Saturday, November 29, 2008
Pink Floyd ~ Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Indian Forces Comb Taj Mahal After Militants Kill 195
India, Jihad's Permanent Playground
Mumbai terorrists sought out Jews
Up to 7 of the Mumbai terrorists from UK
Terror lesson in Mumbai
Marauders had Blackberrys
Terror Siege Ends in Mumbai, Last Remaining Gunmen Killed
Thai police flee Bangkok airport as protesters attack
Clenched fist of the left dead and buried
Obama Rehires Adviser Who Called for Invasion of Israel
Syria 'sanitized' suspected nuclear sites
UAE extends friendship to the world!
UAE to give $1B to Pakistan
US State Department praises religious freedom in UAE
Intercept Operator: Saw Blair File, Heard "Pillow Talk" of Iraqi Leader
British Guards Jump Ship, Escape Pirates
Iran furious at peace plan advert bearing its flag - and Star of David
UK Army Interpreter Gets 10 Years in Jail for Spying for Iran
Iran says would welcome Obama talks
RICE: Iranian diplomatic outpost decision up to Obama
Israel's Livni calls on Olmert to step down
Israel's bizarre economic-stimulus saga
Medvedev Meets with Castro
Russia test launches new ballistic missile from submarine
Russia seeks new missiles to counter US shield plans
Senior officer: Russia to deploy new missile in 2009
The Many Uses of Gazprom
Gazprom and PDVSA (Venezuela) Sign Deal
Gazprom and Schlumberger sign agreement
Russia, Serbia to Sign Papers on Oil, Gas Projects on 12/5
Ukraine, Seeking Russian Deal, Vows to Ensure EU Gas Supply
Hungary hopeful for Nabucco deal
Aliyev to Visit Turkmenistan Regarding the NABUCCO Pipeline
Gazprom cuts gas production
OPEC's divisions manifest as oil prices plummet
OPEC to discuss non-OPEC cooperation in Cairo-Iran
OPEC Puts Off Action Until Dec. 17
Saudi Arabia wants oil price at $75 a barrel
Goldman plans FDIC-backed euro debt issue
Sarkozy Denies EU Is Planning to Block French Bank Rescue Plan
China: Sarkozy-Dalai Lama meeting threatens trade
2 Dead in Shooting @ CA Toys 'R Us
Witnesses: Fatal shooting followed toy store brawl
Stampeding Beasts Kill One at LI NY Walmart
Video: Charges Possible in Black Friday Wal-Mart Death
Report of Terror Threat on NY Subways
Czech Cabinet Approves Bill Enabling "Abortion Tourism"
UK: Abortion rates rocket to record high
Abortion now #1 cause of death in Spain
Planned Parenthood: Give the Gift of Abortion for Christmas
Interview with Dinesh D'Souza
Expert: Small Arkansas earthquakes could be warning
6.0 Off Sumatra
5.8 recorded off coast of Eureka
Underwater volcano found off Washington coast
Diamonds & Rust
Friday, November 28, 2008
7 Then on that day David first entrusted to Asaph and his brethren the singing of thanks to the Lord [as their chief task]:
8O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known His doings among the peoples!
9 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; meditate on and talk of all His wondrous works and devoutly praise them!
10 Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
11 Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually!
12 [Earnestly] remember the marvelous deeds which He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He uttered [as in Egypt],
13 O you offspring of [Abraham and] of Israel His servants, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
14 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.
15 Be mindful of His covenant forever, the promise which He commanded and established to a thousand generations,
16 The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His sworn promise to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it as a statute to Jacob, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,(A)
18 Saying, To you I will give the land of Canaan, the measured portion of your possession and inheritance.
19 When they were but few, even a very few, and only temporary residents and strangers in it,
20 When they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people,
21 He allowed no man to do them wrong; yes, He reproved kings for their sakes,(B)
22 Saying, Touch not My anointed, and do My prophets no harm.(C)
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; show forth from day to day His salvation.
24 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples.
25 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He also is to be [reverently] feared above all so-called gods.
26 For all the gods of the people are [lifeless] idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength,
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Bring an offering and come before Him; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and in holy array.
30 Tremble and reverently fear before Him, all the earth's peoples; the world also shall be established, so it cannot be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigns!
32 Let the sea roar, and all the things that fill it; let the fields rejoice, and all that is in them.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out for joy before the Lord, for He comes to judge and govern the earth.
