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

Thursday, March 05, 2015

I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in our way. - Benjamin Netanyahu



  1. Farrakhan asks a question at the 16 minute mark, a question that is unanswerable by the toadies in The Conga Line “ How many Americans have died and been mortally wounded because of a lie?” The lie was Netanyahu’s testimony to The US Congress about Iraq’s WMD program.

    Who was the liar?

    "I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in our way." - Benjamin Netanyahu

  2. Some 60 miles from his office in the capital of Iraq’s oil-rich province of Kirkuk, a battle is raging for control of Tikrit. It might seem a hopeful sign that Baghdad is finally attempting to win back a key city from the control of Isis, the jihadist group that swept into a great swathe of Iraq last year. But Kirkuk’s governor, Najmaldin Karim, is not optimistic about the long-term outcome.

    It is not the military but the political consequences of the fighting that worry him. “What are you going to do after you liberate these areas... are the people who fled from there going to be able to go back?” In other words, is the war in Iraq now so pervasively sectarian that Sunnis can no longer accept rule by a Shia Muslim-dominated central government?

    Before the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as Isis) captured Tikrit on 11 June last year, the city had a population of about 260,000, almost all of them Sunni. The offensive to drive out Isis that is now under way is very much a Shia affair with 30,000 soldiers, half from the regular army and half Shia militias. Significantly, it is taking place with the support of Iran and without the backing of US air strikes. Iran and the US may have a common enemy in Isis, but in Iraq they are fighting two very different wars.

    Dr Karim says there is no alternative for the Baghdad government but to rely on the Shia militiamen. “The army is pretty well incapable of taking on major operations, while the militias are better equipped and probably have better fighters,” he told The Independent in an interview at his Kirkuk office.


    1. {...}

      He said the largely Shia army that disintegrated last year when it lost northern and western Iraq to Isis “wasn’t a real army, but a corrupt bunch of guys at checkpoints who had no training”. Nor does he think the situation is much better today. Kirkuk is relatively safe because it is defended by Kurdish Peshmerga, he says, but even they suffered heavy losses when Isis broke through the nearby frontline on 30 January. “It was a rainy, foggy night and our people were too lax,” he admitted.

      Dr Karim’s career is a blend of professional success and Kurdish nationalist commitment. Born 65 years ago in Kirkuk, he trained as a doctor then became a Peshmerga, or fighter, in 1973, a couple of years before a Kurdish rebellion against Baghdad collapsed after the US and Iran cynically withdrew support.

      After that defeat, Dr Karim accompanied the exiled Kurdish leader, Mulla Mustafa, to Washington, and remained there for 30 years as both a highly regarded neurosurgeon and a lobbyist for the Kurdish cause. He recalls giving evidence to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 1990 about Saddam Hussein’s genocide against Kurds. But the administration of the day, six weeks before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, asserted that Saddam was “a force for moderation”.

      When I last saw Dr Karim two years ago, he was realistically sceptical and even contemptuous of the capacity of Baghdad to fight the growing threat from Isis and other jihadist groups. But he was also confident and enthusiastic about his achievement in developing Kirkuk city and the surrounding province.

      These days, he looks worn down and is gloomy about the future. Kirkuk may be safe from Isis attack, but it is filled with signs of calamity. In the past year some 350,000 displaced people, almost all Sunni Arabs running for their lives, have swamped the city which previously had a population of 950,000.

      And the money has run out. The violence has been accompanied by a collapse in the price of oil – which Kirkuk is now unable to export. Before Isis swept in, Kirkuk used to send 150,000 barrels a day of crude to the Baiji refinery north of Tikrit; but that complex has been at the centre of a battle for months. Now, in the heart of the great Kirkuk oilfields, shops are reduced to selling plastic containers filled with black market petrol.

      “It has been terrible,” said Dr Karim. “It is not just a matter of expelling Daesh [the Arabic acronym for Isis] from Tikrit and Mosul. We are not receiving any funding from Baghdad – nothing for reconstruction or the IDPs (internally displaced persons) using our schools, water and electricity.”


    2. {...}

      Iraq’s central government is so detached from Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk that Baghdad officials in charge of these services no longer visit the city. Asked if Kirkuk could be described as running on “empty”, Dr Karim replied simply: “And on flat tyres.”

      Is there any solution to the convulsive violence in a country as divided as Iraq is, both by ethnicity and by religion? Dr Karim says that the replacement of Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister – notorious for his confrontational policies towards Sunnis and Kurds – with Haider al-Abadi last year had made only a superficial difference. “Abadi may have more support internationally, but on Shia-Sunni issues and Kurdish-Baghdad issues nothing much has changed,” he said.

