“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, July 16, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury: A Snivelling Grovelling Wanker?

Christian doctrine offensive to Muslims, says Archbishop of Canterbury
By Ben Farmer Telegraph
Last Updated: 2:48AM BST 16/07/2008

Key elements of Christian doctrine are offensive to Muslims, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said in a letter to Islamic scholars.

Dr Rowan Williams also spoke critically of the violent past of both religions and Christianity's abandonment of its peaceful origins.

His comments came in a published letter to Islamic leaders, intended to promote closer dialogue and understanding between the two faiths.

However they come just months after Dr Williams was forced to clarify comments in which he said some parts of Islamic law will "unavoidably" be adopted in Britain.

The comments are also made as the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference begins in Canterbury. Up to a quarter of bishops are boycotting the event, as the Anglican Church faces continuing division over the issues of women bishops and homosexual clergy.

The wide-ranging letter, which covers difficult issues including religious freedom and religiously-inspired violence is in response to a document written last year by Muslim scholars from 43 countries.

Discussing differences between the religions, Dr Williams acknowledges that Christian belief in the Trinity is "difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims".

The Trinity is the Christian doctrine stating God exists as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and conflicts with Islamic teaching that there is one all-powerful God.

Speaking about the history of the two religions, Dr Williams said they had been too often confused with Empire and control.

He said: "Despite Jesus' words in John's gospel, Christianity has been promoted at the point of the sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions; despite the Qur'anic axiom, Islam has been supported in the same way, with extreme penalties for abandoning it, and civil disabilities for those outside the faith.

"There is no religious tradition whose history is exempt from such temptation and such failure."

He goes on: "What we need as a vision for our dialogue is to break the current cycles of violence, to show the world that faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other's violence."

The 17-page letter, called A Common Word for the Common Good, is in response to a letter from Muslim leaders written last September.

That letter, A Common Word Between Us and You, was signed by 138 Muslim scholars to declare the common ground between the two religions.

Dr Williams described the Muslim document as hospitable and friendly and added: “Your letter could hardly be more timely, given the growing awareness that peace throughout the world is deeply entwined with the ability of all people of faith everywhere to live in peace, justice, mutual respect and love.”

His own dense and meticulous letter did not mention sharia Islamic law at all. He received widespread criticism from politicians and other clergy for his comments in February and later told the General Synod he took responsibility for his “unclarity” and “misleading” choice of words


  1. Robinson Joins Lambeth as 'Friendly Reminder'

    The Institute for Religion and Democracy reports that Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, fresh from a recently-celebrated same-sex union in his home diocese of New Hampshire, has descended upon Britain for the upcoming Lambeth Conference, a once-in-ten-year meeting of the Anglican Communion. Due to the controversy over his consecration, Robinson was one of a handful of bishops not invited to the conference convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

    Bush Vows to Push China to Honor Religious Freedom

    President Bush promised to continue pressuring China on religious freedom issues, he said in a speech Monday, the Christian Post reports. Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act, which China denies violating in spite of ample evidence.

    Guatemala: Christian Stations Forced off Air

    OneNewsNow reports that many Christian radio stations in Guatemala have been forced to go off the air thanks to secular radio's pressure on the government. "Over the past four years, the Congress has received a lot of pressure from the secular radio station owners that they're losing revenue to the Christian stations as Christian stations are becoming more and more popular," one station owner reported.

    Religion Today Summaries

  2. Dr Housing Bubble

    So what is the big deal with IndyMac Bank? Take a look at this sobering fact:

    IndyMac Bank Total Assets: $32 billion

    All Other 31 Combined Bank Failures since 2000: $8.97 billion

    Basically IndyMac Bank had about 4 times the amount of assets as all the other 31 bank failures of this decade combined. This is an important contrast since I’ve been seeing the media currently say things such as...

  3. NATO: US troops quit Afghan base where militants killed 9 troops; insurgents move in
    07-16-2008 12:50 AM
    By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

    KABUL, Afghanistan (Associated Press) -- U.S. and Afghan troops have abandoned a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan where militants killed nine American soldiers this week, officials said Wednesday.

    Compounding the military setback, insurgents quickly seized the village of Wanat in Nuristan province after driving out the handful of police left behind to defend government offices, Afghan officials said.

  4. Obama’s Achilles Heel Is Obama

    This campaign is already crystallizing around one question: “Do I really want the next president of the United States to be this fellow Barack Obama?”

