Link via Powerline. First page below, 3 more after that giving Saddam's historical climb to power with well researched background. Worth the read .... shows he was a common thug not much different from a mafia king.
Also keep in mind that relatives of UN members, France and Germany were receiving payola from "Oil For Food" covered in previous blog entries so were against the US invasion if Iraq.
Believe when Iran is brought into line then Syria will be also ..... then we can go in to where caches of Saddam's weapons which were trucked and flown out during UN dithering prior to our invasion are in fact buried. WMD's were also followed by satellite into the Bekka Valley, Lebanon.
"Obituary - Saddam Hussein
April 28, 1937 - December 30, 2006
"Former Iraqi dictator who ruled his country without mercy and struck fear into the heart of millions
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose actions brought down unimaginable catastrophe on Iraq and its peoples. From an early age, he had enjoyed inflicted suffering on those around him and, when he came to positions of political power, those whom he could not force or corrupt into submitting to his will, he maimed, murdered or made to flee.
He started two major international wars - one against Iran, the second as a result of aggression against Kuwait - which cost an estimated one million lives. He instituted genocidal campaigns against the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Marsh Arabs in the south. Ruling through the Sunni minority of which he was a member, he ignored the claims of the country's majority Shia population.
The third war in the region - which brought him and his regime down - was not directly begun by him, but by apparent American - and British - fears of a perceived threat his arsenal of weapons posed to international security. This time Saddam misjudged the event - and certainly the American mood.
Having been let off the hook after his defeat over his Kuwait adventure, he clearly felt that the international community did not have the stomach for a fight. He may have been right in that. But a new American President, George W Bush, determined to find a scapegoat for the Muslim terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001, was in no mood to abide by the niceties of international law. In the determination of President Bush and his cabinet of advisers, Saddam at length met his match, though the internecine aftermath of the campaign that overthrew him gave his conquerors little enough satisfaction.
Saddam appeared to have psychopathic tendencies which, combined with the exacerbating circumstances of his absolute power, resulted in the killing of more fellow Muslims, possibly, than Genghis Khan and Tamberlaine had caused between them in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Yet, until he invaded the oil-rich state of Kuwait, he enjoyed the collaboration of many governments abroad - including those in the West - who had given him backing in his unprovoked assault on Iran.
His invasion of the important Kuwait oilfields in 1990, however, resulted in the formation of an international military coalition against him, which was given sanction by United Nations resolutions. US-led, it inflicted a severe defeat on his forces and administered a check to his territorial ambitions - though it made him a hero to many Muslim militants and Arab nationalists. Even with defeat staring him in the face he continued to proclaim victory to his people.
And after his expulsion from Kuwait and the massive casualties inflicted on his army, Saddam continued defiant, thwarting the efforts of UN inspectors to check on his weapons stocks and refusing to let himself be cowed by the overflying of his country by armed British and American aircraft. Meanwhile he continued with projects to develop new weapons to threaten territories outside his borders, apparently secure in his power, in spite of the sufferings of his people, which were in such painful contrast to the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by himself and his family.
A fervent admirer of Hitler on account of the latter's boldness and hatred of Jews, he told his official biographer in 1980 that he wanted Iraqis to think of Nebuchadnezzar every day. "We could march into Palestine and bring all those Jews here in Babylon with their hands tied behind their backs once more", he said.
Saddam bin Hussein was born an orphan in the small village of Auja near the town of Tikrit some 100 miles north of Baghdad when Iraq was still a young state under King Ghazi and his British advisers. His was the traditional childhood of the poor peasantry, struggling to subsist in a hot, dusty, disease-ridden land.
In addition, as a hyperactive child who seemed constantly to provoke fights with other children, he endured ill treatment at the hands of a violent stepfather, a man known as Hassan the Liar. His circumstances were somewhat softened, however, by the interventions of his maternal uncle, Khairallah Tulfah, known as Khairallah the Thief, who would one day be rewarded by his nephew with the governorship of the capital and become known as the Thief of Baghdad.
Saddam's schooling began at the age of seven in Tikrit. Such was the lawless environment around him that, on his first day at school, he carried a steel bar in his hand and a loaded revolver in his pocket, the latter bought for him by his relatives. A year later, his uncle, who had fought on the side of a pro-Nazi coup in 1941 and who had started a bus service in Tikrit, took him to Baghdad for the rest of his primary and secondary education, and Saddam acquired a surname, Tikriti.
In 1958, after the overthrow of the monarchy, he was briefly imprisoned for the murder of a teacher, his uncle's Communist opponent in parliamentary elections in Tikrit, and began to develop a reputation as an assassin. For this reason, the leaders of the Socialist Arab Renaissance (Baath) Party, apparently in collusion with Egypt's Colonel Nasser, chose him to lead an attempt on the life of the country's military dictator, General Abdul-Karim Qasim.
Yet, the five-man gang bungled the ambush, even though Qasim travelled with hardly any protection, and Saddam fled to Syria, nursing a wounded leg, which was probably caused by a comrade's bullet. In Syria he stayed for six months before going on to Cairo "to study law", but in fact to work for Egyptian intelligence - and to marry his cousin Sajidah, Khairallah's daughter.
Saddam returned to Iraq after the overthrow of Qasim in a military-Baathist coup less than three years later, in February 1963, and was immediately engaged in plots against the Baathists' partners in the new regime. He also enrolled at Baghdad university's law faculty and turned up for final examinations in military uniform and carrying a pistol. He was promptly granted a degree. ............................"
(Click link to be taken to pages 2 and 3 and 4 ..... worth the time to read)
Quoted exactly and in full from Powerlingblog.com ..... Link to NY Times article inserted. Well worth the read.
Most reporters covering the execution of Saddam Hussein pay lip service to the fact that he was a "brutal dictator," but John Burns of the New York Times spent time in Iraq over the years, and did serious reporting from there. He observed first-hand the terror that Saddam imposed throughout his reign, and that experience shines through in his excellent article in today's Times: Feared and Pitiless; Fearful and Pitiable. It begins:
NOBODY who experienced Iraq under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein could imagine, at the height of the terror he imposed on his countrymen, ever pitying him. Pitiless himself, he sent hundreds of thousands of his countrymen to miserable deaths, in the wars he started against Iran and Kuwait, in the torture chambers of his secret police, or on the gallows that became an industry at Abu Ghraib and other charnel houses across Iraq. Iraqis who were caught in his spider’s web of evil, and survived, tell of countless tortures, of the psychopathic pleasure the former dictator appeared to take from inflicting suffering and death.
That I could feel pity for him struck the Iraqis with whom I talked as evidence of a profound moral corruption. I came to understand how a Westerner used to the civilities of democracy and due process — even a reporter who thought he grasped the depths of Saddam’s depravity — fell short of the Iraqis’ sense, forged by years of brutality, of the power of his unmitigated evil.
It's well worth reading the whole thing. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/weekinreview/31burns.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Yahoo moves their stories frequently so apologies if it has been when you click the link.
Ever consider it may not be US politics "forming world opinion" but careful engineering by leftist brainwashing media used in a concerted effort to drive the US dollar down in value so that the Euro will dominate the world currency market????
Crystal clear to me, makes perfect sense, leaves a
crumb money trail right back to world money market manipulation/engineering.
Feel 'had'..?????? ....... Aanyone believing the media doesn't have an agenda should because US$ value impacts every aspect of our lives.
"Euro notes cash in to overtake dollar
By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt
Published: December 27 2006 22:07 | Last updated: December 27 2006 22:07
"The US dollar bill's standing as the world's favourite form of cash is being usurped by the five-year-old euro.
The value of euro notes in circulation is this month likely to exceed the value of circulating dollar notes, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Converted at Wednesday's exchange rates, the euro took the lead in October.
The figures highlight the remarkable growth in euro notes since their launch on January 1 2002, three years after the start of Europe's monetary union, which in January welcomes its 13th member - Slovenia, the former Yugoslav republic.
"After the launch, we expected growth to stabilise - but it has continued over five years," Antti Heinonen, head of the European Central Bank's bank notes directorate, told the Financial Times.
Although the ECB does not deliberately promote the international use of the euro, it has become popular in official foreign exchange reserves - even if it is far from challenging the dollar's lead as the most popular reserve currency.
News that euro notes are challenging the dollar may cheer eurozone politicians - even if it partly reflects the currency's strength - but it may have a dark side too. Fast growth in the highest denomination notes, especially the €500 note, has raised suspicions that they are popular among criminals, although the ECB plays down this factor.
By the end of October the $759bn-worth of US dollar notes in circulation was only a fraction ahead of the value of euro notes, converted at exchange rates at that time.
