Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 07, 2008

Open Thread 08-33

The blog lives off comments. Feed it!

News & views ... Mmmh, yummy.

Posted by b on October 7, 2008 at 6:58 UTC | Permalink


Milbank: Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame

Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

Posted by: b | Oct 7 2008 7:23 utc | 1

French elite on trial in $791m Angola arms case

Members of France's political and business elite went on trial yesterday charged with involvement in the illegal multimillion dollar sale of weapons to Angola during some of the bloodiest years of the nation's devastating civil war.

The eldest son of late president François Mitterrand, an Israeli-Russian billionaire trying to become Jerusalem's mayor, a former interior minister and a novelist who specialises in crime thrillers are among 42 people implicated in the trafficking of weapons worth $791m (£455m) to a country which at the time was subject to an international arms embargo.

Posted by: b | Oct 7 2008 8:02 utc | 2

What do people think of the recently released artivist documentary, 'Zeitgeist: Addendum'?

83% truth, the rest complete psyop...

It's propagenda.

'Propagenda' is not so much the control of what we think, as the control of what we think about. It's herded ideology.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 8:19 utc | 3

@Uncle - that's why I deleted the comment your refer to and several other plugs made here for that prop piece.

Posted by: b | Oct 7 2008 8:34 utc | 4

Fine by me.. I'm not really in a 'give a shit' way of late.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 8:38 utc | 5

The Real Great Depression

The depression of 1929 is the wrong model for the current economic crisis


As a historian who works on the 19th century, I have been reading my newspaper with a considerable sense of dread. While many commentators on the recent mortgage and banking crisis have drawn parallels to the Great Depression of 1929, that comparison is not particularly apt. Two years ago, I began research on the Panic of 1873, an event of some interest to my colleagues in American business and labor history but probably unknown to everyone else. But as I turn the crank on the microfilm reader, I have been hearing weird echoes of recent events.

When commentators invoke 1929, I am dubious. According to most historians and economists, that depression had more to do with overlarge factory inventories, a stock-market crash, and Germany's inability to pay back war debts, which then led to continuing strain on British gold reserves. None of those factors is really an issue now. Contemporary industries have very sensitive controls for trimming production as consumption declines; our current stock-market dip followed bank problems that emerged more than a year ago; and there are no serious international problems with gold reserves, simply because banks no longer peg their lending to them.

In fact, the current economic woes look a lot like what my 96-year-old grandmother still calls "the real Great Depression." She pinched pennies in the 1930s, but she says that times were not nearly so bad as the depression her grandparents went through. That crash came in 1873 and lasted more than four years. It looks much more like our current crisis.

The problems had emerged around 1870, starting in Europe. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, formed in 1867, in the states unified by Prussia into the German empire, and in France, the emperors supported a flowering of new lending institutions that issued mortgages for municipal and residential construction, especially in the capitals of Vienna, Berlin, and Paris. Mortgages were easier to obtain than before, and a building boom commenced. Land values seemed to climb and climb; borrowers ravenously assumed more and more credit, using unbuilt or half-built houses as collateral. The most marvelous spots for sightseers in the three cities today are the magisterial buildings erected in the so-called founder period.

But the economic fundamentals were shaky. Wheat exporters from Russia and Central Europe faced a new international competitor who drastically undersold them. The 19th-century version of containers manufactured in China and bound for Wal-Mart consisted of produce from farmers in the American Midwest. They used grain elevators, conveyer belts, and massive steam ships to export trainloads of wheat to abroad. Britain, the biggest importer of wheat, shifted to the cheap stuff quite suddenly around 1871. By 1872 kerosene and manufactured food were rocketing out of America's heartland, undermining rapeseed, flour, and beef prices. The crash came in Central Europe in May 1873, as it became clear that the region's assumptions about continual economic growth were too optimistic. Europeans faced what they came to call the American Commercial Invasion. A new industrial superpower had arrived, one whose low costs threatened European trade and a European way of life.

As continental banks tumbled, British banks held back their capital, unsure of which institutions were most involved in the mortgage crisis. The cost to borrow money from another bank — the interbank lending rate — reached impossibly high rates. This banking crisis hit the United States in the fall of 1873. Railroad companies tumbled first. They had crafted complex financial instruments that promised a fixed return, though few understood the underlying object that was guaranteed to investors in case of default. (Answer: nothing). The bonds had sold well at first, but they had tumbled after 1871 as investors began to doubt their value, prices weakened, and many railroads took on short-term bank loans to continue laying track. Then, as short-term lending rates skyrocketed across the Atlantic in 1873, the railroads were in trouble. When the railroad financier Jay Cooke proved unable to pay off his debts, the stock market crashed in September, closing hundreds of banks over the next three years. The panic continued for more than four years in the United States and for nearly six years in Europe.

The long-term effects of the Panic of 1873 were perverse. For the largest manufacturing companies in the United States — those with guaranteed contracts and the ability to make rebate deals with the railroads — the Panic years were golden. Andrew Carnegie, Cyrus McCormick, and John D. Rockefeller had enough capital reserves to finance their own continuing growth. For smaller industrial firms that relied on seasonal demand and outside capital, the situation was dire. As capital reserves dried up, so did their industries. Carnegie and Rockefeller bought out their competitors at fire-sale prices. The Gilded Age in the United States, as far as industrial concentration was concerned, had begun.

As the panic deepened, ordinary Americans suffered terribly. A cigar maker named Samuel Gompers who was young in 1873 later recalled that with the panic, "economic organization crumbled with some primeval upheaval." Between 1873 and 1877, as many smaller factories and workshops shuttered their doors, tens of thousands of workers — many former Civil War soldiers — became transients. The terms "tramp" and "bum," both indirect references to former soldiers, became commonplace American terms. Relief rolls exploded in major cities, with 25-percent unemployment (100,000 workers) in New York City alone. Unemployed workers demonstrated in Boston, Chicago, and New York in the winter of 1873-74 demanding public work. In New York's Tompkins Square in 1874, police entered the crowd with clubs and beat up thousands of men and women. The most violent strikes in American history followed the panic, including by the secret labor group known as the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania's coal fields in 1875, when masked workmen exchanged gunfire with the "Coal and Iron Police," a private force commissioned by the state. A nationwide railroad strike followed in 1877, in which mobs destroyed railway hubs in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cumberland, Md.

In Central and Eastern Europe, times were even harder. Many political analysts blamed the crisis on a combination of foreign banks and Jews. Nationalistic political leaders (or agents of the Russian czar) embraced a new, sophisticated brand of anti-Semitism that proved appealing to thousands who had lost their livelihoods in the panic. Anti-Jewish pogroms followed in the 1880s, particularly in Russia and Ukraine. Heartland communities large and small had found a scapegoat: aliens in their own midst.

The echoes of the past in the current problems with residential mortgages trouble me. Loans after about 2001 were issued to first-time homebuyers who signed up for adjustablerate mortgages they could likely never pay off, even in the best of times. Real-estate speculators, hoping to flip properties, overextended themselves, assuming that home prices would keep climbing. Those debts were wrapped in complex securities that mortgage companies and other entrepreneurial banks then sold to other banks; concerned about the stability of those securities, banks then bought a kind of insurance policy called a credit-derivative swap, which risk managers imagined would protect their investments. More than two million foreclosure filings — default notices, auction-sale notices, and bank repossessions — were reported in 2007. By then trillions of dollars were already invested in this credit-derivative market. Were those new financial instruments resilient enough to cover all the risk? (Answer: no.) As in 1873, a complex financial pyramid rested on a pinhead. Banks are hoarding cash. Banks that hoard cash do not make short-term loans. Businesses large and small now face a potential dearth of short-term credit to buy raw materials, ship their products, and keep goods on shelves.