    Despite his admirable qualities, McCain grows harder to discern on the political radar screen. Fewer people seem to be interested in asking themselves, “What do I see in John McCain that really makes me want him to be president?”
    It looks now as though this election may turn on one issue: Obama as Obama.

    By subordinating conflicting policy issues, almost to the point of extinction, Obama is leaving himself (whoever that is), his background (wherever that is) and his integrity (such as that may be) as all that matters.
    Ironically, Obama as Obama is the issue upon which Obama first introduced himself to voters. Even “change” was a derivative of Obama as Obama.

    Obama as Obama recalls his embarrassing support, then disavowal, of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. That reintroduces the collateral issue of flip-flopping — not necessarily specific flips on which Obama has flopped, but the vague impression of flip-floppery as his personal way of political life. That’s a nasty set of sub-issues Obama doesn’t need, for it echoes Obama as Obama.

    Each time Barack Obama reaches for another of his policy-issue boomerangs, he would be well advised not to forget to duck.

  5. Mr Rowan is as irrelevant as his diseased dioceses. So 1.. 2.. 3.. what is he fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn.

  6. GOP govs on track for record cash haul

    While Republican fundraising has been lagging in most quarters, the Republican Governors Association is on track to raise a record-breaking $30 million by November, significantly besting its Democratic rival.

    The cash, officials hope, could help Republicans hold down statehouse losses – and perhaps make a gain or two – in an election cycle when Democrats are expected to surge at the federal level.

    The association’s efforts also could pay off in 2010 when state legislatures will begin the process of redrawing congressional districts.

    Redistricting is a highly partisan process that could give one party a congressional advantage for the next decade. In many states, the final maps must be approved by the governor, which offers a measure of protection even when the opposing party controls the legislature.

    “The best way to turn this party around is at the state level. You can’t do it in Washington,” said Nick Ayers, RGA’s executive director.

  7. The culprits behind credit, inflation risks
    Terence Corcoran, Financial Post

    In Washington, Moral Hazard is a dead country singer. Governments and investors around the world put money in Fannie Mae and Freddie Macsecurities, knowing that if disaster struck Washington would bail them out. And so it has, the bailout reaching absurd levels yesterday when two branches of Washington power, the Securities and Exchange Commission and U. S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, moved to protect Fan and Fred shareholders.

    At the SEC, Christopher Cox banned short-sellers from trading in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allegedly to protect their shares against predatory speculators. Such sales carry the pejorative "naked short selling" label, handing the SEC an easy excuse to introduce a market-wide ban on a legitimate practice. At the same time, Mr. Paulson announced that he wanted unlimited authority to buy shares in the two failing government companies. Will U. S. taxpayers fall for this double-barrelled assault on their pocket books and on the rights of investors?

    The U. S. government is now preventing legitimate trading in shares of government-backed corporations, keeping those shares up so that the government can buy at higher prices. While crazy, it still didn't work. Fannie Mae and Freddie Macshares still fell another 25% yesterday.

    The U. S. Federal Reserve is joining the Treasury in backing what looks like a government takeover of the mortgage-backing industry.

  8. off topic:

    The map of Hezbollah’s armed deployment in the villages of Jezzine
    Nahar Ash-Shabab (An-Nahar’s weekly youth supplement) exclusively publishes a document from the Intelligence Directorate that confirms the Sannine incident …
    Tony Abi Najem - , July 10, 2008


    Save as PDF


    The attack led by armed Hezbollah militants on Lebanese citizens who were arrested and questioned in the Sannine area on June 22 drove many people to the edge of panic. Hezbollah issued a statement of denial one week after this incident occurred. What happened in reality in Sannine? What is the truth about Hezbollah’s positioning in several Christian regions and villages, especially in the Jezzine area? Is it true that Hezbollah militants are deployed and manning positions on mountaintops extending all the way to Oyoun al-Simane and Jbeil’s mountainous area? This report shall attempt to answer some of these questions.

    On June 23, Kataeb party leader President Amin Gemayel raised the issue of an attack by armed Hezbollah militants targeting five young men in the Sannine area. The Hezbollah men shot in the youths’ general direction, forcing them to stop, and questioned them before releasing them, knowing that the youths were natives of the region, specifically of Baskinta.

