“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

$ Two trillion in Gulf States foreign assets by end 2008

Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai is the only existing 7-star luxury hotel in the entire world.

It is very heart warming to see the results of US military protection in the Middle East. We have come a long way from US soldiers handing out candy to grateful European children in broken cities and rubble strewn streets. Why are we protecting this?

I do not begrudge the Gulf States getting rich because we are so foolish to believe in economic models that do not include energy independence.

I do wonder why we give away military protection for nothing, and cannot get Arab states to police other Arab states.

I do get angry when I see the squalid streets of Afghanistan and the perpetual open sewer of Palestine and listen to the reasoning that it is always an American responsibility. It isn't and it never was.

Gulf states’ foreign assets to top $2,000bn

By Simeon Kerr in Abu Dhabi Financial Times
January 16 2008

The net foreign assets of Gulf Arab states are set to rise to more than $2,000bn by the end of this year on rocketing oil prices, according to new research. The Institute of International Finance said the region’s public and private overseas wealth stood at $1,800bn (€1,211bn, £916bn) at the end of 2007.

“High oil prices are enabling the GCC [Gulf Co-operation Council] governments to place a growing volume of resources into reserve and wealth management funds, which will play increased roles in international financial markets,” said Charles Dallara, managing director of the IIF, a Washington-based association representing global financial institutions.

Sustained high oil prices will generate more capital spending and foreign investment as the GCC’s combined current account surplus should exceed $250bn in 2008, up from $215bn in 2007. Most of the foreign assets are controlled by sovereign wealth funds. The IIF said a slowdown in the US economy could cause a knock-on effect on global oil demand, causing prices to soften and a drop in GCC government revenues. However, the IIF believes that ongoing infrastructure investment among the six-member grouping should provide enough economic momentum for nominal growth to continue at 8 to 10 per cent in 2009.

But the report warned of serious inflationary pressures. Inflation in the GCC reached a 15-year high of 5.3 per cent in 2006, likely rising to 6.7 per cent in 2007, according to official figures that may understate price pressures.

While supply-side bottlenecks amid rampant population growth were driving up inflation, the report said: “The situation is being aggravated by policy shortcomings.” With five members of the GCC fixing their currencies to the US dollar, the region has few monetary options to stem liquidity growth as central banks are forced to track lower interest rates while the region booms.

The GCC’s nominal gross domestic product of $900bn in 2008 is more than double the amount registered in 2003. The region’s external debt is estimated to have reached $226bn in 2007, a three-fold rise on 2003, but at 28 per cent of GDP, the IIF described the aggregate ratio of debt as benign.

Hydrocarbons continue to form the bulk of the GCC’s wealth, accounting for 77 per cent of 2007 export earnings, up from 73 per cent in 2002. Oil export receipts reached $381bn in 2007, 8 per cent higher than in 2006, while natural gas revenues rose 18 per cent in 2007 to $26bn, driven by gas-rich Qatar.

But the private sector was playing an increasingly important role in the region’s latest petrodollar surge with the GCC’s non-oil sector growing this year at 14 per cent in nominal terms, the report said. Public expenditure had fallen from an average of 34 per cent in 2002 to 29 per cent in 2007.

While non-oil growth was providing job opportunities, most of these positions were taken by expatriate workers.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008


  1. I like the cut of that jib. But do they have Vegas quality hookers, there, in Dubai? And Canadian Club?

  2. Who cares, bob?

    You headed to Dubai, to party?

    The new French attack submarine comes in at 1.5 billion euros, or there about. Two days worth of Saudi cash flow, less

    OPEC said Dec. 14 that global oil demand will rise 1.5 percent to an average 87.1 million barrels a day in 2008

    More US troops to Afghanistan, but not enough to ...

    Little wonder the Iranians get annoied, that the US is pissed at them.

    When they know that four of the nineteen 9-11-01 hijackers were not from Saudi Arabia.

    Funny how the spin cycle works.

    When women enjoy more freedom in Iran than in Saudi Arabia, when there is at least a pretext of elections in Iran and the Saudi do not even make an attempt.

    If we just signed over the US Armed Forces to the UN, then we'd only have to pay about 60% of the budget.

    Food for thought, before we choked on the gristle.

  3. Angry Pakistanis turn against army
    From Mr Murdock's The Sunday Times

    Originally intended to represent the best of Pakistan, the new army HQ is now being seen as a symbol of all that is wrong with the country.

