Occasional News and comments on the situation in Post-Saddam Iraq by an Iraqi dentist living in TX
Religious fanatics tend to have this effect on society. The sooner we move out of the dark ages, the better.
If there was ever a place in need of an awakening...
More on the lashing story:"Saudi King Abdullah revoked a sentence of 10 lashes against a woman who broke a ban on women driving in the kingdom, a Saudi princess said yesterday on her Twitter account.“Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is canceled,” Princess Amira al-Taweel, wife of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to our beloved king. I’m sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am.”"http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-29/saudi-king-revokes-lashing-sentence-against-woman-who-drove.html
Yes, a pampered princess is happy because a high profile case is overturned (for political reasons, since it bacame high profile) and one woman will not be whipped. Still half the population have to dress up like ghouls to even be able to walk the streets. All in the name of "religion". Great!
Iraq: A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car Thursday near a bank in Iraq where policemen were collecting their paychecks, killing two people, while an American soldier was killed in a separate incident that marks the first U.S. combat death since July. Both incidents took place in northern Iraq. The U.S. military did not identify the soldier, pending notification of next of kin. In a teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon, U.S. Maj. Gen. David Perkins said the soldier was about to go on a military operation when he was hit by indirect fire in northern Iraq, using the military’s term for rockets or mortars."http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/iraqi-police-suicide-bomber-kills-2-outside-bank-as-policemen-were-picking-up-paychecks/2011/09/29/gIQA78Oh6K_print.htmlPakistan: "Adding to a series of warnings from other top Pakistani officials, Pakistani intelligence chief Gen. Shuja Pasha today warned that an “American attack on Pakistan” was “unacceptable” and that Pakistan’s military would not allow it. [LOL]"http://news.antiwar.com/2011/09/29/pakistan-intel-chief-warns-us-invasion-would-be-unacceptable/Libya: "Tripoli locals are just plain sick of hearing gunfire and watching the various factions of rebel fighters milling about in the streets occasionally hassling passers-by. A new local council has even formed, calling itself the Tripoli Support Group, to petition the Benghazi-based rebel government to “get a handle” on the assorted fighters, who seemingly have the run of the capital and answer to no one."http://news.antiwar.com/2011/09/29/partys-over-tripoli-residents-sick-of-rebel-troops/
A couple more bite the dust!
Thanks Zeyad. It is good to hear from you again.I hope all is going well for you and your brother.
Glad to see you again, Zeyad. :)
Bridget,Looks like Chris Christie is considering throwing his hat in the ring in 2012.
Lynnette, He's my main man, but I think he'd be smart to pass this time. I reckon we've got 4 or 5 years to go before we bottom out, and we're going to need the likes of him to put the pieces back together. In the meantime, gridlock beats what the Democrats have wreaked upon us.
By the way, Lynnette, you 've hopefully unloaded your BOA stock?....
Hi again Zeyad. Hope you don't mind me continuing to pummel Lee on the previous thread.:-)
Bridget,I haven't gotten rid of the BOA stock yet. I've probably waited too long to pull the trigger. *sigh* But I think it is time I bite the bullet and recognize the loss. I at first had hope when Buffett bought in, but after listening to his response when asked about the $5 monthly debit card fees, I'm starting to lose a little confidence in his judgement.
Lynnette, the fact that Buffet invests in a company should not by default be seen as a positive sign for holders of common stock in those companies. Buffet doesn't move in and buy common stock on the same terms and conditions that you or I would. He buys preferred stock with certain guaranteed dividends and options to buy more at set prices. Check this out about his investments in Goldman and GE:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/buffetts-not-so-golden-touch/In both cases he made hundreds of millions while other shareholders saw their investments plummet.I'm not saying it's a bad sign when Buffet buys into a company that you own stock in. I'm just pointing out that it's not like you're suddenly in the same boat with him, because the terms of the deal he made is completely different from your terms.
What Marcus said. Buffet works special deals for himself. In the case of BOA, I suspect he's also counting on Tax Cheat Timmy and others in the administration to backstop BOA when it crashes and burns again, which it will. I'm not sure the politics of the situation will allow that to happen this time, nor that it will work if they try.
Marcus & Bridget,Yes, you're right about Buffett getting a lucrative deal, while others who own shares, not so much. I sold this morning. Now if I want to at least capture some tax advantage to recognizing the loss I will have to hope that none of my mutual funds kick off capital gains, as those are taxed at %0 in 2011. Why do I always get the feeling that I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't?Bridget, I think you are reading the feeling in the country right and there will be a huge uproar if BOA needs backstopping and gets it. Judging by the demonstrations that are popping up over "Wall Street greed", it seems to be something both the right and left can agree on. Hopefully it won't come to that. I suppose it will depend on BOA's exposure to Greece/Europe. They may be able to cover the lawsuits.
"Judging by the demonstrations that are popping up over "Wall Street greed", it seems to be something both the right and left can agree on."Interesting if true. I noticed Fox News making fun of the demonstrators. Seemed to have gotten the idea they were pinko commie idiots. It wouldn't be like Fox to not have the finger on the pulse, surely? ;-)
Lynnette, Bridget, what's going on with those Wall Street protests? Do they have some sort of public support or are they limited to general compulsive protesters?
Marcus, I read that people are organising local "Wall Street Protests" in some places (i.e. not Wall Street). Seems to be general discontent. Meanwhile there seems to be a quiet run on Bank of America going on. European banks are looking dodgy too, with prices hammered due to Greek news. I see also that WTI crude is firmly down into mid-seventies (had touched the 70s a couple of time in the last few months but not like this) and Brent crude seems poised to drop below the $100 mark for the first time in I don't know how long. Fun times.
PeteS & Marcus,I haven't been following them too closely, but from what I can gather it started with college students and spread via social media. But you have all sorts of people climbing on the bandwagon, including unions and their supporters, apparently. You can see why Fox is making their snarky comments, Pete. But the thing is, while these people may be reviling the evil corporations and greed of Wall Street (reminds me of Annie, btw), they are tapping into a resevoir of unhappiness with the nickle and diming of people by charging extra fees on everything. Fees are merely taxes by another name, so that would tie in to the unhappiness of the right with raising taxes. While I don't think you will see some kind of violent revolt, as in the Middle East, I think it bodes for a very hot election in 2012.At the risk of stating the obvious, if we had a booming economy and plentiful jobs we would not be seeing this. But when times are tight people start to become more aware of all the little expenses that add up to the larger whole. And seeing large banks being bailed out does not help, even if the taxpayers made a profit on some of that (AIG is questionable).
PeteS,I think Bank of America made a large mistake in coming out and announcing that $5 monthly fee on debit card usage. Wells Fargo had already said they were testing a $3 fee. Why on earth would you not match your competition? The psychology of that move boded ill for BOA. And Buffett's comment that basically said if people didn't like it they could go elsewhere, while true, certainly wasn't encouraging people to stay, which would be in BOA's interest. BOA would be wise to at least re-think that $5 fee.P.S. Cash still works in many places, you know.
I'm starting to think we might see a market dive that puts -08 to shame. At the micro-level many stocks look incredibly cheap but it's all about macro now and even sound firms follow downwards. We in Sweden are so far blessed with quite sound government finances but our private sector debt is among the worst in the world. What I fear is a burst of our property-bubble, national banks in serious trouble, government bailouts and we're suddenly in it with all other bankrupt nations. Then we'll punish the sitting government ,mostly just because people are pissed off, and end up with the left at the helm who'll try to fix things with higher taxes and more wellfare. And there went the jobmarket as well, not that it's all that good even now. Then the move to the middle in politics that we've had going on for some time will be over and on both the left and right up pops the extremists and appeals to their respective base among the frustrated and angry.Like you said Pete, fun times.
Lynnette, did I also hear that BoA have something like a $9 "teller charge", for doing stuff the old way. Seems to me banks can't have it both ways: if they are saving money on automation they shouldn't be charging for using cards. My bank started imposing transaction charges a couple of years back. I suggested they had enough of my money and could go screw themselves, so they thought better of it. Now that they're all effectively busted, I don't expect to get away with that much longer.
Marcus, looks like double dip time alright. This time I don't think it'll be bouncing back like in '09. Now would not be a good time to pop the Swedish bubble, with the rest of the continent in turmoil. Also, if you don't mind, please don't screw up the krona just now ... we'll need all the currency haven options we can get if Oirland falls out of euroland and the gubmint tries to foist some new funny money on us.However, it's hard to see how you can avoid your bubble bursting if your banks have any eurozone debtors. If that debt is downgraded your banks have to either raise more capital or shrink their loanbooks. If they do the latter, then credit becomes less available, which is the one thing that's sure to burst a housing bubble.At least there's little chance it'll be as bad as ours. Officially our house price declines are approaching the 50% mark, but anecdotal evidence suggests it's already more than that, up to 75% in some cases. Pretty soon now houses might actually become affordable again ... just around the time the IMF and ESFS finish turning the country into a wasteland.
I can relate to the anger over the BOA imposing fees on customers.My bank charges me about $35 per year as a fee for my debit card. Regardless of the fact that they earn every time I make a purchase with it. They need to make money both off of every store that has a Visa/Mastercard terminal, on every transaction, and still charge the people who use the cards. Basically they're charging people who are out there accumulating transaction money for them, if anything they should be paying us! They also charge $2 every month for an outrageous "internet fee" just because we now do our banking online. In effect they closed down most offices, eliminated most paperwork, had the customers do the work themselves online, saved truckloads of cash for themselves, and still they felt an urgent need to charge customers an "internet fee". Why? Because they could.With our pension funds it usually works out that you have a depot with a bank or a financial services provider, usually with an Internet access to your "account". You can then buy mutual funds or invest in stocks directly. All our major banks slap on a 2.35% annual fee on the whole amount on the depot. That's above what you pay in fees to the firm that manages the fund. 2.35% annually for doing basically nothing is so outrageous it ought to put some people in jail for fraud. And yet it's not even well known at all and a big portion of the public just meekly continues to pump money into these depots. Money that stands no chance in hell of ever outgrowing both fees to the fund-management, the 2.35% to the bloodsucking bank and inflation.I'm actually in the process of quietly rebelling against my bank. I moved my pension savings away from them years ago. I just have to wait for a while until my mortgage term expires then I can move my loan. When that happens I'll also close my accounts with them and give them the middle finger for good (nah, in reality I'll just quietly walk away - never know if you'll one day need those bastards again). There are alternatives with niche banks that usually gives you way better terms. Even if it's just small stufff like $2 a month for an "internet fee" that ddoesn't really affect me it pisses me off enough to feel the need to stop banking with them.
