Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Israel arming its colonies in the occupied West Bank

If proof ever were needed that Israel is not going to return the illegal seize of land its has taken from the Palestinians in 43 years of its occupation of the West Bank land Arab East Jerusalem, the arming of settler colonies with anti personnel weapons and up to day military arms and equipment should free any impartial observer of the fallacy that the Zionist state will relinquish control of the illegally seized Palestinian territory as part of what is a design of a 'Greater Israel' stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river.
Triggering this rush to fortify colonists who are already armed to the teeth is a fear that the UN General Assembly in its opening session in September 2011 will recognise Palestine as a state although it is under Israeli occupation.
The fear of the wrong doer, violator of endless international agreements, and UN resolution, Israel lives in great fear that at the moment the UN may declare Palestine a state in good standing in the world area, such a proclamation would trigger an uprising against the Zionist occupiers.
The scenario is worthy of a B film, the more especially since Israel is a heavily armed state and has at least 200 atomic weapons; thinks nothing of waging war on its neighbours proactively and seizing vessels on the high sea in a manner which might have titillated the Barbary pirates.
Israel extreme reaction is symptomatic of its own internal contradictions and its inability to make peace with its neighbours nor recognise Palestine in a two solution.
The Zionist state is a Goliath that has the ability to cause much wrack and ruin but has the ability to sleep well at night. Brief, Israel has let its worst nightmares colour its own dreams and policies which ironically will hasten its own isolation and decline.

Attack against UN headquarters in Abuja orchestrated by al Qaeda

Little surprise here. Al Qaeda through a previously unknown 'spokesman' Mamman Nur has claimed responsibility for the attack against UN headquarters in Nigeria's capitol Abuja, leaving 23 dead and numerous injured on 26 August 2011.
Nigeria is a structural nightmare, pitting the western and northern parts against the oil rich east that once tired to secede as 'Biafra' forty years ago.
The central authority proved unable to reign in the violence in the north where Muslims killed Christians and Christian killed Muslims, and where an easy truce between the two communities never held for long.
In a flash of controlling violence, petty and grand, the government allowed 'Sha'aria' law to a status equal to civil and criminal law. The introduction of Muslim law encouraged and fostered and nourished radical Islamist groups that now have become a part of the al Qaeda network in north and west Africa.
Problems gnawing at the body politic and economic of Nigeria since independence now feed 'terrorism' with an Islamic face. The central and regional authorities will not step up a 'war' that will turn Nigeria into a war zone of indeterminate duration.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

South Korea inching towards better relations with North Korea?

South Korea's president Lee Myung bak has dismissed his unification minister Hyun In teak. Known as a hardliner, Hyun until his forced leaving of Lee's cabinet, was a mirror reflexion of the president's own position towards Kim Jong il.
Hyun's replacement Yu Wook ik signals a softening in Lee's stance, it seems.
Lee's 'Drang nach Norden' has failed, and his sabre rattling had provoked the exchange of live fire between South and North Korea during joint US ROK military exercises along the Northern Limit Line within a blush of North Korean territorial waters when the South's shells fell there in November 2010. The incident raised fears of reopening the frozen Korean War which awaits a peace treaty after 61 years.
Kim Jong il's marshalling the support of Russia and China in his willingness to rejoin six party talks, long in abeyance, in Beijing without preconditions, has put South Korea and the US into a position of quibblers by their rejection of North Korea's proposal as 'deja vu all over again' and hardly worth considering. Not only that the seize of South Korea tourist sites in Kumgangsan in North Korea has upset the business community on which Lee's Grand National Party depends.
Lee is a lame duck president, should we forget. The GNP is anxious to improve relations with the North. So under the pressure of international and national long fire on policy towards North Korea, Lee is forced to name a new unification minister.
The choice of Yu has significance: he served as Seoul's ambassador to Beijing. With news of his nomination, China has welcomed Lee's choice.
With Yu, will Lee inch more 'warmly' toward Kim Jong il?

Algeria welcomes Qaddafi's second wife, daughter, and two sons

Algeria is giving comfort to Qaddafi's second wife, his daughter, and two sons. This welcome has raised a few eyebrows and questions.
The media has hardly hinted at the cosy relations between the two countries. Yet Algeria has supported the fall Libyan colonel in men, arms, and has defend him politically.
Little wonder: Algeria has been, more or less successfully, waging a 20 year war against its own insurgents, admittedly hardline Islamists who took up arms after being denied the fruits of an election by the politico military junta that has ruled the country since independence in 1962.
Any bolstering the cause of Libyan 'rebels' would, for the Algeria elite' breathe new strength into a flagging radical Islamic armed opposition. Furthermore, it would encourage secular forces, especially the Algeria left, which the FLN coalition government has kept tightly down during since the overthrow of Ben Bella in 1965.
Today, floating on a sea of petrodollars, the Algerian treasury is 'pleine a craquer'; the country's wealth, especially in oil and gas,is tightly under state control, and the ruling circles intend that it remains so.
So the overthrow of Qaddafi spells new challenges for Algeria since any step the new government will take towards democracy and modifying the economic picture, spells 'existential' danger for this North African country.
Offering asylum to half of the Qaddafi family signals uneasy relations with the New Libya, and more headaches for Algeria.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Storm warnings in Singapore?

After tasting voters discontent in recent parliamentary elections, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Leung assured the electorate that he and the People's Action Party which has ruled the city state for the last half century 'will try harder' to listen to the people.
Now after a recount--something unheard of in Singapore's electoral vocabulary--the PAP backed Tony Tam, a former deputy prime minister, barely won.
The race for the largely symbolic post of the presidency with an annual salary of us$3.04 million, was fielded by not one, not two, but four candidates, all with the name of Tan. The 'Straits Times', which hews to PAP's line, praised Tony Tan from day one.
Looking at the results, we find that in spite of the government's powerful machinery, Tony Tan squeaked into office with 35.19 per cent of the 2.15 million votes cast. Second came Tan Cheung Bock, a PAP stalwart (who forced the recount) with 34.85 per cent. In third place, the Singaproe Democratic party's Tan Jee Say showed a strong 25.05 per cent, which should send alarum bells ringing in the corridors of the PAP leadership, the more especially since his hearty support among the electorate uncovers simmering discontent with PAP long rule. And finally, Tan Kin Lian, a former PAP district official who broke with the party, garnered a mere 4.91 per cent, thus forfeiting the money he put up for the privilege of running for president.
Although PAP's grip on governmental institution remains firm for the moment, internal currents swirling near the surface should be a warning to the PAP for more flexibility and meeting the needs and concerns of a young population coming to the fore.
Lee truly needs 'to do more' for the party's survival. A telling sign is that his father Lee Kwan Yew has abandoned his title as 'minister mentor' at the age of 88. He may advise his son still, but this Svengali's power is waning, and the aging PAP leadership has not groomed younger vigorous politicians, only a generation of yes men and women. Tis a telling sign that PAP is headed into turbulent political waters in the future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kim Jong il's pledge to halt nuclear testing

Kim Jong il has pledged whilst in Russia to halt nuclear testing. Russia's president Dimtry Medvedev has obtained Kim's pledge that hinges on a pipeline from Russia's gas fields through Central Asia and the two Koreas.
Kim pledge has even caught his most ardent detractors asleep, it seems. Medvedev has put a feather in Russo North Korean relations, thereby renewing a long friendship turned cold by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Nonetheless, the "Dear Leader" has sent the same message to the Obama White through Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, visiting senior department of state officials, and a variety of intellectuals and scholars who, from time to time, have visited Pyongyang.
The American president and his ally in Seoul, Lee Myung bak, have responded to Kim Jong il's call for a halt in the North's nuclear programme with no conditions as disingenuous, for in the high moral tone Obama and Lee take, Kim lacks 'sincerity'.
Me, oh my, were 'sincerity' a diplomatic virtue, both the US and South Korea would be seen as seriously lacking in that excellent quality.
What Washington and Seoul mean by 'sincerity' is accept all our conditions or else. No statesman with a good sense of self respect could roll over and play doggo as Obama and Lee demand. As a result in the joint US ROK intransigeance a stalemate has obtained since 2008. And the six power talks in Beijing have been ajourned 'sine dia', in spite of the North's willingness to come back to the negotiating table without conditions.
Medvedev seems to believe Kim, in stark contrast to Obama and Lee. The Russian president has his own agenda but he sees bring North Korea in from the cold is preferable than the festering situation that exists now. Medvedev sees purchase in welcoming the much boycotted DPRK into the embrace of diplomacy and solving the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the divided Korean peninsula, through aiding North Korea materially. In this, he has shown remarkable 'commonsense', which is something that the US and South Korea have not.
Kim has shown himself a conspiciously able leader of his country which everyone with a grudge against him and his country, thought would have long collapsed. Wrong! Even the cruel havoc of Mother Nature on the country's crops have been unable force the North to fold its cards and walk away.
At the bottom of it all may very well be the feeling that the DPRK, shunned, boycotted, sanctioned to the hilt in the world community, and the object of a relentless propaganda war, outwits the big boys at negotiation poker, and with low cards. Their condescension is so glaring and blinding that they take the forest for the trees and miss the hand offered by Kim Jong il. Medvedev saw it and has grasped it, thereby giving us hope that the six party talks may resume.