      In his view, the only solution is to divide Iraq into regions, with geographic power sharing, granting separate Sunni and Shia regions the same autonomy already enjoyed by the Kurds. It seems a long shot, but Dr Karim is conscious that no single Iraqi community has the strength in the long term to dominate the others by force. “You must resolve things politically,” he said. “You can’t resolve them militarily by just killing people.”

      He is scornful of US-backed plans to raise yet more security forces, such as a new National Guard, that would be more inclusive of Sunni Arabs “Soon we are going to have 1.5 million people under arms which will impose a tremendous strain on the economy,” he said.


    3. {...}

      Since the breakdown in Baghdad’s control, Iraq is already effectively divided into regions which not only behave like independent statelets, but like independent statelets at war. Iraq’s Sunnis – a fifth of its population – have no leadership other than Isis, which Dr Karim says has absorbed Saddam’s old Baathist leaders.

      Sunni members of the Baghdad government have no popular support, he says. They are the same old faces playing musical chairs as they vie for jobs. “Among the Sunni, there is a sense that whoever cooperates with the government in Baghdad automatically ceases to represent them,” he said.

      As for Isis, he sees it as strong, not necessarily in numbers but in the faith of its fighters, as well as in their training. Isis leaders successfully conscript recruits where they are in control: their fighters who died after killing two senior Peshmerga officers in recent fighting near Kirkuk appeared to be locally recruited Iraqis. “When you look at the corpses of their dead you can see they are very young – in their late teens or early twenties,” he said. “They suffer huge losses, but they don’t seem to care.”

      No single Iraqi community has ever succeeded in permanently forcing its rule on the other two. Saddam failed against the Kurds before he was ousted in 2003 and the Shia have failed against the Sunni since then.

      Dr Karim’s vision of Iraq divided into regions may be inevitable, but those regions may well be at war with each other, not at peace.

    4. Patrick Cockburn

      Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. He was awarded Foreign Commentator of the Year at the 2013 Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards.

  3. Who is responsible for destabilizing Iraq to the point that it is today?

    Cui bono

    Who is not clambering for the same for Iran?

    Cui bono

    1. .

      Bush and his his neocon mandarins.


    2. .

      Cui Bono?

      A group of Dicks who knew they were sitting on the most powerful armed forces in the world and looking for a place to use it.

      Ideologues who believe that you can force democracy and western values down the throats of a foreign populace at the point of a gun.

      The MIC.

      Those who want to guarantee the supply of OIL.

      Perhaps an adult-boy hoping to outdo is daddy.

      The bunch of nation builders who couldn't shoot straight and hadn't a clue as to how to nation build even if they ever had a chance of doing it.

      Friends of Israel. Maybe.


    3. .

      Those who blame Israel for every fuck-up the US pulls off lack an understanding of the superpower/client relationship.

      They are like some addict that refuses to take either accountability or responsibility for what they have allowed through ignorance or disinterest.

      They refuse to accept the blame for their part in what their government to become.

      In some cases, it is tied to a ridiculous belief that some god needs their help in bringing about a prophesied apocalypse.

      Either that or they have been reading too many conspiracy blogs.


    4. .

      IMO, Zionism goes against western values. Despite what most in the US say, it is not a true democracy. Organizations that rate such things rate it as a flawed democracy. The US is rated higher but we are certainly not at the top of the list. In many ways are relationship with them hurts our foreign policy interests as much as it helps them. Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant and hypocritical liar and dissembler.

      However, IMO, he is the chief executive in his country and in the long run he does what he perceives is in the interest of his country.

      It would be nice if our politicians did the same.

      You can only corrupt those who are corruptible.


    5. .

      We elected Bush in 2000, narrowly. We re-elected him in 2004, with a wide margin, despite all his fuck-ups.

      We did so because we have an all volunteer army and very few people have skin in the game until such point as our actions cost too many lives or too much treasure. We did so because the economy was seemingly running along pretty good.

      Cui Bono.


    6. A flawed democracy ?

      Perish the thought.

      Kindly name one that is not.

      You started out very poorly there Q but more or less saved yourself towards the end.

    7. REPORT: Harry Reid greased billions in federal subsidies to benefit aides, donors.............Drudge

    8. .

      The ratings for the papers had classification of 'full', 'partial', 'flawed', and 'no democracy at all' if I recall correctly.

      I guess you could call Israel a 'flawed theocracy' since in many instances its laws distinguish rights based on who is a Jew and who is not with the designation of who is officially a Jew defined by the Chief Rabbinate. This affects not only the rights of Arabs and and other minorities but also Jews who do not quite fit within the orthodox definitions set by the Rabbinate.