This won't please the US:Iraqi leaders said in a statement Tuesday there was "no need" for US forces that stay beyond year-end to receive immunity from prosecution, a key condition set by Washington for any post-2011 training deal. [...] After a two-hour meeting hosted by President Jalal Talabani, the leaders of Iraq's main political blocs said that they "agreed on the need to train Iraqi forces" and quickly purchase military equipment, according to a statement issued by government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. But "the leaders agreed there is no need to give immunity for trainers." It added: "Training should be held on Iraqi bases, and it should be organised to ensure that Iraqi forces will be professional."http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g5qXXakARz0MSzKtL3E0i0RCm7_w?docId=CNG.206b7e3a2746fca52d7eb492b168be3f.801US troops to base in Kuwait to attack Iraq:"Iraqi leaders are fearful that issuing a formal invitation for U.S. forces to stay would trigger a political backlash from their own followers, including some who have threatened widespread violence and attacks on the troops if they do not leave. For that reason, one option under U.S. consideration is to have a portion of the U.S. training force based in Kuwait; they would rotate into Iraq for limited periods, and return to Kuwait, one official said.[...]Another option under Pentagon consideration is positioning a small U.S. combat force in Kuwait that could rush into Iraq in the event of a security problem or to target an insurgent threat, two officials said. Another possibility is to retain in Kuwait some of the U.S. ground combat equipment that is being pulled out of Iraq, instead of shipping it back to the U.S. It could be kept in Kuwait as so-called “pre-positioned” war materiel, one official said. "http://www.telegram.com/article/20110909/NEWS/109099774/-1/NEWS07War is fun:"The study, by Veterans for Common Sense, shows that nearly 20% of the soldiers who have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from mental health conditions. For those unlucky enough to serve in both wars, the number grows considerably, with some 30% of them suffering from PTSD alone. The group’s executive director said the government expected “50,000 new patients” for the VA in a 2003 report. The group projected that the figure would be over 1 million by the end of 2013."http://news.antiwar.com/2011/10/04/nearly-20-percent-of-us-war-vets-have-mental-health-problems/Lee in Russia now:A team of Russian and American scientists will set off on an expedition this week to try to solve the mystery of the Abominable Snowman. It follows a rise in Yeti sightings in the Kemerovo region, 3,000 miles (4828km) east of Moscow. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15167866Saul Perlmutter, a Berkeley astrophysicist, and two other Americans have won this year's Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery of a mysterious force called dark energy that has been pushing the universe apart for billions of years at ever-increasing speeds.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/04/MNU61LD6UC.DTL
LOL @ Marcus:"They also charge $2 every month for an outrageous "internet fee" just because we now do our banking online."Ha ha - Marcus is complaining about a 2 $ internet fee. Ha ha. Multiply that by TWENTY ... then you have "outrageous". Guess which outrageous amount we pay for internet banking here?See, Marcus, just when you thought you'd seen the bottom of the shithole that is modern banking, you find that the 'bottom' was just a layer of sludge and that the hole goes deeper still.:(
Bruno, surely you can't be paying $40 a month in fees for Internet access to your banking services?I am of the opinion that since we customers now do our banking online and many services required staff at the bank before the bank now saves money. We do the work bank tellers used to do and maintaining their webpage is way, way cheaper than all that staff they used to have. If they save, why should I pay? I think even $2 a month is outrageous.
I just checked the account to make double sure, and there it is: Internet Bank Fee: R 440.24 (plus around R 250 worth of other assorted charges.)Taking a thumbsuck of 8 rands per dollar exchange rate we come to $55 in "internet bank fee".Hmm.Looks like that the cesspool of bank charges has sunk even lower, without me noticing it.You are, of course, completely correct about the bank saving money through customers using the internet, but unfortunately business doesn't seem to work like that. We poor saps are taking a righteous rogering up the behind and there's not much we can do about it. :(
Yes but is it really a monthly fee? Are you sure it's not a yearly one? It seems INSANE is why I'm asking.
WTF? I'd WRITE an internet banking system for not much more than $55/month!I'm beginning to think our banks are magnanimous. It's about €12 ($16) per quarter for transactions, or alternatively 11c/transaction. And that's even if you didn't realise you could just tell them to piss off. They're desperate for cash, so they're not exactly going to send you away. Even though I moved most of my money into a properly capitalised Dutch bank, I still dangle enough in Bank of Ireland's face that they haven't tried the tx charges on with me again yet.On the other hand, they've raped the Oirish taxpayer for €70 billion so far, so they're not exactly in a position of strength ... although that hasn't stopped the slimeball fuckbags from getting up to other shenanigans. (I know €70 bn doesn't sound like much to Americans, but it's almost half our GDP ... the equivalent of about $7 trillion for you).
No, it is monthly alright. The thought occurred to me as well which is why I just checked to see exactly what the fees for September were. Yes, they have gone up. Perhaps our charges are so high because our interest rates are also relatively high and the banks need to recoup their losses ... but no, they also lend money at a higher rate too, so that's no excuse.
I'm beginning to see that our banks are fairly limited in their a$$raping of customers compared to banks abroad.I'm with Pete in saying you should stand up to them. Myself I managed to shave .35% off my mortage interest rate just by turning up at the local bank office and mentioning I might be "looking around". Not a huge number but it adds up. The fees I questioned also but there they refused to budge. Which is why I'm just waiting until my current term expires (I locked the loan for 3 years and have 9 months left) and I'll be leaving them for good, hopefully.Here there are alternatives, if you shop around. Niche banks have sprung up that can provide you with better terms, and that have the same government insurance for deposits and that are often way better capitalized. Usually in the form of a successful major company that adds banking as a service. They usually go in to it when they provide payment plans if you buy their products and then expand into regular banking as well. I'm sure this is common elsewhere also.
How nice. We've finally found a topic we can agree on here: dislike and disgust for greedy banksters! Quite the love-fest.(It's almost as if I'm anticipating John to come along and side with the banksters just for the hell of it)
@PetePete: "Also, if you don't mind, please don't screw up the krona just now ... we'll need all the currency haven options we can get if Oirland falls out of euroland and the gubmint tries to foist some new funny money on us."Norway. They have zero national debt but billions in cash reserves and they have a large gubmint share in Statoil adding to those funds every month. Further their banking industry is comparatively small AND they are not in the EMU, not even a EU member. Could be the safest haven there is. Nice scenery too, although perhaps not so much golf courses. Expensive as hell though, so bank there but don't live there.Pete: "However, it's hard to see how you can avoid your bubble bursting if your banks have any eurozone debtors. If that debt is downgraded your banks have to either raise more capital or shrink their loanbooks. If they do the latter, then credit becomes less available, which is the one thing that's sure to burst a housing bubble."I think our banks biggest liability today, in termms of size, is the domestic housing bubble but what will pop it is another matter. They were seriously exposed in the Baltics in -08 but thanks to those countries' able handling of the crisis our banks never got into serious trouble. Supposedly that exposure has diminished, but how can anyone be sure that's the truth?The big worry (which might surprise you) is that we have one of the largest banking industries in the world compared to our national GDP. Not quite Luxemburg but quite high on the list, I can't find the exact numbers right now. So, if our banks DO get into trouble then bailouts may be simply more than out national budget can handle. I guess ya'll Irish would know 'bout that eh?I think from the Euro-trouble perpspective the biggeest issue is liquidity. Our banks tend to have a need for short term financing and if that dries up continent wide then there's just what you mentioned: a need to quickly shrink their loanbooks (or raise capital, which they will not be able to do) which feeds into the popping of our property bubble and then we're, well fucked for the lack of a better word.Thing is, I was happy we escaped the -08 crisis relatively well off. Our housing bubble never popped and thee general economy did quite well. I was hoping as the rest of the world recuperated we might slowly deflate our property bubble in a time where the world economy was doing OK so we might, again, export our way out of a bad place. Now it looks like we might be facing our overdue ecomomical problems in a world wide recession. If that happens it'll be bad, real bad.
Funny anecdote:Giorgos Papandreou the now Greece Prime Minister studied in Stockholm 1972-1973. Even though he did hail from one of the wealthiest Greece dynasties he took student aid and loans from CSN, a Swedish government institition that's supposed to guarantee anyone can go to on to higher education (something we consider a right and we're quite proud of here).He then moved to Greece, Did he honon his debt and pay back what he owned CSN for his free education? No. Not until he entered government in Greece decades lated did he pay it back, probably because in his new position it would have been embarrasing to be in debt to a foreign public school system.We have here a man who hails from a billionaire family who thinks it's appropriate to study abroad at foreign taxpayers expence and then skip paying the debt back, until forced to for his own face-saving. There's the Greece situation in a nutshell for ya'll.
Good thing you don't have lendings to Eurozone banks -- I see Frau Merkel has suggested today that they may need €200 billion in recapitalisation. Not sure if that means they'll write down any Irish taxpayer debt taken on to pay our banks' Eurozone creditors. I doubt it. Our finance minister who gave the shop away is dead from pancreatic cancer... it all sounds like the plot of a badly written crime novel.Anyway, I'd say your feared second liquidity crunch is a foregone conclusion, as well as low global growth -- the same factor we were relying on to have a hope of getting out from under the debt burden within a generation or two.I thought hard about NOK. Apart from the practical difficulties of converting, I'm not sure you want to buy something which is effectively a proxy for oil during a recession. To make the point -- EUR has fallen over 10% against USD in the last couple of weeks, but only 3 or 4% against NOK. (I realise there's the safe haven thing going on with the dollar as the markets convulse).Meanwhile we haven't even mentioned China, whose bubble is probably popping as we speak.
