Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Opposites Attract?

Man of War
Man of Peace

That picture is from today's ceremony in the Capitol where George W. Bush awarded the Dalai Lama the congressional gold medal....By the way, the Dalai Lama had this to say about the Iraq war a week before Bush launched it:

The Iraq issue is becoming very critical now....Unfortunately, although we are in the 21st century, we still have not been able to get rid of the habit of our older generations. I am talking about the belief or confidence that we can solve our problems with arms. It is because of this notion that the world continues to be dogged by all kinds of problems.

But what can we do? What can we do when big powers have already made up their minds? All we can do is to pray for a gradual end to the tradition of wars. Of course, the militaristic tradition may not end easily. But, let us think of this. If there were bloodshed, people in positions of power, or those who are responsible, will find safe places; they will escape the consequent hardship. They will find safety for themselves, one way or the other. But what about the poor people, the defenseless people, the children, the old and infirm. They are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of devastation....Therefore, the real losers will be the poor and defenseless, ones who are completely innocent, and those who lead a hand-to-mouth existence.

Today, as the Dalai Lama called for peace, urged action to stop global warming, and thanked Bush and members of Congress for supporting Tibet, he said nothing about powerful leaders who unleash war upon others and escape its direct consequences. I wonder who had in mind.

Posted by David Corn at 02:27 PM


capt said...

Global warming?



I'm a little surprised Bunnypants didn't melt like the wicked witch with a bucket of water over her head.

David B. Benson said...

Capt --- This was some diplomatic game played during the CCP congress.

Doesn't seem a good way to make friends but it did influence people...

capt said...

Inquiry urged on Hunt Oil contract in Iraq

Democrats say Bush ties may have led to Iraq oil contract

Democratic lawmakers moved Monday toward investigating Hunt Oil's oil exploration contract in Iraq, saying the company's ties to President Bush raised questions about whether it had insider information that helped it reach the deal.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, asked Hunt to turn over all Iraq-related communication with the U.S. government by Nov. 2.

The lawmakers also demanded that Ray Hunt, Hunt Oil's chief executive, submit copies of information he may have received about Iraq as a member of Mr. Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

A Hunt spokeswoman said the company would cooperate with the request for "certain limited information."

Spokeswoman Jeanne Phillips said the company's judgment to explore for oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq was made without U.S. government advice.

"As we have stated before, our policy as a company is to act independently when determining where to explore for oil and gas around the world," Ms. Phillips said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Hunt, 64, has not talked about his service on the intelligence board, which meets about six times a year. Its members, all presidential appointees, have security clearances, and much of their work is classified.

Former board members and intelligence experts said its members don't often deal with specific intelligence.

Instead, they focus on broader concerns, such as whether one agency is cooperating with another or how a training program is working.

"Their job is to advise the president about the efficiency of the intelligence systems and where things need to be changed," said Arthur S. Hulnick, a CIA veteran who is now an associate professor of international relations at Boston University.

"It is more management than substantive."

That said, members must study intelligence-gathering efforts if they are expected to judge how the system works, Mr. Hulnick said.

"They clearly have to see it – things like estimates and daily reports, finished intelligence and analyzed intelligence," he said.

Although Mr. Waxman's committee has subpoena power, the lawmakers did not indicate whether they would compel Hunt officials to testify.

"We are in the information-gathering stage," said Natalie Laber, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kucinich. "Before we hold hearings, we gather information."

Mr. Waxman, D-Calif., has held a series of contentious, Iraq-related hearings in recent months, including one at which Democrats grilled Blackwater, the State Department's private security contractor. Members also investigated corruption in the Iraqi government.

Last month, Mr. Bush said he was concerned about Hunt's deal if it jeopardized Iraq's ability to pass a national oil-sharing law. In their letter to Hunt, Mr. Waxman and Mr. Kucinich asserted that Hunt's deal "may have undermined U.S. national policy of working toward the passage of an oil revenue sharing plan."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's oil minister has called Hunt's deal illegal. Congressional Democrats have jumped into the fray, saying Hunt Oil signed its deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government because it has insider information about the future of Iraq's national oil law.

"Ray Hunt is in a unique position to know what is happening in Iraq," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Ms. Phillips said Hunt Oil's decision to enter Iraq was based only on information that "was in the public domain."

Hunt Oil and the Kurdistan Regional Government have said that their deal complies with the national constitution and noted that the agreement calls for sharing revenue with other regions of Iraq. They said Mr. Hunt's political relationships were irrelevant to the firm's decision to explore in Iraq.

"The outcome of the deliberations for the national hydrocarbons law will not affect this agreement one way or another," Qubad Talabani, Washington representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said recently.