If there are lessons from 1873, they are different from those of 1929. Most important, when banks fall on Wall Street, they stop all the traffic on Main Street — for a very long time. The protracted reconstruction of banks in the United States and Europe created widespread unemployment. Unions (previously illegal in much of the world) flourished but were then destroyed by corporate institutions that learned to operate on the edge of the law. In Europe, politicians found their scapegoats in Jews, on the fringes of the economy. (Americans, on the other hand, mostly blamed themselves; many began to embrace what would later be called fundamentalist religion.)

The post-panic winners, even after the bailout, might be those firms — financial and otherwise — that have substantial cash reserves. A widespread consolidation of industries may be on the horizon, along with a nationalistic response of high tariff barriers, a decline in international trade, and scapegoating of immigrant competitors for scarce jobs. The failure in July of the World Trade Organization talks begun in Doha seven years ago suggests a new wave of protectionism may be on the way.

In the end, the Panic of 1873 demonstrated that the center of gravity for the world's credit had shifted west — from Central Europe toward the United States. The current panic suggests a further shift — from the United States to China and India. Beyond that I would not hazard a guess. I still have microfilm to read.

Scott Reynolds Nelson is a professor of history at the College of William and Mary. Among his books is Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, the Untold Story of an American legend (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Posted by: Keynes is Dead | Oct 7 2008 8:40 utc | 6

Keynes may be dead, but we still have Elizabeth Warren...

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class
Elizabeth Warren
UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 10:18 utc | 7

Probably correect that the current collapse looks more like the 1870's than the 1930's but today I've been thinking about this issue in a much less technical more a sort of holistic way.

It was prompted by a few phone calls from Australia. My eldest turned 18 today and a few old friends and workmates from Oz called to say gidday.

I hadn't really thought of this before because we live a fairly hand to mouth existence, stemming from when I got custody of the children years ago, and I resolved not to miss the fun of having them by being at work all the time. Very shameful I know but we have done alright, even though calls from the mob in Oz usually have me wondering what it would feel like to know that you were going to get an 6 figure inflation adjusted pension for the rest of your natural days.

Now the Australian super-annuation scheme for federal public servants is probably unlike anything most people get (I remember years ago when I was walking the road of one of those, an actuary from the scheme told us it wasn't the best super scheme he had even seen, the one that pols and judges were in was a bit better, but it was easily the second best. Back in the late 80's they tried to move us out into a lump sum scheme when some ministerial bean counter started wondering about the size of the contingent liabilty the oz government was carrying for all of us. Hardly anyone went for it, but even that one was nothing to be sneezed at.

The point I am trying to make is that all through the developed world baby boomers are coming to the end of their working lives and even if they aren't on the insanely wonderful Oz Public Service scheme most have a pretty healthy nest egg waiting for them. A huge bulge of population with oodles of disposable moola has been building for about a decade and seemed set to continue growing for another decade.

You didn't imagine that the elites would just let that happen did you? Apart fropm in being un-amerikan uncapitalistic, communistic in fact to allow that many peeps to have that much all at once. Straussian thinking practically demands the money be 'absorbed' by our betters for our own well being, think of the damage that so many financially independent aware peeps could do to their parasitical domain? Last time we didn't give a flying fuck back in the 60's the elites had a bit of a run for their money for a time. This time we'd be a whole lot smarter.

They believe just having all of that cash available is bad (inflationary) and what would happen when all those houses went on the market at the same time as retirees downsized? The property market would take a bath as it has but these financially independent types might not be deterred and agree to sell for less, just sell a bit of stock to make up the difference, then the market takes a bath as well.

So what you say. What the hell is this happening now? Well that bath is at the behest of the elite, developed by their house trained institutions. The bossfellas have the amerikan taxpayer subsidising their loses, the sort of damage that could be done by so many financially independent souls 'doing their thing' wouldn't be nearly as responsive to the elite's controls as the current tar-pit is.

To make an oversimplification even simpler. The only way for hundreds of millions of baby-boomers across the planet to become substantially better off is if those already rich become substantially worse off.

Capitalism has always been a man made construct designed to reverse entropy. That is to prevent assets and resources from being spread as thinly and evenly as possible across our planet by raking it in to huge piles held by a few.

Since the 80's savings and loans in the US or Robert Maxwells theft of thousands of workers retirement benefits in england the elites have been assiduously chipping away at the boomers carrot held out to them for their entitre working lives.

There is no huge conspiracy here - this is all independently devised burglaries bought about by the immoral n rapacious greed of a member of the capitalist elite.

This crash was motivated by the greed of the elites and their firm conviction that ordinary peeps don't deserve the heat off their own shit unless they have put an extra dollar in the vending machine.

Same as it has always been - the great depression didn't end before most of the family blocks acquired by millions of homesteaders in the last half of the 19th century was safely excised from their possession and delivered to the allegedly bankrupt banks bought up by the one or two surviving usurers ( just like Goldman Sachs now) and delivered into the hands of elite assholes like Prescott Bush and his 'faux friends'.

What I am trying to say in an even more circular way than usual is: If this crash of 2008 hadn't happened, it would have been necessary to invent it.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 7 2008 10:37 utc | 8
or click on my name

Jesus Huerta de Soto has a great article on the current mess and uses his native Spain as part of the example as well as all of Europe. Well worth a read.

Of course, if he is correct, the governments are all doing almost the exact wrong thing. Imagine that!

Posted by: Buckaroo | Oct 7 2008 11:09 utc | 9

Indeed Did and Kid, and bravo...

late risers to the terrible dawning of truth will find it hard to swallow, but it must be asked... Are you ready for the engineered crash?

I've said it before, say it again, "we were terrorized into these Wars", just as we have been freshly terrorized into this wholesale robbery by an enemy from within and they're not through with us yet...

Reflections Upon a Coup by Banksters

...if conditions deteriorate to an extent not seen since the mid-1970s, or, one shudders to say it, even the 1930s, then, there are always poor people, people of color and undocumented immigrants to blame. The willingness of the mortgage lending community to target the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act as one of the causes of this crisis is not reassuring in this regard. It suggests that the financial sector will, if no alternative is perceived, manipulate the bigotries of racist and xenophobic elements to resist any progressive assault upon its autonomy.

We may be about to enter a period with much more frightening dimensions than people being foreclosed out of their houses and forced to go to food banks....

Also see, Wall Street Financiers Cash in on Crisis
Glad to see Russ Kick still kicking ass, even through he and his family have been physically threatened to shut their blog down.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 11:23 utc | 10

opps, mea maxima culpa...

that was Tom Feeley, not Russ kick, who runs the web site Information Clearing House who was threatened...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 11:39 utc | 11

Who put the "wreck" in Reykjavik?

Iceland nationalises Landsbanki.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Oct 7 2008 11:51 utc | 12

A great deal more of this to come, sadly.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A man distraught because he could not find work shot and killed his mother-in-law, his wife and three sons and then killed himself inside a home in an upscale San Fernando Valley neighborhood, police said.

Police outside a home where an unemployed father is believed to have killed his sons, wife and mother-in-law.

Authorities said the man had an MBA in finance but appeared to have been unemployed for several months and had worked for major accounting firms, such as Price Waterhouse.

The two-story rented home is in a gated community in Porter Ranch, about 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The shootings were discovered after 8:20 a.m. Monday, after a neighbor called police to report that the wife had failed to pick her up to take her to her job at a pharmacy, Deputy Chief of Police Michel Moore said.

Ed Winter, assistant chief from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, identified the suspect as Karthik Rajaram, 45.

Winter said the victims included Rajaram's mother-in-law, Indra Ramasesham, 69, and his 19-year-old son Krishna Rajaram, a Fulbright Scholar and honor student at UCLA. Watch police say the gunman was "embroiled in a financial crisis"

Also dead were Rajaram's wife, 39, Subasari Rajaram, and their two other sons, 12 and 7. Some of the victims had been shot more than once, and their identities were not immediately confirmed, he said.

"Due to the nature of their injuries, it's been a little difficult," Winter said, adding that there were no signs of a struggle.

Police first found the mother-in-law shot in her bed in a downstairs bedroom, Moore said.

