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Current Topic: Current Events

9/11 Commission to meet privately with Condoleezza Rice on Saturday
Topic: Current Events 9:39 pm EST, Feb  3, 2004

Wanted to meme this for myself. Drudge's news flashes tend to go down the memory hole.


9/11 Commission to meet privately with Condoleezza Rice on Saturday
Feb 03 2004 21:07:32 ET

In tomorrow's NEW YORK OBSERVER, author Gail Sheehy talks with former Nebraska Senator and 9/11 Commission president Bob Kerrey, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

Sen. Kerrey tells Ms. Sheehy that the commission is scheduled to meet privately with Condoleezza Rice on Saturday, Feb. 7. Her testimony will not be sworn or made public; but the commission has not yet decided whether to use its subpoena power to compel public, sworn testimony from either Dr. Rice or the President. Kerrey declares himself in favor of requesting sworn, public testimony from Dr. Rice.


Sen. Kerrey calls the President's new commission to investigate Iraq intelligence failures a political maneuver; the 9/11 commission already has the Iraq investigation in its purview.


Kerrey tells Sheehy that Senate Republicans, in light of the increasingly high profile of the 9/11 commission, are no longer insisting the commission complete its work by its original May deadline. With the heat increasing, the administration realizes that the commission must not be allowed to release its report before the election. Suddenly the May deadline, originally meant to curtail the scope of their investigation, isn't looking so beneficial to them.

They want to give the commission six months--just enough time to get them past this year's presidential election. Families support the measure as the only hope the commission has of doing a thorough investigation.


9/11 Commission to meet privately with Condoleezza Rice on Saturday

The Currency War
Topic: Current Events 5:07 pm EST, Jan 19, 2004

World trade is now a game in which the US produces dollars and the rest of the world produces things that dollars can buy. The world's interlinked economies no longer trade to capture a comparative advantage; they compete in exports to capture needed dollars to service dollar-denominated foreign debts and to accumulate dollar reserves to sustain the exchange value of their domestic currencies. To prevent speculative and manipulative attacks on their currencies, the world's central banks must acquire and hold dollar reserves in corresponding amounts to their currencies in circulation. The higher the market pressure to devalue a particular currency, the more dollar reserves its central bank must hold. This creates a built-in support for a strong dollar that in turn forces the world's central banks to acquire and hold more dollar reserves, making it stronger.

This phenomenon is known as dollar hegemony, which is created by the geopolitically constructed peculiarity that critical commodities, most notably oil, are denominated in dollars. Everyone accepts dollars because dollars can buy oil. The recycling of petro-dollars is the price the US has extracted from oil-producing countries for US tolerance of the oil-exporting cartel since 1973.

By definition, dollar reserves must be invested in US assets, creating a capital-accounts surplus for the US economy. Even after a year of sharp correction, US stock valuation is still at a 25-year high and trading at a 56 percent premium compared with emerging markets. The US capital-account surplus in turn finances the US trade deficit. Moreover, any asset, regardless of location, that is denominated in dollars is a US asset in essence. When oil is denominated in dollars through US state action and the dollar is a fiat currency, the US essentially owns the world's oil for free. And the more the US prints greenbacks, the higher the price of US assets will rise. Thus a strong-dollar policy gives the US a double win.


Good discussion of petro-dollars and the implications on global markets.

The Currency War

RE: War of Ideas, Part 4
Topic: Current Events 1:00 am EST, Jan 19, 2004

Boss wrote:

] The Bush Policy continues previous administrations policies.
] The Palistine Question is insane to begin with, and we can
] thank postwar England/German/Russia for much of the debacle.
] But don't forget the Arabs themselves, who for 50 years, have
] continued to foment hate, terror, and obstinance for a hot and
] dusty, and otherwise undredeeming land; who, before the
] Zionists and Jews started working the land in the late 1800's
] was still just a barren land without any growth potential.

Don't forget France as well and the former League of Nations/UN. I often wonder why so many people quip about the land being a barren land until the Zionists came in. The indigenous people lived off the land the way they could.

] BTW--the Palestinian land is nothing more than the unwanted
] Arab lands, and the Palestinians are a made up
] population--kept around for the Arab world's political use.
] Why doesn't Saudia Arabia use of its many millions to make the
] condition of the Palestinians better? Why don't the Arab
] nations surrounding Israel welcome into their lands the
] Palestinians?

It's disingenuous to say Palesinians are a made up population. Would you say the same for Syria and Iraq? Palestinians are an occupied population.

As for the other Arab nations welcoming Palestinians, they would cease to become Palestinians. The right of return for Palestinian refugees is not honored by Israel. And that's what this whole thing is about. A displaced population. The destruction of their culture. Just because they all speak Arabic doesn't mean they are all the same people and would just meld into another Arabic speaking country.

