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

Monday, September 28, 2015

“I cannot help asking those who have forced this situation, do you realize now what you have done?” Putin said - Only a Republican could be so egregiously dishonest, utterly shameless or blatantly ignorant enough to deny the integrity in Putin’s statement.


  1. Putin and Obama seem to have the same tailor. hmmm.

  2. Juxtapose the frank honesty and realism in Putin’s presentation to the UN with the lies and propaganda of Benjamin Netanyahu or Colin Powell in both the UN or to the House of Bought Fools in the US Congress.

    1. I'll have to find a transcript. The audio is just a bit tedious. :)

  3. .

    I agree Putin's comments are 'true' as he describes the evolution of the problems in the ME; however, I would disagree his comments are based on integrity or honesty. His comments were not based on any moral or ethical principle but rather on self-interest, Russia lost influence in the ME with the advent of the Arab Spring and he is now trying to stem that tide while pushing to get the lost influence back .


  4. Fair enough, but in this case the accuracy, self interest and morality ended in the same column . People did accept the fairy tale of the Arab spring, so Putin was on the losing side going in but on the long side he was right objected to the Fukus attacks on Libya and Syria . Obama should just shut up about Iraq Syria and the awful us and nato disaster in Libya

    1. Putin also reminded the Eu about the mess they are in with the refugee crisis. That will resonate.

  5. None of that would have happened without the criminal George bush and his neocon minders.

  6. Ona owns Libya, Syria and Egypt. I'll take my chances with Bernie sanders

  7. .

    The Dems Debate is coming up. It will be interesting to watch.

    I watched the first GOP debate to watch Trump. I watched the 2nd to see Fiorina in prime time. I doubt I will bother with any more of them.


  8. When President Barack Obama spoke at the United Nations today, he opened the door wide to cooperation with Iran and Russia in an effort to end the Syrian civil war that has shattered the Middle East, spawned ferocious new terrorist forces, and driven millions toward the frontiers of Europe to seek safety.

    In what was generally a boilerplate paean to democracy, the rule of law, and the virtues of diplomacy, Obama conceded “nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested than in Syria,” where “realism dictates that compromise will be required.”

    Reality also demonstrates that Obama’s efforts to shape a policy over the last four years of violence have been utter failures, with the latest humiliations including the defection of U.S.-trained Syrian rebel forces to the ranks of al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

    Given the difficult business of choosing between evils, Obama’s sticking to his commitment to fight the so-called Islamic State: “We will not be outlasted by extremists,” he said.

    But when it comes to the blood-drenched regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Obama presented a context for cooperation with Assad’s biggest backers, Tehran and Moscow.

    “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama declared, even if “we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.”

    That point would seem to be moot. Syria has changed forever, and it will be a miracle if, at the end of the day, it can be held together as one integral nation, let alone the country it was five years ago. And while Obama seems to be personalizing the enemy as Assad, Washington has always acknowledged quietly that the institutions of his government can and should be preserved.

    “Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and stomp out ISIL,” Obama declared, using the acronym favored by the White House for the Islamic State, or ISIS. “But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad into a new leader and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to the chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.”

  9. In recent days, especially, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have made remarks that could accommodate that vision. For both, the first priority is indeed to “stomp out” ISIS.

    “We say between worse and bad, we must choose bad,” Rouhani told National Public Radio over the weekend. “Or, in other words, we choose the lesser of two evils.”

    Putin, in a 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday, was more specific.

    “We support the legitimate government of Syria,” he said, suggesting that to undermine it was to open the way to the kind of chaos now on show in Libya. But, while Charlie Rose kept peppering Putin with questions about Assad, directly, Putin was careful to talk about the Syrian government in more general terms:

    “There is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism,” Putin said. “But, at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”

    That does not sound terribly different from a path toward “inclusive government.”

    But as Obama acknowledged, stating the obvious, any final resolution to the Syrian conflict will be a long time coming, and it is apparent that modalities for cooperation in Syria, direct or indirect, will evolve slowly and, very often in the shadows.