Upstairs, the couple's eldest old son was shot in the master bedroom; the wife in another bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head; the two younger sons in the bedroom they shared, both shot in the head. The 12-year-old was on the floor and the 7-year-old in bed, Moore said. Watch more on what police had to say about tragedy »

The suspect was also in that bedroom, a gun still in his hand.

The killings are thought to have occurred after 6 p.m. Saturday, when the man was last reported seen, Moore said.

Inside the house, police also found three letters, one to law enforcement acknowledging responsibility for the killings, a second to friends and relatives and a third that appears to be the suspect's will, Moore said.

"He attests to some financial difficulties, and he takes responsibility for the taking of the lives of his family members and himself as a result of those financial difficulties," Moore said.

Neighbors, family and friends told police that the suspect, who had not worked for several months, had said in recent days he was having had extreme financial difficulties, Moore said.

One of the letters, intended for friends and marked "personal and confidential," detailed his financial transactions that resulted in "an unfortunate, downward spiral," Moore said.

"His narrative is one of talking about this tragedy befalling him and his contemplation of an available exit or solution," Moore said. "One is taking his own life and the other is taking the lives of his family and himself. ... He talked himself into the second strategy, believing that was in effect the honorable thing to do."

Moore said the several-page narrative appeared to have been written over a period of time. "This was something that was not a spur-of-the-moment type of event," he said.

Moore said it was clear to police that the family members were close and "had an affection for each other." He said the parents had given up their master bedroom to their eldest -- who was spending the weekend home from college -- "out of respect."

"This is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed, apparently because of a man who just got stuck in a rabbit hole, if you will, of absolute despair, somehow working his way into believing this to be an acceptable exit."

No neighbors reported having heard gunshots, and there was no sign of forced entry at the house, Moore said.

Rajaram was involved in a financial holding company as part owner "at least," Moore said.

There is no evidence he had had any history of mental difficulties, nor was there an indication he had sought counseling, Moore said.

Neighbor Trish Harrison, who lives three houses from the crime scene, said the family had lived in the community for about a year, but kept to themselves and had little interaction with neighbors. The parents were from India, she said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District was making arrangements for crisis counselors to visit the schools attended by the two younger sons.>Link to Article

Posted by: We've Only Just Begun | Oct 7 2008 12:48 utc | 13

We've Only Just Begun

Oh, indeed, indeed just as my snippet says in #10 watch as the racist and xenophobic events crank up to a fevered pitch ... they are going to blame mostly blacks Americans for the robbery aka housing crisis/bail out...

Just like a commenter over at information clearinghouse said, "has anybody noticed that it was OJ Simpson once again who saved CNN and other news media from having to discuss more important news, as the voting of this so-called bail-out?"

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 13:22 utc | 14

Should have read: Oh, indeed, indeed just as my snippet says in #10 watch as the racist and xenophobic events crank up to a fevered pitch just prior to the elections... they are going to blame mostly black Americans for the robbery aka housing crisis/bail out...

I'll add, the thoughtsof another in that, "CIA specializes in sheparding psycho-political events, like ritual sacrifice of evil-doers, that sustain national myths for social control.

Temporal proximity contamination of Obama's campaign is inevitable and that's why Palin is evoking the Weather Underground right now, to draft in OJ's wake."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 13:47 utc | 15

With Halloween just around the corner, I can't think of a better time than now to raise JM Keynes from the dead so that he can, once again, save Capitalism from self-annihilation...

But we oughta have a few fiscal counter-terrorists on hand just in case a gang of freaky Friedmanites with bombs strapped to their chests try to send him back to the dead!

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 7 2008 14:28 utc | 16

Three words: Psychological Strategy Board

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 15:03 utc | 17

US aircraft violates Iran air space
Tue, 07 Oct 2008 13:26:17 GMT

A US Falcon warplane has been forced to land in an Iranian airport after violating the Islamic Republic's air space, officials say.

Iranian media claims 5 high ranked Military officers + 3 US civilian were included .
Does Pentagon use commercial air craft for military use ?

Posted by: Loyal | Oct 7 2008 15:13 utc | 18

Fed to buy up uncollateralized short-term debt! Taxpayers St. Halloween's Massacre!

Posted by: Loan Tsarus | Oct 7 2008 15:18 utc | 19

Just heard a Palin snipet on kpfa,org morning show of her Florida talk telling several thousand supporters in Clearwater this morning that Obama also had ties to the people whom created the finacial crisis.

With brain washed morAns chatting, USA, USA, USA...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 15:24 utc | 20

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 7 2008 15:38 utc | 21

@Loyal #18
For what it's worth, Iranian TV is saying the plane was Hungarian and there were no Americans onboard.

Posted by: Ensley | Oct 7 2008 15:47 utc | 22

Congressman John Boehner's Toxic Package

more wasted pork!

Posted by: gus | Oct 7 2008 15:51 utc | 23

@#1 - The breed of pitbull terrier that I'm familiar with are typically friendly until provoked. Sara-cuda Palin is crazier than a bag of angel dust.

She's not worthy of the pitbull tag.

Posted by: gus | Oct 7 2008 15:57 utc | 24

Found via a comment at EuroTrib, this old newspiece adds an exotic angle to the Icelandic collapse:

Is Russian mafia financing Icelandic expansion abroad?

While their competitors in St. Petersburg's mafia-ridden brewing business were being murdered or having their factories mysteriously burned down during the 1990's, Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, Björgólfur Guðmundsson and Magnús Thorsteinsson escaped not only unscathed out of Russia but also, they claim, with piles of money after selling their Bravo International brewery to Heineken for USD 400 million in 2002.

Returning to Iceland in 2002, the threesome purchased a controlling share in state bank Landsbanki in a controversial sale.
Griffiths points out that inflows of foreign capital into Iceland from the offshore centers Luxembourg and the Channel Islands, where Landsbanki has subsidiaries, grew substantially from 2002 to 2003. He also observes that Icelandic "predators" bought GBP 894 million worth of British companies last year, up from only GBP 26 million in 2002. Meanwhile in Iceland, Landsbanki and affiliated parties have engaged in several takeovers and acquisitions, and the Icelandic stock index, ICEX-15, has risen by almost 300 per cent.

The Guardian article the above is based on is Next-generation Viking invasion - "They've got the cash to buy big UK groups like M&S. But where does it come from?"

So all that sparkly bubble and froth was helping launder some black money. Who could have guessed? I wonder if we will get more glimpses into what ingredients went in to the financial wizards' cauldrons across the world that churned out all those mountains of 'fictitious capital'.

Posted by: Alamet | Oct 7 2008 17:32 utc | 25

The Guardian insinuations about the source of Iceland's finance when it began buying english assets is hardly surprising. The english media has reacted that way to foreign investment from foreigners who don't cringe, kowtow and touch their forelocks appropriately at least since their oppresive and racist empire collapsed after ww2.

As long as foreigners remained obseqious while propping up the english all was well but of course capitalism doesn't encourage that sort of behaviour so over the years investors in england from Kuwaitis, to Bruniens, now Icelanders have copped the sort of treatment from the jingoistic english media usually reserved for nations whose sports teams defeat england. Iceland went one better they bought a few english soccer teams such as Stoke and London's Westham. Somehow while they moan about the furreners the english media seems to forget that it was english business incompetence powered by greed, that made foreign investment in english sports possible and in fact necessary.

The really interesting thing about all this is that now Reyjavik's party has come to an end the power of the IMF has been called into question in a big way.

Starting a couple of months ago when the shit hit the fan in Iceland the nice but incompetent government has been traipsing round europe's economic capitals looking for a loan. All they got was the cold shoulder so they tried Japan who recommended they go cap in hand to the IMF.

Whether they did or not is moot certainly the idea wouldn't have met much delight back home. The hard times of the early 90's would still be fresh in many minds. In fact being an Icelander was always hard and poverty stricken until Iceland began having so much success with financial investment in other, primarily european nations from the mid-90's onwards.
It was only about twenty five years ago that english trawlers destroyed Iceland's fishery with the invasion followed by overfishing that triggered the third and final 'cod war' so buying up english assets would have given Icelanders a sense of national vindication.

