11.06.04 Islamic radical(s) attack Netherlands' film director suspected of threatening others
A descendant of Vincent van Gough, film director Theo van Gogh, was stabbed and shot Tuesday, as he cycled to work in Amsterdam. The 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan defendant, identified in the media as Muhammad B., was charged with the murder and attempting to kill a policeman and a bystander. He was wounded in the leg during a shoot-out during the arrest and is now in a hospital in the town of Scheveningen.
Theo van Gogh had produced a short documentary, called Submission, which was reportedly critical of the way Moslems treat their women, and a note pinned on his body by the murderer said, "Dear Mrs. Hirshi Ali (sic). Since you stepped into the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorising Muslims and Islam with your remarks."
Amsterdam police arrested a 23-year-old Moroccan. They seized computers and video cassetts from his house and the man is being held on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organization with "terrorist intent.."
A total of nine people have been arrested in the wake of the stabbing and shooting. Two were subsequently released.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali the person to whom the note on van Gogh's body was written is a
Somali refugee who serves as a
liberal parliamentary deputy. She wrote the film script and is reported in hiding.
11.06.04 China oil deal with Iran challenges US hegemony
The new deal China made with Iran , billed as the deal of the century, has the Bush administration scratching their heads, if not fuming over strategic maps on where to attack Iran first. Last week's gas agreement between Beijing and Tehran is worth $100 billion, with an estimated total sale of $200 billion, including another agreement currently in negotiation. The deal will provide for the export of 10 million tons of Iranian liquified natural gas for 25 years. China's state oil company will participate in the agreement in exploration, drilling, petrochemical and gas industries, pipelines and services. To meet the requirements Iran will need to purchase another 87 vessels, in addition to the 10 just purchased.
considerably exceeds the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) which provides for the penalization of foreign companies who try to invest more than $20 million in Iran's oil and gas industry. The Iranian field, the Yad Avaran, at 17 billion barrels per day, is capable of producing 300 to 400 barrels per day. In addition the huge South Pars field shared with Qatar is a point of concern. The South Pars alone possesses about 8% of the world's gas reserves, but restrictions upon Iran have given Qatar unbalanced access to that field a point of contention still in discussion between Qatar and Iran.
This is not the first deal between China and Iran, but its size sets a precedence and to fulfill it other countries will no doubt be participating in the venture. The deal also gives a hand to Indian interests in their (1993) 2,670 kilometer pipeline from Iran through Pakistan. Russia and the G8 countries appear to be sitting on the sidelines, in any event, caught up in Iran's uranium-enrichment program.
China was sleeping and subsequently awakened by US industrialists anxious to export their technologies to China to cash in on her coming into the techno-revolution. She's a major supplier of most things Americans use and to do that she needs fuel. America created the titan and now needs to learn how to get along in this new world of giants. The Bush administration, like the Roman god, Saturn, is wondering how it can devour its latest child.
For those who aren't familiar with mythology except Bush and his cronies who create their own mythology, to the media's delight Saturn is considered to be one of the older gods of the Indo-European pantheon. In Greek mythology he is called Cronus, the ruler of the Titans, who were children of earth (Ge) and sky (Uranus). Cronus overthrew his father by castrating him. The genitals of Uranus landed in the sea near Crete, and from the foam of the castration was born Aphrodite (Roman Venus). Cronus was warned by his parents that he was destined to be deposed by one of his children. He married his sister Rhea who gave birth to Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. When Zeus (Roman Jupiter) was born, Rhea secreted the child away with Ge in Crete and gave Cronus (Saturn) a rock dressed up in swaddling clothes. Later the wise Oceanid Metis married Zeus when he reached maturity and applied an emetic to Cronus, causing him to vomit up his other children. Among them was Hera, who also married Zeus and took the sides of the Mycenaeans in the Trojan war.
Zeus and his band engaged in a war with Cronus and the Titans
and after defeating them divided up the world: Zeus, the thrower of thunderbolts, reigned supreme from Mount Olympus, Poseidon (Roman, Neptune), reigned over the sea and Hades (Roman, Pluto meaning "wealth") presided over the Underworld (Hell, Hades) where wealth obviously rules, since everyone has to go there eventually and they, like the goddess Persephone, are stripped as they descend into its abyss. A good mythology link is: http://www.pantheon.org/ if you are amused by the Muses (3).
Meanwhile, we wait while George W. Bush gorges on his capital...
[Based on the Asia Times report]
11.05.04 Where to bury Arafat?
The big news to come is the philandering that will be involved in burying Arafat. Regardless of the world's view of the man (George Bush did say, "God bless his soul") we are left with gnawing doubts about Bush and his connection to God, wondering how much God would bless Arafat: whether He would allow Arafat to be buried in the precincts of Jerusalem, near the Dome of the Rock where Mohammed is said to have left the earth atop his charger. The main gate to the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Gate, has been sealed either by Saladin in 1187 A.D. or Suleiman the Magnificent when he rebuilt the city ramparts and wall around Jerusalem in 1541 A.D.
The area in front of the Golden Gate has been a great place to bury Moslems. For the burials in front of the gate are presumed to prevent the Jewish Messiah from entering the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock is located. It is believed that the Messiah would immediately rebuild the Third Temple in the place where the Dome of the Rock is now located (I don't subscribe to that theory, myself). Christians believe in the same tradition, that Christ (Greek for Messiah) will return and enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate. Moslems counter with the issue that the gate is not only sealed with stones, it is protected (was protected in 1985 when I was there) by a wrought-iron fence.
Though the stone walls
sealing the gate and the wrought-iron fence should stop the Jewish or Christian Messiah from entering the Temple Mount, Moslems took the additional precaution of placing a cemetery in front of the entrance, believing that no Messiah would walk through a cemetery and defile himself before entering the Temple Mount.
Golden Gate with the Dome of the Rock behind and the Muslim cemetery in the foreground
Control of the Temple Mount is under the Palestinians. When I was in Jerusalem, after going into the Dome of the Rock, I meandered over near the top of the stairs from the Golden Gate, but was told to go back by a Palestinian guard near the stairs. They guard the gate pretty well. So there you have it. A possible dispute over an old disputed burial ground before the oldest Muslim building which has survived basically intact in its original form, the Dome of the Rock. It was built by Caliph Abd al-Malik and completed in 691 A.D., and is considered to be the third holiest site for Muslim pilgrimage, after Mecca
and Medina. The building encloses a huge rock located at its center, from which, according to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven at the end of his Night Journey. There are lots of legends around the Dome of the Rock. To read a few of them go to: http://www.thehope.org/DomeLegends.html. (The link is for your reference, to appreciate the eons of deep-seated stories of the place where the Second Temple of Jerusalem was located and not an endorsement I don't agree with their conclusions).
If Palestinians seek to bury their hero near the Dome of the Rock, perhaps there might be room for a bit of negotiation. I suggest that Arafat be buried there provided the Palestinians open the Golden Gate and move the graves aside. They could relocate the graves into nicely decorated tombs built from the stones sealing the gate on either side of the new rue.
Until the way is
cleared for anyone to go up through that gate, it is doubtful that there will be any peace in Jerusalem. (God forbid that George W. tries to put his image on the gate).
Great photos of Jerusalem are available at: http://www.holylandhotel.com/Album/.
11.04.04 Maureen Dowd: "Only Dick Cheney can make "to serve and to guard" sound like "to rape and to pillage."
Dowd's article, The Red Zone, may define what George W. Bush really meant when he expressed how he would capitalize on his mandate of the election. [Full article at nytimes.com]
11.04.04 Jerusalem Post: Arafat may not be dead but taken off life support
Proche Orient Info and Radio Monte Carlo: Doctors took Arafat off life support Thursday at 5:31 p.m. [Jerusalem Post]
While there is anticipation of Chaos in the area still called Palestine, in the absence of Arafat's influence, no doubt the Bush policy of turning its head the other way while Israel continues to raise fences will continue. The issue of "who owns the land" devolves to who has the power to raise the fences. It is ironic that during the years of the Carter administration (1977-1981) the Palestinians though forced to carry identity cards were allowed to work throughout Israel with their special work permits. This was a partial step towards fulfilling the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Israel has no Constitution except that). In Israel's Declaration of Independence the founders of Israel declared that all people will have equal rights and all religious shrines and monuments would be honored. [See Philistia triumph thou (an explanation of Psalm 60.8). For Israel's Declaration of Independence and other laws pertaining to the legitimacy of the state of Israel click here, Israel's Declaration of Independence. The argument here is that the reason why there is no peace in Jerusalem is because people ignore the law, and the leader most ignorant of both scriptural and international law is unfortunately George W. Bush.
