The American Empire in a Changing World


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Fiat Money in Theory and in Somalia'

from wallstreetpit..........

"A classic question in the theory of money is how an intrinsically useless object like fiat money can possess exchange value. The modern theory of money has essentially settled on the answer first provided by Ostroy (1973). In a nutshell, circumstances may dictate that some objects are relative good for record-keeping purposes, quite apart from any other use they may have in consumption, production, or storage; see also, Kocherlakota (1998).

The basic idea is as follows. We know that monetary exchange is not necessary, even in economies where mutually beneficial bilateral barter exchanges do not exist (what economists clumsily call a lack of double coincidence of wants). This is not simply a theoretical statement; we know of (and indeed most of us belong to) small economies (networks of families and friends) that operate according to “gift giving” principles. We are willing to make individual sacrifices without monetary compensation, hoping that they will be noticed, remembered, and most importantly, reciprocated at some point in the future"..............READ MORE

'Inside the spy unit that NYPD says doesn't exist'

from ap.........

"Working with the CIA, the New York Police Department maintained a list of "ancestries of interest" and dispatched undercover officers to monitor Muslim businesses and social groups, according to new documents that offer a rare glimpse inside an intelligence program the NYPD insists doesn't exist.

The documents add new details to an Associated Press investigation that explained how undercover NYPD officers singled out Muslim communities for surveillance and infiltration.
The Demographics Unit, a squad of 16 officers fluent in a total of at least five languages, was told to map ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and identify where people socialize, shop and pray"...............READ MORE

'Libya’s Next Fight: Overcoming Western Designs'

exactly what pepe escobar has been reporting...........from tripoli post.......

"At a press conference in Tripoli on August 26, a statement read aloud by top Libyan rebel commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj was reassuring. Just a few months ago, disorganised and leaderless rebel fighters seemed to have little chance at ousting Libyan dictator Muammar Al Qathafi and his unruly sons. 

But despite vague references to ‘pockets of resistance’ throughout Tripoli, and stiffer battles elsewhere, Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is moving forward to extend its rule as the caretaker of Libyan affairs. In his conference, Belhadj declared full control over Tripoli, and the unification of all rebel fighter groups under the command of the military council. 

It is NATO, whose decisive and financially costly military intervention was not charitable, nor was it a moral act. It was a politically and strategically calculated endeavour, with multifaceted objectives that simply cannot be scrutinised in one article".............READ MORE

'Iceland voices disquiet over Chinese tycoon's tourism project'

first heard about this on zero hedge.........from reuters via france24.......

"Iceland responded warily on Tuesday to a Chinese tycoon's plan to buy a swathe of isolated land for a green tourism venture, a deal which analysts say raises security questions due to the North Atlantic island's strategic location.

The minister responsible for approving any investment by Huang Nubo said the scheme, part of a trend of Chinese buying of assets in the West, needed close scrutiny.

"This question has to be looked at carefully from many different aspects," Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson told Reuters, citing issues of selling such a large piece of land to a foreigner and the ownership of natural resources"................READ MORE

for more info about what is happening in the arctic (fight for oil)......READ HERE

'Wells Fargo to test $3 monthly fee for using debit cards'

time to close your accts in this despicable taxpayer-bailed out bank............from vegasinc.........

"Thousands of Nevadans are about to be hit with a new and unwelcome charge on their checking account statements — a $3 monthly fee for use of Wells Fargo debit cards. 

The bank in recent weeks has quietly disclosed plans to test the new fees beginning in October in Nevada, Oregon, New Mexico, Georgia and Washington"..............READ MORE

'Manas US airbase to be withdrawn in 2014'

from trend azerbaijan.......

"Kyrgyz Prime Minister promised to withdraw Manas U.S. airbase in 2014.Almazbek Atambayev told in his interview to Russian journalists, reported.

Answering the question when the Russian-Kyrgyz joint venture on fuel supply to Manas airbase will work the head of the Government noted that "it is a very serious topic. It is suffice to say that American base consumes a significant amount of jet fuel during the year. And the intensity of traffic on our route will accrue during the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan"..............READ MORE

'U.S. Moves to Block AT&T Merger with T-Mobile'

from nytimes.......

