Saturday, December 03, 2005

Putin To Sell Missiles To Iran


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Another diplomatic disaster for Bush and Condi. After both attacked Putin over and over again and chased him out of Ukraine, he repays in kind, selling missiles to Iran just as Bush steps up pressure on Europe to isolate Iran. Next: China does the same.

From Moscow News:f
Iran has signed a deal to buy Russian tactical surface-to-air missile systems.

Iran plans to buy 29 TOR-M1 systems designed to bring down aircraft and guided missiles at low altitudes, Reuters reported.

The deal is the biggest sale of Russian defense hardware to Iran for about five years. The sources did not disclose the price of the deal.

Tehran is under intense international pressure after failing to convince the United States and others its nuclear scientists are working on fuel for power stations rather than bombs.

Russia is helping Iran build a nuclear power station at Bushehr.
As our space program slowly and silently implodes, and it is dying, everyone, Russia is going around the globe making rocket deals with everyone and anyone. Remember the space race? Russia won many rounds but we got to the moon, yeah! But the real race is on and we are losing it hugely.

We alienated Europe by pretty much ditching the Interanational Space Station. In our country, news about this station rates around zero, sort of like news about the yen, we are ignoring it because we don't really care if we slit our own throats. Party on, dudes!

China, India and Iran are joining the space race. Why?

Ever hear of Star Wars? Our little attempt at becoming invulnerable to nuclear attacks? Well, everyone read the writing on the wall and are now hyperarming themselves as I predicted they would way back in 1980.

Here is a blast from the past, the Clinton years, when we had an intelligent man running America's diplomacy: From Fas.org:
Yeltsin Says Russia Will Not Sell Missiles to Iran

Moscow Interfax, 12 March 1997

MOSCOW, Mar 12 (Interfax) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin has
assured the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Moscow has not
delivered missile systems to Iran and has no intentions of doing so,
Netanyahu told a final news conference in Moscow Wednesday at the end of
his official visit to Russia. His Tuesday meeting with Yeltsin was planned
as part of the visit.
Nevertheless, he said the sides agreed to keep in touch on the
question and continue consultations.
Continuing the Iranian subject Netanyahu claimed Tehran would use
nuclear arms without hesitation, if only it got them and the means of their
delivery.
Well, kiss all that goodbye.

Yesterday, we nailed the #3 man in Al Qaeda for the 15th time (he is very durable, seems). From MSNBC:
f
We are very good at making assassination missiles like the Predator. We think others can't make these things and have them silently glide over America and....I hope everyone remembers 9/11 and how wonderful our military was that day, unable to do anything at all. Yup. They are in much worse shape now with even more troops overseas.

This month, America told China we won't let their scientists work with ours on anything that is related to missiles or space or whatever. We hope this will keep all that nifty killer technology here in America. But wait! Those smart Chinese scientists are going to Russia for the same stuff! And Russia, a very successful competitor in the space race, they nearly beat us into the ground!---Is more than happy to accomodate the Chinese desires! So this is backfiring, too. Literally, eventually. If Iranian students go to Russia or China to learn how to design, build and maintain space and missile technology, we won't be safer, we will be less safe for then all three countries will have an alliance and an axe to grind vis a vis America. Isn't this delightful?

All the Mars propaganda in the world isn't going to fix this. If we drive the Europeans into going to the Russians and Chinese for space research and development, we lose big time. After all, our own space program was nonexistant until all those Germans fleeing the Russians in WWII jumped ship and came to the USA! Our space program has always relied heavily on foreign help.

Many starry-eyed American youth start out trying to get a degree in rocket technology only to find out they can't land a job because they cost too much, everyone here wanted to hire in China because the wages could be so very cheap. Once again, we kill our native will to work in favor of cheap labor overseas. And now we wonder why the whole world is beginning to do an endrun around our puny barriers?

To return to homepage click here
To read more breaking news click here

GM To Close Saturn Factory Which Is In Isolated Countryside


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

If one is going to abuse someone, first get them into some isolated spot where there is no escape, no witnesses. All horror movies depend on this montage. The German and Japanese auto assembly plants (putting parts together that are shipped in from overseas) are all in very isolated communities and domestic automakers now imitate them. You can't organize unions or take a better job or even move if you are in a one factory town, without losing everything in the process.

From the NYT:
"Workers have got to be asking themselves, What do we have to do?" said Gary N. Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

"The social contract was that if we build a quality product, we're going to have jobs, our kids are going to have jobs, and the plant will still be in town," Professor Chaison said. "Now, that idea is gone."

It certainly looks that way to Michael O'Rourke, who uprooted his wife and three children from Wisconsin to come south. Saturn was the promise of a future he could not find at his old plant.

"I still remember the day I gave away my snow blower, I was so happy," Mr. O'Rourke, the president of the United Automobile Workers local here, said this week.

These days, Mr. O'Rourke, who sits in an office with file cabinets plastered with bumper stickers reading "I Love My Saturn" and "Buy American, Buy Union," faces an uncertain future along with his co-workers.

About 1,500 workers at the plant are set to lose jobs that G.M. originally assured them were guaranteed. Another 4,000 jobs at Spring Hill, the second-youngest plant in G.M.'s American network, may hinge on whether the auto company gives this factory new models to build. Even if G.M. does allot new work, the vehicles are likely to be other G.M. cars.
What social contract? Even the devil's contracts are superior to the disappearing ink in American social contracts. A nation of mostly immigrants, there are fewer and fewer interconnections and now that more and more of our owners and bosses are foreigners who don't even bother to emigrate, we find ourselves looking into a black well of social destruction as we are coldly regarded as mere chips on the capitalist poker table.

The Japanese have different society. Nearly totally closed to outsiders, locked doors are hidden behind a western facade as they eat hamburgers and wear clothes with USA names on them, made in China. But they had their new foreign minister announce this week that Japan is a singular tribe and superior to us USA people. They don't build their factories in isolated hamlets! Everything, absolutely everything revolves around Tokyo, indeed, the countryside of Japan is emptying out of all the young people because of this.

Yet, when our Japanese overlords come to colonize factories in America they ONLY build in the isolated countryside! We enable and encourage this via giving tax benefits and development funds. American workers want to live in the country and not the city because of crime and bad schools. So the pastoral idyll is very appealing.

It is also a deadly trap. To live near a factory, one must buy property and build a home and set down roots only to see the factory move to greener pastures in order to shed an aging workforce. These elusive factories, instead of being updated as technology changes, cease morphing and simply pick up the top management and departs when it is time to refit the factory!

See? If they move, they get even more tax breaks and development benefits as well as insider loans! They can set the 50 states bidding each other down in a desperate price war to attract factories from each other and all those pesky workers with accumulated years of senority who are slowing down with age get thrown to the curb.

In turn, they discover the boom town is dead. You can't sell your home for squat, you can't even give it away. There then are no job prospects for one's kids, commerce in town dies as the big box stores rapidly close and leave, too. A box store is cheap to build and usually demands tax breaks and help, too, and do the exact same bidding war as the factory owners who are increasingly foreigners who despise us because we actually beat them during WWII.

Japan protects their workers for the capitalists fear a China-style revolution since Japan is small, geographically, the workers and assail and overturn the palace and the ruling elites so they are very cautious about aggravating their underlings. In America, can workers at the Saturn plant in the distant countryside assail their rulers who live a thousand+ miles away? Besiege DC?

Of course not. And because they are all isolated from all other factories which are far away, they can't do group mass meetings which are extremely important. Ask Europe. The workers there converge and demonstrate unity all the time, they can shut down whole cities and even whole countries! General strikes across a host of unions and trade groups can and do happen. They bring down governments if they are unhappy! Heck, they have caused many a revolution.

We will not see this here for we placidly went into isolation in this big country. Now we face the reality that our own capitalists have capitulated to former and present enemies who don't wish us well at all.

Yesterday, the yen dropped to 120 to the dollar. From the Asahi Shimbum:
The U.S. dollar on Friday was 19 yen higher than its level on Jan. 17, when it traded at 101.67.

Although the higher value of the dollar could push up prices of imported goods for Japanese consumers, analysts say the weaker yen will provide a significant boost for the nation's export-oriented economy.

"This low quote of the yen would be a plus for the Japanese economy, especially export industries, when the rise in oil prices has eased," said Junichi Makino, senior economist at Daiwa Institute of Research.

A lower yen decreases the cost of Japanese exports, such as autos and electric machinery, making them more competitive in overseas markets.

Analysts said currency traders were selling yen and buying dollars in light of the continued near-zero interest rates in Japan and rising interest rates in the United States.
Why does Japan have zero interest rates? This has been going on for quite a while now. Literally, the government is taking dollars and lending them at a loss to their own industries. They buy up all our debt and then use the interest differential to keep the yen at zero interest. In other words, we are paying higher and higher interest rates so the Japanese will buy our dollars and thus, are subisdizing Japanese incursions into our domestic markets while locking us out of Japanese markets!

No responsible government should allow this to happen but our GOP government is totally irresponsible now! So we are fucked, folks, big time. I go in vain to all the lefty blogs to see what the economic professors are saying about the yen and guess what?

They say nothing. Deluded by all the yap about the yuan which has been STABLE against the dollar, they ignore the peril broiling out of Tokyo. Not a peep anywhere about the yen! We should be thanking China for being a responsible trading partner! The media as well as our rulers want us to focus on China because they are all in the pay of the Japanese one way or another just like Ronnie Reagan. Remember that traitor? To this day, most Americans are convinced he was a clever lad to get the Japanese to pay him $2.5 million in bribes! Whoo hoo. When will the Japanese give me a few million in bribes? Then I will shut up!