Happy birthday General Giap

Italians wish long life by raising a glass and saying 'cent'anni'. May you live a hundred years!
Vietnam's celebrated general and companion of Ho Chi Minh celebrated his 100 birthday on 25 August 2011.
In frail health, the old soldier who engineered the defeat of France at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 after a 54 day campaign which resulted in over 2000 dead, 5000 wounded, and 11.000 prisoners, thereby ending the first Vietnam War.
Giap displayed his military flair and genius by drubbing the Americans during the Second Vietnam War ten years later during the 1968 Tet Offensive, and laid down the strategy for the eventual fall of Saigon and the retreat of the US in 1975.
At his century mark, the general has joined the high ranks of a military strategist and is bigger than life in the annuals of history.
His 'Guerre du peuple, armee du peuple' stands the test of time and is a manual of guerrilla warfare, a war which he characterises by citing a Vietnamese saying: a war of elephants against ants'.
Happy birthday Vo Nguyen Giap, and many more years of life!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kim Jong il in Russia. Rumours abound

Kim Jong il is in Moscow. He looks good physically, having put on weight which he shed during his recent illness.
Lord love the western media in covering Kim. GuamDiary marvels at the general amnesia that beset allegedly savvy journalists. Where's the context?
Since the scuppering of Kim Dae Jung's 'Sunshine Policy' by South Korea's president Lee Myung bak in 2008, an active cold war began anew between the two Koreas. Lee's aggressive 'Drang nach Norden' policy even broke out into a shooting war in November 2010 setting Lee's US ally and protector's teeth clacking lest the frozen Korean War already 60 standing might break out again, and how could America sustain three wars in Asia? Luckily, quick restraints by the Obama administration, pulled Lee back in line again. Still, the ROK president fancies himself as the 'reunifier' of a divided Korean peninsula by 2017, if we can believe that?
Where in today's coverage of the 'Dear Leader's' trip is there any recall of the glowing future projects the 'Sunshine Policy' gave rise to? The reopening of a railway line from the South through the North and then on through Russia's EurAsian land mass to markets in western Europe, for example. Today's reports carry the fear that a pipeline carry Russia's gas along such a route through the DPRK into the ROK raises the spector of Kim Jong il's having leverage on the South's fuel supply and economic powerhouse. No such fears, it seemed, gripped South Korea when in 1998 the 'Sunshine Policy' was launched. But today, they do. And if they do, look to Lee for who's to blame. Furthermore, his relentless pursuit of 'teaching the North a lesson it won't forget' until it collapses has brought the South Korean president more worry than result.
The western media is so fixated in denying the North's day in the court of public opinion that they are willing to print any rumour. They have been predicting Kim Jong il death; they are forever ruminating over the day and the time of the DPRK's collapse; they hardly look for signs of the changes, say, on the economic front going on in the DPRK even though there is growing evidence by scholars of such changes; they talk of starving North Koreans but praise the US, South Korea, Australia, and the European Union for cutting off food aid under the pretext that the food will go to the military and not to those in need, even though such NGOs like Mercy Corp. has monitored the distribution of these donations from port to the point of distribution in the affected provinces without interference until they were cut off in 2008.
It may also come as a surprise that the Swiss have been able to successfully operate food distribution centres in the countryside, as well as establish a successful business school in Pyongyang. Where is the coverage on this?
And the US North Korea clerisy dependent on government largesse spin like a weather vane on North Korea following the winds of the government's policy towards the DPRK, to the point that hardly any distanced themselves from a Council on Foreign Relations report on Korea that called for 'rolling back' North Korea. That such 'experts' had to turn the clock back 60 years to the vocabulary of the early Cold and Hot War in the Korean peninsula simply underscores the bankruptcy of intellectuals.
More, the trouble with the mainstream western media is that it treats each story as though it were created 'ex nihilo', and that nothing had existed before it appeared in print or on the radio or the telly or on the internet.
Kim Jong il is in Russia, then, for aid and assistance on mutually agreed projects benefitting North Korea and Russia. Russia--and China--has a finer political awareness that it is better to help North Korea develop than isolate it with more sanctions and a hot propaganda war which have gone few places in meeting goals.
The US and South Korea have painted themselves in a corner by pursuing hard line objectives which have earned them nothing but anger and frustration and endless bluster.
As long as the western media are prisoners of shopworn ideas, empty rumours about North Korea and Kim Jong il will abound.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

John Huntsman knows no shame!

Former governor of the American state of Utah, and more recently Obama's ambassador to China, John Huntsman campaign for the Republican Party's nomination to run against Obama in 2012 is going nowhere.
Sensible and measured that he is, say, on 'global warming' compared to the rat pack of candidates as the Elephant party's standard bearer in next year's elections, as lack luster and out of the American mainstream. On another day, he has turned his record of good governance in Utah on its heads by disowning his own record.
Is Huntsman an opportunist? Assuredly yes.
Looked up by the conservative media as a 'born loser', the man is going to length's to prove how low he can crawl.
Now, he has said if Michele Bachmann is the party's candidate for the White House, he would be proud to serve as her running mate for vice-president.
The man knows no shame, he will do anything to sup at the White House.

Will the spirit of Camp David hold?

Rumours that Egypt would expel Israel's ambassador in Cairo has shaken the pillars of 'the spirit of Camp David'. Since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, the 'cold peace' between Egypt and Israel is seeing modification that has caught the Zionist state off centre.
Israel's pursuit of "terrorists" into Egypt's Sinai, killing Egyptian border guards, has exposed a harsh reality: there are limits to Israel's free wheeling right to poach on other countries' territory. Egypt is not Lebanon nor occupied Palestine nor war torn Gaza.
The new emerging Egypt has very mixed feelings about peace with Israel. That 'cold peace' may continue to obtain but at a price which is humbling the overarmed and quick to war state of Israel. Egypt can and will impose conditions that the Zionist state, willy nilly, will have to swallow.
Already the 'new' Egypt has not restored gas supplies which account for 40 percent of Israeli energy needs. Secondly, Mubarak's fall meant that Israel will have to put a hold on its economic development from 'peaceful' use to beefing up its military which thanks to Mubarak's shouldering maintain order on its borders with Israel and joining in in keeping the Palestinians in line. Thirdly, were it not for the open tap of US taxpayers footing the bill in billions to Israel and Egypt the long 'cold peace' would have collapsed. Can the US continue propping up Israel with military and economic aid that the Zionist state has never repaid? Egypt is piling up unforgiven debt with the US, but America will write it down every now and then for influence in the Arab world's largest and trend setter in the Middle East.
As it stands now, a weariness has set in in Egyptian Israeli relations. The end of Mubarak's regime has let loose the uneasiness and mixed feelings Egyptians harbour towards Israel.
As GuamDiary has often observed, Israel is slow to learn the lessons of the Arab spring, if that. Its own internal political dynamic has locked it into a wreckless race towards the complete incorporation of the occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank into a Greater Israel with a captive Arab population farmed out into South African Apartheid styled Bantustans.
The revisionist Zionist dream, which ordinary Zionist ideology shares, will in the end weaken Israel and to maintain its bully posture in the Middle East it is willing to become Egypt's cat's paw.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lee Myung bak's hardball slams him back

South Korea's president Lee Myung bak has made no bones about 'teaching North Korea a lesson'. He trashed Kim Dai Jung's 'Sunshine Policy', cut off food supplies and fertilizers' when he took over the Blue House in 2008, upped the ante in a belligerent, bellicose sounding 'Drang nach Norden' policy towards the DPRK, and has recklessly taunted Kim Jong il & co. by playing tin admiral in joint US ROK military games along the NLL [Northern Limit Line] which briefly turned into a sharp reposte from the North when South Korean shells fell in North Korea's territorial waters in November 2010.
Lee has stopped South Koreans from visiting resorts on Kumgangsan [Diamond Mountain], much reverred by Koreans north or south, which during the heady days of the 'Sunshine Policy' South Korean capital built, supported, and drew profit. The pleasure sights also brought much needed hard cash to a strapped North Korean economy.
The accidental shooting of a South Korean tourist who ventured too close to an 'installation' brought a complete stop to visits to Kumgangsan by Lee's presidential fiat. The North cloaked itself behind its refusal to apologise for the tourist's death. And the matter lay there until today.
Since the 'freeze' North Korea has tried to negotiate with the private owners of the resorts, but talks lingered and got nowhere.
On other fronts, Lee Myung bak has tried to push his advantage, with US agreement and backing, but to little avail. In fact, the South Korean's efforts on the economic, military, and economic fronts have made long fire.
Now the North has slammed hard the ball of 'in your face' politics by ordering all South Koreans keeping the tourist sites in good order to leave the country, and it wouldn't surprise GuamDiary that it would threaten to 'nationalise' the South's share in the jointly run area.
Tensions will rise for sure. Will Lee Myung bak, to soothe the ruffled feathers of South Korean investers find a face saving exit?