11.04.04 Continued violence in Thailand's south.
Seven people recently died in Thailand's south. Thailand's Muslim-dominated south has experienced more than 400 dead this year [Full article at Al-Jazeera]
11.04.04 Bush assures the press that he will rule for all Americans
In a news conference today, George W. Bush reaffirmed his mandate to carry out his programs and recognized the need to work with Democrats. He reassured everyone that he will represent even those who don't share his faith and that he will pursue the vision of setting free the nations that don't enjoy the Bush view of freedom. He reaffirmed that he will work with those who accept his views. He expressed that his mandate is like "capital" to him and he will continue to spend his "political capital" to serve his vision of fighting poverty and setting the world free, as he did in his first administration. With regard to questions asked about his political favor towards Big Business or reaching across the isle to work with Democrats, Bush responded with comments on how he benefited Small Businesses through tax cuts and how the "No Child Left Behind" education program demonstrates how he has worked across the isle. On the notification that Arafat passed away, he responded, "May God bless Arafat and we will continue to work with peaceful Palestinians." Before the conference ended the death of Arafat was left as unconfirmed, citing two conflicting reports.
11.04.04 An interesting summation of the Bush-Cheney record
[T.V. image from Skippy via American Politics Journal]
In my commentary on the policy of Bush Borrowing I pointed out how the borrowing on the debt is essentially the sale of US Bonds to pay off the interest on the national debt each year. The borrowing to pay off interest drags down our economy in an exponential manner, called a "J" curve. The debt of $5.7 Trillion ever since 2001 equates to George H. W. Bush's debt of $5 Trillion. During the former Bush's times, the interest accumulated on the debt was equivalent to Defense expenditures, of about $350 Billion per year.
The increase of the debt in four years of 29% reflects the exponential increase experienced by most credit card holders who get buried in debt because the debt reaches a point where it increases faster than they can pay off. A good example of nations getting into this kind of trouble is Brazil who needed repeated bail-outs through the World Bank. Our debt is beyond the World Bank's capacity to relieve.
11.04.04 Al-Jazeera about to release another Osama bin Laden Video.
The US government has asked Al-Jazeera to not publish the tape until it has been examined by them.
See Tracking Terrorism.com for the full story.
11.03.04 Border problems on the bottom of the Caspian Sea
The legal status of the Caspian Sea is now being haggled over by the five nations that border the world's largest inland body of water containing about one third of the earth's inland surface water. It sprawls nearly 750 miles from north to south, east of the Caucasus Mountains, and its average width is only 200 miles. It covers an area larger than Japan. Its surface lies 90 feet below sea level and its maximum depth toward Iran in the south is 3,360 feet below the sea's surface. It is the new hope of the energy guzzling east and west, however, since it has hyrdocarbon deposits estimated at 10-18 billion metric tons of fuel equivalent and proven deposits stand at 1-4 billion tons. The Caspian Sea's capacity could satisfy 3-5% of the global oil demand.
The five nations that share the Caspian Sea have yet to decide who gets the oil or how much. They are Iran, who expressed that each country should receive a 20% sector, and Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan. Not seeing any immediate source of agreement, the five nations have scheduled a convention in January 2005 to discuss where their borders will begin and end, and the sea bottom is no doubt where the borders will be drawn. How they will stop a drill from digging down below the border into another's sector will be interesting to learn. Negotiating the seaway may be another stickler. Where to run the pipelines is another issue. Russia has expressed that pipeline plans must use the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline as the system's main elements.
11.03.04 Bush Cheney won by~3.5 million votes but Ohio voting still up in the air; separating the
from the red
During the early Wednesday morning gloom in the American divide, and a continuation of the red, Senator John Kerry conceded the election in a phone call at 11:00 am Boston time. Nevada pushed the electoral count in Bush's favor.
The electoral map seems to reflect two Americas. Maybe the
can negotiate with Canada to form a
. It can work: The Pacific Coast, Northeast and Great Lakes states become, with Canada, the
. Let the
states keep their bloody President. Considering Ohio's careless Republican [Secretary of State's] bungling of the vote in Ohio, it looks like Ohio could be divided, cutting the top half into the
and leaving the bottom half in the
, where the country at least the economy will continue to be in the
. This should be disturbing to America's creditors (who buy the US bonds necessary to fund the yearly 400 billion deficits). The Bush administration has been borrowing about $1.67 Billion per day (See
National Debt Clock)
and a good part of that amount should equate to interest. The National Debt is now at $7.5 Trillion. A good part of the daily amount accumulated on the debt is now interest which benefits only bankers. As Bush panderers divide up middle class tax proceeds between their semi-war in Iraq and their own pockets, state governments will continue scrambling for revenues. Another economic crisis looms on the horizon.
Our last economic crisis was during the administration of George H. W. Bush, which left the states in the lurch, with huge debts and cuts in services; and, after 8 good Clinton years where the states experienced fiscal recovery, four "Bush deficit" years from the son of Bush followed. He's still with us. Expect this next four years [of deficits] to be more financial instability unless Bush gets converted to the idea of fiscal responsibility. Continued false reports on our well-being from Bush should continue and more intense Bush Wars would be expected in Asia, since that's where all the black gold is.
We had a good voter turn out, at least.
11.04.04 Update: I was happy to see 60 Minutes Wednesday (Steve Hartman) adopt the idea of separating the two Americas, and I certainly believe
is a more deserving name for the blue America. Also, because of the need for contiguous borders, connecting to Canada would be most appropriate. Besides, from an economic point of view
would be in control of the entire Great Lakes region.
would also be in a stronger position to soften the blows of the
upon the world.
fanatics pray in their churches for President Bush's success in destroying everyone that does not believe in God's destruction of the earth and Jesus' Rapture of them to heaven. Most of them believe this will happen any moment (They believe it was prophesied to have happened 2000 A.D., so the destruction of the world is running late). Bush is no doubt their great hope. However, Moslems feel threatened by this force of the Divine Bush Coalition,
Saint George W. the Crusader.
probably holds the higher moral ground at this point, since it does not subscribe to the program of the United States of Messianic George W. Bush.
can be a moderating force, particularly through its economic power. California alone ranks if it were a nation as 7th in economic power. The entire assembly of
, with Canada's breadbasket and
industrial centers will rank equal to or greater than the European Community. Finally, without
will lack the economic resources to carry out their militaristic attempts to bring peace and freedom to the world.
Under present circumstances it is not likely that
can be controlled. With all of the US armed forces at their disposal to implement their view of God's Word the world is in for a very frightening ride. Since they expect God to rapture (meaning "snatch away") them to heaven, in any event, their support in defending the planet against other assaults, such as pollution, would not be expected. "To hell with the earth, we're getting out of here," is their attitude.
Something must be done to redeem the old US of A. The President says as he did four years ago that he will bring us together. To do so he would have to betray his commitments to the
who elected him.
11.03.04 Posts from Americablog.org suggest that Ohio had severe problems counting their votes
(by John in DC - 11/3/2004 02:56:47am
"I just received a photo a Cincinnati poll manager took this evening, and it seems to be proof of some fishy actions with ballots in Ohio. Bottom line: Note the already-voted-with ballots in the back of the truck with the Bush-Cheney sticker in the back window. Does this prove fraud? Well, it certainly doesn't look good in a state that's already had lots of problems this election...
on Bush-Cheney truck carrying Ohio votes somewhere. Who is the person in the photo. Who owns the truck? Did they pilfer votes?
11.03.04 Some polling places in Ohio were still open until 3:00 am reports blogger Michael in New York
rom by Michael in New York - 11/3/2004 03:19:35am @ Americablog.org)
ABC News just reported at 3 in the morning that people are still lined up and voting in at least TWO precincts in Ohio -- including predominantly college students at one polling area. With cell phones and portable cameras, it's startling to me that we weren't seeing LIVE FOOTAGE of people lined up and voting in the most hotly contested state in the country..."
11.02.04 North Korean vessels fired upon as they cross disputed border
[Reuters] 10:51 GMT South Korean patrol boats have fired warning shots to force North Korean navy vessels back over a disputed maritime border raising tension between the arch-foes.
A statement by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Monday three North Korean patrol boats crossed the so-called Northern Limit Line in two separate incidents in the space of just over an hour.
Shots were fired three times in an incident involving two North Korean vessels, the statement said. The North Korean boats did not return fire [Full story at Aljazeera].