    A case in point, on Sunday an intelligence-sharing agreement was announced among Syria, Iran, Russia, and the government in Iraq. (Some pundits are calling the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow-Baghdad alliance taking shape “the gang of four.”) Yet there also are as many as 3,000 U.S. personnel in Iraq working, in many cases, precisely, on intelligence gathering. Will their insights be shared by Baghdad with Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus? It will be very hard to tell. But the question itself suggests some of the contradictions, and the traps, that lie ahead.

  10. I'm sure I'm not the only one that gets a little uneasy when Obama starts preaching about Syria/Egypt/Libya/Israel/etc.

    Planned Parenthood .............................. 47 31 16
    Joe Biden ............................................... 40 28 12
    Bernie Sanders ...................................... 32 22 10
    Ben Carson ............................................ 29 21 8
    Carly Fiorina ........................................... 27 20 7
    Barack Obama ....................................... 46 40 6
    The Democratic Party ............................ 41 35 6
    The Black Lives Matter Movement ......... 32 29 3
    Hillary Clinton ......................................... 39 47 -8
    Jeb Bush ................................................ 24 39 -15
    The Republican Party ............................. 29 45 -16
    Donald Trump ........................................ 25 58 -33

  12. It's all the fault of Obama and the Neo-Traitors in the Democratic Party for taking the troops out too soon, and people like Quirk too. A no fly zone, early on, and safe areas in Syria would have made a lot of difference.


    This is the very type of project my Niece is working on......information flows in the brain.....

    Intelligent people's brains wired differently to those with fewer intellectual abilities, says study

    Scientists claim to have found a correlation between how well wired-up some individuals were to their cognitive abilities and general success in life

    steve connor Science Editor
    Monday 28 September 2015 15:33 BST

    The brains of high-achieving individuals are wired up differently to those of people with fewer intellectual or social abilities according to one of the first studies to find a physical link between what goes in the brain and a person’s overall lifestyle.

    An analysis of the “connectivity” between different parts of the brain in hundreds of healthy people found a correlation between how well wired-up some individuals were to their cognitive abilities and general success in life, scientists said.

    The researchers found that “positive” abilities, such as good vocabulary, memory, life satisfaction, income and years of education, were linked significantly with a greater connectivity between regions of the brain associated with higher cognition.

    This was in contrast to the significantly lower brain connectivity of people who scored high in “negative” traits such a drug abuse, anger, rule-breaking and poor sleep quality, the scientists said.
    White matter fiber architecture from the Connectome Scanner dataset.

    “We’ve tried to see how we can relate what we see in the brain to the behavioural skills we can measure in different people. In doing this, we hope to able to understand what goes on ‘under the bonnet’ of the brain,” said Professor Stephen Smith of Oxford University, who led the study published in Nature Neuroscience.

    The scientists were part of the $30m (£20m) Human Connectome Project funded by the US National Institutes of Health to study the neural pathways of the brain. Connectomes have been likened to taking real-time images of the living circuit diagrams governing the communication of signals from one part of the brain to another.

    They compared the “connectomes” of 461 health people taken by real-time brain scanners called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and attempted to see if there were any significant correlations with 280 different behavioural or demographic measures, such as language vocabulary, education and even income.
    “You can think of it as a population-average map of 200 regions across the brain that are functionally distinct from one another.

    1. Each fMRI analysis looked at the connectivity – the amount of nerve signalling – that takes place between about 200 different regions of the brain. The one that stood out was the connectivity between the parts of the brain involved in so-called higher-level cognition, such as language and learning, Professor Smith said.

      “You can think of it as a population-average map of 200 regions across the brain that are functionally distinct from one another. Then we looked at how much all of those regions communicated with each other, in every participant,” Professor Smith said.

      “The quality of the imaging data is really unprecedented. Not only is the number of subjects we get to study large, but the resolution of the fMRI data is way ahead of previous large datasets,” he said.

      The ability to measure the amount of nerve signalling between different parts of the brain, especially those involved in high cognition such as learning and memory, could help scientists to better understand the nature of general intelligence, which is currently measured by tests that examine a range of intellectual skills.

      “It may be that with hundreds of different brain circuits, the tests that are used to measure cognitive ability actually make use of different sets of overlapping circuits,” Professor Smith said.

