Thursday, July 31, 2008

Iran Plays for Still More Time

Foreign Confidential....

As predicted by this reporter, Iran will not give a definitive yes-or-no answer to Western demands that it stop enriching uranium.

Instead, Iran will play with words in order to play for still more time to develop nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday evening, just days ahead of a two-week deadline set by the United States, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters: "Iran does not recognize the deadline for the nuclear issue. We answer to the incentives package whenever it fits us."

China Trying to Clear the Air for Olympics

China has unveiled a new set of emergency measures meant to clear the polluted air in the capital, Beijing, before the Olympic Games start on August 8.

State media said Thursday that if air quality is poor, Chinese authorities will bring a halt to all construction projects and close more than 200 more factories in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province.

The Xinhua news agency says the emergency measures would also restrict more vehicles from the roads.

At the beginning of July, Beijing banned 300,000 heavy-polluting trucks from the roads. Last week, China banned more than a million cars from the streets of Beijing.

The International Olympic Committee has said it may postpone long-distance endurance events if air pollution is too severe.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Democrats Rebel Against No-Drill Dummies

Dateline USA....

Good news.

Investor's Business Daily says many Congressional Democrats are rebelling against their leadership and joining with Republicans to push for more domestic oil drilling. IBD:

When the Energy Department on Wednesday reported an unexpected drop in gasoline inventories of more than 3.5 million barrels, the first decline in five weeks, the global price of crude oil proceeded to shoot up more than $4 a barrel, the biggest increase since July 10.

That illustrates what the issue of high gas prices is all about — not fat-cat oil execs gouging at the pump (a smear that has been repeatedly disproved), and not the purported need for uncompetitive substitutes like ethanol that cause global food prices to skyrocket, but rather the simple fact of supply and demand.

The Democratic leadership in Congress has been trying to distract from that truth and use high gas prices to please the green special interests (and, of course, cripple the Bush presidency). When asked last week why she would not allow a House vote on drilling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered: "What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy."
But it's not "what the president would like to do" that's becoming a big problem for Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders. It's what the American people are increasingly demanding be done. And rank-and-file Democratic senators and congressmen are beginning to feel the heat.

Click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama Will Disappoint Latin America

Dateline USA....

Investor's Business Daily reports
that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has big plans for Barack Obama to visit Latin America; but a look at what Obama has in store doesn't give the region much to look forward to. Richardson, according to IBD, says "discussions" for an Obama Latin America trip are being held.

"He wants to emphasize that his administration would not be Europe-centric or only focused on the Middle East," Richardson tells IBD.

What would the presumptive Democratic candidate say if he went to Latin America? IBD lists the following "unattractive" Obama offerings:

• Mexico: Obama declared he would unilaterally scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement that Mexico signed in 1994, not only treating the pact with Mexico like toilet paper, but calling it "a bad trade treaty." He's since backtracked, but still intends to muscle in new labor and environmental provisions. Obama also promises "comprehensive immigration reform," a real thrill to Mexicans who get empty villages and broken up families from that.

• Guatemala: Obama can tell Guatemalans he voted "no" on their free-trade deal, attempting to shut the tiny democracy out of access to the world's biggest market, though it cost American workers nothing. There's more: His endorsers in the AFL-CIO want Guatemala's treaty revoked permanently over a few labor violations instead of working with them to a solution.

• Brazil: Obama's got more walls — ethanol tariffs. As America reels from an energy crisis, Obama vows to keep the 52% tariffs on Brazil's sugar-based ethanol (McCain would scrap them). He said it "does not serve our national and economic security to replace imported oil with Brazilian ethanol." He'd rather buy oil from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez than replace some with Brazilian ethanol. There's also no G-8 seat nor Security Council seat to reflect Brazil's growing achievements and global heft — as McCain vows to give.

• Panama: Another country whose free-trade reforms and years spent in treaty negotiations mean nothing to Obama. His answer to this tiny nation that sits astride the strategically vital Panama Canal is to give U.S. handouts, rather than trade with them freely.

• Peru: Obama says he supported Peru's free-trade pact. Maybe so, but, unlike other Democratic senators who actually OK'd the deal, Obama couldn't be bothered to show up for the vote.

• Colombia: A pact nearly identical to Peru's, with the same labor and environmental provisions that Obama said were lacking in the NAFTA agreement? Nope. Colombia is America's closest ally in the hemisphere, yet Obama shuts them out of free trade as punishment for a handful of violent acts against labor leaders. He even accused President Alvaro Uribe, a national hero who brought peace to his country after 44 years of war, of being involved. "I think until we get that straightened out, it's inappropriate for us to move forward." So the blue-jeans factory workers and flower pickers in Medellin can forget about jobs, despite Colombia's 600-plus extraditions to the U.S. of criminals, or Colombia's putting of its own troops in harm's way to rescue Americans held hostage by vicious FARC terrorists who are on record as seeing Obama's election as a good thing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stop Oil Speculation Now

Dateline USA....

Caught between the interests of environmental extremists and greedy Wall Street speculators, ordinary Americans have no chance. The Washington Post reported Monday:

Big Wall Street firms representing the interests of pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals around the country have grown in just a few years from minor participants in the oil markets to their most dominant force.

The agency that regulates commodity trading has been tracking some of the activities of these investors. But a year and a half ago, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission decided to keep that information secret, rebuffing thousands of requests from industry groups and individuals to make the data public. The CFTC noted in a report that only one group supported this decision: the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, which lobbies on behalf of the Wall Street firms.

The biggest financial speculators, called swap dealers, trade "futures contracts" that allow them to make money by betting on the price commodities will fetch in the future. They rarely take delivery of the goods themselves. In 2000, swap dealers held about 140,000 oil contracts, according to CFTC data obtained by a House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation. That has surged to about 1.8 million today, including a three-fold jump since 2006.

Stop Oil Speculation Now says:

Over the last 20 years, commodities markets have become increasingly less regulated. Today, as many as 90 percent of all commodities trades occur outside of the traditional marketplace exchanges. In these so-called “Swaps trades”, parties secretly buy and sell commodities with absolutely no one watching. This means speculators can manipulate oil prices and corner the market without anyone knowing.

In addition, other loopholes exist allowing increasingly sophisticated speculators to take advantage of consumers. For example, in 2000 Enron lobbied policy makers to permit some U.S. commodities exchanges to operate without normal oversight. This has allowed speculators to dodge public disclosure rules that would normally limit the number of trades an investor can make.

What is the solution? SOS Now:

*lower oil prices for all Americans, we need to increase domestic supply, exploration, alternative energy sources and conservation. We also must protect bona fide speculation and hedging. To address excessive speculation, Congress should promptly:

*Re-establish strict position limits on energy commodities – Position limits have existed since 1936 and work well at curtailing excessive speculation. Any trader not hedging with the intention of taking physical delivery of a related commodity must be subject to strict position limits.

*Close the London Loophole – Foreign Boards of Trade with U.S. Terminals trading futures contracts that cash-settle against U.S. contracts should face the same regulations as U.S. exchanges. It is not fair for U.S. futures exchanges to face more regulation than their foreign counterparts trading in U.S. commodities.

*Regulate “swaps trades” – All trades in the over-the-counter (OTC) swaps market must be subject to strict position limits. It is unfair to exempt swaps dealers from the same regulations that other market participants face. Experts have estimated the size of the OTC markets to be nine or ten times larger than the futures markets.

*Fully close the “Enron loophole” – “Exempt Commercial Markets” that trade U.S. contracts nearly identical to fully regulated contracts should not be exempt from the same regulations that apply to Designated Commercial Markets such as the NYMEX.

*Bring transparency to all energy trading – Positions of traders in all markets should be reported to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and should be categorized based on where the trades occur and who is doing the trading. This will provide vital information to detect and prevent market manipulation.