Israel is out of step

As the Zionist state is being ravaged by growing internal dissension and unrest, scandals and the unmasking of the 'tycoons' who rule the roost, and stumbling of the right wing Likud led government of 'Bibi' Netenyahu, Israel is having a hard time accomodating to the realities in the Middle East.
The fall of its ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has swept away the quasi certainty that Egypt would do Israel's dirty work in patrolling the Sinai and keeping the Palestinian Hamas government in Gaza in a tight lockdown, as well as supplying the Zionist state with 40 percent of its much needed natural gas to fuel its growing market orientated economy.
Well, that's past history. Israel cannot treat Egypt in the same way its does occupied Palestine and Gaza through 'manu militari' means. Israel violation of Egypt's Sinai last week has heightened tensions between the two allies. Whereas Israel wouldn't apologise to its Turkish ally over its piratic attack and killings on the 'Mavi Mamara' in June 2010, Netenyahu was quick to offer the military council in Cairo an 'apology without assuming any responsibility'.
That 'apology' was quickly spurned for not going far enough. Not only that the mood of the Egyptian people is hardly ready to accept empty words: for three days now, protesters have demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador as well as recalling Egypt's from Tel Aviv. To add insult to injury, a 'spider man' climbed to the top of the 21 storey building housing the embassy and ripped off the 'Mogen David' blue and white flag, replacing it with Egypt's own flag.
Israel is fingering its worry beads for a break in relations with 'post revolutionary' Egypt would leave it 'eyeless in Gaza', and without a good friend in the Arab world. Nonetheless, scrambling to snatch 'victory from the jaws' of defeat, the Zionist state's leadership is scrambling to cobble together a face saving solution. Will it succeed? We cannot say for sure judging by Israel's 'smash 'em in the face' way of dealing with its neighbours and even its allies like the US.
Morever, Israel has to shift ground on economic development by beefing up oh how much more! its military budget which thanks to Mubarak's friendship it could redirect allocations to the civilian sector over three decades thereby accounting for a spike in economic growth and development. And Egypt still is not supplying it with natural gas.
Those days are gone forever. The US is sweating, too. Stuck in economic morass how much longer can it fork out billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel and asking the ordinary American to tighten already tightly knotted belts? Monies which the Zionist state never repays!, it is good to recall.
Israel is out of step. The right wing revisionist Zionist leadership is unwilling to give up its dreams of a Greater Israel by incorporating Palestinian lands into a will o' the wisp dreams of pre Hitler settlers.

Spector of 2008 haunts Big Bracket Banks

Stock markets are reacting badly, witnessing large decline in equities. And this drop cannot be blamed on the financial woes of the European Union and the Euro. Look at the banks, especially the US bank!

These ‘too big to fail’ banks are reaping the economic debacle they sown. George W. Bush’s TARP programme lavished billions on them without any accounting of monies received.

A good example of greed is Goldman Sachs’ getting at 100 percent of a dollar on us$13 billion AIG owed them. This reimbursement highlighted that the big bracket houses who diddled with subprime mortgage and did fancy footwork with complex financial instruments they themselves understood, refused to write down bad loans on their books. Instead they carried them with full values which defied fiscal commonsense but spoke to the logic of greed.

The economic recession they engendered has come back to haunt them in spite of the fact they are sitting on a golden egg of multibillions in cash in vaults without any productive use. Not only that they resorted to illegal means to repossess houses, and for the good part, getting away with it.

Any move to regulate bad behaviour is fiercely resisted through forceful lobbying venal Congress members who will sell souls of their for reelection. As a result of short sightedness, the financial industry is reeling with billions disappearing as their equity on the world’s bourses evaporate with a flick of the wrist.

Is it worth wondering whether these wunderkindern of the country’s ‘best and brightest’ can read a spreadsheet? Can they do anything right for the commonweal?

Little do they care, it seems, other than living high on the hog as the ordinary American feel severely the economic pinch and the pain of being déclassé. We are witnessing the formulation of a political and financial mix which favours extremism and ultimately terrorism. One only has to look at the tawdry slate of Republicans vying for the Elephant party’s nod to occupy the White House.

Six party talks ready to convene soon?

GuamDiary won’t be surprised if the six party talks in Beijing will begin again. Maybe sometime after the annual UN opening in September. Why do we have a good feeling that something is afoot?

Kim Jong il, along with his third son Kim Jong eun his designated successor, is in Moscow for talks with president Dmitry Medvedev on food aid and the DPRK’s nuclear programme.

Is there a coincidence in the US’ extending a hand with us$900 million in food aid to be distributed by NGO’s like Mercy Corp. which has a good track record of providing food to famished North Koreans from port to point of distribution in the provinces.

As GuamDiary noted that the Obama’s gesture, along with the North’s willingness to cooperate in the reclaiming and repatriation of the remains of fallen GI’s during the active phase of Korean War 60 years ago. The warming diplomatic winds come as a result of North Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Gye gwan’s two day talks in New York with senior department of state officials.

Is it also a realization that North Korea is not going to collapse and that feeding a population that has endured severe hunger owing more to the vagaries of Mother Nature than human neglect.?

Something more is happening in US North Korean relations

As this year’s annual joint US ROK war games dubbed ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ proceed, a different scenario is being played out between the US and DPRK.
Alert eyes noticed a ‘filler’ on the news wires that North Korea signaled that it was willing to aid a US team to reclaim and repatriate remains of fallen GI’s during the active phase of the Korean War 60 years ago.
This bit of news was a sure fire indication that the two day meeting in New York of North Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs and negotiator with American diplomats on the DPRK’s nuclear programme had borne fruit.
The two days of discussions seemingly didn’t break new ground other than each side exposing its positions, yet they did proved enough for a gentler diplomatic wind to begin thawing out the frost between the two countries.
The US holds dear the return of the remains of its soldiers fallen in its foreign wars. North Korea’s offer is not the first of its kind, and repatriation of remains since, say, the Clinton administration. Its significance is an example of yet another confidence building measure to lighten tensions.
The Obama administration, which has kept the pressure on the DPRK, has responded by offering us$900 million in much needed food aid, supplies which it stopped since 2008, in coordination with the hard line South Korea president Lee Myung bak’s policy to ‘teach North Korea a lesson’, and as a stern school master, punishing his rival Kim Jong il to such a degree that would roll back the authoritarian regime in the North to the point of collapse.
In spite of the military bluster and braggadocio of ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ and the risk of exchange of live fire between the two Koreas [remember the riposte of the North to the South’s shells landing in North Korean territorial waters in November 2010!], the US has had momentary wake up call that diplomacy should take the lead in dealing with North Korea.
Will there be further advances in warming the Arctic winds of US policy towards North

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Israel ain't apologising

Israel's kick 'em in the guts foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that Israel is not going to apologise to Turkey for its piratic attack on the Turkish vessel 'Mavi Mamara' that was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza as part of a Peace Flotilla deying Israel's illegal blockade in June 2010. Israeli commandos killed eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin. The UN is on the eve of publishing a report on the incident which will hardly do Israel's reputation any good.
Turkey has demanded a public apology and compensation for the families of the nine killed.
Turkey's and Israel's ally the US has pushed the right wing Likud government of 'Bibi' Netenyahu to apologise and pay blood money, but to no avail. Although relations seemingly have improved between Ankara and Tel Aviv during the last year to a point that Turkey stayed the Turks from sailing the 'Mavi Mamara' in the sabotaged Second Peace Flotilla in June 2011 and was willing to shelve the UN report on the Israeli aggression against and murder of its own citizens, Israel's refusal to apologise now frees Turkey to pursue a more pro Gaza, pro Palestinian policy and redirect relations with Israel which it has fostered since the founding of the Zionist state in 1948. By playing hardball, Israel has cut the legs again from under US initiatives to calm turbulent Mideast waters.
Listening to Lieberman, you had thought Turkey had used Israeli bargaining tactics: according to him, Turkey kept piling on more demands, the most unacceptable and galling being lifting the blockade of Gaza. If this is true, Turkey was giving Israel a taste of its own medicine in the way they 'negotiate' with the Palestinians.
At the present moment, Israel is under attack by its own citizens for the widening gap between the very rich who rule the country and the rest who can hardly make ends meet. Not only that, since the fall of its ally Mubarak, Israel is having trouble in the Sinai as the gas line bringing 40 percent of fuel to meet the Zionist state's needs and attacks by unknown assailants are threatening the long peace that Egypt provided. Now Israel has to beef up its military budget which will have the effect of sharpening class conflict in Israel.
The Zionist state thinks of itself as a law unto itself. In this, the US has enabled and acquiesced to Israel's thuggery, and now the bill long is long overdue. The cracks in the Zionist state are widening thereby weakening it beyond its wildest fears.