] Why should the US be responsible for a regions stupidity and
] ignorance?That's the United Nations job, and it has been a
] joke in the area from the beginning.

Last time I checked, the US was one of the original signatories on the original UN charter. It is also one of the permanent Security Council members. Is that a good enough reason?

The Israel/Palestine question is much deeper than all of the above. What we see today is the result of what happens when you don't have moderates making some of the calls. Between Arafat and Sharon, there can be no progress.

Bush sitting on the sidelines on this is really idiotic of him. Keep saying "Roadmap" Dubya, I'll keep watching your lips move.

RE: War of Ideas, Part 4

Oiling up the draft machine?
Topic: Current Events 10:35 am EST, Nov  4, 2003

The community draft boards that became notorious for sending reluctant young men off to Vietnam have languished sinced the early 1970s, their membership ebbing and their purpose all but lost when the draft was ended. But a few weeks ago, on an obscure federal Web site devoted to the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly began a public campaign to bring the draft boards back to life. Especially for those who were of age to fight in the Vietnam, it is an ominous flashback of a message. Even floating the idea of a draft in the months before an election would be politically explosive, and the Pentagon last week was adamant that the push to staff up the draft boards is not a portent of things to come. Increasingly, however, military experts and even some influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's prediction of a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to consider a draft to fully staff the nation's military in a time of global instability.


Even among those who think the public might support a draft, few believe Bush would dare to propose it before the November 2004 election. "It would highlight the cost of an imperial foreign policy, add an incendiary issue to the already emotional protests, and further split the limited-government conservatives." But despite the Pentagon's denials, planners there are almost certainly weighing the numbers just as independent military experts are. And that could explain the willingness to tune up the draft machinery.


Not unless his victory has already been decided.

Oiling up the draft machine?

German man charged with teaching dog Hitler salute
Topic: Current Events 10:03 am EDT, Oct 14, 2003

From the Truth-Is-Stranger-Than-Fiction-Department:


A German man is to appear in court charged with teaching his dog to give the Hitler salute.

The black sheepdog-mix, named Adolf, has been taught to lift his right front paw up straight in the salute on command.

Police were called to the scene in Berlin when Roland T, 54, shouted at passers-by last year.

When a patrol arrived, he allegedly showed them the trick he had taught his dog, gave the salute along with Adolf, and shouted: "Sieg Heil."

German man charged with teaching dog Hitler salute

RE: Yahoo! News - Appeals Court Delays Calif. Recall Vote
Topic: Current Events 9:23 am EDT, Sep 16, 2003

Decius wrote:
] Oh great. They are postponing the California election so they
] can get computerized voting machines installed in time. If
] they think the old technology is bad, wait until they see
] this...

They have to have a good trial run before the next Presidential election, ya know? So which electronic machines will they be using? Hope it's not Diebold. Doesn't matter though, the whole electronic voting landscape is crooked and corrupt beyond repair. We are entering a phase in this society where voting will mean nothing but couting votes will mean everything.


From the 8/27/03 edition of the Port Clinton News Herald:

Wally O'Dell, CEO of Diebold Inc., this week sent out letters to central Ohio Republicans asking them to raise $10,000 in donations in time for a Sept. 26 Ohio Republican Party event at his home.

His company, which specializes in security and election machinery, is one of three under consideration to supply new, electronic voting machines to replace punch card machines still in use in 71 Ohio counties.

In his invitation O'Dell states his support for the Republican Party and notes he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year."

RE: Yahoo! News - Appeals Court Delays Calif. Recall Vote

RE: Special Report: IEEE says I told you so (re: the grid)
Topic: Current Events 6:13 pm EDT, Aug 24, 2003

Decius wrote:

] If you are interested in the grid failure, everything you need
] to know is here.

Deregulation is what happened. They started to regard "excess capacity" as "massive glut" and trimmed the fat. That and investing in profits instead of quality of service. Oops...

Very good collection of links BTW...

RE: Special Report: IEEE says I told you so (re: the grid)

RE: Hawash was guilty
Topic: Current Events 2:06 pm EDT, Aug  7, 2003

Elonka wrote:
] ] A software engineer from Oregon pleaded guilty Wednesday
] ] to aiding the Taleban and now faces the likelihood of
] ] seven to 10 years in jail.
] ]
] ] The Justice Department says Maher Hawash, a naturalized
] ] American citizen of Palestinian descent, pleaded guilty
] ] to a charge of conspiring to supply services to the
] ] Taleban following the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York
] ] and Washington.