The best thing about Icelandic success was that the wealth was spread around. It seems everybody got a beamer and nearly everyone's kids got the opportunity to study at european universities.

If the Icelanders did get started by being better russian gangsters than the russians they don't seem to have behaved like Mafiosi when they got their money out. More like old school nationalistic socialists (that is they spread the wealth around, if only to other Icelanders). Now that sort of pinko behaviour doesn't sit well with the hard hearted dries at the IMF, who would have wanted any taint of egalitarianism wiped out before real money eventuated from them.

In the end Iceland went trotting off to Russia, who seem on the verge of promising Iceland a $50 billion bridging loan. The european media especially the english media are not impressed - it seems the plan to seize back Iceland's assets at a penny on the pound is about to go awry.

Even better the IMF are having to learn they aren't the only game in town and if they want to get nations further in hock to them, getting all medieval on the country's economy is no longer a starter.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 7 2008 18:27 utc | 26

If Gov. Palin is going to continue to accuse Sen. Obama of hanging out with a domestic terrorist, she first oughta stop sleeping with one herself -- namely that un-American husband of hers...

And if she continues to sleep with this enemy of the State, then, at the very least, she oughta change the sign on her podium to read "Alaska First!"

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 7 2008 18:33 utc | 27

Debs, good point about the UK media's poison pen attitude. It is definitely a factor to bear in mind.

But, within Iceland itself, I am not so sure that the wealth was spread around. My admittedly superficial impression is that this was a brief spell of trickle down economics (best case scenario for that farce of a theory, perhaps). The bankers kept bloating up, acquiring every business they could get their hands on first at home and then abroad. Meanwhile, the krona shot up, so the population felt they had grown rich and were able to enjoy more imported goods, more foreign trips, etc. For all of five of six years. But now, the entire country will be paying for the greed of a handful of high players. I doubt the boom period leaves any tangible benefits in its wake in terms of infrastructure, etc. And it looks like even the pension funds are about to be sucked in the vortex.

Posted by: Alamet | Oct 7 2008 21:27 utc | 29

There was a good article about Iceland in Harper's. Unfortunately it is behind a paywall, now. The article was before the banking meltdown, but goes into the environmental damage Iceland has suffered since they dammed all their rivers, and used the energy to power gigantic Alcoa aluminum smelters. I guess that is infrastructure, but of the wrong kind.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Oct 7 2008 22:16 utc | 30

Sort of old news, but how possible is it that the $700B was not so much a bailout but a coverup?

Hypothetically, if the mortgage bundlers had started duplicating names on the securities they sold to foreign countries, then when the crap hit the fan, I could see these types rationalizing a huge slush fund.

You know 'national security - we don't want an international incident' - that sort of thing.

At the time, they claimed a bailout was needed to get banks liquid enough to lend to business. But after they got the $700B (with no oversight allowed), the Fed began lending to companies directly, bypassing the banks.

Posted by: omaha | Oct 8 2008 1:04 utc | 31

support">">support bill ayers

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 8 2008 1:41 utc | 32

@ Alamet yeah probably the new wealth didn't spread out as far as claimed. I guess I was just happy that there is an alternative player (russia) in the game again. That keeps both of them honest, since 1990 amerikan dominance has meant that any nation showing the least sign of weakness was ruthlessly exploited by the IMF/World Bank strongarm tactics. Being able to play off russia and amerika against each other gives small nations a chance again.

Icelanders have always had the rough end of the pineapple, that link about the cod wars sums it up pretty much. When I saw the beeb report on the talks between Iceland and russia last night I was left with the definite impression that the english mainstream take on this was that Iceland being bailed out sans IMF was a bad thing, Japan's fault as they had been the last member of 'the club' to knock em back .

No mention of the european and english doors slammed in Iceland's face over the past few months of course.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 8 2008 3:52 utc | 33

"Cause when love is gone, there's always justice / And when justice is gone, there's always force / And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi, Mom."
Laurie Anderson, O Superman

Good evening. This is your Captain.
We are about to attempt a crash landing.
Please extinguish all cigarettes.
Place your tray tables in their upright, locked position.
Your Captain says: Put your head on your knees.
Your Captain says: Put your head on your hands.
Captain says: Put your hands on your head.
Put your hands on your hips.
Heh heh.
This is your Captain-and we are going down.
We are all going down, together.
And I said: Uh oh.
This is gonna be some day.

...Jump out of the plane.
There is no pilot.

Posted by: catlady | Oct 8 2008 6:28 utc | 34

The Fed is practicing some neoZi Shekinah (n. "shock and awe") on US.
The term Shekinah was many times used interchangeably with the word G-d.
In the Hebrew mind it always spoke of the fact that He "dwelt in" or
"rested upon" those who merited His favor, the Chosen Ones, whether
an individual, a group, or the entire US central banking community.

"Gas Heating bills expected to be 18% higher this winter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Pretty funny, since oil was exactly $90 last winter, and it's exactly $90 today,
but went up 50% 2006-2007, and 0% 2005-2006 and 16% 2005-2005, so just
what's the big panic, let's bail out all the corporate debt with perpetual deficits?

"LIBOR rates exploding past 5%!!!!!!!!!"

Pretty funny since LIBOR rates were nearly 7% just five years ago,
and near 12% during Papa Bush, and nobody was jumping out windows!!!!

Doesn't anybody get it??!!

What the Fed is doing is trying to panic Mom & Pop into "pulling" their 401(k)
out of the brokerages, and putting cash in one of the remaining central bank-
brokers, like GS or MS or BA. Why? Because the Fed has already proposed carry-
offering to be their central reserve. Get it? The Fed is stampeding the people,
pulling all the cash centripetally into the central banks, and then into itself, away from the brokers, away from the corporations, ..... then lending our cash
back to the corporations, (and ultimately ourselves in lower earningss) at 30% interest and transaction fees!!!! No wonder credit card rates are soaring!!!

Get it? Doesn't anybody fing get it??!! This is an engineered panic, like 9/11!!!
This is how JPMorgan made Great Depression 1! Bernanke is an academic expert on GD1! He plays war game scenarios how to create, and avoid, another GD1!!!
The Fed is pulling down the temple walls!! They're crashing the economy, rather than
let it fall into the hands of workers!! Once Fed has all the cash, ...the Crash!!!


Posted by: Cheri Bellidonna | Oct 8 2008 6:59 utc | 35

Terrorism Fear Could Create Psychosomatic Epidemic, Feds Warn

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 8 2008 8:02 utc | 36

A question. Is Karl Denniger crazy?
Time Is Up Congress - And America

Posted by: fool | Oct 8 2008 12:20 utc | 37

LOl @ Ensley #22§ionid=351020101
Iran: Intruding jet belonged to NATO
Wed, 08 Oct 2008 06:13:49 GMT

A Falcon jet that violated Iranian airspace and was forced to land in the Islamic Republic belongs to the NATO forces, a report says.

Farsnews persian edition has news of audio communication .There were 5 high ranked US military personels.

Posted by: | Oct 8 2008 15:57 utc | 38

Iraq: US dropped nuclear bomb near Basra in 1991, claims veteran

Rome, 8 Oct. (AKI) - An American veteran of the first Gulf War in Iraq claims that the United States dropped a five-kilotonne nuclear bomb in 1991 in a deserted area outside the southern city of Basra on the Iranian border.

The claim by US war veteran Jim Brown was made during an interview included in a 30-minute current affairs report to be broadcast by Italian state news channel RaiNews24 on Thursday.

Brown told the Italian news channel that the bombing took place on the last day of the war in Iraq on 27 February 1991.

RaiNews24 claims to have conducted its own inquiry and found that a seismic event took place on that day equal to a five-kilotonne blast.

The network cited the online archives of the International Seismological Center, a non-profit UK-based organisation, as confirmation of its research.