But since October the euro has risen strongly against the dollar and this month the value of euro notes has risen to more than €610bn, or in excess of $800bn at the latest exchange rates. That level is unlikely to have been beaten by the greenback. "
"HIT IRAN WHERE IT HURTS
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
"December 27, 2006 -- The sanctions adopted by the United Nations are too weak, too puny and too late to have any deterrent effect on Iran's drive to build a nuclear bomb. But there is something the U.S. government, state governments, labor unions, pension funds and each of us as individuals can do: We can stop investing in companies that help Iran exploit the oil and gas resources on which its economy depends.
Investment funds - including pension funds - all over America are helping Iran develop the nuclear weapons that will eventually threaten us by investing in companies that directly subsidize Iran. We must all band together to stop these self-defeating investments.
Frank Gaffney, a Reagan-era Pentagon official, is pioneering the way via his group, disinvestterror.org. Sarah Steelman, Missouri's state treasurer, has followed his lead - the billion-dollar state pension funds have pulled investments in any company that abets terrorism.
Among Steelman's first targets were the Swiss giant UBS Finance and the French firm BNP Paribas Finance Inc. Both got kicked off the Missouri funds' list of approved brokers. UBS got the message and pulled out of Iran; it's now seeking readmission to Missouri's list. But BNP Paribus still works there.
Indeed, it's an old friend of the Iranian regime. It headed a consortium that lent $1 billion to Iran Petrochemical Commercial Co. in September 2005. In 2002, it was central to Iran's sale of $1.1 billion in bonds - the first foreign Iranian bonds for sale since 1979.
Gaffney's targets include Royal Dutch Shell, the multinational oil conglomerate. It has extensive holdings in the key Iranian offshore oil fields Soroush and Nowruz, where its investments have been pivotal in raising oil output by 190,000 barrels per day - about an 8 percent increase in total Iranian output. (In October, Shell diversified its terror portfolio - winning contracts to search for and pump oil in Syria.)
In an ideal world, of course, there'd be real U.N. sanctions against Tehran, as well as strong action by the federal government. But vested interests make either near-impossible to achieve.
Back in the '90s, for example, then-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato pushed through sanctions against foreign firms that do business in two terror-sponsoring nations, Libya and Iran. But the Europeans protested vigorously that the law was an extraterritorial infringement of their sovereignty. So, while President Clinton signed the bill, he took the advice of National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and waived any application of the law.
But there's an alternative to shutting down Iran's economy in one fell swoop - the death of a thousand cuts, via smaller-scale actions. The Gaffney approach aims at the same goals as D'Amato's, but by private means.
And Steelman has added an important state component to the drive. Other public fund managers should pay heed. Here in New York, that means city Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. and the successor to Alan Hevesi as state comptroller.
Companies in the New York area should join in - and focus on persuading their banks to join the disinvestment project. Unions should direct their pension funds to do the same.
Even more than the rest of America, the town that is Terror Target No. 1 has good reason to end Iran's nuclear ambitions. "
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Quoted in full directly from Powerline. Pelosi says a woman is needed to clean up government.
The Washington Post has a front-page story on how Rep. John Murtha uses a non-profit agency to funnel money into his favorite lobbying shops while its directors "have kept Murtha's campaigns flush with cash." The non-profit is known, appropriately enough, as PAID (Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities). There's nothing surprising about the story (we wrote about related machinations on Murtha's part months ago), but I didn't expect to see it on the front-page of the Post.
Murtha's scam, which one Democratic-leaning watchdog group director compares to "DeLay Inc.," extends beyond the Abscam unindicted co-conspirator himself. One of the director's of PAID is a central figure in an investigation of Murtha's crony Rep. Alan Mollohan. And Speaker Pelosi, who pushed so hard for Murtha to become House Majority Leader, is also connected to the Murtha machine. Last year, Murtha reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco. Pelosi's nephew, Laurence Pelosi, was an executive of the company that owned the rights to the land "
Sincere thanks and blessings to everyone who reads my blog. I hope the coming year brings you everthing you could possibly dream of, that it comes to you easily, quickly, adding only goodness to your lives.
Wish all my blog entries could be spun fluff but the world isn't to that point yet, especially with lunatics declaring jihad on the world not embracing their fanaticism. Knowledge is power and it is far better to know all sides, especially those the lamestream media intentionally omits because it doesn't fit their agenda.
For anyone disturbed by the articles I post, I invite you to close your eyes and go to something else you enjoy. Or better yet begin your own blog filled with whatever makes you happy.
Embedded live links.
"The nuclear crisis boiling away under the surface for the past three years with Iran has finally erupted.
Over the next three to six months, expect things to get much worse, with a very real possibility of a war that could spread far beyond the confines of the
The Iranians, for example, might choose to get directly involved should the U.S. military aid the Iraqi government in a crackdown on the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army and the Badr brigade, two Shiite militias fueling the sectarian violence in Iraq. (A clear sign that Iran is contemplating just such a move was revealed on Christmas day, when the U.S. Acknowledged it was holding four Iranians captured during a raid on the Headquarters of Abdulaziz al-Hakim in Baghdad just three weeks after he met with President Bush in the Oval Office).
So fasten your seat belts. We are in for a rough ride. "
Via Wizbangblog.com http://wizbangblog.com/ a link to Scared Santa Photos.
"SCARED OF SANTA GALLERY: Tis the season to be scared witless
From Powerlineblog.com ...........
...our soldiers are still fighting in Iraq and around the world. And tonight, what could be an important development, high-ranking Iranians ( http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/25/world/middleeast/25iraq.html?_r=1&ei=5094&en=b28c8833301f969e&hp=&ex=1167022800&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin ) have been detained in raids in Iraq:
The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington. .............."
AL ZAWAHRI MESSAGE TO DEMS: WE BEAT GOP IN NOVEMBER... via Drudgereport.com
"Al Qaeda Sends a Message to Democrats
December 22, 2006 2:28 PM
Brian Ross and Hoda Osman Report:
Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists. ........."
....... "Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help. ........"
Giving credit where it's due, didn't know Dick Morris had a newsletter until Todd posted an article by him.... so subscribed.
Just had to post this new one about Hillary reinventing herself into a cookie baking mom .... warm fuzzies, no doubt following in Pelosi's footsteps .... mother of five, grandmother. Yada, yada, yada ad nauseam for both. Pass barf bag quickly . Anyone summoning 1000 FBI files to the White House and who doesn't have the authority to view much less peruse for personal information, then "misplaces" them for months isn't your typical mom figure like June Clever. That dog won't hunt.
"Hillary's New Strategy: The Mom President
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
December 21, 2006 -- “We’ve never had a mother who ever ran or was elected president…”
That was Hillary Clinton speaking earlier this week, when she appeared on the television show The View. Don’t think for a minute that she was just making an interesting historical observation. No, Hillary doesn’t work that way. She never says or does anything that hasn’t been perfectly scripted and endlessly polled beforehand. She had a message, a new strategy to try out. So look for the new “Mom Strategy” to be the anchor of her presidential run.
Forget Soccer Moms and Security Moms; now it’s going to be all Moms all the time — with Hillary as the biggest Mom of all.
The “Mom Strategy” is key to presenting the latest iteration of Hillary. She needs to move out of the center space that she populated in her last reincarnation as a moderate. That’s over. Because democratic primary voters are squarely at odds with her positions on the war in Iraq, she needs to move on. The “Mom Strategy” gives her a credible way to tack to the left on the war. She’s already begun. Last week, she told an NPR audience that she would have voted against the war if only she had known then what she knows now. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
In furtherance of the new Mom strategy, she has re-released her best-selling book It Takes A Village. This time, she is pictured surrounded by adoring, well-groomed and respectful children on the cover. Just like Mom. This is no coincidence; it’s an element of the strategy. The subliminal message: I’m a Mom and I’m running for president. Moms take care of people, they’re compassionate and don’t want wars. The fact that the book isn’t selling well in its re-release — Amazon ranks it at 5,000 — doesn’t matter. It’s the cover photo that resonates.
Hillary the Hawk may ultimately be the way to win the centrists who dominate the general electorate. But Hillary, the Mom, another Mother for Peace, is the way to capture the left that runs the Democratic primaries. And that’s exactly what she’s doing.
Gender stereotypes are still alive and well in America and cut across men and women in all ideologies. Survey research shows that all voters believe that women are more compassionate, more focused on children and education, and more pro-peace than men. By tapping into this helpful stereotype, Hillary can flank her rivals on the left, even though her record of support for the war and collusion with the right wing on flag burning speaks loudly to the contrary.
Mom as a metaphor carries all the right messages: empathy with other mothers (particularly the heavily Democratic single moms), a commitment to education, and family values.