(Note to self: Never, ever, come to this comments section to cheer yourself up.)Pete, I don't know about the $9 teller charge. Sounds absolutely outrageous. My bank wanted to charge me for deposit slips. Say what? Charge me to put money into the bank? When I screamed (figuratively speaking) they backed off and grandfathered me in at free of charge.And I too can't figure out why on earth they have to raise the charges when they are switching everything to electronic processing, which was supposed to be cheaper. Sounds like gouging the customer to me, which is partly what those protesters are saying too, I think.Anyway, I'd say your feared second liquidity crunch is a foregone conclusion...Which means we are in for a boat load of trouble. Even that coffee can might not be able to help us. *sigh*PeteS, Marcus, Bruno,The way to get rid of those nasty online banking fees is to not to use the feature. I have managed to avoid it quite nicely so far. :)
Marcus,To get around those bank fees for mutual funds, go directly through the fund company. Pick out a nice no load fund company like Fidelity or Vanguard and give them a call. They'll be happy to take...er...invest your money. ;) And if you insist on doing things online, they can do that too.
Mucous: "It's almost as if I'm anticipating John to come along and side with the banksters just for the hell of it".Given your other limitations, Mucous, I would have to say that your ability to anticipate anything of any significance, would likely be compromised by the same impairment."It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." Henry Ford
Lynnette, how on earth do you avoid online banking? I have a few notes in my pocket to pay the guy who cuts my grass, a few coins for the coke machine at work, and I spend a few euro on the rare occasion I go to the pub. Can't think of much else I use physical money for. I think I've been in my bank branch twice in twenty years, both times to pick up a cheque book (which I hardly ever use either). I've used bank drafts for a few big ticket items. Apart from that everything -- probably 99%+ of transactions -- is online or plastic based. Now that I think about it -- it's pretty convenient, and it's more or less free (except for annual government levies on debit and credit cards).
John has, in his inimitable way, made a pertinent comment about the banking system.The banks work hand in glove with the governments. They don't really need our money, guys, don't kid yourselves. There's a 1 in 10 rule whereby they can lend out 10 X monies for every 1 X money that they have in actual reserves. Couple that with the preferential interest rate they get from your typical reserve bank, and they're pretty much rolling in the dosh. What they want to do is lend it out, because that truly is a revenue spinner in interest charges. Basically keep the average consumer on the edge of, but never quite, being bankrupt and to max out the amount of interest they repay every month. You can't even stick the cash under a mattress because inflation (increased printing of money by the government) will eat away at the value of that cash regardless. Personally I do as little as possible with plastic or online or even through ATM's. The raping from those charges will be astronomical. I do as much as possible cash only, and try interact with the bank as little as possible.
Here your money will appreciate under the mattress, for the last couple of years at least, due to deflation. But you don't need to use the mattress because electronic banking is so cheap (as long as the bank remains solvent).
Here we have a law that states credit card companies are forbidden to impose transaction fees on users, so they impose them on the stores instead. The stores are forbidden to pass them on to customers directly so they have to pass them on baked into the price of their goods. So in the end even people like myself who is quite fond of using cash will be paying for the transaction fees.Bruno, you're right. There's nothing banks like less than people out of debt. When I took out my mortgage they did a calculation based on my salary to see how much I could borrow and it was way higher than I would have thought. They had a cute spreadsheet where you could fill in how much money you needed for food, transportation, etc. The rest you could afford to spend to finance your loan was the message. But there were no boxes for savings, vacations, entertainment or such stuff. So it seemed that if I had money so I could just keep myself alive and able to get to work then I had enough, and ideally they wanted the rest in interest payments.
Marcus, that's the classic approach of the banks who promoted the bubble. No thought given to the mortgage holder's increased vulnerability to interest rate rises, wage cuts, change in circumstances etc. That's how the banks created the disaster zone we're living in. Remember to save a kick in the ass for the so-called "regulators" who allowed such imprudent lending.
Pete,I still use checks for bill paying via the mail. I don't have the bank do it for me, which is where you might find fees. I do have a debit card, which I use occasionally, but that may change if they impose usage fees. Credit cards and cash still work just fine as well.
Marcus,There are swipe fees on transactions where credit and debit cards are used. That is why not all merchants take every credit card. For instance, American Express is higher than other cards, so not all merchants accept it. I believe it is up to the merchant to decide whether or not to pass that cost onto the consumer via higher prices. The debit cards had, I believe, a .44 cent swipe fee. With the passage of recent legislation to curb costs to consumers, that was capped at .21 or .22 cents, which ate into the banks profits. That is why we are seeing these monthly debit card fees being charged directly to the account holders. The banks are trying to make up for that loss.
Petes, I was asked recently by a Dutch friend to get an iPad for him while he was in the States. (He had no idea where to go to get one.) He repaid me in cash. I told him he could have just given me a check, and he looked at me like he didn't know what I was talking about. I have used the same bank since college. Well, at least the physical location is the same. My little local bank has changed hands a few times through the years, but has never been purchased by one if the too big to fails, thank goodness. It is a very sound regional bank, and I pay zero fees for anything. Not one dime in any kind of fee.
And speaking of iPads. Steve Jobs, RIP. One of the best cartoons I've seen in a long time was entitled "Jobs Program", and pictured a medical person handing a form to Steve Jobs. The title of the form was "Cloning Consent".
Bridget, yeah I guess cheques are becoming uncommon everywhere in Europe. Recently I bought heating system parts from an east German company who didn't take credit cards, and even there it was possible to do an electronic bank transfer using their IBAN number. (I also conducted all business with them in German, via Google translate. By comparison, I had a complete communication failure with the local Irish supplier from Disasterville who originally fitted the system ;-)Re: Steve Jobs, yeah, I had a soft spot for Apple once; we did a lot of business with them. Unfortunately they weren't very consistent with their 3rd party developers when Jobs got into the designer gear that he subsequently made Apple famous for. The stuff is nice, but overhyped and overpriced. Anyway, sad about Steve although, given his diagnosis, he got a good innings. A good American friend of mine, also an Apple employee, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, the same year as Jobs. He was dead in ten months.
In comments today in Brussels, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demanded that the Iraqi government ensure explicit and complete immunity for all US soldiers that remain in the nation beyond the end of the year.“I can say very clearly that any kind of US presence demands that we protect and provide the appropriate immunity for our soldiers,” Panetta said. The Iraqi government doesn’t seem to agree, however.A statement from top Iraqi political leaders earlier this week insisted that only US trainers could stay, and since they were to remain on Iraqi military bases and not participate in missions, they didn’t need the blanket legal immunity troops have enjoyed for years.The rub, of course, is that the Obama Administration redefined all the combat troops to non-combat troops in 2010, and seemed to be hoping to just redefine them all to trainers to keep up appearances while continuing the war. That’s where the immunity comes in.But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who seems ok with caving to US demands, can’t grant immunity without parliamentary approval. The statement suggests parliament won’t grant it easily, and this seems to be another battle for US diplomats to fight.http://news.antiwar.com/2011/10/06/panetta-us-troops-in-iraq-must-have-immunity/
The last time I even saw a cheque was 30 years ago when I got one from my uncle - who worked in the states at the time.I thought the main thing about Internet banking WAS that you today pay all bills online. When I pay bills this is the procedure:I get bills in the mail* same as usual. I log into my bank by putting my debit/credit card into a cellphone sized thingy and punching a my card code combined with a one-time code displayed on the banks website into this thingy (code verifyer). Then I enter the numbers of all bills and approve the payments. Done. * Lots of companies offer either to draw the money automatically (which I don't like) or E-invoice where you just log on and approve the invoice. Saves all the paper bills but I'm a bit old fashioned and have not really taken to that yet.That said, sending cheques in the mail seems like something that was done decades ago. The younger generations would probably not even know it was done like that "back then".
OK, it might have been closer to 20 years ago now that I think about it. Still, I'm not sure there even are paper cheques here today.
Petes, you clearly don't own an iPhone or an iPad. My first computer was an Apple IIE, and it was all PC after that. Never understood the cult of the Mac. But I adore my iPad. It has changed the way I do everything. Well, almost everything.
Actually Bridget, I have to admit to owning an iPhone -- but only because I was developing some software for it. I'd promised myself that on my next phone change I was going back to my 11-year-old Nokia 6310, which is still sitting in a desk drawer somwhere. But I have to grudgingly admit I like the iPhone. A lot in fact. Actually, the iPhone would be worth it if the StarWalk app was the only thing it did. And I probably have to admit it looks even better on the iPad...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgCkXUecS14&feature=relatedThe tutors on my astronomy school were bemused when they started tutoring on how to use a planisphere, and everyone whipped out their iPhones and iPads.:-)
Oh alright then. The iPhone and iPad are AWESOME! ... still a bit pricey though. I wonder will the Kindle Fire light a fire under the iPad.
"Everyone whipped out their iPhones and iPads". I have that app. :)
Here's another kind of star walk ... Eurozone crisis style:http://media.caglecartoons.com/media/cartoons/44/2011/10/07/99033_600.jpg:-)
I've been to Manhattan many times, and have always managed to get around on the subways quite nicely. But it always required a good bit of advance planning, maps, etc. And if I wandered off the preplanned route, finding a station was a pain. But the iPad changed all of that. One app shows you where you are and where all the stations are. The transit authority has a fabulous trip planner that can be accessed through 3G, enabling you to know how to get anywhere in the city from anywhere in the city. And the built in map app.....has truly set me free. Just enter "wine", and it shows you all the places around you to get wine. You don't need a store name, an address, nothing. Just input what you are looking for, and voila. I'm told there are apps that will translate English into other languages for you while traveling elsewhere. Amazing.
I saw one of those translation apps in the flesh recently. I assumed it was going to be like Google Translate on the PC, but no ... you hold it up to, say, a menu, and it is as if you are looking through the phone at a live camera image ... but the menu is translated into your language of choice. It's mind boggling! Cleverly, the demonstration version of the app shows the image in mirror writing.
