“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 07, 2009

"We have three foreigners, including women," the gunman said into the phone. The response was brutally simple: "Kill them."


Gunshots then rang out inside the Mumbai hotel, followed by cheering that could be heard over the phone.

The ruthless exchange comes from a transcript of phone calls Indian authorities say they intercepted during the November Mumbai attacks. They were part of a dossier of evidence New Delhi handed Pakistan this week that it says definitively proves that the siege was launched from across the border.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday that he did not believe the gunmen were acting alone, and Pakistani state agencies must have had a hand in the attacks.
The dossier made no mention of any Pakistani officials or agencies.

Pakistani authorities are reviewing the evidence but have dismissed Singh's claims. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused India of waging a "media and diplomatic offensive against Pakistan."

"It is clearly unhelpful to any serious and objective investigations and amounts to unnecessarily whipping up tensions in South Asia," Gilani said.

But Pakistani Information Minister Sherry Rehman did say Wednesday that the lone surviving gunman was a Pakistani citizen, after weeks of refusing to confirm Delhi's claims. Islamabad had previously said it could not find Ajmal Kasab — the only one of 10 not killed as commandos ended the siege — in its databases.

Indian leaders have made clear they do not want a military conflict with Pakistan, and Pakistan's intelligence chief said there will be no war over the Mumbai attacks.
"We may be crazy in Pakistan, but not completely out of our minds," Pakistan's intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, told German news magazine Der Spiegel. "We know full well that terror is our enemy, not India."

Predominantly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan have fought three wars against each other since they gained independence in 1947.

The Mumbai transcripts, which were translated into English by Indian authorities and obtained by the newspaper The Hindu, show that the gunmen who carried out the attacks were in close contact with their handlers throughout the siege. India says the handlers directing the attacks that left 164 dead were senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group.

The handlers told a team of gunmen who had seized a Jewish center to shoot hostages if necessary.

"If you are still threatened, then don't saddle yourself with the burden of the hostages. Immediately kill them," he said.

Six Jewish foreigners, including a rabbi and his wife, were killed inside the Jewish center.

Later in the night, nearly 24 hours after the attacks began, the handlers urged the gunmen to "be strong in the name of Allah"

"Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam," the handler said. "You may feel tired or sleepy, but the commandos of Islam have left everything behind, their mothers, their fathers."

The gunmen were told several times not to kill any Muslim hostages.

The attackers used several different mobile phones, including those belonging to the hostages. Shortly after the siege began, Indian authorities say they began intercepting calls from inside the hotel. They were also able to pick up calls carried over the Internet, which the handlers used to route some calls, according to the dossier.

The siege lasted nearly three days, far longer than security experts said it should have, and, apparently, far longer than the terrorists expected as well. The handlers told the gunmen on Nov. 27 that "the operation has to be concluded tomorrow morning." But it was 36 more hours before it finished.

Much of the dialogue has a teacher-student dynamic, and indeed, the surviving gunman has said he and the rest of the group were trained by Lashkar in Pakistan.

"We made a big mistake," one of the gunman says into the phone in the early hours of the siege.
"What big mistake?"
"When we were getting into the boat ... another boat came. Everyone jumped quickly. In this confusion, the satellite phone of Ismail got left behind."

The investigation shows the gunmen entered Mumbai, which sits on the Arabian sea, by a rubber dinghy.

The attacks against iconic Mumbai targets were covered nonstop by news channels around the world. The handlers used the TV reports to guide the gunmen, the dossier says, including warning when commandos roped down to the Jewish center from helicopters.
The dossier included photographs of dozens of items recovered in the attacks, including GPS units, mobile phones, guns, and explosives, as well as data gleaned from satellite phones, and details from the interrogation of the lone surviving gunman.
It also had pictures of more mundane items India calls incriminating because they were made in Pakistan, including pickles, detergent, a match box, tissue paper, a Mountain Dew bottle, shaving cream and a towel.

But the strongest — and most chilling — evidence that the gunmen were not acting alone came from the phone transcripts.

"Keep your phone switched on," a handler said in the midst of the siege, "so that we can hear the gunfire."