Posted by: Alamet | Oct 8 2008 21:45 utc | 39

RE: #39...

This one's a big 'caveat emptor' but would seem to be corroborating Mr. Brown's account:

Sleight Of Nuke

It's filled with the usual misinfo about WMD and Iranian influence, so it's a difficult read. It would be nice if someone here could debunk or at least 'grade' the truthiness.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Oct 9 2008 5:07 utc | 40

stephen gowans: US Government Report Undermines Zimbabwe Opposition’s Claim of Independence

The US government had a hand in formulating the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, and funded community-based newsletters to create a platform to persuade Zimbabweans to accept Washington’s point of view, according to a US government report. The report boasts that Washington is the undisputed leader in nurturing anti-government civil society organizations in Zimbabwe, operating through a CIA-interlocked organization led by former New York investment banker and Michael Milken right-hand man, Peter Ackerman.

In a November 16, 2007 letter accompanying the US State Department’s “Zimbabwe 2007 Performance Report,” US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee wrote that,

“Working closely with like-minded governments, we continued diplomatic efforts to maintain pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe and to remind the regime that fundamental changes…are a prerequisite to reengagement with the international community.”

McGee called for economic reform, translated as abandonment of Harare’s economic program of favoring Zimbabweans over foreign investors, an end to price controls, and privatization of state-owned enterprises.

The neo-liberal, foreign investor-friendly economic policies Washington favors are central to the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. The State Department document reveals that the MDC’s policy orientation may be based more on US government direction than its own deliberations. According to the report,

“The (US government)…assisted the MDC to effectively identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas within Zimbabwe, in the region, and beyond. In particular, (US government) technical assistance was pivotal in supporting (the) MDC’s formulation and communication of a comprehensive policy platform.”

Critics of the party point to the absence of any difference between its policy proposals and those favored in Washington for African countries, an absence that may be explained in the US government’s helping “the MDC to identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas, and develop and communicate a policy platform.”

US government assistance to the MDC’s Tsvangirai faction didn’t stop at formulating and articulating a policy platform, the report says, but extended to helping the MDC formulate strategy to oppose the Mugabe government. According to the State Department, the US government,

“provided technical assistance to the MDC…to enable it to conduct regular strategic planning meetings to establish goals, identify key objectives, prioritize activities, and determine performance benchmarks.”

The tone of the report paints Zimbabweans as being incapable of establishing goals, setting priorities, and measuring performance themselves and therefore requiring US assistance to perform basic organizational tasks. It may be that the assistance US advisors provided is more accurately, and less tactfully, called direction.

Posted by: b real | Oct 9 2008 5:07 utc | 41

McCain Denies Use of Soy Supplement for Low Sperm Count

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking half a serving of soy food a day lowers sperm concentrations and may play a role in male infertility, particularly in older men, according to a Harvard report, but that's not why US Republican presidential candidate John McCain has switched to drinking Silk, a popular soy milk drink.

The candidate recently spoke for the first time publicly about his battles with testosterone abuse, and the affect it had on his predilection for rage and loud malevolent outbursts. Without admitting to abuse of controlled hormone substances as a younger man, McCain spoke to a group of seniors at a Bridgeport, Connecticut, gaming casino, and recalled the debilitating effect his 'unwise choices" had on his well-known misbehavior.

"My friends," the candidate explained, "Some researchers say you should be careful about soy products, that it might affect your sperm count. Well, let's be honest, for most of us," he chuckled hoarsely. "Those days are past. What soy milk will do is bring you safely back to port, to calm seas, and colorful sunsets."

The candidate went on to explain how steroids abuse in men (sic) causes unexpected side affects in loss of libido and wild attacks of rage, then the use of female estrogen for reduction of prostrate can cause other untoward side effects as well.

McCain continued, "My friends, I'll be honest with you. I'm a maverick, and I'm not stuck on the standard macho male roles, so when my pecker started getting soft after I laid off the juice, I mean by that, the booze, of course, well, I sure wasn't expecting to grow male titties, and that's what those hormones did to me."

The candidate cupped his chest for a cheap laugh, then went into his sales spiel, "So I'm asking you all to try a glass of delicious Silk soy milk with me right now, and see if this isn't the most delightful and natural way to regain your youthful and supple skin, to shrink your prostate, and to help you cope with the maddening effect of all these g-d d-mn l-zy a-s c--nts in the government work force today!"

A Silk products spokesman eased the microphone away from the tottering Senator, still blue-faced with rage, then asked everyone in the room for a warm show of hands.

"Senator McCain, folks! Now doesn't that make you want to drink a nice warm glass of Silk?"

Posted by: Wanderoo | Oct 9 2008 5:25 utc | 42

Continuing my #40, this is a 3-part article, asserting also that 4 nukes were used in Afghanistan. His (the author's) sourcing leaves me a little less skeptical than my original reaction.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Oct 9 2008 6:29 utc | 43

i miss badger.

RTI House speaker: SOFA negotiation ended

Sadrists MP Hassan Al-Rubaie said today that the security agreement has become the “problem of all problems” in Iraq. Many countries are pressuring the government to sign or not to sign the agreement.

But the most interesting is what Iraqi “house speaker” Al-Mashhadani told the Iranians today:

" The security agreement with Washington needs to be approved by the religious authority first."

He added the following:

" The negotiation on the security agreement with Washington is ended, the general atmosphere in Parliament is not encouraging."

Unclear what is ended because Negroponte told Radio Sawa that U.S. soldiers immunity is still under the negotiation and this matter is an American national issue.

nyt, for the home audience...
Negroponte Calls Security Deal on Iraq 'Close’

Mr. Negroponte said his trip included “fruitful discussions” on a variety of political and economic issues, including the security agreement. But he declined to discuss what sticking points, if any, remained to be negotiated.


In September, Iraqi and American officials said that the legal immunity issue was threatening to derail the negotiations. The United States has argued for the same legal protections that apply in other countries where American troops are based. The Iraqi government has been adamant that any crime committed outside of a military operation should be subject to prosecution in Iraqi courts.

Iran, meanwhile, stepped up pressure against the proposed agreement, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad telling a visiting Iraqi official on Tuesday that Iraq had “a duty” to resist the Americans, The Associated Press reported.

speaking of mr deathsquad negroponte, i heard on the news tonight some predictions anticipating an escalation of ethnic violence in iraq.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 8:41 utc | 44

what's negroponte up to?

The other answer is circulating among Sunnis is that there is an arrangement between the Iraqi government and the U.S. military; The Mehdi Army in exchange for the Awakening dismantling.

is 'dismantle' the new word for 'stabilize'? do they have to be so bloody transparent by throwing the death squad threat in their/our faces? this is gross.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 8:51 utc | 45


BAGHDAD, Oct. 8 -- Iraqi insurgents are increasingly using magnetically attached bombs known as "sticky IEDs" to assassinate mid- and low-level Iraqi officials, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

Rigged with magnets so they will adhere to the undersides of automobiles and detonated by remote control or with timers, the bombs have been used in Iraq sporadically since 2004. This year, U.S. military officials said, they have investigated roughly 200 cases involving magnetic bombs, and Iraqi officials said they have noted an increase in assassination attempts in which attackers use guns equipped with silencers.

The bombs have been used against Iraqi government officials, particularly those who work in the army and police. Local leaders, judges, journalists and members of U.S.-backed Sunni armed groups have also been attacked.

government officials
army and police
Local leaders
Sunni armed groups

those iraqi insurgents, it seems like the only people they're not attacking w/the remote controlled devices are the US troops and contractors. aren't we lucky.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 9:03 utc | 46

there is something rather odd about that wapo piece by
Ernesto Londoño

Prior to joining the Post, Ernesto worked at the Dallas Morning News, where he covered immigration. Ernesto was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia.

hm, that's quite a leap from columbia to iraq. here is another gem from the article

Al-Qaeda in Iraq "and other terrorist groups attempt to spread fear and intimidation among the public by use of these brutal tactics and try to create the perception that the Iraqi government is incapable of protecting local citizens," said a senior U.S. military intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

coincidence? my impression is that the US government is also trying to create the perception that the Iraqi government is incapable of protecting local citizens.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 9:21 utc | 47

Negroponte Calls Security Deal on Iraq 'Close'

Sounds to me as though agreement is about as close as it was when Condy Rice left Baghdad in July. Negroponte was just trying to do the same thing as her - force the Iraqis to sign, no doubt by various blackmail techniques.