11.02.04 Nigerian workers plan strike beginning 16 November to disrupt oil exports
[AFP] Nigerian labor unions have been in court against Shell Oil ahead of its nationwide strike. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and a coalition of civil society organizations called for an indeffinite stoppage beginning 16 November in protest against rising fuel prices and President Olusegun Obasanjo's economic reforms. Leaders have warned the strike will disrupt oil exports. [Full story at
11.02.04 Bankers swarm to Central Asian Conference.
The president of the Asian Development Bank, Mr.Tadao Chino, arrived in Kazakhstan to take part in the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Central Asian regional economic cooperation. The event drew more than a hundred leading financiers from China, Japan, Kyrgyzstgan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Khazakhstan, Switzerland, the US and the European Union. Launched in 1997 the general mission of the association is to combat poverty. The ADB's main program in Central Asia is focused on the fields of energy, transport and cross-border trade. It includes 14 loans worth $295 million plus other assistance. The prominent financier is Mr. Tadao Chino's Asian Development Bank. The bank has just released updated lending and assistance plans for the following countries
11.02.04 Osama bin Laden brags about disrupting US economy over his "nation" being laid waste.
Today's message from bin Laden warns America against harming Moslems once again and brags about his disruption of the US economy. He complains about America laying waste to his nation: "..we fight you because we are free men who don't sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our Nation and just as you lay waste to our Nation, so shall we lay waste to yours."
Osama bin Laden should send an ambassador someone who can communicate peacefully to America so that the nation that is being laid waste can be identified. Once again bin Laden justifies mass murder of innocent civilians on behalf of Allah. Central Asian moderates have expressed the need for Moslems to stand up against bin Laden's warped version of justice and lack of understanding of the Koran, which if adopted would give just cause to exchange thermonuclear bombs, to wipe out the human race, to destroy the world, for the sake of Allah. I know there is a chapter in the Koran that endorses forgiveness and stands for peace. At least those chapters referring to the Bible certainly contradict bin Laden's mutilated view of justice.
[Full text translation of bin Laden message]
11.01.04 Central Asian Common Market and the critical role of Afghanistan
Aloke Shekhar interviewed Mr. Saddik Safaev, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, on this eve of Safaev's visit to India. Points discussed in the interview reflect issues that are critical to American interests in fighting the war in Afghanistan. An examination of the map of the Central Asian Group of nations gives one a better appreciation why America and the world have their eyes on Afghanistan.
Most Americans by now know where Afghanistan is, that it is adjacent to Pakistan; and east of Pakistan are the 21st century giants, India and China. Marco Polo (1271-1295) brought this part of our world to our attention through his travels on the Silk Road to China. On the way to China he and other traders passed through Samarkand, Uzbekistan: the mysterious capital of the mythical Prestor John. In the 6th century it was the western capital of the Turks. Under Tamerlane in 1365 it became the most important economic and cultural centre in Central Asia. It was the romantic hospice where thousand-camel caravans passed through her
thousand tiled gates.
But this is nothing compared to what is going through its gates now. The nations surrounding the Si
lk Road are once again entertaining important traders from the east and the west. Where thousand-camel caravans used to trek the steppes of Asia there come trucks, and a hoped-for pipeline from the Caspian Sea to supply the rapidly growing industrial centers of India and China. Uzbekistan is suddenly again in the center of a world in renaissance, at the crossroads of history. The Uzbeks captured Samarkand in 1500 and their name is thought to refer to Öz Beg (Uzbek), the Mongol khan under whom the Golden Horde attained its greatest power.
ause Uzbekistan is a double-landlocked nation (all of its neighbors have no access to the sea) it needs strong relationships with its neighbors; and they depend upon nations who have ports. India has the nearest ports. Thus, Mr. Safaev is on a mission to India.
The Central Asian Group, & the passage to India & China. Click on map for a larger image. (Rand McNally map)
Uzbekistan is a major cotton producer and looks to more trade opportunities with India. As most Americans know from the labels on their clothing, India is now a major supplier of quality fabrics. It follows that Uzbek cotton and Indian technology could open new vistas for the two nations.
Other issues, including an oil pipeline through Central Asia serving India and China, give more importance to the road through Samarkand, and since the road leads through Afghanistan, securing the peace in Afghanistan is all important. But securing the peace so all concerned will benefit has its problems: from radical Muslims and terrorists to the drug trade. Afghanistan grows a lot of poppies and the revenue from drug trafficking, is one of the major sources of income for terrorists operating in the region. Hence, hordes of entrepreneurs and generals are studying the area of this map these days. The Bush Administration's interests in this remote area of the world are thus more delicate and bring to mind the story Polybius told of Hannibal who marched an army with elephants over the Alps to vacation in Italy for 16 years. Or Alexander the Great crossing the Hindu Kush to raft in the Ganges, whose army quickly hastened back to Babylon to bargain over a pine box. History likes to repeat itself.
May freedom ring in Afghanistan, I say.
Mel Copeland 11.01.04
[Story by Aloke Shekhar is at: english.pravda.ru]
11.01.04 American, Nepali, 2 Arabs Kidnapped in Baghdad
Monday, November 01, 2004 10:57 a.m. ET
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped an American, a Nepali and two Arabs from their office in western Baghdad on Monday, police said.
"They stormed the villa with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades," said a police source. "They had no chance."he source said one man had been killed in the attack. He was thought to one of the kidnappers shot by a security guard at the Saudi Arabian company where the foreigners worked.
The nationality of the Arabs snatched from the villa in Baghdad's affluent Mansour district was unclear...
(via http://www.topix.net/) [Wiredservice.wired.com]
11.01.04 Violent clash between the Hui Muslims and the Han ethnic majority in China
China's state news agency, reported that in a central China village 7 people were killed and 42 injured in a clash following an auto accident. Martial law has been imposed.
(via http://www.topix.net/) [
11.01.04 US soldiers pull out of the demilitarized zone (DMZ)
SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- US soldiers have stopped patrolling the sealed inter-Korean border as part of arrangements to give South Korea a greater role in defending itself, the US military in South Korea said Monday.
The action, which went into effect at midnight last Sunday, means there are no US soldiers patrolling the 248-kilometer-long and 4-kilometer-wide demilitarized zone (DMZ), the buffer area between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), except for a handful of administrative US personnel at the border village of Panmunjom...Handing over the patrolling duties at Panmunjom and nearby DMZ is a key part of a South Korea-US agreement aimed at giving the host nation more responsibilities for defending its border with the DPRK.
Panmunjom, also known as the Joint Security Area, is a small oval-shaped enclave sitting on the western sector of the inter-Korean border. The Armistice Treaty which ended the Korean War (1950-1953) was signed at Panmunjom.
The latest action slashed the number of US troops manning Panmunjom from 220 to fewer than 40, Kim said. A total of 550 troops, including 330 from South Korea, had been posted at the village.
As part of last Sunday's measures, the US military relinquished its only guard post along the land border, called Outpost Ouellette, turning it over to the South Korean side, Kim said. Ouellette is only 25 meters from the Military Demarcation Line and a few hundred meters away from Panmunjom.
The decision came as the US military is realigning its military presence in South Korea and other parts of the world. Washington has already decided to withdraw one third of its 37,500 troops out of South Korea by September 2008. Earlier this year 3,600 US troops were transferred to Iraq for a one-year mission there.. [Full story at Xinhuanet.com]
11.01.04 Washington has opened a Pandora's box, intensifying ethnic and religious conflicts
An article in the China Daily by Qian Qichen, former Chinese vice-premier and foreign minister, [updated 09:03], says that the US strategy is seriously flawed. Under the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strategies the United States has "tightened its control of the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia...It all testifies that Washington's anti-terror campaign has already gone beyond the scope of self-defence. And these latest moves, when seen with the background of the Gulf War and the Kosovo War, have made it obvious that the United States has not changed its Cold War mentality and that the country is still accustomed to applying military means to deal with various threats, visible or invisible. The philosophy of the "Bush Doctrine" is in essence force. It advocates the United States should rule over the whole world with overwhelming force, military force in particular. Hardly strange, then, that Bush and his administration still insist on arguing that their decision to go to war in Iraq and US policy on the issue were right.
But the world's situation in response to the war is in effect a negative answer.
In Iraq, the United States did win a war in the military dimension, but it is far from winning peace for itself and the Arab country. On the contrary, Washington has opened a Pandora's box, intensifying various intermingled conflicts, such as ethnic and religious ones." Qian Qichen
[Full story at Chinadaily.com]
11.01.04 Former Chinese Premier Qian Qichen meets with Kofi Annan
Former Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen met with visiting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday and the two exchanged views on issues of UN reform and the work of the high-level panel on UN reform. Qian is a member of the high-level panel.