    Several questions emerged after the incident: Why is Hezbollah militarily deployed in Christian areas par excellence, areas that are located far away from any potential confrontation lines with Israel? If, as the armed men claim, they fear an Israeli military airdrop in the area, how and why would such an operation take place at such a remote location? Does Hezbollah have the military capacity to deploy across the whole mountainous area in order to prevent any Israeli airdrop? If this was indeed a shallow pretext, what then are the real reasons behind this deployment? Is there a secret plan that comes in continuation to the armed military deployment initiated by Hezbollah ever since May 7, starting from Beirut and the Mountain and extending into the remaining regions?

    This incident was brought up in the media by President Gemayel and LF Executive Committee leader Dr. Samir Geagea, who also examined its minutest details. Yet, Hezbollah’s response came quite late, a whole week following the incident, to be more specific, which made it even more suspicious. In fact, it is not in Hezbollah’s habit to lag behind when it comes to issuing statements to clarify any given incident. This holds true except with regard to two issues: First, Hezbollah’s communications network, which it declined to comment on for months in a row; and second, the arrest of the French Socialist Party member as comments on this issue came with a delay of several days. Apart from these two cases, the party always used to issue a response or comment on any issue within a few hours.

    Official document

    The youths involved gave accounts of this incident to the official website of the Kataeb party, and the story was published by newspapers and the main media outlets. Beside this account, Nahar Ash-Shabab managed to obtain an official document issued by the Lebanese army’s Intelligence Directorate on the same day, i.e. on June 22, 2008, at 5:33 p.m., describing the incident as follows:

    “Najib Nicolas Tabcharani was driving his Land Rover along with Roukoz Boulos al-Khoury Hanna (head of the Baskinta Kataeb local office) in addition to Salim Fouad Abu Haidar, who was driving a white Mercedes Jeep in the company of Joe Akl (head of the Kataeb Discipline Service) and Michel Fouad Abi Hayla. The five men were touring an area of Mount Sannine (…) located at around a one-hour drive after the Sannine restaurants. As they were on their way, eight unknown and armed masked men riding a camouflaged white Toyota fired in their direction in order to force them to stop. Al-Khoury Hanna emerged from the first car to see what this was all about, and the passengers in the second car were all arrested, whereas al-Tabcharani alone managed to evade them. The armed men claimed to be Hezbollah militants manning an observation position in the area in order to prevent any Israeli airdrop. All [five Kataeb] partisans were released unharmed at 2:00 p.m. after one of them had made a phone call. The abovementioned five men discovered that there was a Hezbollah camp some 10 km away from their location.”

    This official document, published by the Lebanese Army’s Intelligence Directorate, (…) proves beyond the shadow of a doubt the truth of what happened in Sannine and the inexactitude of Hezbollah’s denial. Security sources informed of this issue asserted to Nahar Ash-Shabab that the Lebanese Army’s Intelligence Directorate managed to gain comprehensive knowledge of this issue and follow up on it in light of the incident that was reported in the Faraya-Oyoun al-Simane area. It has thus become certain that Hezbollah has a presence in several regions across the mountaintops of the Western mountain range extending from Jezzine, al-Barouk and Sannine to Oyoun al-Simane and Jbeil’s mountainous area. Indeed, a profusion of observation and ambush positions is to be found on the mountain slopes, not to mention activities in several regions aimed at building networks and underground tunnels.

    Deployment in Jezzine villages

    Security sources revealed to Nahar Ash-Shabab the details and maps of Hezbollah’s deployment and building positions in the Jezzine area, especially in Christian villages, so as to form what Hezbollah refers to as the second line of defense to the north of the Litani River.

    This deployment is taking place along two parallel lines:

    - This first line was established across the public domains and valleys of Jensnaya all the way up to the East through the slope between al-Hassaniyyeh and Wadi al-Laymoun, Tallet Barteh and Sfenti (between the villages of Snayya and Beslayya) and extending to Mazraat Kafra to the South of Zhalteh.
    - The second line starts to the south of the road between al-Sawwan, Jabal Tora and the radar trough al-Louaizeh, Sejod, Mazraat al-Zeghrine, al-Aaychiyyeh, al-Qatrani, al-Sreireh and Berket Jabbour and extending all the way to Maydoun and Machghara in the Western Bekaa. (For additional details, please refer to the enclosed map, which mentions the names of the villages in which public domains and adjacent valleys and hills Hezbollah’s militants took up their new military positions.)