34 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
35 And say, Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, forever and ever! And all the people said Amen! and praised the Lord.
37 So David left Asaph and his brethren before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark continually, as each day's work required,
38 And Obed-edom with [his] sixty-eight kinsmen. Also Obed-edom son of Jeduthun, and Hosah, were to be gatekeepers.
39 And David left Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon
40 To offer burnt offerings to the Lord upon the altar of burnt offering continually, morning and evening, and to do all that is written in the Law of the Lord which He commanded Israel.
41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest who were chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
42 With them were Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those who should sound aloud, and instruments for accompanying the songs of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were to be at the gate.
43 Then all the people departed, each man to his house, and David returned home to bless his household.
~ 1 Chronicles 16
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people:
all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces,
though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Indian commandos have stormed a Jewish centre taken by terrorists in Mumbai, as they attempt to free hostages and target gunman across the city.
After dropping thunderflashes to create a diversion, troops in black abseiled from a helicopter onto the roof of the building before entering to confront the terrorists. Gunfire could be heard from outside.
The centre was one of several targets in the city attacked by Islamist gunmen, who some reports claim could include British-born Pakistanis.
Across the city, operations to evacuate tourists held hostage in two hotels were underway, and police officers said the end of the seige was in sight.
Foreign and Indian guests were evacuated from the Taj Mahal and Trident Oberoi hotels room by room and were escorted into waiting buses and cars. One man held a baby in his arms.
At least one of the 25 captives released from the Oberoi Hotel was British.
The group, which also included at least two Americans, were rushed to waiting cars.
A man, who said he was British but would not give his name, said: "I didn't see anything. I just heard loud blasts.
"I was in my room. I didn't get out till an hour ago."
"Last night I ran out of water too."
The operation by troops at the Oberoi Hotel would be wrapped up within two hours, the state's chief minister said.
The chief of one commando unit flushing out militants at the Taj Mahal said that he saw 12 to 15 bodies in one room.
British citizen Nicole Griffen described how Indian special forces screened those escaping from the Taj Mahal to root out any attackers.
She told Radio 5 Live: "They entered and looked through our passports and scouted around to see if there were [anyone] harbouring terrorists or attackers and then we were promptly told where to go by the central stairway and again we were asked to wait with other guests while they checked other floors and checked other rooms and we all congregated into one space where they could protect us centrally."
At the Jewish centre, officials said an unknown number of hostages, including Israelis, were believed to be held inside by three gunmen.
Soldiers had taken up positions on stairs and balconies around the outside of the building as equipment was dropped from the helicopter hovering above.
The Israeli embassy denied any Israeli forces were involved in the assault.
Intermittent loud explosions and rapid gunfire were heard from inside Nariman House, a business and residential complex where the Jewish centre is located.
The violence - aimed at Western targets – has killed 130 people, including a British tycoon.
The authorities blamed militants from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir for the bloodbath, which left 125 dead and at least 327 injured after simultaneous attacks on at least seven targets in Mumbai (formerly Bombay).
Indian officials said the terrorists had “pretended” to be Indians, but that one who was captured appeared to be from Pakistan.
News channel NDTV reported that "British citizens of Pakistani origin" were among the attackers.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We have seen the media reports but we are not aware of anything giving any credence to those reports at the moment."
The Hindu newspaper has claimed that three of the militants confessed they are members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Officials said the death toll was likely to rise once burnt-out rooms in the hotels could be checked for bodies.
Mumbai's central railway station, a hospital, police station, cinema and a Jewish centre - where two large explosions were heard - were among other targets hit by the terrorists, who sailed by boat to the peninsula before fanning out in several dinghies and landing on the shore close to their predetermined targets.
The killers specifically targeted British and American visitors when they attacked the Oberoi and Taj Mahal luxury hotels, ordering receptionists to give them a list of the names and room numbers of all British and US guests and demanding that hostages declared their nationalities.
At least five Britons are being treated in hospital after being injured in the shootings, and many more are feared to be among those still inside the hotels.
As Indian commandos fought their way through the corridors of the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi – both of which had earlier been set on fire by the terrorists – Mr Abell, from London, said he had barricaded his door and was "hunkering down for the long term".
He said: "I'm holed up in my room, with furniture blockading the door. The British consul knows I'm here, and I've been told to sit tight and wait. Whether that will be for an hour, a day, a week, nobody knows."
