“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, October 30, 2015

America’s Thirty Year War for the Middle East

Since the promulgation of the Carter Doctrine in 1980, the Greater Middle East has been the site of continuous American military engagement. In the decades that followed, U.S. forces invaded, occupied, garrisoned, bombed, raided, or otherwise made their presence felt in well over two dozen countries with a predominantly Muslim population. 

Andrew Bacevich: America’s War for the Greater Middle East

How do you end an endless war? Thirty years ago Jimmy Carter declared the Persian Gulf a “vital” focus of American foreign policy. Since then, U.S. forces have invaded, occupied, garrisoned, bombed or raided 18 nations, absorbing thousands of casualties and getting little in return in terms of peace or goodwill.
Andrew Bacevich, the military historian, veteran and professor of international relations at Boston University calls it America’s War for the Greater Middle East and says there’s no end in sight. This fall he’s teaching a twelve-week online course on the history of that long war: he begins it in the Iran hostage crisis during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, through stages of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the first Gulf War, then September 11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jump into our timeline and suggest your own alternative policy approaches or argue the premise.


  1. One defense of Rubio’s alleged moderation is that he would cut the top tax rate to 35 percent, as opposed to the even lower rates proposed by various other candidates and multilevel marketers posing as candidates in the GOP field. But, remember, the Bush tax cuts also cut the top tax rate to 35 percent. Bringing that rate back to that level was the subject of intense political struggle in 2001 and again in 2012 to 2013, because there is a lot of money at stake. And whereas Bush merely reduced taxes on dividends and capital gains — forms of income that overwhelmingly accrue to the very affluent — Rubio would eliminate them altogether.

    Rubio does create a $2,500-per-child tax credit, which would help families if it was refundable. (Rubio’s campaign has said it would not be refundable, and thus do very little to help the poor.) Even if we assume otherwise, however, the assumption that Rubio’s tax cut helps the poor relies on the assumption that his proposals have no trade-off whatsoever. In reality, reducing federal revenues by $6 trillion over a decade would put immense pressure on the federal budget. Rubio has already promised to increase defense spending and keep Medicare and Social Security untouched for current or near-retirees, making them unavailable for budget savings within the next decade. Those programs — along with interest on the national debt, which cannot be cut — account for two thirds of the federal budget. Domestic discretionary programs, which fund things like transportation, scientific research, and the basic nuts and bolts of the federal agencies, have been cut so deeply that even many Republicans are eager to lift their caps. That means the brunt of Rubio’s fiscal pressure would come to bear on the minority of the federal budget that goes directly to the poor.

    This is how Republican budget logic works in general. When you add up fanatical opposition to higher revenue, a political need to protect current retirees and a commitment to higher defense spending, you wind up either blowing up the budget deficit or inflicting massive harm on the poor. There are different ways to handle that problem. One of them is the Paul Ryan–circa-2011 plan of just proposing enormous . . . . . . . .

    Total Nonsense, Inanity, and Non-reality

  2. I think we should tax Rufus at 90% just for the educational value of it.

    Would he work ?

    Would he strive ?

    As he does now.

    Just an experiment in sociology.

    He always seems to think he knows best about how to spend other people's money.

    Let us spend his then, if he has any.....

  3. The Ruf is really onto something.

    Through 'politics', he has discovered how to take money from your pocket, and put it into his, and if you object, he will try to shame you about being 'politically incorrect'.

    This, he calls, a richly deserved 'wealth transfer'.........

    It's a big deal.....even Deuce is 'buying into it' these days.

    1. I call it a 'Quirkean Deception', but I'm an outlier, a fringey, a 'far right wing Republican'.

      It's even become an international industry, there days.

      The best benefits come if you work in some 'government job' where you can tell other 'what to do' with their lives.

  4. I think The Ruf should have some highest paying job in Forest Grouse Recovery Program, or some such, myself.

    Then we would the get real value for our bucks.

    Quart, and Deuce too, the new improved Deuce, could be his 'handymen'.

    1. Then we would get.....the real value for our bucks....

  5. That's the ticket for us all.........

    No property, prosperity for us all.....

    And 'Remember the Grouse'

  6. Now I expect The Rufus to write in and call me an:


  7. Good article with which I do not agree....

    It is not Ben's humility I like, but his competence.....see what you think........

    The power of Ben Carson's humility

    By Alex Castellanos

    Updated 10:17 AM ET, Thu October 29, 2015
    Story highlights

    Alex Castellanos: The mystery of Ben Carson's ascendancy will continue to baffle people
    Carson's life is a testament to humility and selfless service, he says

    "Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, is the founder of Purple Strategies and Follow him on Twitter @alexcast. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his."

    (CNN)"All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them." ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

    The third GOP presidential debate was a unifying event for Republicans, thanks to the ineptitude of CNBC and its moderators. Only President Obama has done more to bring Republicans together. CNBC should be complimented that it will now be lumped with the mainstream media, considering its feeble ratings.

    Dr. Ben Carson performed as he has before, when he has climbed surprisingly in post-debate polls. After this debate, we should expect nothing different.
    Alex Castellanos
    Alex Castellanos

    In the debate's aftermath, the mystery of Ben Carson's ascendancy will continue to baffle both the Washington and news media establishments. Stunned by Carson's rise, our governing elite will keep scurrying about like alien scientists in a 50s sci-fi movie, unable to explain the phenomenon earthlings call "love,"..............

    Ben Carson for President

    1. Dad:

      "Always for the best person"

    2. vote

      "Always vote for the best person"

    3. "Always for the best person" isn't bad either.

  8. Best thread ever...........

    almost all Idaho Bob



    1. The chocolate on the Ice Cream......????????

      no Qurik

      :0 :):):):)