Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 27, 2007

OT 07-18

Fun in the stock markets today ...

and other news & views ...

OT 07-18

Posted by b on February 27, 2007 at 03:44 PM | Permalink

Comments

Can the US government (Using the taxpayers money of course.)buy stocks in order to stop a crash?

I can't see a savvy trader buying at an all time top of the market.

Something really strange happened in the last 20 minutes, brokers could not execute orders.

Has China finally pulled the plug?, Or threatened to?

Posted by: pb | Feb 27, 2007 4:29:59 PM | 1

Is the Fed going to raise interest rates in the next day or two?

Is there no more money to finance gambling?

What????

Posted by: pb | Feb 27, 2007 4:34:07 PM | 2

Sorry that I get out of the issue, but, whatever happened to ths Billmon's "Whiskey Bar" archive that some time ago was mentioned as a project for the new server??

Posted by: VX | Feb 27, 2007 5:57:05 PM | 3

De-lurking here for a moment.

First, unfortunately, my rhetorical skills can only render a pale version of the appreciation that I have for the dialogue and the folks that are engaged here...That said, I felt a number of waves of curiosity about the read here wrt what transpired in the global markets today.


A member of my family is of that staid, traditional banking ilk that evidence very little reaction whatsoever to volatility along the lines of what occurred today. Over the years, I've come to conflate that with his preternatural republican nature insofar as it sometimes feels almost like a passive attempt toward willing a different reality (notably Cheney-esque in its nature, granted). His continued unflappability in light of my dollar bear-ishness seems to take root in the fact that
he says there isn't anywhere substantial enough for China (or anyone else potentially dumping dollars) to put their resources if they were to massively divest themselves of dollars. My non-fiscally schooled mind says - Swiss francs, gold, or a basket of other currencies...

Any thoughts?


I'll also offer that this is only a very thin thread in the wide fabric of my heightened concern, but I suppose there is also a first public query...


TIA

Posted by: wa sabi | Feb 27, 2007 6:51:07 PM | 4

I think Wile E. Coyote (Greenspan, et al.) just looked down.

Posted by: biklett | Feb 27, 2007 9:36:04 PM | 5

oh. so that's what it was about

A suicide bomber attack on the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan where Vice President Dick Cheney was visiting also rattled the market.src]

bigger than the flap of a butterfly wing, that's for sure...

Posted by: b real | Feb 27, 2007 9:53:38 PM | 6

wa sabi

From Salon, earlier this evening-

In my last post I wrote that traders in New York would have a sleepless night tonight. But they don't have to wait for morning if they're looking for more turmoil in the markets. Two hours after the Tokyo Stock Exchange opened, as of about 5 p.m. PST, the Nikkei 225 index had fallen 588 points, or about 3.25 percent of its value.

Those numbers may well spike up and down as the trading day continues: The Nikkei first fell 700 points before rebounding a bit. But a day that begins with a stock market crash in Shanghai, continues with an implosion in New York and then finishes with panic selling in Tokyo is not your ordinary day. If a defining characteristic of the global economy is technologically mediated financial integration, then what we are currently witnessing could be a state-of-the-art global market meltdown.

I tend to think it's easier for wealthy people to be sanguine about market forces because they are usually diversified enough to take a hit one way or another. Maybe that's one source of your family member's calm.

I have no idea what was going on today either, but I do wonder about China using its financial power to shoot across the bow of this nation's economy.

Machines trades are part of the action today, afaik... and who knows until it happens when a major correction hits? I mean, Wall Street is all about herd behavior, isn't it?

Posted by: fauxreal | Feb 27, 2007 9:54:55 PM | 7

Another source of calm is knowing that after the crash, you still have a shitload more than most. It's all relative.

Posted by: biklett | Feb 27, 2007 11:04:14 PM | 8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpU7q1d9lAU>rock n roll

rankin' on the knob

You got it
yeh ride the silver rocket
can't stop it
burnin hole in yr pocket

hit the power
psycho helmets on
you got to splice yr. halo

...

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 27, 2007 11:08:13 PM | 9

goddamnit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpU7q1d9lAU>here's the link

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 27, 2007 11:12:10 PM | 10

"MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann last week that the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Al CIAqaeda having regrouped in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” “are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States" ???!!! Anyone else hear about this?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 27, 2007 11:51:16 PM | 11

*Rolls eyes*

Israel asks U.S. to defray cost of 2006 Lebanon attack.


weird... I just read two articles yesterday detailing how last summers war with lebanon boosted Israel's economy hugely... and in general I always found it strange that the US sends arms to Israel while Israel's largest export is... arms.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 28, 2007 2:16:23 AM | 12

i miss billmon sometimes

Posted by: annie | Feb 28, 2007 2:37:22 AM | 13

Yeah, annie, i'd be nice if he stopped by once and a while..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 28, 2007 2:39:48 AM | 14

Last night Alan Greenspan predicted a US recession in late 2007. Tonight CNN shows a drop in stocks of 4.7%.

My Canadian TV news says China market dropped 9% today.

This seems a canonical example of a good opportunity to buy stocks and bonds because the market is low for no good reason.

Greenspan precipitated a sell-off in my view. So who did he talk to before this pronouncement? He's not even the Chairman of The (US) Federal Reserve anymore. Just a citizen!

Am I wrong attributing this market behavior to Greenspan the "unabashed über-monetarist" and "the fourth branch of government, a.k.a. Alan Greenspan" -- or is there a new factor that would shift the stock market lower.

We all know that people can make money in the stock market (that is, trading on stocks, bonds and currency and maybe other things) they can make money on the stock market just knowing what is going to happen in the news.