It might have been this one ...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxzjjpEzM4E
Read somewhere along the way:"10 years ago we had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope .....now we have no Jobs, no Cash, and no Hope"
Video: Ahmad Chalabi gets a shoe thrown by one of the audience in Hezbollah's forum about Bahrain...But it seems not everybody knew that Chalabi - whose lies and manipulations provided the pretext for the war and destruction of Iraq - was one of the top lecturers at the Hezbollah's conference and the main adviser and collaborator of Bahraini opposers and activists. So, when Chalabi started talking an egyptian reasercher, Ashraf Bayyumi, interrupted his speech and told him "You entered Baghdad on US tanks!" and then another man got up and said "I refuse to be part of this and we have an American stooge ('Amil) in here" and got out. Finally, someone from the audience threw a shoe and it hit Chalabi on the head. Chalabi started chanting from the podium "Down with ignorance! You are all agents of Saddam!" http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m82125&hd=&size=1&l=e
Production in Rumaila south haltedBASRA, Iraq, Oct. 8 (Reuters) - Output at Iraq's Rumaila oilfield has been cut to 530,000 barrels per day from about 1.24 million bpd after two bombs hit pipelines on Friday and halted some production, a senior Iraqi oil official said on Saturday.Dhiya Jaffar, the head of state-run South Oil Co. (SOC) told Reuters the approximately 700,000 bpd in halted output could be resumed partially from Rumaila on Sunday and it could take three days to restore normal production at the field.http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/08/iraq-oil-rumaila-idUSL5E7L804620111008
Seeing some are mentioning their iPhones here, just thought I would mention I am getting my iPhone 4S next Friday. Still using my Nokia X5 and I like it so I might keep it.
Make sure you get Star Walk, Um Ayad. You'll be able to see what would be visible if the skies in most of the UK weren't uniformly sodium orange :-)I'm running a "starbecue" sometime soon for some similarly disadvantaged UK friends, poor dears.
Still, I'm not sure there even are paper cheques here today.I'm sure that our banks would love to see checks become extinct here as well. But there are still holdouts like Bridget and myself who refuse to totally give them up. I think, for me anyway, the easier they make it to spend money, via plastic or automatic bill pay, the easier it would be to overspend. I always try to place a limit on what I spend every month via plastic.Although, why do I have this strange desire to go out and buy an IPad?
LOL. Me too Lynnette. I'm resisting the urge. Want to see some real-world usage reviews of the Kindle Fire first.Re: credit cards -- I have one because it's impossible to live without one. (Had several, until the gubmint introduced an annual levy on each one). But I've never in my life used one for credit, in the sense of not paying off the bill every month. I simply can't understand people (many of my acquaintance) who have several maxed out cards constantly in rotation. They pay mind boggling amounts of interest, and they don't actually even have a line of credit for all that expense, because they are at their limit and just shuffle cards each month. Obviously, this debt trap did not occur to them when they were running up the bills ... but how do people not expect to end up in this situation whenever they spend more than they are earning? Seems to me the banks intentionally entrap the naive and the unwary. (Has Elizabeth Warren not sorted that out for y'all yet?).
Um Ayad, you should find a charity in the UK that can make good use of your Nokia....you will never go back.
The phone I ditched for the iPhone was a Nokia -- worst buy ever, even though I am a Nokia fan! It was the N95, from when smart phones weren't so smart. It had a GPS that didn't work, appalling battery life, regular crashes, and a pathetic excuse for an Internet browser that ran out of memory and froze the phone after the first page browsed. Ugh! The one before that was a Nokia too, but that was from the era when phones were phones, text was a bonus, and internet browsing was something you did on a PC. (Anyone else find it disturbing when the difference between recent history and ancient history is less than a decade?).
I've been reluctant to jump on the iBandwagon but I must confess after checking out a friend's iPad that it appeals to me. The iPhone I think is a little too large to carry around, but it looks like it's a nice piece of equipment.
I think if tablets take off properly, many people will find that Android, while maybe not as swish as iOS, is "good enough". And with the Kindle Fire at one third of the price of an iPad, and probably more cheap knock-offs to follow, I think Apple might very well get knocked off their pedestal.
Pete,I too pay off my balance every month. I have more than one credit card simply to take advantage of various store's discounts when they are used. It is really the temptation that I have to resist. So far I have managed that all right. :)I see BAC is back above what I sold it for. *sigh* Oh well, I kind of lost faith in how that compnay was going, so don't really care. Maybe I'll reconsider after the 32 days are up for the wash sale rule. We'll see.At the risk of Marcus considering me a complete dinosaur, I will confess to not owning a cell phone. I know there are times when one would come in handy, but so far I have resisted. The idea of people being able to find me whereever I am doesn't really appeal...
(Petes) "Make sure you get Star Walk, Um Ayad."Must admit that was not something I had thought about but you got me interested and I found plenty of information on the Internet.Whilst searching I found another site about "light pollution" interesting:- "This simulator uses a complex program that uses data from satellite imagery to calculate a realistic night sky-view for any location in the UK."http://www.need-less.org.uk/#ukatnightsim
(Bridget) "Um Ayad, you should find a charity in the UK that can make good use of your Nokia....you will never go back."Hope you are right....I will give it a go. But I do like my Nokia!!
(Petes) "Make sure you get Star Walk, Um Ayad."Must admit that was not something I had thought about but you got me interested and I found plenty of information on the Internet.Whilst searching I found this interesting site about "light pollution":- "This simulator uses a complex program that uses data from satellite imagery to calculate a realistic night sky-view for any location in the UK."http://www.need-less.org.uk/#ukatnightsim
Thanks Um Ayad. That simulator's really good. I will be sending it to some pals, and trying not to gloat.
Meanwhile, in Iraq:"Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh today suggested that his nation was prepared to end its direct military ties with the United States at the end of December, instead relying on private contractors for “training” programs in 2012 and beyond. “When we buy equipment, there’s a possibility that training could go ahead on ‘commercial’ terms,” Dabbagh insisted, saying Iraq was still willing to discuss a deal “without immunity” for US trainers beyond the date.Iraq’s political leadership agreed earlier his month that US trainers could stay, but insisted they would be combined to Iraqi military bases and would not be granted immunity from local prosecution. This was quickly condemned by the US, which demanded full immunity for all US troops."http://news.antiwar.com/2011/10/10/iraq-may-end-us-military-ties-in-december-hire-private-trainers/
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan:"Washington’s real objective was clearly defined in 2007 by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher: to “stabilize Afghanistan so it can become a conduit and hub between South and Central Asia – so energy can flow south.” The Turkmenistan-Afghan-Pakistan TAPI gas pipeline that the US has sought since 1998 is finally nearing completion. But whether it can operate in the face of sabotage remains to be seen.Meanwhile, Washington has been unable to create a stable government in Kabul. The primary reason: ethnic politics. Over half the population is Pashtun (or Pathan), from whose ranks come Taliban. Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities fiercely oppose the Pashtun. All three collaborated with the Soviet occupation from 1979-1989; today they collaborate with the US and NATO occupation. Most of the Afghan army and police, on which the US spends $6 billion annually, are Tajiks and Uzbek, many members of the old Afghan Communist Party. To Pashtun, they are bitter enemies. In Afghanistan, the US has built its political house on ethnic quicksands.Worse, US-run Afghanistan now produces 93% of the world’s most dangerous narcotic, heroin. Under Taliban, drug production virtually ended, according to the UN. Today, the Afghan drug business is booming. The US tries to blame Taliban; but the real culprits are high government officials in Kabul and US-backed warlords."http://www.ericmargolis.com/political_commentaries/afghanistan-ten-years-of-aimless-war.aspx
Backwards ideas from the 17th century outdated nowadays:"On the battlefield, the early 17th-century works of Hugo Grotius helped transform attitudes on the treatment of prisoners of war. Grotius's 1625 treatise De Jure Belli Ac Pacis has served as one of the foundation stones of international law. In it, the influential Dutch jurist argued that while POWs were essentially slaves—and thus could legally have absolutely anything done to them—they should nonetheless be protected from abuse under humanitarian considerations. POWs were to be seen as fellow humans rather than as enemies and should be neither punished for what their superiors or colleagues had done nor tortured to reveal information.Grotius's ideas were tremendously influential in the subsequent conflicts of early modern Europe. Henceforth, European captors would be expected to behave as stewards, not as slaveholders. When the English Civil War broke out in the 1640s, officers on both sides accepted "Lawes of Armes" and codes of conduct that prohibited the execution, starvation, and torture of prisoners in most circumstances. "They shall be free from wounding or beating, shall enjoy warm Cloaths to cover them and keep them warm," Parliamentary commander Sir Thomas Fairfax said of POWs."http://www.historynet.com/the-history-of-torture%e2%80%94why-we-cant-give-it-up.htm/3These 17th century suckers didn't know that if you reclassified POW's as "illegal combatants", you could have your way with them and inflict all manner of pain and otherwise amusing things on them. LULZ
Lynnette: "At the risk of Marcus considering me a complete dinosaur, I will confess to not owning a cell phone. I know there are times when one would come in handy, but so far I have resisted. The idea of people being able to find me whereever I am doesn't really appeal..."I could not do without either of my cellphones, my private one or my workphone. Much too useful tools. Especially in my line of work I would be unemployable if I refused to carry a cellphone, sommething I think is quite common actually.That said, I do enjoy when I am able to switch them off. And when I go on a holiday I make a point of doing just that. It is an intrusion when people can reach you everywhere, and sometimes take it for granted that you should always be available for whatever matter they deem important.
Suicide bombers, attacks hit Baghdad police, 23 deadSuicide bombers and roadside blasts targeted police in a wave of attacks across Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens on the second day of serial bombings in the Iraqi capital in less than a week.One bomber rammed an explosives-filled vehicle into a police station in central Alwiya district, killing 13, and another blew up his car at a police building in northwestern Hurriya, killing 4 people and wounding 40, officials said.http://uk.news.yahoo.com/bombs-hit-iraqi-police-baghdad-14-dead-sources-064210945.html
What about the supposed bomb-plot by the Iranians against the Saudi ambassador to the US?I'd say it seems almost impossibly reckless that the Iranian regime would have greenlit that kind of adventure. Possibly a rogue operation or a false-flag one.
