Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 02, 2009

OT 09-05

Open thread ... news and views ...

Posted by b on February 2, 2009 at 13:17 UTC | Permalink


I've long thought that you can figure out the US only by analogy with history's most purulent third-world banana republics - particularly under the right, but that's a matter of degree. So here's an IBRD guy who's seen it all before and to him it looks familiar. If the US is an empire, it's entering the terminal phase of Brezhnev-type collapse of governance. Without root-and-branch anticorruption reform, sectoral restoration and macro stabilization are going to fail.

Posted by: ...---... | Feb 2 2009 14:13 utc | 1

No, no, no!

America will last forever, until the end of time (which may come soon)

We gave you the airplane, the automobile. the atomic bomb, convertible stock options and the ICBM -- ingrates!!!

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 2 2009 15:04 utc | 2

Untermensch Indeed

Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak said during a meeting with students at Ben-Gurion University that "we can reach a territorial continuity between Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, by digging a 48-kilometer (157.5-feet) tunnel under Israeli sovereignty with Palestinian control of the traffic."

Barak said that the tunnel, which may be dug between Beit Hanoun and a village near Hebron would cost between $2-3 billion, "a reasonable sum." (Ilana Curiel)

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 2 2009 15:21 utc | 3

One need not agree with either the formulation of the problematic or the cures proposed in this brief discussion of search engine secrecy to consider the issue worthy of further discussion.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Feb 2 2009 15:24 utc | 4

@Cloned Poster 3:
Presumably that should be 157,500 feet. Nice play on words in the

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Feb 2 2009 15:31 utc | 5


You forgot television, we gave the world television and all the wonders that go with it. Surely this invention, the pinnacle of all inventions, (the mother of whores) is what america should be remembered for.

You'd think the rest of the world's citizens would bow down, prostrate in the mud as we placed crowns of fresh feces upon our heads, smiling at how far ranging the stench of our greed carries on the winds of change expelled from the bowels of the white house, and farted-out the rectal mouths of government asses when shitting publicly on television.

Yeah, we shouldn't forget the wonderful television... mustn't forget it, not ever. Thank G_d for the TV!

And Twinkies-we gave the world Twinkies which might even outlast plastic in the environment - now that's a feat.

Posted by: David | Feb 2 2009 15:32 utc | 6

Recently, as some know, I have gone on a tangent as to the system. In my, 'Clinical, methodical and damn, systemic', theme, and I haven't gotten much in feedback on this, while trying to produce link after link, of meta narrative. Some just don't seem to bite. Most of what I have contributed to MOA has been intuitive and from my own experience, however, the following gives me much validation, and I once again bring it to the table for discussions.

System Justification and the Law- Part 1

Jon Jost's presentation from 2007 Program on Law and Mind Sciences (PLMS) Conference.

"System justification theory addresses the holding of attitudes that are often contrary to one's own self-interest and therefore contrary to what one would expect on the basis of theories of self-enhancement or rational self-interest."

Justification and the Law- Part 2

State Aids and Cohesion Policy, sub rosa techniques, Instrumentation and pathology and finally, theopathy.

The quote, "the poor will be with you always" Religious bullshit is an old system referent, anyway, there it is...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 15:49 utc | 7

System Justification and the Law- Part 3:The American Dream.

A shared reality? Non-conscious, system justification? Is that different than unconscious SJ?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 16:09 utc | 8


And if it turns out that the shelf life of a twinkie is longer than that of a proton, then it's kinda strange to think that our universe may indeed die from a heat death long before planet Earth does...;~)

Posted by: Cynthia | Feb 2 2009 16:55 utc | 9

@7 U$,

I'm biting and busy digesting but don't have much to add yet. One has to let the rope out slowly as one descends into the abyss. And bring a good supply of spirits.

Posted by: biklett | Feb 2 2009 17:51 utc | 10


I was going to reply to your label comment on the liberal thread, I didn't know if you were joking, but I guess you were trying to get people involved in a discussion of how important words are in creating our reality.

I've been a busy bonehead, and I didn't get a chance to check your links yet, but from the gist of your comments I think I'm pretty interested in what you're currently chasing. I've had a lifetime fascination with propaganda and marketing that began in the days of the Pet Rock, which itself could be a study in human gullibility.

I'll spend some time reading and see what I think. Thanks.

Posted by: David | Feb 2 2009 18:52 utc | 11

MOA has discussed the Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities'
I wont link to em, because type pad sucks ass, but here's some recent news...

Minot base crew commander found dead

The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Feb 2, 2009 7:02:28 EST

MINOT, N.D. — The body of a missile combat crew commander from the Minot Air Force Base was found by police, and the cause of his death is under investigation, the Air Force says.

A statement issued by the base Sunday said the body of Capt. Jonathan Bayless, 28, was found Friday night. Police did not give details but said it was in an area north of the city soccer complex, and they are awaiting autopsy results.

Col. Christopher Ayres, the base’s 91st Missile Wing commander, said Bayless was a training chief with the 91st Operations Support Squadron. He had been at the Minot Air Force Base since March 2005.

Bayless went on active duty in May 2003, the statement said. Base officials did not list his hometown but said he had been assigned earlier to Vandenberg Air Force Base for missile combat crew member training.

“The 91st Missile Wing has lost not only a valuable member of our team, but a member of our family, and he will be missed.” Ayres said in the statement.

The Air Force said casualty assistance officers and unit members are helping Bayless’ family and a memorial service is being planned.

Now it's seven and Now they are all dead!!!!!
This was the last one of the crew to meet his untimely death.

I still smell rotting <*)))><...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 19:04 utc | 12

U$-You must be lurking over at WRH, I just noticed the same posting-pretty creepy. But all on the up and up I'm sure ;(

Posted by: David | Feb 2 2009 19:07 utc | 13

MOA loose nuke archive/links.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 19:10 utc | 14

U$-Thanks for the punctuation <*)))><...! I emailed to a buddy who builds bamboo flyrods... He'll get a kick out of it.