    Amid nationwide anger over the killing of the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and a widespread belief that the country�s military or intelligence may have been involved, the population is turning against the army for the first time.

    From the wailing rice-pickers at Bhutto�s grave in the dusty village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern province of Sindh to the western-educated elite sipping whisky and soda in the drawing rooms of Lahore, the message is the same: General Pervez Musharraf, the president, must go and the army must return to its barracks.

  4. That's a trillion dollars that could have instead been flowing into the US economy.

    Are the billion dollar arms contracts that lucrative, in light of the trillion dollar loss that they incur?

  5. Suicide Terrorism in Pakistan: al-Qaeda's Lal Masjid Plan In Motion

    To put the Lal Masjid raid reaction into proper perspective, one must understand it as a planned event. It was an event of which al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote in a letter to the brothers who ran Lal Masjid that “things are going according to plan.” The plan was communicated in a letter found inside the Lal Masjid complex by Pakistani forces:
    Provoke a government siege for the purposes of creating martyrs through which the public - particularly fence-sitting or inactive (with AQ/Taliban) Pashtuns - would be whipped into a violent frenzied anger.

    That anger manifested itself partly in retaliatory suicide bombings against the government and government forces, as well as increased recruiting for the Taliban and al-Qaeda inside Pakistan.

  6. 'Rat, or anyone:
    Medved was prattling on about how pure big john is, never asked for ONE earmark, blah blah, blah.

    ...Reminded me that in runup to 2000 my online friends here and I discussed a bunch of Indian money he handled, but now I've forgotten all the details.
    Anybody know about that?

  7. Now for the Really, Really Good News. Schumer is reintroducing a bill to end the tariff of Brazilian, Sugar Cane Ethanol

    Make no mistake, this will, completely, and, absolutely Destroy the American Ethanol Industry, and, thus, the political "Will" to continue with biofuels. Big Oil will manage to annihilate the industry within 5 years.

  8. Rufus,

    I'm having a hard time following your tone of voice. Are you being sarcastic?

  9. Big Oil has Already Won in Europe.

    They're Good, Boys; Real Good.

  10. More like, "overcome by despair," Mat.

    The thing is, I can see the politics coming down in such a way as to get this shit through.

  11. Politics like this, Rufus?

    23 GOP retirements.
    [David Freddoso]
    Kathryn: Baker is the 23rd retirement. And here is the (I hope final) list:

    Baker, Cubin, Doolittle, Everett, Ferguson, Hastert, Hobson, Hunter, Jindal, LaHood, McCrery, Pearce, Peterson, Pickering, Pryce, Ramstad, Regula, Renzi, Saxton, Tancredo, Weller, Wicker, Wilson (NM).

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Rufus,

    We need to send Schumer some kind of notice as to the implications of that legislation. Perhaps get to him via some Jewish organization?

  14. I should paste wio's posts from the last thread at BC.
    See how many of the boys pass out with cases of the vapors!

  15. You mean a gino?

  16. He isn't a swino :) (swedeinnameonly)

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. If Mitt is a Michigander,
    is his wife a Michigoose?

  19. They know the implications of what they're doing. Never been a doubt. They have talked the talk for twentyfive years, more. Have yet to take a step along the walk. They're not going to start now.

    It's been "doable" the whole time.

    There is no other alternative, but the Americas ethanol solution. It is the alternative to Arabic oil.

    The Free Trade alternative.

    Like I said the other day, that is the quickest route, in Brazil, with the least impact here.

    Not going to be a Wind Farm across the Dakotas, nor on oil derricks with windmills on the oceans. They're going to farm Brazil, clear cut the forests, use the low cost labor.

    It's what we do, we do it well.

    Then again, you just like to be contrary, mat.
    But every one of their actions is understandable, viewed from an operative persepective. You just don't like to admit that the people you invested yourself emotionally are the ones doing it.

    Now I'll trot out an idea now or again, which on the face of it is outside the accepted lines of seriousness, but ask yourself, who owns the coloring books.

    Materially, the US is still on the top of the heap, no one has more folk higher up the hill.

    The "conspiritors" have succeeded in that. Have since 1776, figure they just may keep on keepin' on.

    There aren't any other horses to ride, anyway.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. The Americas Union solution, make Brazil indespensible to the people in the US. Just like Canada and Mexico have been.