"The Justice Department on Wednesday sued to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, a deal that would create the largest carrier in the country and reshape the industry"...........READ MORE

'Noam Chomsky: 'As long they get the backing of dictators, it doesn't matter to western governments what Arab populations think' – video'

from the guardian......

"The 19th century ... 2001 ... today. Noam Chomsky sees hegemonic powers showing extreme contempt for democracy – and acting in ways they know will increase terrorism"..........SEE VIDEO HERE

Pepe Escobar: "Why Gaddafi got a red card"

another must read from pepe............from asia times online.........

"To understand NATO's global Robocop role - legitimized by the UN - one just has to pay attention to the horse's mouth, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen. As Tripoli was still being bombed, he said, "If you're not able to deploy troops beyond your borders, then you can't exert influence internationally, and then that gap will be filled by emerging powers that don't necessarily share your values and thinking." 

So there it is, out in the open. NATO is a Western high-tech militia to defend American and European interests, to isolate the interests of the emerging BRICS countries and others, and to keep the "natives", be they Africans or Asians, down. The whole lot much easier to accomplish as the scam is disguised by R2P - "responsibility to protect", not civilians, but the subsequent plunder"...........READ MORE 

and pepe on alex jones...........*the special starts @3.40 minutes in

'Britain's debt burden has surged past the point at which it harms growth in every area of the nation's borrowing, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned'

from the telegraph..........

""Debt is a two-edged sword. Used wisely and in moderation, it clearly improves welfare," wrote Stephen Cecchetti, head of the monetary and economic department at BIS, and his colleagues in a paper presented at the weekend's Jackson Hole summit. "But, when it is used imprudently and in excess, the result can be disaster".................READ MORE

'Inflation or deflation: What kind of depression lays ahead?'

from washtimes..........

"Most sober economists agree on one thing: The United States is headed for a depression.
Those who hold this view divide into two camps. The first camp says the upcoming depression will be deflationary, the second thinks it will be inflationary.
The question is not merely academic, as it has a direct bearing on how we should prepare for the hard time ahead.
If the forthcoming depression is deflationary, then we should hold on to our dollars, because their purchasing value will increase. To put it another way, money will buy us more things in the future than it does now.
If, on the other hand, the depression turns out to be inflationary, then we should get rid off dollars and buy things that are likely to hold value such as gold or commodities or perhaps other currencies"...........READ MORE

'Remembering Why Americans Loathe Dick Cheney'

cheney was the worse president we ever had............from the atlantic.........

"When Vice President Dick Cheney left office, his approval rating stood at a staggeringly low 13 percent. Few political figures in history have been so reviled. As his memoir, In My Time, hits bookstores today, and he does a series of friendly interviews in the press, some Americans with short memories might wonder, "Why is it that so few were willing to endorse his performance in office?".............READ MORE 

'Caspian Sea States On Course For Naval Arms Race'

from rferl.........

"Russia's plans mark the latest episode in the militarization of the Caspian, which is either -- depending on whom you ask -- the world's biggest lake or the world's biggest inland sea. That definition, it turns out, is anything but academic. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the five countries that abut the Caspian -- Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and the two Central Asian states of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan -- have been sparring over how to divide it up among them.

International law regulates countries' offshore control of maritime resources differently for lakes and seas, so the slice of the Caspian's rich energy resources -- estimated by some experts to be worth $3 trillion -- that goes to each country has much to do with which interpretation wins out"..........READ MORE

'The struggle for Greenland’s oil'


"As energy companies and environmentalists clash over the region’s future, islanders are hoping they are more than spectators in the rush to exploit resources"...........READ MORE

Australia: "Sydney house prices drift lower amid muted buyer interest"

from smh............

"SYDNEY'S housing market remains relatively stable with auction clearance rates steady over recent weeks. House prices, however, have drifted down over the past quarter, indicating generally subdued buyer activity"..........READ MORE

'$100bn trade target: India, China to hold talks'

beware cheap chinese imports.........from hindustantimes.........

"Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia will lead a delegation to Beijing in September-end to define the broad contours of a framework for enhanced economic cooperation in the energy, steel, telecommunication, banking, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, among others.

