Showing posts from September, 2008

Africom: US new Africa command.

This is from McClatchy. The U.S. is consolidating its imperial operations through this Africa command. Interesting that counterterrorism training, and humanitarian operations are all rolled into one. This is significant since they all are part of the same plan to extend U.S. dominion over Africa insofar as that is possible. No doubt oil resources are one target but there are lots of other resources as well. Interesting that the headquarters is not in Africa! It is interesting that more U.S. oil now comes from Africa than the Gulf countries. I imagine since reconciliation with Libya some of that oil will be from Libya.

McClatchy Washington Bureau
Posted on Mon, Sep. 29, 2008
The Pentagon's new Africa command raises suspicions about U.S. motives
Shashank Bengali McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: September 29, 2008 08:41:50 PM
NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.S. Africa Command, the Pentagon's first effort to unite its counterterrorism, training and humanitarian operations on the continent, lau…

Stiglitz: A Better Bailout

This is a critique of the Paulson plan by a well know economist. Stiglitz has turned out to be wrong about politicians not being willing to vote against the plan however. But this was probably a temporary move. It has meant that there are now some changes to the plan. The new plan seems to replace government ownership of the toxic assets by some type of insurance plan. Perhaps this will mollify those who claim the plan is some sort of socialist enterprise! So weird is discourse about socialism now that bailing out capitalism is called socialist by some! Socialism is socialisation of the major means of production distribution and exchange and production on the basis of need not profit. It replaces capitalism rather than rescuing it.

Better BailoutBy Joseph E. Stiglitz26 September, 2008The NationThe champagne bottle corks were popping as Treasury Secretary HenryPaulson announced his trillion-dollar bailout for the banks, buying uptheir toxic mortgages. To a skeptic, Paulson's proposa…

Kurdistan Regional Govt. signs oil exploration deal with South Korea

Kurdistan seems to go blithely on signing these contracts even though the central government does not recognise them. It is not clear when if ever these conflicts will be sorted out.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government signs oil exploration deal with South Korea
Iraq Oil Report
on September 25, 2008
in Uncategorized.
Media reports from Seoul say a Korea National Oil Corp.-led consortium has signed oil contracts with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government.
The contracts were not verified by the KRG, which typically issues announcements when oil contracts are signed, Ben Lando reports for United Press International.
It has signed more than 20 production-sharing contracts since 2004, despite criticism from the central government in Baghdad, which claims regional and other local governments have no right to sign deals in the oil and gas sector. SK Energy, South Korea’s largest refiner and partner in a 2007 oil exploration and development deal signed between KRG and a KNOC-led consortiu…

Zardari: World safer place because of Bush

Zardari obviously wants to curry favor with the U.S. Zardari is famous for getting his cut of everything. Maybe he wants to increase the flow of U.S. aid. For now the U.S. and NATO seem to be confining their actions in Pakistan to drone operations although there have been some reports of more helicopter overflights. It remains to be seen if Zardari will be able to create any sort of stable government in Pakistan. In some border areas the army is pursuing an offence against militants but this has driven many over the border into Afghanistan. Some militants may have gone with them.

World safer place because of Bush’
* Zardari warns ‘the axis of evil is growing’ * Afghan president says world community should have paid more attention to FATABy Khalid HasanNEW YORK: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the world is a ‘safer place’ because of President George W Bush’s leadership, adding, “It could have been much worse.”In an interview published by the Washington Post on Saturday, Zardari …

US economists against the bail-out.

Quite a few economists from prestigious universities are signatories of this. However, parts of the document are a bit weird given the situation..It is the dynamic and innovative private capital markets that brought prosperity so-called that also brought about the financial crisis. Nevertheless the points about fairness and the long term consequences are well taken.

Economists Against The Paulson Plan
To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate: 26/09/09 As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan: 1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn pro…

Conservative Quebec support softening?

This is from the CBC.
The Conservatives do not seem poised for the breakthrough in Quebec that they had hoped. As the article notes however the French debate may make a difference if Harper does well. The arts funding issue and get tough on youth crime speech did not help Harper at all in Quebec, quite the opposite it seems. Harper's advisers must be looking too much at his core conservative supporters.

Harper's Quebec support softening?Posted in Political Bytes Posted on September 29, 2008 10:38 AM Two polls published today in the Journal de Montréal and La Presse suggest that support for the Tories may be slipping in Quebec.