Traders phone up their clients and tell them that X is going down, so sell X, and Y is going up, so buy some Y while it is cheap.

The traders get a commission on each sale so any buy or sell is good for them. At a higher level they are instructed what to try to encourage customers to buy or sell.

Everyone wants to become a market maker, when their advice is followed to the point that their influence can sway the entire universe of a few hundred or a few thousand brokers, or even a hundred thousand or million followers.

So Alan is one of those -- he was hugely influential in the last 20 or more years and his word is huge. But I ask, who benefits?

Posted by: jonku | Feb 28, 2007 3:59:11 AM | 15

Biklett nailed it in No.5: "I think Wile E. Coyote (Greenspan, et al.) just looked down."

Posted by: jonku | Feb 28, 2007 4:02:31 AM | 16

Watch this one folks. I fully expect it to be the next scam pulled on us, rivaling the anthrax silliness where millions of doses were bought and injected. I read there was only one lab capable of producing the vaccine and there are supposedly ties to Carlyle.

We have heard of Rumsfeld's stock in the company that produces Tamiflu and of course millions of tablets of Tamiflu have been stockpiled because of the avian flu scare. Now someone has developed a vaccine for a disease that does not yet exist and are hoping to scare people into buying it.

If it won't be this company, it will be another one better connected to the gang in DC.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 28, 2007 8:07:13 AM | 17

Regarding the stock markets (and elections), the problem can be pinned on the machines...

Computer glitch causes Dow average to fall faster than normal

That's a little comforting. A Canadian co-worker of mine said it was China's fault.

It's comforting because it's supposed to be comforting. "Investor confidence" (read: wishful thinking) actually creates the reality that is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (or whatever you you're using to measure the "worth" of what is, at the end of the day, a consensus fantasy.) It should be no surprise, then, that the idea has arisen that other "realities" are just as malleable to the will by those obsessed with pecuniary matters. They prevail for no other reason than that they agree to remain invested (read: never take their heads out of the sand).

Click your heels together and chant "there is no place like the Hague" to counter the "reality" being created by those who chant nonsense like "We were never about stay the course". The new consensus "reality" will be shaped by whoever has the most faith.

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 28, 2007 8:24:02 AM | 18

The BBC takes a BIG hit. I cheer whenever that happens!

It transpires that the BBC reported the collapse of the WTC7 about 20 mins too early. On the video, you can see the building standing behind the announcer! It’s sister site NEWS24 did the same, and that one is time-stamped. There is no question of error (e.g. wrong timing by conspiracy theorists, or announcer standing in front of a ‘blue screen’, that is with a picture from earlier time, etc.) as the BBC has already responded in the only way it could (as it is ALL in real time and easy to prove it is so) invoking ‘confusion’ of the day. They have lost the footage for that day...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlFDd5Yjn3w>You tube

.. the vids have been repeatedly pulled by Google; I hope this one stays.

Note the assurance of the announcer, and the plentiful detail (eg. evacuation), in contrast with other topics where she takes care to indicate that the news is not certain, questionable etc.

It was announced that WT7 would collapse -it was evacuated- at least one hour before it did. (It is wearisome to track down the first report.)

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 28, 2007 9:04:09 AM | 19

Hey people check this out. U.S. Will Join Talks With Iran And Syria. Can anybody figure out what's their plan? My guess is that they are going to produce a disaster out of that talks and shutter another oppotrunity for diplomatic solution. It won't be the first time.

Posted by: PaulM | Feb 28, 2007 9:31:18 AM | 20

@PaulM - "U.S. Will Join Talks With Iran And Syria" - smoke and mirrors, nothing serious

Posted by: b | Feb 28, 2007 10:16:52 AM | 21

noirette, i watched that video when uncle posted it yesterday, also recieved it via email. if you listen carefully a few minutes in he says "it is now 8 hrs since the attacks."

i think someone has their timing of this newscast off, possibly by tweleve hrs.

Posted by: annie | Feb 28, 2007 11:31:47 AM | 22

Pentagon's number two suggests terror war will end in Oct. 2008

The Department of Defense's number two official appears to imply in a memo that the Global War on Terrorism will end just in time for the presidential election in November 2008. The contents of the document are outlined in a column in today's Washington Post.

Sounds like a whole lot of "number two".

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 28, 2007 11:38:35 AM | 23

Noirette:

WTC7 had the living shit pounded out of it by debris from the north WTC tower. The side of 7 facing what was left of the north tower looked like the remains of the OKC Federal building after McVeigh's bomb went off. It was known 7 would likely collapse well before it actually did so.

Posted by: Loveandlight | Feb 28, 2007 12:25:17 PM | 24

annie, it was 8 hours since the attacks started at 8:46 AM. That is their 5 PM broadcast where they pre-announce the WTC7 collapse at 5:20. Here's the response from Richard Porter, head of BBC news.
Not exactly edifying, huh? And ain't it a shame about losing the tapes.
If you go to Postman Patel, agree to his terms and scroll down he's go a lot more.
http://postmanpatel.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Dick Durata | Feb 28, 2007 12:30:57 PM | 25

thanks dick.

lovelight It was known 7 would likely collapse well before it actually did so.

when i saw the video of the owner being interviewed stating he got a call the building was going to be 'pulled' i knew there was no likelihood but certainty.

The side of 7 facing what was left of the north tower looked like the remains of the OKC Federal building after McVeigh's bomb went off.

do you mean before or after it collapse? if before, got photos?