"It is an intrusion when people can reach you everywhere, and sometimes take it for granted that you should always be available for whatever matter they deem important."I have some "friends" who have taken serious umbrage at the fact that I don't pick up the phone to them any time they choose to call. I've explained to them in no uncertain terms that I answer the phone when it suits me, and not otherwise, and no, I won't tell them what determines "when it suits me". The mobile is a fabulous tool, as long as it doesn't take over your life. I didn't choose to live up a country lane on my own so that I can be interrupted 24/7 :-)
"I'd say it seems almost impossibly reckless that the Iranian regime would have greenlit that kind of adventure."Why? How else is a state sponsor of terror gonna, uh, sponsor terror?
The best thing to ever happen to the phone (landline, cell, and otherwise) was the answering machine/voicemail. Which I, dinosaur that I am, actually return, although I confess I frequently don't answer at the time the call is made. Young people, should you have given birth or otherwise made the acquaintance of any, don't actually use their phones for talking. They consider it rude to call people, preferring text messages and facebook above conversation.
I'm thinking Israel and Egypt ought to hold a giant swap meet in Gaza. Egyptian Copts and Israeli Arabs could switch places. Voila, the problems of the middle east solved.
[Bridget]: "should you have given birth"I hope that wasn't directed at me or Marcus :-)Anyway, yes, "txting" is the preferred medium for the yoof. I'd imagine it was originally more to do with it being generally cheaper, rather than being less rude. But now it's got all the attractiveness (to a yoof) of incorporating new and trendy jargon. Fulfills the same sort of role as CB radio did for those of us who reached teenagehood in the wake of Smokey and the Bandit. I'm genuinely Laughin' Out Loud here at the memory of all that trucker language and "10-4 good buddies" emanating from suburban Oirish sitting rooms. Different times, different jargon, same social utility. Just nowadays instead of "eyeballing" somebody, you "meet them in the big blue room". Et cetera.:-)
[Bridget]: "I'm thinking Israel and Egypt ought to hold a giant swap meet in Gaza. Egyptian Copts and Israeli Arabs could switch places. Voila, the problems of the middle east solved."Interesting idea, but last time I looked, orthodox Israeli Jews disliked Orthodox Christians nearly as much as they disliked Arabic Muslims. The Evangelical-Christian-Jewish love-in is pretty much an American-only phenomenon.
[marcus] "I'd say it seems almost impossibly reckless that the Iranian regime would have greenlit that kind of adventure."[petes] Why? How else is a state sponsor of terror gonna, uh, sponsor terror?I agree with Marcus. The Iranians are far more cagey than that. They typically act through one or even two layers of proxies if they want to accomplish something. Besides, I can't see any possible reason for them to stir up the waters right now. It makes no sense.
Time to go have my morning laugh at the ape's expense.
Petes, even in America, the love that evangelical Chritstians have for the Jews is largely unrequited. As far as Israel is concerned, despite who the orthodox part of their population may like or dislike, the Copts haven't been given to using suicide bombs and rockets. Gotta prefer them at least a little to neighbors who want to wipe you off the face of the earth.
Car and roadside bombs in Baghdad have killed at least 28 people, including police officers, officials say.In Wednesday morning's attacks, one of the suicide bombers struck at al-Wiya police station, located at one of Baghdad's main road junctions.Another drove his car into the police checkpoint in the Hurriya neighbourhood, a busy residential area - and reportedly a stronghold of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr - which is surrounded by blast walls.More than 50 people were injured in those two attacks.In other attacks in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday officials said: * A car bomb targeted a police patrol in the south of the city, killing three * Two police died in a roadside bomb attack in the west of the city * Another roadside bomb, also in a western district, targeted an Iraqi army patrol but killed one civilian * There were further violent incidents which caused injuries, AFP news agency reported - a silenced pistol attack on a checkpoint and a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to a car * A further two car bombs were detected and dismantled, according to al-Iraqiya TV in Baghdadhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15271758
If this is true! It does help to speak Arabic when invading and occuping an Arabic country. Video: The American soldier dubbed the 'Lawrence of Iraq'In his new book "A Soldier's Dream" William Doyle dubs Captain Patriquin the "TE Lawrence of Iraq". He describes how the Iraqis loved the US soldier who wore a thick moustache and could speak Arabic street slang. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15284219
[Bruno]: "Time to go have my morning laugh at the ape's expense."Do you get the impression he hasn't realised Zeyad posted again a fortnight ago? I think he's sittin' there hittin' the refresh button on the last thread's comments, thinkin' everyone has been scared off by the tone of the conversation. LOLZ.
Pete: "Why? How else is a state sponsor of terror gonna, uh, sponsor terror?"Because it reeks of incompetence. First of all I fail to see what the Iranian regime would hope to accomplish by whacking the Saudi ambassador to the US, in a public location, with a bomb, disregarding collateral damage. It just seems to me a plot with no reckognizable benefit but huge potential, and very likely, fallback. Not a very typical modus operandi of the Iranian regime.And if they were, for some reason, hellbent on going through with such a plot then why enroll a used car salesman and have him go to a Mexican cartel and order the hit and wire the downpayment from within Iran?And why on earth would they even assume a billion dollar criminal organization would be willing to commit to an act of terrorism in the US capital for a pesky 1.5 million dollars and vague promises of future opium deals? So, to answer your question "How else is a state sponsor of terror gonna, uh, sponsor terror?": way more carefully.
Marcus,I could not do without either of my cellphones, my private one or my workphone. Much too useful tools. Especially in my line of work I would be unemployable if I refused to carry a cellphone, sommething I think is quite common actually.The people I want to reach me that I know through work know how to do so. So far that hasn't been a problem. But you never know...
Young people, should you have given birth or otherwise made the acquaintance of any, don't actually use their phones for talking. They consider it rude to call people, preferring text messages and facebook above conversation.What a sad comment on the world today. While I may not have a cell phone, I still appreciate the sound of the human voice. You can pick up so much about a person, how they feel, how they express themselves etc., by the tone of voice and the spoken word. The voice is a far better tool to express feelings of intimacy than is a text. One has to wonder if those who text aren't a little afraid of making that commitment of intimacy with another person.
Do you get the impression he hasn't realised Zeyad posted again a fortnight ago?Well, we've both been there and done that, haven't we? I shall go and inform him...just in case.
"Do you get the impression he hasn't realised Zeyad posted again a fortnight ago?"Yes. He would have been here bragging about his genius on a regular basis, boring the shits out of the folks that don't care about feeling superior at the expense of an imbecile. But it appears that a simian groupie will soon correct that oversight.
Agree w/ Marcus on the Iran thing. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that the smell of another "Tonkin" type incident hangs heavily around this event. I have, however, been converted to An Italian's view that the US would not be stupid enough to deliberately pursue a war with Iran, particularly at this time. I'm thinking the whole thing will die a natural death.
No Bruno, in fact it appears to have beeen true! I know, because the Saudis are saying so."The Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, told reporters at a news conference in Vienna that “this dastardly act reflects the policies of Iran.”"Shocking!
Not as shocking as the actions of this trusty murkin soldier:"A former U.S. Army chaplain could serve 7 1/2 years in prison after a German court convicted him of attempted manslaughter stemming from an attack outside a bar in Garmisch-Partenkirchen earlier this year."http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/germany/former-chaplain-jailed-for-7-5-years-in-beating-of-german-civilian-1.157732
Iraqi Orphan Leaves Judges In Tears Australian X Factor. This left me in tears too. The Australian woman who adopted him and his brother is a wonderful woman..... May God Bless her. This is the best song he could have chosen to sing, "Imagine", the words say it all.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh1GZt6ZuMw
Ok, let's summarize.Lyingette, a self-proclaimed blood fetishist; a cheerleader for American atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan; a flesh eating ghoul who teams up with her only friend Bride, to take down hapless street people and rip apart their calloused, scar riddled and skeletal frames, doesn't bank electronically or even use a cell phone. She considers the voice to be a far better tool to express her feelings of intimacy than texting. No doubt! You would have to consider that it's much more difficult for her to suck the juice out of someone's eyeballs or to dismember them while reading the print on a blackberry screen.Lesson for the day. Start banking on-line lest you happen to run into this beast in a local bank line-up near you, in search of intimacy.
Canadian John - get a life.Um Ayad, probably too late but there is an utterly hilarious film on Channel 4 tonight called "The Hunt for Tony Blair". It's a 1950s-style film noir spoof that parodies The 39 Steps and other films of the genre, in which Blair is on the run, accused by the police of murder over his activities in office.
Petes,I didn't miss it, I watched it. I agree it was "utterly hilarious", I loved the end!!I needed something to cheer me up after watching the Australian X Factor link, I posted here earlier today. That was truly heartbreaking, everyone I showed it to had tears in their eyes after watching it.
"I loved the end"What, where Blair is confident he can talk his way into heaven? :-)
(Petes) "What, where Blair is confident he can talk his way into heaven? :-)"Yes, you got that right. That is why they call him "Teflon Tony"....nothing sticks. He thinks he can talk/lie his way out of anything. But that is changing here in the UK. Nobody believes anything he says anymore. I never did. I also liked that he was shot in a certain part of his anatomy. LOL
That link of Um Ayad's didn't work real well for me, it kept stopping. However, this one works better...Beautiful
Eyeball sucking? Seriously? Trying to come up with a new bit for Halloween, John?
"the Obama administration has according to reports in the US decided that all but 150 to 200 US troops of the remaining 40,000 will go home under the terms of a 2008 agreement.The key issue has been the failure of the Iraqi parliament to provide a guarantee of immunity from prosecution to US troops that stay.US officials had assumed that the earlier deal with the Iraqis would be renegotiated to allow 4-5,000 American forces to remain in a training role beyond the deadline of Dec 31, 2011.[...]Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told US military officials that he does not have the votes in parliament to provide immunity to the American trainers, as Washington has demanded."http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8830284/US-to-announce-full-withdrawal-of-troops-from-Iraq.html
"I can't see the United States agreeing to blanket Iraqi jurisdiction," said Stephen Biddle at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If it is more than just brinkmanship and if they are going to insist on this, then I think the United States will decline to stay at all."[...]The embassy's Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq or OSC-I already has trainers covered by diplomatic immunity as part of the State Department. Attaching more uniformed officers maybe the most viable option, but numbers would likely be limited. "Under this agreement it could be just 200, or 300," said Iraqi lawmaker Sami al-Askari, a Maliki ally. "They have no option. The alternative is for them to leave altogether."SENSITIVE ISSUEImmunity is a sensitive issue for many Iraqis who remember abuses committed by U.S. forces and contractors during the worst years of the war. U.S. soldiers in other countries also have the kind of legal protections Washington wants in Iraq."http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/16/us-iraq-usa-idUSTRE79F17720111016
Kinda puts an end to your howling ‘bout how the Evil Merkins were never gonna leave Iraq, don't it Bruno? Looks like the Obama administration is more than willing to cut ‘em loose, let ‘em try it on their own. Wish ‘em good luck and fair winds and all that, but Iraq gonna be on her own pretty shortly.
