September 19, 2006
News & views ...
Posted by b on September 19, 2006 at 01:24 AM | Permalink
Analysis of the U.S.-Iran crisis(pdf)
The political economy of the U.S.-Iran crisis: Oil hegemony, not nukes, is the real issue by Prof. Tim O'Donnell. O'Donnell has a Phd in Nuclear Physics...
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19, 2006 1:29:29 AM | 1
A Hedge Fund’s Loss Rattles Nerves
The hedge fund, Amaranth Advisors, based in Greenwich, Conn., made an estimated $1 billion on rising energy prices last year. Yesterday, the fund told its investors that it had lost more than $3 billion in the recent downturn in natural gas and that it was working with its lenders and selling its holdings “to protect our investors.”
In 2004, Amaranth protested a new rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would have required certain hedge funds to register with federal regulators and undergo greater scrutiny.
The rule, which was issued in late 2004, was struck down in June by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Last month, the S.E.C. declined to appeal the ruling.
Posted by: b | Sep 19, 2006 1:31:36 AM | 2
Uncle $cam, does the idea of "an oil hegemony" make any sense, other than the sense, say of a griffon or a unicorn?
What does it mean to "protect foreign investment and property rights in oil," or to keep a country from "using its oil prowess as a weapon"? More simply, what are the foreign investment and property rights in question? Do they exist at all, and if so, are they somehow endangered by local, competing interests? And more to the point, how would a country like Iran "use it oil prowess as a weapon"? What is this thing called "oil prowess"? Try to pin down these terms, and they promptly evaporate.
Perhaps we're starving Iran and killing Iraq because we want our own engineering firms to profit from the building and maintaining of oil wells, refineries and pipelines. But the price of oil itself is set by the market, and the profits go to the host country. This in particular, seems to annoy the people in Washington. Even if we don't rake off the money ourselves, we're damned if the natives will be allowed to benefit. This was our view of Hussein, and it's obviously our view of Chavez in Venezuela: we need his oil, and yes, he'll sell us his oil, using the profits to mock us. We live with this very well, but we'd love to piss on Chavez's ashes.
No, nothing so grand as a geopolitics. I think we simply have the idea that Iranians, Iraqis and even Saudis don't deserve the oil they live with. Nor, for that matter, do the Libyans or the Venezuelans. The English, on the other hand, deserved their North Sea Oil....
This isn't a geopolitics; it's a stupifying blend of racism, ethnocentrism, and post-colonial nostalgia for the days of real colonies, preceding the arrival of Mossadegh, if not the arrival of Gandhi.
Posted by: alabama | Sep 19, 2006 3:08:58 AM | 3
Worthwhile discussion on oil and change.
Posted by: biklett | Sep 19, 2006 3:27:25 AM | 4
hear, hear, alabama. Nice to have a reasonable voice.
Posted by: jonku | Sep 19, 2006 4:06:13 AM | 5
Personally, I prefer the term (oil)"protectorate" as opposed to (oil) hegemon -- in that a more well rounded psychological dimension is implied. In my neck of the woods a local contractor has a big sign on his fence that reads "Support Our Troops Protecting The World".
Posted by: anna missed | Sep 19, 2006 4:15:14 AM | 6
Henry Kissinger, once said: "Oil is too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs."
can't get much clearer than that.
Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 19, 2006 4:27:54 AM | 7
I recall Kissinger also said something similar about Chile & Allende.
@biklett's link. I have a problem w/that site. It smells like rotten fish to me, or what a site would smell like if it were propaganda, CIA, whatever. Why would someone write under the name "Prof. Goose". Since when do serious academics not write w/their degrees, institutional affiliations, etc, attached?
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 4:33:50 AM | 8
Uncle, thanks for that Outstanding discussion of geopolitics of Iran.
Does anyone else wonder, esp. in light of yesterday's link to new Time art. on orders given for warships to motor to Iran, that Pope's remarks designed to create plausiiblity for new state-sponsored 911 bullshit to enable them to nuke Iran? Didn't the ghost of ObL/AQ just release some new tape threats?
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 4:37:52 AM | 9
Nonetheless, Scams link spells out comprehensively the stageset for the impending war on Iran, the logic of which parallels the war on Iraq. What Tim O'Donnell brings to the table thats new, is the issue of time, that demand on production from both Iraq and Iran may supersede the "protectorate". And time is running out.
Posted by: anna missed | Sep 19, 2006 5:06:22 AM | 10
anna missed, it's a well-thought out paper. Prof. Tom O'Donnell misses out Iran's military capability when he focuses on its small economic ability to respond to a US economic attack.
"The mullahs are being pushed up against the wall.What can they do? Many believe that the Iranian government can use the oil weapon to deter an American attack. But,the oil weapon has long ago been removed from their arsenal.Iran ’s oil production is simply too small at present – precisely as a result of the years ’-long U.S.sanctions – to enable Iran to threaten to cut off oil
exports as an effective weapon against Washington ’s regime-change plans."
Here he misses Iran's capability to control the Straits of Hormuz.
Bt he does point out that there are strong economic reasons behind the US drive to dominate Iraq and Iran. "The spigot." and also India and China as oil consumers.
Posted by: jonku | Sep 19, 2006 5:48:32 AM | 11
Air Force to try out a new kind of jet fuel
"The fuel being tested is a 50-50 blend of traditional crude-oil based jet fuel and a synthetic liquid, which is made from natural gas but eventually will be refined from coal mined in the U.S."
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19, 2006 5:50:33 AM | 12
I am having a little trouble following O'Donnell's belief that lack of foreign investment is causing so much trouble for Iran. If Iran is now producing 4 million barrels of oil per day and they can sell it for 60 dollars a barrel, I see some 240 million dollars a day in revenue which translates into over 87 billion per year. Surely they can find a couple hundred million to buy new pipes with that kind of money. Why would they need to get it from the US or anywhere else for that matter?
Also, anna missed, I recall reading that the strategic reserve in the US has enough to meet our needs for some three months. Hardly seems to me that increased production is needed, not to mention that Iraq is way below its pre-war, pre-sanction, and pre-invasion production levels.
Rather it seems to me that this is simply greed. big oil has made a lot of money for some people and they have got used to the idea of having a sinful amount of wealth. having control of the world's largest and most powerful military (and not having to pay a dime for it) only makes the pot sweeter. add in the unquestioning media and taxpayers and you would be a fool to pass up an opportunity like this. at the end of the day, even if it goes horribly wrong, how will it affect the CEO and or any of the shareholders of Exxon?
Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 19, 2006 5:55:28 AM | 13
James Kunstler....blog entry Sept 18.06
But here's one thing I wonder: what if the number one user of oil products in the US had laid in huge inventories of the stuff earlier in the year and has lately withdrawn from bidding in the futures and spot markets? I am speaking of the US Military. It would make sense, against the background of Iran rattling its nuclear capabilities, and the Israel / Hezbollah affair, that the US armed forces filled their tank farms to the max this summer and are now stepping back from bidding on any additional oil for the time being. This could be easily "managed" by the people who run this massive organization -- namely, the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the rest of the civilian authorities based in the executive branch of the government. They don't have to consult with congress on their oil purchases.
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19, 2006 6:13:24 AM | 14
Eyesore of the Month
After a half century of neglect, America now has a railroad system that the Bolivians would be ashamed of. There isn't another project we could do that would have a greater impact on our oil consumption than fixing our rail system and restoring passenger service. It's a project that would put scores of thousands of people to work at good jobs at every work level from management to labor. It would benefit people in all ranks of society. The fact that we are not doing it, or even talking about it, shows how unserious we are. We are entering an era of energy scarcity. We can't afford to ignore this task any longer.
