Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 25, 2009

Links May 25 09

  • As expected - North Korea Claims to Conduct 2nd Nuclear Test - (NYT)
  • South Korean Stocks, Won Drop After North Tests Nuclear Weapon - (Bloomberg)
  • Japan wants UNSC meeting on N.Korea test - Kyodo - (Reuters)
  • Japan panel wants "first strikes" against enemies - (Reuters)

  • So where is the pressure? - Netanyahu defies Obama on Israeli settlement freeze - (Reuters)

  • IPI wins over TAPI - Pakistan, Iran finally sign gas pipeline accord - (Dawn)
  • Good Iran portait - Tehran or Bust - (Newsweek)
  • Mohamed ElBaradei - ‘They are not Fanatics’ - (Newsweek)
  • Almost? - Africa almost giving land away, says UN - (FT (alt. link))
  • The mystery - Sudan Airstrikes: How Contradiction Became Evidence - (Palestinian Chronicle)
  • Best way for development aid? - How to help the poor have more money? Well, you could give it to them - (NYU)
  • The second wave - Job Losses Push Safer Mortgages to Foreclosure - (NYT)
  • Krugman on the Banana Republic of California - State of Paralysis - (NYT)
  • Why Britain is fucked - It’s Finished - (LRB) (lengthy)
  • Funny headline - Geithner rejects charges US moving toward socialism - (AFP)
  • Just cut out the bad news - The Recession Blocker - (Recession Blocker)

Please add your links, views and news in the comments.

Posted by b on May 25, 2009 at 6:18 UTC | Permalink


Newsweek has been going crazy for Iran lately it seems. What gives?

Posted by: Anthony | May 25 2009 7:00 utc | 1

@Anthony - it seems that Newsweek is trying to paint a positive picture on Iran. Must have been an editorial decision to push back against the usual warmongers.

Posted by: b | May 25 2009 7:35 utc | 2>Memorial Day a graphic eyewitness accounting of the battle at Ia Drang 1965.

Posted by: anna missed | May 25 2009 9:39 utc | 3

Congressional Delegation Skeptical Netanyahu Can Advance Peace Process - Coming from a strong Israeli support no less!

Posted by: Anthony | May 25 2009 9:57 utc | 4

Fear works:

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Just over half of Israelis back an immediate attack on the nuclear facilities of arch-foe Iran but the rest want to wait and see the results of US diplomacy, according to a poll released on Sunday.

Fifty-one percent support an immediate Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites, while 49 percent believe the Jewish state should await the outcome of efforts by the US administration to engage with the Islamic republic, said the survey published by Tel Aviv University.

But 74 percent of those questioned said they believe that new US President Barack Obama's efforts will not stop the Islamic republic from acquiring atomic weapons.
Opinion is split among left- and right-wingers about whether to attack Iran's nuclear sites, with 63 percent of those leaning to the right favouring a strike, compared with 38 percent of those leaning to the left, the poll said.

It was carried out by Tel Aviv University's Centre for Iranian Studies among 509 Israeli adults and had a 4.5-percent margin of error.

Posted by: andrew | May 25 2009 10:14 utc | 5

absolutely chilling anna missed @ #3.

how anybody can think that shit is sexy is beyond me.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 25 2009 11:01 utc | 6

I don't know if this Victor Bout extradition link has already been cited here. The "final decision" has been delayed once again until the beginning of August, but it seems that this is a procedural decision rejecting the Bout-team's claim of inadmissibility of the request for extradition. Meanwhile, the legal status of the Bout-team's counter-suit against Robert Zachariasievich, Derek Odney and Scott Hacker, the 3 U.S. operatives directing the sting and snatch operation seems unclear, but should be adjudicated by the Thai court within a similar time frame.

The Victor Bout site gives a slightly different twist to the story

The Thai court is expected to issue its final decision concerning the case brought by Victor against the Thai authorities for false arrest and the US request for the extradition of Victor Bout on August 11, 2009.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 25 2009 15:41 utc | 7>Poverty growing in Germany

Posted by: Obelix | May 25 2009 17:52 utc | 8

Thanks Obelix - yes - we have an ever increasing income gap in Germany.

Still that poverty measure is a bit skewed as it mixes rural place with city centers. Rent (most Germans do rent) in rural places is a quarter or less of the rent in cities. A $1000 Euro poverty border is thereby not universally applicable. Still such statistics do so. One can live on $1000 in Mecklenburg Vorpommern (very rural East Germany) but it is about impossible to live on that in Frankfurt because the rent would take most of that.

Social state payments adjust for that as one payment is made for living necessities and another payment is made for rent with the rent payment varying with the average rent payed in the area.

The whole issue is therefore more balanced and less regional than the article makes one believe. It is superficial and does not compare to other countries (the U.S. would likely be shamed in a comparison - think healthcare which is payed for by the state for the poor in Germany without the costs showing up in the statistics while in the U.S. it is not payed for.)

Of course I think that these payments are still too low and that we should tax the rich much more and give more to the needy. Especially to single persons with children.

Posted by: b | May 25 2009 18:48 utc | 9

Mike Huckabee, poet? unfortunately, the answer is yes. and the poem is about Pelosi. sorry, but i have to include the whole thing. you just can't make this kind of crap up:

Here's a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a "leaker."

She flies on government planes coast to coast
And doesn't mind that our economy is toast
She makes the Air Force squire her in their military jets
There's room for her family, her staff, and even her pets.

Until now, she annoyed us, but her gaffes were mostly funny;
Even though it was painful to watch her waste our tax money.
But now her wacky comments are no laughing matter;
She's either unwilling to tell the truth, or she's mad as a hatter!

She sat in briefings and knew about enhanced interrogation;
But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
She disparages the CIA and says they are a bunch of liars;
Even the press aren't buying it and they're stoking their fires.