Then there have been instances of Chinese pharma firms selling medicines with 'made in India' labels in Africa. In June 2008, Nigerian authorities seized a consignment of fake anti-malarial drugs with the India tag but allegedly produced in China, said a commerce ministry official here. The tablets could have affected 642,000 customers.
India has also put quality restrictions on cellphones, dairy products and toys in a measure primarily aimed at blocking cheap import from China. India's Directorate-General of Foreign Trade said mobile handsets without the IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) number, which helps track the sale and use of the phones, cannot be imported. Industry sources estimate close to a million such phones enter India from China every month"...........READ MORE

Documentary on how the media lies to manipulate us

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'The 700 Military Bases of Afghanistan'

our country is run by sociopaths............from 2010.........cbsnews..............

"A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) tells TomDispatch that there are, at present, nearly 400 U.S. and coalition bases in Afghanistan, including camps, forward operating bases, and combat outposts.  In addition, there are at least 300 Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) bases, most of them built, maintained, or supported by the U.S"..........READ MORE 

U.K.: "Disingenuous bankers are trying to derail reforms"

somebody better start putting bankers in jail..............from the guardian........

"Vince Cable has accused bankers of using the economic turmoil in Europe to try to derail reform of the financial sector.

The business secretary said that "louder and louder voices" were being raised among some of the big British banks giving warning that regulatory change in Britain would put the recovery at risk"..........READ MORE

"Cheney tortures history"


'Pentagon signs billions in non-competitive contracts'


"In a new report issued this week by the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News, it is revealed that no-bid contracts inked by the DoD have increased by nearly three-fold in the decade since the September 11 terrorist attacks. In an effort to jump the gone and supply the military with the quickest services possible in an attempt to combat insurgency, the US government has spent billions on defense but could have stood to save a ton had they sought out other contractors.

Documented in the iWatch report issued Monday was a $20 million contract with a Virginia-based company for training Afghan police, which the Pentagon signed off on this very summer, citing “urgent requirement,” without seeking competition.
2008 shows the biggest discrepancy in contract spending in recent years. In that year the DoD signed off on $146.1 billion in non-competitive contracts out of a total of $384 billion. In 2010, non-competitive contracts made up $140.4 billion of the $366.2 billion total. That puts the Pentagon’s competition rate at just over 60 percent, paling in comparison to other state agencies. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, had sought competitive contracts in more than three quarters of their deals last year; the Energy Department had a competitive rate of 94 percent"...........READ MORE

'A story missing from our media: Iceland's on-going revolution'

iceland told the bankers to suck it..........from newsnetscotland...........

..........."The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents.  The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.
Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland.  Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts.  As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)"................READ MORE

''Home Prices are “Dead in the Water” – Robert Shiller

from wallstreetpit.........

"Case-Shiller Index co-author Robert Shiller spoke with FOX Business Network’s Dagen McDowell about U.S. home prices which slipped in June 0.1%. Shiller said home prices “could fall another 10-20% before it’s over” but right now are “not doing anything. Dead in the water.” He went on to say that it is difficult for the government to step in with additional aid for homeowners under water because “it’s very difficult to be fair; someone who didn’t buy during the housing boom doesn’t get bailed out, it’s rewarding bad behavior. On the other hand, a lot of innocent people got caught up in this thing.” Excerpts from the interview can be found below, courtesy of Fox Business Network"...........READ MORE

'At 65 percent, Nevada leads nation in sale of foreclosed homes'

viva las vegas baby!!.......from vegasinc....

"Nevada led the nation during the second quarter with 65 percent of its homes sold as foreclosures, according to a California research firm. 

The nation’s percentage was 31 percent. Arizona was second with 57 percent and California was third with 51 percent. 

Third parties purchased 15,685 homes in Nevada during the second quarter, up 24 percent from the first quarter and 31 percent from the second quarter of 2010, RealtyTrac reported. 

The average foreclosure sales price in Nevada was $121,862, RealtyTrac reported. Foreclosures sold at a 22 percent discount than those not sold in foreclosure, the firm noted"...........READ MORE

War a Waste: $30 billion stolen by US contractors

thanks congress


'New York Congressional Dems Support Schneiderman on Foreclosure Fraud Investigation'

from firedoglake....