[via peopledaily) [Source Xinhua]
11.01.04 China's reliance on imported oil grows
BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- China imported 76 million tons of crude oil in the first eight months of this year, making up 40 percent of the total domestic demand, a six percent rise over 2003.
China's year end oil import volume is expected to hit 100 million tons in 2004, and the country's demand for petroleum may exceed 400 million tons in 2020. But only approximately 160 million to 170 million tons of that amount can be produced in a year in China.
Low efficiency in using energy has increased the country's reliance on imported oil.
According to the Standardization Administration of China (SAC),30 percent of oil imported to China is used by automobiles. Chinese cars, buses and trucks use 25 percent more petrol per 100 kilometers than those in Europe; this is 20 percent more than in Japan and 10 percent more than in the United States."
[Full story at: xinhuanet.com] See Iran-China deal below
10.31.04 Washington Post ignores its own polls on bin Laden's influence on the election
In its October 31 lead editorial, titled "The Osama Surprise," The Washington Post predicted that the recently released taped message from Osama bin Laden would "shift voters" toward President George W. Bush: "Maybe it [bin Laden videotape] was meant to shift voters away from the president on Tuesday; more likely it will do the opposite."
But the Post's own polling data suggests that, if there has been any shift in voter preferences since the release of the bin Laden tape on October 29, it has been in the direction of Senator John Kerry, not Bush. The last Post poll conducted entirely before the bin Laden tape aired (released October 29) gave Bush a three-point advantage, 50 percent to Kerry's 47 percent. The Post's most recent poll, conducted from October 27-30, showed Kerry and Bush tied at 48 percent. That's a three-point shift in Kerry's favor.
Two more polls conducted since the release of the bin Laden tape show a stable race or a trend towards Kerry...
[Read more at http://mediamatters.org/items/200411010002]
10.31.04 About 250, 000 tons of ammunition still unaccounted for
Vienna, Austria (AP) About 4:30pm an article by William J. Kole, AP, says that the U.S. military has secured 400,000 tonsof munitions in Iraq but 250,000 tons stil remain unaccounted for. Names of other sites are popping up, such as al-Mahaweel, Baqouba, Ukhaider, Qaim and experts say that al-Qaqaa is only a tiny fraction of the munitions lurking beneath the sands of Iraq.
[Full story at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news]
10.31.04 (AFP ) Hotels in Qatar on red alert
Hotels in the Qatari capital Doha, home of the central command of the US forces in the region, were placed on red alert, according to an AFP announcement 4:17 pm. [Full story at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news]
10.31.04 Americans fear their vote won't be counted correctly
Perhaps no American election has shown so much pessimism in having an honest counting of votes in the Presidential Election as the 11.02.04 election. The following is whom to contact if you have trouble placing your vote for Bush or Kerry, etc. If you have trouble placing your vote call:
Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, a non-partisan hot line
10.31.04 Iran signs $70 Billion energy contract with China
China's oil giant Sinopec Group signed the biggest energy agreement ever with Opec producer, Iran.
The memorandum of understanding was signed Thursday, and it will include development of the huge Yadavaran field, reported Chinese news agency, Xinhuanet. The overall contract term is 30 years.
10.31.04 Sharon says Arafat will not be buried in Jerusalem
Tel Aviv According to a radio report, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced Sunday that he would block any request by Palestining officials to bury yasser Arafat in Jerusalem. "As long as I am in power, and I have no intention of leaving, he (Arafat) will not be buried in Jerusalem," the premier reportedly told Israel's weekly cabinet meeting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that he was ready to open negotiations with a new Palestinian leadership after Yasser Arafat's departure.
10.31.04 Militants set three-day deadline for killing hostages in Afghansitan
Kabul Militants holding three UN workers hostage set a three-day deadline Sunday for foreign troops and the United Nations to leave Afghanistan, announced Mullah Mohammad Ishaq, spokesman for the Jaishul Muslimeen group.
News to keep your eyes on
arency International (TI) calls on companies from OECD countries to stop paying bribes
Berlin, 29 October 2004 Transparency International (TI) urges companies, politicians and public officials from member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to put a stop to bribe-paying by multinational companies abroad. A wave of corruption scandals shaking Costa Rica is a wake-up to respect national and international legal norms, implement business principles in the private sector and consistently investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. The recently launched Corruption Perceptions Index 2004 shows that corruption is rampant in 60 countries and is a major problem in large-scale public works.
[Full article at http://www.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2004/2004.10.29.alcatel.html]
10.30.04 Richard Armitage arrives in Kazakhstan
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage arrived in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. He was received by the republic's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and also met with Nurtai Abykayev,
the chairman of their senate, and the Kazakhstani Defense Minister and peacekeepers who were in Iraq. He thanked them for assistance in the struggle against international terrorism, for assistance in Iraq in particular, and reassured them that though he voted for Bush, no matter who wins in the election, relations with Kazakhstan will not be affected.
[Full story at: http://www.khabar.kz/index.php3?chapter=1099113786&parent_id=1007557580]
10.30.04 Central Asia and Caucasus conference held October 12-13, 2004 US "me-only" approach; New Great Game
Dr. Maqsudul Hasan Nuri attended the conference attended by 23 countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, UK and the USA. According to Nuri, problems bedevil the Caspian and Caucasian region, ranging from radicalised Islam, lack of sustained development, issues of pipeline routing, Western attempts to divide the regional powers, political corruption, ethnic divisions, US monopolistic and self-centred role as the superpower, drug trafficking, militarism in the region, jurisdicitional disputs and environmental problems. Iran the third largest supplier of gas was questioned on her direction in nuclear energy.
Azerbaijan, is a key player in the region since its capital, Baku, is the distribution point from which the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline begins. A portion of the pipeline was recently made operational. Other pipeline routes are on the table, one of which would lead from the Caspian Sea
through Kazakhstan and eastward via Afghanistan
to China. This pipeline route, together with two other routes contemplated, has its drawbacks because of the insecurity of that area. But its big plus is supplying China and India. The states sharing the Caspian littoral would like to keep the outsiders in check, but there is a growing militarism from the West and Russia that is now a major issue. "But then it was reasoned that a superpower has to be dependent on its partners and allies such as Turkey, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan in the realisation of its global objectives," says Nuri..."Many scholars in the moot held the opinion that the US wants to design a "regional order" on the pretext of democracy and development but instead to ensure its lead and hegemony in the region. As a superpower, it needs compliant allies: Georgia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and others. After the 9/11 events, anti-proliferation, anti-terrorism and search for alternative sources of oil other than the Persian Gulf have come out in the open. It wants to induce competition amongst regional actors and thwart attempts at regional collaboration. Under the mask of democracy and development, Central Asia and Caucasus, it is employing ruthless exploitation of their resources in what is described as the "New Great Game..."
[Read more at: http://jang.com.pk/thenews/oct2004-daily/22-10-2004/oped/o3.htm]
(Original source: http://www.jang.com.pk/)
10.30.04 US Patriot Act & outsourcing may be infringing on Canadian rights
A Canadian report released Friday by British Columbia's privacy commissioner complains that the US Patriot Act is violating Canadian privacy despite attempts by Canada to stop the snooping.
The Patriot Act allows U.S. authorities to access the personal information of Canadians if it ends up in the United States, or if it is held by U.S. companies in Canada, says the David Loukidelis report. Civil liberties groups and labour unions in British Columbia fear the Canadian government's outsourcing of personal medical records to private U.S. companies under the watchful eyes of the FBI and other agencies could compromise them.
[Read more from GLOBEANDMAIL.COM]
10.30.04 Office of International murderer Osama bin Laden sends another dispatch that can't be understood
The full text of the message was posted on Aljazeera 10.30.04. See note (7) for a copy of the full text.
This comment was made based upon ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. news comments on the speech as being "favorable to George Bush"; those sources don't match up to the actual text. Thus the text is posted for you to read and judge for yourself.
Clarification of this misunderstood mess may be unachievable. Many statements from the Bush administration released these past four years confess that our government does not know where Osama bin Laden is; yet, "we will hunt him and the terrorists down wherever they are....etc. ect. etc.," Bush says. It is apparent that those at drop-off locations
for bin Laden dispatches
know something about the source of the "bin Laden press releases." I've often wondered whether they see the same courier(s) delivering the tapes. I suspect they know somebody who knows somebody who heard of somebody who knows where bin Laden's newest recording studio is. What is curious about the 10.29.04 tape is the fact that bin Laden is sitting behind a desk addressing our leaders as if he thinks he is a leader of another nation. The fact is bin Laden has no nation.