Here is Brad Setser talking about the yuan this week. You can read his entire blog and look in vain for any mention about the alarming collapse of the yen vis a vis the dollar. Ditto Bradford-DeLong's blog. I read story after story about what ails the American auto industry, and many things ail it, but no mention about the nastiest and most troubling aspect: the direct connection between currency dependencies and the dying domestic auto industry. And this connects with the budget deficit and American expectations that deficit spending will make us rich and debt makes us richer still.

Our entire culture has become addicted to the Japanese recycling of American dollars into debt instruments. This is for any country a very unhealthy relationship and is now at fever pitch. How on earth should Greenspan be raising interest rates while our number 2 importer drops theirs to zero! Here is the traitor, Greenspan: From Yahoo:
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concerns Friday that America's failure to deal with its exploding budget defict and worldwide efforts to erect trade barriers could disrupt the global economy.

Speaking at an economic conference in London, Greenspan said so far the United States has had no problem financing its current account trade deficit, which last year hit a record $668 billion, because of the flexibility of the American economy.

But he said such flexibility would be threatened by rising protectionism, which would increase barriers to the flow of goods and investments across the U.S. border. He also worried about the harm that could be done if the United States and other nations do not get their budget deficits under control.
This man is insane. Hell. Protectionism is rife in Japan. It always has been since day one, in 1858 to today! And the flexibility of our economy? Hogwash. We are destroying our industrial base rapidly. This isn't flexible. Chop off the head of a snake and it writhes for an hour. That is us.

As for our budget deficit: Greenspan loved Bush's tax cuts! He agreed with Bush in 2001 that the Skull and Bones tax cuts were fantastic. They gave the secret Skull and Bones high five and laughed like demons. And now, Greenspan wants to cut home heating aid and foodstamps and school loans to balance the budget and not tax him and his rich buddies.

If I wanted this blog to be popular, all I have to do is join the echo chamber. The blog world has this just as much as the mainstream media. Pointing in the opposite direction is a lonely business. But then, Cassandra never won any popularity contests.

To return to homepage click here
To read more financial news click here

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cinderella Condi Rice Warns Europe To Shut Up About Torture (Bombing of Geneva will commence!)


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Fed up by all the yap about the Geneva Conventions and secret CIA torture flights in Europe, Condi throws down the gauntlet and orders the Europeans to shut up or else. We lose more allies in Iraq. Condi buys more shoes in Paris. More people get tortured mercilessly. Victory, Sieg heil!

From Yahoo:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to give allies in Europe a response next week to their pressure over Washington's treatment of terrorism suspects: back off.

For almost a month, the United States has been on the defensive, refusing to deny or confirm media reports the United States has held prisoners in secret in Eastern Europe and transported detainees incommunicado across the continent.

The European Union has demanded that Washington address the allegations to allay fears of illegal U.S. practices. The concerns are rampant in among the European public and parliaments, already critical of U.S. prisoner-abuse scandals in Iraq and Guantanamo, Cuba.

But Rice will shift to offense when she visits Europe next week, in a strategy that has emerged in recent days and been tested by her spokesman in public and in her private meetings with European visitors.
Blair already lets her ride horsey on him and whip him. He loves the spiked bridle she uses. Since many rulers love to torture people, of course, it will now be declared OK if we run concentration camps and torture people, after all, we gave awards to the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials, didn't we? We said, "Hey, way to go! Teach me!"

Actually, we did that. We spirited away more than a few Nazi torturers to learn trade secrets which we apply, yes we do. We train others in the dark arts and heck, damn the cameras and internet, leaking out the dirty truth that America is one of the world's biggest violators of the Geneva Conventions.
She will remind allies they themselves have been cooperating in U.S. operations and tell them to do more to win over their publics as a way to deflect criticism directed at the United States, diplomats and U.S. officials said.

"It's very clear they want European governments to stop pushing on this," said a European diplomat, who had contact with U.S. officials over the handling of the scandals. "They were stuck on the defensive for weeks, but suddenly the line has toughened up incredibly," the diplomat said.
I love this "Ve haff vays off making you shut up," we are now applying to our former allies. And the Gauleiters we installed in Europe better whip their populace into line. Screaming, "9/11! You are all going to DIIIIEEE!" is their sole job. None of this namby-pamby Geneva Convention stuff!

It wouldn't surprize me to eavesdrop on Condi snarling that Lake Geneva is easy to locate from space and we can target our missiles to hit the UN human rights building there, yes, like al Jazeera! Boom!
There are signs Europe has already begun to get the message to ease up on the controversy.

Ahern said he accepted the U.S. word. Germany, whose foreign minister also pressed Rice this week during a visit, said it would wait patiently for a U.S. response.
Next, Condi will accuse China of torturing political prisoners and holding people without letting them go to trial in public...HAHAHA. Are they trying to kill us, making us laugh to death?

No.

This is the master plan: to use our American muscleheads to threaten the world into submission just like we go around duct taping them mouths of Iraqis just for talking back. I remember early on in our illegal occuption of that country, kidnapping students who talked back and torturing them and taping their mouths. Yup. It worked like magic.

Now they are busy blowing us up and going around the world, telling everyone about our lovely all-American ways. Great. Winning hearts and minds is hard work if you use a bullwhip.

To return to homepage click here
To read more breaking news click here

10 Marines Killed, More Blown Apart by Bombs


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Just as Bush announces a Victory Plan it blows up in his face. Facing defeat, he retreats back into his Boy Bubble and summons mommy to save him from his bad advisors who led him into this war. Perfect Pointdexterian plan: blame the servants, kick the dog and cry to mommy. This, everyone, is the right wing leader who is "manly".

From Earl's Radio Weblog:
Barbara Bush is allegedly TICKED off at Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Andy Card, nearly all of them -- except Karen Hughes -- for how her boy is faring in the hearts and minds of Americans.

The matriarch of the Bush clan is colder than North Pole ice right now to those around her son who she thinks have undermined him. I'll tell who my sources are if Patrick Fitzgerald gives a call and makes me -- but the sources are very close to Poppa Bush (41), who has been traveling a bit with some of his old entourage, including Brent Scowcroft and others of the first Bush regime.


The role of Vice President Dick Cheney as the administration's point man in security policy appears over, according to administration sources.

Over the last two months Mr. Cheney has been granted decreasing access to the Oval Office, the sources said on the condition of anonymity. The two men still meet, but the close staff work between the president and vice president has ended.
Hitler scores better than Bush on this one. All his buddies were allowed into Hitler's bunker, the ones that weren't already executed or fleeing to Argentina. All through two ridiculous Potemkin elections we were told that Bush, the AWOL idiot savant, was more manly and cut a better jib than real war heroes who actually went to Nam.

Well, Potemkin pumpkinhead turns out to be full of mush. As we well knew, he has the bravery that puts Sir Robin to shame, his ability to run away far outdistances that silly knigget. Some people can't cut and run.

The same week Bush sets up his Victory, Sieg Heil banner, it gets blown to smithereens. From Yahoo:
A roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 while they were on a foot patrol near Fallujah, the Marine Corps said Friday, in the deadliest attack on American troops in nearly four months.

Thursday's bomb, which was made from several large artillery shells, struck members of Regimental Combat Team 8 of the 2nd Marine Division near the city about 30 miles west of Baghdad, the Marine Corps said.

In another statement, the Marines reported a U.S. Army soldier also assigned to the 2nd Marine Division died Thursday in a rocket attack near Ramadi. The U.S. command had earlier said four American service members were killed Wednesday, three of them from hostile action and the fourth in a traffic accident.
So, when are Babs Jr and Jenna the drunk going to sign up and fight? Eh? Or any young or even old Republican? Even hunchback Richard III fought his own battles. He died in battle. He wasn't a coward. Bush is like Henry VI, can't get out of a barrel of Malmsey.

The dead soldiers are d-e-a-d. Today, ten sets of parents are screaming in pain. Unknown numbers of wives, collapsing in a faint. None of them are connected with the political leadership's families. Nor do any work as lobbyists in DC or own any military/industrial outfits. The press and the right attack Cindy Sheehan but she gets to put up more and more crosses, over 300 since she poked the first one in the ground in August.

The escalation of the war is because we are attacking the Sunni now full force, arresting their leaders. From ABC news:
U.S. and Iraqi troops launched an operation against militants in the western town of Ramadi on Friday, less than two weeks before key parliamentary elections, while some Shiites joined hundreds of Sunni Muslims in Baghdad to denounce widespread arrests of suspected insurgents.

About 300 U.S. Marines and 200 Iraqi troops took part in "Operation Shank" in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, in the fifth such mission in the area in recent weeks designed to calm the area before the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

On Thursday, the U.S. military played down reports by residents and police of widespread attacks against American and Iraqi installations in the city. The military said only one rocket-propelled grenade was fired but caused no injuries. Insurgents left behind posters and graffiti saying they were members of al-Qaida in Iraq.
They ran out of weapons to name our incursions into civilian communities so now we are "shank"? I would call this "Operation SKUNK" because it stinks to high heaven. After all, the Iraqi "troops" doing this are Shi'ites mostly and thus, hostiles in Sunni territory and this simply raises the flames all the higher as we note today with many more soldiers blown to smithereens.

Now, al Qaeda is in Iraq, full force. Isn't this wonderful? If this is destroying al Qaeda, then burning down your house is a great way to paint it.