The British man killed in the attacks was named as Andreas Liveras, 73, who was gunned down moments after he phoned the BBC from inside the Taj Mahal hotel to give an eyewitness account of the terrorist attacks.
Before he was hit, Mr Liveras, who built a £315 million fortune from his eponymous luxury yacht charter business, described how he had just sat down for dinner at the Taj Mahal when the shooting began.
"We heard the machine gunfire outside in the corridor," he said. "We hid ourselves under the table and then they switched all the lights off. But the machine guns kept going, and they took us into the kitchen, and from there into a basement, before we came up into a salon.
"There must be more than a thousand people here. Nobody comes in this room and nobody goes out, and we really don't know. Everybody is just living on their nerves."
The Indian home ministry estimated 20 to 30 people were being held hostage at the Oberoi, while its owners estimated 200 people were inside.
Two retired teachers from Hexham in Northumberland were among those shot in the first of the attacks, in the Café Leopold, at 9.30pm local time (4pm GMT) on Wednesday.
Michael Murphy, 59, was shot in the ribs and is in intensive care after having his spleen removed. His wife Diane, 58, who was shot in the foot, said: "It was mayhem. There were so many casualties. It was carnage. There were obviously people injured and others who were dead."
Mrs Murphy said there were at least 100 people in the café when the shooting began.
"All of a sudden there was automatic gunfire," she said. "The whole place fell apart. It was tremendously loud. My husband and I were hit, as were lots of people. Everybody was down on the ground."
Alan Jones, from South Wales, was staying at the Oberoi Hotel on business when it was attacked. He said: "We took the lift to the lobby and heard bangs as the door opened. Two Japanese men riding with us got out, but immediately signalled for us to go back in the lift.
"As they got back in, a bullet hit one of the Japanese men in the back of the leg. Flesh and blood splattered everywhere.
"I looked up to see one of the gunmen was approaching. I tried to close the door, but the injured guy's leg was preventing it from closing.
"I frantically pressed the 'close door' button, but had to move the shot man's foot for the door to close."
Mr Jones escaped after being guided by staff to a basement via another lift.
Hugh Brown, who was staying at the Taj Mahal, took refuge in a library area with a large group of people, one of whom later turned out to be a terrorist.
He told Sky News: "We were let out at one point at about 2.30am. There was a gunman who had been in among us in the room for the best part of the evening. He pretended to be one of us in the room.
"When he got out with us, he started shooting some of the people as they were leaving the room."
The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said the attacks were "well planned and well-orchestrated... intended to create a sense of panic by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners".
David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, said yesterday that the attacks bore some hallmarks of al-Qaeda but it was too early to say if the network was behind the deadly assaults.
“It is very premature to start talking about links to Al-Qaeda,” he said. “Some of the names of groups that are being circulated at the moment are not al-Qaeda affiliates, but that cannot be taken as a definitive view.”
The Mainstream Media are already in the process of demeaning and dehumanizing the Jewish victims of the Mumbai massacre
Chabad of Mumbai
We mourn the loss of Rabbi Gavriel and Leah Holzberg during the terrorist attack in IndiaA fund has been established to help the family and rebuild Chabad in Mumbai which was seriously damaged during the attack
You really have no idea how much good Chabad does for this planet. Even in this period of mourning, Chabad is busy providing relief for the victims of the Mumbai attacks and the community in Mumbai.
Please give generously
UPDATE: Mumbai-Based Rabbi and Wife Killed in Terrorist Attacks
|Rabbi Gavriel, left, and Rivkah Holtzberg were killed in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Indian history. Here, they're seen attending to the wedding of a local Jewish couple.|
Nov 28, 2008 11:00 AM
Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory.
Jewish communities around the world reacted with shock to the loss of the couple, who were killed Thursday at their Chabad House during an apparent standoff between Indian military forces and terrorists.
Their toddler son, Moshe, managed to escape with his nanny some hours before Indian commandos stormed their building, known as the Nariman House, in the popular touristy neighborhood of Colaba. The Associated Press reported that the boy was unharmed, but was wearing blood-soaked pants.
"Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. "As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.
"For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty," continued the statement. "Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started."
|One of the Mumbai terrorists is seen in a closed-circuit television image at a central train station Wednesday night.|
The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small local Jewish community, visiting businesspeople and the throngs of tourists, many of them Israeli, who annually travel to the seaside city.
Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., with his parents, when he was nine. A prodigious student, Holtzberg was a two-time champion in a competition of memorizing the Mishnah, a compendium of rabbinical laws and enactments redacted in the second century C.E.
He studied at yeshivas in New York and Argentina, and as a rabbinical student served communities in Thailand and China under the Summer Rabbinical Visitation Program run by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.
His 28-year-old wife, born Rivkah Rosenberg, is a native of Afula, Israel. Chayki Rosenberg described her sister as dedicated to helping Jews.
She "gives lots of classes for women at the Chabad House," Rosenberg told The Jerusalem Post.
Friends described her as always having a positive outlook and a kind word for everyone.
Two years ago, the Holtzbergs raised funds to purchase the current location of the Chabad House, a five-story building in Mumbai's Colaba market area known as Narimon House. A trained ritual circumciser and slaughterer, the rabbi also conducted weddings for local Jewish couples in addition to teaching Torah classes and visiting with tourists.
His last known phone call was to the Israeli Consulate to report that gunmen were in his house. In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.
The Holtzbergs joined the more than 125 people who were killed in the Wednesday night through Friday attacks, which saw dozens of suspected Islamic terrorists come ashore in Mumbai near the Gateway of India monument. The terrorists, carrying assault rifles and grenades, quickly fanned out to a central train station, the Chabad House and other tourist locations, including several popular hotels.
According to security services, the Chabad House was a pre-selected target.
|Rivkah Holtzberg cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of a Jewish ritual bath in Mumbai.|
A team of 15 Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in California, New York, Washington, Israel, India and Bangkok worked the phones throughout the crisis, spending long, sleepless nights awaiting any morsel of information and working to confirm at-times conflicting reports from the field. Hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world prayed for the Holtzbergs, saying Psalms in their merit.
The local police in Mumbai and the highest reaches of the Indian government got involved, but military assault teams first concentrated their efforts on the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, where hundreds of foreign tourists were either holed up or being held hostage. When they finally entered the Chabad House on Friday, they found that the worst had occured.
Rivky Holtzberg's parents, Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg arrived in Mumbai early Friday morning to bring their now-orphaned grandson home to family.
To contribute to a fund established to aid relief efforts in Mumbai, go to www.ChabadIndia.org.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
A press comference will be given by Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of the Educational and Social Services arms of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement at 12:30pm at the Jewish Children's Museum, 792 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Flirting With Disaster
Pirates: Looking to throw the West into hell
Well that's not so difficult a task since we don't have very far to fall anyhow..
Nigerian militants threaten chaos in western delta
A Common What?
Yale hosts a Christian-Muslim "reconciliation" conference--behind closed doors
The United States expresses interest in cooperation with Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
Hezbollah: More ready for battle than Israel
IAEA chief says no basis for denying Syria help on nuclear plant
Dudes name is Mohamed. Everyone thought it was most impolite of me to worry about that openly when he was first appointed. Alrighty then.
Bush: Israel to benefit by having democratic Palestinian state
HOLD ME BACK.... What benefits? Death Benefits? Why I oughta..........
Bush insists vision of Palestinian state lives
Gee, thanks for everything, El Heffe Le Georges Whatever Al Bushkovick
~ One pissed off Jewtian who foolishly voted for ya
Attacks on Israel expected as UN marks Solidarity with Palestinians
Attacks on Israel expected as the Earth will revolve around the sun today....
UNGA head accuses Israel of apartheid
unga bunga binga banga to you too ya MF
Media Fiddles While America Burns
I got into trouble many years ago when I co-hosted CNN’s now-defunct Crossfire show and told an Ambassador from Libya, who was filibustering and denying his government’s links to terrorism, to “Please shut up.” The producer told me that I went too far, but at least I said “please.” On the other hand, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo went too far when she concluded a Monday interview with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a major Citigroup investor who has been bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, by saying, “Thank you very much for your precious time.”OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD
Precious time? This is a multi-billionaire foreigner whose financial firm has been bailed out with U.S. taxpayer money. Alwaleed ought to thank us for our precious money―money we don’t have to lend to foreign billionaires.