Obama promise a 'jobs' plan in September

Did Obama's three state tour bring him closer to the realty of America? Largely ignoring polls showing that 84 percent of Americans want and need jobs, instead of brutal slashing of government programmes which spare the bloated military industrial complex, America's 45 president has had an epiphany: yes, America needs an economic programme to put Americans back to work and turn around America's powerhouse of an economy that is the envy of the world.
Judging by his exhortations to the early pre election campaign for his re election in Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois, he called on the American people to do his job for him by pressuring Congress to do theirs.
Can we expect much from a man who has exercised his own powers as president for the last 30 months to switch horses in mid stream?
Obama is talking in his light weight language of bi partisanship, working together as a family, and showing 'love between the brothers and sisters' all over the land. He is preaching tightening of belts whilst agreeing with a rabid, mad, extreme Republican Party to downgrade America's middle classes and the working poor, thereby turning the country into a giant sweat shop for the corporations and the fat cats who are laughing all the way to the bank where they have more than us$1.2 trillion in cash which they aren't spending, and had they would help alleviate many of the current woes affecting the country.
What can we expect from a dashing president who cuts a good figure in photo ops and has the gift of the verb? A president who lives in the world of lofty ideals and is more at home with 'a roomful of smart people with diverse views to hash things out'?
A man who thinks of himself as bridge to somewhere which has turned out to be nowhere?
Has this president the intestinal fortitude to put the insane Republican demands on the run? Looking at his team of advisors counseling him on the economy, he hardly inspires confidence and hope. He surrounded himself with the best and the brightest, but these stellar minds were the very people created the 2008 global recession from which the country and Europe are still reeling from.
Will Obama serve stronger tea in his 'jobs' programme to be announced in September? Miracles can happen but touts are giving odds he will come up with something which does not cut the mustard as he has done for the almost three years of his presidency.

North Korean professors in Canada

'Agence France Presse' has alerted the world that 'a group of North Korean professors are in Canada to take a crash course in economics' at the University of British Columbia. They are six in number to study international business, international economics, and finance and trade, 'Yonhap', South Korea's news agency reported.
Has the sky fallen on capitalist Canada? Hardly.
In the US, for the last 10 years, Maxwell School at Syracuse University in upper New York state has conducted what the School has publicised as 'US North Korea trust building through academic collaboration with Kim Chaek University of Technology'. The programme emphasis information technology, academic collaboration, and engages in what it calls 'scientific diplomacy'. Inspired by former US ambassador to Seoul Donald Gregg, this exchange with North Korea has flown under the radar. You can bet Gregg who also had a long career in the CIA, is not a rogue elephant in pushing this programme but has the tacit approval by Washington, in spite of the current 'in your face' policy towards the DPRK.
UBC is doing no more than many, many Canadian and American universities have done, say, in opening the doors wide to a post Mao China in the 1970's, 80's, and beyond.
Given the sad track record of dealing with North Korea, the UBC, as well as the Maxwell School, is taking baby steps in 'confidence building measures' with the DPRK.
More to the point, the connexion between UBC and North Korea may very well be an outcome of 'Project Pyongyang', a grassroots movement of two students to build mutual trust and promote mutual respect between North Korea and the global community.
For the moment, the six North Korean professors of economics and finances are going through an intensive immersion in English as the opening of the Fall 2011 semester nears.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

North Korea plays its cards well

15 August marked the liberation of the two Koreas from Japanese colonial rule. South Korea's president Lee Myung bak in a flourish worthy of Moliere's 'Harpagon' called on North Korea's Kim Jong il to let bygones be bygones, so that the two Koreas can coexist peacefully.
Hypocrisy thy name is Lee. Since arriving at the Blue House in 2008, he has done everything to push North Korea towards collapse and to war. In pursuing his aim of 'destroying North Korea' by any means necessary, he is joined by America's Barack Obama.
Now let's look at Lee's hand of peace he is offering Kim: an annual replay of joint military exercise called 'Ulchi' with the US, with a schedule of drills and the use of live ammunition, simulating invasion of the North. Is this Lee's idea of promoting peace and building confidence in a tripwire divided Korean peninsula?
North Korea has cards of its own to play, and they are strong ones. The North threatens to 'bolster it nuclear deterrent for self defence and cope with the drills'.
It may seem tiresome to repeat the message that South Korea and the US are not interested in dealing fair and square with North Korea. They are trying every trick in a shopworn notebook to force it to collapse, owing to a starving population, lackluster economy, failing infrastructure, so on and on.
Yet, North Korea has not imploded: unobserved or ignored? a transformation is taking place in the DPRK according to a timetable of its own that the ROK and the US ignore or are blind to or simply too dense to acknowledge. As such, it is the US and the South who are trampling on battered down earth with the same hidebound tactics which doom them to failure.
The North knows by mentioning its nuclear programme it sends a blue streak of unease in Seoul and Washington, who, although they wish they could 'roll back' the DPRK with a renewed war in Korea, know they cannot. And so they play tin soldier and sailor to provoke the North to fire the opening salvo of a war they are eager to fight.
Sorry old darlings...the US is not in a position to open a third war in Asia nor even a limited action in Korea. China won't like it and the US is afraid of China who holds America's economic life in its hands. And can Washington in a moment of political and financial paralysis keep 28.000 troops in South Korea? Already voices are being raised to recall them and the 80.000 others in Europe to cut the burgeoning US war debt!
North Korea knows with whom it is playing an joint US ROK version of 'lair's poker', and it has the cards to win!

The Murdoch empire ain't off the hook

Rupert Murdoch remains victorious after his handpicked board of directors unanimously expressed undying and uncritical obedience. Secure in his isolated castle, he has in no way stopped the hacking scandal in Britain from spreading like a cancer gnawing at the bowels of his empire.
He may buy politicians, suborn the police, and send his 'mafiosi' of trusted employees to bully his own employees and brutally crush his opponents, but his luck is running out.
David Cameron will not last long in office. His hand picked successor son James is damaged goods that even in the short run he will jettison. In the longer run, he is going to have to turn to 'outsiders' for support, and that will begin end of his family empire. Once a media mogul's family loses its 'mojo', the Murdoch state with in 'States' will go the way of all flesh. Saying this, we are not stating an historical law, but a sorry tale of other media moguls and their families who've gone under the corporate guillotine's blade.
Already in the US, an investigation is underway of News Corp. hacking and gangland style takeovers. Tim Dickerson has a straightforward article on Murdoch's black arts of running a business and of eliminating his opposition or buying off the US political elite of the Republican Party, in the current issue of 'Rolling Stones'.
Murdoch & co. are in the crosshairs of a process which is not only shaking the pillars of his temple to himself in Nero like splendour and ambition but of the cracking of its foundation.

A black cloud hangs over America dixit Rick Perry

Texas governor Rick Perry's not so subtle racism tells us a lot about his campaign for the Republican Party's nominee in the 2012 presidential elections.
He is appealing to those who want an America of mainly, Anglo Saxon Protestants. His is an America of 'old fashioned virtues' which had to go to war to settle the question of slavery, free land, and free labour.
Perry's style of campaigning goes for the jugular: remember, after the election of Barack Obama, he raised the flag of succession of his Single Star state, which, in itself, is a call to 'lese majeste'. And his attack on Ben Bernake of the Fed is ringing the tocsin of treason.
A proponent of small or no government at all, he has gutted Texas' educational system to such a degree that it ranks at the bottom of 50 states. He favours business to an extreme, thereby transforming Texas into a state of minimum wage workers barely keeping skin and bones together. No white envelope from his corporate backers lies unopened. Remember his gift from Ken Lay of Enron fame?
Corporate America like him: he has done and will continue to do anything to sweep away government legislation that will rein in their unbridled power.
Perry's record is there to see if the media wants to investigate it. Will it?
Parsing his words at the 'day of prayer' he convened early in August, the Texas governor is mixing religion with politics which even the 90 per cent of Americans who profess a belief in a god, find disconcerting.
In brief, Perry is a corporatist in business, politics, and religion. It is not too much to say he is anti democratic and would easily feel comfortable in a proto fascist state of Salazar's Portugal or Franco's Spain or even the early years of Mussolini.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A lack of old fashioned morality

David Cameron has found the alchemist's secret to spinning political gold out of riots: a lack of old fashioned morality. Blimey, blow us over with a feather!
He should know since from his smary upper class education and his rubbing elbows with the corrupt elite such as Rupert Murdoch and family who can play him like a violin, he embodies 'old fashioned morality'.
Furthermore, he is doing everything to fuel further social unrest. Yet his old fashioned morality will in the end rest on more police, more prisons, and more misery and dysfunction to, and for the British people save himself and the ruling class.
In his own way of 'murdering' society, he is like the 'saviour' that Peter O'Toole wonderfully played in that arch film on the manners and mores of the British ruling class in the film 'The Ruling Class'.