"The negotiation on the security agreement with Washington is ended, the general atmosphere in Parliament is not encouraging."

That expression does not mean necessarily that agreement has been reached. It could equally mean that negotiations have stopped, because no more progress is being made. I think this latter is the case.

btw, it was already said a month or so ago that the agreement would have to be approved by the religious authority.

Posted by: Alex | Oct 9 2008 9:37 utc | 48

That expression does not mean necessarily that agreement has been reached.

obviously. i found the phrasing "The negotiation... is ended to mean they came to no agreement.

and now officials are being targeted by assassins and allegations of unspecified 'insurgents', w/a reference to AQ.

interesting wrt immunity that negroponte says they are still in negotiation, and the house speaker says the negotiations have ended.

is about as close as it was when Condy Rice left Baghdad in July. Negroponte was just trying to do the same thing as her

i'll take the liberty of parting ways w/your assessment. negroponte carries a different kind of stick than rice. tho their 'goals' may have been the same, their threat levels are of a different nature.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 10:19 utc | 49

it was already said a month or so ago that the agreement would have to be approved by the religious authority.

everything of importance gets approved by a religious authority now. it's still note worthy when they rub it in (again) by making a public statement. did you notice told the Iranians today:

must drive washington bonkers.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 10:25 utc | 50

sorry, should read

did you notice 'told the Iranians today' ?

must drive washington bonkers.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 10:27 utc | 51

shit! never mind, i am a total failure.

Posted by: annie | Oct 9 2008 10:28 utc | 52

Finally, Annie and I are in mutual agreement. Yes, you are, and I commend you on taking the first step in rehabilitation.

Posted by: Me | Oct 9 2008 12:42 utc | 53

nothing revelatory here - simply more confirmation for what i've written on previously in my 'understanding africom' essay, since the PR apparatus for the new command continue to deny the two underlying rationale for the establishment of AFRICOM - resources, primarily oil, and containing china

a booz allen hamilton 'defense analyst' writes in the neocon rag, the weekly standard, of The Great Game in Africa: Washington's emerging containment strategy

The African continent is quickly becoming a proxy battleground for Washington and Beijing, as the latter's appetite for emerging markets and raw materials grows. In July 2008, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "China's full court press to establish influence and connections in Africa and Latin America may be seismic in its future implications for the United States." China's burgeoning influence in Africa is now squarely on the Pentagon's radar screen. In October 2007, the United States affirmed its commitment to the continent by announcing the establishment of a new combatant command: Africa Command, known by its acronym in defense circles as AFRICOM. While Washington policymakers deny that Beijing's behavior is the rationale for its establishment, it appears as though AFRICOM marks the beginning of a new containment strategy aimed at curtailing Chinese power and influence in Africa.


The Bush administration has laid the foundation of a new containment strategy for its successor with the establishment of AFRICOM, enabling the United States to leverage more effectively its soft and hard power assets to contain China. The next administration will be forced to confront China's rise and its rapidly expanding influence in Africa.

Posted by: b real | Oct 9 2008 14:50 utc | 54

for">>for annie & waldo

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 9 2008 20:46 utc | 55

for">>for annie & waldo

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 9 2008 20:46 utc | 56

for annie & waldo

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 9 2008 20:51 utc | 57

:), what a fun link r'giap

Finally, Annie and I are in mutual agreement.

why thank you Me, everyone will be very pleased i agree w/myself.

back to reality. re #44 thru must drive washington bonkers. w/emphasis on negroponte carries a different kind of stick than rice...

Negroponte: We will not allow this delay

Negroponte came with a clear ultimatum to Maliki’s government to sign the security agreement or Maliki’s government will face difficulties or even can be toppled.

Negroponte said: Washington will not allow this delay in signing the agreement whether it came from inside or outside the Iraqi government…..We will not allow the future of our two countries to be decided in the street.

oh really? not decided in the street. team america is going to sweep in and prevent #46? righto.

re # iran

Informed sources [in Iran] told the newspaper that the real U.S. - Iraq SOFA opposition has not started yet. The sources also promised to rally public, political and media actions soon in whole of Iraq and can be moved to the neighboring countries.

The Sadr Trend, will not stand idl by and the movement will express its rejection in different ways and not only with weekly demonstrations. Even the “Islamic Supreme Council” and “Dawa Party” are not enthusiast any more as they were before, but the biggest bet now lies with the religious authority, particularly in Najaf. Sistani’s position will empty the agreement from its content.

alex, shocking!

Posted by: annie | Oct 10 2008 3:02 utc | 58


Has Mr. Brooks become a registered Democrat?

Posted by: alabama | Oct 10 2008 6:37 utc | 59

why thank you Me, everyone will be very pleased i agree w/myself.

Failures always do.

Posted by: Me | Oct 10 2008 11:32 utc | 60

B, can you find out who this fuck calling themselves,'Me'is? I really don't appreciate them attacking annie in this fashion. Perhaps I am over reacting and of course annie can fend very well for herself, but It still galls me when some dink shows up out of nowhere and slings abuse before even having a drink or two. And FTR, I'm not defending annie as one of our few long time females, I'd defend any MOA in the same manner.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 10 2008 12:01 utc | 61

Uncle's right. (#61)

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 10 2008 12:14 utc | 62

Yemen Seizes Israel-Linked terrorist Cell

Via: BBC:

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the security forces have arrested a group of alleged Islamist militants linked to Israeli intelligence.

Mr Saleh did not say what evidence had been found to show the group’s links with Israel, a regional enemy of Yemen.

The arrests were connected with an attack on the US embassy in Sanaa last month which killed at least 18 people, official sources were quoted saying.

Israel’s foreign ministry has rejected the accusation as “totally ridiculous”.

“A terrorist cell was arrested and will be referred to the judicial authorities for its links with the Israeli intelligence services,” Mr Saleh told a gathering at al-Mukalla University in Hadramawt province.

“Details of the trial will be announced later. You will hear about what goes on in the proceedings,” he added.

The 17 September attack was the second to target the US embassy since April. Militants detonated car bombs before firing rockets at the heavily fortified building.

Mr Saleh did not identify the suspects, but official sources were quoted saying it was same cell - led by a militant called Abu al-Ghaith al-Yamani - whose arrest was announced a week after the attack.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said the Yemeni president’s statement was without foundation.

“To believe that Israel would create Islamist cells in Yemen is really far-fetched. This is yet another victory for the proponents of conspiracy theories,” Igal Palmor said in remarks reported by AFP.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 10 2008 12:23 utc | 63

For those whom missed it...

Fox News Jokes About Killing Obama

Interesting is it not, that we have deployed the 'Consequence Management Response Force' a month before the most virulently race-baiting, civil-unrest-threatening, to-be-heartily-contested presidential election in decades...?

See my post in the Financial Markets: The Fuse Is Lit blog for more.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 10 2008 12:47 utc | 64

@Uncle 61 - "Me" posts under all kind of different names. I've blocked his/her IP address now.

Posted by: b | Oct 10 2008 15:07 utc | 65

thanks, i appreciate it

uncle, here's more on the story Attack on U.S. Embassy in Yemen Linked to Mossad

Remember the attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen last month that took the lives of eighteen people? A group calling themselves "Islamic Jihad" claimed responsibility for the blast. It has a nice, scary ring to it hasn't it? "Islamic Jihad" also happens to be the name of a group that operates out of Gaza.