Posted by: annie | Feb 28, 2007 1:04:59 PM | 26

Jim">http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002441.php”">Jim Webb demands answers about Bush's authority to attack Iran

…if you look at where we are in the Persian Gulf right now, when I was Secretary of the Navy and until very recently, we never operated carrier — aircraft carriers inside the Persian Gulf because, number one, the turning radius is pretty close, and number two, the chance of accidentally bumping into something that would start a diplomatic situation was pretty high. We now have been doing that, and with the tensions as high as they are, I’m very worried that we might accidentally set something off in there and we need, as a Congress, to get ahead of the ballgame here.

snip

Webb said yesterday that he has heard from Rice and Negroponte, but that their responses were “lengthy and not to the point,” adding that he intends to pursue a clarification of presidential authority to use force in Iran in the near future.

Yes!


Posted by: beq | Feb 28, 2007 2:25:11 PM | 27

Monolycus 23 -
Curious thing is that I heard a general, recently arrived in the hinterlands from a Pentagon post, say something similar a week ago. Only his phrasing wasn't as diplomatic as the Depty Sec, who is, after all, a civilian appointee. The gen'l said, "This is going to go on until 2008, the election of 2008."

My interpretation: he was signalling that the military decisions now are being made entirely by the political leaders, and that many top military leaders are not happy about their choices. Not a firm end date, but an indication that the military commanders intend to start bringing troops home then.

In all his remarks the genl's phrasing was notable. "The president is, whatever he is, is resolute." "So I have to ask you to return to Iraq in August, and not for just 12 mos, closer to 15 mos for most troops. That is the time that most units will be there now."

Absolutely no cheerleading at all, as he made the official, if not unexpected, announcement that the date of deployment back to Iraq, for one of the local brigades, has been moved up from October to August. This means that their time at home will be 8/9mos rather than 1 year. The same speed up is occurring for troops everywhere.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 28, 2007 2:47:06 PM | 28

Drive-by again, folks, ridiculously busy.

Went to see Philippe Sands QC and Barry Lando speaking at Jewish Book Week on Sunday.

Both think the attack on Iran is on. Shit.

Philippe Sands:

1) Bliar interviewed by ?Jon Snow - no idea who Mossy was. The ignorance of these people is boundless.

2) Saddam's execution planned in 2005 for week before US congressional elections in 2006.

3) Trial of Saddam gives new meaning to 'kangaroo court'.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Feb 28, 2007 2:54:49 PM | 29

@ DS ET AL...#29

Ahhh, Philippe Sands, author of 'Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules', certainly rings a bell with me and should you too after you watch the above...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 28, 2007 3:09:45 PM | 30

And yet again, I bring you what I like to call, 'dumpster diving at dkos'; yet another thinking post that the orthrian politics of kos would rather not think about?

Zimbardo on Milgram and the production of evil: Situationist psychology in practice. Clocking in at a mere 34 comment's a no recommends...

The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. ~Colin Wilson


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 28, 2007 4:39:27 PM | 31

One of the rituals attending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when our opponents score a goal, is for an American general to materialize before the press and announce, in his best miles gloriosus manner, that "we face a thinking enemy." Wow. Who ever would have imagined that the enemy might think and learn?

The latest example followed the insurgents' success in shooting down seven American helicopters in Iraq. According to the February 18 New York Times, Major General James E. Simmons, an Army aviator, told reporters, "We are engaged with a thinking enemy." General Simmons should know; the mujaheddin shot down his helicopter on January 25, fortunately with no casualties.

http://www.counterpunch.org/lind02282007.html>Wm S Lind

a thinking enemy? who knew? thought they were just a bunch of Backward Wogs, did we, guys? barely primate, let alone human? incapable of observation and reaction?

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2007/02/cheneys_bumpy_r.html>the nickname of Cheney's plane is hardly needed to complete the picture, but there it is. the Spirit of Strom Thurmond is indeed alive and well among the US command, evidently.

it looks like a colonial racist mindset and it quacks like a colonial racist mindset and goddammit, I think it's a colonial racist mind[sic]set.

I'm too disgusted to type properly. meanwhile, another feelgood whitefella propaganda flick is http://www.counterpunch.org/linebaugh02282007.html>ably deconstructed by historian Peter Linebaugh, one of my favourite contemporary writers. hagiography of Wilberforce? we are way beyond satire. we are through the looking-glass and playing hedgehog croquet.

Posted by: DeAnander | Feb 28, 2007 9:04:52 PM | 32

@PaulM - Let's hold talks is just Diplomatese for Let's Play Charades. If they didn't give lip service they couldn't get the Generals to go along w/their invasion fantasies. That may not be sufficient, but it's definitely Essential for Propaganda Purposes. Recall they played a similar game wrt inspectors last time, long after they'd made the decision to invade. Same Deal.

But in fairness, it's not out of the question that they work something out, just unlikely, say 85-15% against. That's part of the game w/sending all the warships over there - ya wanna talk or would ya rather be bombed back to the stone age...Part of that strategy is leaking about how they definitely plan to invade...yadeyadeya...

Posted by: jj | Feb 28, 2007 9:57:53 PM | 33

much going on with the gonzalez seven (actually now 8) today. feinstein, schumer, and whitehouse (new senator from rhode island) all spoke on the senate floor and ap reports that the house and senate will both investigate.

Democrats are moving to compel some of the eight U.S. attorneys, including one in San Diego, who have been ousted to tell their stories publicly, under oath, after a federal prosecutor claimed he was fired for political reasons.

A House subcommittee is slated to vote Thursday on subpoenas for four of the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys. The Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, will send letters to those fired before voting next week on compelling their testimony, according to officials with both panels.

The prosecutors have privately told both committees that they would not testify voluntarily but would honor a congressional subpoena, according to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and an official close to the House subcommittee on commercial and administrative law.

House subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez said her panel will vote on subpoenas for fired prosecutors Carol Lam of San Diego, David Iglesias of New Mexico, H.E. "Bud" Cummins of Arkansas and John McKay of Washington.

