Archive for February 19th, 2008

The Spin; I’m In!

GEF @ 6:08 PM MST


Genesis – Land of Confusion

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by Geezer Power ….2:47 pm

This is a take off from Sudhan’s excellent article on Bu$hco’s trip to Africa…G:

George Bush visits Africa to promote the US Africa Command

“One year after the announcement that he United States government was going to accelerate the militarization of Africa, President George Bush is embarking on a journey to Africa to coerce African societies to align themselves with the neo-conservative agenda of the present US administration.”


Rumble in the Jungle: The AFRICOM Boondoggle


December 15, 2007

by Werther

The government’s assaults on our common sense, our wallets, and our dignity are becoming so numerous that one is hard pressed to keep up. The media pivot like a herd of wildebeests from one scandal to the other – from illegal wiretapping, to torture, to mercenaries, to saber rattling in the Persian Gulf, to $4 billion lost at Homeland Security, to $9 billion stolen in Iraq.

Amid such a blur of perfidy, major events that portend disaster in the future can slip by with barely a notice by the media, by Congress, or by the public at large. For example, does one voter in a hundred know that the Department of Defense has quietly activated a new regional military command? Just type in the acronym “AFRICOM” into a search box, and the reader will find a DOD website that presents the new United States Africa Command, in the same boosterish manner that Microsoft rolls out a new operating platform.


AFRICOM Commander and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa Policy Meet with Egyptian Military LeadershipDiscuss the importance of Egypt to the continent

CAIRO, Egypt, Feb 19, 2008 — General “Kip” Ward, commander of United States Africa Command, and Theresa Whalen, deputy assistant secretary of defense for U.S. Department of Defense policy in Africa, met February 17 with senior Egyptian leadership in the capital city to discuss the special relationship of Egypt with the developing command

AFRICOM Public Affairs Office

United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, is one of six of the Defense Department’s regional military headquarters. When fully operational beginning October 2008, AFRICOM will have administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to U.S. government policy in Africa, to include military-to-military relationships with 53 African nations.

Commander: General William E. “Kip” Ward, United States Army
Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations:
Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, United States Navy
Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities:
Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, United States Department of State

Chain of Command: The commander of AFRICOM reports to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who reports to the President of the United States. In individual countries, U.S. Ambassadors continue to be the President’s personal representatives in diplomatic relations with host nations.

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Castro Has Resigned And Handed Power To His Brother

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:15 PM MST

Victory! Only 47 years after the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro has toppled from power. Or resigned to hand power to his brother. In any case, he’s gone.You can read his resignation letter here. In it, the relic of the Cold War looks forward to the future:

Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process. Some were very young, almost children, when they joined the fight on the mountains and later they have given glory to the country with their heroic performance and their internationalist missions. They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement. There is also the intermediate generation which learned together with us the basics of the complex and almost unattainable art of organizing and leading a revolution.The path will always be difficult and require from everyone’s intelligent effort. I distrust the seemingly easy path of apologetics or its antithesis the self-flagellation. We should always be prepared for the worst variable. The principle of being as prudent in success as steady in adversity cannot be forgotten. The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.

On the adversary’s side of things, the scramble begins. President Bush has chimed in with his hope that Castro’s move will usher in a new era. And it’s a prime opportunity for primary candidate jockeying — already the calls are coming for the candidates to outline a new approach to Cuba.


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Afternoon Jukebox… Conga

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Conga

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Bush: The War Has ‘Nothing To Do With The Economy’

By- Suzie-Q @ 10:00 AM MST

This morning [Monday] on NBC’s Today Show, President Bush denied that the there’s any link between the faltering U.S. economy and $10 billion a month being spent on the Iraq war. In fact, according to Bush, the war is actually helping the economy:

CURRY: You don’t agree with that? It has nothing do with the economy, the war — spending on the war?

BUSH: I don’t think so. I think actually the spending in the war might help with jobs…because we’re buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses and the economy’s adjusting.

Watch it:

The Iraq war has created jobs — for the administration’s defense contractor allies. Bush’s most recent budget is a windfall for contractors, and between 2000 and 2005, procurement was the “fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.” (Halliburton has been the biggest beneficiary of the administration’s generosity.)

Five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, however, national unemployment is going up. Between December 2006 and December 2007, the national unemployment rate increased by 13.6 percent in seasonally adjusted terms, from 4.4 to 5.0 percent. Additionally, 68 percent of the American public believes that redeployment from Iraq would help fix the country’s economic woes.