Citi Hogs Keep Pigging Out
Insiders tell The Post that Citi is undertaking expensive remodeling of top officials' offices at the bank's tony headquarters at 399 Park Ave. even as the sprawling financial institution was on the brink of collapse over the weekend. Those same executives also are making frequent use of a high-end executive dining area used by senior officials and managing directors to entertain high-profile clients at Citi's Manhattan digs.Wall Street's nervous about more bank rescues
One source notes that "executives of the bank enjoy an elaborate breakfast buffet every morning," and seafood and steak meals for lunch. Citi's board of directors and senior executives also are allowed to take first-class flights - despite a company-wide ban on luxury airfare, one source notes.
"Struggling" Banks Paid President Clinton $2.1 million for ‘Speeches’
Unions fight to end American capitalism
How Marxist Radicals View Elections
Robert Rubin, another ex-CEO of Gold Man Sacks, is picking Obama's economic commissars
Obama announces glow ball socialist agenda
Is Goldman Sachs Running a Derivatives Casino?
Calling the global financial crisis an "historic opportunity," a coalition of "progressive" individuals, social movements and non-governmental organizations met in Beijing on October 15 and issued a statement urging the "radical economic transformation" of the global economy. They advocate a "global taxation system," including what are known as "Tobin taxes, on the movements of speculative capital," and "stringent progressive carbon taxes on those [nations] with the biggest carbon footprints."
Their plan also includes phasing out the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency and establishing "a people’s inquiry into the mechanisms necessary for a just international monetary system." Clearly, they intend to bring the U.S. into a system of international socialism, with new and more powerful global agencies deciding our economic and financial fate.
Goldman to Sell $5 Billion of FDIC-Backed Debt
Here's Bush's position on sub prime mortgages, June 18, 2002
Bad Vlad: A man with a plan
Putin and Medvedev hope for brighter future with Obama
Obammunism: The hopium of Soviet asses
Russia's Gazprom denies using gas as political tool
Gazprom to build pipeline to South Ossetia
Coming soon: The Battle for Turkmenistan
It was the only thing that many of the participants of the 13th Annual Turkmenistan International Oil and Gas Exhiition could think about, yet no Turkmen official cared to mention its name aloud -- Nabucco.Russian giant Gazprom forecasts record gas prices by 2012
Ukraine Sends Delegation to Moscow for Urgent Talks on Gas Debt
OMV BP Shell eye Nabucco supplies
NPR sends "Wiccan Priestess" to public prayer booth
A pagan priestess runs into the president of the atheists in a phone booth in New York.
5.2 in Papua New Guinea
6.8 in Indonesia
6.6 off Russia's Far East coast
Is this the dark side speaking?
It was the latest in a series of protests in the capital since October's banking collapse crippled the island's economy. At least five people were injured and Hordur Torfason, a well-known singer in Iceland and the main organiser of the protests, said the protests would continue.
As crowds gathered in the drizzle before the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, on Saturday, Mr Torfason said: "They don't have our trust and they are no longer legitimate."
The value of the Icelandic krona has been cut in half since January.
Four Nordic countries, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have pledged to lend the country a combined $4.6 billion to help revive its deflated economy. The loan would be the first by the IMF to a Western nation since 1976. One young man climbed on to the balcony of the Althing building, where the president appears upon inauguration and on Iceland's national day, and hung a banner reading: "Iceland for Sale: $2,100,000,000" – the amount of the loan the country is getting from the IMF.
A separate group of 200-300 people gathered in front of the city's main police station, throwing eggs and demanding the release of a young protester being held there. Police in riot gear used pepper spray to drive back an attempt to free the protester during which several windows at the police station were shattered. The pro-tester was later released after his fine was paid.
As daylight began to wane, demonstrators drifted away into the nearby coffee shops. Here, as currency tumbles, the price of a cup of coffee has shot up by about one-third since before the crisis struck. The demonstrators accuse the government – elected last year – of not doing enough to regulate the banking industry and have called for early elections.
Iceland's next election is not required until 2011.
Opposition parties tabled a no-confidence motion in the government on Friday over its handling of the crisis, but the motion carries little chance of toppling the ruling coalition which has a solid parliamentary majority. Gudrun Jonsdottir, a 36-year-old office worker, said: "I've just had enough of this whole thing. I don't trust the government, I don't trust the banks, I don't trust the political parties, and I don't trust the IMF.
"We had a good country and they ruined it."