Emmanuel MarchandThe Léger poll in Le Journal de Montréal is the largest so far for Quebec with 3,624 people surveyed.
It reports support for the Bloc at 33 per cent of decides voters asked, with the Conservatives at 26 per cent, the Liberals at 23 per cent, the NDP at 12 per cent and the Greens at five per cent.
The regional breakdown is interesting, too…

Philippines: More clashes with rebel MILF groups

This is from sundaily.

There seems to be no end to conflict with rebel MILF groups. The casualty figures vary wildly from the AFP to the rebel group spokespeople. There is a huge problem with displaced people fleeing the fighting.

32 people killed in three days of fighting in PhilippinesCOTABATO CITY, Philippines (Sept 26, 2008): Thirty-one Muslim rebels and one soldier were killed in three days of fighting in the southern Philippines, military officials said today.

Nine Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and one soldier were killed in clashes late yesterday in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao province, 960km south of Manila, said Major Peter Edwin Navarro, an army brigade spokesman.

Navarro said the fighting, which lasted until early evening, erupted when pursuing troops caught up with heavily armed MILF rebels in the village of Andavet. One soldier was also wounded in the fighting.

Lieutenant Colonel Julieto Ando, a regional army spokesman, said three more MILF rebels were also …

Syria could be paying a price for more moderate policies.

Syria is a secular state and just as with Saddam's Iraq is hated with a vengeance by Al Qaeda types. This tends to be forgotten in the western press. Terrorists are often lumped all in one in western reports but they are quite different. Hamas for example is Sunni and Hezzbolah Shia. The two often do not see eye to eye at all. As this article suggests it may be because of recent overtures to Israel that Syria is being attacked at this time. However Syria has often helped out the west particular with regard to interrogation and torture of suspected Al Qaeda operatives. It doesn't seem to have gained much in return. Syria has long been a foe of Al Qaeda.

Syria could be paying a price for moderating
Syria bomb may be sign it is paying a price for moderating as it tries to end isolation
Sep 28, 2008 16:50 EST
A rare bombing in Damascus over the weekend could be sign that Syria is paying a price for moderating its hard-line policies as it tries to boost its internati…

Ralph Nader on the bailout

This is part of an interview to be found at Information Clearing House. Even though Nader is a presidential candidate you will be hard put to find his comments in the big mainstream media. He contrasts the policies now with those during the depression of Roosevelt and also he questions the need for the bailout. He suggests that Bush is managing to stamped a bailout which will see the US taxpayer paying more for distressed assets than they would ever fetch on a free market.

“Why Is There Need for a Bailout?”By Ralph Nader25/09/08 "Democracy Now! -- As the Bush administration intensifies its pressure for Congress to quickly approve a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, we get reaction from Independent presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Nader calls Democratic claims of White House concessions “wish fulfillment” and says the bailout might not be needed in the first place.
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US jets violate Pakistani airspace again.

The US is just reminding Pakistan who controls Pakistani airspace. The U.S. seems to care not a whit that actions such as this create more anti-Americanism within Pakistan. This is from thenews.

US jets violate Pak airspace again

Sunday, September 28, 2008By our correspondentPESHAWAR: Two US jetfighters Saturday night again intruded into Pakistan airspace over South Waziristan area, causing panic among the tribesman. However, neither the security forces nor the tribesmen fired upon the fighter planes. Sources in the tribal agency confirmed to The News that two US jetfighters for about 25 minutes hovered over Angoor Adda, Baghar and Momin Tangi area of the agency. The planes that came across the border from troubled Paktika province of Afghanistan, after the flight over the area went back without any action.

Secret Taliban Peace bid..

Of course the official line of the U.S. is that there will be no negotiations with terrorists. However it is clear that if the Taliban are willing to give up the fight they will even get posts in the government. There are already reformed Taliban in the government and Afghan democracy allows the death penalty for Muslims who should have the temerity for converting to Christianity and also kicks a female legislator out of parliament for pointing out that former warlords and human rights violators are part of the govenment! The occupiers certainly haven't died in vain.

Revealed: secret Taliban peace bid
Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group
Jason Burke in Kabul
The Observer,
Sunday September 28 2008
Article history

The destroyed entrance gate of the Kandahar prison that was attacked by Taliban militants in June this year. Photograph: Allauddiin Khan/AP
The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghani…

With all eyes on the Bailout, House passes trillion dollar defense Bill.

No one but no one seems to be talking of cutting defence spending. No one talks of the tremendous cost of entitlement programs when the issue is military spending. It would seem that the US dollar might be under pressure again once the extent of debt expansion through military expenditure and the debt bailout becomes clear. What will happen to all the US needs in terms of social programmes and repair of infrastructure? They will probably be short changed and state and municipal budgets will be stressed to put it mildly.