The Moslem religion or Islam may be a spiritual nation to those who believe in the faith, just as Christians can view themselves as a nation separated unto God a spiritual nation. Kings, thrones and places to put the thrones, except for Jerusalem, were originally far from the thinking of the early Apostles. Wishing no doubt to avoid having America being a place where spiritual beliefs are imposed by law, the Constitution and its founders thought to separate the powers of the state from religious instruments.
Keeping in mind that there is some form of common heritage among Christians, Jews and Moslems with regard to their faith, I wonder what the message in the 10.29.04 bin Laden tape and earlier dispatches hopes to achieve. We know that bin Laden wants the US government to change its policy with regard to the way it deals with Moslems but what does that mean? America's Constitution requires that its government treats all people equally. No religious group can enjoy preferences over others in America. So I don't understand what Osama bin Laden means when he complains about America not dealing correctly with Moslems. If I don't understand what he means I am fairly familiar with most religions how can anyone hope to understand him? Yet, he threatens to kill people who fail to understand him.
Thus, we know that bin Laden has no idea of what he wants from Americans from a religious point of view. What is also not clear is bin Laden's political hopes: what he wishes to put in place in order to insure that the Moslems are treated the way he thinks they should be treated. It is certain that in France, Germany, Britain, America, etc. (let's call them Western Moslems for the sake of brevity) their growing population must have some views as to whether bin Laden can be understood. They should have some ideas on how it is that bin Laden hates America and those with whom America associates, why he would indiscriminately destroy human beings because they deal with America.
Maybe Osama bin Laden has a Profile we ought to meet that he has yet to publish. For instance, Hitler and his thugs decided to rid first their nation and finally the world of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and other people that did not fit their Master Race profile. Maybe Osama bin Laden has some kind of Master bin Laden profile he wants all the world to look like, destroying everyone else.
Bin Laden is killing Moslems as well. How does he determine who is a good Moslem and who is not a good Moslem? I think we who would like to see an end to this chaos should be entitled to a statement from him as to what makes a good Moslem someone he doesn't intend to purge from the human race. Maybe his family members, like the 24 bin Ladens Bush rescued, are among his chosen people, along with a few henchmen that survive his suicide missions. I think Osama bin Laden needs to give us a few more details on how we can achieve salvation. After all, he did say that some of us can avoid being destroyed if we do what he wants us to do.
We know that bin Laden has an issue (he hates the Jews in general?) with regard to the placement of Israel in the land formerly known as Palestine. We know that bin Laden has an issue with regard to how the Israeli governments over the years have been treating the Palestinians (who include Christians, Moslems and others, even Jews). We know that bin Laden believes that by martyring yourself in the process of murdering innocent people you will be instantly received in Paradise and served with 7 virgins. But this latter belief doesn't seem to promote nation building. How can you build a nation by murdering your own people? This Neronian view is deeply lacking in logic.
The only thing I think we know for sure from Osama bin Laden and his terrorists is that they don't have a state, they don't have a consulate, and they don't seem to have any ideas of how to create a state that can serve along side of others, living in peace and helping others when they so need it. Part of the role of nations or states is that of the peacekeeper and helper. Good states offer neighbors who suffer a natural calamity an earthquake, typhoon, etc. help whenever they can, however they can. Even quasi enemies can help each other, as in the case of America helping Iran during its last earthquake. And if a nation is attacked in some way, states now have an international protocol and agreement by means of which they can facilitate the airing of grievances and resolve conflict without recourse to killing other people. They call it the United Nations. Still, it is a hopeless situation with bin Laden since he has no ambassadors to engage the United Nations.
What is amazing is that in four years of hunting down Osama bin Laden George Bush hasn't found his headquarters. I mean the bin Laden seat of government. We know that George Bush was entertaining a good many of bin Laden's relatives. Immediately after 9/11 George Bush aided about 24 of them who were enjoying the pleasures of Washington and New York who he snuck out of the country, with no questions asked. One of them had been running a money-laundering charity dedicated to supplying Osama bin Laden money for his barbaric plans.
That the terrorists can recruit insane derelicts who are willing to blow themselves up along with innocent men, women and children, to get a place in Paradise served by 7 virgins is a phenomena too hard for most civilized people to grasp. Correlated with this is the amazing fact that George Bush with all the strength of the greatest power this world has ever seen has not been able to infiltrate Osama bin Laden's barbarians sufficient to find out where Osama bin Laden is. And all the President's cameras in space and the air could not find that unusually tall villain.
We know that Bush's underachievement these past few years is not owing to the lack of American Moslem friends willing to penetrate the bin Laden barbarians to reveal where he is. Unless, of course, a lot of the Moslems here in America are here as secret agents of bin Laden, or at least greater friends of bin Laden than they are of America. For my part I think most of the Moslems living in this country are Americans. They believe in America and are proud to be American to defend it. I am not sure how many Moslems are serving in our armed forces but there must be more than a few. I could get the numbers if I had to...
I don't take readily to conspiracy theories, so I can't say whether George Bush has prosecuted the case against Osama bin Laden and his barbarous derelicts in a diligent manner. Bush has a record of being an underachiever, and this fact is becoming more and more evident each day, as the death count mounts.
It is evident that there are some Moslems who believe that the Koran entitles them nay, demands of them to destroy all those who do not believe in the Koran (see verses in Koran below). It is also evident that certain Moslems feel compelled to wage war against the United States because of its ties to Israel. And it is evident that certain Moslems are willing to lose their property, families and lives for such Moslem beliefs. Christians and Jews went through the same experience over different causes over the eons. Nero's Rome found lots of victims willing to go to their death in this regard.
Following the thought of Neronian barbarism, Osama bin Laden has apparently concluded that by creating warriors willing to become bombs he is lighting the way for something, that by persecuting innocent people no matter who or where they are, there will be some kind of good that will come out of it.
There is no doubt that we need to track Osama bin Laden and his disciples down and bring them to justice. But this is only a short term fix. After all, we are dealing with a madman who can't express himself to the civilized world in a civilized manner. He seems to be a throwback to the Assassins reported by Jean de Joinville in his memoirs on a Crusade of 1248. The Assassins were from a group of Bedouins who lived in the mountains near the site of Joinville's campaign in the Levant and Egypt. They disappeared, for the most part, after the Crusades. The Assassins were led by The Old Man of the Mountain, who:
"..was not a follower of Mahomet [Mohammed who wrote the Koran] but subscribed to the laws of Ali, who was Mahomet's uncle.
Ali had raised Mahomet to the place of honour which he held; but once the latter had established himself as lord over the people he had begun to despise his uncle, and become alienated from him. On realizing this, Ali had gathered as many people around him as he could, and had taught them a different faith from that which Mahomet was teaching. Thus it still happens that all those who observe the laws laid down by Ali affirm that those who follow Mahomet are misbelievers, while those who accept the teaching of Mahomet maintain on their side that the followers of Ali are unsound in their faith.
One of the points laid down by Ali is that if a man is killed while obeying his lord's orders his soul goes into a more pleasing body than before. That is why the Assassins are not in any way averse to being killed as and when their lord orders, because they believe they will be happier after death than when they were alive.
Another belief of theirs is that no man can die before the day appointed for his death. This is a belief no man should hold, seeing that God has power to prolong our lives or to shorten them as he pleases. The Bedouins follow Ali on this point, and for that reason refuse to put on armour before going into battle, since by doing so they think they would be acting contrary to what their law commands. So when they curse their children they say to them: 'Be accursed like a Frank who puts on armour for fear of death.'
"...Whenever the Old Man of the Mountain went out riding, a crier would go before him bearing a Danish axe with a long haft encased in silver, to which many knives were affixed. As he went the man would continually cry out: ' Turn out of the way of him who bears in his hands the death of kings!' (6)
It may be that Osama bin Laden thinks he is the Old Man of the Mountain, but I don't think he is that well read.
That Osama bin Laden would think to wage war against the United States because it stood by Israel when it invaded Lebanon, as he stated in his tape, doesn't seem to show the same integrity that the Old Man of the Mountain imposed on his followers. At least the Old Man of the Mountain had ambassadors with whom the Franks could communicate at Acre (modern Acco), among other places.
It is apparent that Osama bin Laden wants to communicate with the American people. But communication involves a two-way conversation, and the world has not seen where Osama can communicate in this way. Given the circumstances of bin Laden's underachievement, not having the facility to communicate like a civilized human being, like other barbarians in the past, he will leave no estate. His legacy will be only that of a madman. Since memories tend to fade over time it is doubtful this Halloween season that Osama bin Laden will leave any more of a remembrance beyond that of a deranged version of Count Dracula.