Posted by: David | Feb 2 2009 19:11 utc | 15

You must be lurking over at WRH

Heh? You mean, 'What really happened' blog? Nah, although I have gone there and snatched news posts in the past, I haven't been there for a while now, Mike Rivero, isn't my cup of tea, but he does post some excellent news from around the blogsphere. Oh, and thanks for #11. It's all in the linguistic framing.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 19:18 utc | 16

Speaking of the system...

Over at another haught I visit, there's this:

DIY DNA research:
Hugh Reinhoff has sequenced his daughters DNA at home attempting to diagnose her unique genetic mutation.

My question is this, how long before they brand this guy as a terrorist? And sue him for not conforming to the "experts" of the FDA/ EPA military academic pharmaceutical industrial complex. If you get my drift...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2 2009 19:40 utc | 17

Will Obama be the Gorbachev of the U.S., undermining it by attempting to reform it?

Posted by: lysias | Feb 2 2009 21:51 utc | 18

I don't know what your angle is Uncle but you are way off base. People who move nuclear weapons are a very small and specialized organization. A couple of them got complacent and did not look into a tiny window to see if the cruise missiles they were sending to Barksdale were real world or dummies. The wrong ones were loaded onto an airplane and arrived safely in Louisiana. there the mistake was discovered and severe measures were taken to prevent that sort of stupid crap from happening again.

just because some other dude who has missile in his title dies in Minot you assume he had something to do with this grand conspiracy to give cruise missiles to Israel or Iran or whoever the hell you fancy could do something godawful with them. this is a missile combat crew commander see, not cruise missiles.

and who the hell are the other six? a security guard who died in a motorcycle accident in another state? cops don't get close to nukes unless they are accompanied by technician. the entire operation is two man concept where no single person is every alone with a weapon.

really, this continuous insinuation of something sinister detracts from the other links you find and present here. I believe you bring discredit upon yourself.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 2 2009 22:06 utc | 19

Will Obama be the Gorbachev of the U.S., undermining it by attempting to reform it?

Seems more like Brezhnev, style and appearances notwithstanding.

Posted by: Colin | Feb 2 2009 22:53 utc | 20


IDF colonel leaves speaking tour of UK for fear of arrest

On Thursday night, after news of his visit reached pro-Palestinian groups, some 80 protesters demonstrated outside the offices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in central London, where Rapp was scheduled to speak.

Calling for police to arrest him, the protesters blocked public pathways, while one scaled the building's walls. Police made several arrests.

The event was cancelled and the decision was made for Rapp to return to Israel out of fear of a universal jurisdiction arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.

A loophole in British law allows private criminal complaints of war crimes to be lodged against military personnel, even if they are not British citizens and the alleged crimes were committed elsewhere. Pro-Palestinian groups in Britain and other countries have been trying to exploit the loophole against IDF officers and Israeli leaders.

Israel is working with the British government to change the law.

Posted by: sabine | Feb 3 2009 5:24 utc | 21

In other news:

Militants in Pakistan sever main Afghan supply link

Posted by: Michael | Feb 3 2009 7:09 utc | 22

If only Petraeus wasn't too busy at the Superbowl. He would have used his superpower to thwart them.

Posted by: biklett | Feb 3 2009 7:25 utc | 23

Chalmers Johnson always merits attention.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Feb 3 2009 8:16 utc | 24

A new post by China Hand discusses Syed Saleem Shahzad's recent four part report on Pakistan's "counterinsurgency campaign".

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Feb 3 2009 8:26 utc | 25

Outlawed: Gitmo survivor describes torture

This is really horrible and intense -- be forewarned.

And here is more of this at BoingBoing - "how to get involved" -

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 3 2009 10:41 utc | 26

I was responding to Parviz over at the Iranian weapons ship, and I found the post too long and too far off thread, it doesn't belong over there so I'll stick it up here.


It would be an honor to raise a glass with you!

I'm going to wear my ignorance on my sleeve about the history of the Middle East for a moment, I want to try and see what I can recall without having google's help.

I keep thinking of an old National Geographic (from the late 70's) I remember reading about Lebanon and Beirut, and how they'd been damaged (especially Beirut) during the civil war and how sad I felt as a child, because the article made the place seem magical.

I still remember some of my early schooling and I recall the history of the Arabs was incredible, including their mastery of mathematics, their complicated architecture (indoor toilets!) and their culture.

Immediately the next thing that comes to mind is the crusades. What a screwed-up mess that was. My memories of the crusades can be summed up as a bunch of drunk rednecks gone wild and vicious after being turned loose in the halls of the world's finest university. It still saddens me to think of what happened during those dark days... Why does ignorance always seek to destroy knowledge and beauty? I'm still remembering from my childhood, and memories such as these might explain why I'm such a strange adult these days.

I attended both seven day adventist and baptist churches, but with friends and their families; my parents, thank god, weren't religious. So I've grown-up having participated in religion, but never buying into it. In fact, it made me feel creepy going, but I would because there were always girls at church. I have never understood the blood and body of christ shit the adults did while us youg'uns were in sunday school... That really spooked me, but not in a good way.

I suppose, because of attending christian churches, it has made me very distrustful of christians. Funny thing that! (and again, thank G–d!) To me and my pinprick of a mind it seems as though religion is the root of all evil in history, but that's just me.

As for Iran, I believe you're descendants from the persians which makes me think of Alexander the Great... I think my ignorance is going to be embarrass me, out in public and all, but then that's never stopped me before :)

When I "remember" my memories are more like "feelings" and less like data from a hard drive; exercises like this are good, because it shows me how little I really know regardless of how much I think I know, you know what I mean?