By adopting these common-sense solutions, Congress can dramatically reduce the price of oil and gas, providing immediate relief for businesses and hard working Americans.

Will McCain Step Aside?

Dateline USA....

Some Republican bigwigs are plotting a coup against their party's presumptive Presidential candidate, John McCain.

The plotters believe the Arizona Senator is hopelessly outmatched by the Democrats' Barack Obama; so they want McCain to step adide for "health reasons"--i.e. the health and safety and very survival of the GOP.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the preferred replacement.

Iran Plays for Time

Foreign Confidential....

Iranian maniac-in-chef Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC TV Monday that if the United States adopted a genuinely new approach to his country Tehran would respond in a positive way.

"Today, we see new behavior shown by the United States and the officials of the United States. My question is, is such behavior rooted in a new approach?" Ahmadinejad said.

His remarks followed an unprecedented meeting between Under Secretary of State William Burns and Iran's chief negotiator at talks in Geneva over Iran's uranium enrichment program, which is clearly aimed at developing atomic arms.

The Iranian Islamists are masters of deceit and deception. Successive US administrations have been tricked and fooled into believing that the monstrous mullahocracy is meaningfully divided between hardliners and moderates. In fact, the regime is an implacable foe bent on destroying Israel and dominating the Middle East; the internal divisions are no more meaningful than the internal differences between factions of Germany's Nazi party during World War II.

Meanwhile, Russia and China are showing signs of distancing themselves from Iran on the nuclear issue. A nuclear-armed Islamist regime in Tehran is neither in Moscow's interest nor China's interest.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Iran's Nuclear, Missile Programs Doomed

Foreign Confidential....

Don't believe the rumors. The United States is not about to appease nuclear-arming, Islamist Iran. It will be bombed if it does not cease its nuclear enrichment program.

Iran's missiles will be the initial targets, followed by the suspect nuclear enrichment sites. The elite Revolutionary Guard will be wiped out in the first 48 hours of conflict.

Islamists Target Olympics

After 9/11, why didn't the United States partner with China and Russia to destroy the common enemy--Islamism?

The Sunday Times reported:

A militant Islamic group has threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics with suicide bombers and biological weapons and hasc claimed responsibility for a string of fatal bombings and explosions in China over recent weeks.

In a video released by IntelCenter, a terrorism monitoring group, a bearded man identified as “Commander Seyfullah” is seen reading a declaration of jihad against the Olympics and warns athletes and spectators, “especially Muslims”, to stay away.

It was issued by a group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic party. The group may be allied with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – designated a terrorist organisation by the US, China and several other countries – which seeks independence for the Muslim Uighur people of China’s far west province of Xinjiang, which Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.

“Commander Seyfullah” said the group was responsible for three bombs last week on buses in the city of Kunming, which killed two people, and for two bus bombings on May 21 in Shanghai, which killed three.

NATO General: Partners Desert Afghanistan

Foreign Confidential....

During an inspection tour last week NATO General John Craddock accused member nations and leaders of broken promises in the ongoing effort to support the Afghan Army.

"As soon as we begin to set up troops we fall on our nose," the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe told Financial Times Germany.

"My deputy writes letters, I call, he calls and I write," Craddock said. "I am frustrated about it."

The four-star US general said his frustration is about the units promised to support the efforts of the Afghan army, in order to fight together against the Taliban and Al Qaida.

Craddock said 19 of 73 promised units of 25 to 30 soldiers strong have yet to arrive. The structure of the army relies on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan to win the war there.

Secret Document

A secret NATO document, which was revealed in Bucharest, establishes a correlation between the number of Afghan soldiers and a departure of NATO.

Craddock said he is frustrated with the NATO members at a time when the situation in Afghanistan is extremely explosive. In June for the first time more foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Of the 45 soldiers killed 27 were US troops and 13 British soldiers.

ISAF commanders have said the Taliban can only be defeated with more NATO troops.

Adding to the challenging task insurgent strategy has shifted away from military goals, to civilian. Roads built by the international community and public buildings are now frequent goals of attacks.

Craddock said he has no money for transportation. A shortage of money also obstructs shipment of supplies.

Helicopters from the Czech Republic, for example, are available for the Afghanistan, but Craddock said he had no money for delivery. He said he needed about 4.5 million Euros to complete transport, roughly the sum required to operate air-conditioning units at the Ministries of Defense for the summer.

-Deutsche Presse

Islamist Bombers Hit Turkey

Foreign Confidential....

Attempts to accommodate--and appease--Turkish Islamists are backfiring big-time.

Turkish authorities say a double bomb attack in Istanbul has killed at least 15 people and wounded 150 others.

The bombs went off several minutes apart Sunday evening on a shopping street in a residential district of Gungoren in western Istanbul.

Officials say the first bomb caused a small blast in a telephone booth, drawing a crowd to the site before the second and more powerful device exploded. Both bombs were placed in trash cans.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul condemned the attack and described its perpetrators as ruthless and savage terrorists. Authorities are investigating who was behind the bombings.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rice Lectures China

As if the United States doesn't have enough problems, the country's worst-ever Secretary of State took time out today to lecture China about human rights.

China must deal with security threats in the runup to the Beijing Olympic Games but avoid using them as "a cover" to muzzle political dissent, Condoleezza Rice said in New Zeland Saturday.

Rice is due to lead the US delegation to the Games' August 24 closing ceremony in Beijing. She said China "should showcase not just the Olympics but an attitude of openness and tolerance."

Rice is an utter failure. Her so-called transformational diplomacy helped Hamas come to power in Gaza. Her crackpot theories about democracy promotion helped lead the US into an unnecessary, horribly costly war in Iraq. Her counsel on Afghanistan was all wrong. Her antagonism of Russia has worsened relations with Moscow for no good reason. Her policy of appeasement toward Islamist Iran (and Islamism in general if truth be told) has made war in the Middle East--maybe even nuclear war--inevitable.

Failure is too diplomatic. Rice is a disaster. She isn't fit to teach political science at a third-rate community college. The sooner she leaves office and goes shopping (her favorite activity), the better off the US and the world will be.

A Grizzly Reminder of Alaska's Real Value to Humans

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

A grizzly bear attacked a 21-year-old Utah woman Wednesday in Alaska, sending her to the hospital with severe wounds on her face, head and body.

The nearly 8-foot-tall bear grabbed Abby Sisk's head in its jaws about 11 p.m. Wednesday and dragged her several feet from a dirt road near the lodge where she works, said Beth Ipsen, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman.

"This is a very vicious attack," she said Thursday.

Sisk's mother said Thursday night from Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage that her daughter is recovering.

"She's doing really, really good," Tammy Sisk said.

A guest checking into the Kenai Princess Lodge in Cooper Landing witnessed the attack and chased the bear away.

Sisk was listed in critical condition at Providence Alaska Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The above article reminds this reporter of Alaska's real value to the United States and the reason for its purchase from the Russian Empire: as a source of natural resources. Alaska is an amazingly resource-rich enclave covering more than 656,000 square miles with only 600,000 or so permanent residents, many of whom leave during the impossibly long, dark, and brutal winters.

Incredibly, Alaska is being locked up by urban and suburban US liberals with zero-to-little understanding of the state. Most of them will never visit it. (Many who have return disappointed.)

Much of the state consists of beautiful wilderness. But the wilderness can also be a hellish place for human beings, where private gold miners will not go outdoors unless they are armed to the teeth--say, with 50-caliber, canon-like handguns or 10-gauge shotguns--to defend themselves against predators, including grizzly and black bears. This reporter knows one such individual.

"Humans are about five down on the food chain up here," he says. "One thing to remember is to always go out with someone slower and fatter than you. That way, he'll get eaten first."

Only 2,000 acres in the disputed ANWR area would actually be affected by oil drilling. Not to allow this is ... insane. But anti-oil, anti-coal, anti-shale, anti-nuclear, anti-industry, anti-growth, anti-everything Democrats are insane when it comes to energy. The environmental extremists have crippled the country. They must be stopped.

