Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've been meaning to post on this for a week or so bit got sidetracked by some business travel. There is plenty of buzz out that the Bush Administration is itching to press an attack on Iran before their term ends. This talk has picked up considerably since Admiral Fallon stepped down form his post as head of Centcom earlier this month.

The question needs to be continually asked--- WHY??? What annoys the hell out of me is the constant drumbeat of propaganda constantly spewed over the airwaves (TV and Radio) as well as the print media. Look I'm no fan of the midget Ahmadinejad-- but the American people need to have a fuller explanation of the rhetoric. How many times will Sean Hannity spout, " Ahmadinejad says he wants to wipe Israel off the map" ? As Paul Harvey used to say-here's the rest of the story.

Juan Cole does a great job everyday providing a Western audience insight into daily events in the greater Middle-East. It helps that he speaks the language.

"Israel must be wiped off the map," although some experts disputed the translation

Juan Cole: "Ahmadinejad made an analogy to Khomeini's determination and success in getting rid of the Shah's government, which Khomeini had said "must go" (az bain bayad berad). Then Ahmadinejad defined Zionism not as an Arabi-Israeli national struggle but as a Western plot to divide the world of Islam with Israel as the pivot of this plan.
"The phrase he then used as I read it is "The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."
"Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope-- that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government.
"Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that 'Israel must be wiped off the map' with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people. He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time.
Leading the misinformation campaign, as it did on Iraq, was the New York Times. Jonathan Steele: "The New York Times, which was one of the first papers to misquote Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came out on Sunday with a defensive piece attempting to justify its reporter's original "wiped off the map" translation.
The mis-translation originated with the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), located in Washington. MEMRI was founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon along with Dr. Meyrav Wurmser. Carmon was a colonel in the IDF Intelligence from 1968-88, Acting head and adviser on Arab affairs, Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, 1977-1982 and counterterrorism adviser to prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin 1988-93.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saddam & Al Qaida--- No Links

I know we've all been engrossed in the Elliot Spitzer disgrace(especially us living in the Albany area) but it seems like the recent Pentagon-sponsored report would generate more press coverage than it's currently getting . We're looking at 4000 dead Americans, 30,000 or so wounded, who knows how many dead Iraqi's, a couple million displaced and billions and billions of dollars just flushed down a toilet over the past couple years.Why? The Old Maid Geraldine Ferraro is getting more press right now than this story.

Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida
By Warren P. Strobel McClatchy Newspapers

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2008

WASHINGTON — An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime...

We really need to have a national discussion and we need to have it soon. It probably won't happen in this election cycle,but we need to talk about --- the role of the American military be in the world today. Right now the the road to economic destruction for the US is assured with a continuation of the current course . We've been in Iraq for five years now and Senator McCain talks of a multi-generational commitment still. Afghanistan is getting worse by the month. Our debt-laden economy is on the rocks and crude oil is hitting $110 a barrel--Matt Simmons talks about $378 oil ( if prices stay sticky in the $100 range get ready for close to $5 gallon soon).

What are we doing?

It's sad to watch this--I feel like I'm watching a slow-motion car -wreck. The masses are still oblivious.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

South of the Border

Just got back from a glorious week in Cabo San Lucas. It was one of those weeks spent on the beach with very little contact with the outside world. I guess I missed quite a week in the financial markets. We'll now see how closely coupled Wall Street and Main Street are.

One thing for sure, Cabo is still experiencing huge growth. Developments were going up everywhere. Granted Cabo is a playground for the rather well to do ( and I guess that now includes the Spring-breakers) but to me there are some clouds gathering on the distant horizon . Ponder this tid-bit I came across in the 10 page mini-newspaper that was dropped off at our door in the mornings there.

Pemex profits decline, product imports increase

That's a headline that screamed at me as I drank my morning coffee. WOW--$105 a barrel crude oil and the Mexican National Oil Company lost a billion and a half dollars last year. When I asked some of the locals about the story they all assumed I was mistaken. No way my story was true--- remember Pemex is the major source of revenue for the Mexican Government and a tremendous amount of social spending is tied to this oil revenue. I have a suspicion that we will be hearing more about this in the not too distant future and I'm betting that the news South of the Border will not be good.

Pemex profits decline, product imports increase
Eric WatkinsSenior Correspondent
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 6 -- Petroleos Mexicanos saw a decline in profits during 2007, reporting a decrease of some 16.13 billion pesos ($1.51 billion) after posting a net profit of $4.26 billion in 2006, according to media reports.
El Financiero, citing company figures, said Pemex posted the loss even though its total sales increased 2.9% over 2006 and hit an all-time high of $110 billion in 2007.
Pemex explained the loss as due primarily to purchases of imports such as gasoline, natural gas, LPG, and petrochemicals—all of which came to $16.97 billion.
Pemex also paid $63.15 billion in taxes to the federal government, up 11.8% from its 2006 tax total. Before taxes, the company posted profits of $61.63 billion.
In its 2007 financial report, Pemex said imports of oil products increased to 494,000 b/d from 431,000 b/d. The main import was gasoline, with the amount rising to 307,700 b/d in 2007 from 204,700 b/d in 2006.
These imports were up because fuel demand was higher and domestic production lower. Production averaged 1.511 million b/d in 2007, a decline of 34,000 b/d from 2006.
By contrast, natural gas imports averaged 397 bcfd, down 12% from 2006, mainly as a result of higher domestic gas production—up 13.1% over 2006 at 6.058 bcfd on average.
The country's oil production in 2007, however, dropped 5.3% from 2006, to 3.082 million b/d, due to the decline of Cantarell, to deferred output because of Hurricane Dean, and to several bouts of cold weather during the year.
Exports of oil averaged 1.686 million b/d in 2007, down 5.9% from 2006. The value of oil and condensate exports hit $44.39 billion, as the average price of the Mexican mix on the international market was $61.60/bbl.
El Financiero, quoting Pemex, said the drop in production was partially offset by an increase in the extraction of superlight oil from the Tabasco "Activo Litoral" and record output from Ku-Maloob-Zaap field.
Pemex also attributed higher output from the Lankahuasa, Burgos, and Veracruz projects, and gas extraction from the Marine light crude and Ixtal-Manik projects in the Southwest Marine region and higher output from wells in the Northeast Marine region.