  1. A squad wrecked havoc on Bombay.

    Which could be done, anywhere.
    Even here.

    Multiple, simultaneous attacks in any major population center would have a similar effect.
    Confused first responders, ambushed in route or when arriving on scene.
    Standard terrorist tactics.

    Using an imported or local team, as the case may be. Could even became a series of smash and dash raids, where suicide was not a priority.

    A squad of operatives, hitting banks and other targets of opportunty, without suicide as a goal, but continued disruption and mayhem being paramount.
    Similar in design to the Beltway snipers or the SLA, but better financed and organized.

  2. The retaliation has to be swift, brutal and inclusive. That takes real good intelligence based on good work, good luck and well executed coercion of recalcitrant participants. It has to strike terror in future supporting agents.

    I hope Leon is up to the CIA- OJT program for 70 year old neophytes with social indignation.

  3. Oh, but Leon's got impeccable credentials - namely, a public record of piety. What could possibly go wrong?

    I said weeks ago that if the incoming administration was going to screw the pooch with any major appointment, it was going to be that one, the chief motivating criteria being singularly misguided. This was the Achilles.

    At BC, so many words on this appointment, and not a shred of insight. One cannot appreciate just how bad a move it is, without understanding just how successful the prior appointment was and how terrifically awful the one prior to that.

    The irony of it comes with Obama's own broad policy objectives (the magic ponies, as it were). If there's luck to be had, it's with the altered state of affairs that will be handed over by the current Director. But in one respect, at least, it would be invariably more difficult, regardless of appointment: People are beginning to hit the wall. You cannot go hair afire for years and keep up the sheer quantity of reporting.

    It's a far better Agency; it is also a very tired one.

  4. Can it be that the Number 2, whom I've read is staying, take more operational responsibility and Leon will be riding herd on Congress, as advertised.

    Is that even possible?

  5. Keeping Kappes was a consolation prize, an appeaser, and not one that originated with the incoming admin.

    In an organization so exclusively controlled by the Executive, the Director is king. So to speak.

    Either he will go within a year, or Panetta will.

    Hayden's genius was with precisely that bunch who take Panetta as the big middle finger, after having had their share of these. And it is that bunch that carries the heaviest burden.

  6. Jihad is Jihad...

    From the 1st Jew beheaded in Medina to the Hindu's burned by the hundreds, to the 1300 cars in Paris o New years, Twin Towers, Gaza Retards...

    It's all the same...

    So my solution?

    I bought a Glock and a package of bacon....

    I pity the jihadist fool that tries to behead my kids...

    I will stuff the bullet holes with bacon...

    It's time to change the rule book...

    and jihadist that killed in trying to pursue their civil rights by murdering us?

    stitch the bastard in a pig skin...

    film it and put it on Utube...

  7. my my WiO you sound just like them right down to the desire to video it and show it off.

    It brings to mind an article I read in my local rag:

    "Why it's hard to beat Hamas


    From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

    January 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST

    Many analogies are being made between the Israeli attack against Hamas in Gaza and the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Here are the most important ones.

    The first is about provenance: Hamas and Hezbollah did not exist before 1982. They are the ideological stepchildren of the Likud party and Ariel Sharon, whose embrace of violence, racism and colonization as the means of dealing with occupied Arab populations ultimately generated a will to resist.
    The trio carrying on Mr. Sharon's legacy - Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni - seem blind to the fact that the more force Israel uses, the greater the response in the form of more effective resistance.

    The second analogy is about technical proficiency. Hamas and Hezbollah have both increased their ability to use assorted rockets to harass Israel. And they are better able to protect their launchers from pre-emptive Israeli attacks.

    The number of Israeli dead in recent years is in the low hundreds, compared with the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel. But body counts are not the most useful criteria in this analysis. The real measure is the nagging Israeli sense of vulnerability and the Palestinian sense of empowerment and defiance.

    It is a gruesome but tangible victory for Hamas simply to be able to keep firing 30 or 40 rockets a day at southern Israel, while Israel destroys much of the security and civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

    The frustration in Israel is reflected in its bombing attacks on the Islamic University and the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza - symbols of the sort of modernity and democracy that Israel and the U.S. claim they seek to promote in the Arab world. Palestinians and Lebanese pay a high price for their "victories" - but until someone offers a more cost-effective way of dealing with Israel's violence, we will see this cycle of warfare continue for some time.