Drill here, there, and everywhere it makes sense to drill--now.

Bomb Iran Now!

AFP reports:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that Iran has boosted the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges to up to 6,000, in an expansion of its nuclear drive that defies international calls for a freeze.

"Today they (the West) have agreed that the existing 5,000 to 6,000 centrifuges do not increase and that there is no problem if this number of centrifuges work," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state radio.

Ahmadinejad said in April that Iran was working to install 6,000 more centrifuges at an underground hall in a plant at its nuclear facility in Natanz, where it already had 3,000 running.

It is a major expansion of Iran's nuclear programme, which the West fears could be aimed at making atomic weapons.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Astronaut Stuns the World with UFO Claims

Space Confidential....

Add a NASA astronaut who has walked on the moon to the list of those who subscribe to the theory that alien life forms and UFOs have visited Earth amid a massive government cover-up.

His name is Edgar Mitchell. He holds two Bachelor of Science degrees and a doctorate in aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Along with Alan Shepard, he holds the record for the longest moon walk--for nine hours on February 9 1971 as part of the Apollo 14 mission, making him the sixth man to walk on the moon.

No wonder that a UK radio station interviewer was stunned by Mitchell's reply to the question: Do you believe in life on other planets?

"Oh yes," Mitchell said. "There's not much question at all that there is life throughout the universe. I'm totally sure we are not alone."

China Says it Foiled Olympic Terror Plot

Police in Shanghai say they have foiled a terrorist plot targeting Olympic events in the Chinese financial hub.

Chinese state media reported Thursday that police in Shanghai have carried out raids and broken up a terrorist group.

The Shanghai police official charged with security for Olympic events in the city, Public Security Bureau Deputy Director Cheng Jiulong, did not provide further details on the plot.

The official, Cheng Jiulong, told the Xinhua news agency that international terrorists want to attack Olympic events to be held in Shanghai.

But Cheng said he is confident of the safety of the Olympic events in the city, where 12 football matches will be held.

Another police official told state media that 1,500 security cameras have been installed on public buses that pass the football stadium.

In a separate development, Shanghai authorities confirmed today they are restricting the issue of business visas ahead of the Games.

Authorities have said the stricter visa regime is aimed at keeping out all but essential visitors in order to ensure that the Olympic games run smoothly.

Chinese authorities have reported disrupting or dismantling several terrorist groups that allegedly posed a threat to August's Olympic Games.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Former State Department Official Accuses Afghan President of Protecting Country's Drug Trade

A former US State Department official says Afghanistan's drug trade is being protected by the country's top officials.

Thomas Schweich wrote in an article posted on The New York Times website Thursday, that US efforts to eliminate Afghanistan's poppy crops have been repeatedly thwarted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Schweich left his post as coordinator for Counter Narcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan last month.

He alleges that while Taliban militants use the opium trade to finance their insurgency, Karzai and his supporters have also used the drug trade to get rich.

He writes that the Afghan president is using the drug trade to secure his political standing in order to win reelection in 2009.

No US or Afghan officials were immediately available for comment.

According to the United Nations and the US, Afghan farmers produce 93 percent of the world's opium poppies.

A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime earlier this year predicted the 2008 Afghan poppy crop would be large, but smaller than it was in 2007.

Schweich also claims Karzai was able to undermine US attempts to destroy poppy crops by citing divisions among US officials.

He writes that some US military commanders obstructed counter-narcotic efforts, arguing that fighting the drug trade should not be part of the military's mission.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Karzai is history. An utter failure (apart from his attention-getting fashion statements), he is in the way of more effective Afghan leaders who have resisted the temptations of drug trafficking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Democrats Oppose Oil Drilling While Millions of Ordinary Americans Suffer and Disaster Looms

Dateline USA....

When Vice President Dick Cheney announced that China was drilling for oil off the coast of Florida in cooperation with the Cuban government early this July, there was an uproar. Gas prices are soaring and no one is happy with the thought of China conducting oil explorations right in America's backyard, especially when the United States isn't conducting offshore drilling of its own.

It turns out that Cheney was mistaken, but the underlying issue still lingers. Because of a lease with Cuba, China can drill off American shores, but because of our own bureaucracy, the United States is tying its own hands. It's completely ridiculous that we are forgoing any sources of oil with gas prices as high as they are, especially when these sources would simultaneously decrease our own dependence on foreign oil.

As the price of oil continues to climb, other countries are increasing their off shore oil explorations. Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Australia and Russia have all jumped on the offshore exploration bandwagon, but the United States has not followed suit.

The United Statesis suffering a major energy crisis right now, and we should be drilling in as many places as we can manage. Offshore drilling may be a short-term solution to a long-term energy problem, but if countries like China can already drill and drain our nearby coastal regions of oil and gas deposits, there's no reason why we shouldn't save ourselves a few bucks at the gas pump until alternative energy sources are further developed.

Which leads to the following question: Why aren't we taking advantage of this abundant oil supply?

The answer is painfully simple: politics.

Two federal bans stand in the way of offshore energy exploration for the United States.The Executive Moratorium, which was instituted in 1990 and is set to expire in 2012, can be eliminated by the president at any time. The Congressional Moratorium comes in the form of a budget rider in Congress, which would expire if not annually renewed. Democrats continually renew the bill while Republican's efforts to kill it continually fail. Two weeks ago on Capitol Hill, Republican-led efforts to rescind the offshore drilling ban were rejected yet again by a House Subcommittee.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who chairs the non-partisan group American Solutions for Winning the Future, wants action. He recently gathered more than 1 million signatures for a petition called "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." The petition is pleading with the US Congress to "act immediately to lower gasoline prices (and diesel and other fuel prices) by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries."

Gingrich is not alone in his grassroots efforts. Republicans have long been pushing for an energy plan that encourages domestic oil exploration and production. Such plans also focus on alternative energy sources such as wind, nuclear and captured carbon dioxide, which could ultimately yield long-term solutions to the current energy crisis. If passed into law, the "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." plan could help America wean itself off its foreign oil dependence and strengthen our energy security.

Sadly, the energy plan is having a hard time taking flight. In addition to the moratoriums, Democrats in Washington are blocking the US from pursuing any type of domestic oil and gas exploration, citing that such drilling would be "environmentally hostile."

This excuse is just plain ridiculous.

Technology has made off shore drilling environmentally safe and unobtrusive. Oil spills are virtually unheard of. In fact, it's very possible that the offshore drillingban increases the environmental threat, because less local drilling means more incoming oil tankers, which pose a greater risk of spillage than if we were to drill here.Far more importantly, Democrats are not representative of the voice of the American people on this topic. According to Gingrich and a number of other sources, the majority of Americans support drilling in presently restricted areas if it is done in an environmentally friendly way.

Congress' annual budget rider is an outdated ban on domestic energy production.

Because of such bans, our nation's vast outer continental shelf remains untapped by drilling. According to the US Mineral Management Service of the Department of the Interior, this shelf contains "at least 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas."

That equates to 10 times the oil and 20 times the natural gas Americans use in a typical year.

This potential abundance of oil could lessen our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and initiate new investments in our economy.

We can't "drill our way out" of our reliance on oil, but we can make the transition to alternative energy sources much easier while lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

There is no reason to keep the US from drilling off its own coast, especially when other countries can drill right under our noses. It is not the long-term solution, but it will give some much-needed relief to Americans at the gas pump.

Copyright © 2008 The Daily Aztec via UWire

Venezuela Drawing Closer to Russia

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in Moscow on a two-day trip pursuing arms and energy deals with his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev. Peter Fedynsky reports that US interests may be affected by closer ties between Moscow and Caracas.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev welcomed his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez with warm words about trade and cultural ties, saying bilateral cooperation between their two countries helps Caracas maintain regional stability.