US officials had assumed that the earlier deal with the Iraqis would be renegotiated to allow 4-5,000 American forces to remain in a training role beyond the deadline of Dec 31, 2011.Awwwwww. What a pity LEE can't read.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Yeah, we got lots of ‘officials’. No doubt among the many of them, at least one of them assumed that. However, the policy makin’ folks don't wear uniforms over here. You keep tendin’ to forget that.
A small glimpse into what Shameous considers to be 'a life'! I think these transpired over the course of one evening while Shameous was once again gouging his employer for underserved compensation. Most of these are 'Goat Roper' obsessive:1.) "ok, so now there's two parts to your argument"....Shameous showing off his analytical skills as he wades into response number 60 to a position he has already dismissed as being 'silly'.2.) "it's all quite simple. Unfortunately I can't go into it...until Lee"....don't believe this excrement. It only means that he'll devote five more pages to demonstrate how massaging his own ego is never that simple.3.) "And, just for the record, and to hasten Lee's official slinkin' off".....Once again bullshit. All this does is stimulate the two of them to exchange another two hundred comments...with the occasional input from BruBru hoping he can draw a little of 'Goat Roper's' attention away from the Irish masturbator.4.) "Marcus, General Relativity is truly a beast".....Similar to Lyingette.5.) "I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert"...Unbelievable!!6.) "A couple of corrections..lest Lee taint you with his misunderstandings." Shameous never limits anything to a couple, except maybe shots of Jamieson!7.) "Here's the boring Lee bit." By now, as drool is pouring out of the side of your mouth; assuming you've had the tenacity to read all of the comments, it becomes clearly argumentative who is truly the most boring. 8.) "And if Lee can bring hisself not to whinge about the jargon and the pomposity of the explanation.." Imagine the audacity of Shameous accusing anyone of being pompous? It's like a serial killer speaking out against bullying.9.) "... which reminds me of a sidenote." Shameous' idea of a sidenote is like the prelude to Dante's Inferno.10.) "Unlike Lee, still stickin' resolutely to his misreadin' of the restated postulates." Just do a couple of 'Mary, Mother and Josephs' at this point.11.) "LOL, it's a pity their just ain't enough time in the night to pick over all of Lee's gems...." Don't worry, Shameous will find time.12.) "LOL again." Indeed. PS: "Special Relativity is a deductive argument based on two premises or postulates." Or, alternatively, does anyone want to get his life?
I wouldn't trade my life for that of someone I know only from a comment section of a blog. But if I was forced and option #1 was a gainfully employed Irish professional with a bad back, a tendency to believe the tales in very old books, a penchant for a pint of Guinness or two and golfing holidays; and option #2 was a Canadian drunkard of an anarchist who recycles empty bottles for a living and is angry with the world and everyone in it - then I'd take my chances with #1.
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste.In recent months, Washington has been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces. A Pentagon spokesman said Saturday that no final decision has been reached about the U.S. training relationship with the Iraqi government.But a senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed Saturday that all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/15/iraq-withdrawal-us-troops_n_1012661.html?ir=Politics
Don't let the door hit your arses on the way out
HOWEVER:"The U.S. military drawdown in Iraq is on track, say Pentagon officials. But so is the buildup of a growing U.S. State Department presence.Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan noted in a Pentagon news release Wednesday that U.S. forces in Iraq now number about 43,500, less than half of the more than 100,000 in January of 2009. Roughly 1.6 million pieces of equipment have been redeployed, Buchanan added, with 800,000 left to go.“Just last week,” Buchanan pointed out, “13,900 trucks in 399 convoys moved equipment, fuel and food in and out of Iraq. The military had 505 bases in Iraq in 2008 and now it’s down to 23.”All U.S. forces will be out of Iraq by the end of the year unless retention of some U.S. military presence is negotiated with the Iraqi government.At the same time, U.S. State Department resources are building to some 17,000, including 14,000 private contractors.In an Air Force Association report Thursday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the contractors would “perform a variety of tasks including flying remotely piloted aircraft, personnel transport, recovery of downed aircraft and ordnance disposal.”Chaffetz called the transition more of a “political shell game than a drawdown of forces.”He said, “Most Americans probably aren’t aware that our troops will be replaced with a private army of security contractors.”"http://warnerrobinspatriot.com/bookmark/16030723-Iraqi-withdrawal-called-shell-game-as-State-Department-presence-increases
"At the same time, U.S. State Department resources are building to some 17,000, including 14,000 private contractors."One might reasonably expect that expatriate South Africans will be seriously overrepresented in this sample.
Mucous - get a life."A Canadian drunkard of an anarchist"??? That doesn't make any sense (at all). Drunkard and anarchist are both nouns.How about 'a Canadian drunkard and an anarchist'.Better yet, how about checking into local ESL tutoring. In a couple of months it's possible your butchering of the English language might be reduced to the occasional slice (God willing).
And yet you got the meaning perfectly. Good boy. Must be at the beginning of your daily ration then.
[bruno] "At the same time, U.S. State Department resources are building to some 17,000, including 14,000 private contractors."[LEE] "One might reasonably expect that expatriate South Africans will be seriously overrepresented in this sample."That is probably correct. Not expatriates, but your typical ex-military Afrikaner from South Africa. Because the widdle murkins can't protect their own arses with an M16 and body armour.
Having said that, its a terrible idea to go a-contractin' for the murkins. Nevermind the murky moral implications of being complicit in a criminal invasion and occupation ... but also because if you should get your arse blown up while protecting them murkin babies, they will drop you like a hot potato and screw you like a Thai whore.That is to say, you will have to figure out for yourself how to eat through a straw and how to get about without legs, because those "medical benefits" that you were supposed to receive are going to evaporate into thin air.To whit:"Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public. The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums."http://www.justiceforinjuredcontractors.com/
This is what happens when you work for the Americans:Daniel Brink was working for DynCorp International as a Personal Security Detail Officer in Baghdad Iraq on the Civpol Programme. He was injured in a bomb explosion on the 22 nd of December 2005 just outside Baghdad:“” After my return from the St.Georges Hospital in England, I was under the impression that CNA Global Insurance will be putting me in a position to recover from my wounds and loss of limbs instead my real struggle began. I obtained approvals from Donna Sprags of CNA Global Insurance to see various Dr’s , Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Dieticians , the supplying of wheelchairs etc etc.At the time I still remarked to my then wife that under the circumstances what I have been through at least DynCorp International and their Insurance Carrier was going to look after me. After a couple of months medical bills started pilling up and various medical providers refused to give me treatment. The Sheriff repossessed my wheelchair because CNA Global Insurance stopped payment on the check that they issued to the suppliers and my life really started spiraling out of control.I made an appointment with CNA Global Insurance and at great cost to myself flew from South Africa to the UnitedStates of America to attend the appointment with CNA Global Insurance in order to discuss the non-payment of my medical providers bills as well as various other issues. Upon my arrival at the front-desk of CNA Global Insurance I was informed that CNA Global Insurance no longer wished for the meeting to take place and I was instructed to leave the building.[...]I am now five (5) years and one (1) month after my incident at the stage in my life where I have lost my wife and kids, myhouse and motor vehicles and my dignity. Two (2) weeks ago I got evicted from the rental home where I was staying and the little bit of furniture I had left was attached by the court for the non payment of medical bills ..."http://www.justiceforinjuredcontractors.com/
War against Iran?"The trouble with the war scenario would be its cost and drain on the US economy and the possible shocks such as a disruption in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, the extension of insecurity to the oil sheikdoms, and the chances that world economic recovery could be imperiled. Skyrocketing oil prices are a sure bet in this scenario, and would hurt the already weak European economies, among others.Still, the so-called realists and neo-realists in international relations who find it improbable that the US would attack Iran due to high costs and the regional ramifications may put too much faith in the rationality of decision-making in the United States, which at times believes its own lies and succumbs to the irrationality of expelling the cost-benefit mode of reasoning in favor of a blind power approach rooted in psychological insecurity.Perhaps this was the story of the multi-trillion dollar Iraq war, that is now about to conclude by, for all practical purposes, folding business and dishing out a harvest into Iran's hands. That is too much for the likes of Petraeus, who sees this as a unique moment to isolate Iran by a combination of powerful jabs, including more sanctions."Iran will not be a passive recipient of US blows and it will reciprocate where it can," says a Tehran analyst who hopes that both sides can step back from further escalation and allow "reason to prevail". That may be a hope against hope. "http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MJ18Ak02.html
Murkins just loved:"Ninewa province organized today a central festival to celebrate the U.S.forces withdrawal form Mosul city. Our Aswat al-Iraq correspondent reported that the festival was attended by senior governmental officials."http://en.aswataliraq.info/Default1.aspx?page=article_page&id=145309&l=1
I know of a guy, a guy here in Sweden, that if I think of him, which I rarely do, makes me think of John.I'm not gonna out him with his real name so let's call him Sven, a good honest Swedish name.Sven is a couple of years older than I am. We both grew up in a rather small community outside Swedens third biggest city - Malmö. I never knew him in person but the community was small enough that you knew of everyone.I came to know about Sven in my early teens. He was a few years older but was often riding the bus at night like us youngsters. He was, obviously, into heavy metal and wore black clothes that he seemed to hink were way cool. He had an unusually large head, was unusually pale and looked kind of like a benign mix of Dracula and Frankensteins monster. He was always, when I saw him, drunk.What I heard was that he lived alone with his mother. He was known for one nasty habit in particular. He lived in a room upstairs in his mom's house where he, in his younger years atleast, had a "pissehörna". This would translate to a pissing-corner. He'd, so they said, watch movies, listen to Heavy Metal, drink beer and then piss in a corner of his room when nature called. This was detected, and known to others, when the mold from his piss made renovations to his mom's house inevitable.Sven was an early drunk. He was a drunk already in his late teens. He never finished shool and had little hope of finding a good job. But he got a job. He was the second to a janitor in a community housing project. The janitor was a drunk also. Little work would be done and much beer would be drunk. Sven rode the bus home and usually finished his "work" early so sometimes I'd be on the same bus as him when I was on my way back from school. The seat next to Sven was never taken, even when the bus was packed.In the early 90's we had a severe recession in Sweden and the austarity-program that followed saw Sven unemployed. People were asked to put up and shut up and the government, and communities, did no longer pay people to do nothing - or to drink beer in a cellar all day. So Sven was let go.Disillusioned Sven joined the most marxist union we have in Sweden, the Syndicalists. They'd take anyone so he found a group to belong to. The Syndicalists are in the habit of having one member infiltrating a small business, making outrageous demands, getting fired, and then having the whole pack turn up protesting the latyoff and destroying the business and blackmailing it into a "settlement". Meanwhile they exist on handouts from less Marxist but extremely left leaning parties. The softer marxists like to keep the Syndicalists alive and breathing, insane as they are. Kind of like how you'd keep feeding a rabid dog if you thought you might one day need a rabid dog to sick on your enemies. Sven was one of their rabid dogs, kept alive on handouts and the occasional blackmail cut.As I said, John, our resident Canadian drunkard, reminds me of Sven. It's not so much that they're both alcoholics that does it, though that surely have that in common. Neither is it the fact that Sven was an unemployable lowlife and John also is one. Neither is it the fact that Sven, in his disgust with his own life turned to Marxist anarchism, and John, in his disgust with himself has done the same. No, it's the "pissehörna" that I think is their most common denominator.
