“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, May 31, 2017

Kidding Ourselves in Kabul

Kabul blast: At least 80 killed & over 350 wounded in explosion in Afghan capital’s embassy district

Kabul blast: At least 80 killed & over 350 wounded in explosion in Afghan capital’s embassy district
At least 80 people have been killed and over 350 injured in a powerful car bomb blast that ripped through a diplomatic district in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, an Afghan health official has said, as cited by Reuters.

However, the Afghan Interior Ministry said 64 people were killed, according to AFP.

The death toll is likely to rise, local officials said.

The blast, which is believed to have come from a car bomb, affected the German, French, Indian, and Iranian embassies. The precise target was not immediately clear, but many embassies and government buildings are located in the same area.
The blast struck at around 8:30am local time Wednesday.

The powerful blast destroyed more than 50 vehicles in the area, Pajhwok News reports.
Most victims are thought to be civilians, including employees of a local mobile phone company, Roshan, according to TOLO News.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said the explosion was caused by a car bomb.

"It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is," Mujahid said, as cited by Reuters.

Eyewitnesses on social media said the blast was so strong it shattered all windows in nearby buildings. Some doors were also torn off their hinges, Reuters reported.
Photos posted on Twitter showed a thick pillar of smoke rising from the site of the explosion.

It is still not clear if the German embassy was affected by the blast. A security source told Reuters there is no credible information so far claiming that members of the embassy staff were injured in the attack.

In the meantime, France’s foreign minister, Marielle de Sarnez, said the French embassy in Kabul has been damaged, but there are “no signs” at this stage indicating that there were victims among the employees.

The Indian Embassy reported damage to its facilities but no casualties.
Several journalists tweeted that their offices were damaged in the blast, including Jessica Donati, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC’s Kabul bureau manager, Karim Haidari, who said the BBC staff were affected in the blast.
At this stage, no group has claimed responsibility for the devastating explosion, which appears to be the deadliest in the past few years. Last month, the Taliban announced the beginning of a “spring offensive,” promising to attack US-trained Afghan forces and foreign troops.

The US has 8,000 troops in Afghanistan to train Afghan forces and render support during counter-insurgency operations.



  1. 1.00 pm: At least 80 people were killed and 350 wounded in Kabul on Wednesday when a powerful vehicle-borne bomb exploded in the middle of the Afghan capital, a public health official told news agency Reuters.

  2. Embassies Damaged

    Manpreet Vohra, India's envoy to Afghanistan, told Times Now the bomb went off around 100 metres from India's embassy, one of several in the area.

    "We are all safe, all our staff, all our personnel are safe. However, the blast was very large and nearby buildings including our own building have considerable damage in terms of broken glass and shattered windows and blown doors etc," he said.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured."

    The explosion also shattered windows at the Japanese embassy. "Two Japanese embassy staffers were mildly injured, suffering cuts," a foreign ministry official in Tokyo told AFP.

    France also reported damage to its own embassy and the German one, but there was no information on possible casualties. Bulgaria said its mission had been damaged and its staff evacuated.

    Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has warned of "another tough year" for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan.

  3. Afghan troops are backed by US and NATO forces, and the Pentagon has reportedly asked the White House to send thousands more troops to the country to break the deadlock in the fight against the Taliban.

    US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 now, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies. They mainly serve in an advisory capacity -- a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago.

    Wednesday's blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in Kabul. The province surrounding the capital had the highest number of casualties in the first three months of 2017 due to multiple attacks in the city, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.

  4. The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, to shore up pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

    Nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways.

    Over thel nine-year conflict, one million civilians were killed, 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers.

    The Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996.

  5. What have we we accomplished after 16 years?

  6. The Mujahidin gave Ronald Reagan a raging hard on. In 1987 Reagan sent U.S. shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.

    The Stingers allowed the mujahidin to shoot down Soviet planes and helicopters on a regular basis.

    Gorbachev knew it was hopeless.