Medvedev says in recent times contacts between Russian and Venezuela have become very stable and dynamic. The Kremlin leader says expanded trade, as well as improved humanitarian and cultural relations are among the signs of improved ties between the two countries.

Chavez said upon arrival in the Russian capital that a strategic energy and arms alliance between Moscow and Caracas will guarantee the sovereignty of Venezuela, which he claims is threatened by the United States.

The Venezuelan leader is expected to sign a number of arms contracts for the purchase of weapons that include Russian tanks and submarines.

Destabilizing Arms Deals

Independent Russian political observer Alexander Konovalov said the quantities and types of arms that Chavez is seeking could help destabilize parts of Latin America.

Konovalov notes that leaders of Colombia, for example, who are not favorably inclined toward the Chavez regime and vice versa, are likely to wonder why Venezuela is buying 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. The analyst also questions why Caracas is acquiring three diesel submarines and who Mr. Chavez would want to sink, adding that continued enthusiasm for submarine purchases will quickly waste Venezuela's oil profits and economic potential.

Venezuela and Russia are both oil exporters. Konovalov says an agreement to help Caracas develop its oil fields will help Russia.

Breaking into US Backyard

The analyst says there is no doubt a deal with Chavez will bring economic and political benefits, because Russians will break into a new market and assume an important position right under the nose of the United States. Konovalov says any serious businessperson dreams of capturing a market that was long considered the US backyard. Now, he adds, they can not only dream, but can actually enter that market.

Hugo Chavez also passed along greetings to Medvedev from former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

On Monday, the Izvestia newspaper reported that Russia may resume flights of long-distance air force bombers to Cuba in response to US plans to build a missile defense system in Central Europe.

But Alexander Konovalov dismisses the report as unrealistic, noting that Cuba does not have facilities to fuel Russian bombers, the planes themselves are old, and the fleet is small. He notes that the civilian version of one of the bombers mentioned, the propeller driven TU-95, was used to by former Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev to fly to Cuba in the early 1960s.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Anniversary of an Assassination

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the assassination of Ali Tabatabai, a former Iranian diplomat who was gunned down in the doorway of his Bethesda, Md. home by David Belfield, an American convert to islam working for Iran's Islamist regime. The craven Carter administration, which helped the Islamists come to power in Iran, allowed the assassin to escape to Iran, where he has lived comfortably ever since.

Incredibly comfortably. Belfield has admitted killing Tabatabai--who founded and led the Iran Freedom Foundation to fight for democracy in Iran and focus attention on Islamist atrocities--in an interview with an American television network, and has also appeared in an acclaimed feature film.

McCain Can't Win on Foreign Policy

Dateline USA....

Reality check: Presumptive Republican candidate John McCain can't win the general election on foreign policy grounds. In fact, his aura of expertise in foreign policy is vanishing by the day, thanks, in part, to the tacit endorsement of Barack Obama's plan for getting out of Iraq by the Bush administration and the explicit endorsement of Obama's pull-out plan by the Iraqi government.

There is no mistaking the message from Baghdad: US troops out by 2010.

McCain's embarrassing gaffes--e.g. referring to the non-existent "Iraq-Afghanistan border" on national television--are making a bad situation worse.

Ironically, McCain was right about the surge; and it is the surge's success that emboldens the US-installed Iraqi government to call for a US withdrawal. But, as the old Yiddish saying goes, gurnisht helfin--nothing will help.

At this point in time (or the Bush "time horizon"), even a spectacularly successful US attack on Iran--and the toppling of the Iranian Islamist regime--will not be enough to elect McCain.

Americans see the Iraq war as a mistake; nothing will change that fundamental view. More than foreign policy--much more--Americans are concerned about a worsening economy and the terrifying possibility of a full-fledged depression as a result of soaring energy and food prices and deepening housing and financial crises.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The newfound independence of Iraqi leaders can also be attributed to Iran, the nation that has so far benefitted most from the invasion and conquest of Iraq. A formerly contained secular enemy has effectively been replaced by an Iranian Shiite satellite. Just as Communists and other secular opponents of Iran's pro-US Shah allowed themselves to be tricked into supporting the Ayatollah Khomeini, who immediately turned against them after coming to power, the Iraqi leadership is digging its own grave.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Syria Preparing Phony Anti-Nuke Campaign

Foreign Confidential....

Islamist Iran's secular anti-American ally, Syria, will soon begin a phony campaign to ban weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East. The campaign is purely propagandistic: Syria, which is bristling with ballistic missiles and chemical warheads, and allowed North Korea to establish a nuclear site for Iran on Syrian territory that was recently obliterated by the Israeli air force, is going to try to drum up international sympathy for Iran on the grounds that Israel (which Iran has repeatedly vowed to destroy) is widely assumed to be a major nuclear power.

As previously reported here, the idea comes from one of Israel's arch political enemies in the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor during the catastrophic Carter Presidency. The former President is believed to have discussed Israel's nuclear arsenal with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad when the two met in Damascus in late April. Carter also met exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal despite strong opposition from Israel and the US government, which formally regards the Palestinian Islamist group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

A 10-Point Program to Save America

1. Crush Islamist Iran. Annihilate the Revolutionary Guard and its arsenal of ballistic missiles and all known and suspected nuclear sites.

2. Kill Osama Binladen. Use any and all necessary weapons and means to wipe out Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

3. Force Saudi Arabia to produce more oil in order to lower oil prices.

4. Outlaw commodity speculation to further lower fuel prices and curb food inflation. End the mandated madness--corn-based ethanol--which has contributed to food inflation while ironically making our air dirtier and hurting our car engines.

5. Unlock America's awesome, untapped energy resources; drill, drill, drill for onshore and offshore conventional crude and heavy crude and tar sands. Drill for natural gas. Build gas pipelines and oil refineries. Develop our coal and shale resources.

6. Invest wisely in sustainable alternative energy and energy efficiency. But avoid boondoggles and frauds.

7. Take radical action to solve the intertwined housing, financial, and credit crises. There is no time for dumbbell dithering and pointless ideology. For once, bail out ordinary Americans; find a way.

8. Designate economically depressed urban and rural areas industrial/economic development zones. Provide major incentives for manufacturing and production in the US. Put people to work; the worst pollution is poverty and joblessness.

9. Extend broadband Internet access across rural America.

10. Think big. Make bold moves. Revive railroads, build fast trains and monorails. Connect communities, cities, towns, open things up in a big way.

Case Closed: Obama Birth Certificate is a Fake

Atlas Shrugs has the story. It is a solid exclusive.

Spewing Hot Air, Al Gore Adds to Global Warming

Dateline USA....

Former Vice President Al Gore, who parlayed a slide show into a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award, appeared on NBC TV's Meet the Press program today and made clear that he cares more about promoting the manmade global warming hoax than helping the United States to attain energy independence and revitalize the US economy.

Gore had a few interesting things to say about advances in solar, wind and geothermal energy. But he offered no solution for liquid transportation fuel apart from electric cars.

Gore is fanatically anti-oil and gas and anti-coal. (He is also anti-shale and anti-nuclear power.) He wants his fellow Americans to get used to $4 or higher gasoline prices in order to shift to renewable energy.

Going on and on about the climate crisis, he conveniently confused the issue. While many serious scientists believe the earth has stopped warming and has actually started cooling, others say warming is occurring but that it is a natural process and not caused by human activity.

Asked about his new, electricity-hogging, 10,000-square-foot house, Gore replied that carbon was the problem and that he and his wife reduced their carbon footprint by "buying green energy."

Click here to read an oil man's plan. Click below to watch his explanation.

Ahmadinejad: Nuclear Talks 'Step Forward'

Foreign Confidential....

Faced with a two-week deadline (see story below), Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today described yesterday's unproductive nuclear talks in Geneva as "a step forward," adding that all talks are steps forward.