    The TV images of dead children in Gaza generate a tremendous will to fight among Palestinians and their supporters in the Arab world. Israelis remain blind to the fact that Arabs respond to brutality the same way they do. A majority of Israelis polled this week supports the continuation of attacks in Gaza. Israelis seem to feel they have the right to respond to attacks by using indiscriminate violence against Palestinians - but Palestinians do not have the right to respond when attacked by Israel. A consequence of this attitude has been the ability of Hamas and Hezbollah to fight with enough proficiency to force Israel to accept a ceasefire.

    The third analogy is about the convergence between religion, nationalism, governance and politics. In both Palestine and Lebanon, the secular political systems proved unable to protect society against Israeli aggression or domestic strife and criminality. Movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah developed in large part to fill this vacuum. They have achieved mixed results, with success in some areas but also an intensification of warfare and destruction in others.

    Accusing these movements of using terrorism or cozying up to Syria and Iran will not discredit them. This is because of the structural manner in which they fulfill multiple roles that respond to the needs of their constituents in the realms of governance, local security, national defence and basic service delivery - responsibilities their secular national governments failed to fulfill.

    The combination of these attributes makes it very hard for Israel to "defeat" Hamas and Hezbollah in their current configuration, regardless of how much destruction Israel rains on their societies. These two Islamist nationalist movements reflect a long list of mostly legitimate grievances that must be addressed if peace and security are ever to reign in this region.

    Rami Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star and director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut."

  8. The CIA only has one real function, protect Americans from foreign enemies. I fail to see how that objective is enhanced with Leon.

  9. Ash said...
    my my WiO you sound just like them right down to the desire to video it and show it off.

    no ash you miserable asshole I am worse.......

    I want to PROVE to them that ALLAH hates them...

    And LOVES me...

    I want to HURT them by using their false beliefs...

    in the end ash, I do not advocate HUNTING them down like the camel fucking rat bastards they are...

    I advocate WHEN they COME attacking to KILL them

    the problem is ash, idiots like you cannot see that difference...

    I do NOT burn down innocent people's homes.. behead reporters...

    I advocate TAKING the bodies of the attacking Jihadists and stuffing them with bacon...

    now how the hell is that the SAME thing?

  10. It brings to mind an article I read in my local rag:

    "Why it's hard to beat Hamas

    your article is crap.....

    maybe you know it, you call it a "rag"

    Want to BEAT HAMAS and Hezbollah?

    start wrapping the dead bodies of all hamas and hezbollah fighters in pig skins and feed them to the sharks...

    Hezbollah and hamas can be defeated...

    Just google Hama, Syria to learn how Syria handled them

    Google Fatah al Islam camp in Lebanon to see how Lebanon handles the issue

  11. Rami Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star and director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut."


    now that is funny....

    the french of the arab world telling us how hezbollah cant be beat...

    I have white flags for sale... cheap

  12. Rami Khouri is a Palestinian, Ash, what did you expect his comments and beliefs to be?

  13. Ash, if it was 1943, you would be quoting Hitler.

  14. ash you miserable asshole

    ash, idiots like you

    your article is crap

    Ash, what did you expect

    Ash, if it was 1943, you would be quoting Hitler

    Ah, the sounds of music to my ears....:)

  15. I've been toying with the idea of getting one of those Glocks like WiO has, while the getting is still good.

    Now we're having the 'pineapple express' aka a
    'chinook' here. There's going to be some flooding if this keeps up long. Nearly 50 degrees, feels just like the Sahara to a snowman like I've turned into.

  16. it's people like ash that the term "useful idiot" was invented...

    notice how he/she/it likens MY response to a terror attack as the same as the terrorist attacking?

    sending a brutal message to the terrorists that we will not put up with them and respecting their hearttfelt beliefs is NOT the same as going out and doing terrorism..

    it is simply a RESPONSE to the terrorists WHERE IT HURTS...

    they do not care if their KIDS are killed they BREED kids to die as suicide bomber and martyrs...