"In order to get the full picture of why these U.S. attorneys were fired, we need to hear from the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys themselves," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.

Schumer, in a telephone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, said: "If they say they won't come voluntarily, Sen. Leahy will authorize subpoenas." The Senate panel is expected to vote on whether to issue the subpoenas next week, said Tracy Schmaler, spokeswoman for Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Spurring the developments was a new report that one of the eight, New Mexico's David Iglesias, claims to have been forced out after refusing a request by two congressmen to rush an indictment that might have helped Republicans in the 2006 election. In the story and a subsequent interview with the AP, Iglesias refused to identify the members of Congress.

iglesias seems to be fighting back and held a press conference this morning on his resignation. apparently when you serve at the president's pleasure resignation = being fired. and iglesias, who had positive performance review, is not going quietly into the night.

feinstein has tried to introduce legislation to reimpose the time limit for the senate to approve appointments that was removed by the reauthorization of the patriot act and has faced opposition from kyl. not giving up, she has also tried to reattach it to an omnibus bill on homeland security. in the house, conyers will begin hearings in march.

this is an excellent source for keeping up with this inrun on the constitution.

Posted by: conchita | Mar 1, 2007 12:41:27 AM | 34

@small coke #28

Thanks for addressing me directly, although you might have missed the memo about doing that.

Any rate, your interpretation seems more likely than mine did. It sounded to me like the GOP was announcing their '08 October Surprise plans a full year and a half too early and I wasn't buying it.

You are right, however, there does seem to be some grumbling at the Pentagon along the lines of "nothing's going to get better until the madman-in-chief goes away", because he (Bush the Younger in the smaller sense, Dick Cheney in the larger) has turned a deaf ear to everyone. That sentiment is not restricted to the Pentagon. House Speaker Pelosi said pretty much the same thing on Tuesday.

So a more accurate interpretation is that this is not the announcement of any timetable to fix anything, but rather the collective shoulder-shrugging from those who know that nothing will get fixed with the present administration... and the fond hope that things will get rosy after a new election.

Leaves me to wonder two things. If everyone can see how wrong-headed the current course is, why are they not pursuing legal measures (impeachment) against those folk who they know will not change it? And secondly, if the Pentagon and the US congress will not be bothered to make course corrections now, what makes them think the next administration will not also capitalize on the clear precedence of their spinelessness? Seems to me the next administration can use the precedent of "unitary exec branch" and the foundation of fear and hatred that the present one has established to enrich themselves in an identical manner... as a matter of fact, I expect the present inaction and absence of consequences will embolden all future administrations to engage in all manner of overt shenanigans. They'd be idiots not to profit off a flock that has so clearly demonstrated an inability to unite in opposition and such an eagerness to be fleeced.

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 1, 2007 1:11:32 AM | 35

http://www.needlenose.com/node/view/3841#new>Paul Craig Roberts interviewed at Needlenose. With a picture of him.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 1, 2007 4:16:24 AM | 36

" America has no greater enemy than Bush-Cheney and the neocon nazis" - pail craig roberts from anna missed's link

the world getting a little wilder by each passing day

(the other day the reporting of then the denouncing then the announcing then the deletion then the announcing of a planned explosion in ramadi(?! along with the death or not of footballers just another cloth being ripped from the fabric of iraq

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1, 2007 10:34:19 AM | 37

there was a memo? i missed the memo

Posted by: Dismal Science | Mar 1, 2007 11:16:38 AM | 38

sy hersh on aljazeera synthesises with the thoughts of paul craig roberts. hersh says"really in the end i think the people in this administration do not really know what they are doing"

yes there is intent but i would never underestimate the colossal stupidity of these criminals - like the last days of the genovese clan or the gambino clan

cheney is really like vinnnie 'the chin' gigante - who used to wander new york in his pajamas - i can see cheney walking through washington in his red silk pajamas making out he's moses searching out hezbollah cells in the motherland

hersh speaking on the centrality of the saudi prince benda in iran contra & in the conflict today with iran

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1, 2007 12:45:39 PM | 39

& daniel pipe together with douglas feith must be the dumbest motherfuckers this side of somalia

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1, 2007 12:54:01 PM | 40

Monolycus #35
Maybe it is both ways: military signalling that present military campaigns are not their choice AND Republican politicians (Depty Sec) reiterating message to Executive that war needs to be clearing up BEFORE October 2008.

Juan Cole publishes a long, speculative http://www.juancole.com/2007/03/helman-guest-editorial-regional.html>analysis by retired Amb. Helman on the possible implications of US decision to attend the March meeting in Iraq.

The US decision to support a conference must have been made many weeks ago. To get to the point of Rice's announcement, there would have to have been the usual internal US process leading to Presidential approval. At some point, Iraq would have been given the high sign to move ahead (nothing would have happened without our approval). Iraq (and/or maybe Saudi Arabia) would have sounded out Syria and Iran and gotten their assent. The US certainly would have checked with the UK and maybe Germany as current President of the EU.

If that's the case, it is fair to ask what persuaded the Administration to chart what could well prove to be a new course. After all, it was early last December when the President dismissed the Iraq Study Group's diplomatic offensive recommendation in favor of a troop surge. We can only speculate, but here are some possibilities:

** Domestically, the President could be hearing that if the Republican Party has to contest the 2008 elections while a civil war is going on and Americans are dying, the Party will go down in flames. All its gains beginning in the Reagan years will be lost, maybe for a decade to come. Within the bureaucracy, the modest success achieved thus far with multilateral diplomacy in the case of North Korea and in applying pressure on Iran may have strengthened Rice's hand, presumably against Cheney. Gates must be a pleasure after Rumsfeld.