Bin Laden can never achieve any glory. He lost it when he sent out his first murderer to destroy himself. Each day he reigns from his Hellish domain may add to the world's distress, but I am confident that Moslems around the world will condemn him and rid us of him soon.
10.29.04 Iraqi national guard officers complain of low pay, lack of equipment
By Ahmed Naaeem
National Guard officers say their low pay and poor equipment are the main reasons behind their poor performace. "We feel we are not being treated fairly in terms of pay and equipment," said Captain Naama Jaber. Jaber said most National Guard units lacked the rudimentary equipment a modern army requires. "We lack the basic requirements needed to defuse a bomb. Some units even lack screwdrivers," said Captain Fatik Ayed.
Both army officers agreed that the equipment at the disposal of their units is not suitable to confront the kind of insurgency and rebellion that has engulfed most parts of the country. │We defuse bombs with our bare hands at a time American troops employ robots and wear gas masks when doing the same job,▓ said Ayed. The weakness of Iraqi troops was exposed last week when about 50 unarmed recruits were killed after leaving a military training camp on their way to visit families.
Jaber said pay was not commensurate with the risks to which the troops were being exposed. He said police officers, whose duties he described as │less dangerous,▓ earned almost twice as much as their army counterparts. Captain Naaeem Suweid said the unit he leads lacked basic medicines necessary to treat basic injuries. │We do not have an ambulance and even there are first-aid kits,▓ he said. Iraq currently has three different military units: the National Guard, the police and the border guard. Together these units have about 170,000 men under arms.
The figure is less than the number of security forces the former regime had deployed to keep law and order in Iraqi cities.
This is besides the regular army with more than half a million troops and elite forces of more than 100,000 members.
The United States disbanded all these forces shortly after its occupation, leading to a dangerous security vacuum.
Muslim petition on "fatwas" provoking terrorist attacks.
Muslims are routing a Letter of Petition to be sent to the Security Council et. al.: "It was prepared by a group of recognized Arab thinkers among whom is the Iraqi former minister of planning Dr. Jawad Hashim who╣s been living in exile since the late 1970's.
The letter is calling for the establishment of an international court to prosecute individuals or groups who support and justify terrorism, namely clerics who release │fatwas▓ that provoke hatred and encourage terrorist attacks (like Qaradawi for example), and the letter will eventually be sent to the Security Council and the UN Secretary General after getting sufficient support.
The letter was shown in Arabic and an e-mail address is provided, where readers who are interested in this subject can contact Dr. Jawad and support the request by signing the letter, so I e-mailed him offering my support and my signature and I asked him to send me the letter in English if possible as I thought that it would be a good idea to spread the word about this letter, and perhaps this will get more people to give their signatures.
Today, I got a reply from Dr.Jawad with a translated version of the letter and it was amazing to know that within a couple of days, they managed to collect over 10 000 signatures from Arab liberals, writers and intellectuals.
Support coming from anywhere would be helpful of course but I understood from his reply that he would prefer support from inside the Arab or Muslim world and I assume that he thinks that this way there will be no chance for those who believe in conspiracies to question the integrity of this project, as those idiots will not hesitate to call it a │crusade▓ if the support came from westerners.
(Blog posted by Ali)
Blogs cause Sinclair to turn tail ...and Sincair blinked, says Andrew Cantor (USA Today)
Sinclair is the latest to feel the power of blogs
Last Friday, television stations that were members of the Sinclair Media Group were scheduled to air an anti-John Kerry special called Stolen Honor. They were ordered to by executives of the company the same execs who forbid the 62 TV stations the company controls from airing Ted Koppel's reading of the names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this spring.
The fact that Sinclair was doing this two weeks before the election was viewed, obviously, as a move based on politics, not news. It didn't help that the producer of Stolen Honor was Carlton Sherwood, who has ties to the Bush administration. Nor that Sinclair's Washington bureau chief, Jon Leiberman, was fired for criticizing the company's plans; he told the Baltimore Sun it was "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."
Those stations were scheduled to air "Stolen Honor." That is, till the Internet kicked in. Thanks to the advance warning, bloggers spread the word (and e-mail spread it further). A well-orchestrated boycott and writing campaign began, aimed not at the stations, but at the advertisers. Spurred on by sites that appeared literally overnight such as Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group and Badvertisers, people in Sinclair's 39 markets, armed with phone numbers and e-mail addresses, started contacting the local businesses that are the lifeblood of the company.
Sinclair's stock took a nosedive. Stockholders threatened a lawsuit, saying that the company's execs were making bad business decisions for political reasons. Allegations of insider trading surfaced.
And Sinclair blinked..." [full story at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2004-10-29-kantor_x.htm]
In the beginning....
Running a government using a credit card
This year's deficit caused by Bush will be a record deficit since Richard Nixon showed a surplus (in 1969). Bush calls Democrats "tax and spend liberals" when he and his father spent other people's money to run their governments! Who is it that has to pay for the deficit run up each year by a fiscally irresponsible President ? You do. You pay in several ways, since borrowed money is a worse tax on you and the economy than a legitimate tax. The National Debt is $7.4 Trillion as of 10.27.04. That debt is financed by the bond market. While the interest rates on bonds go up and down, generally the rates are affected through the Federal Reserve and supply and demand. Most of the debt during George Bush's administration (1989-1993) was carried by the G-7 Central Banks and a few others who could take large positions in the Bond Market like George Soros. Since supply and demand affect prices of bonds, the greater the supply of bonds, as in a period of excessive government borrowing, would ordinarily depress the price of bonds. To attract buyers, the Federal Reserve must raise interest rates. So when your mortgage loan goes up, owing to an increase in interest rates, its because of the Bush Borrowing: running a government on a credit card.
Since the government runs on borrowed money, the amount of the original loan (new in 2001) grows exponentially, in a curve called a "J" curve. During George Bush's years the deficit was essentially equal to the interest accumulated each year on the debt. That interest debt is added to the original loan amount causing the debt to grow [unpaid] until an effort is made to reduce the debt, paying down both principal and interest. Fearing a crash Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced in May 1995 that there would no longer be any borrowing on the debt. We would "pay as we go," a concept George W. Bush recently derided with reference to Kerry's attempt to restore the years of responsible government under President Clinton. Although Clinton was initially following the Bush Borrowing program of running the government using a credit card he converted to the Republican plan and paying down the debt became the great cause of his administration. The response from the economy was plain: it grew, became healthy, wealthy and wise. When you have savings you feel secure. When you have no savings and have trouble finding people to loan you money you feel insecure. Clinton stopped the insecurity of the Bush administration.
In 1993 I prepared a mortgage amortization table for the then $5 Trillion debt inherited from George Bush. At 7% interest a 40 year loan of that amount would result in the payment after 20 years of $6.4 Trillion in interest and $90 million in principal. After 40 years the debt would be paid off and total interest paid would be $10 Trillion.
Who makes money from Bush Borrowing are the wealthy. Most of the US Bond Market is owned by foreign governments and major institutional investors like Warren Buffet and Mutual Funds. While it is not likely that the US government will default on its now $7 Trillion debt, it is a debt that is now in an exponential phase where the amount accumulating in interest each year is the major component of outlays each year in the National Budget. Keep in mind the case of Brazil and other nations that defaulted on their debts and required an International Monetary Fund bail-out. If the US government were unable to sell enough bonds to pay off the 2005 interest, for instance, the amount the US would require to bail it out would exceed the financial reserve of the International Monetary Fund. As in the George Bush years, our economy has been staggering under the weight of the National Debt and its rapidly accumulating annual interest. Growth simply slows down under such uncertainties.
The stock market becomes softer when it anticipates a shift from stocks to bonds (when the government is selling a large lot of bonds). In simple terms, when the government has to sell bonds to pay off its creditors, the stock market can expect its investors to shift their positions from stocks to bonds. This causes the stock market to have a small panic attack. From time to time, if the movement from stocks is large enough, the stock market has a stroke.
Foreign markets react to American economic troubles; thus, the growing US National Debt creates insecurity among the international financial markets. This insecurity can be observed in the value of the dollar against other currencies. Not long ago the Euro was worth a little bit more than a dollar. Yesterday, 10.26.04, the Euro was worth $1.38.
When the US is in a recessionary trend the effects are soon seen in Europe. Jobs are lost (Germany now has a 10% unemployment rate; I remember when Germany took pride in having almost no unemployment before the Reagan-Bush years); and there is a slow-down in the purchase of goods from the United States. The US is now experiencing record deficits in the export market, and part of the cause of the record deficits in exports is owing to the recessionary trend among our European trading partners. If our government were to be set on a firm financial plan away from the Bush Borrowing credit card madness the foreign markets would feel more secure in their investments in America and purchase more from us. You would think that if the Euro has increased in purchasing power over the dollar by 25% one would see an equivalent growth in American exports. But exports are down. Something is seriously wrong, n'est pas?