      “We hope that by looking at brain-imaging data we’ll be able to relate connections in the brain to the specific measures, and work out what these kinds of test actually require the brain to do,” he said.

      It may also be possible to use the research to work out how to train people to improve their brain connectivity and therefore push than up the scale so that they achieve more than they otherwise would, he added.

      “It’s a question of whether it’s possible to move people up the axis of connectivity. We know from other research that it is possible to improve cognitive performance with training, but what we don’t know yet is whether this is true of connectivity,” he explained.

      Whether it is possible to move people like Quirk, Rufus, Ash and Deuce up the axis of connectivity remains to be seen, but Niece is giving it her best shot.

  13. .

    Obama and Putin met today at the UN.

    At the end of their meeting, they both came out for a photo-op with a room full of photographers and reporters. They moved to the center of the room, shook hands for the photographers, had a few pictures taken, turned around and left. No comments, no answering any questions, no smiling, no nothing. What the hell was that?

    It gives one the feeling that their meeting may not have gone as well as hoped for.


    1. Duh.

      It was a meeting between a Cub Scout and Russian Special Forces.

  14. Temperature Data & Climate Change Fraud - John Hinderaker, Power Line

    Posted on September 27, 2015 by John Hinderaker in Climate
    Almost All US Temperature Data Used In Global Warming Models Is Estimated or Altered

    We have written many times about the fact that the temperature data used in the alarmists’ global warming models are not original data as measured by thermometers. Rather, they are “adjusted” numbers, consistently changed to make the past look cooler and the present warmer, so that more billions of dollars will flow from the world’s governments to the climate alarmists who serve government’s cause. This is, in my opinion, the greatest scandal in the history of science.

    This article at Watts Up With That? adds incrementally to that picture. John Goetz analyzes the U.S. temperature data that finds its way into “official” tabulations. This is particularly important because, while the U.S. represents only 6.6% of the total land area of Earth, we account for close to half of the data relied on by the Global Historical Climatology Network. This is a big topic, and you should study the Goetz article in its entirety if you have time. I am still digesting it.

    But a few highlights are obvious. First, Goetz finds that approximately 92% (or even more, depending on how you calculate it) of US surface temperature data consists of estimated or altered values. Very little raw data finds its way into the warmists’ climate models–which, of course, is the way they want it. Second, the adjustments that are made to the U.S. data consistently skew the numbers as we have described many times before–they try to make the present look warmer, compared with the past........

    1. The Pope is full of shit and ought to stick to the bread and the wine.

    2. "Bread and Wine" by Ignazio Silone was a good book.

  15. Hemingway fucked up. Before he shot himself, he tried to call Hadley......."No, Ernest"....she wouldn't talk to him....

    "As a lure to keep me in Key West, Pauline convinced her uncle Gus to pony up for the Pilar, the boat we fish on when you’re in Cuba."

    He refilled his wineglass. I passed.

    “You ever loved two women at the same time ? ”

    I said I hadn’t.

    “Lucky boy,” he said.

    “Fitzgerald could see it coming right from the start,” Ernest went on. “He said, ‘You are being set up by a femme fatale. When she first arrived in Paris, word was out that she was shopping for a husband. She wants you for herself, and she’ll do anything to get you.’ I leveled with him and confessed I loved both of them.

    “All I see after a really tough day writing, there’re two women waiting for me, giving me their attention, caring about me, women both appealing, but in different ways. Told Scott I liked having them around. Stimulating, fires me up.

    “Scott said I was a sad son of a bitch who didn’t know a damn thing about women. He gripped my arm and pulled me toward him. Raised his voice. ‘Get rid of her! Now! Right here! It’s a three-alarm fire! Now’s the time! Tell her!’

    Hemingway in Love
    In a new memoir, one of Hemingway's closest friends reveals how the great writer grappled with the love affair that changed his life and shaped his art

    Read more:
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    Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

    1. These are the kinds of situations where I've worked so long and hard, and fruitlessly, tying to keep Quirk the Dashing out of trouble.

    2. I recall once when Quirk was in love with four women at the same time.

      "It's exhausting, Bobbo"

    3. I finally was able to bring Quirk out of it, and save his ass, by convincing him to go blogging....