Helman continues, to analyze military and international political context.

Even if they manage to start negotiations in March, it is hard to imagine that the pace of agreement moving faster than the glacial Nixon/Kissinger talks in Paris 30+ yrs ago, when the regional situation is far more complex that of Vietnam was.

Posted by: small coke | Mar 1, 2007 1:40:09 PM | 41

Didn't link to this this morning: The Guardian, not well sourced, but anyhow: US commanders admit: we face a Vietnam-style collapse

An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.
...
"They know they are operating under a clock. They know they are going to hear a lot more talk in Washington about 'Plan B' by the autumn - meaning withdrawal. They know the next six-month period is their opportunity. And they say it's getting harder every day," [a former Senior Administration Official] said.
...
But the next six months are make-or-break for the US military and the Iraqi government. The main obstacles confronting Gen Petraeus's team are:
· Insufficient troops on the ground
· A "disintegrating" international coalition
· An anticipated increase in violence in the south as the British leave
· Morale problems as casualties rise
· A failure of political will in Washington and/or Baghdad.
"The scene is very tense," the former official said. "They are working round the clock. Endless cups of tea with the Iraqis. But they're still trying to figure out what's the plan. The president is expecting progress. But they're thinking, what does he mean? The plan is changing every minute, as all plans do."
...
According to a British source, plans are in hand for the possible southwards deployment of 6,000 US troops to compensate for Britain's phased withdrawal and any upsurge in unrest.

Posted by: b | Mar 1, 2007 2:41:46 PM | 42

From b's link #42,


"The scene is very tense," the former official said. "They (the elite team of advisors) are working round the clock. Endless cups of tea with the Iraqis. But they're still trying to figure out what's the plan. The president is expecting progress. But they're thinking, what does he mean? The plan is changing every minute, as all plans do."


If they are still trying to figure out what the plan is, where does that leave us?

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 1, 2007 3:09:29 PM | 43

Libby Trial Exposes Neocon Shadow Government

Day by day, witness by witness, exhibit by exhibit, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor in the trial of Dick Cheney’s man, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, is accomplishing what no one else in Washington has been able to: He has impeached the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Of course, it’s an unofficial impeachment, but it will also, through its documentation, be inerasable. The trial record—testimony, exhibits, the lot—will be there, in one place, for investigators, scholars, reporters and Congress to pore over. It goes far beyond the charges against Mr. Libby. It is, instead, a road map to the abuses of power that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and their shadow government of neoconservatives have committed as the neocons carried out what they had been planning for years: an invasion of Iraq—and other military excursions—for the purpose of expanding American dominion.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1, 2007 5:40:38 PM | 44

uncle, i have great doubts about mr fitzgerald & those narratives of justice & reason. the jurisprudence is so corrupt - i expect nothing from it & an aquittal would not surprise me

like dkos sophomoric playing out of politics i have found for some time the infantilisation that takes place at firedoglake - not qualitatively different from yet another hour with marcus welby md

even as a young fellow, tho i had a soft spot for 'mr smith goes to washington' - i was well aware that even thos politixs were built on a mound of blood & bone & i understood that the naiveté of a james stwart was well balanced by the bloody procedures of the brothers dulles & j edgar hoover

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1, 2007 6:09:07 PM | 45

r'giap, i wouldn't be so sure. given his history of going after the little guy first is his mark. another aside, i have no doubt libby would be pardoned if convicted and i may be mistaken but i think once you are pardoned you cannot take the fifth or lie about what has been exposed at trial if your testimony is required for an investigation that springs from your conviction.

fitz did not only allude to libby being the fall guy for cheney, he down right stated it in his closing. he also held back many witnesses that could be used in later investigations, why? my hunch is that if libby is convisted he will go for the big fish and use libby against him. if libby lies again he can be prosecuter again, not for the same crime, but for lying in a new investigation. in other words libby could land right back in the hot seat. also, w/the illinois trail of the gov in which fitz took 64 state employees down prior to the gov the trials lasted a few years. if any scenario like this were to take place, bush wouldn't be in office long enough to pardon cheney. the wheels of justice and all that.

Posted by: annie | Mar 1, 2007 6:18:25 PM | 46

annie

i rest extremely sceptical & am of little faith in what firedoglake would call justice

the only justice the empire understands is that taught to them in the battlefield

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 1, 2007 6:37:30 PM | 47

annie - I hope you're right. I just want to see them exposed and hung out in the open (one way or another ;) ) so that NO ONE can ever deny what they've done. No pretty little history books down the road.

Are we still waiting for Fitzmas?

Posted by: beq | Mar 1, 2007 8:26:21 PM | 48

@ small coke #41

"Even if they manage to start negotiations in March, it is hard to imagine that the pace of agreement moving faster than the glacial Nixon/Kissinger talks in Paris 30+ yrs ago, when the regional situation is far more complex that of Vietnam was."

That presumes that stabilization/a peace agreement was ever the goal here. The published materials of the PNAC would argue differently.

If the goal was always regional destabilization (and there's adequate reason to suspect that it was), then "picking up the pace" from the standpoint of this administration would not be a peace agreement by '08... it would be the Balkanization of Iraq proper and the inclusion of Syria and Iran on the list of those with whom we are at war by '08.

I do not know the statistics, but I believe the GOP was banking on a tendency of voters not to "switch parties" during a period of military escalation. There's a lot of talk during the inter-election downtime period, but I really don't suspect they're that worried. An appropriate "October Surprise" from this perspective would be something that angers the American public against Syria and Iran and provides the GOP with a mandate to "stay the course" (which we were never about, incidentally).