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19, 2006 6:20:57 AM | 15
Tony Judt's beautiful and acute essay on the state of American liberalism is well-worth reading. One wonders if "liberal" is destined to become yet another of those words, like "freedom" and "democracy", that have been hopelessly debased by the epigonoi of such noble traditions.
Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 19, 2006 9:49:19 AM | 17
I was going to post something similar to this much earlier, but the laptop croaked. Not sure why yet.
Anyway, of all things recently said about that day, I think this by Debs is Dead rings most true: We'll never know.
But it won't be due to arcane physics or duelling "experts" or whether the evidence around how the towers fell is more or less important than the evidence of the other issues mentioned.
It is because the gov't had the crime scene cleansed before any serious investigation could be done. The WTC was a crime scene before it became a 16 acre ditch. As a result, I would think all we've discussed, including how the towers fell, would be evidence if it ever came to a trial. As if.
No crime scene means no proof that OBL's minions did or didn't do it. No proof, data or facts that the impacts were enhanced in any way. Or that they weren't. Here is the official story, consume freely.
We do have known facts about those buildings. They were designed to withstand many stresses including their own weight, wind, impacts and fire. All and more precalculated before the soil was broken. We know the steel chosen was tested to ensure it met the requirements for strength and resistance to fire. We also know these qualities of the concrete used in floors and columns.
We also have known facts about what hit the WTC. Size, weight and approx. speed and fuel load. We also know how hot that fuel burns.
We also have known facts about gravity, force, acceleration and the behaviour of fire and its effects upon buildings and their contents.
If the towers fell because they had help beyond the impacts will never be known. Did the gov't pull the switch or were the buildings the worst example of this construction and about to blow down after 20 whole years?
Since the crime scene was so quickly tampered with and turned into a 16 acre ditch, we'll never know.
Posted by: gmac | Sep 19, 2006 9:50:37 AM | 18
The planes hit the buildings, they caught on fire and fell down.
It doesn't seem to me that conspiracy theories about "why they fell down" - preplanted explosives and similar fanciful explanations - at all at necessary.
That's what I think.
Posted by: mistah charley | Sep 19, 2006 10:14:41 AM | 19
Popetastic, (or should that be OpusDeitastic?):
Even more bewildering is the fact that his choice of quotation from Manuel II Paleologos, the 14th-century Byzantine emperor, was so insulting of the Prophet. Even the most cursory knowledge of dialogue with Islam teaches - and as a Vatican Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI would have learned this long ago - that reverence for the Prophet is a non-negotiable. What unites all Muslims is a passionate devotion and commitment to protecting the honour of Muhammad. Given the scale of the offence, the carefully worded apology, actually, gives little ground; he recognises that Muslims have been offended and that he was only quoting, but there is no regret at using such an inappropriate comment or the deep historic resonances it stirs up.
By an uncanny coincidence the legendary Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci died last week. No one connected the two events, but the Pope had already run into controversy in Italy by inviting the rabid Islamophobe to a private audience just months ago. This is the journalist who published a bestseller in 2001 which amounted to a diatribe of invective against Islam. This is the woman who was only too happy to fling out comments such as "Muslims breed like rats" and "the increasing presence of Muslims in Italy and Europe is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." At the time of her papal audience, Fallaci's ranting against Islam had landed her in court and there was outrage at the Pope's insensitive invitation. The Pope refused to backtrack and insisted the meeting was purely "pastoral".
Put last week's lecture in Bavaria and the Fallaci audience alongside his vocal opposition to Turkish membership of the EU, and the picture isn't pretty. On one of the biggest and most volatile issues of our day - the perceived clash between the west and the Muslim world - the Pope seems to have abdicated his papal role of arbitrator, and taken up the arms in a rerun of a medieval fantasy.
As I thought, it's all about trying to keep Turkey from joining the EU.
Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 19, 2006 10:43:41 AM | 20
Constantinopel is the gateway of the mores , Europe will never open that gate . ever.
as long as the wallets are not equally filled it would not benefit us..
Posted by: hemaworstje | Sep 19, 2006 11:40:44 AM | 22
From Uncle's link:
SEC. 2. NATIONAL SERVICE OBLIGATION.
a) OBLIGATION FOR SERVICE.
It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act...
This from globalresearch.ca on this idea to bring back the draft:
Congressman Charles Rangel, a Democrat (NY), introduced on 14 February 2006 a bill in the US Congress which requires:
"all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a [two year] period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes."
The bill applies to both US citizens and non-citizens, to men and women. There does not appear to be a provision which would exempt women who are pregnant and/or caring for infants/children in a young age.
While there was some media coverage of Rangel's initiative prior to the formal introduction of the bill, the matter has not been mentioned by the US media since it was introduced in February. There has been a deafening silence: since February 2006, not a single article or editorial has appeared in print on the Universal National Service Act of 2006.
Neither has it been the object of public debate. The bill has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. Ironically, in previous discussion leading up the bill, Rangel's initiative to restore the draft was described as "an anti-war tactic".
"Rangel opposes war with Iraq and seeks to make the point that many soldiers are volunteers from low-income and minority families. Political leaders, his reasoning goes, would think twice about sending into war the sons and daughters of a more complete cross-section of America. But whether or not one agrees with Rangel's rationale, many Americans would agree that universal service can be a great leveler and a unifying force in society."
Despite Rangel's antiwar resolve, the bill supports Washington's stated objective to extend the war into new frontiers and to ultmately send an entire generation of young Americans to fight an illegal, and unjust war. It is worth noting in this regard that the Neoconservative Project for a New American Century calls for increasing active duty strength from 1.4 to 1.6 million.
The bill also supports Big Brother. Those who are not sent overseas to the war theater would, according to the clauses of the bill, be inducted into the civilian homeland defense corps and other civilian duties, including the Citizens Corps, the "Neighborhood Watch Teams" and the "Volunteer Police Service" established in partnership with local law enforcement. (see http://www.citizencorps.gov/pdf/council.pdf )
While there is at present significant opposition to the bill on both sides of the House, the US military is overextended and lacks the manpower to carry out its global war agenda. This shortage of military personnel is blatantly obvious in Iraq, where the occupation forces are meeting fierce resistance.
The situation regarding the draft could also change if the war were to be extended into Iran. In which case, the substance of this bill could indeed be adopted to meet the manpower requirements of the US military.
Bring back the draft to stop the wars? I am not sure about that. The elite's 18 to 42 year old offshoots would surely find a placement at the home front, eg Volunteer Police Service and so on.
I also noticed that the word Congress or Senate is not mentioned at all in the draft bill, its President throughout. How come that doesn't surprise me?
Posted by: Feelgood | Sep 19, 2006 12:22:01 PM | 23
The gates are already wide open for goods (via the customs union with the EU), just not for people. So from a purely bizniz point of view full EU membership makes zero difference.
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Sep 19, 2006 12:28:55 PM | 24
So some folks kicked the neolib-populist telecomunication billionair Thai Prime Minster Thaksin out of office. Has anybody some insight into Thai politics?
Posted by: b | Sep 19, 2006 1:05:08 PM | 25
Uncle $ - isn't it traditional for a "reinstate-the-draft" bill to be introduced every year in the US by some right-wing nut job?
Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 19, 2006 1:56:19 PM | 27
Dismal Science, I don't know about "right-wing nut jobs)", but the "liberal" wing does so - Conyers, Dingell, someone like that - under the notion that they wouldn't be so quick to pull the trigger in the Oil Wars if their children had to go fight.
Does anyone know anything about new Police State legislation being introduced?