ICELAND'S three biggest banks – Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir – collapsed under the weight of billions of dollars of debts accumulated in an aggressive overseas expansion, shattering the country's currency. Iceland's government seized control of all three institutions in early October.
This week, the North Atlantic island nation, which has a population of only 320,000, secured a package of more than US$10 billion (about £6.7 billion) in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and several European countries to help it rebuild its shattered financial system.
Despite the intervention, however, Iceland still faces a sharp economic slowdown and surging job losses while at least one-third of Icelanders are also at risk of losing their homes and life savings.
Geir Haarde, the Icelandic prime minister, has promised that the government will use the IMF money to bring back a flexible interest rate scheme and rewrite financial laws, particularly legislation relating to insolvency.
Iceland was the first country to ask the IMF for help as the turmoil in the credit markets in October hit home.
The UK government used anti-terrorism legislation to freeze money deposited by UK savers in Icelandic banks in order to ensure that their money was protected.
Published on France 24 (http://www.france24.com/en)
We're Not Gonna Take It
Hordur Torfason, a well-known troubadour in Iceland and the main organiser of the protests, said the protests would continue until the government stepped down. "They don't have our trust and they are no longer legitimate," Torfason said as the crowds gathered in the drizzle before the Althing, the Icelandic parliament.
A separate group of 200-300 people gathered in front of the city's main police station demanding the release of a young protester being held there, Icelandic media reported. Police in riot gear used pepper spray to drive back an attempt to free the protester during which several windows at the police station were shattered. The protester was later released after a fine he had been sentenced to pay was paid.
Iceland's three biggest banks -- Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir -- collapsed under the weight of billions of dollars of debts accumulated in an aggressive overseas expansion, shattering the currency and forcing Iceland to seek aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This week, the North Atlantic island nation of 320,000 secured a package of more than $10 billion in loans from the IMF and several European countries to help it rebuild its shattered financial system. Despite the loans, Iceland faces a sharp economic contraction and surging unemployment while many Icelanders also risk losing their homes and life savings.
A young man climbed onto the balcony of the Althing building, where the president appears upon inauguration and on Iceland's national day, and hung a banner reading: "Iceland for Sale - $2.100.000.000", the amount of the loan Iceland is getting from the IMF.
The rally lasted less than one hour and as daylight began to wane, demonstrators drifted away into the nearby coffee shops where the price of a cup of coffee has shot up to 300 kronas in the last few weeks, up by about one third from before the crisis struck, as the currency has tumbled.
Opposition parties tabled a no-confidence motion in the government on Friday over its handling of the crisis, but the motion carries little chance of toppling the ruling coalition which has a solid parliamentary majority.
"I've just had enough of this whole thing," said Gudrun Jonsdottir, a 36-year-old office worker.
"I don't trust the government, I don't trust the banks, I don't trust the political parties, and I don't trust the IMF. We had a good country here and they've ruined it."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Crime of the Century
Is this somebody America should be bailing out?
Fed Bails Out Rich Arabs in Citigroup Deal
AIM Column | By Cliff Kincaid | November 24, 2008
For several days there was a fierce national debate over whether American car companies in Detroit deserved $25 billion of taxpayer money and whether American jobs should be saved. The automakers and a union representative were ridiculed, didn’t get the money, and were told to come up with a “plan” to save the companies. After backing the $700-billion Wall Street bailout, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News said Detroit didn’t deserve any federal money because the car companies had been mismanaged. This was a point made by many in the media.
But Citigroup got $20 billion over the weekend from the Treasury Department without any national debate or discussion at all. The Federal Reserve simply issued a press release on Sunday afternoon announcing that the taxpayers were on the hook not only for the $20 billion but $306 billion in loans to the company. That’s on top of a previous $25 billion invested in the company by the Treasury Department.
It will be interesting to see if O’Reilly and other commentators, having excoriated the American automakers, will take issue with the Citigroup bailout, which was subjected to no public debate and no congressional hearings.
Auto company executives may have flown to Washington, D.C. on private jets, as O’Reilly and others noted, but Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has a major stake in Citigroup and also invests in the Fox News parent company, News Corporation, reportedly lives in a $100-million 317-room Riyadh palace. A nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, Alwaleed has been called the “Warren Buffet of the Gulf” and runs the Kingdom Holding Company.
Is this somebody who should be bailed out by American taxpayers?