    They are famous in saying "we love death as you love life" so give them something to fear...


  17. Help defeat Frankenstein--

    As John F. Kennedy once said, "sometimes partisanship demands too much." Watching Al Franken and the Democrats steal this election, vote by vote, is a horrific sight that makes a mockery of the electoral process, the fundamental element in our democracy. If this travesty is allowed to stand, it essentially means that any close election constitutes an open invitation to try to steal the victory.

    We must not permit the Minnesota Democrats to get away with this election heist. The Republican National Lawyers Association is litigating the issue and needs all the support they can get to fund their court case.

    You can help stop Al Franken, support the Republican National Lawyers Association fight -- Go Here Now

    The recount actually wants to count ballots in twenty-five precincts that would bring the total of votes cast higher than the actual number of people who voted! In Ramsey County, 177 more votes have been counted than people who voted on Election Day. The canvassing board, in effect, is admitting that it is counting fraudulent, duplicate ballots! In some cases absentee ballots, particularly from troops serving overseas, have been counted. In other cases, not. One ballot, on which Franken was crossed out and replaced by "Frankenstein" was counted as a Democratic vote.

    Apparently, when a ballot was challenged, a copy was made to facilitate examination. But, in many cases, the canvasser failed to label the ballot as a duplicate. Then, in the recount, all the ballots were counted, ensuring that the challenged vote was not only counted, but counted twice.

    What makes all of this suspicious in the extreme is that each of these errors inured to Franken's advantage and eroded Coleman's election night lead until the Democrat could claim victory.

    At the same time that the Democrats are getting away with their chicanery in Minnesota, Governor Rob Blagojevich is succeeding at appointing the successor to Obama in Illinois. The success of his appointment was inevitable once the Illinois Legislature, again with a heavy Democratic majority, refused to order a special election for the vacant Senate seat. So afraid were they that the Republicans might win the special balloting that they would rather let Blagojevich make the possibly corrupt appointment than give the voters the chance to make the decision.

    We now will likely never know if the new Senator Burris complied with Blagojevich's fantasies and actually paid for his seat in the Senate. But the very fact that we have the Governor of the state on tape preparing to make such a demand of whoever he appointed should give us pause. That Illinois' Democrats would rather have us speculate than give their voters the franchise is as revolting, in its own way, as the Great Minnesota Senate Seat Robbery.

    Mark Twain said that people should never have to see sausage being made or a law being passed. Add to that a recount in progress.

    Dick Morris

  18. A name change from 'Franken' to 'Frankenstein' was counted as a vote for Franken!

  19. Well, it was 2003 and the words that Osama had used in 1999 and 2000, that tying the US to a military quagmire, trish's tar baby, would bankrupt the country, were largely ignored by one and all.

    The US became involved in two land conflicts and nation building exercises in some minor Eastern lands within Alexander the Greats' aspirations to Empire. Places he passed on through, towards the real objective.

    Now the US is bogged down, in each locale.
    And the Country is bankrupt, needing to borrow trillions of dollars to cover the deficits the President elect says will be coming, for years.

    Osama obtained a lot of his objectives, the US playing the role that was expected, and then some. When we could have turned the table, acted outside the box of expectations.
    If only we'd have listened

    Sometimes it pays to listen to what the opponent says.

  20. Joe the Plumber to Become War Correspondent

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 1:20 PM

    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Joe the plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook.

    The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site

    Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR'-zuhl-bah-kur) says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting.

    He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel's "'Average Joes share their story."

    Wurzelbacher gained attention during the final weeks of the campaign when he asked Barack Obama about his tax plan.

    He later joined Republican John McCain on the campaign trail. At one stop, he agreed with a McCain supporter who asked whether he believed a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel.

  21. I don't see it was Iraq that caused this meltdown. I read somewhere it was Frannie and Freddie, which in turn was caused by the democrats.


    Since I contributed to McCain's campaign I got a nice form letter wanting more money from him to help start his new group "Country First".

    I'm declining. Am writing a nice letter back saying while I respect him, I see he's back in the immigration reform business, and my money will be going to Sarah.