    While making the US indespensible to Brazil, just like we have with Canada and Mexico.

  22. Course we'll be last in education, first in welfare bankruptcy, have no hospitals, a Balkanized Non-Nation, but hey, what the Hell!
    Give me some McCain/Indian Dirt, 'Rat!

  23. A lot of Lutherans are wisconsinners.

  24. dRat,

    Even if what you say is correct, I doubt they any longer could withstand the political pressure that will be brought to bare, and continue their business as usual routine. The public wont stand for it. Not even in an imperial republic such as the US of A. :)

  25. I can barely withstand 'Rat's Utopian Visions of the future!

  26. Last I saw Jeb Bush was going to work for some south/central american ethanol outfit. Brazilian, I guess. George Soros, and some other heavy-hittin lefties have bought into Brazilian Ethanol factories.

    Looks like the American farmer is in for a good "screwin," agin.

  27. wisconsinners are dirty swinos

  28. Per usual Rufus, I knew it couldn't last. George W. and Family bought a big spread somewheres in S. America. I wish they'd all go there and stay.

  29. Thanks for that, Albob!
    Now where my Strychnine Cocktail?

  30. The BIA is most corrupt Federal Agency, ever.

    McCain has highlighted a lot of the corruption, but I do not know if he ever participated.
    If there is any questionable behaviour, imagine it'd be in legalizing the gambling, but not with Abramoff

    In the several-page-long article, the lobbyist says he believes a series of high-profile hearings McCain held examining whether he defrauded his Indian clients were unfair, and he implies they were motivated by a personal grudge.

    Although McCain’s staff denies the senator knew Abramoff, the lobbyist says he had met McCain several years back. Abramoff says he raised money for President Bush in 2000 and urged tribes not to contribute to McCain, Bush’s opponent in the primary that year.

    “Mr. Abramoff flatters himself,” McCain’s chief of staff, Mark Salter, responds in the article.

    If there is any fire, it's in gambling and the Reservations, that's where the smoke rises, through proxies.

    But nothing to hang a hat on, that I know of.

  31. Reserve America for the likes of Clinton and Obama.

  32. There's a story that BIA lost and couldn't find billions and billions of trust monies. Just couldn't find it.

  33. I've hated One World since before I was born!
    Then I read Huxley and Orwell and got to see some of the details of our future agony, and hated it even more.

  34. BIA and the missing Billions There's plenty of reading material at google.

  35. It all started with Hamilton, I tell you.

  36. Been livin' with the stories of the Rockefellers and their ways all my life.

    This other stuff, Russell & Company, Skull & Bones, its' connections to FDR, JFKerry and the Bushes, all reasonably new to me. It was always the Tri-laterals referenced in my mind. The names change, but the Game remains the same.

    My daughter told me, just today, about Mr Bush's grandfather financing the NAZI, her boyfriend from Sweden turned her on to the information.

    So maybe mat is right, about rightous indignation finding its' way through the populous.
    But I tend to doubt it, Mr Bush will fade into the past, then we'll be on to the next player in the Game. The Bush family transgressions left to history.

  37. The BIA and that lost money.

    Another publicly known secret.
    Just not any interest in the MSM, must be to technical, stealing money from Indians for 100 years.

    I figure the Casinos make it almost even.

  38. That ain't your illegitimate Swedish son, is it, Albob?

  39. Well there's more to the world than the Bushes and Russel Trust.

    First Hour: Seth Shostak of SETI comments on a mysterious ET signal.
    Coast-To-Coast tonite

    Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence has evidently got a 'ding'. I'll try to keep an ear open and give a report.

    That's right, Rat. I feel the same way. I don't begrudge them giving the rest of society a fleecing. For awhile anyway. Trouble is, they're no better, from what I know here, not much gets out to the tribal members, a few of whom have been tenants of mine. It's not the average brave in the tepee getting the big bucks. Same story, money corrupts.

  40. Kid came over as an exchange student, met my daughter at school.

    Couple of dates, a few rides in her car, from school to the house he was staying with. Broke a couple of both families rules doing so.

    The other family kicked the kid back to Sweden.
    Now the kids talk on the computer, got this camera do hicky. Good deal, he's thousands of miles away, while I may get to go to Sweden, this summer. So it's all good.