    Soviet forces started withdrawing in 1988. The last Soviet soldier crossed back across the border on February 15, 1989.

    It was too late for the Russians, they never recovered from the public relations and financial losses and the Soviet empire fell in 1991.

    Our presidents were not so smart. The US sponsored defeat off the Russians emboldened Islamists everywhere.

    One Super Power down, one to go.

    Reagan's genius support created a breeding ground for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.

    2001 paybacks.

    2017, more paybacks.

    It took the Russians 10 years to learn their lesson.

    By my count since Reagan armed the Mujahideen in 1987, involving the US in a conflict where we had no business, treat or interest, we have now clocked in 30 years.

    That is right sports fans, 30 years.

    How fucking stupid can you get?

  7. The US government cannot pay our bills without borrowing immense sums of money.

    When genius Reagan got us involved in Afghanistan in 1987, US national debt was $2.3 trillion. It is now almost 10 times that amount?

    Are you richer, safer, smarter, more content?

    Was it worth every penny spent on the empire?

    Since 1987 we blew $ 18 trillion The Chinese started 1987 with a GNP of $270 billion. Repeat China's GNP was only $270 billion.

    Today China has $ 3 trillion in foreign reserves alone! That is $3 trillion in the bank.

    While embassies are blowing up in Kabul, Chinese merchants and transportation infrastructure are ruling the globe.

    We are still deluding ourselves in Afghanistan and 130 other countries.

  8. “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” — Ronald Reagan while introducing the Mujahideen leaders to media on the White house lawns (1985).

    2017 KABUL — A massive blast Wednesday tore through the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital of Kabul killing at least 80 people, according to officials, underlining the fragility of the country as it buckles under a wave of rebel attacks.

    The Interior Ministry said the blast was triggered by huge quantity of explosives hidden in a water tank that went off during the peak of the morning rush hour on a busy road in Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city.

    Wahid Majroh, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said at least 350 people were also wounded.

  9. The Mujahideen were fighting the Ruskies, the Ruskies are subverting our elections, stealing the Presidency from Hillary.

    It was a brilliant move in defense of our democracy.'s just come up a bit short, so far.

    1. Charlie Wilson's War

    2. Here's to you, Motherfuckers:

    3. .'s just come up a bit short, so far.

      The same could be said for you and Bob. So far.



  10. Only two things we need, the Koran, and more Stingers:

  11. Woods, cops noted, had “extremely slow and slurred speech” and “did not know where he was.” Woods was arrested after failing a series of field sobriety tests. When told that he would have to recite the alphabet backward, Woods confirmed that he understood the directions, saying, “Yes, recite the entire national anthem backwards.”

    A supplemental report indicates that the field tests were recorded by a police dash cam.

    Two breath tests recorded Woods’s blood alcohol content at .000, indicating that he was likely incapacitated due to his ingestion of narcotics. Woods told police that he takes the painkiller Vicodin and other medicines. He also reported having multiple surgeries on his left knee and achilles.

    1. Two breath tests recorded Woods’s blood alcohol content at .000

      Sobriety kills !

  12. Donald Trump to withdraw US from Paris Agreement on climate change, sources claim.

    If true, that is a stupid decision. The US should have a voice in a treaty that is important to the rest of the world. Not good.

    1. It is the single best infrastructure program ever and it generates a revenue stream that stays in the US.


      There is only one part of President Trump’s agenda with real opportunity for a big win, right now, and that is infrastructure. And the Paris Agreement—the strongest ever signal pointing toward transformational infrastructure investment—is the only way to mobilize the capital necessary to get to that big win.

      The common misunderstanding about the Paris accord is its impact on business and investment. Opponents fret about costs and economic change, but achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals will unlock capital investment at a rate no other policy initiative can match.

      Here’s why:

      Right now, an unprecedented amount of actual wealth is “sitting on the sidelines,” awaiting the next wave economy—the transformational moment of world-building investment potential.

