Archive for August, 2008

China: “If it is not the end of the world…”

August 30, 2008 Leave a comment


We admit it.

We are prone to excessive pessimism regarding the impending catastrophe facing you; to exaggeration; to hyperbole – indeed, you can even say we underestimate your ability to muddle, once again, through the dark tragedy which is about to descend on you.

The United States is not Argentina, the Dollar is not the Peso, you say.


Read this nasty little item from the Australian site, The Age:

A high-ranking Chinese economist has put his nation’s cards on the table in the global financial poker game by effectively telling the US to fix Freddie and Fannie … or else.

“A failure of US mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system”, Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China’s central bank, says.

“If the US government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Yu said in e-mailed answers to Bloomberg. “If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.”

“Men like Yu Yongding don’t just get up one morning and say this sort of thing.” We are told by the writer.  “He is possibly the most highly accredited economist in China. A list of his positions would fill a little red book.”

Not a word this week from a single member of the elite bosses of the Party of Washington. Not a peep from the economic vandals of the Party of Wall Street.

Not a single response from The Presidency, the office of the Speaker of the House, nor from the office of the Senate Majority Leader.

Not a word of this and its implication for you and those you love from the lips of the nominee of the Party of Washington, who waxed eloquent regarding how life will profoundly change under his enlightened term in office.

He went on for forty-two minutes, we are told, yet found not ten seconds of it where he could have told the nation, “Uh, sorry. The Chinese just sent us an ultimatum: Either we fix our economy, or we are cut off from the spigot.”

Not a peep.

Let us speak frankly, so that you are clear about the stakes for you and your family, when next John McCain or Barack Obama hold one of those town meetings in your area.

There are only two choices here:

  1. Dismantle America’s Empire – withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan, all overseas bases, pull back the fleets, recall the submarines, and stand down, or,
  2. Starve.

Less than meets the eye…

August 30, 2008 Leave a comment
Huffington Post
Picture from the Huffington Post

We would note that Senator Obama’s speech accepting the nomination of the the Party of Washington – the Democrats – was of remarkable quality, and justly impressive to the throng of Washington sycophants, would-be inheritors of the machinery of State, and even representatives of the Party of Wall Street – the Republicans.

You too were probably well entertained by the pageantry and stagecraft of the event.

We would simply ask, if you are inclined to be overwhelmed by the emotional power of seeing this triumphant moment of American racial progress, that you download the text of the Senator Obama’s speech and read the substantive parts aloud in the voice, not of the first African American candidate of a major American party, but the less impressive voice of your congressperson, or town selectman.

You will immediately note, as David Broder has observed, far from the promise of, “fundamental systemic change,” this speech was little more than, “a checklist of traditional Democratic programs.”

Two promises, in particular, are of note:

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

In these two paragraphs are the heart of the program of the Party of Washington – that children will be educated, and the sick will be provided medical care.

We are reminded of Chris Rock’s joke about black men who brag self-righteously, “I take care of my kids.”

You know the worst thing about niggas? Niggas always want credit for some shit they supposed to do. A nigga will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A nigga will say some shit like, ‘I take care of my kids.’You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? ‘I ain’t never been to jail!’ What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!”

In the same sense we might judge the promises of Senator Obama, that children will be educated and the sick provided medical care, against the common practice of all civilized nations on this planet, to arrive at how little he actually offers in his platform of change.

Educating children and taking care of the sick is what modern civilized nations do, yet Senator Obama delivers this promise to the nation as if he were delivering the Emancipation Proclamation, not merely hoping to preside over its final realization.

How little he offers in the way of change is graphically framed by this small notice:

In the last two months, Bank of China cut its portfolio of the debt 29 percent, or about $3.14 billion, to $7.5 billion as of Monday, the Beijing-based bank said in an earnings report. Holdings of mortgage-backed bonds guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie were cut 22 percent, to $5.17 billion, the bank said.

Asian investors are retreating despite U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s pledge July 13 to provide government support to Fannie and Freddie should their financial conditions deteriorate further. The government-sponsored enterprises, which own or guarantee at least 42 percent of the $12 trillion in U.S. home loans, have posted $14.9 billion in net losses the last four quarters amid rising foreclosures rise and falling home prices.

From this notice we see that the People’s Republic of China has begun the long process of withdrawing its capital from American markets.  Perhaps, six decades ago this notice might not have been of the least importance to the average American. But, now, in the midst of collapsing credit and housing markets, this small withdrawal signals the most deadly of threats to your living standards, and that of your children.

We cannot emphasize this enough: You are on the edge of the most dire economic catastrophe humanity has ever witnessed – and, the leader of the Party of Washington delivers, as a promise, what is the minimal requirement for modern civilized society: that children should be educated and sick provided medical care!

Perhaps, the most significant line is his speech was this:

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

It was with these words, Senator Obama revealed his willingness to ignore of the depth of the problems he and the nation faces. We love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight?

No B, not the last eight, the last sixty!

The insignificant report of the Bank of China makes clear that the rest of the human family is gradually becoming nervous about underwriting the American Empire, and this, above everything else this election might involve, signals its end.