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 1, 2007 11:47:02 PM | 49

It was never clear that the intent of Nixon/Kissinger negotiations was a peace agreement either. Managed to muffle domestic critics for several years though.

Posted by: small coke | Mar 2, 2007 12:24:39 AM | 50

What Can You Do With a Rent-A-Spy?

Posts across the blogosphere have worried about the creation of Total Intel, the new for-hire, mini-CIA. Concerns have ranged from questioning if the company could be used to spy domestically on American citizens, to fears that private intelligence corporations have replaced Nazis as the new bad guys. On the extreme far-right, one believer, who doesn't trust Total Intel or Blackwater, writes that such organizations do have potential because they "could be the salvation of a Christian country when anti-Christ has already taken over as the government –like now." Uh, gotcha.

I hate to disappoint, but the founders of Total Intel are no bad guys. They're heroes, particularly Cofer Black. Had the Bush Administration listened to him, 9/11 would most likely have been averted. They've all served their country with distinction.

In theory and in the future when it is no longer managed by US government veterans who are very loyal to this country, such a corporation could be a threat, but not when it's in these hands. However, the creation of Total Intel does raise the obvious question: what would a Fortune 500 company do if it could hire its own mini-CIA, complete with its own DO? Or to put it in layman's terms, how would a big company use, not just a bunch of geeky analysts, but real hardcore spies? And how could such an organization function without incurring substantial liability for that Fortune 500 company that hired them?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 2, 2007 1:40:17 AM | 51

Rice Names Critic Of Iraq Policy to Counselor's Post

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has tapped Eliot A. Cohen, a prominent writer on national security strategy and an outspoken critic of the administration's postwar occupation of Iraq, as her counselor, State Department officials said yesterday.
...
Rice has lured a leading figure of the neoconservative movement as her policies toward North Korea and Iran draw fierce attack from the Republican Party's right wing.
...
Cohen was also fiercely critical of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report, writing in the Wall Street Journal that "a fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results." Cohen, who has described himself as sympathetic to Israel, also denounced a paper last year by two prominent professors on the influence of the "Israel Lobby" as "inept, even kooky academic work" that was undeniably anti-Semitic.

Posted by: b | Mar 2, 2007 2:51:44 AM | 52

ATTN: Uncle $cam: Someone you'll miss hearing after April

Posted by: jj | Mar 2, 2007 3:09:20 AM | 53

jj- that's too bad. gonna miss his coverage in dc, definitely.

Posted by: b real | Mar 2, 2007 10:38:03 AM | 54

Luke Ryland, of the Wot Is It Good 4 blog, explains the saga of FBI translator turned whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds and the criminality of some of the most powerful Americans that her story exposes. Audio Interview.


@jj #53

I remember the whole Pacifica fiasco back in 2000 and knew at the time, it was an assault on progressive media. Cointelpro style. I have spoken with Larry Bensky many times, I am bummed that he is leaving, however, I believe we will hear from him in another venue. (at least I hope so). I had no ideal he was 70 years of age...geez.. I envy his prescient and clear ability to cut through the bullshit. "Sunday Salon" has been one of my favorite programs for years. I have listened to him off and on since the Iran/Contra hearings; if we had an army of Bensky's things would be very different today. He will be missed. Thanks for the heads up however sad it is.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 2, 2007 11:01:58 AM | 55

US, Israel begin talks on new 10-year aid plan

Meanwhile, New Orleans is having to sue to get disaster relief.

What is wrong with this picture?

Billmon often referred to the cultural impact and messages from the dystopian sci-fi movies of the 70's such as the Planet of the Apes warning us of our lost humanity, hubris and civil disaster.

At one time in history, the hubris of, 'Let'em eat cake': When Marie Antoinette advised the starving masses, "Let them eat cake," when told they could not afford to make bread, she eventually paid for it at the guillotine.


The malthusian trap: I can envision a time --in the not to distant future-- when we will have soup lines and starving in the streets, 'depression redux', while the private gated communities golf and feast, protected by Blackwater types; hell, it's already happening.

Malthusian catastrophe: The Malthusian catastrophe or better, 'the Malthusian limit' is upon us when a return to subsistence-level conditions as a result of agricultural mishap (or, in later formulations, economic/political) mishap brings on environmental or ecological breakdown. Production is eventually outstripped by growth in population or I suspect inability of production. Or indifference to subsistence crisis, now known as "food insecurity".

Not long before billmon closed shop, he had mentioned another movie entitled: Idiocracy. I was able to get a copy a few nights ago, and while it certainly was a cheesy b rated movie, with it's goofy acting and over the top ridiculousness of humanity, it hit home. While it wasn't a great movie it has stayed with me long past it's ending. While I hope not to spoil it for those whom haven't yet seen it, there was one scene in it where corporations has so taken over that, they were watering the agriculture with Gatorade.


From that same era billmon speaks of --the 70's-- there was another movie that had a much more profound impact on me, at the time than the Planet of the Apes, in part because I was so young, that movie was Soylent Green ....

Today, instead of 'let em eat cake', we have 'let'em eat each other' Soylent Green is people!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 2, 2007 12:31:03 PM | 56

noirette, i watched that video when uncle posted it yesterday, also recieved it via email. if you listen carefully a few minutes in he says "it is now 8 hrs since the attacks."

I haven’t had time to chase this up, was just happy to see the BBC in a spot.

But 8 hours is right, though it is a round measure, duration rather than clock time.

The WTC 1, 2 attacks took place at or ‘around’ 9 am NY time, i.e. 8.45 and 9.05 NY time.