    You folks all ought to get yourselves one of those 2009 Palin Calendars. When was the last time you saw a beautiful woman that can gut a moose, votes right, with a shotgun over her shoulder, and is from a functional family, a family that circles the wagons around one of their own having some problems?

    Obama, he's the one from the dysfunctional family.

  22. :)
    This is funny from Maggie's Farm--

    Bad ass Texas rabbit takes on rattlesnake--

    Jimmy Carter Wouldn't Have Stood A Chance

  23. Maybe it isn't a rattlesnake, but it's a brave rabbit.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Yoni the blogger is not happy:
    In war you seek to kill your enemy and destroy his infrastructure in the most massive way possible so that your soldiers can win victory and then return home.

    Nor is he optimistic about the outcome. Read more.

  26. Obama's family dysfunction boggles the mind, bob.

    All the more cause for rejoicing.

    Ahhh, you look for cause and effect, when all that counts is the reality on the ground.

    Osama planned for the US to bog down in Afghanistan, going broke like the Soviets did, in the effort.

    We obliged and added Iraq in for good measure. The US has spent upwards of a trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so far. The military is stressed to breaking, as is the CIA, our insider reports.

    The US is, at the crossroads of Presidental transition, functionally bankrupt, but with good credit. The 50 States need a $$ trillion between them, AZ is just $6 billion short, currently, as revenues are still shrinking.

    That was Osama's stated objective, bankrupt America. It has been achieved. Blame whomever your heart desires. It does not change the reality of trillion dollar deficits for years to come.

    They did not need to stage another attack, it was not in any master plan. They had no master plan of follow on attacks, they're plan was to draw US to them. They did.

    Spin the tale however you want, the US Government is beyond spinning the story, not doing propaganda.

    Leaving the battle of ideas to the alternate view, without even a care in the world.

  27. 13 days to transition and already, the Obama effect is moderating the Israelis.

    He does not even have to speak publicly, his IDF volunteer of a Chief of Staff can carry the message to the Israelis, in a believable manner. Or so they say of the thunder.

  28. All of these homes were empty because just as Israel did decades ago in Lebanon we called the terrorist and warned them to get out.

    We then bomb empty buildings.

    This is all a game and the leaders of Israel do not have the courage to really fight a war until we win.

    For if Israel were ever to obtain victory over our enemies then the focus of the Jewish people would be on how corrupt our leaders really are.

    I pray to G-D that the IDF does not go in on the ground, risking our boys for this obscene game that Barak, Livni and Olmert are playing in an effort to keep the hard left in power after the next election.
    Yoni the blogger, Jan 2.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Osama planned for the US to bog down in Afghanistan

    I think that's true, but also, we had to do something. Went well at first, mucked up at Tora Bora, now things are grinding along not so well. It's a tough problem. What to do? I don't really know, it's kind of a stalemate the way it is. Lots of the folk over at BC advocate killing so many of them that those left give up. I don't see Obama doing that.

    The dems say they're going to spend our way to prosperity. Out doing Bush. I'm doubting it will work.

    Headlines from Drudge--

    President-Elect Signals $775 Billion For Stimulus May Grow...
    Faces battle...
    Fed faces tough task ending emergency support...
    China may balk at buying more US debt... Developing...


    And I bet you'll need a semi to haul all those earmarks.

  31. Everyone plays to the script.

    The military half-step that does not complete the stated preliminary goals.

    Then a moving of the goal posts to claim a vestige of victory.

    With the enemy gone to ground.

    There are said to be 15,000 Hamas guys with guns. Best estimates are that there have been 500, maybe 600 Gaza residents killed in the action, so far.

    Not all of whom were Hamas gunmen.

  32. Gaza and the West Bank are UN sponsored and abetted cesspools and after thirty years of watching this crap, I do not want to become emotionally involved in this latest round. If the Israelis surprise, fine but I'm not getting my hopes up.
    Did anyone else hear the report that the bottom has fallen out of the household recycling market. It costs more to recycle now than the recyclables fetch on the market.

  33. Those bastards are as heartless as GWB.

    Wish Laura and the Girls had to live like Campeon and Ramo's families unless and until they are pardoned.