For once, the Holocaust-denying, Hitlerian monster is being truthful. The protracted negotiations on suspending nuclear enrichment are a step forward--for Iran. Like its Communist, nuclear-armed, North Korean ally, the clerical fascist regime in Tehran is a master of stalling and deception; it will try to use every diplomatic trick and tactic in its playbook to buy time for acquiring atomic weapons and preparing massive missile strikes against Israel and US bases in the Middle East.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Net Closes on Last Big Nazi War Criminal

Foreign Confidential....

Neil Chandler reports in the Daily Star that the net is closing on the last major fugitive still on the run from the Nazi hunters.

Dr. Aribert Heim could be arrested within weeks thanks to hot leads thrown up by a new inquiry.

Heim’s crimes were sickening even by the standards of the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews.

While slaughtering hundreds of inmates at Austria’s Mauthausen concentration camp, he conducted sick experiments including removing major organs without anaesthetic and injecting petrol into people’s hearts.

He cut off one victim’s head and boiled off the flesh so he could use the skull as a paperweight.

He would time death with a stopwatch and decorated his office with body parts.

Now the greatest Nazi hunter of them all believes he has Heim, now 94, in his sights.

Efraim Zuroff has just finished a trip to Argentina and Chile on the trail of Heim and says he has promising new leads. He told the Daily Star Sunday:

“We have just got back from Patagonia – we spent a week there in Puerto Montt where his daughter lives.

“It’s a well-known haven for Nazis. We have new information which we will be investigating. We are closer than ever.”

Click here to continue reading.

Israel: Palestinians Plotted Attack on Bush

Foreign Confidential....

Diplomacy Fails to Stop Iran as Conflict Looms

Foreign Confidential....

Following several hours of unproductive talks, the United States has given Islamist Iran two weeks to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

The US will not have to wait long for Iran's response. The oil-rich, monstrous mullahocracy, which intends to destroy Israel, and dominate and drive the US from the Middle East, will flatly refuse to abandon the enrichment it needs to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard is readying its formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles for an assault on Israel and US bases in the region. Iran's Lebanese Shiite Islamist proxy, Hezbollah, which is also bristling with missiles, is also stepping up its preparations for an all-out assault against Israel and US targets.

Once the shooting war starts, US and Israeli war planners must first annihilate the Revolutionary Guard and its missiles--and Hezbollah and its missiles--before eradicating known and suspected Iranian nuclear installations.

Iran Could Attack First

Given Tehran's suicidal fanaticism and extreme self-confidence, a surprise attack--by Iran against Israel and the US--cannot be ruled out, although attacks on Tel Aviv (which Iran has vowed to "burn") and other Israeli population centers are almost certain to lead to the end of Iran. The Jewish state will not hesitate to use any and all weapons--including nuclear-tipped missiles and nuclear bombs delivered by Israeli aircraft--against its Holocaust-denying, Hitlerian foe.

Three decades of bipartisan appeasement of Islamist Iran--and Islamism in general--are basically blowing back in Washington's face, as a regime that should never have been allowed to exist in the first place (and would not have come to power without the craven complicity of the Carter administration) approaches the nuclear threshold.

Once the shooting starts, the US should also make it clear to Iran that an attack on the US homeland will trigger a US nuclear response--against Tehran--regardless of proof of Iranian sponsorship or involvement. Intelligence experts are concerned that Iranian-controlled, seemingly civilian, foreign-flagged cargo ships may already be at sea, carrying concealed, containerized ballistic missiles and launch systems. Iran may not yet possess an atomic bomb; but the regime may have acquired a radiological dirty bomb and/or chemical or biological warheads from Syria or North Korea--which has helped Iran to develop sea-launched missile capabilities.

Diplomacy has failed miserably. Instead of preventing war, diplomacy in this case has tragically made war inevitable--on Iran's terms. This is not the time for dialogue (unless the jaw-jaw can buy time for war-war). Nor is it the time for the proverbial cooler heads to prevail. On the contrary, the US and its ally, Israel, would be well advised to play by World War II rules in every respect....

Adoring World Awaits Obama as US Republicans Ponder a Possible Landslide Loss and Party's End

As Barack Obama begins his world tour and an adoring European public prepares to greet the man they see as a "John Kennedy for our time," many Republican strategists and insiders are quietly preparing for a stunning defeat in November. Barring a major political blunder by Obama, these Republicans--including some veteran movement conservatives--believe the Democrat is heading for a landslide victory of historic proportions that could actually lead to the crackup of the Republican Party.

The pessimistic view is that the Republican brand has been permanently damaged and that a reconstituted, renamed party may be needed to challenge the possibility of decades of Democratic political dominance.

Back to Europe and Obama-mania, or Obamania. AFP reports from Berlin:

Obamania is all the rage ahead of next week's visit to Berlin, Paris and London by a man described in newspapers as a "John Kennedy of our time" and Europe's champion in the race for the White House.

If western Europeans could vote in November's presidential election, Barack Obama, the 46-year-old Democratic senator, would be a shoo-in, according to a recent opinion poll conducted on behalf of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Seventy percent of Italians, 67 percent of Germans, 65 percent of the French and 49 percent of Britons would vote Obama.

This compared to just 15 percent in Italy, 6 percent in Germany, 8 percent in France, and 14 percent in Britain for Obama's Republican rival, John McCain, whose support for the war in Iraq is seen as a continuation of the policy of the current White House tenant, George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, in France, books about Obama sell like hot cakes.

In Britain and Germany, flattering newspaper profiles compare him to former US president John F. Kennedy.

And both Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a social-democrat, and Italy's left-wing opposition leader Walter Veltroni have adopted Obama's "Yes we can" slogan for their political speeches.

In Spain, the new prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has gone one further by publicly endorsing the Democratic senator.

"Yes, I like him," he told a Financial Times journalist who asked him if he wanted to see Obama in the White House.

In Germany, where leaders usually tread with caution on international issues, Obama's upcoming visit triggered an unseemly row within the coalition government.

Conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized him for wanting to use Berlin's Brandenburg Gate -- a symbol of the country's reunification after 40 years of Cold War -- as a backdrop for a campaign speech, while Steinmeier openly welcomed such a move.

Click here to continue.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports on Obama's fund raising advantage:

Barack Obama is on track to raise about $100 million more than Republican rival John McCain, allowing him to outspend his opponent while investing in states traditionally inhospitable to Democratic candidates.

Obama's $52 million haul last month may put him in reach of what several fundraisers said was his goal of $300 million in donations for the final months of his campaign and another $150 million for the Democratic National Committee. The combined total of $450 million is about $100 million more than McCain's campaign has estimated it can expect through his own fundraising and that of the Republican National Committee.

Since Obama isn't taking federal funds for the general election, he is allowed to take donations into September and October, long after McCain, restricted by his acceptance of government money, must shut down most of his fundraising efforts.

Maybe the pessimists are right, and it's time to start thinking of a new name for the Grand Old Party.


Obama has already broken fundraising records en route to the Democratic presidential nomination, including a one-month mark of $55 million in February. That allows him to bring 200 full-time volunteers in the swing state of Ohio to Chicago for training, or open 20 offices in Virginia, a state that hasn't backed a Democratic presidential candidate in 44 years.

Former Democratic National Committee National Chairman Steve Grossman said Obama may win some states that eluded the grasp of previous Democratic presidential nominees such as Al Gore and John Kerry.

"The strategy is we're looking to win not just a squeaker of a victory but a significant victory, what some might call a mandate for change,'' said Grossman, who raised money for New York Senator Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful presidential campaign and now is bringing in campaign cash for Obama.

Japanese Cancer Therapy Uses Chicken Eggs

China Confidential exclusive....

Japanese scientists have developed a promising new cancer therapy that uses a patient's own cancerous cells to combat the disease. The cells are injected into a hen, and the egg that she lays becomes the source of a kind of vaccine that is administered to the patient.