Now I realize I don't know, off the top of my head, who the damn persians were.

I guess saying I need to do a bit more reading is like saying the top of Mount Everest needs a bit more snow...

Yes, Parviz it would be an honor to partake of a libation with you, or anyone from a country that I'm supposed to "hate"

I have always felt all wars would end if the people fighting the war could spend time talking to each other about crops, kids, fishing, ect and keep the politicians silent.

The world is too full of sad stories, but one that always breaks my heart when I think of it in known as the Christmas truce and takes place one Christmas Day during World War I.
Link to Snopes

Pray for peace, but fight for justice!

I'm off to coffee and a quick education in Iranian history...

Posted by: David | Feb 3 2009 14:21 utc | 27

Hey David,

Quick note on the Crusades (it's a pet peeve of mine). Often portrayed as 'the West' oppressing the peoples of the Middle East, any quick study will show that only the First Crusade was successful in achieving its goal (capturing Jerusalem). All the rest, and there were lots, were exercises in boorish Europeans getting the shit kicked out of them by the Saracens, Mamluks, Turks, Seljuks, you name it - and then coming back for more. The only other Crusade (the Fifth) that could be called successful ended up with the Crusaders looting, burning and then capturing Constantinople, which was at that time the largest Christian city in the world. Not the brightest collection of lightbulbs ever to illuminate our dismal history, those Crusaders...

Posted by: Tantalus | Feb 3 2009 14:47 utc | 28

I had the same feeling of sleaziness when dealing with the Campus Crusade for Christ in the late 70's when attending university. It put me off Christianity completely for a long time. Turns out they were heavily supported by the Bunker Hunt brothers, two completely smarmy fat bastardw who made themselves infamous through their unsuccessful attempt to corner the silver market.

I knew there was a reason I always felt the need to wash my hads after dealing with those people...

Posted by: | Feb 3 2009 15:29 utc | 29

Meanwhile, in the Dept. of Fallen Heroes:

John Lydon does a commercial...

Posted by: Tantalus | Feb 3 2009 15:53 utc | 30

LOL, tantalus

esp the comment "i can't believe he's not better"

Posted by: b real | Feb 3 2009 16:32 utc | 31

but i don't see it as lydon selling out or anything, really. the pistol's were always as much about marketing a specific subculture to their audience, imo, as anything to do w/ music. and then PIL quickly veered into commercial-oriented releases. he's always been selling something.

fwiw, my tastes have always run more to pink flag. and those guys are still standing tall three decades later, their last two releases (read & burn 3, object 47) being very solid & rewarding

Posted by: b real | Feb 3 2009 17:06 utc | 32

Yep, b real. 'Johnny Rotten' the Situationalist brand - though that in itself was exciting back in the day. I admit I haven't listened to a thing he's done since the first PiL. Wire, This Heat, Swell Maps etc etc on the other hand...

Anyway, nice to see that punk's not dead, just enjoying a nice bit of hot buttered toast. Bless.

Posted by: Tantalus | Feb 3 2009 17:45 utc | 33

Time line of the invention of TV, from>link

The US was the richest and most virgin, unexploited, and energy rich country in the world, so TV was quickly manufactured, disseminated, sold, became part of the culture, a consumer must have for status, but also a conduit for information, current affairs, culture, being in the know... Or call it propaganda, indoctrination, ...

I once read somewhere a lowly video-grapher saying, I take vids of weddings. Nobody cries in real life, they clap, chatter, laugh, cheer, drink, dance, but my videos are guaranteed to make the audience cry. That is what they are supposed to do.

Age of emotion.

I rest my case :) --- with the flu after hefty doses of tea with rum. Drinks all round.

Posted by: Tangerine | Feb 3 2009 18:16 utc | 34

I have often pointed out the one-sidedness and neglecting of facts by Human Rights Watch. Here is former HRW member taking them down. Human Rights Watch Goes to War

In the years since 2000, HRW pursued a consistent -- and consistently effective -- formula: criticize Israel, but condemn the Palestinians. Challenge the legality of an Israeli aerial bombardment, preferably in polite, technical terms, and vociferously denounce the Palestinian suicide bomber in unambiguous language -- especially when raising questions about the latest Israeli atrocity. In HRW publications, explicit condemnations and accusations of war crimes were almost wholly monopolized by Palestinians. With Israeli citizenship a seeming precondition for the right to self-defense, the right to resist was for all intents and purposes non-existent.

Posted by: b | Feb 3 2009 18:28 utc | 35


* That Flagstar Mortgage didn’t catch Lender Services Direct Inc., and Loomis Wealth Solutions conspire with correspondent lender Excel Funding to steal over $5,000,000 in seller-proceeds that are now missing.
* That CITI Mortgage didn’t catch correspondents Mortgage Bank of California and Bondcorp Realty Services over-financing over $30,000,000 in bad mortgages with cash-back purchases for straw buyer groups? How many of these loans are already now owned by our government, tax-payer subsidized, FNMA and Freddie Mac?
* That GMAC Mortgage LLC., bought over $3,000,000 in mortgages secured in the Orlando Academy Cay Club aka “The Greens” on appraisals for over $400,000 when there are over 30 active listings under $125,000?
* Taylor Bean and Whitaker didn’t catch on that over $5,000,000 in mortgages sold to them were never actually recorded?

You simply must read this. Theoretically, this is an insider's account of mortgage fraud. Very interesting in that he supplies many, MANY details.