"Islamic Jihad" pointedly mentioned its affiliation with al Qaeda after claiming responsibility for the September 17 U.S. embassy bombing:

"We, the Organisation of Islamic Jihad, belonging to the Al-Qaeda network, repeat our demand of (Yemeni President) Ali Abdullah Saleh to free our detained brothers within 48 hours," said a statement signed by self-proclaimed leader Abu Ghaith al-Yamani.

Former agent for French military intelligence Pierre-Henry Bunel has this to say about 'al Qaeda':

"The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the 'TV watcher' to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism..."

And from the Yemen Observer:

President Saleh revealed on Monday that security forces in Yemen caught an espionage network for Israel made up of Arab nationals. This announcement came during his speech in front of MP's, Shura Council members, local council members, scholars and military and security leaders at Hadhramout University.


The network was comprised of 40 people from different Arab nationalities spying for Mossad, the Israeli international intelligence said sources from National and Political Security Units. The members of the espionage network entered Yemen on the premise of conducting business, tourism and even for preaching in mosques. Saleh said that the suspected spies form a terrorism cell that uses also Islam to reach their targets.Members were arrested individually and found to be in possession of detailed maps for sensitive security sites, intelligence telecommunication units and advanced tracking devices.

there is more @ the first link from dubai's state-run Saba news agency.

Saba quoted the source as saying that the correspondence between the two sides included a request from the Israeli side to implement terrorist attacks inside Yemen.

Posted by: annie | Oct 10 2008 15:29 utc | 66

b #65, am curious what names, don't really see why people need/deserve several names one location, or even all locations.

re Palin, this is interesting, though too long, last couple minutes most telling.>The ultimate reason why you shouldn't vote for Palin. Think they're right about {what masquerades as} demonic control, but are part of same.

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 10 2008 15:36 utc | 67

recent sensible comment on video linked #67:

luh3417 (3 hours ago)

There's something weird that I've noticed. For a movement so caught preoccupied with ideas of black magic it's surprising that one of these churches call themselves Morningstar Ministries. In the early church, the activities of which pentecostals revere, morning star was equated with Satan.

BTW, own position (stated here before, along w/ belief that primary function of xtianity is anti-Semitism sparking) is that Satan/God/Lucifer are just product placement, same marketers, all very real business/fleecing. Look to the money

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 10 2008 15:47 utc | 68

don't really see why people need/deserve several names one location, or even all locations.

to give the impression they represent many voices, their voice has more impact if it is supported by other 'people'.

Posted by: annie | Oct 10 2008 16:08 utc | 69

#69 ah, "agree with me". People should have more facets, not names.

Always liked the National Lampoon's ultimately specialized "Me Magazine", including the guy's hot dog recipe: secret was putting mustard in the saucepan water before boiling.

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 10 2008 16:15 utc | 70 is pulling the plug.

Damn, damn, damn.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 10 2008 18:01 utc | 71

fairness & accuracy in reporting study - the smearcasters - how islamophobes spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation

Smearcasting documents the public writings and appearances of Islamophobic activists and pundits who intentionally and regularly spread fear, bigotry and misinformation in the media. Offering a fresh look at Islamophobia and its perpetrators in today’s media, it also provides four snapshots, or case studies, describing how Islamophobes manipulate media in order to paint Muslims with a broad, hateful brush.

Posted by: b real | Oct 10 2008 21:29 utc | 72

that sucks slothrop. they've been a daily stop for years.

on another topic, we're treated to the spectacle of Colin "lying sack of shit" Powell vouching for the integrity of Ted "complex series of tubes" Stevens.

what, Joe Isuzu wasn't available?

Posted by: ran | Oct 10 2008 22:39 utc | 73

I guess Germany's giving up on the greenhouse gas thing.

Why the push to de-nuke-ify Germany and replace nuclear with dirty coal?

Posted by: Obelix | Oct 10 2008 22:52 utc | 74

re annie, back at 58.

I'm sure it's right that there could be an attempt at force against Maliki before the end of the year.

I heard an interview this evening on the BBC with an instructor from the Iraqi Military Academy. He said there was too little civilian control over the army, and there was a risk of a military coup d'etat. Perhaps there is the clue of what may happen. It is well known that the US, through its domination of the training of the Iraqi army, has influence there, and could provoke said coup d'etat.

Also, we are being told that Iraq is a tinderbox. As Iraq is not particularly a tinderbox at the moment, apart from potential conflict between the Kurds and everyone else, I take it that this NIE estimate is a pre-justification of what may be about to happen.

Personally, I am not convinced that a military coup d'etat in Iraq, organised by the US, is going to work. It sounds like typical US planning. However, even if the coup is accompanied by an assassination of Sistani, there is a risk of major Shi'ite defection from the coup forces. Maliki represents Iraqi opinion these days.

Even if such a military coup were to succeed in the short term, the implication is continued maximal US military occupation, and can that be afforded in the present financial crisis?

The trick here is to understand that there are only two choices in Iraq - continued military occupation by force, that is 130,000 or so troops for ever, or complete withdrawal. The third choice, the Korea option of drawing down to a peace-time force of 30,000, preferred in the US, will not work: Iraqis are now 90% opposed to continued US presence. This fact has not yet entered US official mentality, which continues to think that a little military coup will solve the problem.

Posted by: Alex | Oct 11 2008 1:06 utc | 75

Not a loss for mankind: Leader of Austrian Right Dies in Crash

VIENNA -- Jörg Haider, the leader of Austria’s far right, was killed in a car accident on Saturday, the national news agency APA reported.

The agency quoted the police as saying Mr. Haider died after suffering severe head and chest injuries when a car he was driving went out of control and rolled over several times outside the southern city of Klagenfurt. APA said he was alone in the car.

Rightist groups surged to a combined 30 percent of the vote in a national parliamentary election last month, with Mr. Haider’s smaller Alliance for Austria’s Future tripling its support to around 12 percent.

Mr. Haider, born in 1950, became a full-time politician in 1977 for the right-wing Freedom Party.

Posted by: b | Oct 11 2008 6:48 utc | 76

thanks alex, your post confirms all my suspicions. especially this:

I take it that this NIE estimate is a pre-justification of what may be about to happen.

i really hope they aren't desperate enough to kick off another wave of slaughter. thanks for the overview, makes as much sense as anything i've heard lately. i think the NIE can be viewed as signaling a not so subtle (negroponte)threat.

Posted by: annie | Oct 11 2008 7:18 utc | 77


Schadenfreude was never more apt.

Posted by: biklett | Oct 11 2008 8:14 utc | 78

Am back after being away a couple of weeks and MoA won't load from my bookmark anymore - hafta google and click from there. What's up with this?

Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 11 2008 11:44 utc | 79

Am back after being away a couple of weeks and MoA won't load from my bookmark anymore - hafta google and click from there. What's up with this?

No idea ... anybody else having problems?

Posted by: b | Oct 11 2008 11:57 utc | 80

Yes, b, same problem.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 11 2008 13:26 utc | 81

bookmark still works for me. Safari/Mac.

Posted by: ran | Oct 11 2008 14:18 utc | 82

It pretty damn obvious that the Iraqi SOF agreement has hit a wall, when Moqtada al Sadr's spokesman on the negotiating group gets assassinated, close to an Iraqi army roadblock.
The amerikan fishwraps are desperately trying to hang the blame on some unknown shia splinter group, but considering that amerika has murdered most of Moqtada's team who have been killed (google "al sadr aide killed" its a long and damning list) and they have the most to gain from his demise, which occurred at a critical time, so who else could it be but the amerikan baby killers up to their murdering, raping and terrorism again?

They probably have some fantasy about the next cab off the rank in Mockies team being turned. dream on fools, I can't see how the Iraqis will consider signing it before the next amerikan prez is in place.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 11 2008 14:40 utc | 83

to give the impression they represent many voices, their voice has more impact if it is supported by other 'people'.

Because it's not about Me, or You, or Us and Them. It's about the words, ideas and concepts, not the individual espousing them and their clout and status within the fabricated on-line clique.