    9. .

      I was wrong on the ratings.

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for 2014.

      Greener colours represent more democratic countries.

      The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are United Nations member states. The index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorizes countries as one of four regime types full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. The index was first produced for 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.


  4. It is amazing to hear more truth from Farrakhan in the pulpit than Netanyahu in front of the US Congress, but then again maybe not.

    1. March 5, 2015
      Steyn on Bibi 'mansplaining' Iran to Obama
      By Rick Moran

      Some particularly sharp zingers in this Mark Steyn entry on his blog, where he contrasts the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the "gaseous pap" uttered by the president.

      A sample:

      But, if this was "mansplaining", it was a big man doing the 'splaining. The shout-out to Harry Reid, the "my long-time friend John Kerry" schmoozeroo, all this was brilliant - not because everyone doesn't understand how fake it is, but because the transparent fakery underlines how easy it is to be big and generous and magnaninmous and get the snippy parochial stuff out of the way to concentrate on what really matters.

      Obama could have done this. He could have said yesterday, "Hey, my good friend Bibi and I don't see eye to eye on everything, but I'd have to be an awfully thin-skinned insecure narcissistic little dweeb to make that a capital offense, wouldn't I? So, since he's in town anyway, I've asked him to swing by the White House for an hour to shoot the breeze - and maybe we can have that dinner we missed out on the last time, right, Prime Minister? Hur-hur-hur."

      In loosing off all the phony-baloney bipartisan crapola, Netanyahu reminded us how easy it is to play the game, and how small and petty Obama is by comparison. And then, without ever saying it directly, he went on to lay out (or, if you're as touchy as Mother Jones, "mansplain") how pathetic it is to be that small and petty at this tide in the affairs of man.

      Mother Jones is right to that extent: it was a man's speech, delivered at times with oblique but intentional Churchillian flourishes - "some change, some moderation," as he said of Rouhani's Iran.

      Netanyahu was especially strong on the mullahs' expansionism. He pointed out that Iran now controls four regional capitals - Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sana'a. The P5+1 negotiatiors talk about Iran "re-joining the community of nations". Au contraire, a not insignificant number of the community of nations have joined Iran. How many more capitals would a nuclear Teheran be exercising control of?

      As for the other rising hegemon - the Islamic State, now attracting regional terror partners from West Africa to the Caucasus - Netanyahu cautioned against making the usual assumptions. In this case, he said, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

      Read the whole delicious thing.

  5. The Lobby lies and who dies? Not them.

  6. Beware The Deuces!

    Trouble in San Bernardino nightclub preceded deadly shootout

    Members of the Deuces biker club were inside Stingers Bar on Taco Tuesday, and a rival group tried to enter. As patrons spilled into the parking lot, pandemonium ensued.

    1. Lil' Dice DOA

      About 9 a.m., a group of motorcyclists rumbled down Campus Street, their thundering bikes honking at family members and friends trickling out of the hospital.

      Among them was Edward Kelly, who said his friend "AWOL," also called Lil' Dice, was killed in the shootings.

  7. Liberia just released its last Ebola patient from the hospital.

  8. >>>In a video in 2007, he talked about how “Jews are controlling America.”<<<

    Saudi 'scholar' who received prize from Saudi King

    Well shit, that's EXACTLY what our Host has said recently, that the Israelis control all 535 members of Congress.

    Deuce should have said it in Saudi Arabia, he might have won an Arabian horse, or a dancing girl, or something.

    And listen to this utter non sense:

    >>It is amazing to hear more truth from Farrakhan in the pulpit than Netanyahu in front of the US Congress, but then again maybe not.<<

    Deuce, you've really flipped out.

    You are no longer attached to the reality of things.

    It is gibberish.

  9. I'm betting Jody Arias gets another hung jury.

    1. Juries don't like to put women to death.

    2. They are all such sweet things, women, even if they carve you to death like a turkey.

  10. Damn slave driver of a wife is putting the paint roller in my hand today.


    Cheers !!

  11. The same crowd of neocons that led America into war in Iraq are all in for the US to launch a war with Iran.

    The plan is propositioned on the premise that either the US accepts a nuclear Iran, or launch another war in the Middle East. To the neocons, there is no other solution.

    The neocon crowd, including Netanyahu caused the idiotic Iraq War and created the conditions that ultimately spawned al-Qaeda in Iraq and then ISIS, neither of which existed before the US invasion.

    The War in Iraq killed and maimed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It created millions of refugees, cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars, and sullied America's reputation around the world.

    Finally, the War in Iraq massively strengthened the strategic position of Iran.