Rumsfeld has hit on a clever way to win this war. He has banned the use of the word "insurgent". Ta-da! Victory, punch fists in the air, whoop whoop. Next, we will rename al Qaeda "the GOP" and declare them to be democratically-minded politicians interested in only bribes and tax cutting! Hell, rename everything, Humpty-dumpty-like! Everything will be whatever you want it to be via the magic of language.

1984 by Orwell explained how this works. War is peace. Hate is love. Bush is Good. See?

So simple. Seig heil! Russia lost the battle of Stalingrad, mein Fuerher!

To return to mainpage click here
To read more breaking news click here

Calling Rosa Parks! A Woman Is Arrested For Refusing To Show ID on Public Bus!


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

After weeping crocodile tears at Rosa Park's funeral, the state machinery is back in business, harassing people on buses. In Colorado, a woman who did nothing even slightly wrong was arrested while commuting on a bus because she was offended by demands she ID herself to security agents. The American Police State, courtesy of the Bush/bin Laden clans, locks up citizens with no just cause just like King George III. Minutemen, where are you now?

From Hobbs' blog:
...Not only do they actually expect me to Work at my job, but....

Meet Deborah Davis. She's a 50 year-old mother of four who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Her kids are all grown-up: her middle son is a soldier fighting in Iraq. She leads an ordinary, middle class life. You probably never would have heard of Deb Davis if it weren't for her belief in the U.S. Constitution.
Here is the ACLU site with more information: From the Davis Case blog:
One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.

On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether Deb and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "papers" whenever a cop demands them.
Miami, Florida just announced they will do this at banks and other places and "leaflet" people about heimat sicherheit. To look out for pesky terrorists and religious people of the wrong religion (ahem). They keep saying they won't arrest anyone who resists the demands for ID but obviously, this is a lie, as usual, they lie about nearly everything.

As if America is a hotbed of terrorism and rebellion! For the nonce.

Of course, when the shit hits this fan, it will possibly be exactly that. Thus the exercises in controlling us. The recent release of that infrared gun which can "temporarily" (yeah, right) blind people is to be used on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators. Along with blasting with sound and water, these assaults on demonstrators are designed to undo the Constitution which allows us all peaceful assembly and the right to petition our government.

I remember the sixties. They resorted to vomit gas on peaceful antiwar demonstrators. Every riot I witnessed began when the cops and military tried to prevent a demonstration from happening. The usual excuse was, we were disrupting traffic so why shouldn't the cops shoot us?

Riots can't be stopped by gas or lights or sound effects. I have witnessed those things. The racket is so loud, windows smashing or people screaming, you can't hear yourself yell. Riots have their own momentum. Just like rebellions. Note how, the more we crush the rebellion the worse it gets! Duh. This is a simple rule. If you don't do things that give people reason to be peaceable they will not be at peace. Killing them is the despot's answer, of course, and as we impose despotism in the Middle East, it's double is created here in America.

Our Constitution is nearly dead. Security kills freedom. Nothing is more secure than a cage in the dark. A deep hole like a grave is very secure. Note how our rulers have deep caves to hide in if they decide to pull our plug and murder much of the planet in a Gotterdammerung of destruction. They hope to ride it out and emerge, victorious. Gloating over our corpses, laughing at our grinning skulls.

This is why good citizens should demand these bomb shelters be eliminated. And to press for the end of nuclear weapons. Note how the Japanese right wing lusts to get their paws on our nukes. They are carefully buying our military up, turning us into mercenaries. The Saudis already did this to us, Bush senior boasted about how we didn't pay for the Gulf war, we sold our services to the Saudi Royals who repaid us with 9/11 which is why American citizens are being arrested on public buses for standing up for their lost Constitutional Rights.

Stop the machine. Arrest the people who are killing our Constitution. Impeach them all.

To return to homepage click here
To read more breaking news click here

Thursday, December 01, 2005

New Japanese Right Wing Foreign Minister, Aso Riles Asia


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The new foreign minister, Taro Aso, was picked because he is a poke in the eye to all of Japan's victims during WWII. His family worked Korean as well as other nationalities, to death in their slave mining industries during that war. This goes hand in glove with Japanese courts refusing to hear the just cases of victims of these slave camps. Japan remains unrepentant.

From the Korea Times:
The government was mulling over how to deal with Japan’s continuing ``reckless remarks’’ on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to a controversial shrine in Tokyo, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Monday.

``We are considering how to address Japan’s continuing tongue slips,’’ the official told The Korea Times. ``I think our stance will soon be clarified.’’

The latest controversy was triggered by Taro Aso, Japan’s foreign minister, who reportedly said at a forum in Tokyo on Saturday that South Korea and China are the only two countries that take issue with the prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.

It was a reaction of Japan to warnings that repeated visits of Koizumi to the shrine could ``isolate’’ Japan from its neighbors.
Mr. Aso has a long record of saying fascist and racist things. The fact that he has been selected and is being wined and dined by the losers of WWII, America, never ceases to amaze me as I am an American citizen and family members fought in Okinawa and other places to take down the Aso family and their ilk!

From the BBC:
A family firm linked to Japan's new Foreign Minister Taro Aso is under scrutiny over allegations it used Korean labour during colonial rule.
South Korea asked Japan about more than 100 such firms, an official said.

The list includes Aso Mining, which was owned by relatives of Mr Aso, and is suspected of using thousands of Koreans as forced labourers.
Koizumi and Aso are refusing to hand over any data or even apologize. Indeed, this is their program to alienate and enrage trading partners so they give up on doing business WITHIN Japan. This is a very dangerous game to play. It has hit Japanese business in Asia but evidently they think it is worth it if it discourages or prevents any real trade from happening. As typical of Japan, they are closing their doors, bang.
"The only countries in the world that talk about Yasukuni are China and South Korea," Japan's Nihon Keizai newspaper quoted Mr Aso as saying.
It is time for that to change! Time for America to begin discussing WWII with the Japanese. Like, making them pay reparations!

The Japanese are cutting funds to the UN, too, now. They want to be on the Security Council or no more money. Like the USA, they view the UN only as a cover for colonialization.

From the Japan Times:
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Taro Aso has called Japan a "one race" nation, an expression similar to a controversial statement in 1986 by then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, sources close to the minister said Monday.
In a speech during a ceremony at the new Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Saturday, the sources said Aso described Japan as having "one nation, one civilization, one language, one culture and one race. There is no other nation (that has such characteristics)."

Two decades ago, Nakasone stirred controversy by publicly calling Japan a "homogenous nation," drawing criticism particularly from the indigenous Ainu people who live mainly in Hokkaido.

Following Aso's remarks, Mitsunori Keira, head of the citizens' group Yaiyukara-no-Mori, which works to preserve Ainu culture, criticized the minister.

"The fact that top government officials have repeatedly made similar remarks shows the government has never sincerely listened to our protest," Keira said.
This was said just before being elevated by Koizumi. Obviously, the plan is to make things as nasty as possible. The fact that the USA chose to lecture China while in Japan while ignoring this obvious scion of a war criminal baffles me.

Actually, we are in hock to Japan. So we kow tow to war criminals. Bonzai!

Here is a Korean cartoon where Aso is laughing with a memorial picture of his father, mocking a protesting Korean who is demanding justice and reparations for the enslavement of Koreans during WWII.


I am not the only one who has noticed that Japan has a necklock on high value/high profit trade with the US. Here is a typical example. Remember those Boeing jets we keep crowing about? Think they are total profit for America and create jobs here? From MSNBC:
Take Boeing as an example. Long America's leading exporter, it symbolizes the kind of high-tech leadership on which the future of the U.S. economy is widely said to depend. After

losing market share to the European Airbus in recent years, Boeing responded by developing the new 787 Dreamliner, which is gathering record orders. Yet these sales may not add a lot to the U.S. economy behttp://culturelifenewsii.blogspot.com/cause much of the work—including production of the critical carbon-fiber wings that Boeing always insisted would be kept at home—will be done in Japan.
As I have pointed out in the past, China will soon be demanding their jets from Boeing be assembled in China and Boeing will comply since they need the Chinese market share. And the net benefit to America will be zero. The Japanese excell in this activity and the Chinese watched them closely and are intent on imitating them.

Japan isn't a cheap labor market. Labor costs are high. Land costs, higher. Overhead, hugely expensive. Tokyo is one of the world's most expensive cities. Yet they manage to keep most of their industry at home.

We should dump free trade. Heck, we need Admiral Perry. Hell, Admiral Halsey!

To return to homepage click here
To read more financial news click here

O Tannenbaum--Religious Right Steals Woden's Sacred Tree!


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Once again, the crazy religious right gets the GOP leadership all shook up over very insane things, this month is time to attack the use of the word "holiday". Well, they do want to work us all to death so no vacations for us! Besides, the things the Christian right wants to appropriate for Christ happen to belong to quite a few pagan religions.

From Yahoo:
If it's a spruce tree adorned with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments displayed on the Capitol grounds in December, it's a Christmas tree and that's what it should be called, says House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Hastert, R-Ill., in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, recommended that the annual Capitol Holiday Tree, as it has been called the past several years, be renamed the Capitol Christmas Tree.

"I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree," Hastert wrote to Architect Alan Hantman.

His office said the tree began to be referred to as the Holiday Tree in the 1990s. Spokesman Ron Bonjean said the reasons were unclear.

On Dec. 8 Hastert will flip the switch to light the tree, a 65-foot Engelmann Spruce from the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. On Tuesday workmen were erecting the tree on the West Front of the Capitol.
Well, not everyone is a Christian and besides, the trees have zero to do with Christianity. It is useful to refer to the Winter Solstice season as a "holiday." For that is what all this is!