Results from animal studies (laboratory mice) and human trials with late-stage cancer patients support continued research.

Friday, July 18, 2008

World's Greatest Blog Gets Better and Better

It's called Atlas Shrugs. Its editor and publisher is brave and brilliant. (She's also a Nat King Cole fan, which is amazing).

Must reading for anyone who truly cares about the national security and well being of the United States (humanity's last best hope) and the survival and security of Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East).

Click here to read Atlas Shrugs. Bookmark it. Support it. You won't be sorry.

Israeli Historian's Op-Ed Echoes China Confidential Warning to Iran that it is Playing with Nuclear Fire

Israeli historian Benny Morris has written an op-ed essay for The New York Times that essentially echoes what this reporter has been saying for some time: the Middle East is heading toward nuclear war.

Morris' piece should be read as an 11th-hour warning to Iran to abandon acquisition of atomic arms. Click here to read the article.

The situation can be summarized as follows: Israel will attack Iran if it remains on the nuclear path. But Israel alone does not have the conventional capabilities to knock out Iran's retaliatory capacity--its formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles. So an Israeli attack could trigger a devastating Iranian counterattack unless Tehran turns the other cheek, which is not likely. And an Iranian aerial assault on Israeli cities--the mullahocracy has vowed to "burn Tel Aviv"--would certainly trigger an Israeli nuclear response.

So much for a conventional preemptive strike against Iran. The case for a nuclear attack--to annihilate the Revolutionary Guard and the missiles under its control--is compelling.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On 9/12, had the United States formally declared war on Afghanistan and hit back at the Taliban and Al Qaeda with tactical nuclear warheads, the war against Islamism would most likely have long been over by this time.

Shifting Sands: Obama on Iraq

And, as if to support Barack Obama and undercut John McCain--and Israel, which daily faces the Iranian threat--US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today confirmed that Washington had shifted its position on diplomacy with Iran, with the decision to send a senior envoy to Geneva to participate in nuclear talks with Iran's top negotiator.

AFP reports:

"The United States doesn't have any permanent enemies," Rice said in response to a reporter's question on the unexpected move to send a diplomat to meet directly with Iran's negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva on Saturday.

"And we hope this signal we're sending, that we fully support the track that Iran could take for a better relationship with the international community, is one the United States stands fully behind."

"We have been very clear that any country can change course," Rice added.

"This decision to send Undersecretary (William) Burns is an affirmation of the policy that we have been pursuing with our European allies ... for some time now."

"It is, in fact, a strong signal to the entire world that we have been very serious about this diplomacy and we will remain very serious about this diplomacy."

IDB Exposes Democrats' Sabotage of Oil Industry

Investor's Business Daily:

Energy Policy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing the "Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands Act" to block offshore drilling. The fact is, these offshore rigs may be the ticket to saving both our coasts and our economy.

The act would deny oil companies any new leases unless they can show that they're diligently exploring and drilling in existing holdings. It's designed to con the public into thinking the Democrats actually support drilling and the oil companies are restricting supply to drive up prices and profits.

Democrats keep talking about "use it or lose it," referring to 68 million acres of existing leases. But these leases are being used and are already of limited duration. A lease is merely a permission slip to look for oil, not a guarantee of finding any.
Between 2000 and 2007, drilling of exploratory wells increased 138% while domestic crude oil production fell 12.4% to its lowest level since 1947.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, 5,219 oil wells were completed in the second quarter, up 17% from a year ago and the highest second-quarter oil activity since 1986. So oil companies are spending their profits looking for increased supply.

The idea that oil companies are sitting on oil at $145 a barrel is laughable. Democrats simply oppose more fossil fuel use. Their environmentalist patrons worry more about global warming and polar bears than American energy security and family breadwinners driving to work.

If 68 million federal acres are already leased, what are 2,000 additional acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge going to hurt? We know oil is there, lots of it. The old estimate of 10 billion barrels in ANWR is based on old technology and old drilling techniques and therefore may be way too low.

In effect, Democrats want oil companies to find a needle in the haystack, but the haystack is off-limits. The 68 million acres they chatter about pales in comparison to the 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. The OCS is estimated to contain some 86 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion feet of natural gas.

Yet 85% of the acreage is off-limits.

Click here to continue reading this important editorial.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Menace Urges Fossil Fuel Ban

Dateline USA....

The Goring of America continues as soaring energy and food prices threaten an ironically resource-rich country with catastrophic collapse.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who parlayed a slide show into an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize, wants Americans to abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power.

“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Gore said in a speech to an energy conference in Washington, DC on Thursday. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”

Gore is one of the world's greatest charlatans and one of America's most destructive personalities. Having helped to cripple the country by promoting manmade global warming hysteria, he is bent on taking his twisted crusade to the next level--an all-out ban on real energy development (e.g. oil and gas and coal) in favor of pie-in-the-sky alternatives, such as uneconomical, unethical, environmentally unfriendly ethanol (which is bad for the air, bad for your car, and bad for your pocket book as it boosts food prices).

In short, Gore is a big, fat, fire-breathing, green menace. But the environmental extremists and eco-fascists running the Democratic Party love him, can't get enough of his lunacy.

The Next Surge: Afghanistan

Foreign Confidential....

The next US military surge will be in Afghanistan now that Iraq is stabilizing. As many as 30,000 troops may be needed to counter the threat posed by resurgent Taliban fighters based in neighboring Pakistan.

The latter country is in a state of political chaos. Islamist sympathizers in the intelligence services are working closely with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The ultimate nightmare--Islamists getting their hands on Pakistan's nuclear arms--is keeping Pentagon planners up at night.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How US Democrats Sabotaged US Energy Policy

Investor's Business Daily has the story.

Energy has enormous implications for our economy, our environment and our national security," President Bush said in proposing the plan. "We cannot let another year go by without addressing these issues together in a comprehensive and balanced package."

That was in June 2001 — more than seven years ago.

His words came just after he first proposed a comprehensive energy bill that included 105 separate steps the U.S. could take to boost its energy supplies. It was something he promised repeatedly while campaigning for the presidency in 2000. He kept his promise. His first plan included, among many other things:

• New drilling for more oil and gas and new refineries.
• Building of nuclear power plants.
• Revamping the U.S. electricity grid.
• $10 billion in tax breaks to help push energy efficiency and alternative energy.

The fact is, these are remarkably similar to the plans that economists, oil experts and energy wonks say need to be put in place today in order to end our oil crisis.

Yet, those proposals went nowhere — not approved in 2001, not in 2002, not in 2003, not ever. Bush tried repeatedly to get something through Congress. He pleaded. He tried to cut deals with Democrats. It didn't work.

A New York Times headline from August 20, 2003, sums it up: "Ambitious Bush Plan Is Undone by Energy Politics."

That's an understatement. Instead, Democrats ridiculed Vice President Cheney for meeting with oil industry representatives to craft U.S. energy policy — and for insisting on finding more oil.

They had no plan themselves, mind you — apart from massively expensive global warming initiatives that would force Americans to lower their standard of living to Third World levels by spending as much as $800 billion a year to cool Earth.

Yet, if Bush's plan had been put in place in 2001, we'd have replaced millions of barrels of oil, billions of tons of coal and untold trillions of acre feet of natural gas with clean, safe nuclear power.

We'd be pumping millions of barrels more of oil, creating thousands of American jobs, cutting prices and saving literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year —money that today goes to line the pockets of the Saudi royal family, Venezuelan petrotyrant Hugo Chavez, Libyan leader-for-life Muammar Qadhafi and Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No Time for Ideology: Worsening US Financial Crisis Calls for Radical Action Now, Not Dumbbell Dithering

The Telegraph:

Merrill Lynch has warned that the United States could face a foreign "financing crisis" within months as the full consequences of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage debacle spread through the world.