    The War in Iraq was the worst foreign policy disaster since Viet Nam and the same claque of ass clown draft dodging Republicans are attacking the judgment of Obama, who had the wisdom to oppose the Iraq War in the first place. They are still in delirium over their adulation for the warmed over lies of Netanyahu. They make Farrakhan look like a diplomat.

    1. Yep. That pretty much nails it. :)

    2. But, be careful what you say, lest they post some sort of asinine bible verse.

      A hallucination about sheets full of snakes, and tigers, or somesuch.

    3. You moron Rufus, St. Pete has given you the OK to eat all the alligator crap you wish and you slander the guy !

  12. I like being at the stage in life where the blinders are off and you can call them as you see them.

    1. That is to say: you dissembled your entire adult life until now ?

      Wow, that is a confidence builder and looks great on the character resume.....


    2. bob Thu May 27, 12:52:00 AM EDT

      But I did rip off the bank for $7500 hundred dollars, when I was on my knees, and fighting for my economic life, on my aunt's credit card. But that wasn't really stealing, just payback. …

      Just like a meth head, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, tries to justify his crime by saying that the loot was owed him, by the people or institution he ripped off.

  13. I can understand the Zionists, pulling their shit to promote their agenda. I cannot understand or tolerate the so-called Americans, with their knee pads ready to get down on the likes of a Netanyahu, from a country that has never done anything positive for the US, and place their interests over ours. I have to smile at those that flash the anti-semite card. I get them. My contempt is for the enablers.

    1. The only way I can make sense of it is to assume that humans are hard-wired to find excuses to fight against "the other."

      It makes them pretty easy to control.

    2. Making them believe in "religion," helps.

    3. Nationalism, language, race, etc. all make the would-be emperor's (re: politician) job easier.

    4. Deuce has gotten into the dangerous territory of making judgements about just who is 'a real American'.....

      >>I cannot understand or tolerate the so-called Americans<<

      >>They (the Republicans) make Farrakhan look like a diplomat<<

      This is so over the top - quite nuts, really - that only leftist zombies could it seriously, and the majority of them would not.

      It's Daffy Duck stuff.

    5. Dangerous my ass. The Republicans and their Neocon masters caused the deaths and injuries of tens of thousand of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and caused Americans trillions. They are still at it and are more than ready for another round. I have no problems in making the judgement on which is right and which is wrong. I’ll take Farrakhan over any of them.

  14. The Dollar is getting terrifyingly strong. It closed at 0.90 Euros, today. In the last year we've added the equivalent of a 20% Tax to Exporters, and give those Importing into this Country a 20% Subsidy.

    It wouldn't take much in the way of Fed Fund Rate Increases, right now, to put us back into recession.

    1. >>The Dollar is getting terrifyingly strong. It closed at 0.90 Euros<<

      I'm terrified. I sent a little Christmas and Birthday money to my Niece (those dates nearly coincide for her) and felt I got swindled in the exchange.

    2. She says everything is higher than a cat's ass in Germany.......

  15. March 5, 2015, 6:45 AM
    ISIS claims upper hand in fight for Iraq's cities

    Last Updated Mar 5, 2015 7:51 AM EST

    KIRKUK, Iraq -- The front line in Iraq's Kirkuk province was as close as CBS News correspondent Holly Williams and her team could get Thursday to the battle for Tikrit.

    The black flags of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) flew just 30 yards from Williams' position with Kurdish peshmerga fighters, and beyond that, in ISIS territory, was Iraq's main north-south highway.

    Play Video
    Iraq wants Saddam Hussein’s hometown back

    Williams reported that Iraqi forces need to recapture the vital road if they're going to defeat the extremists and reclaim Tikrit.

    But a new ISIS video released Thursday claims to show the militants fighting off the assault on Tikrit. On the city's outskirts, Iraqi forces were still trying to encircle the extremists and cut off their supply routes.

    They have been set back by roadside bombs littering the roads into the city, and by ISIS suicide bombers, since the offensive began on Monday.

    Saddam Hussein's hometown was a pocket of fierce resistance after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but since last June, Tikrit has been an ISIS stronghold.

    Play Video
    ISIS defeat could hand Iraq to Iran, CIA insider says

    Fighting alongside the Iraqi soldiers and peshmerga are Iranian troops -- and Iranian generals are reportedly commanding at least part of the battle.

    "They realize their close allies are threatened and I think they would rather deal with ISIS here than they would on the gates of Iran," said U.S. Army Col. Harry Schute (Ret), who took part in the 2003 U.S. invasion.

    Schute told Williams the battle for Tikrit could prove decisive in turning the tide against ISIS -- which now controls about a third of Iraqi territory.