Anyone wonder who would incarcerate citizens under Patriot Act legislation? I have read of bills coming before both the House and Senate which would allow the National Guard to serve as a domestic police force. Here they are.
This is one of many features of emerging Patriot Act legislation. By making permanent our state of national emergency through the powers vested in the Patriot Act, this legislation would do an end run around around Posse Comitatus.
And thus should domestic arrests be made, this would allow the National Guard to do the dirty work... and allow them to man the civilian inmate labor facilities as well.
Here is the bill coming up for the Senate (S 2658 IS), named "National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006." (and the House version) See Dick and Jane go into Gulags: upcoming Patriot Act Bills
Is this in case oil is cut off/prices sky-rocket due to war on Iran, or for when they announce they've stolen all the money for Social Security, Medicare & Pensions, perhaps?
Is the difference between the two parties that the Repugs, being Fascists, want to do it under the cover of a police state, while the oh so sophisticated & urbane "Democrats" want to use the cover provided by Lovelock's book to form a World State to accomplish the same? Merely different tactics for the Elite to announce that they've eliminated the Middle Class & Elderly. Tis tricky figuring out how to break the news to the masses that they've stolen everything...but no worries, new money will be found selling off anything that's left to aliens...
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 2:22:15 PM | 28
It's also important to note that the neocons are opposed to the idea of a draft in strategic terms. The Rumsfeld military ideal is small, highly trained, and speedy. Get in, kick ass, get out. The reality in our current wars is quite different (getting out appears strangely difficult), of course, but these guys have put theory ahead of reality for 6 years now, and show no signs of slowing down.
Any call for the draft, then, will be coming from the liberals with calls for national service or representative demographics in the military, or paleocons demanding more "boots on the ground." Mainstream Democrats are occasionally swayed by either argument.
This is why I laughed when "progressives" started saying "vote for Kerry to prevent a draft!" back in 2004.
Posted by: Rowan | Sep 19, 2006 3:10:14 PM | 29
re: Thailand. Looks like it is the King's Men who done it. Other than that all I know first-hand about Thai politics is that the army runs many of the brothels. Meanwhile one pimp is out eh?
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Sep 19, 2006 3:24:29 PM | 30
Well well well it seems Vlad the retailer is adopting some of the philosophy of his namesake Vladimir Illyich. It would be wrong to describe the old soviet form of state capitalism as socialism, so I don't suppose it would be fair to call Putin a socialist but according to today's Guardian, Russia is putting the weights on the foreign oil companies to get her energy resources back into state hands.
Shell and BP were facing legal wrangles and upheaval in Russia last night, raising doubts about the involvement of foreign companies in the country's oil and gas sector. Government approval for Shell's $20bn Sakhalin project was withdrawn and state-owned Gazprom was reported to be trying to buy half of the TNK-BP joint venture. . .
. . . The prosecutor general's office alleged at the weekend that permission to develop the second phase of the Sakhalin island gas project had been granted illegally, but Shell insisted last night that it had done nothing wrong.
The growing pressure on Shell comes at a time when state-owned Gazprom has been trying to persuade the Anglo-Dutch oil company to sell it a 25% stake in Sakhalin-2 in return for some of its other Russian assets. The project has already proved difficult for Shell, with costs doubling, and mounting anger from environmentalists over potential damage to an endangered whale population.
Some interpret the permit issue as the latest attempt by Moscow to wrest back control of oil and gas assets held in the private sector while Gazprom acts as a political arm of the Kremlin. There have also been local reports that ExxonMobil's Sakhalin-1 oil project could face a similar fate. . .
Reading the last line about ExxonMobil probably being next in the gun really says something about the seismic shift in world geo-politics that has occurred since 2003.
At the beginning of this century little more than 5 years ago, the notion of Russia re-nationalising Shell or BP would have been considered off the wall but now while still digesting those two, the eyes moved onto ExxonMobil, the symbol of amerikan transnational rapaciousness.
Being believed to be even considering that five years ago would have caused an explosion of amerikan self righteous tirades on the beauty and liberating power of free enterprise out front, meanwhile out back all sorts of squeezes would be put on Russia's economy, forcing it back onto it's knees and mouth over...well you know the rest.
Russia is well on it's way back to superpowerdom and although that is happening because it is getting stronger; Russia has become stronger primarily because amerika has become weaker.
Much as I loathe capitalism as practiced in the west, and especially amerikan style corporate capitalism, I occasionally yearn for a sort of supreme capitalist judge of capitalism's actions.
He (by definition this gig would never go to a woman, un-white, or out of the closet gay person) would be tearing strips off Bush and the minions for being so fucking incompetent.
While they have been playing in the great tradition of the white man's burden in The Mid East, they have weakened amerikan credibility so badly that after Latin America successfully stood up to them , 'those comminists' have also managed to snatch back some of the resources that were ripped off in the collapse of the Soviet Union. He hasn't only lost the bullshit war on Terra he has gone backwards and is now losing the cold war 'victory'.
The BushCo strategy is failing big time as it was predicated on the notion of high retail energy prices and low resource costs. That is, the inherent problems caused to the corporations by higher energy costs would be offset by the huge profits made in the middle from amerikan corporations getting the oil low and selling the gas and by-products high.
They have now created the worst of both worlds for their corporate cocksuckers. The energy prices are high, but the oil producing nations have been able to leverage this into greater control of their resource due in the most part to BushCo's irrational fixation on killing Arabs, well Muslims, if the Iranian thing is allowed to proceed.
Russia the superpower is a very different kettle of fish to the Soviet Union the superpower even if often-times there appeared to be little difference on the outside.
The new Russian Empire is openly ethno-centric and racist in a way that the Soviets could never be. A countervailing balance to amerikan domination is a good thing, something we need, but the world doesn't need another xtian whitefella empire.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 19, 2006 4:31:02 PM | 31
Who are the Prisoners at Gitmo?
After two months of sifting the information, Hegland had her answer. 'The data was really clear,' she says. 'It was mind-boggling.' It showed that most of the detainees hadn’t been caught 'on the battlefield' but rather mostly in Pakistan; fewer than half were accused of fighting against the U.S., and there was scant evidence to confirm that they were even combatants. In other words, most of the detainees probably were entirely innocent. Just a few days after Hegland published a three-part series on her findings in early February, a law professor at Seton Hall University... and his son, ...who together have represented Guantanamo detainees, published a study that also used the Defense Department’s own data... Only 8 percent of detainees at Guantanamo were labeled by the Defense Department as 'al Qaeda fighters,' they found, and just 11 percent had been captured 'on the battlefield' by coalition forces.
And I ask again, how do we know American citizens are not being hidden in one of these martyr labs?
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19, 2006 4:43:08 PM | 32
Interesting logic. So when the chips are down USrael isn't so bad after all eh? A utopian, perfectly PC and multicultural rival to Full-Spectrum-Dominance --- sure that would be fine. But a really existing one... oh no. In the meantime let Wall Street own and run it... (And I thought you wanted to shut that "immoral" Sodom down...).
I say: The Neo-Cons are finding bedfellows in the most unexpected quarters and for the strangest reasons. But no worries, they ain't fussy these days. Besides, they accept Christ haters just as gladly as Christ worshippers (within their ranks the former have, in fact, vastly outnumbered the latter from the beginning.)
You really should submit your CV at the Old Executive Building. Uncle Dick will love your logic: First the West fosters the break-away of all areas with non-Russian majorities from Russia. And now we send in DebsIsDead to proclaim that Russia is too white and therefore too racist to be a player. I love it.