"Eric Schneiderman keeps picking up support in his quest to hold a real investigation on the criminal failures in mortgage securitization and servicing. He has the support of a number of newspaper editorial boards, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which devoted its Sunday editorial to an out-of-state Attorney General:

"Eric Schneiderman won’t play ball with efforts to make the mortgage foreclosure mess go away. In the spring, federal regulators thought they had a deal with Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the five biggest mortgage servicers, to settle claims that they had taken shortcuts by foreclosing on homes before the paperwork was properly processed. The banks would have paid about $20 billion, most of it for loan modifications and counseling.

But the banks wanted the 50 state attorneys general to sign off on the deal, too. The AGs have been meeting for months and were said to be close to an agreement. But Mr. Schneiderman is an outlier.

Good for him. The banks want this so-called “global agreement” to indemnify them against any mortgage-related claims, not just processing complaints. Mr. Schneiderman has been investigating the way that the banks securitized mortgages in the years leading up to the 2007-2008 housing collapse, cutting them into pieces and bundling them as mortgage-backed bonds".............READ MORE

'Japan's new prime minister'

from aljazeera........

"On Eve Of Budget Town Hall Meeting, Chicagoans Rally Against "Corporate Welfare"

from progressillinois.........

"Chicagoans rallied outside the downtown office of United Airlines yesterday, saying the airline should return the $31 million in TIF money the company has received since 2007.

The company has received $50 million in subsidies over the last four years and community leaders say taxpayers and their communities need their money back.
The action took place one the eve of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first scheduled town hall meeting on the 2012 city budget"..............READ MORE

Currency war feared if nations move to defend industry''

from the guardian.......

"The pound's rise last week to $1.64 is a vote of confidence in Britain as a safe haven. Investors, who have pushed up sterling from $1.54 a year ago, appreciate the government's deficit reduction plan and the Bank of England's support for asset prices through its quantitative easing programme.

But as every country with an appreciating currency knows, there is an ugly flipside. Figures for UK manufacturing show the sector has lost momentum after last year's booming sales. Export growth has slowed dramatically and City experts and IMF policymakers fear that growing imbalances could set off currency and trade wars as countries fight against each other to limit the impact of global forces.
Andrew Wells, chief investment officer for fixed income at fund manager Fidelity International, said recent events in the eurozone and the battle over the debt ceiling in Washington had rattled confidence in world currency markets".............READ MORE

Florida: 56,000 homes in Pre-Foreclosure

from the ledger.....

"There are almost 40,000 properties now in foreclosure in the Sunshine State. Almost 30,000 more are in the short sale process, which means homeowners are underwater on their homes and are trying to sell them for less than they owe the bank. Another 56,000 are in preforeclosures — homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments and are at risk of foreclosure. These are the short sales and foreclosures of tomorrow.

And this is the best it's been in four years".........READ MORE

'Britain's banks are directly responsible for more than a third of the country's economic slump since September 2008'

from the telegraph....

"The UK economy is currently 4pc smaller than its peak in March 2008 and 2.8pc smaller than in September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and Britain's banking industry began its long decline.

Of the 2.8pc fall, the contraction in banking activity has accounted for one percentage point, analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures shows.
The impact banks have had on the economy is completely disproportionate to the industry's size. Banks account for just 5.1pc of national output, but are to blame for around 35pc of the national decline even excluding the knock-on effect of tighter credit on businesses and households"...........READ MORE

Monday, August 29, 2011

'Libyan Rebels Free over 10,000 Prisoners But 50,000 Still Missing'

from tripolipost.........

"As Libya leans towards a democratic leadership after more than six months of battle to oust Libyan dictator Muammar Al Qathafi from power after a 42-year rule, the atrocities committed by the fugitive leader keep on surfacing. The Libyan rebels said Sunday they have freed over 10,000 prisoners arrested by the regime nearly 50,000 others are still missing. 

Rebels' spokesman Col. Ahmed Omar Bani said at a press conference on Sunday that beside the thousands who have been freed since the rebel forces took control of the capital Tripoli, they estimated that over the past months, between 57,000 and 60,000, had been arrested by the Al Qathafi regime.

Bani said that between 10,000 and 11,000 prisoners have been freed up until now, but, he asked, “Where are the others?” He went on to say that it would be " catastrophic" if these prisoners had already been killed after being arrested"............READ MORE

Matt Taibbi: "Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal"

a must read..........from rolling stone........