Now that Illinois Senator Barak Obama has threatened to bring a newer “first” to presidential politics — the first black may trump the first woman — Hillary answers by labeling herself as the first mother to seek the presidency.
(Actually, she’s not. While Elizabeth Dole — who ran in 2000 — has no children, another woman, who had two children, ran for president in 1872. Victoria Woodhull, an early suffragette — and mistress of Cornelius Vanderbilt — ran as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party).
Hillary’s new strategy echoes the 1996 Bill Clinton strategy in pushing a “fatherhood” agenda. Embracing the idea of taking responsibility, enforcing child support, promoting school uniforms and curfews, and fighting against teen smoking and sex and violence on TV, President Clinton promoted the idea of his fatherhood in his bid for re-election. He began his political career as Arkansas’ boy Governor. When he ran for president, he was everyone’s buddy — eating at McDonalds and jogging in baggy shorts — but as president he needed to grow up and project the subtle image of America’s father. In carefully choreographed photos, he was deliberately surrounded by adoring children looking up at him as he pushed his new message.
Now Hillary is seeking to run for president as America’s Mom — pro-peace, pro-family, pro-children. And it started last week on The View. Stay tuned. "
A friend says 'perfect paranoia is perfect awareness' which just may hold true in this instance.
Via SteveQuayle.com, Q factor.
"Is It Now Illegal To Link To Other Websites?
Landmark Sydney legal ruling sets precedent for wholesale devastation of Internet news websites and blogs
Prison Planet | December 20, 2006
Paul Joseph Watson
A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.
Following our report last month that an RIAA legal argument would, if the case was eventually won, criminalize simply making files available on the Internet, many readers scoffed at the serious implications of the case. Such a precedent would change the entire face of the Internet because "making files available" is so loosely defined it could criminalize simply placing links on ones website or blog to other websites.
Some accused us of yellow journalism and scaremongering yet the warning that the Elektra vs. Barker case could criminalize the very mechanism that characterizes the Internet was not concocted by Alex Jones or Paul Joseph Watson, it was a statement made by the very lawyer fighting the case, Ray Beckerman.
And that's exactly what has now happened in Sydney, where an Australian federal court has opened the door for simply linking to other websites to be classified as piracy.
A landmark ruling was upheld against Stephen Cooper, who ran a website which acted as search engine for locating and downloading MP3's not from his own website but from other MP3 download websites. Cooper was charged with piracy and his ISP is also being targeted for not shutting down his website quickly enough.
"Sabiene Heindl, general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) said the decision meant that anyone who stuck a link on MySpace or on their bogs could now expect a knock on the door from its briefs," reports the UK Inquirer .
And for those who dismiss the precedent as only applying to those who link to copyrighted MP3 files, consider this - Cooper was only doing the same thing as Google in providing a means of finding files on other website. The MIPI is also preparing to take action against Google in "other jurisdictions," meaning it is building a case to sue Google for linking to all manner of different files from its search engine hub.
If such a precedent becomes accepted, it would be the death knell for alternative websites like the one you're reading now and others, who primarily rely on linking to other sources in order to collate important news and information. It would also put an end to some of the biggest websites on the Internet such as Fark.com and the Drudge Report , which are both almost exclusively devoted to collecting the world's most interesting news and offering it to readers in one place, by linking to scores of different websites.
Under these terms only internal linking would be permitted, which would not significantly impact commercial powerhouses like Amazon.com but would effectively put an end to all blogs.
The skids are clearly being greased for the mandated introduction of Internet 2, a tightly controlled, surveilled and regulated cyberspace police state run solely by telecommunications giants in consort with the U.S. government and the United Nations. Net Neutrality campaigners are desperately trying to raise awareness to the dangers of this as legislation that will kill the Internet as we know it is on the brink of debate and passage in the first session of Congress early next year. ....."
"..........Dovetailing the onset of Internet 2 are government propaganda campaigns to demonize the existing Internet as a wild backwater for hate crime, child pornography and a terrorist recruiting ground. We have detailed these moves at length in previous articles .
The last outpost of freedom of speech, the world wide web, is in the crosshairs of corporate lobbyists and big government control freaks, who are putting the finishing touches on the pincer attack plan that will put paid to the greatest technological revolution of the latter 20th century."
From Powerline, Jamil Hussein who seems as credible as the "Green Helmet Man" did for Reuters awhile back ..... can't be produced by AP, can't be found by American independent journalists who have gone to Iraq in search of him.
Mainstream media =
Power Line: Desperately Seeking Jamil Hussein
sums up the current state of the search for the elusive Captain Hussein. Suffice it to say that it appears increasingly improbable that such a person exists. Given that he has ostensibly been in frequent contact with AP reporters--frequent enough to be cited as a source at least 61 times--it is hard to understand why the AP is apparently unable to produce him. Also, to the best of my knowledge Captain Hussein has not been used as a source by the AP since the controversy became public. Why not? Will he ever appear as a source again? If not, what inferences can we draw? .........."
"If the Media Reported California News Like They Report News From Iraq
Written by Richard Geno
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The liberal media bias has been successful at undermining American efforts in Iraq in an effort to destroy the presidency of George W. Bush. The net effect has been to place the citizens of the United States in great jeopardy. The objectivity that journalists once advocated has in recent years been discarded in exchange for promoting those stories that support their liberal agenda.
While any death is always tragic, people die in wars. That is why presidents and governments avoid going to war at all costs. That was true of President Bush as it relates to the war in Iraq. He waited a full six months after Congress gave its approval. Inevitably, when a western country goes to war, it waits too long. These delays cost many lives. It was true during World War II. In the case of the period between September, 2002 and March, 2003, there is significant speculation that weapons of mass destruction were moved to Syria during that timespan.
Loss of life is a personal tragedy for the persons involved and their families. Between the beginning of the Iraq invasion until the summer of 2006, the media gave a person-by-person accounting of the American military death toll in Iraq. They did it because they did not support the operations in Iraq, and because it was an effective tool in turning the people against the Vietnam War a quarter of a century earlier.
More Americans died on the beaches of Normandy in one day than have died in Iraq in almost four years. The newspapers, mainstream televison news, and news magazines do not report the progress the United States makes in Iraq, but only the casualty count. There is no justification for this type of reporting other than to make a political point.
Journalists do not report the news of California the way they do the news from Iraq. Before making my analogy, I feel that I should say that I am a Californian. My parents were both born in California. Three out of four of my grandparents were born in California, and a few of my great-grandparents were born in California. I love California; however, what if the news media reported facts about California the way they report on Iraq?
Imagine what the outlook towards California would be around the United States and the world if the press reported accurately as follows:
Day 1 Headlines: 15 MURDERS OVER THE WEEKEND
Day 2 Headlines: 360 ASSAULTS YESTERDAY IN CALIFORNIA; 6 MORE MURDERS
Day 3 Headlines: OVER 16,000 VIOLENT ASSAULTS AND ROBBERIES IN NOVEMBER; NO END IN SIGHT
Day 4 Headlines: RAPES REPORTED IN CALIFORNIA FOR OCTOBER UPDATED TO OVER 800
Day 5 Headlines: ANOTHER $600 MILLION SPENT LAST MONTH TO HOUSE CALIFONIA CRIMINALS
Day 6 Headlines: FOR 30th MONTH IN A ROW, OVER 330 CALIFORNIANS KILLED ON HIGHWAYS
Day 7 Special Report: CALIFORNIA HAS HIGHER INMATE POPULATION THAN GERMANY,
FRANCE, THE NETHERLANDS, AND SINGAPORE COMBINED.
Believe me, this type of accurate reporting could go on day after day. Every year, over 4,000 Californians die in car accidents--approximately six times the average death rate of military personnel in Iraq. And, California technically is not a war-zone. The media asks the question why our military cannot stop the infiltration of insurgents from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria into the Iraq theater. Yet, between 3-5 million foreigners have sneaked into California illegally in recent years.
Another potential headline: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN STATE COMPRISE POPULATION LARGER THAN SAN FRANCISCO, SAN DIEGO, SAN JOSE, AND SACRAMENTO COMBINED.
California's population is only 34% higher than Iraq; and every one of the statistics used in these sample headlines are accurate. What would be the impression of California if this was the day-in-and-day-out reporting we heard? Due to the liberal bias of the mainstream media, an unfair picture of Iraq has been painted. And the biased reporting of the news impacts all of us. "
About the Writer: Richard Geno has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and also has a master's degree and a Ph.D. ....."
Percolating just beneath the surface is incremental reform, cutting off another supply chain. It's always slower and more dangerous when it's undertaken beginning with family as explained in this article. God's protection be with anyone attempting to eradicate the so called "religion" bin Laden practiced, and which is killing American soldiers in Iraq.
Bold emphasis - mine.