80 US members of Congress living it high on the hog in Israel

80 US members of Congress are enjoying their 'summer vacation' in Israel at the expense of the American Israel Education Foundation, an arm of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Instead of taking care of serious business at home and the fears and concerns of their constituents as they pertain to jobs, medical expenses, education, infrastructure, taxing the wealthy, they are being wined and dined by the Israeli government to do its bidding when it comes to unstoppable economic and military aid to Israel and emasculating Palestinians designs for a state of their own.
In a word, in place of dealing with the serious economic and political paralysis at home, these 80 solons are living it up as though they are spending a week or two at summer camp.
And who do we find among the 80: Eric Cantor the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives. Eric is a political dunderhead. A no raise taxes on the rich and wealthy, a believer in small government, he is also the man who divides his loyalty to the US and the people who elected him with his 'fealty' that he swore to the right wing Likud leader of Israel's government, 'Bibi' Netenyahu. In other words, as a Jew, his personal religious belief is superior to his loyalty to the office and the country that he is sworn to uphold. Even though he issued a denial, his actions betray his words. One only has to look at them to see an echo of Israel's fears and concerns and foreign policy objectives.
There is no denying that support for Israel is used as a cutting edge in elections. The former US congressman and mayor of New York Ed Koch has put his nose into a quick election to replace the disgraced Anthony Wiener. Two Jews are vying for the seat: one an Orthodox Jew for the Democrats and an unknown for the Republicans. Koch's measure of their abilities to serve their constituents Jew and non Jew alike is how pro Israel they are! More likely than not the pious Jew will take the race, but the ex mayor's mischief is the kind of blackmail that is endemic in American politics when it comes to Israel.
And the junket the 80 congressmen are enjoying is the reason why US policy on Israel and America's relations with the Arabs are so out of kilter.
And of course, the utter corruption of Congress by powerful lobbies foreign and domestic who buy votes and rob the ordinary voter of any change which can and do affect their and their families let alone the country's domestic tranquillity and welfare and health, thereby contributing to the wholesale breakdown of the US' political, social, and economic health.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pure Iowa corn

Having paid us$30 to partake in Iowa’s straw poll, voters in the corn state chose Michele Bachmann with 29 percent, then Ron Paul with 28 percent, and Tim Pawlenty with 14 percent, in a contest with very low turnout.

Bachmann as leader of a pack of eight has knocked her fellow Minnosotan and rival out of the race for the nomination of the Elephant party’s standard bearer to challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 elections. A straw poll is just that a testing of the waters of where the voters are today. As we know, voters are fickle and are wont to change preferences, switch loyalty, and of doubtful consistency in ideas and moods. The real test will come in 2012, and by then others may emerge as leaders of the pack vying for the Republicans’ nod as the man or woman they want to lead them back to the White House.

Ron Paul comes off as grumpy. He’s a fierce defender of individual rights and keeping government’s role to a minimum, yet he has garnered a following among the young and fiscal conservatives in his staunch opposition to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, wars that weigh heavily on the burdens of the taxpayer in particular and the health of the American people in general. Bachmann has garnered untold publicity, some of which is unflattering. [See, Ryan Lizza’s profile in 15 August 2011 issue of ‘The New Yorker’ that examines the books that influence Bachmann, or Matt Taibi’s ‘Michele Bachmann’s Holy War’ in the 22 June 2011 issue of ‘Rolling Stone’.] She is famously caught in her shaky grasp of American history or her confusing facts or in simply verbal embroidery which defy logic and commonsense.

Yet, she has sold herself to ‘true believers’. Although she speaks of defending the American people from the evils of the economy and the US debt, she takes comfort in preaching the gospel of radical Christianity, superstition, nostalgia for a ‘garden of America’s Eden’, which is a matter of the true believer’s redemption of the past, and pie in the sky solutions.

Attractive as she may appear to the media, her faults are easy to detect. A vociferous opponent of too much government, she does cash cheques from the Department of Agriculture for her farm, and her husband in his consulting practice accepts Medicare, Medicaid, or any form of state sponsored insurance. Such examples immediately come to mind.

Such contradictions are secondary: Bachmann’s a product in the market place. Self promotion and advertising she uses to sell herself. She’s entertainment, and the flavour of the hour that gab headlines and diversion from meeting serious problems head on.

More likely than naught, Bachmann will be shunted aside in favour of a more formidable candidate who seemingly has the qualities for the presidency. Rick Perry, the three term governor of Texas, has thrown his hat in the ring. South Carolina and New Hampshire will be the test of Bachmann, as it will be for the presumed front runner Mitt Romney, who put his foot in his mouth in Iowa by defending corporations are people like you and me. Why shouldn’t he? As a partner in Bain, he took over American Pencil and Paper for a handful of millions, cannibalizing it, throwing out workers, and cut to the chase, sold it for a cool us$100 million. John Huntsman twittered significantly to pooh pooh Romney’s defence of the rich and the cut throat…what about AP&P? Romney’s record at Bain is replete of the corporation as an individual robbing the ordinary worker of a livelihood and social net for the sole and only purpose of enriching Romney and his partners.

A simple example of Romney’s klewlessness: eating lunch with the unemployed in his swing through Florida, he had the unmitigated gall to boast that he, too, was ‘unemployed’. Unpicked up by the media was the voice of a woman who simply put it this way: ‘you’re better off than we are’. Yep, ma’am, he certainly is: his personal worth is somewhere between us$150 and $200 million!

How spectacular the idiocy of the plutocrats and the US political elite!

In the court of Barack Obama the advisors argue

In the court of Barack Obama his advisors argues that it is better to stay the course on the deficit to ‘woo’ independent who threw their support in the 2010 bi elections to the right wing Republicans, to reelect the 45 America president to a second term in office. Another faction argues for a robust response to a reactionary Republican platform by listening to the voters who want jobs and putting the US economy back to work, to financial health, and squeeze the conceit that corporations are people until they pay their fair share of taxes, as well as dunning the coupon clippers and plutocrats in the market place.

We know Obama has an idea of himself as a unifier, a compromiser, a man with a silver tongue which in the current mess in Washington and the country’s reversal of fiscal fortunes have proven weak, if not ineffectual. The American president takes a lawyerly tack to problems, drawing out a decision which, when it comes, lacks impact. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that Obama is costing on strategy which until now has marginalized dealing with jobs other than pretty debating points that have the value of ego money but do not put men and women back to work nor food in empty larders.

The longer Obama plays J. Alfred Prufrock agonizing over ‘dare he eat a peach?’ the shakier his dreams of a second term in office seem more like gossamer wings than a realizable goal.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

North Korea looks towards southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has opened a window for a North Korea plagued by sanctions. Singapore, unofficially, served as a venue for commercial deals between the DPRK and the generals' ruled ROK. Cambodia for historical reasons has maintained good relations with North Korea, and Phnom Penh boasts of an excellent North Korean restaurant and other DPRK business ventures.
For obvious reasons, Vietnam and Laos have long relations with the DPRK. Until the ouster of Thaksin Shinawatra once had a two way trade of us$331 in chemicals, raw materials, and machinery.
Burma has maintained good relations with North Korea. Even now a North Korean ship is in harbour awaiting the lading of Burmese rice.
And Malaysia will have an air route to North Korea in September 2011 for purposes of tourism and business.

