Sunni Islamic learning, has for months been the scene of many of the group’s protests.

    Government seeking to ‘crush opposition movement’

    Egypt’s army-backed government has sought to crackdown on the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies in recent months – increasing tension in a country suffering the worst internal strife of its modern history following Morsi’s ousting in July.

    A conservative estimate puts the overall death toll since Morsi’s fall at well over 1,500. Most of those killed were Morsi supporters, including hundreds gunned down when the security forces cleared a protest vigil outside a Cairo mosque.

    At least 350 members of the security forces have also been killed in bombings and shootings since Morsi’s downfall. The state has declared them martyrs of a war on terrorism.

    The move to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation effectively bans all the group’s activities, including demonstrations – an apparent attempt to clamp down on dissent ahead of a referendum next month on a new constitution, a step that will pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.

    Human Rights Watch on Saturday criticised the government’s designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group as “politically driven”.

    “By rushing to point the finger at the Brotherhood without investigations or evidence, the government seems motivated solely by its desire to crush a major opposition movement.” said Sarah Leah Whitson of the New York-based rights group.

    Under the anti-terrorism law dating back to the presidency of Hosni Mubarak, those convicted can be jailed for life, while authorities said this week that the Brotherhood’s leaders could face the death sentence.

    (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

  19. At least 21 people were killed in a coordinated attack on a Lebanese restaurant in central Kabul on Friday, including the International Monetary Fund’s representative in Afghanistan and four UN staff members.

    Kabul police say 21 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated at the restaurant's entrance followed by at least one gunman who sprayed the restaurant with bullets, police said.

    "This morning we have checked again and our latest figure is 21 killed, including 13 foreigners and eight Afghans. Five women were among the dead and about five people were injured," Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir told AFP.

    The US embassy confirmed that two American citizens were among those killed.

    An Afghan security source described the attack, confirming that at least two attackers were involved.

    “First there was a suicide attack near a restaurant for foreigners, where a man detonated his explosives attached to his body, and then possibly one or two insurgents entered the restaurant,” one Afghan security source said.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said that there were three attackers, one of whom was killed when he detonated his bomb, while the other two were shot by security forces.

    The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) representative in Afghanistan and four United Nations staff were among the dead, which included at least 13 foreign nationals, police said.

    Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack on the Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan district, which is popular with Afghan officials, foreign diplomats, aid workers and business people.

    The assault was carried out around dinner time in the heavily fortified district, which is home to a wealthy Afghan community and many embassies.

    'I went to the roof'

    One of the attack's survivors, who worked as a cook at the restaurant, said he ran from the gunmen after hearing the explosion outside.

    “I went to the roof and stayed with my back to the chimney for two or three hours," Suleiman said. "Later, Afghan police came and took me out.”

    A clearance operation continued for several hours after the attack as until midnight police were still unsure whether more bombers might be lurking in the dark, dusty streets.

    "Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law," said a spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

    The attack comes at a tough time for Afghanistan, as most foreign forces prepare to leave the country by then end of this year after more than a decade of war.

    Security concerns are also high ahead of the country’s presidential election in April, when Afghans will choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

    (FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

  20. There are currently over 500,000 Jewish settlers, mostly European immigrants, living in territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

    1. Yep, and when more are built, the Palestinians object, bibi cries "ethnic cleansing", and farmer bob says "see!".

    2. At last count there were over 350,000,000 American settlers, about 1/2 from europe, many from asia and a lot from mexico living in territories occupied by the United States .

  21. Would you buy an ObamaCare policy from this man? -

    1. Richard Simmons will just scare ObamaCare customers away - who could possibly take it seriously after that?

      We need Rufus to make an ObamaCare dance/exercise ad to get the customers up and recovering from the Simmons hit, and back to the non functioning web site. Quirk could do the choreography.

    2. The white kid right behind her behind is snickering at her ass.