The BBC broadcast took place at about 21.00 GB hours, in clocked US time, that is about 5 pm - that is well before WTC7 collapsed. In duration, that is from 9 to 5, 8 hours.

this poster lays it out:

http://www.911blogger.com/node/6558>link

bit out of date now sorry (see Durata), just got into responding..

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 2, 2007 1:36:05 PM | 57

From the “You call this ‘conservative’?” Department:

When will our U.S. Government and their ‘Corporate Goons’ leave us people alone?

DOD, Microsoft sign deal to data mine health records
[snip]
Dr. Deborah Peel, chairwoman of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, views the patient information not as a goldmine ripe for exploitation but as a collection of personal and sensitive health information that needs to be zealously guarded and only accessed with express consent by the patient.
[snip]

[snip]
The data-mining project means that end users will have access to clinical data on millions of people, Peel said, adding that “to date, the government and the American health care industry has shown an extraordinary lack of commitment to health data privacy and security.”
[snip]

Posted by: Rick | Mar 2, 2007 2:49:11 PM | 58

secrecynews: White House "Strongly Opposes" Intel Budget Disclosure

The Bush Administration formally notified the Senate this week that it objects to a provision in a pending bill on homeland security that would require publication of the annual intelligence budget total.

"The Administration strongly opposes the requirement in the bill to publicly disclose sensitive information about the intelligence budget."

"Disclosure, including disclosure to the Nation's enemies and adversaries in a time of war, of the amounts requested by the President and provided by the Congress for the conduct of the Nation's intelligence activities would provide no meaningful information to the general American public, but would provide significant intelligence to America's adversaries and could cause damage to the national security interests of the United States," the White House statement said.

It is hard to find a serious intelligence professional who agrees with this White House view.

Because the intelligence budget total is a high-level aggregate of spending levels in more than a dozen different agencies, its intelligence value to U.S. adversaries is practically nil, since funding for any particular program is insulated many layers beneath the enormous top-line figure. On the other hand, disclosure of the total figure would provide the public with a reliable index of the magnitude of intelligence spending to compare with spending on other national priorities.

Posted by: b real | Mar 2, 2007 3:02:32 PM | 59

Noriette, what have your folks done: Swiss ... Invade Liechtenstein

:-)

Posted by: b | Mar 2, 2007 3:37:15 PM | 60

LOL! The US press seems to go wild over the Liechtenstein invasion. Guess they are happy that the US is not the only one to invade another country.

What a shame that it didn't happen in time for the Fasnacht.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 2, 2007 4:08:54 PM | 61

@ b #60

Expect to see this used as an excuse by our neocons. they can now march into any country they choose and say they accidentally got there....after all, it happened to the Swiss!

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 2, 2007 5:36:42 PM | 62

Khaled El-Masri: I am not a state secret

ON NEW YEAR'S EVE in 2003, I was seized at the border of Serbia and Macedonia by Macedonian police who mistakenly believed that I was traveling on a false German passport. I was detained incommunicado for more than three weeks. Then I was handed over to the American Central Intelligence Agency and was stripped, severely beaten, shackled, dressed in a diaper, injected with drugs, chained to the floor of a plane and flown to Afghanistan, where I was imprisoned in a foul dungeon for more than four months.

Long after the American government realized that I was an entirely innocent man, I was blindfolded, put back on a plane, flown to Europe and left on a hilltop in Albania — without any explanation or apology for the nightmare that I had endured.
...
The U.S. government does not deny that I was wrongfully kidnapped. Instead, it has argued in court that my case must be dismissed because any litigation of my claims will expose state secrets and jeopardize American security, even though President Bush has told the world about the CIA's detention program, and even though my allegations have been corroborated by eyewitnesses and other evidence. To my amazement and dismay, last May, a federal district court judge agreed with the government and threw out my case. And then Friday, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. It seems that the only place in the world where my case cannot be discussed is in a U.S. courtroom.
...

Posted by: b | Mar 3, 2007 4:38:04 AM | 63

WTF!?

No really, wtf?

And you thought Samuel P. Huntington's thesis of civilizational clash was fucked up, just wait till you read this!

It only takes a few minutes with this document to realize that the “Crisis” in question here is actually Democracy itself. It’s an old report but still a very interesting read, and we present a few nuggets along with the download.

The Increase in Social Interaction

In every developed country man has become much more of a social animal than before. There has been an explosion of human interaction and correlatively a tremendous increase in social pressure. The social texture of human life has become — and is becoming — more and more complex, and it’s management more difficult. Dispersion, fragmentation and simple ranking have been replaced by concentration, interdependence, and a complex texture. Organized systems have become tremendously more complex, and they tend to prevail, in a much more composite and complex social system, over the more simple forms of yesterday. Because of the basic importance of the comtemporary complex social texture, it’s management has a crucial importance which raises the problem of social control of the individual.

The Democractic Challenge to Authority

The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to the existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, this challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the government bureaucracy, and the military services. People no longer felt the compulsion to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character and talents. Within most organizations, discipline eased and differences in status became blurred. Each group its right to participate equally — and perhaps more than equally — in the decisions which affected itself.

A Question of Vision

What is in short supply in Democratic societies today is not consensus on the rules of the game, but a sense of purpose as to what one should achieve by playing the game. In the past, people found their purposes in religion, in nationalism, and in ideology. But neither church, nor state, nor class now commands people’s loyalties. In some measure, Democracy itself was inspired by manifestations of each of these forces and commitments.

Protestantism sanctified the individual conscience; nationalism postulated the equality of citizens; and liberalism provided the rationale for a limited government based on consent. But now all three gods have failed. We have witnessed the dissipation of religion, the withering away of nationalism, and the decline — if not the end — of class-based ideology.

