Monday, February 8, 2010

China Buys US, Dick Cheney School of Rendition Class of 2007...

Paul Krugman
Conor Friedersdorf

"How bad is it? It’s so bad that I miss Newt Gingrich." - Paul Krugman
“If we think direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.” - Dennis Blair
"Where are the consequences for getting us into this mess?" - Sarah Palin

A few years ago, China went around the world buying up real estate in such out of the way places like Panama, where it now owns a lot of land at both ends of the Panama Canal. A recent Security and Exchange Commission filing: "China’s sovereign wealth fund quietly snapped up more than $9 billion worth of shares last year in some of the biggest American corporations, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup.

Although most of the stakes were small, China Investment Corp., the government’s $300 billion investment fund, now owns stock in some of the best-known American brands, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola and Visa." That's just in the United States, in addition to owning billions in Treasury Bonds. Elsewhere: "In Canada, it owns a $3.5 billion stake in Teck Resources, a mining and resources company listed in the United States, and a $1 million stake in Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry mobile phones.

The sovereign wealth fund has also been buying small stakes in Australia's biggest banks and paid $646 million last autumn for a stake in Noble Group, a diversified commodities company based in Hong Kong with operations around the world in industries like iron ore mining and sugar mills." No mention of their holdings in Europe and the Middle East. China is also a major trading partner with Iran, getting 15% of their oil from them, and tells why they will vote against any sanctions against Iran.

Although China says that they intend to stay out of US politics, one can't help wonder, especially at Wall Street's response to proposed financial regulations. by threatening to no longer contribute to Democratic candidates: "Just two years after Mr. Obama helped his party pull in record Wall Street contributions — $89 million from the securities and investment business, some of his biggest supporters have become the industry’s chief lobbyists against his regulatory agenda.

Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Street’s
“buyer’s remorse” with the Democrats. And industry executives and lobbyists are warning Democrats that if Mr. Obama keeps attacking Wall Street “fat cats,” they may fight back by withholding their cash."

“The expectation in Washington is that ‘We can kick you around, and you are still going to give us money.’ We are not going to play that game anymore.”
“I understand the public outcry, we have a 17 percent real unemployment rate, people are hurting, and they want to see punishment. But the political rhetoric just incites more animosity and gets people riled up.”
There have been news snippets on how Republican leaders like John Boehner and Eric Cantor have made several trips to Wall Street firms in New York blatantly trying to pose themselves and their party as friends of the Wall Street firms and against any new regulations. "Mr. Obama’s fight with Wall Street began last year with his proposals for greater oversight of compensation and a consumer financial protection commission. It escalated with verbal attacks this year on what he called Wall Street’s “obscene bonuses.” And it reached a new level in his calls for policies Wall Street finds even more infuriating: a “financial crisis responsibility” tax aimed only at the biggest banks, and a restriction on “proprietary trading” that banks do with their own money for their own profit.

“If the president wanted to turn every Democrat on Wall Street into a Republican,” one industry lobbyist said, “he is doing everything right.” Not only are these firms now too big to fail, but they are also too rich to fail, and feel that they can buy what they want. You know, politics as usual... Most of the troubled Wall Street firms have bounced back, making money by taking the same kind of risks that they always have, which allowed them to pay back the money borrowed from the taxpayers in a shorter time than expected. Now, they want us to leave them alone to do what they do so well. Which is good on one level, but in a few years when the next slip-up occurs and they are in trouble, we probably will let them fail, not because we don't want to but because we can't...

One large problem we have in creating new jobs is that we no longer have the manufacturing base here in America. Everything is pieced out overseas. When was the last time you bought a pair of shoes or a shirt or pair of pants that were made in America? The global outsourcing happens everywhere, and countries that once were self-sufficient in making their own clothing, now make other items for export and import all of their clothing, making them poorer culturally, and more dependent on others.

We just don't have the capacity to create all of the jobs that are needed to feed every family, and it has gotten worse outside of the US, where many European countries may not have the means to recover(AP): "Major indexes fell in afternoon trading after staying in a tight range for much of the day. Stocks have moved erratically in the past four weeks as investors try to determine whether a global economic recovery is still intact.
Mounting debt problems in several weaker European economies including
Greece, Portugal and Spain have raised new questions about the health of the global financial system. Banking shares again led the market lower.
The market began to stumble in the second half of January after
China announced plans to contain economic growth and as the Obama administration proposed rules to restrict trading by large financial institutions." Personally, I don't have the answer, and economists are still squabbling about how to get us out of this mess. Doesn't matter, since Congress is focussed on lining their pockets with the lobbyists money instead of listening to boring economic lectures.

Ironically, here in Colorado, the one area that has grown and created jobs is the medical marijuana industry. Over 300 new outlets opened up last year, and then there are stores that support the industry, like hydroponic accessories. Even the insurance industry has adapted, underwriting policies against theft and crop failures... We may not be able to make our own clothes anymore, but it's clear that the next growth industry is in growing marijuana, and we can become a world model in this area. Just think, if every house in America had solar panels to help create electricity and lower our oil consumption, and if every house in America grew six marijuana plants that we could package and sell overseas, we could all participate and gain benefit from this next economic miracle. Instead of drinking tea, we'd be smoking tea... and listening to Bob Marley music again, is that so bad, mon?

end of yemen branch of al qaeda...

It pretty much looks like the end for the al Qaeda franchise on the Arabian Peninsula. Most of the Yemeni leaders have been killed last month, and their bitter leader sent out an audiotape, giving a shout out to bin Laden among other things.

According to al Jazeera: "Saed Elshari, al-Qaeda's number two in the Arabian Peninsula, has called for attacks against US interests "everywhere". Elshari also congratulated Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader, for the bombing bid by a Nigerian on a US plane on Christmas Day.

"American and Crusader interests are everywhere and their agents are moving everywhere, attack them and eliminate as many enemies as you can. I swear to God, we will open up for them doors of hell on the ground, which will be the key to our victory, where we will cut the tails of the crusaders; destroy the dreams of crusade and ruin the desires of the Jews in the region."

Saed Elshari was released by the Bush administration from Guantanamo in 2007, where he went to his native Saudi Arabia. He flunked out of their rehabilitation program and fled to Yemen, where he is today, nursing his wounds and fueling his curses. You might say that he is another proud graduate of the Dick Cheney School of Rendition...

Also out of Yemen, the American born cleric, Sheik Anwar al Awlaki has admitted that the underpanyts bomber was his student: "Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki , a Yemeni religious scholar, has told Al Jazeera that the suspect accused of attempting to blow up a US passenger jet on Christmas Day, was one of his students.

Al-Awlaki said that he did not order the attempted suicide attack on the airliner, but that US civilians were legitimate targets since they bore responsibility for their "government's crimes".

"Omar Farouq, may Allah free him, is one of my students ... But I did not issue a fatwa [religious edict] allowing him to carry out this operation... I support what he did after I have been seeing my brothers being killed in Palestine for more than 60 years, and others being killed in Iraq and in Afghanistan. And in my tribe too, US missiles have killed 17 women and 23 children, so do not ask me if al-Qaeda has killed or blown up a US civil jet after all this,"

US authorities consider Awlaki a leader of al Qaeda and want him arrested. Awlaki's father says he is just an average kid who would like to return to America one day. Maybe we can buy him a pair of Nikes and a flat screen tv... Sometimes it looks like half of the world is going into the revenge business.

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