There is zero information connecting Jesus with anything surrounding the Saturnalia of winter. Nearly everything we stuck onto this holiday is 100% pagan. Santa Claus is just an incarnation of Woden riding the night storms, you have to put food in a tannenbaum tree to keep him from doing something nasty like hitting you with lightningbolts! It didn't work for me, of course. I gave up. Woden wants to belt me occassionally, leaving pretzels and apples for him in a tree is pretty useless.

Santa and his Valkerie elves wasn't a nice man who wanted to give us goodies. Just allowing us to live was sufficient. One certainly had to guard his passage through the wind auge or the smoke hole. Usually, when Vikings visit, they burn down the house and steal everything so I suppose that is sort of Christmasy for them!

The drinking of Wassail is very pagan. Lighting up stuff especially bonfires to bring back the sun, very pagan.

Christmas trees were introduced in the Hudson valley in the 1840s by a German tutor who was a romatic and loved pagan stuff from the past. This was a big movement in Germany at that time culminating in the famous Richard Wagner Ring Cycle.

Then there is the whole mistletoe stuff. Shades of Merlin! C.S. Lewis was a very pagan man who sugarcoated his paganism with a feeble sort of Christianity which simply ignored all the Jewish/Bible stuff and concentrated on the more pagan rip-offs. For the rulers, when they embraced the Piscean Jesus and spread his fish business into their realms, they simply appropriated any and everything connected with the pre-existing gods and goddesses.

The American right wing hates science and hates history. A young man who explained to a customer at Walmart the simple history of the pagan values of Christmas and why "Happy Holiday" was quite appropriate since we have Hannuka and other celebrations at this time, the Christian right went bezerk and strongarmed Walmart into firing the lad.

The bloviators on TV are once again at it. O'Reilley raged about this on TV but posters on the net discovered he is bullshitting us all yet again. From the Fox TV company store:

The O'Reilly Factor Christmas Ornament - Product #:FOX21001200
Put your holiday tree in "The No Spin Zone" with this silver glass "O'Reilly Factor" ornament.
More...
The First Lady wishes everyone "Happy Holidays" each year and not one born again bozo collapses with a heartattack. So what gives?

After trying in vain to kick the Katrina victims to the curb, these clowns go back to making certain we can't wassail our way around the community singing about TANNENBAUMS which have no "Christmas" anywhere appended to them, they are just trees, and kissing under Druidic misteltoes and in general, giving a partridge in a pear tree to each other, gads.

Eat, drink and be merry, everyone!

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Nature Magazine: Atlantic Current Is Weakening


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The most recent study of the Atlantic currents show weakening of the rate of flow. Some scientists have speculated that a slower current could trigger a sudden ice age if all other meteorlogical and solar actions coincide to produce a plunge in the northern jet stream. The debate about this oscillation possibility rages on. Understanding this process is vital for our survival.

From the NYT:
Scientists say they have measured a significant slowing in the Atlantic currents that carry warm water toward Northern Europe. If the trend persists, they say, the weather there could cool considerably in coming decades.

Some climate experts have said the potential cooling of Europe was paradoxically consistent with global warming caused by the accumulation of heat-trapping "greenhouse" emissions. But several experts said it was premature to conclude that the new measurements, being described in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature, meant that such a change was already under way.
A professor at the University of Washington predicted some time ago that dilution of the salt in the heavy downward moving waters coming out of the Arctic basin, thanks to glacial melt of the ice on Greenland especially, would weaken the conveyor belt of the midocean currents and cause the Gulf Stream to slow down or even break down entirely.
Warming, in theory, could stall the salty, sun-heated, north-flowing currents by causing freshwater to build up in high-latitude seas as ice melts and more precipitation falls.

The scientists, from the National Oceanography Center in Britain, measured sea temperature, currents and other conditions across the Atlantic from the Bahamas to Africa last year and found a 30 percent drop in the flow of warming waters since a similar set of measurements were taken in 1957.

The team, led by Harry L. Bryden, wrote that that even though they had measurements from only 5 years out of the last 50, the pattern of change seen at various depths supported the idea that the shift was a significant trend and not random variability.

They also cited independent measurements of a long-term decline in the flow of water between some Arctic seas and the North Atlantic as evidence that a slowing of the overall Atlantic circulation was under way.

Here is the present system as it works now. The continents have trapped the cold at the top of the planet where there are few escape routes for the cold water which moves rather forcefully down to the warmer southern waters. The cold waters off of California switch about every 20 years with the El Nino events. We are all familiar with this because of its frequency but there is a similar but much slower cycle that happens in the Atlantic.

Roughly double the time scale, every 70 years or so, it switches from warm to cold, each cycle has distinct characteristics. We are in a warm cycle, indeed, the warm cycles are happening longer and more often the last 200 years. The warm cycle features ferocious hurricanes. Hurricane Epsilon, anyone? We have slid right off the scale this year in both volume and velocity.

The alterations in the climate have had wide ranging effects. From the BBC:
Part of the process is likely to mean more precipitation (hail, rain, sleet and snow) at higher latitudes, and so more water flowing down the rivers.

If the global water distribution changes, this could have important social and economic consequences. An altered hydrological cycle might conceivably have a profound cooling effect on north-west Europe as well.

The American Geophysical Union, publisher of the journal, says: "It could also alter the balance of the climate system itself, such as the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, a kind of conveyor belt.

"Cold water flows southward in the Atlantic at great depths to the tropics, where it warms, rises, and returns northward near the surface.

"This flow helps keep northern Europe at a temperate climate, whereas the same latitudes in North America are sparsely settled tundra or taiga."
There is an Arctic oscillation as well as the El Nino and ANSO.

The upper stratosphere is on a different cycle from the land based effects. A thinning of the statosphere changes the dynamics of the airflow in the arctic. Increases or decreases in solar activity especially variable discharges of great violence from sun spots has a huge effect on the conditions in the upper stratosphere over the Arctic. It is no accident we see fabulous aurora boreali up there when the sun is disturbed.

The researchers at the University of Washington have an excellent article about all this. From UW News:

"This Arctic oscillation seems to be doing things in the last decade or two beyond the range of what it has done earlier in the century," he said.

In a 1995 study published in the journal Science, Wallace suggested that the global warming widely believed to be occurring could be, in part, the result of natural cycles. His work on the Arctic oscillation, paid for in part by a National Science Foundation grant, is altering his view because it includes findings that imply human-induced climate change.

"We are looking at temperature changes over Siberia in the last 30 years that are almost 10 times greater than the global mean temperature rise in the last 100 years," he said.

In addition, significant changes in surface winds over the Arctic might have contributed to the thinning of the polar ice cap that has been reported by scientists with last year's SHEBA (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean) project, Wallace said.
I have a brother-in-law in Fairbanks, Alaska. There have been more than a few times he has been warmer than we have down here in NY. They have seen temperatures climb to nearly 90 degrees in summer. Snow comes later and later. As the permafrost becomes temporary frost, the heaving and shifting of the soil causes great damage.
One piece of the puzzle, the researchers said, is the existence of a Southern Hemisphere phenomenon, an Antarctic oscillation, which is virtually identical to its northern counterpart except that the Southern Hemisphere has a stronger vortex, or spinning ring of air, encircling the pole. That's because, unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, there are no large mid-latitude continents like Eurasia to disrupt the circular flow, Wallace and Thompson said.

But the cooling of the stratosphere in the last few decades has caused the polar vortexes in both hemispheres to strengthen in winter. Winds at the Earth's surface also have gained speed, sweeping larger quantities of mild ocean air across the cold northern continents. A modeling study being published in the journal Nature on Thursday by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies suggests the buildup of greenhouse gases might be contributing to colder temperatures in the polar stratosphere. If that trend continues, the colder temperatures ultimately could produce a hole in the ozone layer like that in the Southern Hemisphere, Wallace said.
All the systems oscillate. This is due very much to our dear sun. The sun isn't a stable star pouring its rays upon us evenly and consistently. It heaves and sighs, sometimes shutting down a few percentages or indulging in protracted spats of energy, cosmic and xrays snapping out to slap at our homeworld.

The earth's atmosphere and especially the oceans even out all this uneven energy but when the gases or the particulate matter changes the amount of sunlight or type of sun rays that enter and how much they bounce around once they hit the earth, this system can and will redistribute energy and excess power in various, ingenious ways which we won't like.

Here is the truly disasterous warm cycle. If this model is correct, it means glaciation over much of the northern hemisphere! Not a pretty picture. My little mountain was crushed under a mile of ice once upon a time! There is no way I want to see that!

From the BBC:

Florida-based scientists monitor the northwards-flowing Gulf Stream, and have found it has remained roughly constant over the last 50 years.

The NOC researchers concentrated on the colder water flowing south; and they found that over the last half century, these currents have changed markedly.

"We saw a 30% decline in the southwards flow of deep cold water," said Harry Bryden.

"And so the summary is that in 2004, we have a larger circulating current [in the tropical Atlantic] and less overturning."

And less heat, then delivered to European shores.
They fear a 4-6 degree fall in temperatures in Europe. If this happens, it will be very bad for Europeans who depend on a benign climate. Humans evolved big brains to cope with the ever increasingly unstable weather cycles of the last 3 million years. We now have computers and scientific equipment to monitor the planet and to plan ahead. Being able to peer into the future and project accurately ahead and to plan for all sorts of possibilities is the only way to survive. Our cleverness must be used to make smart choices, not stupid choices.

Just like the obvious geological condundrums of the Hubbert Oil Peak projections, we must understand and take measures to deal with these matters if we want to pass on some sort of civilization to our future progeny. Living recklessly today is futile.

