Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goldman Sachs & the divine rights of bankers

Slightly embarassed by Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein's boast that the house of Goldman Sachs was 'doing God's work', the mighty finance capitalists at 85 Broad Street, New York, set spin doctors to work. And guess what pence of atonement of lordly pride of finance capitalism they hit upon? Well, Goldman Sachs offers apologies for its despicable role in fomenting the crisis in world capitalism which we peon know as a global recession and for which we ratepayers are bearing its heavy cross and suffering a steady decline in our living standards and wages if we are lucky enough to have work! Yep, the house of Goldman Sachs in a publicity gesture 'pledges' us$500m over five, yes five, years to help 10.000 stressed US small business on the verge of bankruptcy and starved for credit which Goldman Sachs & co. have denied them whilst fattening corporate purses of 'banks too big to fail'.
What, pray tell, does this come down to? 2,3 per cent of its coporate profits in the first 9 months of 2009. Now this house of divine rights of finance capitalists has set aside us$16,7bn for compensation for these 9 months, and analysts project that the amount with climb to us$21,8bn by the end of the year.
Goldman Sachs is spitting in the eye of us common folk. It is having a Marie Antonette moment. 'Qu'ils mangent de la brioche' [let them eat bread], she said as her class was racing towards revolution and the guillotine.
Blankfein & his pack of avaricious finance capitalist should remember 'Proverbs' warning that 'pride proceedth the fall'. When, where, and how, Goldman's fall will happen, Guam Diary cannot say. Goldman's insulting offer simply adds oil to the burning fire of resentment among the us the 'third estate', for they and their ilk own 93 per cent of the US wealth, live high off the hog, and throw meagre crumbs to us to slake our thirst for retribution and justice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Choppy waters in ill defined border between North and South Korea won't delay the Obama administration from its appointment in Pyongyang

The two minute fusillade on the murky, ill defined, watery boundary separating North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea this past week, gave much needed cheer to the hard line Pyongyang watchers. The South Korean navy fired a mere 50 rounds, hitting the North Korea vessel which 'strayed' across the boundary line, killing one man. Swifty North Korea threatened Biblical punishment in return, but not defined.
What emboldened the 'regime change' North Korean watchers, was the feeling that this incident would torpedo US president Barack Obama's plans to send special envoy and chief US negotiator with the North, Stephen Bosworth, to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] before the end of 2009, to initiate or at least to prepare the ground for direct talks.
Much to the chagrin of these North Korea hands, who endow Kim Jong il with magical powers to delay any final collapse of his regime, thereby sweeping away with a thud an 'axis of evil state' once and for all, secretary of state Hillary Clinton calmly seemed unruffled by the naval confrontation, and simply restated that the US will proceed as scheduled to meet DPRK officials in Pyongyang in the next 8 weeks.
In reading the articles of say Andrei Lankov or Donald Kirk or listening to the pronouncements of Victor Jha, Kim Jong il is a reincarnation of the Scandanian mischief maker Loki, or a successor to Sax Rohmer inscrutable, elusive Dr. Fu Man chu, or is a Svengali of immense powers to fool clever [read liberal or right wing realist] minds, looking to engage in talks or opening channels with Pyongyang.
Reading this school's writings, reveals a comic book quality--simplistic and ingenuous and cut thin on the manipulation of the facts, one one hand, and on the other, a tone deafness or a colour blindness to shades of meaning and subtle and not so subtle twists and turns in the spiral of the game of diplomacy. It reminds one of George Orwell's mantra in his much read 'Animal Farm', 'two feet, good; four feet, bad'. For we find the sun at noon without a shadow of doubt, only the searing oneness of the sun's brightness.
Like it or not, the Obama administration is pressing ahead on the matter of North Korea, and bringing it back to the bargaining table in Beijing, too.
Saying this, will not still the voices opposing any dealings with the DPRK. A sure sign of this, is found in the shrill, nay hysteric tones of the articles and the talks, and the mud slinging sliming the reputations and the judgments of centrists and conservatives who are looking to more contacts with Pyongyang.
What the regime changers seem to ignore, is the growing trend within America's business community who are multiplying missions of inquiry to the DPRK, with an eye on dealings with this mineral rich country. And Pyongyang encourages this. It has allowed a private Korean American to build a 'private', yes, not a DPRK controlled, technical and scientific university in Pyongyang proper. And the mighty financial house of Goldman Sachs, has issued a glowing analysis of the economic might of an eventual reunited Korea.
So, as the saying goes, follow the money! And the monied interests look to the DPRK, albeit in exploratory tours. This the regime changers ignore, and to the collapse of their own dreams of sugarplums and good fairies and the choir of angels.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breaking down walls in Berlin and the Israeli occupied west bank