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..and Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall!

GEF @ 6:08 AM MST

MBIA Former Chief Returns as Credit Rating Cut Looms (Update1)

By Emma Moody

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) — MBIA Inc., the world’s largest bond insurer, brought back former Chief Executive Officer Joseph Brown to run the company as it seeks to stave off a credit rating downgrade that would cripple its business.

Brown, 59, replaces Gary Dunton who succeeded Brown in 2004, Armonk, New York-based MBIA said today in a statement distributed by Business Wire.

Brown said he plans to “expedite” discussions with the company’s New York regulator and he has already spoken with the state’s insurance Superintendent, Eric Dinallo, who provided “helpful guidance.” Dinallo told a congressional hearing last week that the bond insurers may need to be split after losses on subprime mortgage securities threatened the credit ratings on more than $1 trillion of insured municipal debt.

“MBIA faces meaningful challenges,” Brown said in the statement. Brown said he is seeking to “frame a new model,” for MBIA.

FGIC Corp., the third-largest bond insurer, sought permission to split last week. Dinallo said MBIA and Ambac Financial Group Inc., the market leaders, may do the same if they can’t raise capital. The companies and Security Capital Assurance Ltd. insure about $580 billion of asset-backed debt, including collateralized debt obligations that package bonds into new securities.

MBIA, New York-based Ambac and FGIC of New York are struggling after more than $8 billion in losses tied to the slumping value of subprime debt.

Share Slump

Under Dunton, 52, MBIA tumbled 82 percent the past 12 months in New York Stock Exchange trading and Ambac declined 88 percent. FGIC is owned by New York-based leveraged buyout firm Blackstone Group LP and mortgage insurer PMI Group Inc. of Walnut Creek, California.

To bolster capital, MBIA has sold more than $2.5 billion in the sale of shares and notes.

Ambac may raise $2 billion in new capital by selling discounted shares to stockholders, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

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George Bush visits Africa to promote the US Africa Command

Sudhan @11:15 CET

Prof. Horace Campbell |Pambazuka News, Fe. 14, 2008

Horace Campbell looks at Bush’s visit as an attempt to further militarize the continent and consolidate US holding.

One year after the announcement that he United States government was going to accelerate the militarization of Africa, President George Bush is embarking on a journey to Africa to coerce African societies to align themselves with the neo-conservative agenda of the present US administration. President George Bush will visit five African countries between February 15 -21. The countries are Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda and Tanzania. George Bush is a lame-duck President who cannot visit real global players so this visit to Africa is an effort to shore up the credentials of the neo-liberal forces in Africa while promoting the conservative ideas of abstinence as the basis of the fight against the HIV –AIDS pandemic.

Exactly one year ago, in February 2007, President Bush of the United States of America announced that the Defense Department would create a new Africa Command to coordinate U.S. government interests on the continent. Under this plan all governmental agencies of the US would fall under the military, i.e, USAID, State Department, US Department of Energy, Treasury, and Department of Education etc. Already within the US academic community, the interests of the Pentagon has been placed before all other interests.

Continued . . .

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Canada’s Secret War in Iraq

Sudhan @10:30 CET

By Richard Sanders | Information Clearing House

How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again! – Mark Twain

18/02/08 “CommonGround” — – On March 25, 2003, during the “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq, then US Ambassador Paul Cellucci admitted that “… ironically, Canadian naval vessels, aircraft and personnel… will supply more support to this war in Iraq indirectly… than most of those 46 countries that are fully supporting our efforts there.”

Cellucci merely scratched the surface of Canada’s initial “support” for the Iraq War, but he had let the cat out of the bag. As then Secretary of State Colin Powell had explained a week earlier, “We now have a coalition of the willing… who have publicly said they could be included in such a listing…. And there are 15 other nations, who, for one reason or another, do not wish to be publicly named but will be supporting the coalition.”

Canada was, and still is, the leading member of this secret group, which we could perhaps call CW-HUSH, the “Coalition of the Willing to Help but Unwilling to be Seen Helping.” The plan worked. Most Canadians still proudly believe that their government refused to join the Iraq War. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some of the ways in which we joined the fray:
Escorting the US Navy: Thirteen hundred Canadian troops aboard Canada’s multibillion dollar warships escorted the US fleet through the Persian Gulf, putting them safely in place to bomb Iraq.

Continued . . .

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