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Sep 19, 2006 5:02:07 PM | 33
Oh c'mon Guthman are you another one who is going to deliberately mis-read what I write.
I am pointing out that the Bushistas have truly fucked up, that it would be great if one of their own kind would stand up and tell alla the little graspers out there exactly how badly they have fucked up not so that they would fix the mess into 'better' capitalism but so that a few more people could get a handle on just what a bunch of incompetent low lifes the neo-cons are.
I point this out in
"Much as I loathe capitalism as practiced in the west, and especially amerikan style corporate capitalism, I occasionally yearn for a sort of supreme capitalist judge of capitalism's actions.
He (by definition this gig would never go to a woman, un-white, or out of the closet gay person) would be tearing strips off Bush and the minions for being so fucking incompetent. "
And yes I see no positives in world power being dominated by white xtian male oriented societies, no matter what their stated aim. I believe Russia balancing out amerikan hegemony is better than no balance, but not as good as a more pluralistic balance would be.
Once again if you had properly read what I had written you would see that.
The new Russian Empire is openly ethno-centric and racist in a way that the Soviets could never be. A countervailing balance to amerikan domination is a good thing, something we need, but the world doesn't need another xtian whitefella empire.
I understand how difficult it is for amerikans to shake off the exceptionalism that has been brainwashed into them, but it is getting fucking tiresome dodging the bullets as they try and shoot the messengers of their Imperial collapse.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 19, 2006 5:26:53 PM | 34
But Debs what non-male dominated, multicultural countries are there? As a matter of fact in the global multiculti sweepstakes, the US is faring extremely well. It's just that somehow its imperialism doesn't seem affected by it one bit. And, who knows, maybe tomorrow multiculturalism will become the new justification for US exceptionalism too.
(Sorry, I am just being my usual mean Gremlin self).
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Sep 19, 2006 5:37:11 PM | 35
Still it looks like Vlad still has some work to do to get his space program back.
Pride in space as Iran cheers first Muslim's journey to the stars
From the steppes of Kazakhstan, a wealthy Iranian-American woman was blasted off into space yesterday. In doing so, Anousheh Ansari set at least two records becoming the first female Muslim and the first Iranian in orbit. . ."
". . . As the smoke billowed below the rocket, Mrs Ansari's husband, Hamid, said: " I'm so very happy. It's really hard to describe. She's waited to do this for so long. It's so great to see it finally become a reality." . . .
" . . .Mrs Ansari who sparked controversy when she was told to remove an Iranian flag patch from her uniform has long been interested in space and the possibility of entering orbit. . ."
Still Putin is nothing if not pragmatic and the success of russian astronautics in comparison to amerikan disasters has been due to the proportionally tiny amounts of capital that russia got out of amerika in the 90's. Proportionally tiny in comparison to amerikan over investment that is. Over investment that created a huge unwieldy monolith that would have put any state capitalist enterprise to shame, but has made russia's modest success shine when stood against the scams, bad engineering and crashes of their space station co-owners.
So why endanger the successful skimming of those billions with a little piece of chinese synthetic embroidery?
Ms Ansari herself appears to be an individual worthy of further examination, because she doesn't readily fit the mould of Iranian emigre millionaires, who more typically beat the drum for the bombing of the Iranian masses, in the hope they will get a slice of 'the action'. Or at the very least appear to have forgotten their heritage altogether (see Andre Agassi).
She doesn't seem to support the bombing or invasion of her former homeland. From the same article:
. . . "Before she left Earth, Mrs Ansari said: "I think my flight has become a sort of ray of hope for young Iranians living in Iran, helping them to look forward to something positive, because everything they've been hearing is all so very depressing and talks of war and talks of bloodshed." . . .
Has that sort of attitude has brought the machinery of the facist state to bear upon her?
"Mrs Ansari, who went to the US in 1984, made her fortune after she and her husband sold their telecommunications company for $550m in 2000. She is currently being sued for alleged insider trading in regard to that sale and the case is pending in a Massachusetts court. . ."
Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 19, 2006 5:46:33 PM | 36
See Debs, I happen to agree with Putin and gee so does Gorbachev who is now outing himself as a Girlyman:
Putin has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "one of the greatest geo-political catastrophes of the 20th century".
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Sep 19, 2006 6:08:36 PM | 37
I wonder where Hank and Dagny are right now - Eyesore of the Month #15. Maybe Atlas really is shrugging these days.
Posted by: Juannie | Sep 19, 2006 8:20:11 PM | 38
Sorry I don't have a link - heard it on NPR on the way home. But there's finally a revolt against Wall St. underway...nope not by the left which has its head so far up its ass it can't even recognize the enemy. It's at the LA Times, which was taken over by right-wing Chicago Tribune Co. Those bastards suck 30% profit out of their papers. LA Times only generates 20%. They're demanding they increase their profits by 7%/yr. which will necessitate huge cuts. Publisher & Editor are refusing to make the cuts. Three local Billionaires have offered to buy it - David Geffen, Eli Broad (developer) & someone else. Will people elsewhere rise up demanding slashing profits & increasing jobs & prosperity?
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 9:54:14 PM | 39
Thai politics 101:
I will assume you have read what is running around the wires.
First, a quote from Jerome from 2004:
Democracy is NO power goes unchecked. It should grind anything that grows too powerful. People are still lazy, selfish and cowardly, but they cannot get away with it.
In this sense, Thailand hasn't had a democracy since Taksin was elected. First, while it is true that Taksin was popularly elected, remember that Thailand is a country where explicit vote-buying is rampant. Taksin has made it a priority to end IMF oversight, borrow additional monies while simultaneously spending on so-called Thaksinomics consisting of fiscally irresponsible policies that are very popular with the poor. This has allowed Taksin's Thai Rak Thai party to retain large support, except with the educated middle-class. At the same time, along with rising debt, Taksin has been "encouraging foreign investment" by relaxing foreign-ownership rules. He himself sold ownership of his company to Singapore's Temasek Holdings without paying any tax.
Taksin has used his position as PM to enact rules specifically favorable to his own telecommunication and media empire. He has placed his relatives into positions of power, privatized public utilities, and upstaged HM Bhumipol on a number of occassions. Taksin has meditated where only monarchs have before.
These resulted in large protests, led primarily by Shondi, the head of one of Thailand's remaining independent newspapers, Manager.
Today at the UN, Taksin was greeted with a large number of protestors.
In Thailand: It looks like this:
First, it is important to know that HM the King and the PM are not exactly comfortable with each other.
The PM was to give major speech at UN and perhaps planned a (fake) coup to gain sympathy.
Now the Western press lacks details, but I have heard something like this: somehow this demonstration went a bit overboard, and the military leader loyal to the PM decided to raid the palace. Generals loyal to the King, pushed back the "fake coup" attempt with a real coup... Now the situation is changing rapidly, I will try to report back soon. There are rumors of armed conflict between police (loyal to the PM) and the military (loyal to the King).
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 10:51:42 PM | 40
Just in: all four division of the Thai military are loyal to the King. TV and Radio are being restored.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:05:14 PM | 41
Also, Taksin's AIS was one of the few companies to have survived the Asian financial crisis due to the lucky purchase of a large number of forward contracts in the months before. At that time, Taksin had financial connections with the #2 guy in the Thai government.
From what I am hearing, educated Thais are largely happy with this result. Taksin's party, the Thai Rak Thai party will no longer have Taksin's funds at its disposal and will likely dissolve. A new party (or parties) will fill the vacuum.