Addendum: I've read metaphysically that all wars in some manner or other have been based on religious differences. The global war on terror seems to be no different but instead of Christian against Muslim, it seems to be radical Islam against radical Islam the winner of which gets to rule the entire globe (they think) force conversion, enslavement or kill the rest of us infidels. Seems Hitler and other maniacal murderers believed something similar at one time.
"The dogs bark, the caravan moves on."
"That Middle Eastern proverb could well describe the events surrounding production of the world's most-hyped dud firecracker, the Iraq Study Group Report. After immense agonies in the mainstream media (MSM), those like myself who predicted the report, once released, would largely be ignored by President George W. Bush, are being proven right and neoconservatives who support a continued commitment to the transformation of Iraq have exhibited renewed influence.
Only a couple of lines in the report were worthy of comment. One appears on page 29 of the printed version: "Funding for the Sunni insurgency (sic) comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia." This was the first time anybody connected to the U.S. government acknowledged something known throughout the Muslim world. That is, Sunni terrorism in Iraq is not an insurgency, but an invasion; the "foreign fighters" are mainly Saudi, as revealed when their deaths are covered in Saudi media, replete with photographs of the "martyrs."
But this obscure comment was overlooked by most of the MSM, which is also befuddled by the recent sudden departure of Ambassador Turki al-Faisal from his post in the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington. The MSM and a large part of the American government scratch their heads, barely capable of imagining that the revelation of the Saudi financing of Sunni terrorists in Iraq and the resignation of the kingdom's man in the U.S. would have anything in common.
Yet they are linked. Liberal reformers in the milieu of Saudi King Abdullah point out that Abdullah has called for an end to sectarian fighting in Iraq and has demanded that Shia Muslims no longer be called unbelievers by the Wahhabi clerics that still function, unfortunately, as the official interpreters of Islam in the Saudi kingdom. Abdullah has promised to spend $450 million on an ultra-modern security fence along the Saudi-Iraqi border. Ambassador Turki, it is said, supports Abdullah in these worthy goals.
But King Abdullah and the overwhelming Saudi majority, who want to live in a normal country, are opposed by the Wahhabi-line faction in the royal family. The pro-Wahhabi clique is led by three individuals: Prince Sultan Ibn Abd al-Aziz, minister of defense; Prince Bandar, predecessor of Turki as ambassador to Washington; and Sultan's brother, Prince Nayef. Nayef is notorious for having been the first prominent figure in the Muslim world to try to blame the atrocities of September 11, 2001 on Israel. He is deeply feared both inside and outside Saudi Arabia for his extremism.
Saudi sources indicate that King Abdullah is assembling his forces for a decisive confrontation with the reactionaries. Part of the Wahhabi-line strategy is to depict a U.S. leadership in conflict with King Abdullah, to undermine the monarch's credibility. That is why different versions of a meeting between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and King Abdullah, late last month, circulate in the MSM and the blogosphere.
According to credible reports, Cheney urged Abdullah to stiffen action against Saudi-Wahhabi involvement in the Iraqi bloodletting. According to unreliable gadflies, King Abdullah commanded Cheney's presence, to demand that the U.S. immediately attack Iran. But the claim that King Abdullah summoned and berated Cheney does not ring true. King Abdullah is too polite, and Cheney does not take such orders, according to those who know both men.
Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies, and must end their violent jihad around the world. The greatest impact of this development may be seen in Iraq, but Wahhabis everywhere have begun to worry about their future. In a totalitarian system like Wahhabism, the weakest links snap first. And the beginning of the end for them may now be visible in the Muslim Balkans.
That the crisis of Wahhabi credibility would become manifest simultaneously in Washington, Baghdad, and Sarajevo might seem counter-intuitive to many Westerners, especially given that the former Yugoslavia is considered by foreigners to be marginal and insignificant. But for those who know the Islamic world, it makes perfect sense. The Saudis have tried for almost 15 years to use the difficulties of Bosnian and other local Islamic folk to drive the Balkan Muslims away from their traditional, spiritual, and peaceful form of Islam into Wahhabi radicalism. But Wahhabi agitators who went to ex-Yugoslavia to sow discord and reap recruits for terror have begun to show deep anxiety about the loss of their Saudi support, and now act in an ever more provocative and aggressive manner.
For their part, the Balkan Muslims are demonstrating an attitude of disgust and repudiation toward their alleged Saudi patrons, such that the Muslim Balkans may become the first "Wahhabi-free zone" in the global Islamic community, or umma. Months ago, Bosnian chief Islamic cleric Mustafa Ceric issued a document readable here, stating, "the most perilous force destabilizing the umma presently is from the inside." The Bosnians, according to Ceric, are "determined in [their] intention to protect the originality of the centuries-long tradition of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina."
In October 2006, imam Dzemo Redzematovic, leader of the Slavic Muslim minority in newly-independent Montenegro denounced the Wahhabis for "introducing a new approach to Islamic rules [that] is unnecessary and negative because it creates a rift among the believers" and "claims some exclusive right to interpret Islamic rules."
The Wahhabis had lost their chance in Bosnia-Hercegovina but were under close scrutiny in Montenegro. They were also active over the border, in southern Serbia. On November 3, as described here, a group of fanatics disrupted Friday prayers at a mosque in the town of Novipazar, assailing the imam for refusing to follow their "guidance." In the ensuing affray, two local Muslims allegedly replaced "the weapons of criticism" with "the criticism of weapons," and the Wahhabis were met with gunfire. Iraq, it seemed, had come to ex-Yugoslavia.
I was in Sarajevo when this incident occurred, and the outrage of the local Muslims against the Wahhabi interlopers was palpable then and has grown more aggravated since. Bosnian Muslim intellectuals became more militant in their anti-Wahhabi idiom. On November 18, a distinguished professor of Arabic at the University of Sarajevo, Esad Durakovic, wrote, "The snowball called Wahhabism has been rolling down the Bosnian hill, but it is still not certain which side is going to be struck by the avalanche.... Wahhabi efforts are extremely decisive and resolute... the response has to be more appropriate and urgent... Wahhabis are wrong when they think that they can act as a Taliban in Europe (just as they are wrong about everything else)... We have to act immediately." (translation here)
A week later, on November 25, Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo was even bolder. An outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly:
"They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere."
Hafizovic identified the Wahhabi trail of blood traced through the past decade "Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most powerful civil and religious authorities... should immediately take responsibility for preventing the hell Wahhabis are constructing in this country."
Questioned on Bosnian television about the country's receipt of aid from Saudi Arabia during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, Hafizovic said: "I would be very pleased if a full stop were put once and for all to the talk of the great and fabulous aid that Saudi Arabia has given [us]... Because we have to pay. The Saudis and their envoys keep asking us to pay... the price is such that we have to sell our people, our religion, our 500 years of religious and cultural tradition and legacy. And this is precisely what they want: our minds, our hearts, our souls... Let us put an end to this story once and for all and say: Dear [Saudi] gentlemen, if you keep rubbing our noses in the aid - and you are - we will give it back to you." Hafizovic and other Bosnian Muslim clerics and intellectuals call Wahhabism a virus.
Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight. "
There have been rumblings about this for about a year.
"Iran to replace dollar with euro in foreign deals
"The Iranian government said it has ordered the central bank to transform the state's dollar-denominated assets held abroad into euros and use the European currency for foreign transactions. ........"
My son sent me this link.
Well how interesting given the Libertarian party's stance on legalization of drugs. If they would revise that position, also embrace a position of defending the US on the War On Terror no matter which nation it takes us to, you just might hear that great sucking sound of people bailing from both Dems and Repubs to a very strong third party which is fiscally responsible and which will do something real about invasion by illegal aliens.
"World's Smallest Political Quiz" ..... over time I keep scoring as a conservative Libertarian. You're welcome to post your score if you care to.
"Ex-Rep. Barr Quits GOP for Libertarians
Herman Cain, fabulous radio host who sits in for Neal Boortz sometimes. I like Tiger and like this idea!
By Herman Cain
"The current announced crop of 2008 Republican presidential contenders is about as inspiring as Saturday's leftovers for Monday's lunch. John McCain. We've seen that movie. Do we have to watch the sequel? Rudy Giuliani. Great leader, hates terrorists, but farther to the left than a Blue Dog Democrat. Mitt Romney. Where does he stand on the issues today?
Thankfully, as Monday turns to Tuesday, hope springs eternal for Friday night when, in my case, I order two pieces of fried catfish fillet and my favorite sides from my favorite restaurant. No more leftovers, no more cold sandwiches, just wide-eyed visions of spicy catfish with a dash of Tabasco. Which leads us to the 2016 presidential race. And Eldrick "Tiger" Woods.