Shots across the bow along the NLL

South Korea has jittery nerves. It should. With joint US ROK military exercises along the Northern Limit Line within 'spitting distance' of North Korea's territorial waters, Seoul sparked a riposte from the North when one or more of its shells landed in the DPRK's space in November 2010 rising fears of renewed warfare in the divided Korean peninsula.
GuamDiary has long commented on the dispute. We have pointed out the provocative nature of these exercises that have one object in mind: to spook North Korea is to isolate further the DPRK, by straining its resources to the maximum so that it will collapse. We were also criticised for suggesting that a live shell knows no direction, and that may help explain why the ROK's penetrated North Korea's sovereign space, thereby drawing its fire on the military installations on Yeongpyeong 10 kilometres or so away in the South's waters along the NLL.
Today, it seems the North's shells have 'wandered' into the South's space near Yeongpyeong. Which all goes to support our suggestion that a live shell knows no destination at times. The ROK responded by returning fire. The DPRK, however, responded by saying that the sounds of gunfire were in reality the result of blasting for construction purposes in the are of South Hwanghae Province close to the five islands in the West Sea of Korea. Whatever the reasons may be, one thing is quite clear: the very tense relations between South and North that South Korea's president Lee Myung bak instituted when he entered the Blue House and which the Obama White House supports to the hilt.
Selig Harrison a senior scholar at the Wood Wilson International Center at Princeton, wrote in a 'New York Times' opinion piece suggested, in the wake of the shelling of Yeongpyeong in 2010 that the NLL be redrawn in order to stay itching trigger fingers that might set off warfare. His suggestion went no further than into the circulating file of good ideas.
Stability lies in a peace treaty replacing the 1953 Armistice agreement and finally ending the 61 year old Korean War. Neither the US nor its ally the ROK see any purchase in that solution today. As such, panic will reign along the NLL.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Obama lost his way

From time to time GuamDiary posts titles of books or articles we deem worthy of reading. Today listed below are two articles on how Obama lost his bearing on the north star of his presidency.

1. Frank Rich's 'Obama's original sin, 'New York Magazine', 03 July 2011

2. Drew Westen's 'What happened to Obama?', "Sunday Review", 'The New York Times', 07 August 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Klewless Obama loses his 'mojo'

Faced with a sharp turn in the US' -- and his own--political and economic misfortunes in the wake of the S&P downgrade of America's debt, Barack Obama had little to offer. He read from a stale script preaching 'balance', bipartisanship, and 'we're the greatest nation on this earth", and somehow, by gosh and by golly, we're going to get through this mess.
And mess it is. Obama has lost his silver tongue; he simply goes for the trite and tired excuses that offer no solution to America's political lack of will. If anything, he has shown himself incapable of leading, and in try lawyerly fashion, shifts his responsibility to abstract principles which do not put the growing army of the poor and un and underemployed to work or to rebuilt shattered hopes and lives, sacrificed on the altar of rewarding the bankrupt class of corporate leaders, politicians, and the greedy rich.
At a time when Obama should show leadership, he is found wanting. His pretty speeches remain unheard for the plain and simple reason, he has no new plans to get out of the crisis, save the shopworn solutions which have made long fire and fizzled out.
On the other hand, the reactionary, cynical Republicans have judged him right: they are willing to punish Obama by throwing the country into political and fiscal instability, for their own parochial goals. They, too, are bereft of solutions other than rewarding the so called 'job creators' which is a slick way of saying the rich that bankroll them to the hilt.
As of this moment, Obama 15 months away from what's turning out to be a very brutal election campaign is not assured of returning to the White House. Even if he does, the US can expect, judging by his record, four more years of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, hemming and hawing, and a glaring absence of spine. To GuamDiary, Obama's moral fault may best be summarised by a life from T.S. Eliot's 'Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock': 'dare I eat a peach?' An seemly agonising paralysis of will of doing even the simplest of undertakings.
Perhaps, too, a potential Republican rival Mitt Romney put it this way: Obama has turned Harry Truman's dictum on its head. The feisty HST famously said, 'the buck stops with me' when he was president. For BHO, the buck stops everywhere else but with him.
And in spite of it all, Obama is willing to give into the reactionary Republicans who want to cripple government by rewarding the rich with tax subsidies but no taxes on their vast wealth. And for that, Obama remains klewless and is the very image of the poster president living in a bubble.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pie in the sky religious politics

Rick Perry, the sitting governor of Texas, is a no nonsense guy: right wing in politics and bible thumping in religion. Rumour has it that he is going to throw his 10 gallon hat into the Republican fray for the elephant’s nomination for the White House in the 2012 elections.

The governor has had a transcendent moment on Saturday, 6 August 2011, by blessing a rally that he initiated and was the prime mover of a religious rally for a day of prayer to cure Americans ills and push Obama out of office.

Perry has no trouble mixing religion and politics. In fact, in violation of federal law, he conducted a bible reading in a public school, in an educational system which Perry has had the signal achievement of making it 50 in 50 states of the Union. Conservative and ultra right evangelicals have responded to his call. And he is not in the least ashamed of their support which is, to put it mildly controversial, racist, and utterly nostalgic for a simpler time in America when white, native born Americans ruled.

In a few words: Perry is serving pie in the sky for the asking. He may be personally sincere in his faith, in his belief in the Bible, and in the efficacy of prayer, but are they cures for America’s political, economic, and social ills?

Houston’s 70.000 Reliant Stadium drew tens of thousands to the prayer rally. How different was this day of prayer from a Native American rain dance or a Voodoo priest trying to exorcise an evil spirit, or the slaughter of a sacrificial lamb?

Republican Perry has no qualms of rewarding the rich and powerful for whom he is the Elmer Snerd. In his religious futurology and philosophy, the ultimate destiny for the ordinary America is succor in prayer and the Scriptures and quietism: accept your lot for your reward is in the next world. Rewards in today’s world belong to corporations and the elite who have, yes, the ‘God given’ wisdom to elect a Rick Perry as governor and perhaps tomorrow as president.

Americans are not all that dense: they have an awareness of a Constitutional guarantee of separating religion from government. Perry’s appeal to evangelical Christians simply puts other Christian denomination, not to speak of Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, so on and on beyond the pale.

Perry’s supporters may believe that Perry has ‘hit all the right notes’, but to a great many others, the Texas governor is off key. What is obvious, however, is that the US has lost its North Star: it is adrift in a sea where the rich and powerful are circling government wagons to protect what they own and want to further own, whilst impoverishing the vast majority of Americans. In other words, Perry’s call to a day of prayer is a smokescreen for the corporate elite to hijack the government with the short sighted aim of filling vaults of wealth and the devil be damned! The day of pray is the glorification of the corporate state and no crumbs for the faithful poor but hope in a heaven which may not exist.

Obama's road to Damascus moment?

Has Barack Obama had a ‘road to Damascus’ moment? Suddenly after almost three years in office, he is uttering the word heard around every kitchen table in the US: Jobs!

The 45 American president is running sacred; he may not be returned for a second term in office. Will the voters respond to Obama’s re election?

He has to earn their votes. Judging by his short sighted response to the right wing Republicans agenda, the president has a lot of catching up. Standing up the maddeningly crowd in Congress, his vision was short sighted. How else could it not be? Brushing aside the advice of American Noble prize winners in economics who called for more government spending to create jobs, put the un and underemployment back to full time work, in order to pull the economy out of the morass the 2008 global economic recession created by Wall Street.

Instead clever by half, he hit on the chewing down the debt, to sell the thunder of the reactionary Republicans, with an eye of bringing back to his camp the ‘independent’ voters who brought the plague of the Tea Party to Washington. This strategy spelt Obama’s embracing Republican logic and strategy, and, as such, he caved in, signing a deal which cut but did not raise revenue. In consequence, as a reward, the rating agency S&P downgraded America’s debt that will reverberate in the world markets and in the purses of the poor consumer, employed or not.

The only class untouched, despite the dip in stock portfolios, is the one percent of America’s corporate elite and hanger-on s who own as much as 150 million Americans in wealth.

Faced with his own lack of vision, and having surrounded himself and identified with Wall Street who broke America’s might in the market, how can Obama break out of his mould and steal the thunder from the Republicans and hook up again to the legacy of FDR and LBJ, other than vacuous pretty speeches without a wallop?

Computer mayhem in the two Koreas

North Korea’s gotten caught again in a scheme to raise hard currency. This time, it’s not illegal sales of ginseng or narcotics, but computer games, South Korean authorities claim.
In fact they’ve in custody five of their citizens who ‘colluded’ with the ‘enemy’ by violating copyright and draining capital away from ROK and corporate treasuries, to the tune of us$3 billion.
Three billion dollars ain’t hay. It is good to recall that not too many years ago, South Korea itself flouted international copyrights by flooding the market with knock offs in computer games, books, films, luxury items, and the like.
Now the ‘respectable’ ROK is pursuing its political aim with the US to ‘roll back’ North Korea to the point of collapse by tightening the DPRK ability to earn foreign currency.
US and South Korean and western propaganda and media tend to belittle North Korea: the country is on the verge of collapse, starvation, closed off from the world, Pyongyang remains technologically backwards and years behind in information technology and advances in science, so on and on.
This steady stream of misinformation flies in the face of realty. John Maynard Keynes famously said: ‘when the facts change, I change my mind’. North Korea is at the cutting edge of rocket technology; it has developed a nuclear programme; and now, we see in the South’s charge of computer hacking and theft, it has caught up quickly in website design and programming.
Of course, it is not happenstance that South Korea has often accused the North of cyber warfare on its banks and government institutions, despite when on investigation the trail leads back to South Korea itself, the US, and the European Union.
GuamDiary cannot gainsay that the DPRK is strapped for hard cash. The US led sanction campaign has proven successful, even though North Korea manages to wiggle room to raise hard currency through trade and barter abroad. Nor can you deny that proud DPRK has the right to defend its independence and identity faced with a relentless cold war conducted against it by the US and its allies.
Little wonder, North Korea seizes any open window of opportunity to fill its coffers. Nonetheless adversity has to North Koreans validated the country’s ‘Cholima’ spirit and reinforced the notion of ‘Juche’, which the scholarly, business, and diplomatic community in the US, South Korea, and elsewhere try to denigrate.
And yet, North Korea never ceases to surprise its detractors, who complicate reality by necessarily drawing false conclusions rather than taking the obvious path of talking with North Korea. The simplicity of this suggestion encourages apoplexy instead of intelligence in diplomatic and business and scholarly circles.