  34. Starling thot I was kidding, so I googled "Blago Bookie" and got this:

    No Joke.
    Thanks for asking:
    I never took the effort to check, and the truth is worse than the rumor, because it includes Ryan Divorce Records:

    ABC News Sat on Blago Bookie Mob Charge for Years.
    Robert Cooley is a former Chicago police officer-turned mob lawyer-turned federal informant. During Operation Gambat in the late 1980's and early 1990's, Cooley's undercover work and testimony put away 24 crooked politicians, judges, lawyers and cops. Several years ago, when Mr. Blagojevich was running for re-election, Cooley provided the same information to the ABC7 I-Team. Because Cooley did not want to be identified at the time and the governor denied it, ABC7 did not report the story.
    Story Continues Below Ad ↓
    I'd like to see a show of hands of people that believe the media would have sat on this story if the person being fingered was a Republican.
    This is the same ABC affiliate whose attorney's worked overtime in 2004 to force the California courts to unseal the divorce records of Illinois Republican Jack Ryan when he was running against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate seat. The efforts of the press successfully embarrassed the Republican and damaged his campaign to the point where he dropped out of the race. Yet charges of corruption tying a sitting Governor to the Illinois mob were brushed aside by Chicago's local ABC affiliate because the Governor denied it and the whistle blower wouldn't reveal his identity.

  35. Mickey Mouse strikes, again, doug

    So what else is new in the world?

  36. Bush to Obama: ‘We want you to succeed’

    By Sam Youngman
    Posted: 01/07/09 01:26 PM [ET]

    President Bush and the remaining living ex-presidents told President-elect Obama Wednesday that they all share in wanting his administration to be a success.

    Bush, with just 13 days left in his administration and flanked by the living former presidents and the incoming one, spoke briefly to reporters before the exclusive club and its newest member were to sit down for lunch, but after a brief private meeting between Bush and Obama.

    “One message that I have and I think we all share is that we want you to succeed,” the outgoing president said.

    “Whether we’re Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country,” Bush said. “And to the extent we can, we look forward to sharing our experiences with you. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office itself transcends the individual and we wish you all the very best and so does the country.”

    Obama, who was joined by Bush and former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, said he is grateful for the advice from the very small group of people alive who have preceded him in serving as president, and he thanked Bush for hosting the meeting — the first of its kind in the White House since 1981.

    “This is an extraordinary gathering,” Obama said. “All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office, and for me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary, and I’m very grateful to all of them.”

  37. EU threatens Russia! Well, what the hell are they going to actually do?

    Cold war! EU gives Russia 24 hours to switch pipeline back on after 12 countries left without power.

    By Liz Hazelton
    Last updated at 11:00 PM on 07th January 2009

    The EU gave Russia 24 hours to restore gas supplies last night after all deliveries to Ukraine were halted in a dispute over unpaid bills.

    As 17 European countries reported cuts to supplies, the leaders of both Russia and Ukraine were warned to stop treating Europe's gas supply as a 'hostage'.

    Significantly, the EU failed to spell out what action it planned to take if its warning was ignored.

    As millions of people struggled to cope in sub-zero temperatures, it has emerged that gas prices could soar in Britain if there is not a swift resolution to the crisis.

    Moscow pulled the plug on three major pipelines after a pricing dispute with Ukraine.
    Supplies have dwindled throughout this week and today Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic confirmed their pipelines were empty.

    Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey are already out of gas.

    Italy suffered a 90 per cent plunge, France was down 70 per cent and Germany was affected for the first time.

    Britain, however, is unlikely to run out of gas as only two per cent of supplies come from Russia which can be replaced from other sources if necessary.


    Turn that gas back on, or I'm gonna scream!

    Ah they'll get through it. It should force them to look elsewhere, or better yet, to themselves, for their energy supplies.

    Build nukes.

  38. Yeah, and Pelosi says were gonna sue the Sods for more and cheaper Oil.

  39. ...since we are WAY too green to drill drill drill.

    ...and big Oil cannot afford to anyhoo, 'cause Mat would tax them bankrupt if they did.

  40. Significantly, the EU failed to spell out what action it planned to take if its warning was ignored.

    Ahhhhhh yes, I love the smell of "soft power" in the morning!