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Bush connected to Texas Oilmen? OMG? Of course he is and those connections are like the aspen roots and whatnot. That is why there should be extra oversight not less.

Surely having connections is not illegal but when matters as considerable as war and peace are concerned careful oversight is more than justified.


capt said...

Japan and China lead flight from the dollar

Japan and China led a record withdrawl of foreign funds from the United States in August, heightening fears of a fresh slide in the dollar and a spike in US bond yields.

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright

China threatens `nuclear option' of dollar sales

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: This bear is not capitulating

Data from the US Treasury showed outflows of $163bn (£80bn) from all forms of US investments. "These numbers are absolutely stunning," said Marc Ostwald, an economist at Insinger de Beaufort.

Asian investors dumped $52bn worth of US Treasury bonds alone, led by Japan ($23bn), China ($14.2bn) and Taiwan ($5bn). It is the first time since 1998 that foreigners have, on balance, sold Treasuries.

Mr Ostwald warned that US bond yields could start to rise again unless the outflows reverse quickly. "Woe betide US Treasuries if inflation does not remain benign," he said.

The release comes a day after the IMF warned that the dollar was still overvalued and likely to face "some depreciation in the medium term".

The dollar's short-lived rally over recent days stopped abruptly on the data, increasing pressure on US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to shore up Washington's "strong dollar" rhetoric at the G7 summit this week.

The Greenback has already fallen below parity against the Canadian Loonie for the first time since 1976 and has touched record lows against a global basket. It closed at $2.032 against the pound.

David Woo, an analyst at Barclays Capital, said Washington was happy to see the dollar slide. "They don't care so long as the fall is not disorderly. They see it as a way of correcting the deficit. " he said.

IMF raises spectre of UK house price correction
Market forces: stay tuned to the markets

Hedge funds target currency pegs

Mr Woo said a chunk of the August outflows may have come from foreigners borrowing in the US during the liquidity crunch to meet needs in euros. "We think it may be a one-off," he said.

The US requires $70bn a month in capital inflows to cover its current account deficit, but the key sources of finance are drying up one by one.

BNP Paribas said America has relied on "hot money" from abroad to cover 25pc to 30pc of the US short-term credit and commercial paper market over the last two years.

This flow is now in danger after the seizure in parts of the market over the summer and after the Federal Reserve's half point rate cut, which has shaved the US yield advantage over other countries.

Ian Stannard, a Paribas currency analyst, said the data was "extremely negative" for the dollar. "It exceeds the worst fears. It is not just foreigners who are selling US assets. Americans are turning their back as well," he said.

Central banks in Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam have all begun to cut purchases of US bonds, or signalled an intent to do so. In effect, they are giving up trying to hold down their currencies because the policy is starting to set off inflation.

The Treasury data would have been even worse if it had not been for $60bn of inflows from hedge funds based in Britain and the Caymans, which needed to cover US positions at the height of the credit crunch.


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”The US requires $70bn a month in capital inflows to cover its current account deficit, but the key sources of finance are drying up one by one.”

Looks like trouble.


capt said...

"The vested interests - if we explain the situation by their influence - can only get the public to act as they wish by manipulating public opinion, by playing either uponthe public's indifference, confusions, prejudices, pugnacities or fears. And the only way in which the power of the interests can be undermined and their maneuvers defeated is by bringing home to the public the danger of its indifference, the absurdity of its prejudices, or the hollowness of its fears; by showing that it is indifferent to danger where real danger exists; frightened by dangers which are nonexistent." Sir Norman Angell 1872 - 1967

Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power: Leo Toystoy - Demanding the Impossible: a History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall (fontana press 1992) p374

"Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. ...justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated." Manu 1200 bc


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Gerald said...

I spent a good part of October 17, 2007 puking. It was a torrential puke. Hitler Bush, the man of mass murders and war crimes against humanity, is standing next to the Dalai Lama (spell), the man of peace.

What Is Hitler Bush?

Dear Posters:

If you have listened carefully, you would have heard more of Hitler Bush’s babble. He says that he is not a lame duck. My answer for him is that he is a lame brain.

Hitler Bush says that he is relevant. I say that he is as relevant as a pimple on a GOP elephant’s behind.

We will continue to hear more babble from him in the coming days.

Hitler Bush now says that Iran with nuclear weapons will lead to WW III. I say that is more babble. There are three Nazi states that will lead us into WW III and these three states are the triad of evil. Nazi America, Nazi England, and Nazi Israeli will lead us into WW III.

These three states have evil rulers who are psycho-maniacs. What is even more disheartening is that the people worship their psycho-maniac rulers.