The litany of marginal policy proposals at this time, in that place, by that man, before a rapt nation – the largest ever to witness such an event – underscores the complete failure, complete incompetence, complete paralysis and lack of vision of both the Party of Washington and the Party of Wall Street.

Make no mistake, if you will not reach for your own survival against these two parties, and the empire they have spawned and managed these sixty years, the consequence for you and your family is unimaginable.

The rest of Nancy Pelosi’s speech to the Democratic National Convention

August 25, 2008 1 comment

We were able to recover the the missing portion of Nancy Pelosi’s speech to the Democratic National Convention from her hard drive before it was deleted. You can find her speech, as delivered and posted on Huffington Post, here:







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She’ll be consigned to the lowest depths of Hell, and won’t remember why.

August 25, 2008 Leave a comment

From Huffington Post:

LONDON — Margaret Thatcher’s daughter says she first realized that her mother was having memory problems when the former prime minister struggled to distinguish between the 1982 Falklands War and the conflict in Bosnia.

In an excerpt from her memoir, due to be published next month, Carol Thatcher charts her mother’s decline _ and describes the day in 2000 that she first understood her mother was being robbed of her memory.

More on the Russo-Georgia conflict.

August 22, 2008 Leave a comment

“When Mikheil Saakashvili attacked the Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinvali, he expected to find success, or, at least, some cashable Western support. Part of his wish was granted. As soon as the Russians counter-attacked, an American politician was ready with threats and dire prophecies. John McCain was out of the gate on Georgia long before George W. Bush or Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates made their first statements for the record. Why? Who gave McCain his early cue?

“A fair bet is Saakashvili, through his closest American friend and former agent, Randy Scheunemann. Since Scheunemann is John McCain’s adviser on foreign policy, this looks like a dangerous contact — dangerous, that is, for the security of the United States. Yet it follows a pattern. Scheunemann was the agent of Ahmed Chalabi in agitating for the war against Iraq. He is a former director of the Project for the New American Century, which welcomed a world at permanent war, dominated by the U.S., as the order of the 21st century. And Scheunemann is as closely linked as it is possible to be — while holding a nominally different post — with the American Enterprise Institute, the Office of the Vice President, and the Weekly Standard: the most drastic and persistent lobbying network for the Iraq war, and the group that lately pressed the hardest for a war with Iran.

“The idea of bombing Iran did not catch fire this summer. But these people are ambitious; they never let up one project without starting another. In their way of thinking, the United States — to keep the archaic Constitution at bay, and our enemies on the run — must always be occupied with a war somewhere. Iraq may be turning into a peaceful occupation; Afghanistan is getting to be an old story. Why not start a war in Georgia? At best, you push back against Putin, and show him to be a hollow threat. Or — a different advantage — you make a pitiful spectacle of the tears and the trampled pride of Saakashvili, and prove the brutality of Russia which has never really changed. So you restart the Cold War — a very good thing indeed. As for the run for president: on this issue as on FISA and Iran, Barack Obama can easily be shown to be a diluted version of McCain.”

Full piece here:

Russia’s terrible miscalculation…

August 17, 2008 Leave a comment

The extent of the Russian miscalculation in Georgia is completely revealed by the following excerpt:

[T]he Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow.As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it. The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status.

This is not something that just happened – it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity.

The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

George Friedman: Russia stamps its authority

The writer believes the Americans to be outmaneuvered by the Russians, owing to the American problem wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The role of the dollar is key here, as we will show this when we return to the piece. With the dollar, Washington command not only the economic strength of the US, but of all countries which use the dollar to complete trade transactions.

Obama has promised to increased the military by 90,000 troops, McCain has promised an equal measure of increase. Added to this is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates plan to “counterbalance what the secretary sees as the U.S. Defense Department’s natural tendency to focus excessively on winning conventional conflicts rather than ‘irregular wars’ such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The actual increase will likely be much more than this. Why?

As you know from this little series we have been writing, business is good for war.

The present cascade of economic difficulties the US is now experiencing would have been diagnosed by Keyserling, the economic architect of NSC-68, as resulting not from too much military spending, but too little.

Keyserling estimated the US timidity to go all out with a really aggressive military build-out resulted in the loss of “…8 trillion dollars worth of GNP and about 85 million hours of civilian unemployment…” between 1953 and 1981.

The American economy is hollow, consisting of nail salons, restaurants, real estate and financial speculators, and millions of employees who spend all day moving emails from their inbox to folders under their inbox.

Increasingly, China and the rest of the world provide an ever larger percentage of what Americans consume; and, the dollars exported through trade return to the American economy as loans for ever more consumption.

The Americans can, in other words, provision themselves with very little effort, while amassing astonishing military power. There are sufficient manpower resources to undertake a massive military buildup without causing the slightest impact on American consumption.

The self-deluding Russia leadership believe it is confronting the United States at the limits of the latter’s power – that the US will back down owing to its draining wars of occupation. They have, in fact, merely positioned themselves to be an object lesson for China and any other challengers.