"A power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general.
This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes".........READ MORE

'Bay of Pigs report shows extent of CIA's power in 1960s'

from miami herald.....

"A once-secret CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion lays out in unvarnished detail how the American spy agency came to the rescue of and cut deals with authoritarian governments in Central America, largely to hide the U.S. role in organizing and controlling the hapless Cuban exile invasion force.
The report, in chronicling how American secret agents dealt with the ’60s-era governments of Guatemala and Nicaragua, provides important evidence, in official U.S. government words, to the truth of the old adage that the most powerful people in Central American embassies were the CIA station chiefs.
Ambassadors step aside and allow the CIA to negotiate deals for covert paramilitary bases in a newly released portion of the CIA’s “Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation.” CIA pilots and Cuban foot soldiers then help suppress a Guatemalan Army coup attempt that threatened their foothold in the country. Gen. Anastasio Somoza hits up the CIA for a $10 million payoff, development loans, as the price of letting the Americans launch the Cuban exile invasion from Nicaragua"............READ MORE

'Secret Exemptions Allowed Speculators To Distort Futures Markets'

from the real news network........"Michael Greenberger (former Chief of Staff to Brooksley Born): Secret deals with CFTC staff led to futures markets with 80% speculation"

'What Really Happened in the Bin Laden Raid?'

from mother jones......

"You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to be still scratching your head about the end of Osama bin Laden. Between the Obama administration and major media reports, there have been multiple divergent accounts of the Navy SEALs' mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with the story seeming to be colored by politics, sensationalism, and outright fantasy. In some respects that's unsurprising for one of the most important and highly classified military missions in modern memory‚ the outcome of which, many would argue, is all that really matters. But precisely because of its importance, it is worth considering how the tales have been told, and where history begins to bleed into mythology"..........READ MORE

Chris Hedges: Obama 'Brand for the Corporate State'


'France avoids Swiss tax deal – for now'


"Switzerland may have struck deals with Britain and Germany to tax money held by their residents in Swiss bank accounts, but France is digging in its heels.

The French budget minister says France has not excluded a similar accord, but observers say reasons of principle and electoral pressures are preventing them from inking a deal.

So far Paris has resisted the Swiss “Rubik” project. And there is no question of giving up the fight against tax evasion – at least not for the moment.

But the Swiss offer is a tempting one: several billion euros - maybe not for this year but at least for 2013 – at a time when France is struggling to boost revenue and fill empty coffers"............READ MORE

'Europe snubs IMF call to force-feed bank capital'

NO MORE TAXPAYER MONEY FOR BANKS...........from reuters..........

"The European Commission said there was no need to recapitalise the banks over and above what had been agreed after an annual "stress test" check of their ability to withstand economic and financial market headwinds.

"I don't think so. This discussion has already taken place between the EU and the IMF, and the IMF is well aware of the results and the follow-up decided after the stress-tests," Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said"............READ MORE

'European banks face ordeal by fire this week after the International Monetary Fund called for “urgent” action to shore up their defences, if necessary with state money and under legal compulsion'

from the telegraph........

"Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s new chief, set off tremors at the Jackson Hole summit over the weekend with warnings that the global financial system is on very thin ice and vulnerable to the slightest shock.

“We are in a dangerous new phase. The stakes are clear: we risk seeing the fragile recovery derailed, so we must act now,” she said.
“Banks need urgent recapitalisation. If it is not addressed we could easily see the further spread of economic weakness to core countries, even a debilitating liquidity crisis. The most efficient solution would be mandatory substantial recapitalisation,” she said"...........READ MORE

Pepe Escobar: "How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli"

from asia times online.........

"His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him. 

Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter - once again - that wilderness of mirrors that is the "war on terror", as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) "humanitarian" intervention in Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi's fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj's men - who were at 
the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels' most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war.
Already last Tuesday, Belhaj was gloating on how the battle was won, with Gaddafi forces escaping "like rats" (note that's the same metaphor used by Gaddafi himself to designate the rebels). 

Every intelligence agency in the US, Europe and the Arab world knows where he's coming from. He's already made sure in Libya that himself and his militia will only settle for sharia law".............READ MORE 

'Can US still afford the war in Afghanistan?'