The Citigroup bailout demonstrates, once again, that the Federal Reserve does anything it wants with our money, with no accountability to the Congress or the American people.
The Federal Reserve is so out of control that it refuses to comply with a legitimate and lawful Bloomberg News Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information about nearly $2 trillion in loans extended to foreign banks and other interests during the current financial meltdown.
Members of Congress, including Rep. Walter Jones and Senator John Cornyn, have expressed outrage at the Fed’s conduct.
Jones declared, “At a time when many Americans have serious concerns about their own financial security, it is important for our nation to have confidence in the actions of the Federal Reserve. When taxpayer dollars are used to bail out financial institutions, the American people deserve full disclosure on who receives those funds and under what terms. Americans need to know how their hard-earned dollars are being spent.”
Cornyn declared, “Over the past year, the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented action in the marketplace by providing almost $2 trillion in taxpayer-funded loans to troubled financial institutions. This is in addition to the $700 billion approved by Congress to fund the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has refused to submit to even the most modest level of transparency regarding its actions. This should trouble taxpayers and policymakers alike. It certainly troubles me.”
Announcing the Citigroup bailout, the Federal Reserve said that “With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy.”
That sounds reassuring. But another and more accurate way to put it is to say that U.S. tax dollars are being pumped into a failed bank to save a Saudi prince. But will the American people be given the true story of the Citigroup bailout?
Consider the fact that Alwaleed, one of the richest men in the world, not only owns a stake in Citigroup but News Corporation, Time Warner (parent of Time and CNN) and The Walt Disney Company (parent of ABC News).
The stories appearing on Monday about the “rescue” of Citigroup suggest that the media are up to their old tricks of masking the looting of American taxpayers and will not bother to investigate what really happened.
Some of the details are available on Alwaleed’s website. “Perhaps no single transaction has catapulted Prince Alwaleed to the world’s financial stage in as spectacular a fashion as did his acquisition in 1991 of Citibank (subsequently, Citigroup) stocks,” notes his website. “Few people could then imagine that a Saudi Arabian, and a royal at that, would burst onto the international scene, seemingly out of nowhere, to invest so heavily in one of the major banks of the world and to help restore it to such health that it would become the leading financial institution in the world.”
And now that the firm is in trouble, the Federal Reserve―and by extension, the U.S. taxpayer―comes to his rescue.
Not surprisingly, Alwaleed was included in the “Time 100” 2008 list of most powerful people. “In the mid-’90s, he bailed out Citibank when no one else would step in—including Americans,” stated Alwaleed biographer Riz Khan, formerly of CNN and now with Al-Jazeera.
“Saudi prince comes to rescue of Citigroup” was a headline over an article in the UK Guardian on November 20, 2008, when Alwaleed announced that he would increase his stake from about 4 to 5 percent in Citigroup. But that clearly wasn’t enough to make a difference. Did he invest more knowing that he would ultimately be bailed out? Will we see any stories on this? Or congressional hearings?
What happened behind closed Federal Reserve doors?
It is important to note that Alwaleed isn’t alone. Earlier this year, the story in the Guardian noted, Citigroup “raised more than $50 billion in new capital from sovereign wealth funds and other investors.” This included the Kuwait Investment Authority investing $3 billion in Citigroup in January and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority buying $7.5 billion of securities from Citigroup in November 2007.
“Over the weekend,” the British Telegraph reported, in discussing the bailout, “Citigroup was understood to have approached its existing sovereign wealth fund shareholders from the Middle East and Asia to gauge their appetite for buying additional stakes in the bank, as well as holding talks with the US government.”
It looks like the foreigners with a stake in Citigroup preferred a U.S. taxpayer bailout. They got something quickly and secretly that the U.S. automakers haven’t yet obtained from the Fed, the Treasury Department, or Congress. GM, Ford and Chrysler are American companies in competition with foreigners, who have their own auto production plants on U.S. soil. If Detroit ever gets the money, it will come after intense negotiations and detailed legislation providing conditions for repayment of the money. In exchange for the money, they will be made to resemble the foreign firms.
The rationale for letting the “Big Three” fail is that we don’t need American car companies anymore. On the other hand, we need foreign money and foreigners to invest in our country and our firms.
This is America today―a country that is losing its ability to manufacture things but has to continue to pander to rich Arabs and the Chinese Communists for money just to survive. In addition to our jobs, savings and investments, it looks like our sovereignty and national pride are being sacrificed as part of this process.