Warning: PDF linked at bottom of page.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Feb 3 2009 22:05 utc | 36


the 'outlawed' sequences need to be watched again & again

the crimes have to be revealed again & again

some argue here that there are no crimes particular to u s imperialism. i know the contrary to be the truth

the details are not only necessary for the truth but to also make sense of this world gone wrong

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 3 2009 22:17 utc | 37

Would it be possible to create a "Suggested Reading/Viewing" canon for MoA? I've noticed a tendency for threads to derail because posters are speaking different dialects, so to speak. Many MoA vets understand certain references and may invoke them with the best of intentions, but many times nuances are lost.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Feb 4 2009 0:53 utc | 38


I think the best thing to come from the crusades was that a bunch of inbred white trash learned a bit about civilization... a bit o' spice with their rotten meats, some silk for the double-wide and the list could go on.

It's always barbarians raiding from the north civilized people fear... recent dangerous northern invaders include a Gov Palin, most Canadian hockey fans, and ice storms. I suppose I wouldn't want to be living in Mexico knowing this historic fact. Of course they've been smart, they keep all their jewels hidden from the gringos, maybe having learned a thing or two from past experiences.

One thing I've found typing "crusade" is that it's easy to write "cursade" instead; doesn't that seem a much more appropriate word for what happened?

Posted by: David | Feb 4 2009 1:39 utc | 39

A Brief History of the New World Order

Richard K. Moore describes how we got here and where he believes we are going under Obama.

I'd really like to get people's impression of this piece. I'd even like it if b would consider giving it its own thread for comments.

Please read and comment.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 4 2009 4:11 utc | 40

Malooga: I hear you can fuzz out the effects of the chip with enough Victory gin.

Which reminds me, I'd better get the garden beds ready to plant some potatoes after one of the springtime full moons.

Posted by: catlady | Feb 4 2009 5:23 utc | 41

@40, incredible read Malooga

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 4 2009 6:35 utc | 42

"A Brief History of the World Order" seems to tailor history to the theory as much if not more than it uses history to support the argument. It's a supremely teleological argument whose thrust is so inexorable as to overwhelm everything. We can all hug our fate like those champs of telos who are erotically longing for Armageddon. A critical mind should reject a theory that posits Obama and Al Gore as agents of the devil, and the end of history as the dreaded One World Government.

But the machinations of the Illuminati is a sweet theory, so carry on.

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 4 2009 6:52 utc | 43

Interesting theory Malooga, slothrop would probably see it as conformation of his ideas. I see lots of assumptions and gloss over of international events in support of the general thesis. The most interesting (relevant) conclusions of which:

The answer is that neither Russia nor China have submitted themselves to the elite's central bank formula. They have central banks of course, but the government controls them, and uses them to achieve national objectives. In the elite's central bank model, the central banks must be for-profit institutions, privately owned by elements of the international banking elite – not subservient instruments of national policy. In the global struggle between nationalist interests and elite banking interests, Russia and China are the last major holdouts for national sovereignty. They stand in the way of the New World Order.

Which unfortunately for slothrop, is contradicted in the following paragraph, by asserting that the empire is indeed American-centric.

This is why it has been essential for America, even while being brought to its knees economically and in most other industrial sectors, to maintain military superiority, particularly in the realm of nuclear weapons and space-based command-and-control systems. An attempt was made to subvert Russia by non-military means, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, but thanks to Putin that effort finally failed. China jumped into the capitalist game, in terms of trade and exports, but it has maintained strict control over its domestic economy and it has been rapidly upgrading its military, employing the cost-effective doctrine of asymmetric warfare.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 4 2009 8:41 utc | 44

Proposed Solutions to the Economic Crisis

In our opinion, we must first atone for the past and open our cards, so to speak.

This means we must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and "bad" assets.

True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalisation, bonuses or reputation. However, we would "conserve" and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets. I believe financial authorities must work out the required mechanism for writing off debts that corresponds to today's needs.

Putin's been reading MoA?

Posted by: Jeremiah | Feb 4 2009 9:48 utc | 45

“Peak lithium” is back in focus, as the New York Times looks at Bolivia’s quest to cash in on the world’s biggest reserves of lithium, a key component in batteries. Simply put, global automakers and battery makers need to ensure a steady supply of lithium to power the expected electric-car revolution, but Bolivia’s populist government and its embrace of resource nationalism raises a lot of concerns about access to the country’s mineral wealth.

We're invading Bolivia, too?

via Wall Street Journal.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Feb 4 2009 9:52 utc | 46


-especially the comments.

Posted by: beq | Feb 4 2009 12:11 utc | 47


That's great fun, I found the site last week and emailed to all my friends with children, one can never start them too early. Check out the prison also...

Posted by: David | Feb 4 2009 15:03 utc | 48

good one beq. maybe i will get one for my front porch.

Posted by: annie | Feb 4 2009 15:21 utc | 49

one cannot watch al jazeera without noting that as far as latin america, africa & south east asia - their ideas are in complete synthesis with rupert murdoch

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 4 2009 21:17 utc | 50

& mullah fasullah in the swat valley - sounds like a funk band - perhaps he is a funky taliban

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 4 2009 21:26 utc | 51

i'm a selfish little fucker but i would like to have more information on kyrgyzstan from either b or alex

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 4 2009 21:39 utc | 52

A somewhat radder variant of the much-neglected organizing concept of debtors' clubs. Americans can't wreck the joint alone, but with coordinated foreign pressure and sufficient domestic desperation, things could just change a bit.

Posted by: ...---... | Feb 4 2009 22:35 utc | 53

I remember someone raving about an article in French, exposing the secret Iran-Israel connection, and asking whether anyone can find the translation. Well, here is an enthralling account of Israeli-Iranian behind-the-scenes cooperation and the repeated Israeli treachery that followed:

Alastair Crooke: The Strange Tale of Iran and Israel

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 5 2009 15:42 utc | 54

Peter Gowan:

A striking feature of the New Wall Street System business model was its relentless drive to expand balance sheets, maximizing the asset and liabilities sides. The investment banks used their leverage ratio as the target to be achieved at all times rather than as an outer limit of risk to be reduced where possible by holding surplus capital. A recent New York Federal Reserve report demonstrates how this approach proved powerfully pro-cyclical in an asset-market bubble, driving the banks to expand their borrowing as asset prices rose.