London: "The City gears up to kill new finance tax"

from thebureauinvestigates.........

"Hostilities kicked off last week when Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy redoubled efforts to harmonise EU tax rates and levy a tiny financial transaction tax on financial trades of around 0.05%.

The French and German leaders united in a twin track attempt to recoup the hundreds of billions of euros spent bailing out failed banks and the bankrupt national economies of Portugal, Ireland and Greece. They were also driven to reassert a semblance of authority over financial markets.
Death knell of the financial sector?The City lobbying machine went into overdrive in a ferocious attempt to garner support from David Cameron’s government, against the proposals that they, rather dramatically, claim will kill the country’s financial sector"............READ MORE

Japan: 'Anger mounts in tsunami-hit areas over political power games'

from japan today.........

"As Japan’s political elite readies for yet another leadership showdown on Monday, there is widespread anger about the Tokyo power games among survivors of the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster.
Almost six months after the catastrophe, tens of thousands of people still live in crowded shelters and temporary homes, many mourning loved ones, fearful of radiation and without jobs, homes or a clear idea about their future.
The government’s disaster response has drawn fierce criticism, forcing Prime Minister Naoto Kan to announce he will quit and setting off frantic jockeying among those eager to replace him at the ruling-party vote.
“I’m disgusted with things over there,” said Ikuko Takita, who lives in a temporary home because the massive ocean wave took away her house in Ofunato, 420 kilometers northeast of Tokyo"...............READ MORE

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony

Colin Powell: 'Cheney takes 'cheap shots' in memoir'

from afp...

"The two Bush-era heavyweights have often traded blows and the roots of their disagreement go right back to the Iraq war and the policy that led to the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
Powell said Cheney alleged that as secretary of state he had withheld his best advice from Bush while offering stinging critiques of the president's policies to others.
"That's nonsense. The president knows that I told him what I thought about every issue of the day," he said.
Powell also accused Cheney of seeking to smear his successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, as well as ex-CIA director George Tenet.
"He's taken the same shots at Condi, with an almost condescending tone. She tearfully did this, or that. And he's taken the same shots at George Tenet," said Powell, who, like Cheney, was a Republican appointed by Bush.
Cheney, in his memoir, condemns Powell's stance on the Iraq War, but the former military man -- who also served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and national security adviser -- brushed aside the critique.
"Mr. Cheney may forget that I'm the one who said to President Bush, 'if you break it you own it'," he said, adding pointedly: "Mr. Cheney and many of his colleagues did not prepare for what happened after the fall of Baghdad"..............READ MORE

The House of Rothschild

Photo Essay: WW2-"Internment of Japanese Americans"

amazing pics...........from the atlantic..........

"Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to designate military zones within the U.S. from which "any or all persons may be excluded." While the order was not targeted at any specific group, it became the basis for the mass relocation and internment of some 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, including both U.S. citizens and non-citizens. In March 1942, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, commander of the U.S. Army Western Defense Command, issued several public proclamations which established a massive exclusion zone along the west coast and demanded that all persons of Japanese ancestry report to civilian assembly centers.

 On short notice, thousands were forced to close businesses, abandon farms and homes, and move into remote internment camps, also called relocation centers. Some of the detainees were repatriated to Japan, some moved to other parts of the U.S. outside of the exclusion zones, and a number even enlisted with the U.S. Army, but most simply endured their internment in frustrated resignation. In January 1944, a Supreme Court ruling halted the detention of U.S. citizens without cause. The exclusion order was rescinded, and the Japanese Americans began to leave the camps, most returning to rebuild their former lives. The last camp closed in 1946, and by the end of the 20th century some $1.6 billion in reparations were paid to detainees and their descendants by the U.S. government. See also color film of the camps in our video channel. (This entry is Part 10 of a weekly20-part retrospective of World War II[45 photos]"..............VIEW PICS HERE

Noam Chomsky: 'American Decline: Causes and Consequences'

from znet..........