Mucous - get a life."Sven is a couple of years older than I am." How old would that make you Mucous? If Sven was into heavy metal and wearing black clothes (Goth?), I'm guessing he was a teenager in the eighties? He was probably around sixteen in 1986 (a good year for the Sex Pistols) which would make you around 38 now (give or take a year). Right? And when you consider what one's life experience should already be at that age, it's really quite surprising to me how genuinely naive and impressionable you are.I might possibly derive some pleasure in seeing your business being held up for ransom by the Syndicalists (let me know its name and I'll make a couple of phone calls), but that would simply be from the perspective of not wanting to see your abysmal stupidity rewarded. Piss or pissing has never been something I've ever spent much time discussing or writing about. Your semi-literate dissertation about Sven's pissing tendencies probably demonstrates a greater fixation for the subject matter than I've ever found myself being able to muster.
^That must've been the weakest come back I ever saw. Almost seems like an admission of guilt. Yeah, he has a "pissehörna" alright!
[marcus] "He was, obviously, into heavy metal"Obviously. Since Swedish (actually, Scandinavian metal in general) metal is top-notch, what else would he listen to? ;) I'm still discovering some great bands bit by bit. That said, it must have been some powerful piss he was gifted with. Sounds like a mobile WMD lab to me.
Petes,Think you might find this programme interesting. BBC Two, tonight at 21:00.Faster Than the Speed of Light?In September 2011, an international group of scientists has made an astonishing claim - they have detected particles that seemed to travel faster than the speed of light. It was a claim that contradicted more than a hundred years of scientific orthodoxy. Suddenly there was talk of all kinds of bizarre concepts, from time travel to parallel universes.So what is going on? Has Einstein's famous theory of relativity finally met its match? Will we one day be able to travel into the past or even into another universe?In this film, Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores one of the most dramatic scientific announcements for a generation. In clear, simple language he tells the story of the science we thought we knew, how it is being challenged, and why it matters.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016bys2
AAARRGGHHH! Just saw this and just missed it!Thanks anyway Um Ayad :-((Anyway, I've read Marcus du Sautoy's books, but if his recent awful "The Code" series is anything to go by, it's probably awfully lightweight).
Iraq, Baghdad:"Miles of blast walls and hundreds of checkpoints for years have made Baghdad a safer place -- but also a frustrating maze of delays and hassles for residents of the Iraqi capital.Now, as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw from Iraq, officials say they are ready to remove most of the drab walls lining its streets and wrapping buildings and neighborhoods -- Baghdad's ubiquitous form of protection against recurrent bomb attacks. The city's web of army and private checkpoints and endless grey barriers are much maligned by Iraqis, who resent the snarling traffic jams even though their presence has helped reduce violence since the height of the sectarian war in 2006.For residents, the barriers are both curse and cure."I lost my job for being late for work because of checkpoints," said Qahtan Samir, 22. "Their presence doesn't stop the terrorists anyway, they carry out their attacks whenever they want.""http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/19/us-iraq-baghdad-idUSTRE79I6A620111019
(Petes) "it's probably awfully lightweight)"You might be right...So you didn't miss much!
Well written article by Felicity Arbuthnot. Some of us will never forget Margaret Hassan, a wonderful, courageous woman who loved Iraq and the people of Iraq. The warmongers always did their best to stop those of us who new Iraq better than them and knew what the result of invasion/occupation would be.....the death of so many innocent Iraqis.Margaret Hassan: Victim of “Operation Iraqi Liberation” – 17th October 2004...This desperate plea of the bravest of women, fell on deaf Whitehall ears.Last August, her sister, Deidre Fitzsimons, pleaded again, with Prime Minister David Cameron for help to find her body. His ears, seemingly, are equally closed.Deidre Fitzsimons, sister of Margaret Hassan, Head of Care International in Iraq, believed murdered after being kidnapped in October 2004, spoke out for the first time. In a searing interview. she concluded: ' Was she sacrificed?' (By the British government.) Was she? Could there possibly have been a decision to ignore the desperate, broken pleas from a woman of towering courage: 'Please, don't let me die like Ken Bigley.' Margaret stayed in Iraq through the eight year Iran -Iraq war, the 1991 carpet bombing, the thirteen year US/UK bombings and sanctions. Hassan, Bush, Blair and the UN's high profile, outspoken critic spoke, prior to the invasion to Parliamentary Committees and the UN of the disaster an invasion would be for a people staggering under the embargo's weight. She begged for peace for them, survival and not 'another lost generation of Iraqi children.' Then she returned to Iraq and the invasion.....http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m82418&hd=&size=1&l=e
Hetty Bower is quite simply unique. She was born in 1905. She was nine when World War I broke out. She took part in the 1926 General Strike. She has campaigned for progressive causes throughout her adult life.At 106, she is so committed to the peace movement that she has marched on every Stop the War demonstration over the past ten years, only complaining that we walk "too slow". As long as her legs hold out, she says, she will continue marching for peace.Hetty's speech to the Antiwar Assembly in Trafalgar Square on 8 October 2011, recorded in this video, brought tears to the eyes of more that a few who heard it that day.At the end of the assembly, the crowd in Trafalgar Square lined up behind Hetty, who led a march to Downing Street, where she accompanied ex-soldier Joe Glenton in delivering to prime minister David Cameron an open letter, signed by 22 ex-service men and women, calling for the war in Afghanistan to end and all the troops to come home.Hetty is, as Jeremy Corbyn MP said when introducing her to the Trafalgar Square crowd, an inspiration to us all.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VY7PVidGinU
Gaddafi has been killed.
Have you seen the videos? Enough to give Assad a few sleepless nights.
The simian is getting smashed on the other thread. He already conceded. ;)
Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawalObama announces the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq but fails to persuade Nouri al-Maliki to allow US to keep bases there.The US suffered a major diplomatic and military rebuff on Friday when Iraq finally rejected its pleas to maintain bases in the country beyond this year.One of the sticking points in the negotiations with Iraq was a US demand that American forces remaining in the country after December would enjoy the same immunity from prosecution as they do now. The Iraqi government, conscious of public anger over many controversial incidents involving US troops and defence contractors over the last decade, refused.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/21/iraq-rejects-us-plea-basesAll US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced.The Pentagon refused to accept that condition, with Defence Secretary Leon Panetta insisting that "we protect and provide the appropriate immunity for our soldiers".The decision to pull out all US troops suggests no deal could be reached, despite Iraq's desire for continued access to US military expertise, correspondents say.Earlier this month, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said: "If we do not have agreement on the immunity, there will be no agreement on the number."Many Iraqis are sensitive about the issue, given the number of civilian shootings involving US troops since the US-led invasion. Private contractors have already lost their immunity.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15410154
Obama announcement makes it official. The Iraqi demands that U.S. service personnel in Iraq be subject to Iraqi jurisdiction is unacceptable. Maliki was pleading for some troops, at least a few thousand, to remain as a reminder and warning to potential insurgents (so reports Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News), but he couldn't deliver on the standard clauses and requirements for a U.S. backup.They'll be home for Christmas, or out of Iraq anyway. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "The simian is getting smashed on the other thread. He already conceded. ;)"Near as I could tell, Bruno thinks he won.
Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawalObama announces the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq but fails to persuade Nouri al-Maliki to allow US to keep bases there.The US suffered a major diplomatic and military rebuff on Friday when Iraq finally rejected its pleas to maintain bases in the country beyond this year.One of the sticking points in the negotiations with Iraq was a US demand that American forces remaining in the country after December would enjoy the same immunity from prosecution as they do now. The Iraqi government, conscious of public anger over many controversial incidents involving US troops and defence contractors over the last decade, refused.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/21/iraq-rejects-us-plea-bases
All US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced.Earlier this month, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said: "If we do not have agreement on the immunity, there will be no agreement on the number."Many Iraqis are sensitive about the issue, given the number of civilian shootings involving US troops since the US-led invasion. Private contractors have already lost their immunity.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15410154
[lee] "Maliki was pleading for some troops, at least a few thousand, to remain"LMAO
[lee] "Maliki was pleading for some troops, at least a few thousand, to remain"HERE is some supporting evidence that the ape is talkin' out of his arse as usual, previously posted by yours truly on this very thread:Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demanded that the Iraqi government ensure explicit and complete immunity for all US soldiers that remain in the nation beyond the end of the year.[...]Iraqi leaders said in a statement Tuesday there was "no need" for US forces that stay beyond year-end to receive immunity from prosecution, a key condition set by Washington for any post-2011 training deal.[...]"Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh today suggested that his nation was prepared to end its direct military ties with the United States at the end of December, instead relying on private contractors for “training” programs in 2012 and beyond.US officials had assumed that the earlier deal with the Iraqis would be renegotiated to allow 4-5,000 American forces to remain in a training role beyond the deadline of Dec 31, 2011.[...]Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told US military officials that he does not have the votes in parliament to provide immunity to the American trainers, as Washington has demanded."