A central mechanism through which the investment banks could respond to asset-price rises was borrowing in the ‘repurchase agreement’—or ‘repo’—market. Typically, the investment bank wishes to buy a security, but needs to borrow funds to do so. On the settlement day, the bank receives the security, and then uses it as collateral for the loan needed to pay for it. At the same time, it promises the lender that it will repurchase the security at a given future date. In that way, the bank will repay the loan and receive the security. But typically, the funds for repurchasing the security from the lender are acquired by selling the security to someone else. Thus, on the settlement day, the original lender to the investment bank is paid off and hands over the security, which is immediately passed on to the new buyer in exchange for cash. This kind of repo funding operation presupposes an asset-price boom. It has accounted for 43 per cent of leverage growth amongst Wall Street banks, according to the same New York Fed report. Repos have also been the largest form of debt on investment banks’ balance sheets in 2007–08.


The question arises as to why the Wall Street banks (followed by others) pushed their borrowing to the leverage limit in such a systematic way. One explanation is that they were doing this in line with the wishes of their shareholders (once they had turned themselves into limited liability companies). ‘Shareholder value’ capitalism allegedly requires the ratio of assets to capital to be maximized. Surplus capital reduces the return on shareholder equity and acts as a drag on earnings per share. [17] But there is also another possible explanation for borrowing to the leverage limit: the struggle for market share and for maximum pricing power in trading activities. If you are a speculative arbitrageur or an asset-bubble blower, financial operational scale is essential to moving markets, by shifting prices in the direction you want them to go. In assessing which of these pressures—shareholder power or pricing power—drove the process, we should note how ready the Treasury, Fed and Wall Street executives have been to crush shareholder interests during the credit crunch, yet how resolutely they sought to protect the levels of leverage of the bulge-bracket banks during the bubble. By all accounts, Citigroup’s turn to maximum balance-sheet and leverage expansion for trading activities derived not from shareholder pressure, but from the arrival there of Robert Rubin after his stint as us Treasury Secretary.

via New Left Review.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Feb 5 2009 16:53 utc | 55

Warning. Atheists may be offended.
Obamanites may swoon.
Spiritually minded Progressive may cheer but will certainly laugh.
others may just get a few chuckles or perhaps sneer.

The Shift Has Hit the Fan:

Welcome to the Sane Asylum ..... But now, if we want to heal the body politic of conditions like Deficit Inattention Disorder, Truth Decay and the deadliest one of all, an unchecked Military Industrial Complex, we must elect ourselves. Spiritually, it's time to quiet our barking dogmas and evolve past the Ten Commandments to an even greater realization – the One Suggestion: "We are all in it together." Once a critical mass of us chooses to live by this credo, we can avoid the critical massacre called Armageddon, create Disarmageddon instead, and achieve fulfillment as a species -- Humanifest Destiny.

The End of the Age of Nefarious?
Trickle Down Goes Belly Up

I practiced the laughing man spiritual tradition of which my major guru was RAWilson.
Illuminati beware, this cosmic transmission may spell your doom.

Posted by: Juannie | Feb 6 2009 19:25 utc | 56

been waiting for this one for several weeks now, limited hangout & all

U.S. Aided a Failed Plan to Rout Ugandan Rebels

DUNGU, Congo — The American military helped plan and pay for a recent attack on a notorious Ugandan rebel group, but the offensive went awry, scattering fighters who carried out a wave of massacres as they fled, killing as many as 900 civilians.

The operation was led by Uganda and aimed to crush the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal rebel group that had been hiding out in a Congolese national park, rebuffing efforts to sign a peace treaty. But the rebel leaders escaped, breaking their fighters into small groups that continue to ransack town after town in northeastern Congo, hacking, burning, shooting and clubbing to death anyone in their way.

The United States has been training Ugandan troops in counterterrorism for several years, but its role in the operation has not been widely known. It is the first time the United States has helped plan such a specific military offensive with Uganda, according to senior American military officials. They described a team of 17 advisers and analysts from the Pentagon’s new Africa Command working closely with Ugandan officers on the mission, providing satellite phones, intelligence and $1 million in fuel.


“The operation was poorly planned and poorly executed,” said Julia Spiegel, a Uganda-based researcher for the Enough Project, which campaigns against genocide. The massacres were “the L.R.A.’s standard operating procedure,” she said. “And the regional governments knew this.”

American officials conceded that the operation did not go as well as intended, and that villagers had been left exposed.

“We provided insights and alternatives for them to consider, but their choices were their choices,” said one American military official who was briefed on the operation, referring to the African forces on the ground. “In the end, it was not our operation.”

Posted by: b real | Feb 7 2009 6:14 utc | 57

to go w/ #57

flashback to sept 11, 2007

Make Peace Now Or Face the Gun, U.S. Tells Kony

The United States government will contribute to military efforts to wipe out the Lord's Resistance Army rebels and hunt down its leaders in the event of the failure of the current peace talks in Juba in Southern Sudan, a senior official said last week.

In the strongest indication yet of America's growing frustration with the lack of a breakthrough after 14 months of talks, Jendayi Frazer, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said the talks, which have dragged on as rebels make one demand after another, need to make progress.

"We're looking forward to the conclusion of this process in a timely manner to address a formal ceasefire, demobilisation and reintegration of the former fighters," she said. "We don't believe that this should be an open-ended process, so we're hoping that these current consultations will be the beginning of the end of this peace process.