.........................."To review briefly some of the relevant history: During World War II, US planners recognized that the US would emerge from the war in a position of overwhelming power. It is quite clear from the documentary record that “President Roosevelt was aiming at United States hegemony in the postwar world,” to quote the assessment of diplomatic historian Geoffrey Warner. Plans were developed to control what was called a Grand Area, a region encompassing the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire – including the crucial Middle East oil reserves – and as much of Eurasia as possible, or at the very least its core industrial regions in Western Europe and the southern European states. The latter were regarded as essential for ensuring control of Middle East energy resources. Within these expansive domains, the US was to maintain “unquestioned power” with “military and economic supremacy,” while ensuring the “limitation of any exercise of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with its global designs. The doctrines still prevail, though their reach has declined".............READ MORE

and a short youtube clip from chomsky..........

'More than 200,000 Mexicans displaced by drug war'


"Around 230,000 Mexicans have been forced from their homes to escape violence from Mexico’s drug war, of whom about half are seeking refuge in the United States.

Latin America News Dispatch reports from the border town of El Paso in Texas and looks at why so many Mexicans are fleeing their homes and their fate in the United States.
Some Mexicans, especially those living in and around violence-plagued border towns cross into the U.S. illegally, others apply for asylum status. But only a small fraction of Mexicans who apply are granted asylum"...........READ MORE

'Hurricane Irene: two nuclear power plants shut down'

from the telegraph.....

"CENG reported Unit 1 at its Calvert Cliff, Maryland refinery was shut automatically after a transformer was hit by some aluminum siding.
CENG said the facility is safe, with no impact on employees at the plant or threat to the surrounding area.
The company declared an 'Unusual Event' - the lowest of four emergency classifications by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"The Unit 1 reactor at CENG's Calvert Cliffs, Maryland facility automatically went off-line,'' a CENG spokesman said.
"It appears as if due to heavy gusts of winds caused by Hurricane Irene, a large piece of aluminum siding dislodged from a building. The siding came in contact with our main transformer. The facility is safe''.........READ MORE

Google blames the U.K. Government's weak tax laws for the fact it pays just £8m of corporation tax in Britain despite making more than £6bn in revenues in this country'

from the telegraph.........

"The technology giant has come under heavy fire for using tax laws to avoid paying a more significant level of corporate tax in the past.

However, Mr Schmidt told the Edinburgh Television Festival yesterday that Google "loves" Britain and would pay more tax if it were legally required to do so. He said the company's hands were tied by Britain's low tax demands.
"It is true we could pay more tax but we would have to do so voluntarily. It's called paying the legally minimum amount of tax required," he said"..........READ MORE

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Charlie Rose - An Hour with Warren Buffett

from charlie rose.........

'NATO nations set to reap spoils of Libya war'

from aljazeera........

"It looks like the more telling news on Libya has migrated to the business pages.  With jubilant reporting of Gaddafi's imminent downfall seizing headlines, it's the financial pages that have the clinical analysis. So, for instance, it is in this section that the Independent reports a "dash for profit in the post-war Libya carve up".

Similarly, Reuters, under the headline, "Investors eye promise, pitfalls in post-Gaddafi Libya" noted that a new government in that country could "herald a bonanza for Western companies and investors".

Before Tripoli has completely fallen, before Gaddafi and his supporters have stepped down and before the blood dries on the bodies that have yet to be counted, Western powers are already eyeing up what they view us just rewards for the intervention.

There are no more illusions over how far NATO forces exceeded the UN security resolution that mandated its campaign. For months, NATO officials insisted it was operating within brief - an air campaign, designed to protect civilians under threat of attack. But now it is described as an "open secret" that NATO countries were operating undercover, on the ground"...........READ MORE

Pepe Escobar: 'Al-Qaeda asset leading rebels in Tripoli'


'Hurricane Flashback: The Great New York Storm of 1821'

from nymag.........

"As the city prepares for the assault of Irene, we're almost exactly 190 years away from the only hurricane in recorded history whose eye passed directly over New York. September 3 marks the 190th anniversary of the Hurricane of 1821, which saw flooding and destruction in the growing metropolis. In less than an hour a thirteen-foot storm surge deluged the city, swallowing everything below Canal Street. The Battery was particularly devastated, docks were destroyed, and ships were swept onto streets. Further uptown, a bridge that connected Harlem to Ward’s Island was washed away and somewhere in Chinatown, the East River likely met the Hudson. "New Yorkers were lucky," writes Bruce Parker in The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters. "The hurricane hit at low tide"...........READ MORE

'Angola and the Paradox of Chinese Power'

from diplomaticourier..........