One thing many people forget is how any event can tip all these harmonic cycles into disasters. One obvious candidate for mass wreckage is our sun. It, after all, is the ultimate force moving events in the first place. But we cannot forget volcanoes. The earth goes into various active phases, too. The magnetic orientation changes from north to south and is in fact in the middle of doing exactly that right now. The earth goes through this 150 million year cycle of shoving all the land masses together and then breaking them apart again. We are in the middle of the beginning to jam them all into one mass again, look at how India has crashed into Asia and how Australia is waltzing its Matilda across the Pacific to slam into Japan! And these events create volcanic eruptions. Spectacular ones like the Dacca flows or the Siberian events or our own Yellowstone blow-out.

A volcanic eruption in Indonesia 72,000 years ago nearly annihilated all humans! We had to be very smart and very aware to survive that disaster. Thus, the big brains.

Speaking of brains, here is another delightful story about our genius, Bush. From CNN:
U.S. officials told a U.N. conference on climate change that their government was doing more than most to protect the Earth's atmosphere.

In response, leading environmental groups blasted Washington for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada opened the 10-day U.N. Climate Control Conference on Monday, with about 10,000 experts from 180 nations, to brainstorm on ways to slow the effects of greenhouses gases and global warming. The conference aims to forge new agreements on cutting poisonous emissions, considered by many scientists to be the planet's most pressing environmental issue.

Dr. Harlan L. Watson, senior climate negotiator for the U.S. Department of State, said that while President Bush declined to join the treaty, the U.S. leader takes global warming seriously. He noted greenhouse gas emissions had actually gone down by .8 percent under Bush.
Wow. 0.8%! Way to go! Of course, we were expected, back in the mid nineties, to start reducing it 20% by now! But one tiny step for a moron is one giant step off the cliff for mankind!

I got to get to work on my igloo building skills.

To return to homepage click here
Washington Pest
To read more science news click here

TSA Allows Scissors on Planes Again


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The TSA will allow scissors on planes again. Of course, over the years, scissors have been used to kill people, it is easy to find examples. But of course, the post 9/11 hysteria they confiscated tiny finger clippers and such which is plain silly.

From Yahoo:
Airline passengers will be allowed to carry small scissors and tools onto planes, reversing a rule that led to confiscation of many thousands of sharp objects at airports since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a Homeland Security Department official said Wednesday.
Of course, terrorists leave the planes alone and concentrate on trains instead, then they hit the hotels then they cycle back to whatever is guarded the least. This roving change of tactics will continue so long as we stubbornly seek to colonize or control Muslim countries with oil or land we desire.

Scissors can be dangerous. From Hindustan Times:
A woman has been convicted of killing her husband by duct-taping him to an office chair, bludgeoning him in the head and stabbing him in the eye with scissors.
Even back in the 1940s movies made scenes with people stabbing each other with scissors. But then, today, they confiscate blunt little children's scissors even from small children not only at airports but in schools which is really bizarre. From the Student Advocacy Center:
In light of high profile cases of violence in schools over the past decade, Zero Tolerance policies have been developed and enacted by federal and state government. However, children can and have been expelled from school for carrying scissors onto school buses, saying inappropriate things to other children, and playing with straightened paper clips.
Google is a fine tool when remembering things! Here is another school/scissors story: From Kron4:
An eighth-grader was stabbed in the chest with a pair of scissors during an argument with his 13-year-old classmate, authorities said.

The unidentified 14-year-old victim was taken to Oakland Children's Hospital, where he remained in stable condition Friday. The scissors nicked his heart, but he was expected to recover.

The 13-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon and taken to juvenile hall.
Again, discression is what secruity is all about. Looking at a situation and using the brains goes a long ways. Instituting draconian, mindless rules only worsens things which is why the extent of our budding police state irritates and frightens me.

To return to homepage click here
To read more breaking news click here

Nikkei Shoots Up As Yen Falls--Japanese Hate Diplomacy Pays Off


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The Japanese frontal attack on trading partners pays off as once again, Japan fends off all forms of mutual trade, making it either unsavory or physically impossible for anyone who is a competitor to do business within Fortress Japan. As I keep pointing out, reading diplomatic cables is very productive towards understanding economic plans for the future.

From the BBC:
Japan's Nikkei share index has touched the 15,000 mark for the first time in five years, as strong demand for domestic shares continued.
Investors have been inspired by signs of recovery in the economy, and a rally in US tech stocks has also helped.

Recent data shows industrial output up, improving production and household spending, and more people seeking work.

The Nikkei briefly rose as high as 15,013.24, before it slipped back to 14,872 at the end of trading.

Market 'breather'

Japan's economy has bounced back this year as a pick-up in consumer spending and capital investment has made up for a slowdown in exports, particularly to China.
Alarmed at the potential inroads the South Koreans and Chinese were making in Japanese domestic markets, the ruling party of Japan (with permission from the Emperor's all powerful Household Advisors) undertook a deliberate strategy of culturally and diplomatically alienating their rising trade partners.

Anti-Chinese and anti-Korean propaganda and lessons in school were paired with manga and news commentary that is inflamatory and racist. Then Koizumi deliberately gave honor to war criminals America unilaterally executed. The curious silence in America, the chief victim of Japanese machinations, isn't surprizing when one considers how easily they purchased Ronald Reagan's devotion.

Our own rulers and industrial capitalists are all traitors so seeing them enable or assist the Japanese in humiliatiing America doesn't surprize me. I happen to love parts of Japan's culture, I love anime, for example. Many animators who I admire are anti-militarist/anti-war. The tend to be humanistic and emotional, but they are only a segment of Japan, not the ruling class. They tend to be subversive which is why they appeal to me.

But let's face it: the industrial capitalists and the paramilitary nationalists have formed a fascist front and are in full assault on their trading partners including especially America.

From Xinhuanet:
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is not considering a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during the ASEAN-plus-three summit next month in Malaysia, according to the South Korean foreign minister on Wednesday.

"President Roh is not considering any meeting with (Japanese) Prime Minister Koizumi," South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said during his weekly news briefing earlier in the day.

But the South Korean top diplomat said he may exchange views on history issue with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on the sidelines of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-plus-three summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur in mid-December.

"In the case of Foreign Minister Aso, I will be able to exchange history views naturally and deliver the government's position," Ban said.

"I plan to say that the Japanese foreign minister's prudent attitude toward such an issue will be helpful to South Korea-Japan relations," he added.

However, Ban said nothing has been decided on whether he will meet with Aso. "I don't even know whether he will accompany Prime Minister Koizumi (to the upcoming summit)," he said.
Nothing raises the hackles of the Japanese fascists than a united Korea. It benefits them to keep Korea split and weak. Always, for the last 500 years, Japan has expansionist attitudes towards Korea. This is where WWII really began: in Korea, not Europe.

The Koreans will not get the Japanese to cooperate because they undersell the Japanese in Japan and closing down Korean businesses is vital to the Japanese fascists. So there is no way they will be nice to Koreans, ever.

From Xinhuanet:

An official from China's Foreign Ministry said here Wednesday that it is "impossible" for Chinese and Japanese leaders to hold bilateral meeting in the December summits in Kuala Lumpur due to current chilled relations between the two Asian neighbors.

Cui Tiankai, director of the ministry's Asian Department, said the relations between China and Japan are in difficulties because the Japanese leader stubbornly persists in paying pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the convicted class-A World War II criminals along with others died in war.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the shrine in October, the fifth since he took office in April 2001, which angers China and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The shrine visit "has severely damaged the feelings of the Chinese and other Asian peoples," said Cui at a news briefing on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Malaysia to attend the ninth Summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ninth ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK Summit and the First East Asian Summit.

"Under such circumstances, the Japanese side wishes everything proceeds normally as if nothing has happened. That is impossible," said Cui.

Cui said the trilateral meeting among China, Japan and ROK could be decided through consultations of the three parties, but the bilateral meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders is "impossible."

"The Japanese side should bear full responsibility for the difficulties China and Japan are facing in their relations," he added.
You bet! The Japanese aren't doing any of this accidentally. It is a deliberate slap in the face and the rising economy in Japan is proof locking out trading partners pays off!

I no longer bother with even "liberal" economic websites because the bloggers there are all "free trade" despite the obvious glaring example of Japan. Japan can keep their people employed and happy by severely restricting competition. The many levels of barriers, customs, rules, laws, and sheer nastiness is deliberate and carefully crafted. They will stop at nothing including putting a death grip on our currency, if this makes them stronger.

The worst thing of all is how we fell into this trap: our leaders in the GOP work for the Japanese. They deliberately run up huge deficits so the Japanese can do the currency exchange to keep the yen weak. Note how Bush cuts taxes, even today, he is cutting taxes. This helps the Japanese immensely. It increases their sales in America and increases their leverage over our currency which we have ZERO control over at this point.

When Greenspan tried to raise interest rates, this went agaisnt the Japanese plan so they shot it down. So the housing boom continues as interest rates are below the dollar's inflation, this contrary inflation is a balloon just like our asset market. The Japanese experienced this accidentally in the eighties and they learned that high property values is deadly....so of course, they are enabling this to happen here for unlike the Chinese, they sell us high cost items like cars which require huge debt loads to purchase!

Even though the Chinese trade surplus with us is much bigger than Japan's, little of it is in the high-value spectrum such as very expensive cars. The Japanese are not selling us cheap cars, they are selling very expensive cars, remember! High profit margin cars!