The country depends on Asian, Russian and Middle Eastern investors to fund much of its $700bn (£350bn) current account deficit, leaving it far more vulnerable to a collapse of confidence than Japan in the early 1990s after the Nikkei bubble burst. Britain and other Anglo-Saxon deficit states could face a similar retreat by foreign investors.

"Japan was able to cut its interest rates to zero," said Alex Patelis, Merrill's head of international economics.

"It would be very difficult for the US to do this. Foreigners will not be willing to supply the capital. Nobody knows where the limit lies."

Brian Bethune, chief financial economist at Global Insight, said the US Treasury had two or three days to put real money behind its rescue plan for Fannie and Freddie or face a dangerous crisis that could spiral out of control.

"This is not the time for policy-makers to underestimate, once again, the systemic risks to the financial system and the huge damage this would impose on the economy. Bold, aggressive action is needed, and needed now," he said.

Mr. Bethune said the Treasury would have to inject up $20bn in fresh capital. This in turn might draw in a further $20bn in private money. Funds on this scale would be enough to see the two agencies through any scenario short of a meltdown in the US prime property market.

He said concerns about "moral hazard" - stoked by hard-line free-marketeers at the White House and vocal parts of the US media - were holding up a solution. "We can't dither. The markets can be brutal. We have to break the chain of contagion before confidence is destroyed."

Click here to continue reading this incredibly important article.

Not the Surge He Knew? Faced with Proof it's Working, Obama Drops Criticism of US Escalation

Dateline USA....

After turning against Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Father Pfleger, the Candidate of Change has audaciously turned against his own criticism of the (successful) surge in Iraq.

AP reports:

Barack Obama's aides have removed criticism of President Bush's increase of troops to Iraq from the campaign Web site, part of an effort to update the Democrat's written war plan to reflect changing conditions.

Debate over the impact of President Bush's troop "surge" has been at the center of exchanges this week between Obama and Republican presidential rival John McCain. Obama opposed the war and the surge from the start, while McCain supported both the invasion and the troop increase.

A year and a half after Bush announced he was sending reinforcements to Iraq, it is widely credited with reducing violence there. With most Americans ready to end the war, McCain is using the surge debate to argue he has better judgment and the troops should stay to win the fight. Obama argues the troop increase has not achieved its other goal of fostering a political reconciliation among Iraqi factions.

After Bush delivered a nationally televised address on Jan. 10, 2007, announcing his plan, Obama argued it could make the situation worse by taking pressure off Iraqis to find a political solution to the fighting.

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there," the Illinois senator said that night, a month before announcing his presidential bid. "In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Obama continued to argue throughout 2007 that the troop increase was a mistake. By the early part of this year, he was acknowledging that it had improved security and reduced violence, but he has stuck by his opposition to the move.

In a speech Tuesday, he argued that since the surge began, the strain on the military has increased, the United States has spent another $200 billion in Iraq, Afghanistan has deteriorated, the Taliban and al-Qaida have rebuilt and Iraqis have not made political progress. "That's why I strongly stand by my plan to end this war," Obama said.

McCain said Obama is failing to acknowledge success. "Today, we know Sen. Obama was wrong" to oppose the surge, McCain said.

As first reported Tuesday by the New York Daily News, Obama's campaign removed a reference to the surge as part of "The Problem" section on the part of his Web site devoted to laying out his plan for Iraq.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Foreign Firms Rushing to Iraq

Foreign Confidential....

Despite the denials of the US Democratic Party, Iraq is stabilizing. One positive sign: a sudden influx of foreign firms rushing to Baghdad in search of lucrative contracts and other business opportunities.

Iraqi government officials are advising their US corporate friends and contacts not to hesitate. The Europeans are coming!

Another sign: email messages from US troops--including those on their second tours of duty--to family and friends describing a markedly calmer and more secure environment.

Iraq is still a deadly war zone, of course. But the times are changing ... for the better.

From a Foreign Reporter's Notebook

Dateline USA....

Foreign reporters covering the US Presidential race are fascinated by the fact that a candidate's resume no longer seems to matter, as US reporters buy into the Democratic Party line pushing Barack Obama's "biography" and "story." One overseas reporter say the TV commentary and interviews with Democratic spokespeople seem more like Hollywood pitch meetings than political discussions....

At least one prominent conservative Republican is telling friends and associates--and one or two reporters--that he fears a total blowout this election year--by Obama. The Republican believes Obama will "wipe the floor" with presumptive Republican Party Presidential candidate John McCain in the first TV debate....

Iran is the wild card this election year. Will the US and Israel attack Iran? A less than spectacularly successful US-Israeli attack would probably be disastrous for the US and the entire world. A truly successful attack--i.e. the utter crushing and defeat of the Iranian regime--could help McCain. Or not, as American voters breathe a sigh of relief, and rally to Obama because of the ailing economy. Wild is the key word this year....

South Koreans Want to Know Why North Shot and Killed Tourist from the South at Beach Resort

The leader of South Korea's ruling Grand National Party has proposed dialogue with North Korea to reduce tensions caused by the shooting death last week of a South Korean tourist by a soldier.

Floor leader Hong Joon-pyo told parliament in Seoul today that the communist North also should cooperate in an investigation into the death last week of the 53-year-old housewife.

Seoul's Unification ministry said in a statement Sunday that if Pyongyang does not allow South Korean authorities to investigate the incident, it would have serious consequences for North-South relations.

North Demands Apology

A statement from Pyongyang said no South Korean investigators will be allowed to look into the circumstances of the shooting.

North Korea has said it regrets the tourist's death, but that South Korea was at fault and should apologize.

The tourist was killed when she walked into a restricted beach area guarded by the North Korean military. The woman had been vacationing at the North's nearby Kumgang mountain resort.

South Korea built the resort and funds it as a showcase of improved North-South relations. After the shooting, all tours were suspended and South Korean vacationers returned home.

On the same day as the shooting, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had called for the resumption of reconciliation talks with North Korea.

Pyongyang has rejected the call for renewed dialogue, calling President Lee a "traitor" for taking a more conservative policy line on the North than his two predecessors.

North and South Korea technically remain at war, with only a 1953 armistice sustaining a tense peace along their border.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dalai Lama Defends Islam

The Dalai Lama, who headed a medieval slave and serf state in Tibet before going into exile, has confirmed his apparent detachment from reality. Fox News reports:

The Dalai Lama said that "it's totally wrong, unfair" to call Islam a violent religion.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, appearing Sunday at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, offered a defense of Islam in response to a question about the rise of violent religious fundamentalism. He added that he has made a point of reaching out to Muslims since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Dalai Lama arrived at Lehigh on Thursday for a series of talks on a 600-year-old Buddhist text. He took a break Sunday to lecture on "Generating a Good Heart," and afterward took questions from Lehigh President Alice P. Gast that had been submitted in advance by the public.

Asked why so many Americans are depressed and anxious, he joked: "I'm the wrong person to ask. You should ask Americans." Then he answered that U.S. society is too competitive and that people always want "something more, something more, something more."

Click here to read the whole article.

Palestinians and Israelis Seek Larger EU Role

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have declared their commitment to peace before a summit. Lisa Bryant reports both sides have called for Europe to play a bigger role in the Middle East peace process.

Flanked by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy described Sunday's euro-Mediterranean summit in Paris as an historic event because it gathered almost all the Arab heads of state along with the Israeli Prime Minister.

Sarkozy told reporters that obviously did not mean all the problems in the Middle East were resolved. But the gathering mirrored the objectives of the new Mediterranean partnership, in which members could learn to like each other rather than to make war.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas scheduled discussions before the afternoon summit, in which more than 40 heads of state launched a new pact between the European Union and non-European Mediterranean states.

Although there have been few developments in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in recent months, both leaders said they were committed to peace.