I have also heard, but have been unable to confirm, that the Baht is falling to as low 42BHT/USD.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:20:54 PM | 42
It now looks like troop movements were evident as early as Monday - it is unclear under whose orders they were doing so. Consequently, as early as Monday there were already widespread rumors that there would be military action.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:23:55 PM | 43
According to Prof. of Thai History on NPR today what "n" above calls fiscally irresponsible polices are providing medical care for the rural poor @rate they can afford ($.75/visit). Terrible idea...
In case anyone thought they might vote JackAss Party this yr, consider that they will force the young to give 2 yrs. service to the Kleptocratic State if they want to go to college Dems Must Be Nuts.
A bill containing essentially the same proposal has been submitted by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), one of the most left-leaning House members; the concept has been endorsed by Republican presidential aspirant Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine, also endorsed the concept of universal service in an August 24 interview on FOX & Friends First, saying that it would be intended “to put us on a war footing mentality. We’re not there.”
Christ, these Kleptos are united in their Permanent War Plans...
I suspect this won't even eliminate the poverty draft, as probably the only "option" that will provide money for college will be the military...
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 11:30:29 PM | 44
According to Prof. of Thai History on NPR today what "n" above calls fiscally irresponsible polices are providing medical care for the rural poor @rate they can afford ($.75/visit). Terrible idea...
jj - you are a fool, and it's showing.
And I don't say that lightly. Doctors and hospitals cost more than %.75/visit. For example, I know of someone who just gave birth for 75 cents - but had never paid any income tax in life. How is that sustainable? How is that good for a country riddled with debt? How can hospitals support the number of patients they create?
The fact of the matter is, for the public hospitals that rule applies to, the nurses and doctors have gone on strike and outright quit because they are overworked, lacking sufficient supplies, and underpaid. Now Thailand's public hospital sector is in decay as doctor flee to private hospitals. The public hospital system had previously provided very good care for the poor. Now under Taksin's changes and 0.75c/visit crumbled; Taksin bought off the successful private hospitals, having guaranteed their success by killing of the subsidized competition.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:38:42 PM | 45
err... That should read something like:
Under Taksin's policies, the public hospital sector is crumbling. Meanwhile Taksin bought the largest private hospitals, having guaranteed that the public hospitals will forever be substandard.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:41:03 PM | 46
I also hear that under the 75c/visit program Taksin forced the public hospitals to purchase drugs from his friend's pharma company. The public hospital is destroyed under the weight of its own debt - and as I said above - doctors who formerly worked for the public benefit are driven to the private hospitals - owned by the PM.
Posted by: n | Sep 19, 2006 11:46:59 PM | 47
How is that sustainable? How is that good for a country riddled with debt? How can hospitals support the number of patients they create?
Well, there are two parts to the answer. The first part is: charge the rich more and the poor less. You won't get money out of poor people anyway. The second part is: who says services have to pay for themselves? It doesn't help the economy to let people get sick. Making sure people have access to medical care -- including regular checkups and dentistry -- has enough positive feedback on the tax base that it makes sense to subsidize the whole thing. This idea that everything must pay for itself or go is madness.
Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Sep 19, 2006 11:50:35 PM | 48
Well, not suprisingly NPR omitted that part of it - but they did say he was suspected of being a bit corrupt, mostly having to do w/his sale of his co. for ~$1B tax-exempt. No elaboration. First time I've listened to NPR in ages, guess it's not something to do on a regular basis, from what you say...
Posted by: jj | Sep 19, 2006 11:51:21 PM | 49
Anybody seeing any patternshere?
(Hint: The common denominator would seem to be around #24 for 2007)
Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 19, 2006 11:57:06 PM | 50
I have ... other sources ...
Some might be tempted to compare Taksin to Berlusconi: conservatively, we can say that in absolute terms they are about the same. But Thailand's economy (GDP) is 1/3 of Italy's - making Taksin the same size shark in a much smaller tank.
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 12:01:44 AM | 51
Don't call me a fool - presumably it's subsidized. At our largest medical system, patients pay $5/visit period, or it was that a few yrs. ago. In Canada I don't know if people pay anything per visit.
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 12:13:11 AM | 52
The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It -
The point is that health care can be made affordable, yes - in a developed nation with a sustainable tax base and rigorous tax enforcement. However, Taksin paid for his policies via deficit spending; he offered unlimited service for 75c. Furthermore, he did this while Thailand had a program similar to Canada's for treating the very poor.
If a government program cannot pay its employees - it cannot survive.
Posted by: | Sep 20, 2006 12:15:23 AM | 53
jj - now, I don't know where you live - but I am guessing you understand that Canada's model doesn't translate very well to a third world country, right? Hell, single-payer is a matter of debate here in Canada. Now consider that the average Thai income is taxed at the ~10% marginal income tax rate. Furthermore, property taxes are next to nil. How does the system survive?
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 12:21:02 AM | 54
Appearently there is a curfew now... people are forbidden to travel in groups larger than 5.
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 12:23:33 AM | 55
New rumors: Taksin may set up shadow government based in Singapore.
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 12:50:37 AM | 56
It would be of interest to have an update and augmentation of the facts presented in this survey of recent CIA agents in congress from John Young's Cryptome. Porter Goss, of course, went on to bigger things, before "dropping the ball" and being summarily fired in a way that, to my knowledge, has still not been adequately explained.
Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 20, 2006 1:38:00 AM | 57
I've been watching Thaksin for the past four years that I've lived in Thailand and the difference between his regime and the one we have in the US seems basically a question of the evolutionary states of the two democracies.
In the US we have a class of yeomen, like the Bushes and the Clintons, who can be relied upon by the plutocrats to run things for their benefit.
Here in Thailand such a "trustworthy" yeoman class has yet to evolve, so the plutocrats must themselves wield the levers of power.
And Thaksin actually enjoys the exercise. He thinks of himself as a businessman. In fact his business successes are built on top of corrupt politicking. Not unlike George W Bush's, come to think of it.
His idea of governing is stealing everything not nailed down and using crowbars on the rest.
The middle class have seen through Thaksin's rape of the country and want him out. They imagine alternatives.
Thaksin was nervous about the military so his last act, the last straw, was to oust everyone he felt he could not rely upon in the military. The military in Thailand (still) will not stand still for this.
But Thaksin's support base is the 60 percent of the country tied to the land, the folks who always get the short end of the stick from Bangkok (Thailand is really a mini-empire with Bangkok as the imperial capital).
The folks who support Thaksin do so because he is sharing the spoils with them, temporarily. That's more than they've ever got from the Bangkok crowd before. The fact that Thaksin's largess is in fact the stolen fruit of their own production, "given" to them by the thief himself, is transparently obvious to them. So too is the fact that it couldn't last. Get it while the getting is good.
I live in the north of Thailand and spend some time in the villages and I found that people were not furious with the generals for toppling their man this morning. The kids got a day off from school. Whopeee! Life goes on. I think this is the thirty-third coup since 1932 when the "promoters" ended the absolute monarchy.
If Thaksin has managed to bankrupt the country it will make no difference to them. All they had is their rice fields, and they will still have them and the sustenance they provide both mind and soul come coup or the next generation of exploitative politicians in Bangkok.
Which brings us to the second large difference to between Thailand and the US.
You can live without "real" money in Thailand. Forty percent of the population do already (twenty percent of the Thais, although still tied to the villages, are off hustling a baht in Bangkok or other cities at any given moment).
When the bust comes for them... they won't really notice.
The folks in the US, and Bangkok, will crash and burn.
Posted by: John Francis Lee | Sep 20, 2006 1:42:39 AM | 58
I would say the fact that one can live without money is the work of the King's policy to support agriculture.
John Francis Lee - why not say that Taksin and his cronies are the plutocrats?