    The region’s inhabitants fear that this military deployment in the area may lead to a methodical displacement of the inhabitants of Jezzine villages. This holds especially true as armed Hezbollah men prevent them from exploiting their land and erecting constructions. These militants sometimes occupy their lands for more than an hour, while some are totally forbidden from accessing their properties.

    Locals tell the story of a Remmaneh inhabitant who tried to build a house in his hometown. Armed Hezbollah militants ordered him to get a building license from the party’s security officer in the village of Jbaa. The official in question did grant him the license, but the man was later prevented from starting construction work under the pretext that the security situation does not allow it!

    Increasing annoyance is also to be recorded among local inhabitants and officials because land plots are now being used to build advanced military fortifications, and huge quantities of iron and cement are being shipped in for this purpose.

    The security sources asserted to Nahar Ash-Shabab that “a Korean company is responsible for executing the construction of the fortifications and military outposts under the supervision of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”

    According to these sources, the geographical area that is being referred to encompasses missile launch ramps located some 30 km away from the southern border, which automatically infers that these missiles have a range exceeding 100 km so as to hit the Israeli heartland. The sources deem that Hezbollah’s concentration in Remmaneh-Jabal Tora is the most important one in terms of fire power following the Jenta camp in the Western Bekaa.

    The security sources also spoke of planned explosions and maneuvers with live ammunition staged by Hezbollah in the area, which recently led – for instance – to the death of five militants from al-Nabi Sheet from the Chakar, Moussawi and al-Mawla families as they were manufacturing explosive devices.

    Based on the above, it becomes quite clear that Hezbollah’s activities transcend the known and constantly renewed array of pretexts and talk of confronting Israel, especially in regions located so far away from confrontation lines. This is taking place at a time when indirect Syrian-Israeli negotiations are moving forward through Turkey’s mediation, thus giving rise to several questions pertaining to Hezbollah’s plans. Therefore, will Hezbollah merely issue another statement of denial with a one-week delay, or will it dare reveal to the public opinion the truth about its military infiltration and deployment, which – the least one can say – has grown way out of hand?!

    iran, hezbollah and syria are taking steps to create a real war

    read and learn

  9. The cross-border attack in Kunar this weekend has apparently galvanized the US and NATO into taking action in the opposite direction. The Times of London reports that the US has massed troops along the border in order to strike into areas essentially ungoverned by the Pakistanis, targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda bases. The Pakistanis warn of the consequences, but Afghanistan and India claim that their intelligence service has sided with the terrorists:

    US troops in Afghanistan massed close to the border yesterday for a possible attack on al-Qaeda and Taleban bases in the lawless North Waziristan tribal belt in Pakistan.
    Reports from the area said that hundreds of Nato troops were airlifted across the mountains from the village of Lowara Mandi, which has been an important base for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Heavy artillery and armoured vehicles were also being moved into position.
    The deployment followed a claim by the Afghan Government on Monday that the Pakistani Army and its spy agency had become “the world’s biggest producers of terrorism and extremism”. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry accused Kabul of creating an “artificial crisis to satisfy short-term political expediencies”. …
    Western commanders say there has been a marked increase in cross-border infiltration in the past few months, fuelling the insurgency in Afghanistan. Nato troops have clashed with Pakistani units along the South Waziristan border.

    The West has just about concluded that the government in Islamabad has become useless as an ally in fighting terrorists. They have lost all control of the FATA regions along the border, and according to Afghanistan and India, their intelligence service is working for the enemy. The attacks coming out of Pakistan have begun including Pakistani armed forces, which led to the US killing a number of them as they ran back across the border after a failed ambush. Pakistan protested the deaths, but the US released video showing soldiers fleeing American gunships in Afghanistan — where they didn’t belong.
    The big question will be whether Pervez Musharraf can keep Pakistani nukes from falling into terrorist control once we start crossing the border.

  10. A war in Lebanon, wi"o", a defensive war, fought from fortified positions.

    Who will be attacking those HB defensive positions?
    The French?
    The Lebanonese Army?

    No has got to be the most truthful answer to those scenarios.
    Who will be going north of the Litani River, but Israelis. Invading Lebanon, again.

    If the Israelis are not drawn in, the Iranians efforts are wasted.

    If they are drawn in, the Lebanonese have prepared a Maginot Line.

  11. Lebanese?

    Hezzbbollah is no more Lebanese than Arafat and the PLO were Lebanese.

  12. DR: A war in Lebanon, wi"o", a defensive war, fought from fortified positions.

    Great Question.