Yesterday [9 November 2009] marked year 20 of the 'Mauerfall', the end of the wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin, thereby heralding the collapse of Communism in Europe. End ink flowed; endless purple prose graced speeches of politicians; endless tales of where were you at the momentous moment?; in brief, a pause for joy and celebration in a changed world.
Yet, walls exist elsewhere! Most notably in the Israeli held west bank of Palestine where the Israeli government of moderate right, soft left, and hard core right wing, have continued building a wall on Palestinian territory to safeguard the sanctity of Israel. Mind you, not the 1967 borders, but on Palestinian land, which divides families from their land and livelihood, thereby furthering the illegal land grab of Jewish settlers, and the separation of contiguous Palestinian territory, with the result of creating 'Bantustans' and killing any two state solutions.
And on this anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Palestinians tore down sections of this Israeli wall, but hardly stirring comments in the mainstream global press. And thus silence prevails on the death of a people's homeland. Yet the Palestinians are not taking things lying down; they resist in symbolic actions, which in spite of the danger they incur, they are willing to face and 'submit' the Israeli Defence Force's repression. Such determination and courage will in the end spell the death of Zionism!

Friday, November 6, 2009

US finance capitalism and the H1N1 flu shots

Nothing is more telling as to who calls the shots in the US economic. Consider the dearth in H1N1 flu shots. Everyday the US media keeps up a benumbing tale of the insufficiency of supply to combat the H1N1 aka Swine flu vaccine.
Yet, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citi Group has had no such trouble. These 3 too big too fail mega banks got the vaccine, for their employees. Now who's kidding who? The per centage of these financial institutions who are in the risk groups for the sera, is minimal, unless they are engaging in the unlawful practice of using child labout? The majority of their 'hires' fall into the less risky category of 30 toe 60, a generational span which is hardly at high risk.
So what does this tell us about the class skewered class structure in the US. The finance capitalists and their hanger ons in government and the monied interests, who brought us the great recession of 2008, count more in health, life span, and privileges than 90 per cent of the American people.
It's the survival of fittest [sic], the survival of a class of parasites who produce nothing but a steady stream of paper, mostly worthless, generating a life style which the hoi polloi can but dream of.
Crowding out the young is symptomatic of the decadence of the American ruling class.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Obama effect in the Middle East sputters badly

What a difference of a few months make. The 2 August 2009 issue of 'Jeune Afrique' wrote glowingly of 'l'effect Obama' in the Arab world. Patrick Seale enamoured by US president Barack Obama's [BHO] oratory, waxed eloquent on the way the American chief of state cleverly was squaring the circle in matters Israeli and Palestinian and engaging Iran. Three months later, BHO & co. have begun talks with Tehran. But sad to say, he squandered the capital he earned among the Arab world by tripping badly on picking up the stitches on Israel and Palestine.
As the world has come to know BHO's style of engagement, he's a mediocre hand at poker; he throws in his cards too easily. Consider his thunderbolt on illegal Israeli settlements which sent Arctic shivers up and down Israel. The right wing Likud government under the sorry leadership of Benjamin Netenyahu at first was caught up short. It didn't take him long to take BHO's measure, in order to make mince meat of BHO's speech in Cairo. He stared down BHO, and BHO folded like a tent.
This was never more obvious during secretary of state Hillary Clinton's 'visite eclaire' to Jerusalem. There she announced that the halt in illegal grabbing of Palestinian land was off the table, in the vain hope she could breathe life into the moribund 'road map to peace'. Standing besides her was Netenyahu looking very much like the cat that swallowed the US canary, and with the glint of hypocrisy in his eye, announced Israel sets no 'preconditions'[sic] in negotiating with the Palestinians. Wink, wink, wink. Who did he think he was kidding? Apparently everyone in the mainstream global press! No one had the courage to say aloud that Israel in negotiations with Palestinians always threw 'preconditions' in the spokes of any progress. Jerusalem would only do 'x' if the Palestinians did 'y'. And then the Palestinian authority would jump through the Israeli hoop, and get nothing in return from Israel.
BHO has strong cards in forcing Israel back to the bargaining table, but he won't use them since if he did his party's chances in the 2010 by elections would be sabotaged by the powerful Israel lobby and the philo Israeli members of Congress who depend on the largesse of lobbies, among which the Israeli is very powerful, and has proven very skillful in killing the hopes of many a Congressman or woman seeking re election, not to mention the Christian evangelicals who throw immense support behind Isreal.He has heard the rumble of discontent even among the most supine Arab rulers, and Mme. Clinton got an earful of Arab ministers' anger in a meeting in Morocco these past days. As a result, instead of returning to Washington, she immediately boarded a plane for Cairo, to soothe Hosni Mubarak's feather and to enlist him in cooling Arab tempers.
But the harm was done. BHO has lost any good will he may have garnered in June in Cairo.
BHO as is his wont, sets his sails to the lee side; he's cautious when he should be bold. In consequent, he does too little to be effective.
As Guam Diary keeps repeating--an it is not the only one--BHO has the whip to keep Israel in line.A mere threat of cessation of military and economic aid, would make Netenyahu & co. sit up straight, stand at attention, and salute smartly. BHO won't for his sense of Realpolitik. And thus no matter how pretty the speech making, the clever and insincere appeal to noble sentiments, the Obama effect has faulted and failed. BHO has the spine of a wet noodle when it comes to exercising political skills and will in the Middle East.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beijing hastens the tempo of war drums on the border with India