S& sent birthday greetings to Barack Obama

Barack Obama celebrated his half century with great festivity. He, however, got presents he didn’t want; the ratings agency S&P downed graded the US debt from AAA or risk proof to AA+. [Will Moody’s and Fitch follow suit?]
AA+ expresses S&P’s opinion that the borrower, in this case the US, will meet its debt obligations. For this ratings agency, which played fast and furious with mortgages triggering the 2008 global recession, believes the recently agreed on deal in the houses of Congress on debt reduction and raising the debt ceiling is too timid.
To put it mildly Obama is livid, claiming the ‘downgrade’ is based on a faulty computer model. Yet S&P’s position questions the Faustian bargain signed into law by the American president that takes the budgetary knife to the ‘fat’ in budget without raising revenues.
In spite of a slight drop in US employment from 9,2 to 9,1 percent, the economic prospects for less than a snail’s pace recovery is shaky. Where are the jobs? Obama & co. saw in consumer spending a way out of the recession. A less than intelligent strategy, for the plain and simple truth that the average US ratepayer is deep in debt, and by encouraging him to take on more debt makes no sense.
Obama and the Republicans sloughed off the task of creating jobs. It was too difficult but the real un and underemployment stats are edging around 20 percent if not higher.
The Republicans are for protecting the plutocrats and mount the barricades when it comes to closing tax holes on the corporations and raising taxes on the rich and the very rich.
The corporations and banks are sitting on a Fort Knox of cash but won’t lend. They are not hiring only downsizing or sending jobs abroad [and here’s a new wrinkle in the face of greed: the use of prison labour that can be had for as little as us$0,20 an hour!].
Looking at Obama rallying Americans makes GuamDiary if he has lost his ‘mojo’ to move crowds. Pale, if not stunned, he recited his usual platitude of ‘we won’t take this lying down’ and ‘we’re telling the world, we’re going to come through the crisis’ on top, as though he was simply talking for talking sake, not truly believing in his own message.
Poll after poll has shown how out of step Congress and the White House are out of step with the mood of Americans who want to go back to work. Jobs is now on the Obama’s lips, but, pray tell, how is he going to perform miracles in putting the country back to work when he has embraced the Republicans’ mantra of cutting back up and down the budget line?
Obama has his own self to blame for his ‘community’ style of bargaining that gives the store away. At this point, since he swept the sins of the Bush administration under the carpet, he has ended up ‘owning’ the blame for a bad economy, the growing impoverishment of the country, the strengthening of a 1984 state of secrecy and spying, and the like.
The 45 president of the US cannot count on a shoo in return to office in 2012, if the elections were held today. Is Obama capable to showing true grit, taming the Republicans, and getting the US back on the right track?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

FAA left up in the air

The US Congress, after a bruising battle on America's debt, has fled 'tropical' Washington, D.C. for a five week summer holiday. But the feisty solons left with an item of business undone: no authorisation for the Federal Aviation Administration to continue doing its job. Translation: project upgrades left hanging in mid air; 4000 workers furloughed and there 'technically' unemployed; federal taxes on the sale of air tickets remain uncollected to the projected sum of a us$1 billion or more.
The Republicans are holding the Agency's authorization hostage. It seems odd that they who preach fiscal responsibility are the same and very people who are, when all is said and done, 'spendthrifts' and practitioners of the 'pennywise, pound foolish' way of governing.
What is at stake in the Republicans 'benign' neglect is the right of FAA to organise. Like rabid animals, they fear unions and the right of the hard worker to earn a decent living. In this, the right wing Republicans are taking a page out of their sainted patron, Ronald Reagan. For those of short memory, during his first run for the American presidency, he got the support of the Air Controllers Union, which he welcomed. And then, elected president, one of his first acts was to crush the union without a bye your leave! And, in a way, since then workers in the FAA have fared weakly from lack of a union.
For the Republicans who are marching lock stepped to an extreme right wing radical beat favouring the rich and quashing any resistance for the rights of the average working stiff and the poor, the sign on the door is 'keep out!' Now, we have the root and branch of the reason why the fiscally conservative right wing Republicans, with a dash of blue dog Democrats in tow, are letting the FAA up in the air until they have feasted and rested and gloated in winning all along the line in the debt standoff with a feckless president.
Ultimately, the working classes of the US' right to a decent and fair living will be held hostage until the Republicans get their way possibly.
Obama has denounced Congress' insouciance, calling it a lose lose situation, and strongly urging members of Congress to do their duty by passing the FAA's reauthorisation bill. Will he be heard? After his shameful caving in to the Republicans, he has lost any moral authority. And if the polls mean anything today, in spite of raising oodles of money for his re election, he would be defeated today. Not only is the Congress held in contempt by the US people, but Obama has emerged from the contentious debt battle with Congress seriously wounded. Until the end of his term, if his past behaviour is an gauge, he will limp along since he has no taste for battle for his ideas and his 'concerns' for the American people.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Obama: Debt reduction fight could've been different

In lawyerly tones, the American president opined that the protracted fight to raise the US debt ceiling could've been different.
Of course, it could've, if Obama had backbone.
According to polls, he is thought of by the American people as a 'follower, not a leader'. And there you have it in a nutshell. Obama's as though now he is an albatross round the neck of the Democrats.
As for his assessment that the law he signed on raising the debt is a 'balanced' [sic] measure, he need only looking at the world stock exchanges' reaction. Everyone is bailing out of the equity market. What does that mean? Lower corporate earning, slower than a snail's pace economic growth, impoverishment of the majority of Americans who unlike the top one percent who own 40 percent of the country's wealth, and the spiraling downwards trajectory as the US as a world power.
Obama is the Republicans cat's paw, in sum. Without taxing the rich and closing loopholes favouring the corporate elite pulling the strings of Congress through lobbies, the Obama has put the stamp of paralysis on the way America governs. Dysfunctional is the key word of how best to describe the current state of affairs of the way Washington works.
Will the iron grip of the warfare state show signs of cracking? No doubt about it. How can you justify an arms manufacturer like General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt Obama appointed head of his Jobs Council, not paying a blessed cent in taxes? How can you allow the beleaguered Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. not only to escape paying taxes but getting reimbursed in right off totaling millions?
Already in the canyons of Wall Street, who are the people that brought us the global recession of 2008, thousands of protesters filled the streets calling for taxing the banks and the rich. Thanks to 'al Jazeera' television which is now running 23 hours on a New York cable system, a 25 minute episode documents popular protest and the obscene and decadent greed and life style of the one percent who run everything through hired hands in the halls of Congress, the White House, and yes, the Supreme Court. You won't find accounts of protest in the 'Washington Post' who pushed for the 'debt plan' and praised Republican intransigeance or the old grey mare the 'New York Times', which is the voice of the rich and powerful. And the US media as a whole is in bed with the elite.
Charlie Rose is a good barometre of political life in the US. The other night it featured 30 minutes with the much damaged Robert Rubin, probing for this man's advice. It is no happenstance that this banker of ill repute hid behind the situation is too complex and even the best minds are at odds in proffering solutions to the sick man of the world who is the US. Or Alan Greenspan who during his long tenure at the Federal Reserve prepared the way for the 2008 economic debacle. And who even today remains unreconstructed and unrepentant in his belief in the markets as the regulator of all things!
Unable to learn Obama reflects the stupidity and the idiocy of America's ruling class of which he is the willing servant. Yes, things could've been different if Obama wasn't the spokesman of the one percent. He's down his worst and for all his service, he's a one term wonder and the country and the world is left in the lurch.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beating the war drums on North Korea