Gingrich should be arguing for fiscal responsibility along with Kerry as he did in 1997. The Newt Gingrich concept of paying off the debt reported in US News & World Report in 1997:
"When he sat down to talk policy with House Speaker Newt Gingrich in April, Rep. Mark Neumann didn't mention his plan to pay off the entire $5.38 trillion national debt. But as Gingrich thumbed through Neumann's numbers-laden analysis of the federal budget, he stopped at the last section, titled "Retiring the Debt." Gingrich started asking questions and got visibly more excited with each answer.
Now Gingrich and other Republican leaders have embraced Neumann's proposal that rather than stopping with a balanced budget, America should go on to pay off its debt as a defining idea of modern conservatism. If revenue and spending trends point to a balanced budget, the argument goes, the government should stay on that course and use the eventual surpluses to retire the national debt.Gingrich is meeting with conservative activists to rally support for the idea.
See also a detailed article on the Neuman-Gingrich plan by By James K. Glassman, Tuesday, July 15 1997, The Washington Post. The plan evolved out of a continuing crisis over the budget, when the government was threatened with being shut down over the debt (see full report, CNN US News November 13, 1995).
Mr. Gingrich, why aren't you strongly behind Kerry's position of reinstituting the Clinton era of Fiscal Responsibility? Your loyalty to Bush should have some limits. Isn't your position now against Kerry's debt reduction somewhat two-faced?
The lost Iraqi ammunition reported 10.25.04
10.27.04 Now officials in the Bush administration are saying that the lost ammunition is no problem. I think the psychology here is that if we would have disarmed the Iraqis and secured ammunition dumps we would not have been able to get control of the Iraqi Oil Ministry offices. This is called "leading a battle without protecting your rear."
10.26.04 George Bush apparently has not heard of any reports of the lost munitions. He's hard at work and sometimes getting information to him isn't that easy, we understand. The latest report on the dump seems to confirm my theory that the ammo was stolen by a trader from a used camel lot.
10.25.04 380 tons (now 377 tons) of explosives from an Iraqi ammunition dump were reported missing. How many trucks does it take to move 350 tons of ammunition? Where did the thieves get the trucks? Whose side is Bush on anyway? He has more interests in defending the Saudis and the bin Ladens than Americans, I think. Now this was no small effort.! One ton = 2,240 pounds, and using information from http://www.hubgroup.com/services/containerC_default.jsp
on truck and container load capacities, using a 20' container to sneak off 380 tons of explosives would require an estimated 76 trucks (with one 20' container holding ~11,500 pounds) or an estimated 85, 120 camels. I wonder if our satellite imagery viewed any large convoys or caravans in the area.
Notable reports on the 377 tons of lost ammunition
10.28.04 Channel 5 Eyewitness News account at Al Qaqaa:"...During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled 'explosives.'
Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords..."
Bomb effects of the Hiroshima bomb. For those wondering what effects the old nuclear technology had: As a young man in the 60's I used to review lots of reports and charts which projected kill ratios from various weapons launched againtst Soviet cities. I am confident t
he Soviet Union had similar studies against US cities. The French would have had similar studies / projections for their missiles as well. While I am sure our weapons today are far more terrible, terrorists would likely be attempting to achieve the Hiroshima levels of destruction if they had the capability. We who were raised in the Early Cold War era remember the many bomb drills in our schools, when we were instructed to drop under our desks and cover, whilst our leaders had dug out caves in the rocky mountains for headquarters to save themselves from nuclear attack.
10.26.04 (from MSNBC via http://news.yahoo.com/news)
"Reporter Lai Ling Jew, who was embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne, Second Brigade, said her news team stayed at the Al-Qaqaa base for about 24 hours.
"There wasn't a search," she told MSNBC, an NBC cable news channel. "The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad. That was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the vast amount of ordnance lying around.
"But as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away... The NBC report came after the U.N. nuclear agency told the Security Council on Monday about the disappearance of the 377 tons of high explosives, mostly HMX and RDX, which can be used in the kind of car bomb attacks that have targeted U.S. forces... The NBC team accompanied the 101st Airborne at Al-Qaqaa the following day on April 10, 2003.
Lai Ling told MSNBC that there was no talk among the 101st of securing the area after they left.
She said the roads were cut off "so it would have been very difficult, I believe, for the looters to get there."
Opening Pandora's box:
This graph shows the reality of blast effects, as recorded from the Hiroshima bomb. According to the source of the image (click below the image):
"The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima generated a huge amount of energy when it exploded. The amount of energy generated by the bomb was equivalent to the amount of energy generated by a 15-kiloton TNT explosion.
Heat On the ground, beneath the explosion center(hypocenter), the temperature rose to approximately 7,000 degree F. On the stairway of the entrance to a bank, which was 1/8 mile from the explosion center, a man was sitting waiting for its opening. The surface of the stone stairway was changed by the immense heat. The part where the man was sitting remained unchanged because his body absorbed the heat.
Roof (ceramic) tiles on houses within 1/3 mile radius from the explosion center melted, and gray stones which contained silicon particles became white. The clothes which people wore were burnt by the heat within 1 1/4 mile radius from the explosion center.
Bomb Blast An ultra high pressure was generated by the explosion. The wind velocity on the ground beneath the explosion center was 980 miles/hr, which is five times stronger than the wind generated by strong hurricanes. The pressure was 3.5 kg per square centi-meter which is equivalent to 8,600 pound per square feet.
At a point that was 1/3 mile from the explosion center, the wind velocity was 620 miles/hr; the pressure was 4,600 pound per square feet. Most of concrete buildings inside this range were completely destroyed.
Even a mile from the explosion center, where the wind velocity was 190 miles/hr and the pressure was 1,180 pound per square feet, all brick buildings were completely destroyed.
Half of the energy was consumed when the explosion generated an ultra high air pressure which resulted in very strong bomb blast (wind). One third of the energy was consumed when the explosion generated heat, while the rest of the energy was consumed when the explosion generated radiation.
Radiation The explosion generated Alpha, Beta, Gamma and neutron rays. Alpha and Beta rays were absorbed by the air and did not reach to the ground. Gamma and neutron rays were strong enough to reach the ground; thus it was these rays that affected people.
Within 1/16 mile radius from the explosion center, most people died within a few hours (even in the case where they were not directly exposed to the heat or wind). Within a half mile radius, most people died within 30 days after the explosion.
The people who entered the area within a half mile radius from the explosion center in the first 100 hours after the explosion were also affected by the remaining radiation on the ground.
Fortunately it has not been observed that the long term effects of radiation affected A-bomb survivors nor that a radiation exposure caused genetic damages.
y the end of 1945 the estimated number of people who died as a direct result of the bomb was 140,000."
President Bush has been playing with fire
, and it is apparent from the moment he launched his personal crusade, to send our troops into harms way in Iraq, that he had no concept of what he was doing. He unnecessarily put the world in jeopardy by raising the wrath of the Moslem world against the Western world. It is also doubtful that neither he nor any of those who devised the strategy of the offense had ever read the Koran.
President Bush launches illegal war
9.16.04 Secretary General Kofi Annan declares to the BBC that Bush conducted an illegal war in Iraq: Iraq war illegal, says Annan. The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.
The UN Charter provision that George W. Bush violated is at least Chapter VIII.53:
UN Charter VIII. 53. 1. The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council, with the exception of measures against any enemy state, as defined in paragraph 2 of this Article, provided for pursuant to Article 107 or in regional arrangements directed against renewal of aggressive policy on the part of any such state, until such time as the Organization may, on request of the Governments concerned, be charged with the responsibility for preventing further aggression by such a state.
53.2. The term enemy state as used in paragraph 1 of this Article applies to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory of the present Charter.
If, according to the BBC (9.16.04), George W. Bush is in violation of international law, does that not also extend to the American people? Now a nation cannot hide behind its leaders, in committing illegal acts of war; neither can a leader hide behind its people in committing illegal acts of war. The American people need to clarify this issue by having an acknowledged officer of the country refer it to the United Nations for disposition. Since President George W. Bush refuses to acknowledge United Nations' laws, or to submit to them, to separate ourselves from the actions of a criminal we need to refer the matter to the extent that we have at least done our part in honoring international law. Maybe Congress should have another look at their act with reference to prosecuting the war in Iraq.