As our own auto industry is rapidly dying, theirs is roaring ahead. Korea has successfully made much cheaper proto-Japanese style cars...I own one...appealing to penny pinchers like myself. I said to the Toyota dealer, "Even if your car is more efficient, the price is twice as high and one would have to drive it for over 20 years to make up the difference," well, you can see why Japan wants us to join in hating China and the Koreas!

Being sucked into the conspiracy, unable to even pry open the door to beef, we go down in flames! The Japanese love "McDonalds" but they eat JAPANESE products there, unlike any other places, the food isn't processed in America and shipped there, it has to be made there, this is why Koizumi pulled buddy Bush's nose very hard and sneered he would not open their markets to American beef!

So, why can't real economic professors or news reporters cover this amazing and upsetting story? Why am I virtually the only person alarmed about the fall in the value of the yen and the diplomatic disaster unfolding in Asia?

Casandra was ignored, too.

To return to homepage click here
To read more financial news click here

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winter Cold Brings Financial Misery To North


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Winter has only just begun and already many in the middle class are struggling with record high fuel bills. Congress cut fuel aid even as they cut taxes paid by the energy giants. I see a political blizzard in the future here.

From the NYT:
The cost of natural gas heat, already high, has risen 50 percent since last year. Home heating oil prices are up 30 percent. What that means for the larger economy will be divined by economists.

A hint of what it portends for the average person, though, is apparent in early indications from offices like Suffolk's.

"We have more people applying for help, and more of them are in a higher income group than we've seen before," said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, a group of 50 state directors in charge of administering a federal home energy assistance program that offers one-time-per-winter cash benefits of $100 to $500.
Those paltry benefits were set ten years ago under Clinton and record cheap energy. Few people needed it and it covered 100% of energy costs for the very poor.

It hasn't been raised since and of course now $500 pays less than a quarter of the costs. The buying frenzy, fueled nearly entirely by cheap loans running for less than the rate of inflation, is dying because credit card companies are nearly all across the board raising rates to 20-30%. This is not cheap money, it is usurous. I suspect last weekend's shopping frenzy was the last gasp, people counting pennies to buy ridiculously cheap luxury items. Now we will all hunker downa and desperately figure out how to survive this winter.
All were applying for help through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or Liheap, though no one was exactly low income. All, as it happened, would be turned away for having incomes that exceeded the strict federal limits - $41,616 for a family of four, or $28,296 for a family of two.
These Federal standards are silly since living in high-cost communities means someone on these incomes is really very poor, for example, if rents or taxes on properties are high like in the Northeast.
Elected officials from cold weather states have pushed hard for substantial increases in financing for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provided about five million people with benefits last winter.

Those efforts, however, have so far failed to bring an increase from last year's allocation, which was about $2.2 billion. Governors and lawmakers say about $5 billion would be necessary to meet the needs of the six million eligible people expected to apply for aid this year.

A parallel drive to impose a windfall-profits tax on energy companies, which have reported record profits, has also stalled.
Lieberman, a man whose first country of choice is Israel, recently toured Iraq and said our hideously expensive mess there is going just fine. All the Democrats are of divided loyalty, wanting money from various religious or business special interests like the military/industrial complex clowns, and so they support this ruinous war while pretending they are agast we can't muster the money to spend a measly additional $3 billion to keep Americans alive!

The GOP is totally toxic. They make no bones about who they really serve: the Pope in Italy, the Japanese government, and big big business. So they love this ruinous war. I would suggest we levy a 100% profit tax on money above the profit levels of two years ago on the big oil companies! Then we can easily afford to heat Americans this winter.

Like Chavez in Venezuala is offering us. From NPR:
So, record profits for oil companies, on record high oil prices. The Senate defeated a proposed windfall tax on those profits -- a bill that President Bush had threatened to veto such a bill. Time for Mr. Bush's nemesis -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez -- to get into the act. Chavez has renewed his offer to send discounted heating oil to America's poor. Venezuela's CITGO Petroleum says it will distribute the cheap oil next week, through community groups in Boston and the Bronx.
Can we switch Presidents? We get Chavez and they get Bush? Well, that would be terribly cruel.

How about we ship Bush to Iraq? He can run that place. I remember the right wingers here in America celebrating the attack on oil rich Iraq. "Oil will be cheap," they crowed.

"Never ever, when there is a war, is oil cheap," I cautioned. Well!

America tried to overthrow populist Chavez and replace him with oil toadies owned by our oil companies. This failed spectacularily and we are still reaping the crop from that mess. This is why Bush was viewed as a comedy character in South America. His trade initiatives were thrown back into his face.

Well, we need to rethink our energy systems and our way of living. I live in a solid house with an elegant passive solar energy system that requires little heat thanks to pushing air around from warm parts of the house to the colder parts. Most homes have been built with no regard to the sun, the rain or any elements. We build huge towers that need to gobble up tons of energy to maintain habitability. We ignore nature and think we can burn our way to happiness.

Our gas guzzling has brought this crisis upon our own heads. Now our auto industry is dying, our weather system is raging, note the high winds and violent storms, this month, a record number of tornadoes, heck, just this most recent storm which is about to hit me, the winds are howling already, has killed people with tornadoes and raging fires that run ahead of it, very violent, the isobars at 988 yet again like the previous three tornado laced storms! This is hurricane levels! There is no ocean push so the damage isn't as great as hurricanes, but only barely. Many travelers are trapped by blizzards in the Midwest and it is still only November. I fear this will be a violent winter just like we had a violent summer.

The sun was very active this summer and fall and we are still dealing with the energy it spat at us back then. This is what greenhousing does: it contains solar energy and winds it down via violent storms!

To return to homepage click here
To read more energy news click here

Corruption Charges Brings Down Canadian Government


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Prime Minister Martin of Canada is brought down by corruption charges. New elections in Canada. So, I ask, why not here, too? The mountain of GOP corruption literally stinks to high heaven!

From Yahoo:
Canadian politicians will hit the campaign trail this holiday season after opposition parties seized upon a corruption scandal to bring down the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin in a vote of no confidence.

Monday's loss means an election for all 308 seats in the lower House of Commons, likely on Jan. 23. Martin and his Cabinet will continue to govern until then.

The Conservative Party teamed up with the New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois parties to bring down the government, claiming the ruling Liberal Party had lost its moral authority. Recent polls have given the Liberals a slight lead over the Conservatives, with the New Democrats in third place.

The same surveys suggest the Bloc Quebecois would sweep the French-speaking province of Quebec, making a majority government unlikely no matter which party wins the most seats.
Across the planet, in countries with real elections, the populace is very divided. This, I would suggest, is due to globalization of capitalism and free trade. The more the trade is removed from domestic controls, the more divided the government becomes. Canada's main trading partner, the USA, has a huge trade deficit with Canada. At the same time, the gargantuan appetite for energy and raw materials keeps this trade imbalance running. The Canadians, unlike the Japanese and Chinese, are not playing games with us, it is just that they are few and we are many and we produce virtually nothing to trade now. What we want now is to control trade with Canada so we can have protectionism while we go about other countries demanding free trade!

All governments are being corrupted by the churning trade issues. Governments strive to corrupt other governments. Businesses know the golden rule is gold rules. So it is no surprize to see corruption issues all over the place. Except for America....Until this year. Now, we have a plethora of corruption investigations which are, unlike the Clinton ones, very serious since unlike in the Clinton years when our economy was doing rather well and our government was cleaning up the budget messes created by corrupt Reagan and Bush terms, we enjoyed relatively good governance.

We know we have a corrupt government now because the number of lobbyists and the money they spend has absolutely mushroomed. We stagger from one economic mess like Enron cutting energy off to California, plunging the nation into a recession, the oil companies overcharging grossly during a hurricane emergency and the roaring budget deficits and massive corruption in Iraq bleeding a quarter trillion from our future, this spiral down into the economic pit of bankruptcy has to be terminated....TODAY.

Here is one example of a festering scandal that has finally taken down a corrupt GOP pro-war hack who milked the Pentagon for his own enrichment: From the LA Times:
A tearful, trembling Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe) resigned Monday after pleading guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors and evading more than $1 million in taxes.

The money involved makes Cunningham's the largest bribery case since several members of Congress were convicted of the crime in the early 1980s.
There is the developing Abramoff bribes business which is slowly moving through the Justice system. This one is going to take down nearly all the top GOP leadership in the House and Senate! Frist sold his family stock illegally, another scandal. Grasping for dollars is leading to grasping at straws. Then there is Cheney, the Beast of Scandals to Come. Like a giant toad, he squats in the middle of this mess. He should be arrested, quickly.

For we can't afford to wait for another three years, this means at least another TRILLION in red ink! Gads! We passed the $8 trillion mark last month, we can't pass yet another one! Fixing this will take more than a year! Time is running out rapidly.

The cumbersome method we have is impeachment and driving a government into bankruptcy because a President and his cronies encourage corruption is a number one reason to impeach. The fact that Bush can't run our economy is all the reason I need to impeach him. Impeach all the Republicans! They are the ones who preside over the budget mess! Under Carter, back in 1980, we reached the one trillion point in debt. We now are at eight and climbing. Bush has rung up more debt than all the Presidents put together, 200 years worth! This is insanity! I am alarmed but it seems that even the red ink bleeding in Iraq isn't alarming Americans sufficiently.

This is the fault of the press which hides the facts. They are so eager to sell stuff they won't talk about this on the front page. Every day there should be an alarming headline concerning this but it seems I must be running one of the few news services that does this. We Cassandras are basically ignored by the general public but I fear, not for long.