So, once again, you are incorrect, as usual, Annie. You are a shrill, caustic pitbull with lipstick, Annie. As was mentioned before, there's a Sarah Palin in every crowd, and you just so happen to be that representative for MOA. Look how Bernhard has to protect you like Sarah's Rethug handlers protect her.

I came here because I share the sentiments of many here, but Annie rubs me the wrong way. I post under different headings because I don't want it to be about me, but about what I say, and what you say.

I do find it curious that Bernhard can somehow find the time to post several threads a day, respond within each of them, monitor and police them to the point of deleting posts and blocking IPs, and still be fully employed. That raises a huge flag for me.

Blogs are sociologically intriguing, don't you think? It's another way to corral the sheep who stray from the herd, and there seems to be no shortage of Shepherds. Interesting how people recreate on-line what they seem to want to escape in the real world...or do they really want to escape? Maybe they just want another Shepherd and another field but prefer to remain sheep.

What's ironic is that you are all anonymous anyway, so why not go all the way. If being anonymous is not your intent, then why not post your name and address? Who the hell is an Annie, or a Plushtown, or an Uncle $cam but a silly moniker. Don't feign that you're not anonymous and chastise someone for truly remaining anonymous. That's hypocricy, and you should strive in life to rise above it. Look at how you have treated Spyware. Because he maintains the same moniker, you have associated a tainted perception with that moniker, so everytime he posts something, your reading of his words are tainted by your previous perceptions, and the power of his words and ideas are lost, and that's a shame. Same goes for Annie. Without the monikers, there would be no focus on the personalities and complete focus on the words, ideas, and concepts, and that's where the focus should be, one would think.

Of course, I fully expect my words and ideas just expressed will be dutifully attacked because of the desperation to corner, trap, label, and ultimately straightjacket the originator. It shouldn't be about the messenger, but instead the message.

Many of you would be pleasantly surprised what I have deposited here in the past two months. Interestingly, very few of you responded to any of it, even though it's in your wheelhouse, and I think that's telling. You couldn't respond because you're preconditioned to focus on the personality, and when none exists, you're befuddled.


Nothing more than the words and ideas offered

Posted by: You | Oct 11 2008 15:09 utc | 84

I had problems with safari, for no obvious reasons. Weirdly, no problem with other computers, including others with Safari. Eventually, I deleted all my cookies, and everything went back to normal.

Haider: That's quite a surprise, and even if deep down I won't mourn him and despise the praises even left-wing Austrians pour onto him, I can't help to wonder if it's an accident, it's quite convenient that it happens right after the fascist gains in Austrian elections, and more or less every other political faction had reasons to see him off. To an extent, it might be bad for Austria, because there's no one leader for 2 far-right parties, which could mean Haider's party will be assimilated by the other one, and strengthen it even more. Then, he might just have died a macho-driver death.
That said, when considering him as a person and considering his past actions and his positions, my first thought was "Good riddance".

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Oct 11 2008 15:11 utc | 85

Cleared all my cookies and all's fine now. Thanks for the tip, CJ.

Posted by: | Oct 11 2008 15:35 utc | 86

Ha! 86 was me.

Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 11 2008 15:36 utc | 87

, I can't see how the Iraqis will consider signing it before the next amerikan prez is in place.

that's too late debs! i believe the UN thingamagig that officially makes it legal for US occupation runs out dec 31st. the new swearing in isn't for another week.

Posted by: annie | Oct 11 2008 16:17 utc | 88

Because it's not about Me, or You, or Us and Them. It's about the words, ideas and concepts, not the individual espousing them and their clout and status within the fabricated on-line clique.

why would anyone want to divorce language from the inevitable filter of personality? where's the fun in that?

cliques are the unavoidable projections of the mammalian social order we almosthumans revert to because that's how we're wired. it's kind of obnoxious the way it manifests sometimes, but what's the alternative?

and if you, you, truly desire to transcend the muddy battlefield of personality conflict, you wouldn't pose rhetorical questions like Who the hell is an Annie, or a Plushtown, or an Uncle $cam but a silly moniker?

the shepherd. yes, these are paranoid times, and increasingly suspicion is a necessary tool, like a chisel to flake off crude chunks of propaganda, exposing the form underneath being willed into existence against our will--but if you go too far down that road...

Posted by: Lizard | Oct 11 2008 17:01 utc | 89

@b real - from some Ethiopian blog: The End of Pax Zenawi in Somalia - may interest you.

Posted by: b | Oct 11 2008 17:29 utc | 90

@Troll @84 - Many of you would be pleasantly surprised what I have deposited here in the past two months. Interestingly, very few of you responded to any of it

If only very few responded to any of what you deposited here, I guess that it was simply not much of interest to anybody. Why would folks then be "pleasantly surprised" that all the stuff that was not worth a response came from one specific wanking troll?

You got banned and will continued to get banned for breaking two major points of netiquette:
- posting under ever changing names
- personally attacking specific persons

additional minor points:
- public wanking
- wasting my time

Posted by: b | Oct 11 2008 17:36 utc | 91

The German Spiegel had an interview with Chomsky - the English version just got published: 'The United States Has Essentially a One-Party System'

SPIEGEL: How does it benefit politicians when the populace drives a lot, eats a lot and goes shopping a lot?

Chomsky: Consumption distracts people. You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption. The business press has been quite explicit about this goal.
SPIEGEL: “Change” is the slogan of this year’s presidential election. Do you see any chance for an immediate, tangible change in the United States? Or, to use use Obama’s battle cry: Are you "fired up”?

Chomsky: Not in the least. The European reaction to Obama is a European delusion.

SPIEGEL: But he does say things that Europe has long been waiting for. He talks about the trans-Atlantic partnership, the priority of diplomacy and the reconciling of American society.

Chomsky: That is all rhetoric. Who cares about that? This whole election campaign deals with soaring rhetoric, hope, change, all sorts of things, but not with issues.
SPIEGEL: So for you, Republicans and Democrats represent just slight variations of the same political platform?

Chomsky: Of course there are differences, but they are not fundamental. Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party.

Posted by: b | Oct 11 2008 17:56 utc | 92


thanks. saw it last night. ethiopian review is on my short list of HOA stops. lots of chatter in the past couple of weeks about meles inevitable pullout from somalia & the opppostion from inside ethiopia has really started pushing for that.

Posted by: b real | Oct 11 2008 21:00 utc | 93

"you" #84

What's ironic is that you are all anonymous anyway, so why not go all the way. If being anonymous is not your intent, then why not post your name and address? Who the hell is an Annie, or a Plushtown, or an Uncle $cam but a silly moniker.

I use "plushtown" here and elsewhere for consistency and searchability. On blogs where names are normal (2 NY Times environmental and some other environmental) I use "michael mcintyre (plushtown)", but the name is more common (duplicated) than the moniker. I'm easy to find if anyone wants to.

Without the monikers, there would be no focus on the personalities and complete focus on the words, ideas, and concepts

The links are as or more important than the "ideas", and people click or don't click somewhat based on moniker attached.

Interestingly, very few of you responded to any of it, even though it's in your wheelhouse, and I think that's telling. You couldn't respond because you're preconditioned to focus on the personality, and when none exists, you're befuddled.

Most posts aren't visibly responded to, from everybody.

On environmental blogs, where I look for a choir to preach to, mine are almost never responded to, and then the responses ignore the main points. I feel like an aikido master, but all I'm doing is leading with my chin. search plushtown $1000 for ignored offer many places online last 2 years.

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 12 2008 14:18 utc | 94

Are you giving us taste of what the spam filter does?
There are a lot of trustworthy people you know like annie, Dan of Steel, beq, etc. who you could give "rights" to delete the spam. Just thinking out loud here.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 5 2008 22:05 utc | 95

@Rick - the spam filter doesn't catch everything so I had to delete those 3 spam-comments by hand.

Posted by: b | Dec 15 2008 10:49 utc | 96

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