Halliburton hogging the sacrifices
Keep in mind that one of many reasons George W. Bush did not get support from the UN Security Council was his policy in letting contracts to a few US contractors, eliminating those who had not helped in the invasion from the ability to benefit from the reconstruction. This is one of many reports from December 2003:
Opening up Iraq to competitive contracting
"As reported elsewhere on the CIOB International web-site, the U.S. Government has promised to contribute in excess of $18 billion to finance reconstruction work in Iraq. But the Pentagon precipitated a diplomatic confrontation with France, Germany, Russia and possibly China by ruling that these and a number of other countries would be excluded from bidding in the U.S. funded sector of the reconstruction program.
As if this was not provocation enough, the Pentagon explained that one reason for limiting the bidding to countries that had given the United States political and military aid in Iraq was the requirement for "the protection of the essential security interests of the United States." The President was reported to be distinctly unhappy - in other words furious - at the release of this statement at the very time he was trying to convince the French, German and Russian Presidents that they should assist Iraq's economic recovery by cancelling the enormous debts built up in the days of the Saddam regime.
Clarifications are now coming forth. A State Department spokesman said that while the bidding restriction imposed by the Pentagon applies to prime contracts, there will be few restrictions on working as sub-contractors. And it has been made clear that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which between them are assembling large funds as promised at the Madrid donors╣ conference, may under their own rules have a different approach to contract awards." CBS International News 12.16.03:
CIB International News http://www.ciobinternational.org/openArticle.asp?ArticleID=4215.
From the point of view of the world, it would appear that Halliburton et al. were
whores who hang out round the race-course (2)
The three cried foul, like priests crying out against another hogging the sacrifice. Nevertheless, in spite of the complaints it may be that the American people are happy with that state of affairs, or dysfunction, and feel proud that they have a leader as equal to Alexander as anyone (though Alexander was no greater in Baby lon in the end than anyone else who would fit in a pine box) who would give them the great esteem of marching through the streets Baghdad.
Why the Crusade & Jihad?
Without rehashing the history of Western Civilization in one paragraph, we can ascribe Christian and Jewish sentiments to defend Israel and to view America as the anointed of God (Allah,
in the Koran) to perceptions of pastors who spend more time feeding on the flock than feeding them. If the flock were fed properly it would not believe that it is just to kill on behalf of God. The Christian and Jewish scriptures all agree that vengeance belongs to God (i.e., as in Psalm 94.1), that the Warrior of God is a man of peace, just and charitable. I have always believed (and I know Jesus adhered to this old teaching) that if God wants to kill someone let him kill them himself. You don't need to be his agent, in my opinion. But you can assist in bringing peace to the world.
There is no doubt that during the Axis Age (600 B.C.) the great sages, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha and Jeremiah later followed by Socrates agreed that doing good and avoiding evil towards your fellow man was the answer. They all believed in the Golden Rule: Don't do to others that which you would not want done to you. Upon this one teaching all the teachings of the Bible rest.
Good news! The Koran says that everything in the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) and Gospel (New Testament) are true! As I pointed out many years ago in a conversation with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. in a series of books, including Philistia triumph thou because of me, there are points in the Koran upon which the Jews, Christians and Moslems can reconcile their disagreements, such as:
Koran, The Cow: And now that a Book confirming their own book has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth and have long prayed for help against the unbelievers...when it is said to them, 'Believe in what Allah has revealed,' they reply, 'We believe in what was revealed to us.' But they deny what has since been revealed, although it is the truth, corroborating their own scriptures.
Koran, The creator 36.24: Your only duty is to give warning...What we have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous scriptures.
Koran, Kneeling 45.16 We gave the Scriptures to the Israelites and bestowed on them wisdom and prophethood.
Koran, AL-AHQAF 46.12 Yet, before it the Book of Moses (Torah) was revealed, a guide and a blessing to all men. This Book confirms it.
Koran, Women 4.47 You, to whom the Scriptures were given! Believe in that which we have revealed, confirming your own scriptures...
Koran, The Cow 2:116 The Jews say the Christians are misguuided, and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures. And the pagans say the same of both. Allah (5) will judge their disputes on the Day of Resurrection.
We can see, therefore, that Moslems are taught via the Koran to honor the scriptures and teachings Christians and Jews honor. Also, with respect to the Koran's teachings on Moslem behavior, it is clear that a Moslem cannot wage war against another Moslem, as is currently going on in Iraq and has been so throughout history:
Koran, Women 4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
To dispel any confusion on the Koran's view of people who do not believe in the Koran (notwithstanding the verses cited above) Mohammed went a bit too far, in my opinion, when he listed the following which confute the Bible (I know on the Day of Resurrection noted above my reading will be upheld).
Koran Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will figtht for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.
Koran, Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.
There are several verses that endorse Jesus some calling him a prophet of God (as they would have to once they accept the Gospels as truth). But this one is the gem of the lot, since it acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. The Messiah means "anointed one" and the term was created and applied only in the Bible. Christians know the term as Christ, which is the Greek translation of the word. The fact is, based upon what we have seen in the Koran above, all Moslems must honor the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. If there is any confusion on those teachings it can be simply resolved by opening the Gospels and reading them. They all reduce down to the Golden Rule. And it is not important that you be a Christian, Jew or Moslem to practice the Golden Rule. If you practice the Golden Rule you satisfy the teachings. For if you know those teachings you know God and if you do them you are one with God. The scripture asks, can two walk together except they agree?
The gem in the Koran of Jesus the Messiah, beyond the other verses endorsing the teachings of Jesus, which is a good foundation for some kind of reconciliation:
The Imrans, 3.45, 47 The angels said to Mary: 'Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He shall be noble in this world and in the next, and shall be favoured by Allah. He shall preach to men in his cradle and in the prime of manhood, and shall lead a righteous life."
The term Messiah first appeared in the Bible. It means Anointed One and in Greek the term is Christ. Knowing this, then, we should endeavor to find a place of agreement and learn to walk together. A good part of the Old Testament has to do with the Messiah and what is expected of him.
One cannot walk blindly through scriptures and take them for granted however. Applying them for good becomes an art. It takes practice. One cannot apply scripture, for instance, through a rush to judgment. After all is said and done, when understanding has ruled over boiling sentiments, we can point to our results: charity, justice and mercy. Unfortunately, we are a long way from achieving those things in this current age. It may be, in order to achieve a higher level, to at least remove ourselves from a state of chaos, that we need to take account of our leaders. Then we must ask ourselves how it is that we let them lead us into this chaos. This is called, confronting your own failures. Until both sides come to grips with the goodness that is in them, and do some good in order to gain in goodness, the Jihad will probably continue.
Now President George W. Bush would lead us to believe that we can kill off the Jihadists. I don't subscribe to his program and know that an invitation to reasoning together should bear more fruit. Who in the world would ever refuse this offer:
Isa. 1:18 │Come now, let us reason together,▓ says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
(1)The story "The Pet Goat," is written in lower case for our Commander in Chief and teaches how one should be alert and watch for robbers. A girl and her pet goat didn't see what was coming. Since then George W. Bush has been looking for a scapegoat.
a girl got a pet goat. she liked to go running with her pet goat. she played with her goat in her house. she played with the goat in her yard.
Illustration from the pet goat reader
but the goat did some things that made the girl's dad mad. the goat ate things. he ate cans and he ate canes. he ate pans and he ate panes. he even ate capes and caps.
one day her dad said, "that goat must go, he eats too many things."
her dad said, "we will try it."
so the goat stayed and the girl made him stop eating cans and canes and caps and capes.
but one day a car robber came to the girl's house. he saw a big red car near the house and said, "I will streal that car."
he ran to the car and
started to open the door.
the girl and the goat were playing in the back yard. they did not see the car robber.
more to come
(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names . Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.
(3) I use Edward Tripp's, The Meridian handbook of Classical Mythology (formerly titled Crowell's handbook of Classical Mythology), 1970.
INFORMATION ON SOME LINKS
Up-to-date information on the Presidential Race 2004: http://www.race2004.net/
Halliburton's major stock holders:
The Bush family and Cheney's financial holdings in Halliburton via Vanguard and other corporations: http://marc.perkel.com/archives/000067.html
Sinclair Broadcast Group advertisers. Help stop Bush and his brown-shirts by boycotting the advertisers that support Sinclair! http://www.boycottsbg.com/advertisers/default.aspx
Duty & Profit.html, a portion of the correspondence with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. from 1992-1995 on the national debt
Bushwatch: http://www.bushwatch.net/binladens.htm, Link on the Bush bin Laden wheeling and dealings
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
Updated: 11.03.04; 11.04.04; 11.05.04; 11.06.04; 11.10.04; 11.18.04
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