The next president, likely a lifelong politician with too much inside-the-Beltway circular thinking, will have finished his two terms by 2016. By then we will still be victims of Beltway politics-as-usual and impotent leadership from both parties. The voters will long for a candidate who inspires the nation with an unwavering passion to fix problems and place policy over politics.
Tiger will be 40 years old in 2016. The Republican Party should begin grooming him now for a run at the White House. His personal attributes and accomplishments on the golf course point to a candidate who will be a problem solver, not a politician.
Tiger's success on the golf course, which will translate to success in the White House, is a product of his character, discipline and leadership by example. Tiger has one objective when he steps up to the first tee - win. The Republicans desperately need a candidate who will not seek personal legacies through political victories that compromise conservative ideology and increase the scope of federal government. Tiger's legacy is already set.
This year Tiger, at the age of 30, became the youngest golfer in history to amass 50 PGA victories. He currently has 54 career victories, fifth on the all-time list. Tiger already has 12 victories in major tournaments, second to Jack Nicklaus' 18 major wins. And, this year Tiger won a record seventh PGA Player of the Year Award. After dominating his competitors for so many years, do you really think Tiger wants to schlep around the Senior Tour when he turns 50?
History may bode well for a Tiger Woods presidential bid. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower, then a popular former World War II general and Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe, cruised to victory with 83 percent of the electoral vote over political insider Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic governor of Illinois. In 1980, Ronald Reagan, a former actor and governor of California, won 90 percent of the electoral vote over sitting President Jimmy Carter. To say Americans today are disillusioned with Congress and the President is an understatement. A November 6 Fox News/ Opinion Dynamics poll found 38 percent approval of President Bush, and just 29 percent approval of Congress.
Tiger has surely contemplated both his future goals in golf and his next challenges when he retires from the game. How refreshing to have a political outsider run for president again. I mercifully don't sense many phony platitudes toward a "compassionate" streak in Tiger. This is the same guy who beat the 1997 Masters Tournament field by 12 strokes - a record that still stands - at the age of 21, and then stated, "I've never played an entire tournament with my A-game. This was pretty close.'' Imagine what he would do to Islamic terrorists and Nancy Pelosi.
If the Democrats maintain control of Congress and the presidency through 2016, the big issues of restructuring Social Security, replacing the tax code and instilling free market forces in the health care system will still not be fixed. If the Republican Party regains the majority in Congress and retains the presidency, there is no guarantee that they will have the courage to make bold changes. Only an outsider will possess the leadership and the conviction to tackle the big issues without regard for the polls, media spin or inane promises of bipartisanship.
Tiger Woods could be an inspiring figure for the country, the likes of which we have not seen since Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ronald Reagan. Tiger's late father Earl Woods said in 1996 that the then-young golfer "will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity." The elder Woods added, "I made him a promise.'You'll never run into another person as mentally tough as you.' He hasn't. And he won't."
The Republican presidential candidate in 2016 must not come from inside the Beltway. He must come from inside the fairway, for all of us. "
Herman Cain is host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show The Bottom Line with Herman Cain and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com. "
Good metphysical article.
"So You Think Your 401(k) Money is Safe
The popular accounts have little protection from theft. Smaller companies have raided the funds in hard times.
December 10, 2006
By Kathy M. Kristof
MUSKEGON, MICH. — Jim Elliott, 55, spends his days clambering onto the tops of houses, taking measurements for the wooden trusses his company sells to support roofs through long, snowy winters.
Photo: Lost savings: Jim Elliott, 55, had put $230,000 in a 401(k) retirement account, but his employer took the money. Pensions come with federal insurance, but 401(k)s have no such protection. Elliott, who had hoped to retire at 60, now has another job. (Adam Bird / For the Times)
Not long ago, Elliott thought his ladder-climbing days would soon be over. With a few more years of work, his 401(k) account would be large enough to let him retire at 60 and spend his days with his three grandchildren.
Then Elliott learned that his former employer had looted the company's 401(k) plan. The $230,000 he had saved over three decades was gone.
A government-appointed trustee is trying to recover the money, but workers have been told they can expect to get back perhaps half what they lost.
"I'm going to be up measuring roofs when I'm 75 years old," said Elliott, a husky man with steel-gray hair. "I didn't do a lot of things over the years because I was trying to save for retirement. Now I see I was paying for somebody else's vacations."
If Elliott had a traditional pension, his retirement checks would be guaranteed under a federally backed insurance plan. But no comparable protection exists for 401(k)s, even though they are rapidly replacing pensions as the financial backbone of retirement for most Americans.
By law, all assets in 401(k) plans must be covered by private insurance policies known as fidelity bonds. But the bonds are required to cover just 10% of the retirement plan's assets or $1 million, whichever is less.
At companies with fewer than 100 employees — such as Elliott's company — the plans are not subject to annual independent audits that could deter embezzlement.
An estimated 9 million Americans have their savings in 401(k) and profit-sharing plans small enough to be exempt from the annual audit requirement. That's about 20% of the people in defined-contribution retirement plans. ....."
Better get your tofu recipes out .... soon they're going to place limits on the amount of beef and milk products we can purchase.
"Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 10 December 2006
Source The Independent
"Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane,or even George Bush: it is the cow.
A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.
The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide. ..........."
Dontcha just love people who re-write history as they go along???? Looks like Peanut is doing it again but got caught in a lie by a screen capture sent to the Powerline attorneys by named readers ........... plus they've posted that screen capture of the Carter Center web page which I verified at the time of posting this entry.
I love technology revealing the truth.
Screen capture if it doesn't copy to my blog available here: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/016168.php
"This morning Newsweek publicist Natalia Labenskyj emailed us the political stories in Newsweek's new issue. One of the items in Labeskyj's email is Eleanor Clift's softball interview with Jimmy Carter, which I happened to read. Here is one question and answer that caught my attention:
[CLIFT:] You're obviously aware of your main critic, Mr. Stein, who used to be with the Carter Center.
[CARTER:] Thirteen years ago! He hasn't been associated with the Carter Center for 13 years.
In answer to the question posed in the heading, Carter would lie and then keep right on on lying.
Sincere thanks to readers Glenn Bowen, Peter Beddow, Tommy Germany, John Purcell, Colin MacLeod, William Hughes, Bart Lidofsky, Dr. David Shafer, William Katz and Jerry Heyman for the screen capture of Professor Stein's Carter Center page. ......."
I've read in a metaphysical article that both China and Iran are supposed to undergo "soft" revolutions. I pray this is the beginning of that for Iran. There have also been photos on the web which show a younger hostage taker back in 70's which looks like a much earlier version of Ahmadinejad. He of course denies it and we know lunatics never lie. If nothing else has been accomplished the US involvement in Iraq has flushed him out in the open so the people of Iran can see just how trigger happy he is and hopefully toss him off his throne.
|"Ahmadinejad May Be Heading for His First Major Political Defeat|
Amir Taheri, Arab News
"While trying to project his image as a world leader offering an alternative to "American hegemony", President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran may be heading for his first major political defeat at home. In fact, some analysts in Tehran expect his defeat to be so decisive as to puncture the super-inflated image created by his friends and foes, albeit for different reasons.
It is in the context of two sets of elections, to be held on Dec. 15, that Ahmadinejad's defeat is expected to materialize.
The first election will be for local government authorities throughout Iran, deciding the fate of thousands of village and town councils that provide the day-to-day interface of the Khomeinist regime with citizens.
At present, the various radical Khomeinist factions that supported Ahmadinejad in the last presidential election control only a third of all local government authorities. The more conservative and business-connected factions, led by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, control a further 25 percent while the rest have majorities of independents and/or regional groupings that are always open to new alliances.
Ahmadinejad had hoped to win a majority of the local government authorities for two reasons. First, he counted on a low turnout that always favors the more radical Khomeinist candidates. Four years ago, Ahmadinejad won control of the Tehran Municipal Council, the largest local government in Iran, and became mayor of the capital, in an election that attracted only 15 percent of the qualified voters.
The second reason that Ahmadinejad had in mind was the possibility of forging a broad alliance of all radical revolutionary factions while the more conservative groups led by Rafsanjani and former Majlis Speaker Ayatollah Mahdi Karrubi appeared unable to unite.
With just days before polling, however, both of Ahmadinejad's calculations appear in doubt. The conservative and moderate groups have abandoned an earlier strategy to boycott the election and presented lists of candidates in more than half of the constituencies. The opposition groups acting outside the regime have also toned down their calls for boycott. Thus, the turnout may be higher than Ahmadinejad had hoped. A higher turnout could mean more middle class voters going to the polls to counterbalance the peasants and the urban poor who constitute the president's electoral base. ......."
I signed up to receive email from them.