    The Strategic Mountain top is not a fortified position and can be taken out and destroyed, this will allow Israel to attack Iran if needed.

    DR: Who will be attacking those HB defensive positions?

    As for the new bunkers built by iran (and roads) and the new supply of 40,000 rockets, (and let's not forget the NEW ROAD built by Lebanon to within 300 meters of the Sheba Farms) Hezbollah's newly created positions IN SOUTHERN LEBANON south of the Litani, as well as Hezbollah's new positions across traditionally non-shia areas, certainly NOT anyone like the French. The Iranians/Syrians/hezbollah have taken over lebanon.

    Lebanon now is the target...

    One of the great joys I have is seeing terrorists take over countries, fore once they do, the entire place is a legit target. Good luck to Lebanon if israel this time takes out the water, sewage, electric grid, bridges...

    there will be no cease fires...

    Will there be a ground invasion? I hope not...

    I prefer cluster & bunker busting bombs

    Who will be going north of the Litani River, but Israelis. Invading Lebanon, again.

    Hezbollah IS SOUTH of the Litani..

    DR: If the Israelis are not drawn in, the Iranians efforts are wasted.

    Ah but if the Israelis waste Iran, then Syria, Hamas and Lebanon will respond with rockets. Good news? most of the rockets NORTH of the litani are very easy to hit.

    The Iranians, syrians, hamas, and hezbollah are not preparing a DEFENSIVE LINE... They seek to destroy israel from behind a line, thus the use of naplam, cluster, and bunker busters, coupled with a destruction of all infrastructure.

    DR: If they are drawn in, the Lebanese have prepared a Maginot Line.

    The fortification system successfully dissuaded a direct attack. However, it was an ineffective strategic gambit, as the Germans did indeed invade Belgium, flanked the Maginot Line, and proceeded relatively unobstructed.

    DR, war is coming...

    Iran, syria, hamas, fatah, hezbollah, islamic jihad & others are not building the bunkers, roads, rockets for a DEFENSIVE situation, but rather for a world without Israel, then they will have a war without the SUNNI, then a world without the USA, Hindus, Christians and others...

    Israel is the canary in the mine....

    and typically Israel will be left alone to to die or fight...

    traditionally, over the last 1500 short years of christian and islamic history Jews are expected simple to die....

    Newsflash, times have changed

  13. A night at the Haifa metro:

  14. wi"o"
    The point of
    Who will be going north of the Litani River, but Israelis. Invading Lebanon, again.

    Hezbollah IS SOUTH of the Litani..
    is that the lengthy post was chiefly about the HB installations north of the Litani, not in the south. That first line of defense in depth. Now being reinforced in depth, north of the Litani

    The idea that a defensive position is not a defensive position, because it can be destroyed, is new to me.

    The only forces that can be deployeed offensively, the Israelis on the ground, in the air and on the sea, vs Syria's offensive armored capacity.

    Israel wins, that battle.

    But the war that wi"o" is describing is a pre-emptive offensive action, against an unmassed foe in defensive positions. There is no offensive military threat to Israel in Lebanon, none that is new, anyway.

    Bang the drum slowly, the law of unintended consequence looms large.
    You can watch the US electorate drop the enviormental assumptions of the past, in a moment. When it is percieved to be in their best economic interest.

    Another OPEC embargo, seemingly caused by Israeli aggression, on top of the disruption in the Straits of Hormuz, post Israeli strike...

    Watch as the Democrats dump the Greenies, just as an even greater portion of the electorate would demand dumping Israel, because of another oil embargo.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  15. What? Americans abandoning Israel because it hurts their pocketbooks? Tell me it ain't so!

  16. Double the price of gas, again.
    And then again.

    Dump Israel or...
    drive south, into the Saudi oil fields, or west into Iran, siezing their oil infrastructure.

    The Sauds could be defeated with less effort.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Or dump oil and the oil ticks.


    I hope you had a chance to watch this:

    Ties very well with your skull and bones fraternity theory.

  19. Be careful what you wish for.

    great point dr...

    What I wish for?

    Is that the oil from arabia and iran be nuked...

    thus ending the islamic/arab control of the free world.

    i think somehow the world can along fine without middleeastern oil if made radioactive

    might have a cold winter or two....