In Thailand, it is my impression that HM Bhumipol is both the King and the elder statesmen. By intervening he has temporarily slowed economic corruption in Thailand and prevented Taksin from loosening foreign ownership rules. Democracy will be restored shortly once the defects that allowed the present crisis to precipitate have been addressed.
The trouble is: the King may only intervene so many times.
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 8:47:57 AM | 60
One of Rice's most senior aides, counselor Philip D. Zelikow, last Friday made a speech to a Washington think tank in which he appeared to link progress on Middle East peace to securing greater diplomatic cooperation in the struggle against Iran.
"For the Arab moderates and for the Europeans, some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is just a sine qua non for their ability to cooperate actively with the United States on a lot of other things that we care about," Zelikow said. "We can rail against that belief; we can find it completely justifiable, but it's fact. That means an active policy on the Arab-Israeli dispute is an essential ingredient to forging a coalition that deals with the most dangerous problems."
Zelikow's comments alarmed Israelis, who fear becoming a pawn in American diplomatic calculations, and U.S. officials said they were misinterpreted. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack even posted a statement on Power Line, a right-wing blog, saying there is no change in policy.
But Zelikow may have been stating the obvious: The administration has learned that building coalitions for peace, not war, is hard work.
link to WaPo
Long citation, this, and any comment would go on for many, many pages.....
Posted by: alabama | Sep 20, 2006 11:08:37 AM | 63
I thought I had said that Thaksin and cronies were the plutocrats, but that unlike in America where the plutocrats, like what's-his-name Microsoft and his crony from Omaha for instance, rely on a professionally retained political class to look after their interests the plutocrats here in Thailand cannot rely upon anyone at all and so must actually take part in the government themselves.
I look forward to another resurgence of the courts now that the King and the King's men will be in control. Perhaps they can follow through on the charges against the current political parties and disband them.
I also hope that General Sondhi, the leader of the Administrative Reform Council (ARC) and a Muslim, can do something constructive in the South. And that perhaps the decentralization of power that is plainly the solution to the problems not only of the South but of the rest of the nation can proceed apace.
I hope and look forward... who knows what will happen.
Posted by: John Francis Lee | Sep 20, 2006 11:29:56 AM | 64
John Francis Lee - ah I must have been bit a tired when I read that..
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 11:52:42 AM | 65
Interesting Harpers interview with the CIA's Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program:
Six Questions for Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh on the CIA and the Iraq War
6. Is there an inherent threat to Western democracies from the Islamic world?
No, there's only a threat from those who use Islam for ideological reasons and who are willing to employ violence. There are 1.4 billion people in the Islamic world and only a tiny minority, maybe 2 or 3 percent, are politically active. Just like Jews and Christians, most have kids to raise and bills to pay. Most view Islam as a personal and societal force, not a political one, and only a tiny minority becomes terrorists.
Well worth your time ...
Posted by: b | Sep 20, 2006 1:58:13 PM | 66
Why nuke Teheran, real man go to Kairo:
Mubarak’s Son Proposes Nuclear Program
Gamal Mubarak, the son of Egypt’s president, proposed Tuesday that his country pursue nuclear energy, drawing strong applause from the nation’s political elite, while raising expectations that Mr. Mubarak is being positioned to replace his father as president.
He also said in a clear reference to the White House: “We do not accept visions from abroad that try to dissolve the Arab identity and the joint Arab efforts within the framework of the so-called Greater Middle East Initiative.”
Posted by: b | Sep 20, 2006 2:00:40 PM | 67
Where to post something that fits on every thread...
There's can't make this shit up stories, then there's ABSOLUTELY CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP...Kleptocrats & Mobsters Take Over Texas Politics
AUSTIN - Texas politicians who receive suitcases full of cash may not be required to report the amount of it, according to a draft ruling by the Texas Ethics Commission.
Under the proposal, candidates for state offices could satisfy Texas disclosure laws by simply calling it "currency."
Watchdog groups deplored Tuesday's draft opinion by the agency established to monitor campaign-finance laws. Agency commissioners are expected to vote on it Friday.
"If the Texas Ethics Commission adopts this opinion ... public officials can take millions of dollars in cash and legally write 'currency' on their disclosure form," Craig McDonald, director of the Austin-based Texans for Public Justice, which favors tougher campaign-finance laws, said in a statement. "This interpretation of the disclosure law is absurd and dangerous."
The vote will come six months after the same commission ruled that a gift of two checks for $100,000 could be listed simply as "checks."
Texas requires all public officials to report cash donations in excess of $250. But the law, according to the Ethics Commission, doesn't define how much description is needed.
"In our opinion ... the legislative intent as discerned from the plain reading of the words in the statute is that the description of a gift is not required to include the value of the gift," stated the draft ruling, put together by agency staff.
Under the draft, a candidate could describe a gift of cash as "currency" and still be within the law, but describing a cash gift as "a piece of paper" or "an envelope" would put one outside the law, it said.
Agency staff said it hoped the Legislature would consider amending the law.
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 2:04:49 PM | 68
The Road to Disillusionment
Coyne's personal saga in many ways tracks the broader American disillusionment in Iraq. When she got to Baghdad, she was a strong supporter of the invasion. "I bought into the vision of an alternative Middle East," she said.
Coyne's first suspicion that the occupation wouldn't go as she hoped came on her first mission, which involved looking into the possible theft of archaeological finds. She came away worried by the confusion inside the U.S. military about the task and how to do it. "We just didn't understand what was going on, and we couldn't coordinate our own people," she remembered.
But she kept her hopes through the summer of 2003, until she transferred to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the civilian occupation office headed by L. Paul Bremer III. "It wasn't until the fall of 2003 that I really began thinking, 'This is a disaster -- we are never going to pull this together,' " she said. "It was amateur hour."
Coyne is still in the Army Reserve and wants to go on at least one more deployment. But she is pessimistic about the military's ability to handle nation-building missions such as the one it faces in Iraq. She likens it to a person who can't swim diving into the water to try to save a drowning man, but instead being able only to stand on the poor man's shoulders.
Posted by: b | Sep 20, 2006 2:07:49 PM | 69
This catches about all what I think of Dafur and other conflicts like it:
The inhumane folly of our interventionist machismo
Anyone can call for action to end fighting. Few consider what this usually involves: people dying to no good purpose
It is official. Tony Blair says so. The United Nations, the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Clooney, Elton John and the BBC en bloc say so. It is something-must-be-done-about-Darfur week - yet again. Something had to be done two years ago, when the situation was declared "unacceptable" by Jack Straw, to which every party cried amen. The adjective has this year been upgraded to "completely unacceptable" in honour of the UN general assembly in New York, the annual bid to exhaust world supplies of lobster, Pomerol and hypocrisy.
Even by UN standards last weekend's "global day for Darfur" was cringe-worthy, ranking with the £100m squandered by the British government in Gleneagles last year to pretend to fight poverty. The latest Darfur round was kicked off with Blair sending a public letter to fellow EU leaders calling for "pressure" on Khartoum and the rebels. The usual celebrities were whipped into letter-signing mode to shame the janjaweed into their tents. George Bush came in on cue with a demand for troops to be sent, but not American or British. By this week everyone was feeling better, except possibly the Darfurians.
Cynical? Yes. The outside world has not the slightest intention of taking military action in Sudan.
To call the conflict genocide is wrong, unless the word now covers any ethnic war. This is a separatist struggle in which land, religion, clan and mere survival brought people into contention; in which tens of thousands died and from which hundreds of thousands fled. We can sympathise, but what is the point of telling such peoples to stop squabbling and behave? How would we react if they lectured us on Northern Ireland?