Our particular party is nearly over. The advertisers in the mainstream media desperately wanted good news stories after Thanksgiving so they had emergency panic sales which produced zero profits. The media went along with the hoax, and it was all a hoax, trumpetting the tales of estatic customers rushing to snatch what were basically give aways. Now that sober reality has set in, the real bad news is taking an economic toll as it ought to.

I liken this to a weather service lying about storms, predicting pleasant weather right before a hurricane or line of tornadoes hit. It is a criminal act to deceive people.

Blair deceived the British people. He openly lied about nearly everything having to do with their personal security. His lies have killed people including a government official who committed suicide after being reamed out by Blair's gang of thugs. He then went on to destroy one of the few good news services in the world, the BBC, and muzzled them until this fall when his dropping popularity reinvigorated real news gathering again.

I applaud Canada for having a real democracy. I look forwards to their election and hope everyone votes. I wish the jerry-rigged Constitution we coughed up didn't happen that way, but we had to endorse and protect slavery so we got stuck with clumsy system which is hard to change once entrenched powers take over using our electorial college and rigid election schedules.

This means our rulers can contentedly loot for at least four years at a time and look at it! Just this week, the GOP tried to pass more tax cuts for the rich even as we bleed red ink like a decapitated prisoner of rebels in Iraq.

Arrest them all. Have real elections. Let's sing "O, Canada"!

To return to homepage click here
To read more financial news click here

Monday, November 28, 2005

Japanese Purchase of American Bonds Drives Value of Yen Even Lower


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Japan's stockmarket is up, their trade surplus with America is up, they are opening more assembly plants in America to keep their customer base quiet while they carefully exclude American products from Japan. The exchange rate is again becoming so stupid that it pays Japanese to go to America to buy Japanese goods. This impossible situation is even worse today with the yen falling rapidly in value despite the obvious economic imbalances in Japan's favor.

From Yahoo:
Japanese stocks opened higher Monday following gains on Wall Street last week. The dollar was up.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 63.29 points, or 0.43 percent, to 14,847.58 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange shortly after the open. The index on Friday gained 41.71 points, or 0.28 percent, to finish at 14,784.29, its highest since December 2000, marking seven straight sessions of gains.

The broader TOPIX index was up 5.48 points, or 0.36 percent, at 1,535.15 points early Monday.

Technology and exporter blue chips were mostly higher, with major banks narrowly mixed.
Duh. Exporter stocks are the key here. They export mostly finished products. If they have factories in America, they export all the parts and such and can squeak under the auto export thresholds. Also, thanks to the collapse of our unions, American labor is becoming cheaper and cheaper.
Wall Street ended with moderate gains Friday, extending a November rally in light post-Thanksgiving trading amid signs of a decent start to the busy holiday shopping season. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 15.53, or 0.14 percent, to 10,931.62, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 3.03, or 0.13 percent, to 2,263.01.

In currency trading, the dollar was trading at 119.73 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market early Monday, up 0.11 yen from late Friday in New York. The euro fell to $1.1703 from $1.1713 late Friday in New York.
First, the big sales day that boosted stocks was a fake enterprise. Call it Potemkin Shopping Spree, they practically gave away all sorts of stuff....Much of it made in China or Japan! It didn't help our manufacturing base at all nor did it bode well for our terrible trade deficit. It points to seriously bad future problems.

The dollar/yen mess worsens. The Japanese will not let go of our economic throats, they will debase their currency and run up prices at home rather than cut on export power. Under Clinton, we forced the yen to a more realistic 100 yen to the dollar but they are busy returning it to the hacylon days of 130 yen to the dollar. Already, we are pushing on 120 yen to the dollar.

I remember four years ago when the trade deficit was half of what it is today, Bush and his Treasury agents were boasting they would cut it in half by dropping the value of the dollar vis a vis the yen so 95 yen buys a dollar. Instead, thanks to our budget deficit, we have to send trillions to Japan to be isolated from the financial markets. Because of this, the Japanese yen becomes cheaper and cheaper.

From Nouriel Roubini and David Backus' Macroeconomics lectures:

The Classical theory of exchange rates is basically the quantity theory of money and the theory of purchasing power parity, or PPP, which we looked at in Chapter 3 of these lectures. The first ingredient is the quantity theory, which tells us that prices of goods reflect stocks of money:

P = MV/Y

Pf = Mf Vf /Yf
The "f" stands for "fucked".

Here is an older article about our nearly invisible car sales in Japan: From Auto News:
Here we go again. It seems like I'm frequently cast in the role, or rather cast myself because no one else is doing it, of trashing conventional wisdom. Especially as it applies to matters automotive. Let's take the common belief that you can't give away American cars in Japan. This wisdom, usually passed on to journalists by Japanese auto companies or government officials, holds that (1) American quality is unacceptable to Japanese customers, (2) Americans are really stupid to think Japanese would buy left-hand drive cars in a right-hand-drive autoscape, (3) American cars are too overpriced by the time they are homologated to meet Japanese regulations and (4) they are just too big for narrow Japanese streets not to mention the necessity of having a parking space where land is precious. I have heard myself that the only Japanese who would dare to drive an American car is a gangster, a racketeer. Everyone looks down upon them as the dregs of society, so no respectable Japanese would think of driving an American car and having their neighbors and relatives think they were low-lifes. Indeed, the new-car sales statistics reported by Chrysler, Ford, and GM cars in Japan are so close to zilch that no one even bothers to question this conventional wisdom.
This is insanity. At no point did our government lay down the law of "free trade" to force open Japanese markets this time around. Perry had to go in with ships and threaten them to get them to open in the past and this should have happened recently but instead, Reagan was bargaining FOR the Japanese and Bush is too, it appears!

The attacks on China from Tokyo that Bush indulged in were due entirely to the Japanese who fear the Chinese market prying open their squirrely system they built up to exclude ganjin. The Chinese are so much cheaper, the Japanese rulers decided to risk alienating an important market in order to keep the system intact. So they raised the volume of anti-chinese rhetoric and kicked the Chinese repeatedly in the shins to rouse them into anti-japanese riots and voila!

They won't see any Chinese stores open in Japan, will they? The Japanese people will continue to live rather miserable lives, supporting the present system, locking out all foreigners if possible.

Here is more bad news for us and proof our trading partners are shafting us over "free trade": From the Progressive Policy Institute:
In 2004, the world's automobile plants produced about 64 million cars, of which 11.6 million were made in the United States. Americans imported 8 million more cars -- 3 million from Japan, 2 million from Canada, 1 million from Europe, 900,000 from Korea, and 650,000 from Mexico -- and exported 1.4 million. This year's total should be considerably higher. Sales to Britain, Germany, and Japan seem to have dropped in the first six months of 2005, but exports to most other major markets -- Canada, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, China -- are all growing fast. There is a strong case, though, that (with the possible exception of China) sub-Saharan Africa is America's fastest-growing auto export market.

American car sales to Africa have nearly quadrupled since the turn of the century, from under 7,400 in 2000, to over 27,000 last year. Based on early results for 2005, Africans may buy 50,000 American-made cars this year. Africa is already well ahead of ASEAN and South America as an American auto export market, and could conceivably place above East Asia this year. (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macao, Mongolia, and Taiwan combined to buy about 40,600 American cars last year, and sales seem likely to end 2005 between 50,000 and 60,000.) Africa is a smaller market for parts, but a fast-growing one, likely to approach $100 million worth of brakes, shock absorbers, gear-boxes, bumpers, and miscellaneous parts this year.
Isn't that cute? Africa produces no export cars. The big car exporting countries of Asia don't buy our cars. All the stories about why are hogwash. They always managed to not buy cars from us once they start exporting. Since China is following Japan's style of business, it is no wonder the numbers there are becoming as miserable as in Japan. The stats here make Japan look better than it really is because it is lumped in with China who still buy our cars and trucks.

Here is a good site concerning Japanese sales hurdles designed to exclude or exhaust competitors: From JAMA:
But last year's slowdown in the Japanese economy exposed the weak strategic position of the American manufacturers for all to see. Sales of U.S.-made vehicles dropped nearly 18% and were off even more sharply in the first quarter of 1998. This has once again raised the specter of potentially divisive and economically damaging trade disputes, as U.S. government officials and executives blame Japan for the decline. This study — based on an in-depth analysis of the Japanese distribution system and extensive interviews with auto dealers and industry executives in Japan — shows this would be a mistaken course for America. Specifically the study reveals that:
The following is all the usual stuff about how we failed one way or another but note the date!

This is when Clinton balanced our budget, the need for the Japanese money hole disappeared! So suddenly, Japanese didn't want to buy our stuff even though the yen was getting stronger and stronger vis a vis the dollar. Note too that this is when Greenspan decided to raise interest rates, too. The Japanese were supposedly mired in a depression even though their currency was getting stronger and stronger vis a vis the dollar. Obviously, they were in trouble since their entire premise for existing is to undercut American industry!

Now, all that is fixed, their economy is sailing along happily, we are hemmoraging red ink all over the place, losing factories, the Japanese are happily building more factories in America as they take over our entire auto industry. Bonzai!

To return to homepage click here
To read more financial news click here

Aegis Security Puts Online a Video of Contractors Shooting Civilians


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Reporters in England discover an online video put up by Aegis Defense Services, a firm with a big "security" contract in Iraq, showing them killing civilians (and laughing). This brings up the topic of the glee and joy the invaders take in shooting unarmed civilians. And why the mass of Iraqis as well as Afghanis, hate us so much and why we are losing.

From the Telegraph:
A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

Lt Col Tim Spicer is investigating the incident
The video, which first appeared on a website that has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on "route Irish", a road that links the airport to Baghdad.