  41. Bad manners. The Eurabians better learn to speak softly and respectfully. Russians are not as patient as Israelis.

  42. Ash, if it was 1943, you would be quoting Hitler.

    Hitler had a mustache, and Ashley has a mustache. Ergo, Ashley is just like Hitler.

  43. Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism.

    In America, it took a "friendlier," more liberal form. The modern heirs of this "friendly fascist" tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood.

    The quintessential liberal fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

    Liberal Fascism

  44. France, Germany, Italy and Serbia have also reported drastic falls in Russian gas supplies. Poland and Turkey said supplies from Ukraine had been completely cut but were getting increased amounts through different pipelines.

    Experts have said however that the impact of the crisis would be mitigated by the fact that European countries consciously stocked up reserves after a similar Russia-Ukraine dispute caused shortfalls in 2006.

    Russian state television broadcast a meeting between Putin and former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, head of a Baltic gas pipeline project to Germany that Russia is pushing as an alternative to supplies through Ukraine.

    Crisis Engulfs Europe

  45. "Up until now, despite grim economic readings, shares have been snapped up on expectations for the U.S. economy-boosting measures," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst in the equity information department at Shinko Securities Co.

    "But for today, we see here a backlash of things as investors are reacting more to bad economic data," Miura said.

    With the ADP serving as an advance indicator of the outcome of the much anticipated payroll data to be released by the U.S. Labor Department Friday, Miura said, "The Tokyo market is refocusing on the reality that the real economy is bad."

    Stronger Yen

  46. I begged anyone who would listen that the beginning of the housing crisis was like a fire that had not hit a flash point, that it would be smart to remediate the problem loans as much as possible and stop the spread. We are past that now.

    The world is in a very precarious state. It depends on US stability. Having thought about this more and more, there is no currency that can step in for the dollar. The euro is hanging on based on a wish. They do not have the means to either convince the Russians or threaten them. Putin will do what he wishes because he despises their weakness but Russia is weak in real economic terms.

    China is vulnerable internally and at the mercy of world trade. It has no plan B. What to do?

    Bush has frittered away the cheaper opportunities to stem the financial meltdown. Obama will be over-lording trillion dollar deficits and they may work. He has no choice. I hope Obama forgets about his promise to expand the war in Afghanistan. He will have enough troubles in other places and should keep his powder dry.

    What a mess.

  47. The Herald Tribune is reporting this:

    "China has bought more than $1 trillion in American debt, but as the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home - a shift that could pose some challenges to the U.S. government in the near future but eventually may even produce salutary effects on the world economy..."

    China can only sell to the US if it is willing to take dollars. Them are the tough noogies. No tickie, no washie. If the Chinese stop taking dollars , the US will simply stop buying Chinese goods. Those goods that are of Chinese origin and structurally irreplaceable in the short run will escalate in price and will become quickly available from other sources.

    Without the US market, China will lose the economies of scale to keep prices down and that will affect sales to other countries as well. China has no choice but to take US dollars and will have to buy dollar denominated interest bearing securities whether it likes it or not.

  48. CIVICS 101 3rd GRADE

    From a teacher in the Nashville area

    We are worried about "the cow" when it is all about the "Ice Cream"

    The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third
    grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the
    children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class

    We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the
    class would vote.

    To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members.
    We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We
    got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for
    the top spot.

    The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were
    good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of
    parental support. I had never seen Olivia's mother.

    The day arrived when they were to make their speeches. Jamie went first. He
    had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by
    promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia
    came to the podium.

    Her speech was concise. She said, "If you will vote for me, I will give you
    ice cream." She sat down. The class went wild.

    "Yes!Yes! We want ice cream."

    She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed How
    did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure. Would her parents
    buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn't know. The class really
    didn't care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.

    Jamie was forgotten.

    Olivia won by a land slide.

    Every time Barack Obama opens his mouth he offers ice cream,

    SEVENTY FIVE percent of the people react like nine year olds. They want ice
    cream. The other TWENTY FIVE percent know they're going to have to feed the
    cow and clean up the mess.