With All Eyes on the Bailout, House Passes Trillion-Dollar Defense Bill
By Joshua Holland, AlterNetPosted on September 26, 2008, Printed on September 27, 2008
On Wednesday, the House passed a mammoth defense bill by a 392-39 vote. It's expected to clear the Senate with little difficulty next week.
It was part of a trillion-dollar stop-gap measure to keep programs running through next March, allowing lawmakers to skip town without pa…

Philippinres: Forgotten victims of Mindanao Muslim war..

This is from AFP. The AFP use of military and aerial attacks in areas where there are many civilians is bound to produce collateral damage as this article attests as well as destroying property in an area where people possess very little. Some of the MILF commanders have given up entirely on the peace negotiations and are obviously resorting to guerilla warfare.

The forgotten victims of Mindanao's Muslim war
DATU PIANG, Philippines (AFP) - Arbaya Musalip gently cradles her three-day-old daughter swaddled in a piece of old cloth amid the chaos of this filthy evacuation camp in a remote corner of the southern Philippines.
She is waiting for her husband Amil to check on what remains of their tiny village of Dapiawan, days after Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels forced them to flee with only what they could carry of their meager belongings.
The infant, who does not yet have a name, has not been inoculated and has no proper clothes, just the piece of cloth from a nearby pile of r…

Show us the Money..

This is another view of how the bailout might be framed but it also shows how much Paulson made while he was within the system and how much he made when he left to join government. The fact the CEOs of many of these failing giants get giant benefits sickens people. Greider points out how Buffet makes a great deal to help out Goldman Sachs and claims that the government could do the same thing rather than leaving the taxpayer for the most part 0ut in the cold as does the present rescue plan.

Show Us the MoneyBy William Greider
25/09/08 "The Nation' -- - Taxpayers should wake up the politicians and ask them to tell Wall Street: "We want the same deal Warren Buffett got." The Omaha billionaire announced he is playing White Knight to Goldman Sachs by investing $5 billion in the endangered investment house. What a big-hearted guy. Buffett is an old-fashioned capitalist who invests in companies for the long term and I am a big admirer. But Warren Buffett did not get to be a…

No Bailout: Stop Rewarding Incompetence.

Interesting to note that Paulson himself was involved in investment banking and no doubt richly rewarded for his services and he is just one among many now high up in the financial administration that is proposing the bailout plan.

No Bailout: Stop Rewarding Incompetence
By Dean Baker
A friend recently sent a note reminding me that back in 2003, whensome of us were warning about the dangers of the housing bubble, AlanGreenspan, the person most responsible for the housing bubble, wasbeing knighted by the Queen of England. If we look at the list ofbanks and financial institutions that have crashed or now threaten tocrash, we can find a long list of people who brought their companiesand the economy to the brink of disaster and yet have received tens orhundreds of millions in compensation.We can also find a long list of people in top policy positions,including the current Fed chairman, Treasury Secretary, and President,who celebrated the soaring house prices and loan excesses of thehousing b…

Crisis of A Gilded Age.

This is an article by Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer. He notes the manner in which the gap between rich and poor has increased with deregulation. People are rightly angry at the attempt now to bail out Wall Street while doing little or nothing to address the problems of the middle class and poor. Certainly some responsibility lies with people who took out mortgages when they should have known they could not finance them but the system was glad to mislead them and their purchases were part of the boom that is now bust. of a Gilded Age
By Doug Henwood
It looks like someday finally arrived.For the past two or three decades skeptics watched as deregulated finance got ever more reckless, as the gap between rich and poor widened to a chasm not seen since the turn of the last century, and they said, "Someday there's going to be hell to pay for all this." But despite a few nasty hiccups every few years--the 1987 s…

Nuclear Accord with North Korea becoming undone by US demands inaction on terror list.

This is from the Washington Post. Both sides are obviiously at fault but once the agreement was signed the U.S. interpreted it to satisfy its own desire for far-reaching inspections that North Korea would probably view as attempting to spy on its military capabilities. No doubt it was. I was under the impression that North Korea had actually been removed from the terror list but apparently that did not happen and was one reason why North Korea is rejecting the agreement now. Korea expected to be removed after destruction of the Yongyon reactor tower.

Far-Reaching U.S. Plan Impaired N. Korea DealDemands Began to Undo Nuclear Accord
By Glenn KesslerWashington Post Staff WriterFriday, September 26, 2008; A20
The unraveling of the landmark deal to end North Korea's nuclear weapons programs began just weeks after its high point -- the televised destruction of the cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in late June -- when U.S. negotiators presented Pyongyang with a sweeping plan fo…