I think Speaker Pelosi has done too much speaking;
And instead of her trashing our intelligence officials, it's her nose that needs tweaking.

If forced to believe whether the CIA and her colleagues in Congress are lying;
Or it's Speaker Pelosi whose credibility and career is dying.
I believe in the integrity of the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe;
Not the woman who has been caught flat-footed, lying to our face.

I say it here and I say it rather clear-
It's time for Nancy Pelosi to resign and get out of here.

Posted by: Lizard | May 25 2009 19:57 utc | 10

Wow, what a poem. I've often wondered why the U.S. never produced a Shakespeare, Goethe or Cervantes. Thanx to the Huckster, I need wonder no more.

Posted by: Lysander | May 25 2009 20:33 utc | 11

reading huckabee's holy shit is what would normally be classed as cruel & unusual punishment

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 25 2009 20:38 utc | 12

Israel pulls plug on Iran regime change shop

Posted by: Anthony | May 25 2009 21:18 utc | 13

Weird, trying again...

Posted by: Anthony | May 25 2009 21:19 utc | 14

Suggested addition to links, the The Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

US bonds sale faces market resistance

A couple (IMO) highlights:

The interest yield on 10-year US Treasuries – the benchmark price of long-term credit for the global system – jumped 33 basis points last week to 3.45pc week on contagion effects after Standard & Poor's issued a warning on Britain's "AAA" credit rating.


The yield-spike may be nearing the point where it threatens to short-circuit economic recovery. While lower spreads on mortgage rates have kept a lid on home loan costs so far, mortgage rates have nevertheless crept back up to 5pc.

The Obama administration needs to raise $2 trillion this year to cover the fiscal stimulus plan and the bank bail-outs. It has to fund $900bn by September.

"The dynamic is just getting overwhelming," said RBC Capital Markets.


"There isn't enough capital in the world to buy the new sovereign issuance required to finance the giant fiscal deficits that countries are so intent on running. There is simply not enough money out there," he said. "If the US loses control of long rates, they will not be able to arrest asset price declines. If they print too much money, they will debase the dollar and cause stagflation.

"The bottom line is that there is no global 'get out of jail free' card for anyone", he said.

The US is acutely vulnerable because it relies heavily on foreign goodwill. China and Japan alone hold 23pc of America's $6,369bn federal debt. Suspicions that Washington is trying to engineer a stealth default by letting the dollar slide could cause patience to snap, even if Asian exporters would themselves suffer if they harmed their chief market.

The dollar has fallen 11pc against a basket of currencies since early March. Mutterings of a "dollar crisis" may now constrain the Fed as it tries to shore up the bond market. It has so far bought $116bn of Treasuries as part of its "credit easing" blitz, out of a $300bn pool.


Fed chair Ben Bernanke has long argued that central banks can bring down long-term borrowing rates by purchasing bonds "at essentially no cost". His frequent writings rarely ask whether foreigner investors – from a different cultural universe – will tolerate such conduct.

Mr Bernanke is betting that under a floating currency regime there is no risk of repeating the disaster of October 1931, when the Fed had to raise rates twice to stem foreign gold withdrawals, with catastrophic consequences. This assumption may be tested.

It is not clear where the capital will come from to cover global bond issues. Asian central banks and Mid-East oil exporters have cut back on their purchases of US and European bonds as reserve accumulation slows. Russia has slashed its holding by a third to support growth at home. Even Japan's state pension fund has become a net seller of bonds for the first time this year the country's population ages.

Japan's public debt will reach 200pc of GDP next year. Warnings by the Japan's DPJ opposition party that, if elected this autumn, it would not purchase any more US debt unless issued in yen, is a sign that the political mood in Asia is turning hostile to US policy.

There is no evidence yet that foreigners are in the process of dumping US Treasuries. Brad Setser from the US Council on Foreign Relations said global central banks added $60bn to their US holdings in the first three weeks of May.

Underlying fundamentals of S&P sucker rally.

Posted by: jdmckay | May 25 2009 23:36 utc | 15

#9, b, the question that comes to mind is if Germany, essentially the banker for the EU, isn't doing that well, who is profiting from the European Union?

Posted by: Obelix | May 26 2009 1:45 utc | 16

@#15 Great article. Thanx for the link.

Posted by: Lysander | May 26 2009 2:25 utc | 17

Gotta watch out for Evans-Pritchard.

He was one of the main mouthpieces for recently-convicted Lord Conrad Black, back during the Clinton smear campaign; dear lil' Ambrose wrote quite a few articles about how Clinton was helping Mr. Tyson, of Tyson Chicken fame, smuggle thousands of tons of cocaine into the U.S., all hidden in chicken carcasses.

A-E-P will write pretty much anything, for anyone, so long as they give him enough money. While he may do legitimate reporting on the side, his main business is highly refined, politically targeted propaganda and hit jobs.

So be careful what info you take away from him.

Posted by: china_hand2 | May 26 2009 4:09 utc | 18

I thought y'all would like this one:

Israel sez Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying uranium to Iran.

Lord a'mighty. How much more comically predictable can you get?

Posted by: china_hand2 | May 26 2009 6:52 utc | 19

Gog, Magog, Dubya's worldview, cheese-eating surrender monkeys, and preemption.

I wonder if much of that anti-french freedom fries campaign in 2003 was to discourage (or limit the damage from) an untimely disclosure of Dubya's comments to Chirac. At the time there was a clear whiff of shit mongering to it.

Had any reporter quoted a French source at it would have been treated as a joke.

Posted by: rjj | May 26 2009 9:20 utc | 20

Post hiccup. Had to copy text, refresh screen, and paste it in new text box to get the above to post.

Posted by: rjj | May 26 2009 9:21 utc | 21

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