Tibet brings out the pathological worse in China's leaders.
His holiness the Dalai Lama has been China's bete noire for more than a half century. It is not difficult to grasp the reason. He has refused to become its puppet; he escaped to India, and there established a Tibet in exile, so to speak. In spite of the influx of Han emigrants into the high Tibetan plateaux, China's policy of making Chinese out of Tibetans has failed utterly, Guam Diary suggests. Suppression of uprisings has not quieted a visceral homegrown nationalism which Chinese troops have never been able to eradicate, short of genocide. The spontaneous 'revolt' in spring 2008, a few months before the Summer Olympics in Beijing and its harsh repression, spoilt Beijing's charm offensive to seduce the world in a false image of a Potemkin Village in China, and seriously made China lose face.
For China's Communist rulers, unrest and non ending challenge to its authority in Tibet lay at the feet of the Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader without an army who preaches non violence and reconciliation. They call him a 'splitist' who seeks to destroy the unity of China. And yet, the Dalai Lama is not calling for independence, but simply for autonomy within the Chinese nation, one yellow star among the 5 stars on China's red flag symbolising the major groups making up the country. But the Communist leaders admit nothing unless it's unconditional surrender to the steel fist of their control. And dehispite long years of trying, China has failed totally to gain the loyalty unless severly coerced, and even then, the Chinese leaders can never be assured.
Foreign pressure has moved Beijing to parliament with the Delai Lama's representatives, but like the Israeli 'negotiating' with the Palestinians, they are not playing from a straight deck. They do everything to make talks fail.
As mentioned above, the Delai Lama is soon setting out to visit the monastery in Twang. And the mere presence of this incarnation of a Buddha has setting the Communist leaders in Beijing to making threatens, quicken the pace of border violations with India, beef up military stationed on the Arunchal Pradesh border with India. They have grumbled, stamped feet, thumped tables with fists, beat a madding tattoo on the drums of war, issuing endless threats. Another spoon in the broth is the rising economic rival that India has become to China's 'industrialisation', thanks to foreign capital investment. India thus is a challenger to Beijing's self appointed role as 'referee' of all things Asian. A strong India reduces that posturing to dust.
The Indian province of Arunchal Pradesh is in the very area of the 1962 war with India which China 'won', in the sense it led to the end of the Jarawharlal Nehru's political life and the fall of his government. Nothing was achieved in the Himalayas to redraw boundary lines Beijing claimed, saying they were drawn by British imperialists at a time of China's weakness. India demurred. But the sting of war has left a sour taste in New Delhi's mouth since then, although relations with China have improved, and most recently. China's bullying will not move India's resolve one whit, since Arunchal Pradesh is its province, not even renewed war which won't serve China's purpose.
In addition, the mere presence of the Dalai Lama in Twang, in a region of his own birth, is enough to set Beijing's teeth on edge. The spiritual power of the man is enough to renew the devotion the majority of Tibetans accord him. It is a slap in the Chinese leadership's face, and make hollow the claim they own the hearts and minds of Tibetans. The causes are found in China's imperialist pretension; its ethnic cleansing; its cultural genocide; its demoralising corruption, and the list goes on and on. China, in a word, is its own worst enemy, not the Dalai Lama!
The Dalai Lama won't give into this form of blackmail. In Japan, for example, he has roundly criticised Beijing for its sham democracy and for holding the Chinese people in dictatorial bondage. Thus, the words of words continue unabated.
The Communist leadership's claim of its right to rule Tibet is belied by a 26 minute documentary shot by an amateur Tibetan film maker, now being tried by a Black Star Chinese court, out of public view, and the worst is feared for his sort. The Tibetans in the film, with a boldness to defy the Chinese warlords, speak without hiding their faces. They know they are risking their lives, but they do it to show they are loyal to the Dalai Lama, their true leader, and know the full measure of punishment they run if caught.
China's repression has not abated. In the last few days [today as of this posting, it is 1 November 2009], Beijing has ordered the execution of 4 Tibetans who dared protest China's colonial rule.
In a sense, China has hoisted its own petard.