The road has acquired the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in the world because of the number of suicide attacks and ambushes carried out by insurgents against coalition troops. In one four-month period earlier this year it was the scene of 150 attacks.
I decided to check out Lr. Spicer and his website. Here it is: Aegis Fun Page:
I have today seen the new website - "Aegis Iraq PSD Teams", I have a number of points I wish to make:

I am fully in favour of good natured banter and a light hearted view of life and its difficulties in Iraq .
I encourage anything that takes the pressure off and improves motivation.
I would not be in favour of a site if it was in any way libellous to anyone, down right nasty or detrimental to anyone's morale.
My major concern is one of OPSEC - either that of our clients or our own individuals - posting unblanked photos may not be so clever. Anything that is of use to AIF should not be allowed to flourish.
I am also concerned about media interest in this site and I remind everyone of their contractual obligation not to speak to or assist the media without clearing it with the project management or Aegis London. This site could be construed in this way.
I remind everyone that there is a proper chain of command for airing concerns, grievances etc.
Please think twice about posting your happy snaps and whilst I am not concerned about this site as yet, if it develops into something other than a light hearted pressure valve I will take a much greater interest.
Remember that your job and those of your colleagues indirectly relies on the maintenance of our contract. Refrain from posting anything which is detrimental to the company since this could result in the loss or curtailment of our contract with resultant loss for everybody.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer, OBE
As always, revealing the "fun" our forces and our contractors are having is a big no-no. So long as only the Iraqis get to experience our hilarity, it is OK, just don't photograph it or put it online! Keep it under wraps, dudes.

We are fortunate these depraved people boast about their many war crimes. They really do think all of this is very funny. Hahaha. A big joke. Since this war is being run by psychopaths who like to joke about executing women or think war is funny so long as no one can shoot back, we get psychpathic behavior down in the lower ranks. Lt. Spicer is no angel. He has a record of giving arms to despots but this is no different from American official arms trafficking like selling arms to Saddam when he was conducting his totally illegal war against Iran.

From the Telegraph article:
The Foreign Office has also confirmed that it is investigating the contents of the video in conjunction with Aegis, one of the biggest security companies operating in Iraq. The company was recently awarded a £220 million security contract in Iraq by the United States government. Aegis conducts a number of security duties and helped with the collection of ballot papers in the country's recent referendum

Lt Col Spicer, 53, rose to public prominence in 1998 when his private military company Sandlines International was accused of breaking United Nations sanctions by selling arms to Sierra Leone.
The lunacy of paying uncontrolled mercenaries to provide security in war zones is now fully evident. The Fallujah incident when an enraged mob, no doubt brought to a boiling point by the sort of random haha shootins these mercenaries indulge in, attacked a mercenary vehicle and burned it. Then hung the bodies from a bridge as a warning. We then committed very grave war crimes, using chemical warfare against unarmed civilians there, and now we are in very serious legal trouble. First, we had to hide our crimes. This meant attacking al Jazeera who exposed our use of illegal chemical bombs, this led to Bush trying to pressure Blair into becoming a fellow war criminal by attacking a civilian television station in another, totally innocent country! This mess should be aired out in trials at the Hague but it won't because first, the perpetrators should be captured and Bush is surrounded by sharp shooters and military who will kill even American citizens if they even dare raise a hand against this psychopatic multiarrested AWOL criminal.

Click here if you want to see a video of Americans shooting unarmed demonstrators, dropping a bomb on them! While laughing.

Four Swedish soldiers blown up in Afghanistan this week: From Xinhuanet:
Four Swedish soldier were injured Friday afternoon in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, a local police officer said.

"This afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. in Mazar-e-Sharif a Swedish vehicle belongs to ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) hit a bomb on the way back from the buzkashi game. Four Swedish soldiers were injured, and one of them is in very serious condition," Shir Durani, spokesperson of the provincial police chief told Xinhua.

At the same time, an interpreter of the Swedish soldiers said on condition of anonymity that one Swedish soldier was killed, three others were injured.

About 11,000-strong NATO-led ISAF forces stationed in Afghanistan after the collapse of Taliban in late 2001. They continued with the cleanup operation of Taliban remains to stabilize the war-ravaged country.
The UN saw the need to stabilize this country. We screwed up the initial war and our actions in Iraq have aggravated the situation in Afghanistan and now the earthquake has made things worse, showing the mountain people that the dictator in Pakistan and the Americans don't give a hoot about them except to oppress them, this is making our opponents much stronger!

Already, with the stench of defeat in our nostrils, we try to extracate our troops. Here is the latest lunacy about this: From Newsweek:
Under the Pentagon's plans, U.S. numbers are to be reduced back to about 138,000 by the new year (troop totals are now edging up to 160,000 leading into the December election). Then, under what the Pentagon calls a "moderately optimistic" scenario—but the one it considers most likely—20,000 to 30,000 more troops would come out by mid-2006, with a further goal of phasing down the U.S. presence to 80,000 to 100,000 by "late next year." As additional evidence of its intentions, the Defense Department quietly announced on Nov. 7 the major units scheduled to deploy to Iraq in the next big rotation, starting in late summer next year. Those units add up to 92,000 U.S. troops in 2007.

To secure the country with so few troops, Khalilzad and Casey have had to swallow their pride. They are making compromises with Sunni supporters of the insurgency that would have been unthinkable a year ago. President Bush is also doing what he has been loath to do: asking neighboring countries for help, even the rabid anti-American Islamists in Tehran. Khalilzad revealed to NEWSWEEK that he has received explicit permission from Bush to begin a diplomatic dialogue with Iran, which has meddled politically in Iraq. "I've been authorized by the president to engage the Iranians as I engaged them in Afghanistan directly," says Khalilzad. "There will be meetings, and that's also a departure and an adjustment. "
My god. Didn't our insane ruler yap about the Triumverate of Evil so long ago? The Troika of Terror? The Triples of Turbulence? So, we ink treaties with North Korea, send them food, we go to Iran, hat in hand, "Please save us from the one country that didn't have terrorists", we beg.

I remember when troop strength was under 125,000 and our psychopath was prancing around an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner. He lied about the banner, pretending it was made by the crew of the ship and put up spontaneously rather than manufactured professionally and brought aboard by the film crew to set up as a backdrop. Bush should have been removed from office for lying about all this. There has been 1000 reasons to remove this clown. Of course, he should never had been put in office when it was discovered he lied about being arrested again and again. Heck, putting career criminals into powerful positions always leads to really bad things happening!

Meanwhile, our criminal government tries in vain to have trials of people they accuse of being terrorists: From the Guardian:
The Bush administration decided not to charge Jose Padilla with planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city because the evidence against him was extracted using torture on members of al-Qaida, it was claimed yesterday.
Mr Padilla, a US citizen who had been held for more than three years as an "enemy combatant" in a military prison in North Carolina, was indicted on Tuesday on the lesser charges of supporting terrorism abroad. After his arrest in 2002 the Brooklyn-born Muslim convert was also accused by the administration of planning to blow up apartment blocks in New York using natural gas.

The administration had used his case as evidence of the continued threat posed by al-Qaida inside America.
Yesterday's New York Times, quoting unnamed current and former government officials, said the main evidence of Mr Padilla's involvement in the plots against US cities had come from two captured al-Qaida leaders, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a leading al-Qaida recruiter. But the officials told the newspaper Mr Padilla could not be charged with the bomb plots because neither of the al-Qaida leaders could be used as witnesses as they had been subjected to harsh questioning and could open up charges from defence lawyers that their earlier statements resulted from torture. Officials also feared that their testimony could expose classified information about the CIA prison system in which the men were thought to be held.
This is what our Founding Fathers fought to end: Star Chambers.
In a sense the court was a supervisory body; its members oversaw the operations of lower courts. As well, its members could hear cases by direct appeal. Members of the court were either privy councillors (i.e. members of the king's advisory body) or judges drawn from the courts of common law.

The mandate of the court expanded under the Tudors to include instances of public disorder. Judges would receive petitions involving property rights, public corruption, trade and government administration, and disputes arising from land enclosures. Although the court was initially a court of appeal, Henry VIII and his councillors Wolsey and Cranmer encouraged plaintiffs to bring their cases directly to the Star Chamber, bypassing the lower courts entirely.

Although the court could order torture, prison, and ines, it did not have the power to impose the death sentence. Under the Tudors Star Chamber sessions were public.

The power of the court of Star Chamber grew considerably under the Stuarts, and by the time of Charles I it had become a byword for misuse and abuse of power by the king and his circle. James I and his son Charles used the court to examine cases of sedition, which, in practice, meant that the court could be used to suppress opposition to royal policies. It became used to try nobles too powerful to be brought to trial in the lower courts. Court sessions were held in secret, with no right of appeal, and punishment was swift and severe to any enemy of the crown.

Charles I used the Court of Star Chamber as a sort of Parliamentary substitute during the years 1628-40, when he refused to call Parliament.

Finally, in 1641 the Long Parliament abolished the hated Star Chamber, though its name survives still to designate arbitrary, secretive proceedings in opposition to personal rights and liberty.
To be imprisoned at the whims of a ruler is the most odious thing our Founders could think of, aside from slavery which many of them endorsed heartily. Indeed, from day one, America has been fractured by the chasm between idealism and crass usage. This is why we broke our treaties with the tribes who resided here before our invasion, why we go insane when we embrace patriotism, why we can't take the world peacefully and convert enemies into friends without lots of chaos and killing.

Most people want to be friends and do business. But not if the terms are akin to looting expeditions or piracy. We don't like to be attacked by pirates, do we? Yet we want to be exactly that when we want something and can't pay for it.