  41. I don't know for sure, Doug. :)

  42. You know what bar to go to Rat when you get there.

  43. G'nite guys. And remember,
    For every vice there's a price. :P

  44. I heard you can get pregnant now w/them High Tech Do Hickeys.

  45. Nite, Mat. Don't let ET through your window.

  46. Out here, out at Fort McDowell, the folk went from third or fourth world, really terrible conditions, to Scottsdale style.

    Taco Bell homes on paved streets, all the comforts. New cars & trucks. They are putting in orchards and alfalfa fields.

    Spreading the wealth, far as I can see. Up on the Apache Reservation, in Payson, don't drive out there after dark. That's the word from the Reservation police, anyway. The police are all white guys, their only hard and fast rule, don't bother the indians.

    Got a little casino up there, keeps the police busy enough.

  47. Dream WIO's sweet dreams of Mass Annihilations!

  48. The Palm Springs Tribes did pretty good too!

  49. Not as easy as in a car seat,
    do hicky icky

  50. They got every other sq mile of Palm Springs, one right in the center!
    At first they weren't allowed to do anything with it, and they lived there as poverts.
    Then came 99 year leases, and away she goes!

  51. There's some kind of new superbug spreading around among gay men in San Francisco, I hear on the radio. Don't know what that's about. Sounds like a mean s.o.b.

  52. When we went through the Blackfoot area on the way home, it looked miserable. Even the casino looked crappy. It's way out in nowhere out there though. Not much peoples around to suck off of.

  53. Ideal Cultural Conditions, as in Petri Dishes.
    Germs from around the world mixed together well, given special growing conditions in bodies balanced between multiple diseases and multiple drugs...
    Not even Orwell or Huxley thot of something that dark.

  54. HillaryCare will fix it.

    Seth is coming on about ET.

  55. What's this? There's an odd light outside my window.

  56. Nice knowin you, Albob.
    Say "hi" for me!

  57. It seems the press picked up a garbled news story--garbled between San Francisco seti folk and the boys in Berkeley across the bay--and ran with it.

    There was a .005 second burst recorded in 2001 that was recently recognized by some folk in West Virginia through computer analysis of the recordings--came from Autalian Parks Radio Telescope--was a humongous radio flash--best quess seems to be it was caused by the collision of two neuton stars out about 1 billion light years--can't 100% rule out a signal sent from near by but the signal is in agreement with a natural cause--Paul Allen Array is up 43 out of 300+ scopes should be working soon--Seth is a believer in ET out there somewheres but doesn't think we have been visited--says some 50% of stars may have planets--Drake equation estimates number of transmitting societies in our galaxy might be--break
    wife with flashlight putting out the garbage for pickup tomorrow, doug

  58. You were too scared to go outside?

  59. Besides I got to report on SETI.

  60. Your Rat finally made the bigtime, Albob!
    Frontpage, NY Times.

    Long Ago, a Rodent as Big as a Bull
    Uruguayan scientists have uncovered fossil evidence of the biggest species of rodent ever found, more than eight feet long and weighing between 1,700 and 3,000 pounds.

  61. Early Man probly made Globes of the Earth w/their Turds.

  62. Questioner is asking if government wouldn't keep it quiet if signal was received--Seth says the news would get out from blabbing astronomers talking to each other no matter what--news would spread world wide--10 years ago they had a signal thought was real and no govmint agents showed up--can't cart the evidence off to Area 51--it's up in the sky:)--Hoagland calls in,--any modulation of blast, he asks--answer is no, lower frequency of signal arrived a few secs later as is natural--what would the test be if it was a real signal, he asks--probably have embedded signs that signal wasn't natural--don't forget to buy Hoagland's 'Dark Mission'--caller asks how far are aliens ahead of us:)--Seth says its like asking TRex to say what we might be like:)--probably have machined up if they are worth a crap--should be able to do what a really really smart machine could do, whatever the hell that is--Seth says he wouldn't be muzzled by the damn govmint!--Seth doesn't think the people would panic--caller asks about the quest that have said they have talked to the aliens, what frequency, he asks--:)--caller says he has found ET using the SETI at home program, which has 5 million users--this caller is from Ontario--Seth says your signal was logged,caller, and the program sends the flagged material into the system and the Berkeley guys focus the telescopes if its worthy--if it's real you will get the prize, he promises--got to SETI Institute website for more info folks--that's all folks!

  63. Probably, Doug, during that early, formative, anal phase :)

  64. That difficult anal orb phase.