Look for Nazi America, Nazi England, and Nazi Israeli to commence WW III!


capt said...

"Every family has a black sheep."

— Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton, making a tongue-in-cheek reference to Vice President Cheney in reaction to the news that Obama and Cheney are distant relatives through an ancestor eight generations back.


If that was spontaneous it is a quote for the ages.


Gerald said...

Will We Fall for War?

Gerald said...

Once you have stolen one and maybe two presidential elections, it’s relatively easy to steal a third, especially as part of the “global war on terror” and a “national security emergency.”

A year ago, I would not have suspected that such a scenario could possibly be taken seriously. I’m not so sure anymore. The claims made for the almost unlimited power of the commander in chief seem to make anything, however bizarre, possible. Despite intense national opposition to the war in Iraq, there are enough “patriotic” cement heads in the country to provide support for such a project.

Gerald said...

When it comes to war in this administration, Dick Cheney always gets his way.

Gerald said...

Gulf Nations Preparing for Nuclear War with Iran

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- According to that piece, not until Isreal finishes deploying some Patriot-Arrows (whatever those are).

capt said...

House surveillance bill pulled

WASHINGTON - Republicans successfully maneuvered to derail a Democratic government eavesdropping bill Wednesday, delaying a House vote until next week at the earliest.

The bill, which seeks to expand court oversight of government surveillance in the United States, fell victim to a gambit by the chamber's Republican minority. Democrats were forced to pull the bill from the House floor with no certainty about how it might be revived.

A Democratic staff member said the bill will not be rewritten but substantive amendments may be allowed when it finally does come up for a vote, which is the Democrats' intention.

The earliest that could happen is next week, as Thursday the House will be busy with an attempt to override a presidential veto of a children's health care bill.


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Shhhh, don’t tell the GOPhers - if they don’t present a bill or if the prez does veto - the law reverts back to the original FISA without ANY of the most recent BS.


capt said...

Arrow missile

The Arrow "Interceptor" (Hebrew: ??? ???, Til hetz) is a theater missile defense (TMD) system; it is the first missile developed by Israel that was specifically designed and built to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles on a national level. It is the only anti-ballistic missile system able to intercept its targets high in the stratosphere (other systems, such as RIM-161, are intended to intercept in outer space; others, such as PAC-3, are designed to meet their targets in lower atmosphere).


capt said...

Priests Protesting Torture at Fort Huachuca Jailed for Justice

TUCSON, Arizona — October 17 — Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were each sentenced today to five months in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.


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This is the world in which we live.


Hajji said...


Thankz for all YOU do!


capt said...

Ah shucks - thanks.

capt said...

How 'genocide' vote lost steam

A House vote to condemn mass killings of Armenians as 'genocide' has stumbled on pragmatic concerns.

Washington - The sudden misgivings about a popular House resolution condemning as "genocide" the large-scale killings of Armenians more than nine decades ago illustrate a recurring tug of war in US foreign policy: when to take the moral high ground and when to heed the pragmatic realities of national interests.

The measure, which would put the House of Representatives on record as characterizing as genocide the deaths of more than 1 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, appeared on track to passage by the full House after the Foreign Affairs Committee approved it last week. But pressure from the White House – worried about the impact of the nonbinding measure on relations with Turkey, a crucial logistical partner in the war in Iraq – is now causing Republicans and Democrats who had supported the measure to reconsider.

"We regularly see the impulse of Wilsonian idealism, the emphasis on democracy and human rights, counterbalanced by the pragmatic demands of realpolitik. It's one of the constant dynamics of American foreign policy," says Thomas Henriksen, a foreign-policy scholar at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif. "We want to be the city on the hill, but then some overriding interests come up and we say, 'Oh, that's different.' "

In this case, the overriding interest appears to be keeping on good terms with Turkey, a NATO ally that opposed the war in Iraq but that allows the United States to use bases there as part of crucial supply lines to US troops and personnel in Iraq.


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All this fuss about another non-binding resolution?

Maybe it makes sense to wait until we get out of Iraq? At least wait until we don’t rely on Turkey for supply lines?


capt said...

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

By James Madison

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . . .

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.

The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents.

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.


capt said...

Next Stop: $100 Oil?

Some analysts say record highs are only the beginning. Traders betting on rising global demand could push prices up further

Crude oil prices continued a months-long bullish run with another record-setting day: On Oct. 17, the price for a barrel of light sweet crude surged above $89 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest mark recorded since contracts started trading on the exchange.

What's driving the latest bull run? Many analysts point to growing global demand amid tightening supplies. In the latest development, Turkish legislators on Oct. 17 approved sending troops into northern Iraq to pursue Kurdish guerrillas. Concerns that such actions could disrupt oil supplies in the Middle East drove prices higher yet again, for a seventh session, capping a $9 rally that started last week.


capt said...