We feel we have the basis, especially under the UN Security Council Resolution, to assist in efforts to mop up the LRA and to get them out of Congo," Dr Frazer told journalists in Kampala last week. "So we will not sit still and just let them live in Garamba Park and cultivate land and kill animals. The peace process is their way out; the other way is a renewed effort to apprehend them. We certainly would support those efforts to apprehend them."
Dr Frazer told journalists that the US government is worried that a fresh regional war involving Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo could flare up as a result of renewed fighting in eastern Congo between government troops and rebels loyal to renegade Congolese General Laurent Nkunda.

Gen Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi who is close to Kigali, accuses President Joseph Kabila's troops of allying with Hutu rebels of the Forces Democratique pour la Liberation de Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group that the Rwandese government considers a threat to its stability.

"I am concerned about the continuing activity of negative forces, particularly in the Congo - whether that be the FDLR or the Interahamwe or the LRA - as well as the need for some type of political solution to the situation with Nkunda," Dr Frazer said at the end of her one-day visit to Uganda.

Dr Frazer said she had also spoken with Presidents Kabila of Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda over the security situation in the Great Lakes, and that "all stated that they want to work together diplomatically to try to reduce the tension in the region."

According to Dr Frazer, the US government is ready to back co-ordinated military operations by the three countries to fend off rebel forces fighting any government while using a neighbouring country as a military base.
Dr Frazer also vowed that her government would not shy away from employing military means to end the activities of the "negative forces" if efforts to end conflicts through dialogue are not successful - yet another indicator of the new approach the US is taking on conflicts in the region.

i didn't follow the operations very closely, but the coverage was just as chaotic as the ops were. the LRA blamed the UPDF for some of the massacres, the UPDF blamed the LRA. journalists at kampala's daily monitor were arrested for trying to report that the official storyline was falsified in that the forces actually raided empty rebel camps when they claimed to have engaged the LRA, etc...

if i come across a good analysis, i'll pass it along

Posted by: b real | Feb 7 2009 6:56 utc | 58

re the latest shoe throwing, Sweden gets into the act too. Shoes and books were thrown at the Israeli ambassador the other day. here is a bit of video. I do not see ASKoD there...could have been filming though I suppose.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 7 2009 10:34 utc | 59

pretty wild story from the miami times on thursday

Indicted Miami Beach weapons dealer Efraim Diveroli is still making millions of dollars from the U.S. government

On March 15, 2008, a fireball shot into the midday sky over Albania's capital, Tirana. The blast echoed 100 miles away in Macedonia and Kosovo. Its force was comparable to that of a small nuclear weapon. But this wasn't atomic. It was an accident at an arms depot, where poor villagers had been hired to handle old ammunition and artillery shells. The explosion killed at least 26 people and injured hundreds. The village of Gerdec was obliterated.

Three men were arrested for mass murder in what local media dubbed "Albania's Hiroshima." Two of them were alleged accomplices to a 23-year-old Miami Beach-based arms dealer named Efraim Diveroli, who faces trial later this year on 83 counts of fraud and conspiracy for procuring Chinese-made ammo in Albania and selling it to the Pentagon.

The charges might be difficult to prove, though. A potential lead witness in the case, Kosta Trebicka, mysteriously died in September. His body was found bloodied and sprawled across a dirt road in eastern Albania, some 50 yards from his slightly dented SUV. Trebicka had recorded a tape (now available on YouTube) in which Diveroli said corruption in that country "went up... to the prime minister and his son."

Last week, Miami federal prosecutors retreated, allowing the return of $4.2 million of Diveroli's property — including a new Mercedes S550 — that had been confiscated. Perhaps even more significant, Diveroli is out on bail and a Miami Beach company he owns called Ammoworks might even now be selling ammunition to the American government. This fact has been largely overlooked by prosecutors and Congress.


Posted by: b real | Feb 7 2009 18:21 utc | 60

from a friday democracy now interview w/ p.w. singer on his new book on robots & the military

..when I use the term "robotics revolution,” I need to be clear here. You know, I’m not talking about a revolution where, you know, your Roomba vacuum cleaner is going to sneak up and ambush you. We’re talking about a revolution in the way wars are fought and who fights them. And this aspect of distance is one of the big ones. It changes the very meaning of going to war.

You know, my grandfather served in the Pacific fleet in World War II. When he went to war, he went to a place where danger took place, and the family didn’t know if he was ever coming back. And that’s very different than the experience of, for example, a Predator drone pilot that I met with who described that basically his experience of fighting in the Iraq war was getting in his Toyota Corolla, driving to work—he’s doing this in Nevada—driving into work for twelve hours, he puts missiles on targets, then gets back in the Toyota, commutes back home, and within twenty minutes he’s talking to his son at the dinner table.

When you say “puts missiles on targets,” you mean bombs.

Hellfire missiles. You know, he’s basically—he is engaging—

He attacks, I mean.

He is engaging in combat. But he’s doing it from 7,000 miles away. And then, at the end of the day, he goes to a PTA meeting or takes his kid to soccer practice. And so, it’s a whole new experience of war, which is actually creating a new concept of a warrior.

am i wrong, or do the internationally-accepted rules of warfare then make this killer a legitimate target at his home, in his toyota, at his PTA meeting or his kids soccer practice in wherever nevada?

Posted by: b real | Feb 7 2009 21:31 utc | 61

As bad as things get economically in the US, the elite are still betting on enough technological advances as the one above to conquer the world from their home office.

Of course with 4.5 million displaced, 1-2 million widows, 5 million orphans, about 1 million dead -- in one way or another, affecting nearly one in two Iraqis (If there are over one million widows there must be over one million killed, I would put it closer to two million. And, the injured have not been quantified.), one can only categorize this type of pathological murdering as exponentially more immoral than Vietnem was.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 7 2009 22:15 utc | 62

@58 the LRA's insurrection is looking increasingly proxy war-ish. A credible (NGO) local who is there tells stories of airdrops in the bush, and not for the UPDF. She attributed them to Acholis outside Uganda. The LRA has a regional tribal underpinning that gets ignored in all the crowd-pleasing horror of sliced-off lips and stuff.