      More than $8 trillion tied up in negative yield bonds, along with another $5 trillion in corporate cash holdings, are waiting for a go sign. All that capital is looking for reliable growth and secure returns.

      Climate-resilient investments, high-efficiency new energy technologies, and services that build value in local communities, hold far more growth potential than any old-style industrial production standards.

      The International Monetary Fund estimates that $5.1 trillion per year in direct and indirect assistance to high-carbon energy is not only a waste of public resources, but qualifies as “destructive spending” that undermines value across whole economies.

      The opportunity to move that money into the building of a new economy of sustainable prosperity open to all is what the Paris Agreement is designed to activate.

      Having overseen major building projects in his business career, President Trump has said the cost benefits of energy efficiency are clear to him. Energy efficient infrastructure will not only mobilize capital and add to GDP; it will activate major new property investment opportunities, create a new kind of flexible property market, and revitalize credit and banking.

  13. Trump needs a consensus to lead. It would be a vote against conservation.

    By my calculation, there have been at least 200,000 generations of human beings. Why needlessly deny future generations of the potential riches and assets locked in resources that we presently burn, when there is a conservation technology to make them obsolete as a power source?

    It was a bad decision to frame the argument as a global warming issue. It is a conservation issue, every bit as important as farmland, forests, clean healthy waterways and undeveloped open spaces.

    No one with a brain could be against conservation other than children and imbeciles.

  14. .

    If Trump actually pulled out of the Paris treaty, he is a fool, but then we all know that.

    The Paris Treaty asks participants to meet certain goals, beyond that, it is completely up to the various countries how they reach those goals. If Trump wants to meet them through carbon capture or renewable energy projects or simply inventing a fusion reactor its up to him. The last would be yuuuuge.

    If you look at the numbers, the opportunity costs squandered are obvious. Yet, look at what he has already done to the environment. He's pulled Obama administration rules mandating increased fuel economy in cars, he pulled water safety and environmental rules endangering public health and safety in order to put a terminal patient, coal, on artificial life support. He has gutted and, through his promised budget, will gut more agencies set up to protect public and environmental health and welfare programs.

    He has overnight started to reverse progress that has taken us decades to achieve. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a project supported by the 8 states surrounding the Great Lakes and Canada and federal money amounting to $300 million a year which Trump has vowed to gut. The Initiative concentrates on projects like those that restored Lake Erie from a dead sea into a major water resource for sport and commercial fishing and tourism or like the effort to remove pollution from Cuyahoga River in Ohio which famously caught fire in 1969.

    The Great Lakes represent the largest concentrated source of assessable fresh water in the world. They directly affect the 30% of the US population (the people who put him over the top in the election) surrounding it as well as much of Canada. Water is crucial and we have already seen the effect of the lack of freshwater in the US Southwest and California. Soon water will be more valuable than oil in a monetary sense. It's intrinsic value already dwarfs that of oil. Yet Trump would sacrifice this resource for more bullets.

    Trump if he continues as he has promised will further degrade the US position in the world. China is already the leader in solar research and development. They consider it a growth industry. They are pursuing the same in wind power. While the US spends less than 2% of GDP on infrastructure, China spends around 9%, a good chunk of which goes into foreign countries as they build roads and bridges and harbors to assure they have reliable access to raw material. They are investing to assure that they are a central hub for most of the economic activity in Asia and the world. While they attempt to become THE economic hegemon, Trump cuts investment in the US and supports dying industries, build silly walls, and increases investment in the military, a military that spends three times the amount China does yet never seems capable of winning anything.

    I've been accused of disliking Trump. I plead guilty. The man is an idiot.


    1. .

      ...will gut more agencies set up to protect public and environmental health and safety programs.


  15. It makes no sense at all. If you see the next post on Comey, throw in John McCain, Maxine Waters, Trump and scores we probably don't know about, we may have a serious problem.

  16. I'm hoping this is a trial balloon rather that the trials of a buffoon.

  17. I've read we already meet the goals. It's China and India and Russia that don't.

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