Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today's breaking news!


It looks like it (terror) is going to dominate the news cycle at least until the end of the year. Aside from the imbecilic nature of the self-induced hysteria, its true purpose is clear, further expansion of military attacks on an ever widening circle of countries. The right-wing attack on Obama is just cover, convincing the progs that their guy is holding back a flood of right-wing lunacy, but in truth, expanding the war zone is a bipartisan love-fest.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The beat goes on

The drum beat of terror episodes has become the new feature of the Obama administration. Al-Qaida once again rears its head in sponsoring someone capable of setting himself on fire on an airplane, another act of terror like Richard Reid or those inmates at Gitmo that managed to hang themselves in a choreographed production.

Unlike the supermen of 9/11, the Taliban, or the Iraqi insurgents, the new crop of international terrorizers seem united only in their incompetence. But even though incompetent in doing damage to anything but their own sorry selves, the breathless reporters and pundits that follow their doings are united in their message to America, "Waaa, we're afraid! You should be, too!".

Alas for them and their hype, the current fears of Americans are much more real, powerful and mundane. Obama's distractions will have to escalate to have any real effect. Expect more fireworks in the near future.

UPDATE: Like clockwork, new restrictions on airline passengers.

UPDATE II: Chris Floyd points out an obvious connection that is making us very afraid; our latest lousy terrorist is being linked to the latest lousy target of our heroic robotic drone attacks: Yemen, one of al-Quaida's oldest and newest playgrounds. Like in Afghanistan in the past, they have monkey bars and highly trained trainers training terrorizers to set themselves on fire on airliners.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Household Sector

This article by Eric Sprott and David Franklin is a must read (warning .pdf). For months we at Blog Simple, and others, have been baffled by the ease with which the Treasury continues to be able to sell their wares, even though they pay little, no, or negative interest, depending on how you look at them.

Listen to this and then go read the whole thing:

So who really picked up the tab? To our surprise, the only group to actually substantially increase their purchases in 2009 is defined in the Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Report as the "Household Sector". This category of buyers bought $15 billion worth of treasuries in 2008, but by Q3 2009 had purchased a whopping $528.7 billion worth. At the end of Q3 this Household Sector category now owns more treasuries than the Federal Reserve itself.

So to summarize, the majority buyers of Treasury securities in 2009 were:
1. Foreign and International buyers who purchased $697.5 billion.
2. The Federal Reserve who bought $286 billion.
3. The Household Sector who bought $528 billion to Q3 – which puts them on
track purchase $704 billion for fiscal 2009.

These three buying groups represent the lion’s share of the $1.885 trillion of debt that was issued by the US in fiscal 2009.

Don't be lazy now, read it. And be afraid, be very afraid.
(h/t zerohedge)

Going rogue?

David Headley, the accused scout of the Mumbai terror attack, is now been tagged by Indian intelligence as a US 'secret agent' who 'went rogue'.

The CIA, of course, denied that he ever worked for them, but we have to assume they knew about him, at least his DEA activities, as well as his new role as an immigration consultant.

Probably, his arrest was precipitated by his cover being blown to both Indian and Pakistani intelligence. The last thing the US would need would be to have a man of his background at the mercy of foreign intelligence. As for 'going rogue', that sounds extremely improbable. The nexus of drugs and terrorism leads inevitably to US intelligence operations, and Headley might know a lot more things than we been given to suspect. His silence inside the US prison archipelago is an end wished by many.
(h/t cryptogon)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hop along there, Peter

The NYT reported that Peter "Cottontail" Galbraith has been accused by two UN officials of trying to enlist the US government in removing Karzai from office while working for the UN in Kabul. Galbraith's mentors, Richard Holbrooke and VP Joe Biden, were supposedly privy to the plan, though both have denied it.

As in Iraq, where Galbraith was supposedly working for the Iraqi government to help write their constitution while also working for an oil company setting up contracts with the Kurds, it is easy to suppose that Galbraith was also serving two masters in Kabul.

Whether that second master was the US government, or a group of like minded officials, the Asia Times reckons that the affair is mainly another black eye for the UN, which continues to have problems with their US employees who seem to follow their own agenda, rather than that of their superiors within the organization.

But with the news that Galbraith is now suing the UN over his dismissal, maybe he's just out there trying to find another way to make a buck. Blog Simple will follow the career of Mr. Galbraith with considerable interest.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Man of the Year

We have to assume that the following graph (from Krugman) would be enough to have given Ben Bernanke the Man of the Year cover in Time.

But the kicker that made it a no brainer was the fact that the FED is now paying interest on those reserves.
(h/t Stop Me Before I Vote Again)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Career moves

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that David Headley (aka Dooud Gilani), accused of being an LeT scout for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, had previous convictions for heroin smuggling in 1988 and 1997. He worked as an informant for the DEA, and was let off probation early.

He then, we're to believe, worked as a immigration consultant, while secretly being trained and staking out locations for the attacks. It is speculated that his past job descriptions might make him unextraditable to India. It remains unstated whether being a heroin smuggler is good job training for being an immigration consultant.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


As pointed out by the great and wondrous IOZ, Obama's claim in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech is not accurate:
But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars.
Does anyone dare inform him that he is CiC of the armed forces, and not the nation?

And why is that non-fact the 'most profound issue'? It's just fucking absurd.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hope and Change

The long anticipated roll-out of the new Afghanistan policy is now going great guns, the networks are lined up in their best cheerleading outfits, doing pyramids, cartwheels, and new variations on the old two, four, six, eight cheers. Last night I had the misfortune to see Jim Lehrer 'interview' Adm. Mullins; sycophancy is a blithe euphemism for that degree of on screen fellatio.

Today we have 'a message that does not amount to an ultimatum' to Pakistan, to up the fight against their Taliban, the alternative being more drone strikes in new areas (read Baluchistan), as well as incursions by Special Forces.

This clearly indicates that the 30,000 more troops being sent to Afghanistan are not just an escalation of the Afghan War, it will mean an escalation of the AfPak war.

Meanwhile, our favored puppet in Islamabad, Zardari, is losing power daily, and the coming strong man is still below the horizon. The destabilization of Pakistan proceeds apace, and its consequences will necessarily reverberate beyond the AfPak borders.

30,000 troops are a drop in the bucket in this ocean. The generals and 'defense contractors' must now see Obama as a new white knight, even whiter than Bush, bringing more war than they ever dreamed about. And each soldier costs three times more than in Iraq! A gas costs $400 a gallon! Change they can believe in!

As for hope, we need to hope that China continues to finance our extravagance.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Day of Decision

Which is something of a joke, of course. The decisions were made long ago, as the long started preparations at Bagram airbase attest.

The only remaining unknown that will be gleaned from Obama's speech tonight will be the length of the commitment, and since the 34,000 troop build up will last up to eighteen months, we have to speculate that the commitment will last at least three years.

 Something to think about, how long do you expect that large numbers of US troops will be in Afghanistan? How many US/NATO troops will be the maximum number?

Obama seems intent on writing FAIL in large letters across his presidency. Despite his intelligence and eloquence, he is more and more obviously unfit for the job he has taken on, unless the job is conceived as being a toady for the military, Wall Street, and the insurance industry.

UPDATE: The Medium Lobster explains it all in scientific terms.

UPDATE II: The NYT reports that troops will start leaving in July 2011, just about when they'll all get there. This is nonsensical.