He plead Not Guilty three months ago, May 6th. So which is it, guilty or no? Even if he plead Guilty, that doesn't necessarily mean he is. Having been held incommunicado, without habeas corpus rights and in solitary confinement for a month can leave you pretty "open to suggestion" if you get my drift.

The latest plea is here:

I think his testimony should be taken with a grain of salt. This was not a trial like we're used to. It's kind of odd how fast it went from "detained as a material witness" to "Guilty" so quickly.

Found a comment on Slashdot that more or less sums up what I think, see below.


This is an important point to remember, and one that is well illustrated by a little history.

In 1930s Stalinist Russia, hundreds of political prisoners were convicted of treason and either executed or carted off to the gulag. What is remarkable about these cases is not the fact that they happened, but the fact that the trials and subsequent convictions appeared to be conducted in accordance with proper forms and procedures. The accused would be afforded access to legal representation, but would then proceed to get up, in open court, and swear on their mother's grave that they were guilty of the most heinous treason when all they had possibly done was express the mildest dissent, often privately, or ended up in the wrong political faction. The Soviet regime was then able to deflect criticism of the suppression of dissent by simply pointing to the apparent fairness of their trial process, often with the assistance of Western apologists such as English QC D. N. Pritt.

The trick, of course, was worked before trial, during a period of a number of weeks (usually) when the accused was held incommunicado and subjected to severe psychological pressure and physical mistreatment (such as food and sleep deprivation, interspersed on occasion with outright physical torture) designed essentially to brainwash the unfortunate suspect into confessing. If necessary, threats were made against the suspect's family to induce a confession. This process was referred to by its architect, Soviet prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky, as "the conveyor", and it is the twentieth century's greatest testament to the need for access to criminal suspects at all stages of the judicial process, from arrest to conviction.

Until verifiable physical evidence of what Hawash is alleged to have done is produced, this confession convinces me of nothing other than that John Ashcroft, the man who ultimately bears responsibility for Hawash's treatment and prosecution, is just a latter-day Vyshinsky and a disgrace to his profession.


RE: Hawash was guilty

RE: Unfaith On Metallica Hoax, 7/18/03
Topic: Current Events 12:36 pm EDT, Jul 22, 2003

wilpig wrote:
] ] We all know about the Napster issue, the perfume company,
] ] the lipstick company, the tire makers... Metallica has
] ] sued them all. Rightly or wrongly, no one is judging
] ] that. However, the idea behind this parody was to gauge,
] ] after all that litigation, just how willing America was
] ] to buy a story as extraordinay -- as outlandish -- as
] ] them claiming ownership of a 2-chord progression.
] A follow-up on the Metallica lawsuit. It was all made up.
] Now get back to work.

:) I almost wrote "Good satire" when I recommended it but wanted to see everyone's reactions.

RE: Unfaith On Metallica Hoax, 7/18/03

Bush declares May 1st 'Loyalty Day'
Topic: Current Events 10:33 pm EDT, May  2, 2003

] The Our Documents initiative will use the Internet
] to bring infor-mation about and the text of 100 of
] America's most important documents from the National
] Archives to classrooms and com-munities across the
] country. These initiatives are important, for it is
] only when our children have an understanding of our
] past that they will be able to lead the future.

Oh, so we release all the documents the Bush administration feels are non-threatning to its interests.. But when there is information that might actually be relevant to current affairs, like past presidental records, or records pertaining to "September the 11th", they sequester it.

You know they are clueless when "information" is written as "infor-mation", and there isn't a line break..

] The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has
] designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day," and I ask
] all Americans to join me in this day of celebration and
] in reaffirming our allegiance to our Nation.
] NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the
] United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2003,
] as Loyalty Day. I call upon all the people of the United
] States to join in support of this national observance. I
] also call upon government officials to display the flag
] of the United States on all government buildings on
] Loyalty Day.

Loyalty Day?

Something about this does not sit right with me.. Maybe its just my paranoid nature, but I can't help but think there is a subtle reasoning behind a number of things this administration is doing, and I don't like the vibe I get from it.

I'm really starting to feel like public opinion is being managed in a way where we appear to be free, and have government oversight, yet in reality, we are being managed and controlled. Maybe its been that way all along, only now because we are more connected and informed, we are seeing it for what it is..

Loyalty Day.. I love my country.. I really do. But I fear that its not the ideas and philosophy it was founded based on which we are asked to be loyal, but rather, its current rulers and policies.. Thats not the way I think America works. America loves diversity and opposing opinions, as they are the engines from which new ideas are created.. America allows descent. America tells the truth. America does not have to ask for loyalty, it earns it. Thats my America, and it never had to ask for or demand my loyalty. It has always had it.

There is irony in this sharing a date with May Day..

Bush declares May 1st 'Loyalty Day'

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