The Dangers of Freedom

The democratic spirit is egalitarian, individualistic, populist and impatient with distinctions of class and rank. The spread of that spirit weaks the traditional threats to democracy posed by such groups as the aristocracy, the church and the military. At the same time, the pervasive spirit of democracy may pose an intrinsic threat and undermine all forms of association, weakening the social bonds which hold together family, enterprise, and community. Every social organization requires, in some measure, inequalities in authority and distinctions in function. To the extent that the spread of democratic temper corrodes all these, exercising a leveling and homogenizing influence, it destroys the bases of trust and cooperation among citizens, and creates obstacles to collaboration of any common purpose.

The Crisis Of Democracy: Report On The Governability Of Democracies To The Trilateral Commission (pdf).
Michel J. Crozier
Samuel P. Huntington
Joji Watanuki

Seriously, thinking MOA's will want to try to wrap their heads around this. If the PNAC papers were their manifesto, this seems to be the Magnum Opus.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 3, 2007 5:57:42 AM | 64

Hello? is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me...

Army Secretary Resigns in Scandal's Wake (AP)
Gates said Harvey had resigned, but senior defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Gates had privately demanded that Harvey leave.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 3, 2007 1:47:23 PM | 65

This whole Walter Reed episode is quickly blowing up for the cheney admin. CNN had a scathing report on privatization at the top Army hospital. You all may not know that Walter Reed is also scheduled to be closed and all patients will be seen at Bethesda Navy Hospital. that can't can't set well with the Army.

also connected or not, the head of DoD Health Services, William Winkenwerder suddenly decided he needed to go back to the private sector. his claim to fame is the anthrax windfall for a certain investment group.

this could get interesting.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 3, 2007 1:53:57 PM | 66

anybody watching the lunar eclipse? the moon is about half gone now

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 3, 2007 5:07:38 PM | 67

As Rudy Guiliani gains some ground in the polls, threatening the horse race that was promised to McCain in exchange for selling his soul, the inevitable small-minded, pig-ignorant, puritanical, homo/xeno-phobic, bigoted,

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 4, 2007 12:55:10 AM | 68

Damn, Typepad.

...

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 4, 2007 12:56:38 AM | 69

Hmmm. Typepad won't take the rest of that link no matter what I do.

The rest of that comment (sans link) was...

...mudslinging has begun.

This one smells particularly like Rove's work. If I didn't dislike conservatives so much, I'd be tempted to defend Guiliani.

(link went to the New York Post story about the new whisper campaign that Guiliani is a cross dresser.)

link

[link fixed - b.]

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 4, 2007 12:59:37 AM | 70

And that has screwed up the format. I'm sorry, all.

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 4, 2007 1:01:41 AM | 71

here it is monolycus. it's worth it for the photo alone.

Posted by: annie | Mar 4, 2007 10:39:10 AM | 72

DoS - A bit late but yes, I watched it. Beautiful.

Posted by: beq | Mar 4, 2007 11:50:32 AM | 73

Hearts and minds - Marines as recruiters for the Taliban:

As the Americans sped away, they treated every car and person along the highway as a potential attacker, said Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar.
...
More than a half dozen Afghans recuperating from bullet wounds told The Associated Press that the U.S. forces fired indiscriminately along at least a six-mile stretch of one of eastern Afghanistan's busiest highways — a route often filled not only with cars and trucks but Afghans on foot and bicycles.

"They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway," said Tur Gul, 38, who was standing on the roadside by a gas station and was shot twice in his right hand. "They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot."
...
The gunfire from Americans prompted angry demonstrations in the region — just 30 miles west of the Pakistan border. Hundreds of Afghans blocked the road and threw rocks at police, with some demonstrators shouting "Death to America! Death to Karzai," a reference to President Hamid Karzai.

At the Jalalabad hospital, several victims said the American convoy approached them on the highway and opened fire. As the convoy neared, many cars pulled over to the side of the road, but were still hit by gunfire.

link

Posted by: b | Mar 4, 2007 2:40:23 PM | 74

@b #74

I wonder why I haven't seen more about that incident in the news? Oh, yeah... because they apparently instruct recruits in evidence tampering in boot camp nowadays.

"The same soldier who took my camera came again and deleted my photos," Gul said. "The soldier was very angry … I told him, 'They gave us permission,' but he didn't listen."

Gul's new photos were also deleted, and the American, speaking through a translator, warned him that he did not want to see any AP photos published anywhere. The American also raised his fist in anger as if he were going to hit him, but he did not strike, Gul said.

Lt. Col. David Accetta, a U.S. military spokesman, said he did not have any confirmed reports that coalition forces "have been involved in confiscating cameras or deleting images."

Khanwali Kamran, a reporter for the Afghan channel Ariana Television, was in a small group of journalists working alongside Gul. Kamran said the American soldiers also deleted his footage.

"They warned me that if it is aired … then, 'You will face problems,'" Kamran said.

Taqiullah Taqi, a reporter for Afghanistan's largest television station, Tolo TV, said Americans were using abusive language.

"According to the translator, they said, 'Delete them, or we will delete you,'" Taqi said.

btw, thanks for the cleanup in aisle 70.

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 4, 2007 11:17:55 PM | 75

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/48729/>Scott Ritter takes Hillary down by the numbers:

"Run, Hillary, run. But your race towards the White House will never outpace the hypocrisy and duplicity inherent in your decision to vote for war in Iraq."

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 5, 2007 2:57:28 AM | 76

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3119235C-4D2A-4192-A5FF-05E8190D0B93.htm>The CPA Lives. They will never learn:
  
"I'm a retired army general and I'm here to do business in Iraq," he said. "That in itself is a message."

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 5, 2007 3:06:24 AM | 77

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