    "It's a test to see if the Iraqi security forces are up to really going after a major urban area," said Schute, noting the expected battle later this year for the much larger urban area of Mosul.

    As Iranian influence in Iraq increases, the U.S. has had no direct involvement in the fight for Tikrit.

    American officials say that's because the Iraqi government did not request any airstrikes.

    It's hard to get a good bead on what is happening around Tikrit. Take Tikrit or not, Iran's hand in Iraq has been massively strengthened by our Napoleon on the Potomac, O'bozo.

    Presumably this pleases our strategic thinker and military expert General '4th of July' Rufus, for whom O'bozo can do no wrong.

  16. Parts of Kentucky just got two feet of snow.


  17. I bagged out on the Hemingway Festival's "A Movable Feast" dinner and wine tasting event.

    At $85.00 a plate it's too rich for me.

    Next up on the U of Idaho's cultural calendar is an Ethics Symposium. The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival concluded just before the Hemingway Festival began.

    There is a Hemingway Museum in Boise, my wife tells me, if anyone is ever passing through there.

  18. NASA finds evidence of vast ancient ocean on Mars........Drudge

    Surely there was some kind of life back in the day on a warmer and more oxygenated Mars.

    Richard Hoagland may be a prophet.

    It may be our old home, says Richard.

    Some, even here, do show hints of an ancestry stretching back that far......

    1. Quirk, for instance......others....

    2. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's ancestors have disowned him

      bobal Sat Sep 06, 09:21:00 PM EDT
      After an eight year law suit with most of my relatives, I've finally found some sanity on line.


      bobal Sat Sep 06, 09:22:00 PM EDT

      If cousin Sally dies, I'll joyfully let ya all know.

      With good cause, he dishonor his ancestors and his posterity.
      Stole his aunts' honor, destroyed her good name.


    3. With good cause, he dishonored his ancestors and his posterity.

  19. Interesting thing, Robert "Drat Dodger" Peterson, about the battle of Tikrit ...

    As the refugees flee the city, they are heading south, into the ground controlled by the Iraqi government and the Shia militias.
    They are not running north or west, into the ground controlled by Daesh.
    The Sunni civilians feeling safer with the Shia than with ISIS.

    Your call on that, wrong again, as usual.



  20. ISIS on the run as Iraqi forces near Tikrit

    ERBIL, Kurdsirtan Region - ISIS militants have fled areas surrounding Tikrit as Iraqi joint forces fought to capture strategic roads leading to the militant-occupied city, a Shiite militia spokesman has told Rudaw.

    “We managed to liberate lots of territory around Tikrit from ISIS and we also captured some roads overlooking Tikrit. This will help us liberate Tikrit very soon,” said Karim Nuri, official spokesperson of the People’s Mobilization Forces, a Shiite militia fighting alongside the Iraqi army.

    Nuri added: “People’s Mobilization Forces managed to retake control of the main Tikrit-Hawijja road which was in the hands of the ISIS militants in the area. With the control of this road, we will be able to liberate Tikrit more easily than before. We were also able to recapture the high ground in the areas being used by ISIS to hide.”

    The PMF spokesman said a fierce attack on the town of Ziraa forced many ISIS fighters to flee, reportedly leaving behind stockpiles of weapons and ammunition.

  21. Our "old home," eh?

    Every plant, and every animal, down to the smallest bacteria share a large amount of DNA.

    If your grand-daddy lived on Mars, he was a One-celled organism that somehow caught a ride to earth.

  22. "Obozo . . . . . . . 8,500 + 36 yesterday + 36 today = 8,572

    Headcutters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

    1. 8,500 + to 0

      Napoleon never turned in numbers like that.

    2. Oh, btw, you ignorant prick, it was Bush that put the Iranian Shia (Maliki) in charge of Iraq.

  23. Beer goes really good with roast beef and blue cheese.

  24. In Baghdad’s Firdos Square, where in 2003 U.S. Marines helped Iraqis topple the statue of Saddam Hussein, there is now a billboard featuring Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini.

  25. Big Jobs Report in the morning.

    Over/Under is around 235,000.

    I'm more interested in the "Part-time for Economic Reasons," and "Wages" lines, I think.

  26. The dollar index traded at 96.332, having climbed as far as 96.593 - a high not seen since September 2003. It was also firm on the yen at 120.10 and held hefty gains on a broad range of emerging market currencies.

    In commodity markets, U.S. crude was quoted 36 cents firmer at $51.12, while Brent crude gained 37 cents to $60.85 a barrel.

    Spot gold prices were little changed at $1,199.30 an ounce.