Olmert described the talks as very serious. Never had the two sides been so close to an accord, he said. Both Israeli and Arab leaders have called for the European Union to play a larger role in the Middle East peace process.

Sarkozy says that will be one of his priorities during France's six-month term as president of the European Union, which began this month.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Dissidents

Foreign Confidential....

The New York Times has published an amazing article about an Iranian dissident who escaped the clerical fascist hell, made it into Iraq, and is now living in the United States, where he feels safe. Click here to read the Times piece.

But ... will he be safe if Barack Hussein Obama wins the Presidential election in November?

This reporter doubts it, recalling the fate of Ali Tabatabai, a former Iranian diplomat who led the Iran Freedom Foundation. Tabatabai was gunned down in the doorway of his Bethesda, Maryland home in July 1980 with the complicity of the Jimmy ("the Jerk") Carter administration. The former President and his pro-Islamist National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, not only helped the Islamists come to power in Iran; the craven couple also allowed Tabatabai's assassin, an American Black Muslim working for Iran under Algerian Embassy cover, to escape. David Belfield (also known as Hassan Abdulrahman or Hassan Tantai, aka Dawud Salahuddin) was welcomed as a hero in Tehran, where he has lived in comfort ever since his arrival.

Belfield is likely to be one of Iran's interpreters at a summit meeting between Iranian maniac-in-chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Obama if the latter is elected President. As a gesture of appeasement toward Iran, Obama could pardon Belfield, who has been charged with homicide in the US.

One can only hope (a) that the United States and Israel end the Iranian clerical fascist regime before the general election, using any and all necessary weapons, including tactical nuclear arms, and, (b) if that does not happen, that Obama loses.

Is Iran Begging to be A-Bombed?

Clerical fascist Iran is apparently begging for a bombing--an atomic bombing.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Iran would "destroy" Israel as well as 32 US army bases in the region if the Islamic Republic is attacked, an aide to Iran's SupremeLeader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday.

"If Israel and the US fire a bullet or a missile at Iran, its forces will attack the heart of Israel and 32 American bases in the region before the dust from such an attack has settled," Iran's Fars news agency quoted Mojtaba Zolnour as saying. He added that such targets would be "destroyed" by the Iranian counterattack.

Zolnour is Khamenei's deputy representative in the Revolutionary Guards.

Zolnour also said that "Iran's armed forces and the Revolutionary Guards are in full readiness in the face of its enemies, and if these enemies are contemplating attacking Iran, its armed forces will give a crushing response."

Also on Saturday, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the United States and Israel were not in a position to attack Iran.

US and Israeli war planners are keenly aware of Iran's retaliatory capabilities--and the potential missile threat of its Lebanese Islamist proxy, Hezbollah. Washington and Jerusalem also know their military history: Axis Japan's failure to destroy US carriers at Pearl Harbor doomed Tokyo's chances after the surprise attack. And Israel's stunning destruction of Egypt's air force in the opening hours of the Six-Day War of June 1967 assured the Jewish state a victory.

In short, there is no reason to believe that the US and Israel are foolish enough to play by Iran's rules--or Vietnam or 2006 Lebanon War rules, either, for that matter. World War II rules make more sense. The mullahocracy's missiles are a huge threat but also vulnerable. Assuming attackers have the political will to use any and all necessary weapons to utterly destroy and defeat the Islamist foe, the missiles, including the mobile missiles, and the Revolutionary Guard that commands them, can all be wiped out.

If the choice is mass death in Iran or mass death in Israel and on US bases, this reporter believes, the two great democratic allies will make the right choice.

Iran's turbaned tyrants should get a grip on reality before they, like the Nazis and fascists they admire, bring horrific destruction down on their nation. Short of a radical change of policy--or a revolution or coup--in Iran, it seems to be hopelessly headed for a terrible end.

EDITOR'S NOTE: How much money does oil-producing Iran make every time it ratchets up tensions--and raises oil prices--by threatening to destroy Israel and US bases or shut down Persian Gulf oil exports? Inquiring minds want to know....

China's Naval Buildup Grows More Menacing

Investor's Business Daily reports that China has embarked on an ambitious anti-ship missile program designed to sink American carriers. IDB:

China is developing at least three different anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) designed to take out American carriers coming to Taiwan's defense and may be willing to shop them around to rogue states such as Venezuela and Iran, according to Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military.

Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, says two of the missiles are based on the CSS-5, also known as the DF-21, and photos reveal what looks like a maneuverable warhead similar to warheads deployed on our Pershing-2 missiles during the Cold War.

A third missile is believe to be a longer range variant of the CSS-5, one that can deliver multiple warheads.

"It is bad enough that these missiles are being developed and can soon target U.S. naval forces from China," Fisher said. "But we should also expect that China will eventually place these missiles on ships and submarines and sell them to its rogue allies."

Fisher also notes that "the Ahmadinejads, Castros and Chavezes of the world would love to have these missiles to hold the U.S. Navy at bay." Imagine Ahmadinejad having these missiles pointed at our ships guarding the Strait of Hormuz.

The Chinese Navy already includes Sovremenny-class guided-missile destroyers purchased from the Russians.

They come equipped with supersonic sea-skimming SS-N-22 Sunburn cruise missiles designed for one purpose — to attack American carrier battle groups.

"By 2010, most of China's anti-access forces will be in place, making it very difficult to use Pacific forces to help Taiwan," Fisher says. "Unless we double the number of our aircraft carriers and triple our bomber fleet, China is going to be a peer competitor by 2030."

China's naval buildup comes at a time when the U.S. Navy is struggling to meet its global commitments. We have the most capable ships in the world, just not enough of them. Their numbers, including our carriers, are declining.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

China, Russia Stop Sanctions Drive on Zimbabwe

China and Russia have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking sanctions against the government of Zimbabwe, its president and members of his inner circle. The vote on the US-drafted resolution comes after more than a week of diplomatic wrangling, which had the council divided. From United Nation's headquarters in New York, Margaret Besheer has more.

The final vote was nine council members in favor, five against and one abstaining. But the two "no" votes of Russia and China, both permanent members of the council that carry veto power, defeated the resolution.

China's Ambassador Wang Guangya said the recent African Union summit clearly rejected the idea of imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe at this time, and its opinion must be respected. He went on to say that sanctions would hurt the fledgling negotiations that are going on between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"China has always maintained the best approach to solve a problem are negotiation and dialogue. Internationally to use, or threaten to use, sanctions lightly is not conducive to solving a problem," Wang said.

He added that the situation in Zimbabwe is not a threat to international peace and security and is therefore outside the mandate of the Security Council, an opinion echoed by Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

"The council's application here of enforcement measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter has no foundation and is excessive," Churkin said. "Moreover, this draft is nothing but the council's attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of states, which is contrary to the UN Charter."

US Drafted Resolution

The US drafted the resolution, which called for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe's government and travel and financial sanctions against President Mugabe and 13 of his allies. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad criticized his colleagues who defeated it.

"China and Russia have stood with Mugabe against the people of Zimbabwe," Khalizad said. "More than a majority of the Security Council members stood with the people of Zimbabwe by demanding that Mugabe put an immediate end to the violence and to start serious negotiations with the opposition."

From its introduction last week, the 15-council members expressed mixed opinions on the draft and the outcome of Friday's vote was never certain.

South Africa, which is leading the regional mediation effort, expressed opposition to the resolution from the start and voted against it, saying time had to be given to those efforts to succeed.

Also opposed were Libya and Vietnam. Indonesia abstained. Burkina Faso said it was supporting the resolution, but only because of the clause imposing an arms embargo, saying it was designed to prevent a large-scale military conflict.

Zimbabwe's ambassador said the countries that voted against the resolution refused to be intimidated or follow the national interests of a few countries.

Several council members, including the US, France and Britain, said they would continue to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and would ask the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special representative and to report back periodically to the council on the political and humanitarian situation in the country.