Interventionist machismo demands that all such conflicts be tackled "at political source". There is no point in helping mere symptoms, the victims, which is a job for wimps and charities. Real men do war and regime change. To such people, wrongdoers must be excoriated, condemned and preferably toppled. There must be economic sanctions (always "smart") and international indictments. There must be UN troops, preferably not ours. In this, Blair, Bush, Clooney, the New York Times and the Guardian are one.
Machismo in foreign policy always has the best tunes, but tunes are not enough.
If Sierra Leone, why not Somalia? If East Timor, why not Aceh? Why so tolerant of that nuclear host to terror, dictatorial Pakistan, and so hysterical about semi-democratic Iran? It is no good muttering that we cannot be everywhere. We can at least talk the talk. Kant's moral imperative must be universalisable or it loses all force as both a rule and a deterrent.
The swelling chorus of something-must-be-done-in-Darfur argues that bombast "raises awareness". They ask, what would I do about the janjaweed, and what about the 1.9 million refugees? My answer to the first is identical in substance to theirs: nothing really. They just get the T-shirt. The janjaweed are not in my country, not my business and, most important, not a problem within my power to solve.
As it is, spasmodic damnation merely shows the west as a paper tiger. It incites rebels and separatists to anticipate western support, which is why such support almost always leads to partition, Yugoslavia and Iraq being the most recent examples. As for the "coward's war" of sanctions, they only entrench regimes, hurt the poor and drive the middle class and opposition into exile. They never achieve their goal, least of all in the short term.
Today's constant banging of the aggressor's drum makes embattled regimes resist the one intervention that is often most urgent: humanitarian relief. Helping the starving and dying, monitoring their fate and protecting their relief should be the first responsibility of the international community.
Posted by: b | Sep 20, 2006 2:17:03 PM | 70
chavez's address to the un
Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it.
Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] "It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.
The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous] "I will just leave it as a recommendation.
It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.
The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.
"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today.
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.
An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."
As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.
The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.
They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.
What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.
What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."
Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.
The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.
I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.
marcos breaks his silence on mexican election outcome
Mexico rebel leader claims election was rigged
Zapatista rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos stepped into Mexico's election crisis on Tuesday by claiming the July 2 presidential vote was rigged against the left-wing opposition candidate.
Marcos has long been a fierce critic of leftist runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador but, breaking a long silence over the disputed election, he backed Lopez Obrador's allegations that the conservative ruling party stole the vote.
Marcos, who led the Zapatistas in an armed uprising in Chiapas state in 1994, had predicted Lopez Obrador would win the election, which has sharply divided Mexico between left and right.
"We were not wrong. Lopez Obrador won the most votes among those fighting for the presidency. Although it was not with the margin he had forecast, his advantage was clear and resounding," Marcos said in a statement.
"Where we were wrong was in thinking that resorting to electoral fraud was a thing of the past," he added.
chavez recently spoke out on the election fraud in mexico, as well
Mexico to evaluate ties with Venezuela after Chavez's poll criticism
The Mexican government said it was evaluating its relations with Venezuela after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused it of stealing the Mexican presidential election.
Chavez, in a CNN interview on Saturday, accused Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon of having "destroyed" the opportunity for establishing good ties with Venezuela during his campaign.
Highlighting a list of more than 80 irregularities that had been published, Chavez said the ruling National Action Party led by outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox had stolen the presidential election.
Posted by: b real | Sep 20, 2006 3:06:35 PM | 72
Must be National CANT MAKE THIS SHIT UP DAY...
US Federal Judge Declares Boating Illegal in All US Navigable Waters
Federalist Society Judge no doubt - love 'dis freedom, baby...
In a rather bizarre ruling that has marine industry officials worried, Judge Robert G. James of the United States District Court, Western Division of Louisiana, has said that it is criminal trespass for the American boating public to boat, fish, or hunt on the Mississippi River and other navigable waters in the US.
In the case of Normal Parm v. Sheriff Mark Shumate, James ruled that federal law grants exclusive and private control over the waters of the river, outside the main shipping channel, to riparian landowners. The shallows of the navigable waters are no longer open to the public. That, in effect, makes boating illegal across most of the country.
"Even though this action seems like a horrible pre-April fools joke, it is very serious," said Phil Keeter, MRAA president, in a statement. "Because essentially all the waters and waterways of our country are considered navigable in the US law, this ruling declares recreational boating, water skiing, fishing, waterfowl hunting, and fishing tournaments to be illegal and the public subject to jail sentences for recreating with their families."
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 3:07:49 PM | 73
Theocracy on the March
Ministers who invited Atty. Gen. Phill Kline to their pulpits said Wednesday that the Republican preached the Bible, not politics. But Kline's leaked campaign memo on 'church efforts' showed that Kline saw his Sunday sermons as a way to raise more campaign cash in a tough race against Democrat Paul Morrison.
more at the link...
@jj regarding #73 U.S. puts machine-guns on Great Lakes coast guard vessels
I can't help but wonder are these developments to keep people out or us in...
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 20, 2006 4:26:52 PM | 74
As jj has pointed to on several links...Canada getting closer to Uncle Sam
Away from the spotlight, from Sept. 12 to 14, in Banff Springs, Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor met with U.S. and Mexican government officials and business leaders to discuss North American integration at the second North American Forum.
The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — the elite club of Canada's richest CEOs — and the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta think-tank that promotes, among other things, closer economic integration with the United States.
Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 20, 2006 6:14:53 PM | 75
i have been overwhelmed with work and have not had time to even read posts over the last couple of days, but this just came in my email and thought i would share a story of civil disobedience at the u.n. for those here who have been calling for it. hopefully, they will be quoted fully and widely and will inspire the silent to speak out.
>Two Civil Disobedience Protesters Still in Jail! 14 Released
>> Call to demand the release of the two protesters!
>> As George W. Bush was laying down his diktats to the world in the UN
>> General Assembly, sixteen activists staged a non-violent civil
>> disobedience protest directly in front of the United Nations.
>> Stung by the fact that the protesters got through intense police
>> security and that they were calling out Bush as a war criminal,
>> several of the demonstrators were hit serious bogus charges:
>> Father Luis Barrios, from of St. Mary's Episcopal Church and a
>> national leader of World Can't Wait, was charged with assaulting a
>> police officer. Fr. Barrios was actually knocked to the ground by
>> police from behind as he held up his hands saying "I am not resisting."
>> Geoff Mallard, a disabled Iraq war vet, was charged with resisting
>> arrest when he fell down trying to board the police wagon.
>> Check out the pictures on the World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush
>> Regime! web site:
>> We urge people to continue to call in to release the two protesters
>> still in.
>> Central Booking: NYPD Switchboard: 646-610-5000
>> Mayor Bloomberg: PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
>> FAX (212) 788-2460
>> E-MAIL: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html
>> Police Commissioner: Raymond W. Kelly; NYPD Switchboard: 646-610-5000
>> To quote from New York One (the New York news channel):
>> ... barricade outside the UN. The group was calling for the ouster of
>> President Bush for what they have deemed "crimes against humanity.". ...
>> From the statement of those who did civil disobedience at the UN to
>> stand against the Bush Regime:
>> "We have come to the United Nations today to engage in non-violent
>> civil disobedience. We demand the war on Iraq end immediately. We
>> oppose any attack on Iran. We declare to the world that President
>> George W. Bush has been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against
>> humanity. He does not speak for us.
>> "These crimes must come to a halt. As the Not In Our Name
>> Statement of Conscience (Jan. 2005) said: 'It is our responsibility
>> to stop the Bush regime from carrying out this disastrous
>> course. We believe history will judge us sharply should we fail to
>> act decisively.'"