"Space Weather News for Dec. 8, 2006 http://spaceweather.com
SOLAR TSUNAMI: When sunspot 930 exploded on Dec. 6th, producing an X6-category flare, it also created a tsunami-like shock wave that rolled across the face of the sun, wiping out filaments and other structures in its path. A telescope in New Mexico operated by the National Solar Observatory recorded a must-see movie of the wave, featured today on http://spaceweather.com . "
From Powerlineblog.com. My question is ....... does Carter have any shame at all......??????????????????????
Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross has accused Jimmy Carter of improperly publishing maps that did not belong to him. Ross says he commissioned the maps for his use, but that Carter appears to have ripped them off for use in his book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.
Ross' charges (if true) are probably the least of the problems Carter faces with respect to his book. Several days ago, as Scott reported, Kenneth Stein resigned as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University. He stated that "President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments."
But at least it has good maps. "
Hat tip: Laura Mirengoff "
Capitalism at its finest .... a win-win for the entire world.
This is what struck me as most important "That fruit seller is a successful entrepreneur.
"Exactly a century ago, Cemex became the first Mexican cement producer. In 2000, Cemex became the largest cement producer in the world beating out France's Lafarge and Switzerland's Holcim. Although the Cemex market profile has changed over the last hundred years, its early success came from their ability to serve micro-markets -- selling a bag at a time to poor folks.
In a micro-market like this, a homeowner who lacks a title to his house and property (an "informal" homeowner) but has a bit of extra cash, might buy a single bag of cement and a dozen cement blocks and use it to add a few square feet to a house wall. Finishing the house often takes years, but in the end he has a real house. And like 55% of all American wealth, this is where he saves -- he lives in his savings "account."
Cemex mastered this part of the market and has prospered. But poor homeowners throughout the developing world remain poor because their savings account is frozen and so they can't leverage their property. Unlike Americans, these informals have no diversity in their savings. Informal shelter, and the cottage industries they often house, are nearly always their total savings. And also unlike Americans, their savings - their capital - can't be used to back up a credit card or get a home improvement loan. An informal homeowner can't even make a contract with a utility company to deliver electricity or water since the utilities have no way to know who owns the house so have no certainty of being paid.
As a result of this capital being "dead" -- that is, their savings are illiquid -- the potential market it represents is rarely considered by multinational businesses. And when they do think about it, they usually conclude that there isn't a viable strategy to open it widely to their products.
But this market could be enormous. It wasn't long after the collapse of the tech stocks that a new conversation started in the business community; "What," they asked, "is the next big thing?" Well today, these informals hold one of the largest discrete pools of capital ever accumulated. But it is not on anyone's radar screen since these frozen savings are held by the world's poor and so they are relegated to the margins of this conversation despite its enormous size.
Nevertheless, this capital is there and eager to enter the global marketplace if only it can be unlocked. So let me propose a "key" for opening the market and then suggest ways for businesses to help facilitate it.
Unlocking Frozen Capital
Several years ago, the World Bank acknowledged that there was a large "informal" (extralegal) business sector in all developing countries. It was not made informal by tax avoidance but by bureaucracy avoidance (see Doing Business 2004). Ongoing research into the structure of these informal economies reveals the legal, regulatory and bureaucratic barriers for small businessmen and homeowners which block their entry into the formal economy. In fact, these barriers impede modernization for the entire society and render futile the various efforts of aid organizations to significantly reduce poverty. This failure compels poor countries to become dependent on outside sources of capital (commercial loans, government debt and foreign aid).
Recently the new US Millennium Challenge Corp. established the criterion for its grant-aid recipients stating that they must remove the barriers to formalization. So far, the MCC's clients have strongly supported this approach, which could signal the start of a quiet revolution. But more needs to be done. If these efforts - and those of many other organizations - are successful, this opening for the poorest people in the world could not only give them a ladder up out of poverty but be "the next big thing" in the global economy benefiting everyone in the equation. But in the end this transformation will be driven by markets and businesses, not changes in public policy which, though necessary, can never be sufficient.
Markets at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Businesses are not philanthropies. So doing business at the so-called "bottom of the pyramid" (BOP) requires new strategies and tactics that are generally not familiar to traditional businessmen. There is a real market at the BOP, and that market could evolve more quickly with the help of the business community. But to capture the interest of multinational corporations, they must see clearly how they can profit from this opportunity.
The first step is being convinced that the market is real, since this capital is essentially invisible. It is the cold, dark matter of global finance. But the informal economies of many countries have been mapped by a number of researchers, and the pattern is consistent throughout all poor countries in every part of the Third World. The force driving the social and economic transformation of these countries in the second half of the 20th Century was urbanization, just as it was in 19th Century in North Atlantic countries. And this trend will continue, even accelerate, for the foreseeable future.
The process is familiar; the rural poor - mainly subsistence farmers or their children - migrate to cities in search of work. But the focus on jobs and employment is misleading. Unlike Mexicans migrating North for jobs, these people, mainly, become entrepreneurs not employees. Some fellow on the sidewalk with his blanket spread out and covered with pieces of fruit is an entrepreneur, not an employee. Even nominal "employees" in informal businesses put their time at risk because they are paid from profits and so are more like partners than employees.
And the system works. There are four to five billion poor, and growing. Look closely. That fruit seller is a successful entrepreneur. He was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow and almost certainly has a house and family.
Another surprise is that these poor entrepreneurs save, although their savings are relatively small and, once made, they become all but illiquid. Moreover, without viable alternatives to savings, this pool of frozen savings is constantly growing, which fuels a process that continuously moves their capital from live to dead, or liquid to illiquid. In so doing it also freezes a large part of national savings.
The economic problem is that frozen savings can't be leveraged or spent without great difficulty and, thus, prohibitive cost. Since any excess earnings must nearly always be invested in shelter, urbanization ends up being a form of forced savings; it's a process of freezing, not a freeing the wealth of the nation. Individually, the size of these invested savings is small, but in aggregate it is huge, correlating with the growth of enormous, third world mega-cities.
The process is almost the same everywhere. It begins when a squatter takes land and starts making a shelter. Any money spent on creating shelter or starting a business becomes frozen in the structure since it is invisible to the law. Every time the squatter expands or improves his home, or invests in his business these illiquid savings continue to grow.
A billion or so poor families and hundreds of millions of informal businesses yield trillions in this "dead capital" (Adam Smith's term). Six years ago, one well-respected researcher published an estimate that this dead capital was worth nearly ten trillion dollars globally. By comparison, the total loss of market capitalization in the 2001 "tech bubble" crash was just over four trillion dollars.
Viable markets in poor countries would provide continuous opportunities for growth and commerce that were not based on speculation but on making and selling real things to buyers with cash. But the cash of these buyers at the BOP is frozen solid so entering this new market is not simply a matter of waiting for the aid agencies to help countries formalize their markets, and then opening up your widget store in the capital city.
The Lost Art of Entering the Formal Market
How can these poor entrepreneurs join the formal market? For years they were carried in official statistics as "unemployed." So how do you even find them? Well, finding them is easy as the poor are living and working everywhere in developing countries just as they were in Scotland when Adam Smith wrote about them 250 years ago. And they live, mostly, in squatter settlements on marginal land and in the fringes of big cities. Their houses are crude by our standards and their businesses are mainly "cottage" industries. But as the numbers of informals grow larger through urbanization, and their settlements become more permanent, so their savings grow.
At the most basic level, their "business" might be to buy a pack of cigarettes in the morning and then sell them one at a time at stoplights for a few pennies profit. But they may also own a small office building, or a truck, or even a fleet of trucks. There is no formula, just the universal condition that they are invisible to the law. They occupy a parallel economic universe, and so are unable to buy products that people with identities, addresses, demonstrable income and credit history take for granted.
The key to unlocking this pool of dead capital begins with legal and regulatory reforms which define and protect private property. This is a political process which America pioneered, intellectually and practically, so we should be experts. But we only did it once and Jefferson is long dead. This means our blueprint is a few centuries old and so now it has become a lost art. Although many developed states run a modern political economy very well, they have forgotten how to build one. The challenge is not to invent a new program. America's Founding Fathers have shown us, and all other developed countries, how to figure out what to do and how to compress this haphazard process of centuries into one of only a few years.
Blueprints, Not Aid; Inputs Not Outcomes
Milton Friedman suggests that what poor countries need today is America's original blueprint. They need those inputs of modernization we established in the 18th Century, not the outcomes we have in the 21st. But it is just these outcomes that we try to export to the developing countries. Western aid agencies and the World Bank work very hard to distribute Western capital to poor countries to little avail. But they have done very little to free up that capital they already have by legalizing these informal homes and businesses. We don't need heavy equipment operators, we need lawyers and political economists who understand the missing pieces.