    100's of millions in asia, middle east and africa will starve, but that's acceptable...

    or let Iran attempt to destroy israel, LIKE THEY STATE ON A DAILY BASIS, and then Israel will have to pull the Samson Option...

    israel expects to see 600,000 - 1,000,000 israelis die and expects to see 150,000,000 arabs & persians die...

    Israel will survive, Egypt? Iran? Syria? Arabia? Lebanon?

    Gone in seconds....

    then we will have a new reality.....

    Or maybe the USA, the EU or the UN will grow some nuts and stop Iran before it causes a major increase in the temp of the globe

  20. The U.S. economy is broken, but who's going to fix it?


    From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

    July 16, 2008 at 7:16 AM EDT

    Buckle up and keep it buckled, because the world economy will continue to deliver a bumpy ride.

    Many are the reasons for the bumpiness, but principal among them has been, and remains, the very bad governance of the United States.

    Govern that country badly, and everyone suffers. The world's biggest economy has become the world's bigger debtor nation, the country with the largest trade deficit, the largest oil deficit, and an annual fiscal deficit that U.S. political institutions cannot seem to master.

    Everywhere Americans turn they see red ink. Their housing market is a flood of debt. Their lending institutions, or at least some of them, are drowning in debt, with the Federal Reserve trying to rescue them. Personal debt is high; the national debt is enormous.

    The recent stimulus package negotiated between President George W. Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress helped, but only temporarily, at a cost of pushing upward again the federal deficit.

    Neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has a credible plan for balancing the budget.

    Americans continue, therefore, to spend more than they produce, import more than they export and, through their government, spend more than they tax. The result is a series of imbalances that, given the importance of the United States in the world, spills over the country's borders.

    Incomes have been rising in the U.S., but largely at or near the top of the income scale. The gaps between rich and poor have widened. Real incomes for the middle class have stagnated. Meanwhile, the share of the national income spent on health-care climbs - to 15 per cent and upward - while 45 million or so people remain without coverage, except in emergency situations at designated hospitals.

    Although presidents going back to Jimmy Carter have episodically lamented dependence on foreign oil, none has done anything significant to change it. There were always too many vested interests in opposition, starting with the U.S. car companies, and the coal and oil lobbies.

    Those SUVs driving around today exist in profusion in large part because the car industry convinced Congress to classify them as trucks so as to avoid vehicle emission standards for cars. Per unit, manufacturers made far more money on SUVs than sedans.

    The country's trade deficit extends back many years, and reverses the historical record whereby the dominant power of an age (or in a region) ran surpluses with colonies or neighbours to keep its affluence alive and its dominance uncontested.

    Some of the turbulence in world markets relates to that chronic trade deficit. That deficit keeps pulling down the dollar as the terms of trade get readjusted to make U.S. exports cheaper and imports more expensive. Since oil is denominated in U.S. dollars, the declining value of the dollar intersects with the rising price of oil.

    No politician has seriously forced Americans to face these structural challenges. George W. Bush began an optional war in Iraq and told Americans they could have lower taxes.

    He said he could balance the budget, but spawned a string of deficits.

    He told them trade agreements would help their trade deficit, but they didn't.

    Without much dissent from Congress, he presided over deepening debt and deficits. Red is literally the Republicans' colour, and a reflection of how they have managed the economy.

    What's disconcerting now, as problems mount, is the apparent unwillingness of either presidential candidate to prepare Americans for the wrenching changes ahead.

    Protectionism isn't going to solve the U.S. trade deficits, as some Democrats pretend. More tax cuts will make the country's fiscal situation worse, despite Republican assertions. Spending cuts alone will not solve the deficit problem; there have to be tax increases. Big investments in green technologies, useful to be sure, won't dramatically alter the oil import bill.

    A lot of "yes we can" rhetoric can't mask the fact that Mr. Obama's spending initiatives can't be paid for while balancing the budget if taxes are only raised on those earning more than $250,000 a year and closing "corporate loopholes."

    Until the U.S. gets a grip on its structural weaknesses, the result of bad governing, the world will be a turbulent place.

  21. There is an elementary solution to strategic oil reserves.

    1. Sell the reserves we have now at top dollar and drive the price down.

    2. Declare our strategic reserve is now in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, all of it. Reserve the right to buy all that is being shipped out of the Americas at the going price.

    3. Require Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to supply all US military fuel requirements at cost.

  22. I think >>this is the video you're trying to direct us to.


    Viable perspective of history, seems to me. Though FDR gets painted in a rather biased light.