Russia has tragically misread global power relations; it has engaged in a hopeless battle against the economic power of an entire planet which effectively sit in hands of Washington.

War of my dreams…

August 16, 2008 Leave a comment

This blog doesn’t really cover breaking news because, we are lazy, and shit keeps piling up faster than we can shovel. However, the Russia-Georgia conflict provoked such a good response from one blog writer, we felt the need to post an excerpt here, and flag it for you:

This is the war of my dreams—both sides using air forces! How often do you see that these days?—so I’ll skip the history. Just remember that South Ossetia is a little apple-shaped blob dangling from Russian territory down into Georgia, and most of it has been under control of South Ossetian irregulars backed by Russian “peacekeepers” for the last few years.

The Georgians didn’t like that. You don’t give up territory in that part of the world, ever. The Georgians have always been fierce people, good fighters, not the forgiving type. In fact, I can’t resist a little bit of history here: remember when the Mongols wiped out Baghdad in 1258, the biggest slaughter in any of their conquests? Nobody knows how many people were killed, but it was at least 200,000—a pretty big number in the days before antibiotics made life cheap. The smell was so bad the Mongols had to move their camp upwind. Well, the most enthusiastic choppers and burners in the whole massacre were the Georgian Christian troops in Hulagu Khan’s army. Wore out their hacking arms on those Baghdadi civilians.

So: hard people on every side in that part of the world. No quarter asked or given. No good guys. Especially not the Georgians. They have a rep as good people, one-on-one, but you don’t want to mess with them and you especially don’t want to try to take land from them.

The Georgians bided their time, then went on the offensive, Caucasian style, by pretending to make peace and all the time planning a sneak attack on South Ossetia. They just signed a treaty granting autonomy to South Ossetia this week, and then they attacked, Corleone style. Georgian MLRS units barraged Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia; Georgian troops swarmed over Ossetian roadblocks; and all in all, it was a great, whiz-bang start, but like Petraeus asked about Iraq way back in 2003, what’s the ending to this story? As in: how do you invade territory that the Russians have staked out for protection without thinking about how they’ll react?

Full post here.

Four day work week gaining traction

August 3, 2008 Leave a comment

The four day work week appears to be growing in popularity under the impact of economic instability and energy prices. The movement is presently limited to trying to squeeze fortry hours into a four day week, but the will probably shift to 32 hours in time.

Utah begins a statewide four day work week for public employees on July 3rd.

Local officials, hit by declining revenues, and unable to sidestep by printing dollars and raising taxes, are increasingly turning to this innovation as a means to balance budgets.

We will try to keep up with the announcements as they become available.


Nova Scotia minister suggests four-day work week
Halifax’s sidewalk cafes and harbourside boardwalks could get a lot busier on Fridays, if provincial government workers adopt a proposal being floated for a four day work week.

It won’t happen anytime soon, but Nova Scotia’s energy minister says its time to talk about shortening the number of days workers head to the office.

Richard Hurlburt is proposing to shut down government buildings on Fridays to save on energy costs and reduce traffic. Under the plan, employees would work four ten-hour days.


Queen Creek’s 4-day work week draws interest
Queen Creek’s trial four-day work week is drawing curiosity from public officials across the state.

Since the town launched the alternative schedule and expanded hours Monday through Thursday, human resources director Bruce Gardner said he’s been answering at least one inquiry a week from all over the East Valley and the state.

Questions have come from Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and state government. Other cities watching include Eloy, Sahuarita south of Tucson, and Wickenburg.

“There’s a lot of dialogue in these other municipalities between the organization and elected officials but it seems like it’s just exploration at this point,” Gardner said.”It will be interesting to see if other cities and towns will follow through.”

Queen Creek’s trial period for the four-day work week began June 30 and will run through Sept. 1 with business hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Most departments are closed Friday but essential services remain open.

Town Manager John Kross proposed the change as a way to boost morale during difficult economic times.He said the move also would save money on everything from fuel to electricity – an estimated savings of about $4,000 a month.


State of Hawaii tests 4-day work week
The Hawaii Department of Human Resources Development will be the first state agency to implement a four-day work week beginning Aug. 4.

The reduced work week will apply to all 111 employees at the department’s offices at 235 S. Beretania St. in downtown Honolulu. The department recruits and processes employees for state jobs.

It is part of a three-month pilot program, which will run through Oct. 31.

The state Department of Human Resources Development offices will be open from 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and will be closed Friday through Sunday.

The department’s recruitment counter will be open to the public from 7:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration said Thursday that the program is part of continuing efforts to reduce expenses, streamline state government operations and alleviate traffic congestion by keeping workers off the road during peak travel hours.


South New Jersey school districts pare down work week

Three county school districts are breaking work tradition to increase morale and save energy during the summer.

The Penns Grove-Carneys Point, Pennsville and Salem school districts have condensed from a traditional five-day work week to a new four-day week. The change was based on a suggestion from the New Jersey Department of Education for all districts to try the switch while school is not in session.