Whether the financial meltdown has been engineered or not―and there are major questions about its timing, just six weeks before the national elections―it will be up to President Obama to manage America’s transition into this New Global Order. With his background in Marxism and extensive Wall Street contacts and associations, he seems perfectly suited for the task.
But the powers that be, including those in the media, have simply assumed that the American people will meekly go along with the demise of their nation. That may be a miscalculation, if they manage to find a voice or voices in the media.
Would I Lie To You?
I have long been predicting a second wave of credit defaults and here it comes, along with the bail out by Paulson:
Fed unveils $200 billion plan to buttress consumer lending
"NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The Federal Reserve on Tuesday unveiled its new Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), a plan under which it will lend up to $200 billion to support the issuance of debt backed by consumer and small business debt like credit card loans, student debt, auto loans and loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Fed hopes the plan will create liquidity in the market for securities backed by the receivables from such loans, which in turn would encourage originators of consumer loans to restart lending to individuals. "The ABS markets historically have funded a substantial share of consumer credit and SBA-guaranteed small business loans," the Fed said in a press release. "The TALF is designed to increase credit availability and support economic activity by facilitating renewed issuance of consumer and small business ABS at more normal interest rate spreads," it concluded"
Upshot is, now that the layoffs and economic contraction is hitting, folks are now defaulting on their credit card bills and other consumer debt. Paulson, following his "in for a penny, in for a pound" philosophy, is creating the above facility and trying to paint it as a way to loosen up new lending.
We are going to see a period of deflation and economic contraction. At the same time the new administration will spend money like the Russians just landed in Miami trying to spend our way out of this and prop up his voting blocks. When the economy finally turns around and moves up, look for inflation to ignite due to all the spending and expansionary actions.
I see double digit unemployment and inflation coming.
~ 3 WOOD
From the Spleen Files:
Fed Commits $800 Billion More to Unfreeze Lending (Update1)
Lawrence H. Summers to Head National Economic Council
Summers was on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan from 1982-1983. He also served as an economic adviser to the Dukakis Presidential campaign in 1988.
Summers left Harvard in 1991 and served as Chief Economist for the World Bank until 1993, when he was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs and later in the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin.
In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury. He left the Treasury in 2001 and returned to Harvard as its President. Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from July 2001 until June 2006.
In 2006 he was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons which reviewed the work of The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development or UNCTAD.
Summers is an ardent proponent of free trade and globalization, and frequently takes positions on a number of politically-charged subjects. This, along with his direct style of management, made him controversial as President of Harvard.
In December 1991, while at the World Bank, Summers signed a memo written by staff economist Lant Pritchett which argued among other things (according to its author; the full memo is not public) that free trade would not necessarily benefit the environment in developing countries. Pritchett also drafted what he referred to as an ironic aside to the memo which Summers also signed. The aside was leaked to the press and stated that, developed countries ought to export more pollution to developing countries because these countries would incur the lowest cost from the pollution in terms of lost wages of people made ill or killed by the pollution due to the fact that wages are so low in developing countries. The aside went on to state that "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that"
Harvard and Andrei Shleifer, a close friend and protege of Summers, settled a $26M lawsuit by the U.S. government over the conflict of interest Shleifer had while advising Russia's privatisation program. Summers' continued support for Shleifer strengthened Summers' unpopularity with other professors:
"I’ve been a member of this Faculty for over 45 years, and I am no longer easily shocked," is how Frederick H. Abernathy, the McKay professor of mechanical engineering, began his biting comments about the Shleifer case at Tuesday’s fiery Faculty meeting. But, Abernathy continued, "I was deeply shocked and disappointed by the actions of this University" in the Shleifer affair.
In an 18,000-word article in Institutional Investor (January, 2006), the magazine detailed Shleifer’s alleged efforts to use his inside knowledge of and sway over the Russian economy in order to make lucrative personal investments, all while leading a Harvard group, advising the Russian government, that was under contract with the U.S. The article suggests that Summers shielded his fellow economist from disciplinary action by the University. However, the case actually was filed in 2000, the year before Summers became Harvard's president. Summers' friendship with Shleifer was well known by the Corporation when it selected him to succeed Rudenstine and Summers recused himself from all proceedings with Shleifer, whose case was actually handled by an independent committee led by Derek Bok.