  23. Got my electricity bill last night. I pay 16.47 cents/kwh. How does that compare?

  24. The Polar ice cap may be melting, but the U.S. economy is frozen, starting right here in my small town. Gradually rising levels of dismay at the gas pump and in the supermarket gave way to paralytic shock last week when "lock-in" notices from the local fuel company arrived.


    The economic crisis has been triggered by what economists call "structural shifts" in the global supply and demand for commodities, coupled with the meltdown in the mortgage markets and the ensuing credit squeeze. But this crisis is now moving into a whole new gear, creating a new set of economic conditions that have yet to be named.


    Moody's is our sanctuary of sameness, where regulars come for the $3.89 breakfast special—two pancakes, two eggs, two links—and tourists to satisfy a hunger for something that goes beyond food. Built in the 1920s on Maine's principal north-south route, it was a haven for loggers, truckers, and rusticators in an age before cholesterol.

    Frozen Economy

  25. "1932"

    Yeah, that's the one. Although my link is to the higher quality video.

  26. Back in California we've seen people stand in line getting the money out of IndyMac. You won't find Steve Murphy among them.

    Murphy's advice? Talk to your bank officer.

    "Find out what's covered," said Murphy.

    Band Troubles

  27. A monumental shift in how Western corporations tap into Indian talent is taking place. Companies are moving away from running their own offshoring operations and handing at least some of those jobs to Indian tech-services specialists.

    The most recent sign of the sea change came July 10, when British insurance giant Aviva (AV) said it sold a 5,000-strong South Asian outsourcing operation to WNS Global Services (WNS) of Mumbai. WNS paid $228 million for these so-called captive operations in Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, and Colombo, Sri Lanka.


    Apte estimates more than 150 companies have shifted in the past few years from running captive operations to using a mix of internally run and outsourced operations. He expects another 80 to 100 companies will make the move in the next year or so.

    Offshore Operations

  28. Richard C. Cook
    Jul 16, 2008 10:18 PM GMT

    The producing economy of working men and women is being crushed by the overall debt burden on households, businesses, and governments that could reach $70 trillion by 2010. While the mainstream media are blind, deaf, and dumb as to the causes, the victims within the middle and working classes are seeing their livelihoods ruined, jobs taken away, pensions eroded, homes foreclosed on, and are being saddled with ever-increasing debt and forced to work under more and more stress due to rising burdens of taxation, gas and food price inflation, and bureaucratic rules and regulations. We have been the fodder for their wars and the signers of their loans. The bankers and financiers do not care if nations and empires destroy themselves and each other, because they are internationalists.On a national level, it is likely that as a response to the economic crisis some attempt will be made by desperate politicians to try to replicate the New Deal

  29. "There is an elementary solution to strategic oil reserves."

    Yes there is. And it is to invest in people.

  30. Kissinger's perverse variation on the old mafia 'protection racket' game:

  31. Sam, like me you are paying through the nose. Double many if not most other parts of the country.

  32. Quite the ride, the ZR1.

    Thanks Whit, darned Aussie socialism.

  33. I finally made it through that Larouche video. It took several sessions but I finished it. Did that Henry Wallace clip strike anyone else as coming from way out in left field? Roosevelt and Wallace were very humane men but were they ignoring the evil of Communism? Were they naive and idealistic about a united nations of man. I think history has since proven that man is corrupt.

    I recently heard a report about the corrupt officials of Zambia and other African nations selling their natural resources for a pittance which straight into their Swiss bank accounts. Oil countries offered bribes and corrupt men took them while the countries fell deeper into social and economic chaos. Then you have Zimbabwe or as we old timers know it, Rhodesia. Once the bread basket of Africa, now look at it post colonialism.

    The Larouche video ends with a quote about men not, events shaping history. But you have good men, enigmatic men and truly evil men who shape history.

    Who knew that it wasn't communism that we should have been fighting but rather the dastardly British who today will not even fly their own flag.

  34. Oil companies offered bribes...

  35. "Who knew that it wasn't communism that we should have been fighting but rather the dastardly British who today will not even fly their own flag."

    British imperialism.
    Spanish imperialism.
    Russian imperialism.
    German imperialism.
    French imperialism.
    Japanese imperialism.
    Chinese imperialism
    American imperialism.
    Commercial imperialism.
    Catholic imperialism.
    Jihadi imperialism.

    What's the common denominator there, Whit?

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  37. interesting article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.