But there is a moral hazard in expecting the World Bank to do this work because the Bank exists to provide Western capital to poor governments. But the poor countries don't need gifts of outside capital -- they have plenty. They need technical support to create systems that free up the capital already there. Moreover, the World Bank's entire portfolio is around $120 billion and its private sector arm's is around $25 billion. If the existing savings were made liquid, aid funds would be lost with the table scraps.
It is the Western business community, not aid agencies, that needs to become the leaders in fixing this problem. But an effective strategy is much more than a snappy ad campaign. Businesses need to proselytize on behalf of a truly modern economy and then play a part in making it happen. Do well by doing good. They can support the needed reforms in developing countries by a number of means. First, they should have their investment teams quietly suggest to political leaders in poor countries that these reforms are important to their investment decision but will also be useful in encouraging modernity and economic growth for the entire economy, not just the enclave in which these foreign firms operate.
Multinational corporations will benefit in many ways. Most obviously it will expand their markets. If you have a desirable product, there are 4 billion people who might be interested. Also these businesses will gain better property rights for their own investments, products and copyrights. After all, their neighbors, their employees and often their suppliers don't have real property rights themselves so it is somewhat unreasonable to expect them to respect the rights of foreign businesses.
Changing the Climate of Opinion
The business community has a very poor record of supporting free trade think tanks. It is understandable that a company may not wish to fund an NGO advocating significant reforms, no matter how beneficial. They want to sell soap-flakes, not political change. But there is a whole universe of think tanks that very effectively promote a growing global network of free market groups. Organizations such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution and many others have a real impact on the intellectual climate for change. And university think tanks, such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, are becoming more active as advocates not just chroniclers of reform in recent years. These organizations and others like them need significant additional support from the business community.
Here at home, business leaders can support the idea of spreading property rights as a fundamental objective of US foreign policy, something now only a marginal part of foreign aid. Businesses have a vital interest in these reforms and they should press the administration and their Members of Congress to insist on change and also let them know that MCC is on the right track.
And finally, there is considerable profit to be made from engaging in the business of just formalizing the several billion properties and businesses that populate most of the poor countries. Banks, insurance companies, IT firms, law firms, mapping firms and utilities all stand to benefit immediately and directly from the process of formalization. And those businesses already in poor countries will realize immediate opportunities from their newly formal customers.
Changing the Business Model
Because this formalization process is a win-win for everyone - governments, the World Bank/IMF, aid donors, businesses, banks and, most of all, the poor themselves - and because these reforms are enjoying increased visibility (for instance awarding the recent Nobel Peace Prize to a banker to the poor), it is likely that over time these systems will be established in most poor countries just by a slow build-up of momentum. And when this happens these new markets will be opened.
There are two commercial opportunities. The first is to accelerate the process of formalization. Those who will serve this market are the sectors mentioned above. Initially firms that can devise commercial approaches to stimulate and manage these reforms will have the most opportunities. Formalizing a billion properties will require the investment of $300 billion to $500 billion from which businesses will seek to profit.
The second part is selling to the new formals. This is appealing because these billions of poor entrepreneurs have little or no debt secured by their property. And entrepreneurs need capital, so if they were given access to credit secured by their existing property then markets for the entire range of manufactured goods would open up. The challenge here is how do you sell to them, and the answer is right-sizing and credit.
Cemex and Other Examples
Cemex built its early growth largely by serving this mini-market, one which it still serves today. Selling to the market at the BOP cannot follow the Sam's Club bulk model. In fact, in most cases, it can't even follow the Wal-Mart model, though it is intriguing that Wal-Mart is moving into China. Service through training or education, distribution through little neighborhood stores, reformulation and mini-packaging are some of the keys to success at marketing to the BOP.
A new marketing strategy is needed because people who are not exposed to modern manufactured goods may need help in utilizing them effectively. Also, they cannot hop in their car and run over to the store but often have to walk to distribution points. Yes, poor people eking out a living need shampoo, but it need not smell like fresh raspberries. And, finally, they may not be able to buy a pint or a quart at a time. For example, Lever Brothers had considerable success in India by selling single-use packs of shampoo and other products. That's a good model.
But all this only works if the poor can get credit once a house is formalized. This is a significant problem. Banks in poor countries have almost no experience with small loans. They normally make loans to facilitate trade, corporate finance, and to raise sovereign debt. The current Micro-lending model, developed by Nobel laureate Mohammed Younis, is important but mainly to prove poor entrepreneurs are good credit risks, not because it is opening this dead capital. Compared to a securitized loan, social-contract lending is inefficient and relatively costly. Moreover it will never be able to mobilize more than a tiny fraction of the investment needed to fund this transformation. But banks can do it if they employ the power of computers and specialized software programs that allow them to make a profit on a $100 loan. This step is key.
A Rare Win-Win Scenario
Bringing the poor into the modern global economy has benefits across the board, not just for the informals. The governments of poor countries will have a broad tax base so long as the transformation is not used as a pretext for over-taxation or over-regulation, either of which will drive people back into the informal sector and so kill the effort. But there is an enormous incentive to manage such a system sensibly.
If governments can resist using formalization to exploit poor people, they will have security, stability and access to credit. As a result, the overall society will be more stable and so less susceptible to extremism. Foreign aid institutions can stop wasting money on things that don't work. Local businesses will see an increase in their market, so they will buy more from multinational firms thus increasing trade as well as sales. International and domestic banks will acquire a large new pool of secured borrowers. Poor governments can better rationalize their economies and broaden their tax base. And, finally utilities will be able to identify and serve an enormous new customer base.
American firms should go after this business. It's there. Waiting. "
Peter F. Schaefer has worked in the Third World since 1970, in both the public and private sectors. "http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=111606A
Not new .... but lacking a desire to conform to PC ... and in keeping with bad taste just had to post it.
"Study says malaria helps spread HIV
For all who are owned by a dog. Came in email, author unknown.
Excerpt from From Powerlineblog.com......... the rest is suggested reading. Permalink at bottom.
A reader writes that he received the email message below sent by Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University and the Carter Center. Porfessor Stein's expertise lies in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Our reader writes that when he was an undergraduate student at Emory in the mid-1990's, Professor Stein was one of the most revered, respected professors on campus, and that Professor Stein had a long-standing association with the Carter Center in his capacity as an expert in Middle East politics and history.
Professor Stein is apparently terminating that association, solely as a result of Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. The reaction of Professor Stein -- a formerly close associate and collaborator of Carter -- to Carter's new book is, as our reader thought it would be, of great interest to us:
This note is to inform you that yesterday, I sent letters to President Jimmy Carter, Emory University President ...".............."President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."............................
One by one they're being called on lies, bias, misrepresentations and agenda regurgitated as news. All the hidden stuff is bubbling to the surface.
Is there a newspaper columnist who has cast an eye on the AP and the case of Iraqi police captain Jamil Hussein? Today in his Boston Herald column, Jules Crittenden steps forward; "Say no to AP's shoddy work." Jules writes:
The oblivion has reached epidemic proportions. Some kind of congratulations are in order to Crittenden, who in this column plays the role of the little boy in the story of the naked emperor."The AP is making up war crimes. But the resulting stink in the blogosphere has barely wrinkled a nose in the mainstream press. The ethics-obsessed Poynter Institute seems to be oblivious to it.
"Say no to AP's shoddy work
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald City Editor
Sunday, December 3, 2006 - Updated: 02:46 AM EST
When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.
That's when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That's when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.
Curt at Floppingaces, www.floppingaces2.blogspot.com, led the charge. He thought there was something strange about an AP report, and took a second look at it, then a third look. He and others blew the lid off it. The AP is making up war crimes. But the resulting stink in the blogosphere has barely wrinkled a nose in the mainstream press. The ethics-obsessed Poynter Institute seems to be oblivious to it.
It has to do with the AP's Iraqi stringers and an oft-quoted Iraqi police captain named Jamil Hussein. Problem is, the Iraqi police say Capt. Hussein does not exist. The Iraqi police and U.S. military say an incident described in an AP report - Iraqi soldiers standing by as people were burned alive in a mosque - didn't happen. Another AP-reported incident, U.S. soldiers shooting 11 civilians, also never happened, the military says.
When the AP was forced to acknowledge this situation, it did so in a story about a new Interior Ministry policy regarding false reports. The AP buried the fact that its own false report prompted this new policy. "......................
How can they implement all of 9-11 Commission recommendations when Nancy Pelosi doesn't know what it said about al Qaida OR is twisting the truth to suit her AGENDA?????????????????????
Makes her look like she intentionally lied or is dumb, perhaps a bit of both because there has been no explanation issued from her ...... only a CYA from the press which isn't good enough.