Japan's intelligence services are warning that North Korea is 'seeking a new long distance rocket capable of reaching the American territory of Guam'.
This 'rumour' is not knew. North Korea itself has long boasted in its verbal duel with the US that its long distance rockets have the capacity to hit Los Angeles! Call it braggadocio! The DPRK leaders are not fools: burnt into memory is the utter devastation and waste that the US aeroplanes visited on North Korea during the peace treaty less Korean War of 61 years ago.
Japan is part of the tripartite axis along with the US and South Korea in trying to 'roll back' North Korea to the point of collapse or surrender to the trio's demands.
Recent US DPRK talks in New York went nowhere but did one thing: it had North Korea and the US talking to each other. Let out in the reporting of the two day confab was that North Korea was willing to abide by a 2005 pledge to deactivate its nuclear programme in return for much needed food. The US did not seriously consider the offer; it felt 'once burnt, twice shy'. But was it really burnt as it coordinated a no prisoners taken position with a vindictive Lee Myung bak government in Seoul?
As GuamDiary has often commented, the US wants to bring down Kim Jong il by any means necessary; it cut off food donations through NGOs in 2008 in step with South Korea's abandonment of the 'Sunshine Policy', stopping deliveries of fertilisers and food, and halting any commercial activities between North and South.
The time for talking is past or maybe put off for another day, the war drums are thumping away furiously warning us that the dreaded North Koreans are once more engaging in activities that will put us in danger of another war.
Lee in South Korea has visions of reuniting a divided Korean peninsula, and he is even willing to tax South Koreans more to hasten that day which he puts as 2017. The US is in no measure to fight another war, the more especially since it won't have enough money to keep the country's books balanced for healthy growth.
So the rejectionist trio turn to renewed propaganda wars, which will keep everyone on a state of high alert, but will pass up any practical opportunity to deal with North Korea in a commonsensical way diplomatically.

Obama's put a 'gone fishing' sign on the White House

'Gone fishing' that's what the golden throat Barack Obama has gone after the 'debt crisis'. He dashed any lingering 'audacity for hope' as his term in the White House is running down to 2012. Only plain lack of judgment and a tendency to take 'French leave' in the heat of battle with the Republicans.
With what he calls a 'balanced approach' to lifting the debt ceiling, he has doomed the ordinary taxpayer to bear the weights and chains and dues of the plutocrats, the coupon clippers, and the wealthy. He has, in effect, put the ordinary American citizen on a bread and water diet; he has hastened the physical decline of America's health of its citizenry as well as the government's ability to function rationally.
On the vote of the bill to raise the ceiling in the lower house of Congress half of Obama's Democrats voted against their leader's poor vision; that split spells paralysis for Obama, and it wouldn't surprise GuamDiary that in the 2012 convention someone will rise up to challenge him as the party's standard bearer in 2012.
Obama will go down in American history as one of the worst presidents the nation ever elevated to the White House.
The chattering classes almost spoke in a single voice saying that he had endless opportunities to 'throttle' or challenge the Republicans, but each time, he caved. The president's inability to rule is mirrored in his advisors who may, in may instances, be considered 'the best and the brightest', but are out of touch with the country and share a Whig vision of class rule that is a reflexion of the Republicans. In other words, it's a school tie world.
Frank Rich's inaugural article in the 11 July 2011 issue of 'New York Magazine' is a searing indictment on the Obama vision and first 3 years in the White House. [We recommend reading Rich's article.]
'Gone fishing', too, is Obama's base. More likely than not, the president may raise oodles of money for his reelection thanks to the bill on not raising taxes for rich and shifting the burden to backs of the diminishing middle classes and the hard working poor and the down and out, but he won't get the support of his base in the way he did in 2008.
If the Republicans have Mitt Romney as its leader, Obama is a goner. And then the heavy burden the reactionary Republicans have visited on the American people will have to be undone, for the plain and simple truth that they cannot govern with the lack of money to run the country and feed the military industrialists and sustain a warfare state whilst at the same time impoverishing the vast majority of Americans.
Speaking of reactionary Republicans, we're talking of the Tea Party Republicans who have come to Washington to turn the tide on big government spending. And lo and behold, they're becoming as venal as any other politician by bringing home the pork to their districts. Without government funds for their home base, they would be voted out of office. How reassuring that something old is new again!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Obama gives away company store which will make him a one term president

US president Barack Obama went on America television late Sunday [31 July 2011], announcing a deal on the budget and debt, thereby sparing the 'world's only superpower [sic]' of a default. Calling it a 'balanced' response to avert a crisis, Obama put his fellow Democrats in a position whereby they are going to undo the work of FDR and LBJ. In sum, he has given the right wing Republicans what they wanted whilst crying 'victory' for his presidency.
Eyewash! Obama has sold out his base and condemned the vanishing 'middle classes' and the working poor and the down and out to years of servitude by paying for the debauched corporate elite that pulls the strings.
From the get go, the Republicans read Obama right. They saw in him a callow, vain president with precious little experience who was chasing a place in the history book as being above the fray, a unifier, a peace maker, or goodness gracious us a 'saint'.
In truth, this sitting US president turned out to be weak, who, in his self satisfied sense of self, would give away the store to crow he brought 'all the brothers and sisters' together and reached a reasoned, balanced consensus. That reasonableness existed only in his mind.
Day one of his administration, he has miss read the mood of the economy, the health of the nation, and the suffering of the American people. Instead of punishing the bankers for causing the global 2008 recession, he gratified them with privileges and more money; instead of creating public works to put an almost 10 percent of unemployed American back to work, he settled for paying them for two years for doing nothing whilst companies sent jobs abroad and retrenched at home by not hiring; instead of broadening a health policy by extending Medicare to all Americans as the Canada did for its own citizens, he threw them to the wolves of private assurers; instead of winding out two failed wars, he fell for the arguments of the military to enlarge engagement in Afghanistan; instead of defending the rights of his citizens, he extended wiretapping and trampling on their fundamental rights; and so on and on.
In dealing with the Republicans, he has proven himself too clever by half by going further right than them, but not as extreme as the mad members of the Tea Party.
In sum, he has done everything wrong in the broadest sense of the word. And for that, he probably will lose re election in 2012 in spite of his ability to raise a cool US$1 billion in funds.
He has done everything to ensure that the plutocrats will seize all levels of US government next year and hasten the downwards spiral of a nation that has lost its way with more than a little help from a man called Obama.

US DPRK go nowhere

‘Constructive and businesslike’ says a US department of state communiqué after two days of ‘exploratory talks’ with North Korea. The meaning is clear from the bland, bureaucratic formula:
Behind this assessment is that the US has not found the DPRK ‘sincere’ in discussing the North’s nuclear and rocket programmes as a precondition to restarting the orphaned six party talks in Beijing.
America’s position is a series of policy papers reflecting not only a refusal to engage in the give and take of diplomacy but also to turn the screws on North Korea to fold and say ‘oh Lord, I am sinner and now repent!’
The Obama administration’s ‘dig in the heels’ macho stance is a mirror image of South Korea’s Lee Myung bak’s regime. The common, shared attitude of these two allies reminds us of two bullies bragging and blustering in a playground sandbox to scare a smaller and supposedly weaker kid, to give up his money and his marbles.
Well, they picked on the wrong ‘victim’. Neither the US nor South Korea have like the Bourbons of old, ‘learnt nothing and forgot everything’ after more than 60 years dealing with the North in one way or another.
The North Koreans baulk at the US demand give up the DPRK’s nuclear programme, after which the US and South Korea will ‘reward’ North Korea with visions of sugar plums and fairies and a land of wonders and delight’.
Kim Jong il’s representatives are not impressed, let alone amused by loudly expressed arrogant empty promises. They, too, are not wet behind the ears in dealing with the US and South Korea. They well know with whom they are dealing and wise to their wiles and naivety in diplomacy.
Kim Jong il has for a long while called for negotiations with the US with no preconditions, but in spite of letters of his transmitted to the White House by two former American presidents and Obama’s own state department senior staff, the American position remains little modified.
As GaumDiary pointed out, the US team talking to Kim Gye gwan and his team, is made up of people who signed on to a Council on Foreign Relations’ report on Korea explicating recommending to the Obama White House to ‘roll back North Korea’.
‘Roll back’ is a throw back phrase to the Cold War: its meaning is clear: defeat Communist regimes. And that is, and has been, America’s position that has no failed, even though the world’s ‘only super power’ pushed through ‘sanctions, boycotts, withheld food from NGOs working in Korea’, among other ploys. And this objective is fully shared by Lee Myung bak whose term in office ends in 2012 and without the opportunity to run again for the Blue House.
And there we are at a ‘status quo ante’. Once again the US has failed to show leadership on the matter of a divided Korea. North Korea is not surprised how predictable Obama and Lee are, how small and poorly organized the joint US ROK offensive is; nevertheless that wont stop the DPRK from trying to dissipate the distrust to reach a way to resolve the long standing issues in the divided Korean peninsula..