Posted by: ...---... | Feb 8 2009 17:07 utc | 63

Tom Ricks (conservative/realist journalist) on Iraq and Afghanistan

In Iraq the real war may yet come. The generals will press on Obama to commit more troops for longer.
Afghanistan - the big problem is Pakistan and that can not be solved, only contained.

Posted by: b | Feb 8 2009 19:00 utc | 64

Ricks was unimpressive, I thought, and behind the curve.

On Iraq, he believes the briefings from Odierno and the GZ embassy that Iraq is about to break up (of course, if US troops are withdrawn). He hasn't realised that this is an interested appreciation. From what I can see, things are going in precisely the opposite direction. Maliki looks like he will be cutting the ground from under the generals' feet.

In any case, Obama understands perfectly well what the generals are up to.

He didn't have anything very brilliant to say about Afghanistan either. It's no great secret that much of the problem lies in Pakistan now. He failed to say that if Pakistan is destabilised, it is the US that will have created the situation.

Posted by: Alex | Feb 8 2009 19:50 utc | 65

Odierno is an extremist, watch for him to get replaced.

Posted by: annie | Feb 8 2009 20:10 utc | 66

I figure I am not the only one who has wondered how things go for old-time barfly DeAnander. She dropped of a report over at eurotrib, here is part of it:


Greetings to all.

I am very busy with my local projects, including putting in the infrastructure for a food garden.  My long silence is not indicative of anything wrong -- no news is good news in this case.  New love has come into my life most unexpectedly this last summer, and I've been rather closely focussed on "soaking in" to my local community and biome, coming to terms with a new lover/partner after many years of solitude, and enjoying the command of my own time that has come with retirement from the day job.

It is odd to be finding contentment and happiness, even moments of dumb-grin joy, in a time of (what looks like) civilisational collapse.  Even on the brink of the volcano, it seems, we can still dance a hornpipe.  I'm working on the boat, trying to make her mobile again before the supply of industrial goods starts to dry up;  got a worm bin started, am composting food waste and (as I said) planning a food garden in my partner's back yard.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Feb 8 2009 21:13 utc | 67

#61 b real:

am i wrong, or do the internationally-accepted rules of warfare then make this killer a legitimate target at his home, in his toyota, at his PTA meeting or his kids soccer practice in wherever nevada?

You're right, but he and civilians he hides behind are in danger only if he attacks Israel (or DC or London.) (Impossible I know, as are Paris, Milan ... any place in Randy Newman's "Political Science". And if possible, he'd be suicided, less collateral problems,)

#62 Malooga:

As bad as things get economically in the US, the elite are still betting on enough technological advances as the one above to conquer the world from their home office

Already done. Just liquidation and consolidation now.

Posted by: plushtown | Feb 9 2009 13:01 utc | 68

Good for DeAnander!

Thanks askod.

Posted by: beq | Feb 9 2009 17:42 utc | 69

Another filthy obama>lie.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 10 2009 3:13 utc | 70


you are right, it is a dirty lie - compounded by the corpses & broken bodies that go with it

how many more of these lies before the he is revealed as just another tyrant

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 10 2009 3:54 utc | 71

Interesting lead slothrop. The link “Patrick J. Leahy” in the last paragraph of your link, “lie” leads to further links that got me to this:

Senator, Target of Anthrax Letter, Challenges F.B.I. Finding By SCOTT SHANE Senator Patrick J. Leahy said Wednesday that he did not believe the F.B.I.’s contention that an Army scientist conducted the attacks alone. September 18, 2008

I have wondered since 01 when Lehey would use his Senatorial power to investigate the machinations surrounding the anthrax attempts on his life. It was a curious omission from him for me. I’m from VT of course. The court intrigue is indeed strange. Now he can come out with a real investigation? Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: Juannie | Feb 10 2009 4:02 utc | 72

If he's just another tyrant, which I tend to believe, then why can Leahy come out of the closet now? Wouldn't Obama be just as much a threat? Well no I guess, it didn't happen on O's watch. The investigation is something that now can be tolerated as an expression of true democracy in action... aaahh..uuugg.

Posted by: Juannie | Feb 10 2009 4:19 utc | 73

It would be a big, big mistake to attribute everything to a monolithic US elite. The factional cleavage is real and could make all the difference in the world. You'll see, next time the right takes power.

Posted by: ...---... | Feb 10 2009 19:27 utc | 74

Mumbai tactics in Kabul: Taliban attack government buildings in Kabul

At least five men armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the Justice Ministry, said Mohammad Ali, a ministry employee. Two assailants died in the ensuing firefight with security forces. At least three employees were killed, another witness said.

Afghan Justice Minister Sarwar Danesh told The Associated Press by mobile telephone that he was holed up in the building, where a number of gunmen were also hiding.
Another suicide bomber attacked the ministry's corrections department in another part of the city, said police officer Zulmay Khan. There were a number of casualties from the second attack.

Zabiullah Mujaheed, a Taliban spokesman, said five Taliban fighters attacked the ministry, while two others targeted the corrections department.

The attacks were in response to the alleged mistreatment of Taliban prisoners in Afghan government jails, Mr. Mujaheed said.

"We have warned the Afghan government to stop torturing our prisoners," Mr. Mujaheed told the AP in a phone call from an undisclosed location.