Blackwater and Bush’s War

If Iraq is really a sovereign country, which is the fiction maintained by the Bush administration, then why aren’t the Blackwater USA personnel who are accused of murdering 17 innocent Iraqis accountable to the criminal justice system in that country?

Private contractors such as Blackwater have had immunity from criminal prosecution, but Congress now has voted to make them liable under U.S. law. That seems odd. If an American commits a crime in Iraq, why should he be accountable to U.S. authorities? It shouldn’t matter that he was under contract to the U.S. government. If the tables were turned and Iraqis under contract to Iraq’s government were murdering Americans on our streets, Congress would be singing a different tune.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the treatment of Iraq as a ward of the United States. That attitude has been at the center of U.S. policy since President Bush decided to go to war. Ask yourself why American politicians almost unanimously favor imposing “benchmarks” on the Iraqi government. If Iraq is sovereign, by what right do they make any demands at all? The war parties (yes, the Democrats too) would reply that “we” (who?) have vital interests in the region. But that reveals quite a lot. When a government insists that the country it speaks for has vital interests worldwide, the defense of which may require direct or indirect intervention at any time — and it is in a position to carry out that intervention — it is an imperial power, call it what you will.

Blackwater’s involvement in Iraq has been ugly but misunderstood. The presence of security contractors in Iraq does not signify that the war has been privatized. Unfortunately, the word “privatization” has been corrupted over the years. It used to mean that a service provided by government was fully relinquished to the private marketplace. For example, if a city government picked up the trash, it could privatize that function simply by stopping and letting private companies offer trash-removal services directly to city residents.

But somewhere along the line “privatization” has come to mean “government’s contracting with private companies for the provision of services.” Some cities have turned the management of their schools or water plants over to contractors. This has been touted as a way to achieve efficiencies that government cannot match because if one contractor doesn’t produce, it can be replaced by a competing one.

Whatever the merits of that argument, the arrangement is not privatization for one obvious reason. The government pays contractors with money forcibly extracted from the taxpayers and the services are forced on everyone. In a free market, sellers and buyers are free. Consumers are at liberty to reject services they don’t want.

But under phony privatization, consumers are not free to say no. They are taxed by the political authorities, who pay the contractors (who are often cronies) for services the authorities want. This is nothing like a free market.

Calling the situation in Iraq a privatized war is absurd. With all the resources of the U.S. government at his disposal, President Bush sent troops to invade Iraq, overthrow the government, and subdue the population. It was a government operation from top to bottom. The American people were the financiers without the power to stop the juggernaut. (Who would have offered his own money voluntarily for this war?) That the administration has used taxpayer money to buy the services of “private” companies changes nothing about this story. And if such companies exist by virtue of tax money, are they really private?

In a corporatist economy such as ours, government funnels lots of money to nominally private firms to accomplish things it might have done directly. But there is no essential difference between those two ways of doing things. What counts is who controls the money.

If the government were to close down the Internal Revenue Service and hire H&R Block to collect taxes, would that be privatization of the tax system? The question answers itself.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine. Visit his blog “Free Association” at Send him email.


capt said...

Blackwater won't allow arrests

A defiant Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince said yesterday he will not allow Iraqi authorities to arrest his contractors and try them in Iraq's faulty justice system.

"We will not let our people be taken by the Iraqis," Mr. Prince told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. At least 17 of 20 Blackwater guards being investigated for their roles in a Sept. 16 shooting incident are still in a secure compound in Baghdad's Green Zone and carrying out limited duties.

Two or three others have been allowed by the State Department to leave the country as part of their scheduled rotation out of Iraq and are expected to return.

"In an ideal sense, if there was wrongdoing, there could be a trial brought in the Iraqi court system. But that would imply that there is a valid Iraqi court system where Westerners could get a fair trial. That is not the case right now," said Mr. Prince.


capt said...

It's the resistance, stupid

The ultimate nightmare for White House/Pentagon designs on Middle East energy resources is not Iran after all: it's a unified Iraqi resistance, comprising not only Sunnis but also Shi'ites.

"It's the resistance, stupid" - along with "it's the oil, stupid". The intimate connection means there's no way for Washington to control Iraq's oil without protecting it with a string of sprawling military "super-bases".

The ultimate, unspoken taboo of the Iraq tragedy is that the US will never leave Iraq, unless, of course, it is kicked out. And that's exactly what the makings of a unified Sunni-Shi'ite resistance is set to accomplish.


capt said...

New Thread