>> Some Other Participants include:
>> * Ann Wright. one of three State Department officials to
>> publicly resign in protest of the Iraq war
>> * Elaine Brower, mother of U.S. Marine stationed in Fallujah and a
>> spokesperson for World Can't Wait (www.worldcantwait.org)
>> * C. Clark Kissinger, convener of the International Commission of
>> Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush
>> Administration (www.bushcommission.org
>> * Beth Lamont, the American Humanist Association's UN representative
>> * Aimara & Pete from the Not In Our Name Project
>> * 3 members of Grannies Against the War
>> "The choice I have made as a mother and the choice that remains for
>> all of us to make," Elaine Brower states, "is to take it upon
>> ourselves to stop this awful war and all the other atrocities we watch
>> being committed."
Posted by: conchita | Sep 20, 2006 7:20:34 PM | 76
ABC news had the video clips of Chaves' speech, I was so hoping they would, What a hoot, poor dismayed Martha Raddatz, says there was no response from other members, either in support or outrage, What a hoot, I wonder if they're going through coniptions about whether to bring on Chomsky...who would interview or debate him? On network TV? Oh my God!! Hegemony or Survival? Ha Ha what a hoot!
Posted by: anna missed | Sep 20, 2006 9:08:30 PM | 77
really this fellow chavez - like all good men & women in the resistance is not with good humour - a humour incidentally the tyrants are incapable of
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 20, 2006 9:15:03 PM | 78
Conchita - I heard a really good little segment about the UN protests yesterday on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now show this morning, but not a peep elsewhere. Sad.
Posted by: Maxcrat | Sep 20, 2006 9:19:14 PM | 79
for those wishing to hear the entirety of Chavez's speech, it wil be posted here shortly. It can be a bit difficult to understand as they broadcast the Spanish too loudly to hear the English easily in later parts. He got a standing ovation at the end, in opposition to UN policy.
He starts off by recommending that Everyone read Noam Chomsky's "Hegemony or Survival", even listing many of the languages into which it's been translated! He assured everyone that it would explain US policy to them. Then he noted that Bush's remarks yesterday were spoken as though "he owns the world". Then onto ripping US Imperialism.
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 9:53:21 PM | 80
Oops, didn't go all the way upthread til after i posted - still better to listen to speech...
Blaming the victim is going into OverDrive. This from some schmuck who just wrote a bk. w/one of the greatest narcissists in the West, Trump.Only the Rich Survive (Seems to me that Trump has bankrupted every enterprise he's ever started...so should it be only the Narcissistic & supremely greedy survive?)
In the next five years, the United States and the world will go through some of the most financially disturbing times in the history of the world. Once again, the rich will become very, very, rich, and the unsuspecting will be left like the passengers on the S.S. Titanic, heading straight for an economic iceberg.
One way to approach the coming changes is to ask yourself whether you'll be like my friend Steven Spivak -- trading rapidly, earning over $70,000 an hour -- or like that 19-year NYMEX employee, who's content to work for $70,000 a year at best. While both men are working for a dollar that's declining in value, one is earning more than enough of them to stay ahead of its erosion.
Both options are available to each of us. Which reality you choose -- deciding on how much you can earn and how fast you can earn it -- will determine your station in life five years from now, when things start to get really sticky.
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 10:14:56 PM | 81
Democracy Now had a very short piece on the U.N. protesters. I have been busy with work too but I feel guilty for not having participated more in anti-war protests. Looks like some of them are getting the old "trumped up charges treatment". As an example, helping these few would be a worthwhile item for future moa's donation projects. Gee, I wonder if the protesters were close enough to smell the sulfur!
Also, regarding your link to dkos from moa's weekend open thread about righteousbabe... Good to see such idealism and effort from a ninth grader.
Posted by: Rick Happ | Sep 20, 2006 10:52:09 PM | 82
Perhaps the coup in Thailand can be explained by the story of a single citizen: Jaruvan Maintaka
After years of experience, Jaruvan Maintaka had been promoted to be one of the top accountants within the Thai government. As is necessary and usual for a high position within the Thai government, her name was approved by HM Bhumipol. Her job was to audit large government contracts. In the last few years, she started reporting overbidding and evidence of corruption in Taksin's government. Taksin took steps to fire her, but she refused. She would show up at work everyday - her coworkers would not talk to her. One day she arrived to find her her records removed and that the locks had been changed. Taksin submitted a new name to the King to replace Jaruvan, but the King's approval never came. Jaruwan petitioned to have her job restored, and HM Bhumipol agreed. Taksin could not defy the King, so he nominally resinstated Jaruvan - but without access to official records and forced to work on minor tasks - Taksin's worries were over.
How will the story end? The Sun Star reports:
Asked if there would be moves to confiscate Thaksin's vast assets, Sondhi said at a news conference that "those who have committed wrongdoing have to be prosecuted according to the law."
Sondhi did not elaborate. But an announcement later on state-run television said the newly formed Council of Administrative Reform had sacked the state audit commissioners and given additional powers to Auditor General Jaruvan Maintaka to investigative government corruption, which could lead to the confiscation of Thaksin's assets.
Posted by: n | Sep 20, 2006 11:00:52 PM | 83
ah, rick. i have just received an enormously important education. thank you very much jony b cool for challenging my thought process, to bernhard for posting the guardian article, and to b real whose keith harmon snow link is indispensable. i just spent an hour listening to a kpfa stream of a panel including Dr. Helan Page (UMass), keith harmon snow, Dimitri Oram, Dr. Elliot Fratkin (Smith College), and Sara Flounders (IAC) discussing the history and geography of sudan and darfur, the root of the conflict, the media circus surrounding it, and how it is all tied into international business. it was a much needed reminder to read and think analytically and to take the time to look beneath the surface.
like you, i applaud righteous babe - it is great to see a young person make the effort to help others - but i am also dismayed to see how easily swayed and confused she and i and many others are by the propaganda mill. as jony b cool said: "Kids like righteousbabe and the boy should be learning as much as they can about history and other cultures. On the long run, thats what can make a real difference." what a wake up call!
Posted by: conchita | Sep 20, 2006 11:17:36 PM | 84
Wayne Madsen has an interesting post. Wonder if this came from his non-legal mind, or if this is being discussed by Military? The problem is what to do if Nov. Elections are Diebolded.
There is now fear that the Bush administration and its allies in state and local governments will manipulate the November 7 elections with their "election engineering" accomplished by Diebold and other corrupted electronic voting machines.
Bush's impaired mental state was painfully apparent to reporters who covered his press conference last Friday, an event in which Bush threw a virtual tempter tantrum to defend his torture policies and effort to disengage America from its legal commitments to upholding the Geneva Conventions. With all the evidence that Bush's mental state calls for the implementation of the 25th Amendment which calls for his replacement due to physical or mental inability to carry out his duties, the rubber stamp Congress refuses to act.
The response by loyal Americans to either a Bush war with Iran or another rigged election, or both, is clear. Every U.S. military officer swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, including enemies occupying the Oval Office. And it may take temporarily suspending a very small part of the Constitution in order to save our Constitutional Republic from neocon tyranny and dictatorship.
The Thai military decided to suspend the entire Thai Constitution in an interim measure before a return to democratic rule. The U.S. military, in response to Bush's numerous violations of the U.S. Constitution and orders to engage in a potentially disastrous war with Iran, could merely step in and suspend Article I, Section 9; Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution to pave the way for a return to democratic rule. That Clause is the Bill of Attainder clause, which states link
Posted by: jj | Sep 20, 2006 11:54:28 PM | 85