From Let Freedom Ring Blog referencing this article " Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion
Let Freedom Ring Blog
"Actually, they’ve broken two campaign promises with one inaction. Democratic candidates promised more vigorous oversight and they promised to implement the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. I’m guessing that the Democrats are only interested in oversight if it’s able to criticize Halliburton or the Patriot Act and the like. It’s obvious that they aren’t the least bit interested in oversight into truly important matters.".....
"Color me shocked and surprised that John Murtha isn’t interested in reform. Color me shocked and surprised that Democrats aren’t interested in reform either. Frankly, I don’t know why the American people believed that Democrats are reform-minded. Nothing in their past suggests that they’re interested in reform."..........
Spy poisoning plot thickens. Understand they've been using polonium-210 for poisoning since the 50's. Wonder if this has anything to do with Russia selling Iran nuclear equipment, and rumors of Russian scientists helping Saddam remove WMD's prior to the US going in to liberate it??????????????????
"Letters 'revealed secret hit squad'
"Detectives are investigating letters smuggled out of Russia purporting to show the existence of a secret squad set up to target poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko and others."........
............"Mr Trepashkin, who worked for the KGB's successor the FSB until 1997, was tried in 2004, accused of being a British spy and passing secret information to Mr Litvinenko and his close friend the tycoon Boris Berezovsky, both exiled in London.".............
......."The letters include one to Mr Litvinenko which he never received, as well as one to his friend Mr Goldfarb. In the message to Mr Litvinenko on November 20, Mr Trepashkin recalls a conversation in August 2002 in which he warned Mr Litvinenko - already living in London - that he and his family were at risk from the FSB.
Mr Trepashkin tells his friend that he had met an FSB contact near a railway station in Russia who told him that a "very serious group" had been set up, which "will knock out all those associated with Berezovsky and Litvinenko". .......
Posted previously about Saudi economic interests expanding in Iraq, perhaps they may provide balance needed in the area without dividing Iraq. Also since wahabbis (al Qaida) originated in Saudi Arabia, then let them deal with the problem they failed to do so before.
"Iran or a mini-bargain with the Saudis?
Even with all of the recent talk about foreign policy "realism," one of the major tenets of leading realists (George F. Kennan and Hans Morgenthau come to mind) has gone largely ignored. Most realists subscribe to the view that any state that seeks to accumulate too much power will almost surely provoke a balancing coalition of other states seeking to check the expansion of its influence.
Many realists would argue that the U.S. has experienced this phenomenon to its detriment in the past few years. Some realists would also maintain that if the U.S. is "checked" in Iraq, the same dynamic will come into play against the emerging power in the region -- Iran. Under this scenario a coalition, led most likely by Saudi Arabia, will seek to balance Iranian power. The religious divide between Sunni and Shia will help propel the coalition building.".............
Then again, what about Mr. Bush? Why hasn't he been able to bring order to Iraq with the United States military? Here's the answer: As a creature of Shi'ite thug-o-crats, Mr. Maliki's hands are tied. As creatures of political correctness, we have tied our own hands. And almost literally. The PC rules of engagement imposed on American soldiers have as much to do with the chaotic limbo our troops find themselves in as failed political policies. Closely held, these rules -- burdensome constraints, really -- have become obvious to everyone, including our foes. News reports tell us potential targets in Iraq must be engaged in hostile acts, or show "clear intent," before our men can take a shot at them. Mosques where insurgents seek shelter and store arms are no-go zones for American soldiers. We don't even shut down mosque loudspeakers that broadcast incitement against our troops. Marine Maj. Jeffrey O'Neill put it this way to the Christian Science Monitor: "Many would ask: What other war would we allow the enemy to broadcast calls for our defeat for the sake of cultural sensitivity?"
The answer is no other war, at least no other war fought to win. But we don't even know what victory looks like -- unless anyone seriously believes victory looks like just another basic death-to-America-and-Israel Shariah state dominated by Shi'ites with ties to jihadist Iran. Next to such a prospect, chaotic limbo doesn't look good, but it does postpone that sure-to-be nasty shock of recognition."........
......."Here's an "or else" scenario from Nawaf Obaid, an adviser to the Saudi government, that actually sounds promising -- not a term that usually springs to my mind to describe Saudi scenarios. Contemplating what he would call an unwelcome American withdrawal from Iraq, Mr. Obaid writes that the Saudi government just might fill the breach out of "religious responsibility" to Iraq's Sunni minority. Saudi Arabia, "the de facto leader of the world's Sunni community," Mr. Obaid writes, just might decide to support Iraq's Sunni fighters, just as Iran has been supporting Iraq's Shi'ite fighters, to avert a possible "full-blown ethnic cleansing."...................
Well she didn't get unindicted co-conspirator Murtha appointed, now she doesn't even know the 9-11 Commission findings on al-Qaida in Iraq.
"The other day, Nancy Pelosi was asked about President Bush's statement that al Qaeda is responsible for the surge of violence in Iraq. Pelosi responded that "the 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the President is resorting to it again." But of course the 9/11 Commission said nothing about al Qaeda's involvement in post-invasion Iraq. Its findings pertained only to the situation under Saddam Hussein.".......
......"There's more to this story than Pelosi's ignorance and Gregory's bias. Whatever was the case in Saddam Hussein's time, no serious and informed person denies that al Qaeda is present in Iraq now, and prominent in certain areas. And the Dems have said repeatedly that a primary task in the war on terror, from which we should not be diverted by "the wrong war," is fighting al Qaeda. Under these circumstances, shouldn't we fight al Qaeda in the portions of Iraq where it is prominent, rather than leaving these areas and handing the terrorists a victory? "....
"NBC Ignores Pelosi Flub, Relays Retort
to Bush on Qaeda in Iraq
Asked by a reporter about how "President Bush today blamed the surge of violence in Iraq on al Qaeda," incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded with a disjointed answer about how "the 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the President is resorting to it again." Though al-Qaeda is clearly in Iraq and responsible for deadly bombings, and the 9/11 Commission conclusion was about links before September 11th, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News reporter David Gregory treated Pelosi's off-base retort as credible and relevant. Without suggesting any miscue by her, Gregory segued to Pelosi's soundbite with a bewildering set up of his own about how "incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed, warning that such rhetoric about al Qaeda will make it harder for Democrats to work with the White House."
On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, after panelist Mara Liasson characterized Pelosi as "confused" and Morton Kondracke suggested she was just "mixed up," Fred Barnes maintained that "she clearly screwed up here. The question was absolutely clear. 'President Bush today blamed the surge in violence in Iraq.'" Barnes argued the media wouldn't let a Republican get away with such a flub, telling Kondracke: "If some Republican had done this, if Bush had done this at a press conference, if Newt Gingrich had said it, if John Boehner had said it, if Roy Blunt had said it, you'd have been all over it. It would be inexcusable."
Neither ABC's World News or the CBS Evening News played the Pelosi soundbite.
[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The relevant portion of the story from David Gregory, who filed from Riga, Latvia, on the November 28 NBC Nightly News:
David Gregory: "Iraq's worsening civil war will dominate the President's meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Concluding his visit to Estonia earlier today, Mr. Bush blamed the violence not on civil war but on Sunni terrorists."
President Bush at a pres conference in Estonia: "There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of these attacks by al Qaeda, causing people to seek reprisal. And we will work with the Maliki government to defeat these elements."
Gregory: "Back in Washington, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed, warning that such rhetoric about al Qaeda will make it harder for Democrats to work with the White House."
Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "The 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the President is resorting to it again."
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, but anchored by Jim Angle, led its panel segment with Pelosi's exchange with the reporter, identified on-screen as Thomas Ferraro: "President Bush today blamed the surge of violence in Iraq on al-Qaeda and denied the country is in the midst of a civil war."
After Kondracke and Liasson tried to explain Pelosi as "confused" and "mixed up," Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard, retorted:
"She clearly screwed up here. The question was absolutely clear. 'President Bush today blamed the surge in violence in Iraq.' This is not -- the question is what about al Qaeda back before 9/11 or before we invaded or was there a link. The question was clear. She gave an answer that was about something else. She doesn't seem to think that al Qaeda is active there in Iraq, which it is. According to her answer. Now, if some Republican had done this, if Bush had done this at a press conference, if Newt Gingrich had said it, if John Boehner had said it, if Roy Blunt had said it, you'd have been all over it. It would be inexcusable."
Morton Kondracke: "Oh, please, oh that's nonsense."
Barnes: "Look, Nancy Pelosi is now going to be the Speaker of the House. Her party won. She did a tough job leading them in the last two years and we shouldn't go around just excusing the things she says, when you don't know what really happened."
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