"Chinese loans, as well as companies doing business, have contributed to an impressive resurgence of the country’s economy and infrastructure after nearly 30 years of civil war. In the early 2000s, when Western institutions such as the World Bank impose severe conditions on assistance to Angola and dispensed long (and sometimes hypocritical) speeches on transparency and accountability, the Chinese came along with billions in loans and no questions asked.
Therefore, one would expect, as some observers have predicted, that Angola would fall under greater Chinese control. While China has gained an impressive economic presence in Angola, its political and diplomatic influence is growing weaker by the day, and its soft power is rather weak
Along with billions in loans also came thousands of Chinese workers, with an estimated 100,000 Chinese now believed to be residing in Angola.iii While Chinese companies have won numerous lucrative contracts, very few jobs have actually been created for the Angolans.iv Some Western scholars have claimed that China brought thousands of workers to Angola because the country lacked skilled workers. Portuguese, Brazilian, Indian, and other countries' companies in Angola don’t seem to have that problem"..........READ MORE

'Hot Summer Erodes Corn, Soy Harvest'

from bloomberg........

"The hottest summer since 1955 in Iowa and Illinois is eroding yield prospects for corn and soybean crops in the U.S., the largest grower and exporter.
Signs of diminished output appeared this week during a four-day, seven-state sampling of about 2,000 fields in the Midwest organized by the Professional Farmers of America, which will report its findings later today. A Bloomberg survey of 25 tour participants showed all expected the government to cut its corn-harvest forecasts and 21 predicted a reduction for soybeans.
Corn prices have jumped 24 percent since July 1 and soybeans touched a five-week high on Aug. 24 as crops in parts of the Midwest were damaged by more than 35 days of temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), government data show. Corn, the biggest U.S. crop, is the main ingredient in livestock feed and ethanol, a gasoline additive"............READ MORE

Friday, August 26, 2011

'Hurricane Irene prompts nuclear plants to batten hatches'


"More than a dozen nuclear reactors along the U.S. East Coast are being prepared for potential loss of power and damage from high winds and storm surges as Hurricane Irene bears down on the region.

Nuclear plants in Irene’s path continued to operate as workers secured loose equipment, checked diesel fuel supplies for backup generators and stowed cots and food for workers who may be stranded during the storm.
At Dominion Resources Inc.’s Millstone nuclear station, which sits on a narrow peninsula in the Long Island Sound near Waterford, Connecticut, workers were examining flood barriers and submarine doors designed to keep reactors dry from a hurricane’s storm surge".............READ MORE

Shame on you Bank of America: 'Faced with foreclosure – for paying her mortgage early'

shame on you Bank of America...........from

"Can the nation's big banks get any more incompetent in how they handle individual foreclosures?

A popular mistake seems to be foreclosing on the wrong home and then only offering a grudging apology later - of course not until after having thrown some innocent homeowner's possessions onto the sidewalk and locking everything up tighter than Fort Knox.

It's a hard act to top, but Bank of America appears to have succeeded in the case of a 70-year-old woman in Florida.

Underwater on her $133,000 New Port Richey home and nursing a bedridden husband, Sharon Bullington found herself in a financial jam as medical bills began to pile up"...........READ MORE

Max Keiser: 'The Fainting Bankers of Wall Street'

from max keiser....

'Kentucky’s pension crisis: A day of reckoning lies ahead'

from bgdailynews.....

"The United States isn’t the only government that’s had its credit rating lowered. Two agencies also recently downgraded Kentucky’s bond rating.

In reducing the commonwealth’s rating, Moody’s Investors Service pointed to two major problems: too much debt and underfunded public pensions.

Enter the latest news that in addition to Kentucky’s current $31 billion worth of unfunded pension liabilities for government retirees, the commonwealth’s pension-fund stocks are taking a beating on Wall Street, losing $500 million since July 1.

While that may not be as much in terms of actual dollars as some other states (California’s fund lost $18 billion during the same time period), it’s still a high percentage (5.43 percent of Kentucky’s fund vs. California’s 7.5 percent) and should serve as yet another wake-up call for Frankfort to tackle what longtime Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, called “a tough subject” in a recent CN/2 interview"............READ MORE