Posted by: b | Feb 11 2009 8:02 utc | 75

billmon got a new on at dkos.
Same Day; Different Nations

comments are quite funny.

peace to all

Posted by: sabine | Feb 12 2009 7:41 utc | 76

Did anyone here know that Obama's Chief of Staff left the U.S.A. to fight for Israel? I was shocked to learn this, plus other revelations by the excellent Michael Scheuer who wrote "Imperial Hubris" and is one of my ex-CIA favourite authors:

February 10, 2009
Lobby? What Lobby?

by Michael Scheuer

Last December, I spoke to the nonpartisan Jamestown Foundation's annual conference on al-Qaeda. My talk was a worldwide survey of how America's war against Islamism had gone in 2008; an analysis of al-Qaeda's current fortunes and growth potential; and an assessment of whether U.S. policies were adequately protecting genuine U.S. national interests as the Obama administration began. I concluded that 2008 was a year of setbacks for America, and that the future appeared rather bleak.

For the speech, I took as my text a truncated version of the
introduction I wrote for the paperback edition of my book, Marching
Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq. In preparing the new text I was pleased to find my predictions in the hardcover had been accurate, but saddened that Americans had not faced the fact that our Islamist foes are motivated by U.S. foreign policies and their impact. One policy I am critical of in Marching Toward Hell is the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship. I argued that unqualified, bipartisan support for Israel damages U.S. national security, and I damned those who identify critics of the relationship as anti-American, anti-Semitic, or, in my case, according to AIPAC leader Morris J. Amitay, a man who would make Mein Kampf "required reading" at the CIA.

In the course of analyzing 2008 events, I found no reason to alter my
view. And after hearing McCain and Obama during the campaign, there was no reason to expect change in Washington's Israel policy. At the
Jamestown Conference, I therefore first discussed the abject failure of President Bush and his advisers to recognize that al-Qaeda and its
allies are waging war because of U.S. policies - one of which is Israel policy - and not because of our lifestyle and domestic politics.

I next offered an estimate of Mr. Obama's potential to change these
terrorism-motivating policies. While admitting an inability to read
Obama's mind, I noted that he had given at least two strong hints - to Americans and the Muslim world - that he would be as pro-Israel as Mr. Bush. I noted that (a) Mr. Obama spent the last months of the
presidential campaign "dancing the Tel Aviv two-step," promising to
protect Israel as if it were located inside the United States; and (b) Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, a U.S. citizen who during the 1991 Gulf War left America to serve in Israel's military.

These statements of fact suggested to me that U.S. policy toward Israel and the Muslim world would be identical to Mr. Bush's, albeit couched in softer, come-let-us-reason-together rhetoric.

My speech seemed well received, but in January I received a call from
Jamestown's president telling me I had been terminated as a senior
fellow by the Foundation's board of directors. Why, I asked? He
responded by citing my comments about Obama doing the "Tel Aviv
two-step" and my description of Emanuel's record, both of which he said might be in a speech by Rep. Ron Paul. My remarks about Emanuel
apparently sparked particular anger among the Foundation's directors, as Jamestown's president referred to them at least three times in a short telephone conversation. In any event, the president said several major financial donors to Jamestown threatened to withdraw funding if I remained a senior fellow, so I was getting the boot. Then he added that my every-other-week essays for Jamestown's Terrorism Focus had attracted readers and praise for the Foundation, so the directors said I could keep writing for the journal. I declined this honor, which seemingly was a bribe made in the hope that I would not speak publicly about being terminated as a senior fellow for saying the current state of the U.S.-Israel relationship undermined U.S. national security.

I regret leaving Jamestown, as I have great respect for its analysis on several vital U.S. security issues. But at the same time, I am grateful to the Foundation's directors for terminating me. In the hardcover of Marching Toward Hell, I condemned the U.S.-Israel relationship and those who take it "upon themselves to decide who is and who is not a 'good American,'" based on his or her views of U.S.-Israel relations, and "then mete out punishment to those of their countrymen who do not make the grade." At the time, my view was based on what pro-Israel U.S. citizens had done to Pat Buchanan, President Carter, and Professors Walt and Mearsheimer.

Now, however, I have the personal experience of losing both position and income for condemning Washington's status quo Israel policy as a threat to U.S. national security. The introduction to my paperback, therefore, can be said to be credibly written by an author with firsthand knowledge of how the Israel Lobby works. After my experience with the "nonpartisan" board of directors at Jamestown, I can only say of them what FDR said of his domestic foes: "They are unanimous in their hatred for me - and I welcome their hatred."

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 12 2009 15:38 utc | 77

Yeah, everyone knows this around here. You must have missed the several discussions. It's common knowledge among the political classes.

Posted by: Malooga | Feb 12 2009 16:53 utc | 78

Malooga, sorry, my mistake. You guys/gals are much quicker than I.

Posted by: Parviz | Feb 12 2009 19:05 utc | 79

How dare they?

Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them

Posted by: b | Feb 13 2009 8:27 utc | 80

dahr jamail

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 13 2009 20:49 utc | 81

blackwater got itself a new name:

In a note to employees, president Gary Jackson said the name change reflects the company's new focus, and he indicated Xe would not actively pursue new security business.

"This company will continue to provide personnel protective services for high-threat environments when needed by the U.S. government, but its primary mission will be operating our training facilities around the world," Jackson said.

It has expanded other businesses such as aviation support, recently building a fleet of 76 aircraft that it has deployed to such hotspots as West Africa and Afghanistan. The company got its start in training and continues to build up that business. Last year, some 25,000 civilians, law enforcement and military personnel attended a Blackwater class.


Sorry, can't seem to produce a link that works.

Posted by: sabine | Feb 14 2009 2:19 utc | 82

@sabine #82

"Xe" is the website I have been using for the past few years to check the changes in currency exchange rates.

I have the feeling there is a joke here I am missing. At the least, it should present a great deal of confusion.

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 14 2009 5:12 utc | 83

hi monolycus,

and what about XE not trying to get new business, under what name will they be going after new business?

it just does not sound right.

Posted by: sabine | Feb 14 2009 6:58 utc | 84

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