Murkin reactions:The announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq put new attention Friday on the influence of Iran, accused of supporting Iraqi militias that have killed American soldiers, but analysts were reluctant to declare the pullout a clear victory for Iran. [...] "At the very least, what they get out of an American withdrawal of Iraq is an extraordinarily weak Iraq, and at most they get a manipulable Iraq," Gelvin said. "The American position in the region is weakening, which means that regional powers are going to exert themselves more. And the two most important regional powers right now are Turkey and Iran. Without the United States really there, people are going to be looking around and perhaps cutting deals," Gelvin said."http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/21/world/meast/iraq-iran-influence/
Fred Kagan: President Obama announced today that he has decided to abandon America’s interest in Iraq and damage our position in the Middle East by withdrawing all US military forces by the end of this year. This retreat will have great costs for the U.S. It squanders the gains made by both American and Iraqi military forces over the last four years,Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute e-mailed me, “As best anyone can tell, the administration is at the end of the day willing to settle for containing and deterring a nuclear-capable Iran. So, what better place to be in than next door in Iraq? If for no other reason than this, leaving Iraq is strategically incoherent.” Schmitt’s colleague Thomas Donnelly has a similar reaction: “Geopolitically, it’s a terrible move, reinforcing the growing belief that America is in decline and retreat. Strategically, it mocks the idea of any long-term partnership with Iraq and marks a major concession to Iran. Militarily, a retreat from what was a painful but significant. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/all-troops-out-of-iraq-conservatives-blast-obama/2011/10/21/gIQA3li93L_blog.html
In other words, our efforts in Iraq end neither in victory nor defeat, success nor failure, but simply in retreat. The humiliation of this retreat is compounded by the dishonesty of its presentation. Today, President Obama claimed that the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq was the centerpiece of the strategy he has been pursuing there since taking office. But that was not the sole or even primary objective of the strategy he announced five weeks after becoming president. [...] But the Obama administration did not focus on helping Iraq move forward to seize this opportunity, but rather focused on prodding the Iraqis to form a coalition government as rapidly as possible—in order to negotiate a new agreement that would allow American forces to remain in Iraq after the end of this year. In other words, the administration threw away the chance of political progress in Iraq in pursuit of something it has now decided it never wanted to begin with.http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/retreating-our-heads-held-high_598421.html
And with that, yet more celebratory coffee is called for.
"HERE is some supporting evidence that the ape is talkin' out of his arse as usual, previously posted by yours truly on this very thread: Bruno @ 1:26 AMI notice Bruno is now citing himself as his source.
What a disgusting woman!!Video: Hillary Clinton on Qaddafi: We came, we saw, he died Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed."We came, we saw, he died," she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi's death by an aide in between formal interviews.Clinton was in Tripoli earlier this week for talks with leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council.The reporter asked if Qaddafi's death had anything to do with her surprise visit to show support for the Libyan people."No," she replied, before rolling her eyes and saying "I'm sure it did" with a chuckle.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y
More than 1 million Americans have served in Iraq, and almost 4,500 lost their lives there. Now the Iraqis have given the U.S. military an unequivocal message: Go home.Eight years after U.S. troops overthrew Saddam Hussein, there is little enthusiasm among people on the street for a sustained U.S. presence.And although some Iraqis undoubtedly fear that the U.S. withdrawal could lead to greater instability, others — notably the lawmakers elected after the U.S.-enabled democratic transition — appear to think that a quick U.S. departure is about the best thing that could happen.[...]another official added that the Americans "put the country on the brink of civil war." "They were part of the reason behind the ethnic and sectarian tension [NO! SAY IT AIN'T SO, JOE!] ," said Saad Muttalbi.[...]"An American presence is not a condition to solve our problems," said Mahmoud Othman, a member of the Kurdish coalition. "They've been here for years, and there are still problems in Iraq."http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq-us-troops-20111023,0,1226908.story
*dusts hands off*
American public opinion is solidly in favor of cutting the Iraqi loose to fend for themselves. Been that way for quite awhile now. We've got some military guys who see all problems as ones needing hammered, but that's ‘cause they got a hammer, and that's pretty much a universal human failing, and why, over here, military men don't set public policy. And, few die-hard neo-cons still can't admit Shinseki was right, and they screwed up the occupation by not putting enough boots on the ground to control the situation.(This is not to say that, had we controlled the situation, the Iraqi civil war wouldn't have broken out after we left, with even bloodier consequences than what we've seen so far. There is that possibility, some would argue probability. There's definitly a case to be made that our presence kept the violence below the level that would have occurred in an all-out civil war with none of the principles afraid of the Evil Merkins bustin’ up really large military operations.)But, I digress… American public opinion is solidly in favor of cutting the the Iraqi loose to fend for themselves. Been that way for quite awhile now. That's why Obama won the election; that's what he got elected to get done.And I'm down with that. I think it's time for the Iraqi Shia to begin to learn to properly resent the Iranian government. And that's bound to happen, even the Iranians resent the Iranian government.‘Fore too long the Iraqi majority and the Iraqi government will return to their traditional semi-hostile, deeply distrustful relationship with their more powerful Persian neighbors. ‘Cept this time maybe they'll manage to hold together what will one day be billed as the first long-term viable Arab ‘democracy’. And, considering what we had there before, and where it was likely headed after Saddam, that'd be a hell of an improvement.
Have you seen the videos? Enough to give Assad a few sleepless nights.I should think so.
If the Iraqis do not want to accept the immunity from Iraqi prosecution clause, that is their choice. We will leave and let them get on with making their future as they see fit. I wish them well.
Years in Iraq change U.S. military’s understanding of warThe Iraq war has long been plagued by its contradictions. It toppled a hostile dictator, but many Americans remain troubled that the conflict was launched on what proved to be the false contention that the country was developing weapons of mass destruction. Even within the U.S. military, there is no broad agreement that the war’s outcome should be judged a victory.http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/years-in-iraq-change-us-militarys-understanding-of-war/2011/10/22/gIQAye5l7L_story.html?wprss=
Muqtada Al Sadr, leader of the Sadr Trend, considered all US embassy employees in Baghdad as “occupiers”, stressing that resisting them after 2011 is an obligation.In response to a query of one of his followers about the increase of the embassy employees' number from 5000 to 15000 after the expiry of SOFA, Muqtada said “they are all occupiers and resisting them after the end of the agreement is an obligation.” http://www.ninanews.com/english/News_Details.asp?ar95_VQ=FIJFLG
President Obama announced on Friday that all 41,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq will return home by December 31. “That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end,” he said. Don’t believe him.Now: it’s a big deal that all U.S. troops are coming home. For much of the year, the military, fearful of Iranian influence, has sought a residual presence in Iraq of several thousand troops. But arduous negotiations with the Iraqi government about keeping a residual force stalled over the Iraqis’ reluctance to provide them with legal immunity.But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/obama-iraq-eternal/
John Bolton Admits All Of These Wars Are For Oil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ09U_a80MM&feature=player_embedded
[lee] "But, I digress… American public opinion is solidly in favor of cutting the the Iraqi loose to fend for themselves. Been that way for quite awhile now."Nothin' like an asswhuppin' to set one straight, huh?
HERE is a truly delusional warmonger:"The problem is, we've put a lot of deposit into this situation with Iraq," Bachmann told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "To think that we are so disrespected and they have so little fear of the United States that there would be nothing that we would gain from this? That's why I've called on President Obama to return to the negotiating table."The Obama administration has said they've gotten everything they wanted. They got exactly nothing," Bachmann said. "I believe that Iraq should reimburse the United States fully for the amount of money that we have spent to liberate these people. They're not a poor country. They're a wealthy country. I think that they need to do that, because what we will be leaving behind is a nation that is very fragile and will be subject to dominance by Iran and their influence in the region. That's not good."Bachmann argued that by withdrawing its military presence from Iraq, the U.S. would be leaving Iran "waiting in the wings" to "exert its dominance and influence in this region.""That's not good for anyone," she said. "The United States has expended 4,400 lives, over $800 billion in toil and blood and treasure. While we're on the way out, we're being kicked out by the very people that we liberated." "http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-20124360/michele-bachmann-u.s-got-kicked-out-of-iraq/I particularly love the way that she later criticizes getting involved in overseas adventures because 'you can't get out' but seems hell-bent on staying in Iraq! Perhaps the simian's malady is catching?
"I believe that Iraq should reimburse the United States fully for the amount of money that we have spent to liberate these people"Fuck off and choke on cat shit, tart.
"Nothin' like an asswhuppin' to set one straight, huh?"Saddam's dead. The Ba'ath Party is outlawed. Sadr gave up military operations, retired his ‘Mahdi Army entirely and took to politicking. Al-Qaeda is despised among the Iraqi Sunni whom they had hoped to make their new power base. I could go on.We didn't make the Sunni and Shia love one another nor love the Kurds, nor did we do much towards correcting the Arab tendency towards corruption in government. That's true enough. But I'm havin’ a hard time figurin’ that as an asswhuppin’.
You bled, Iran won.
"Iran won"Conventional wisdom that.There's an old saying among cynics to the effect that an honest politician is one who will stay bought.The Iranians are likely going to find that it's easier to buy loyal friends and honest politicians hundreds of miles away among folks who already wanted to screw with Israel than it is to buy Arabs next door who aren't honest enough to stay bought.
"Security Contractors"...."General Life Contractors". It doesn't matter what you call them, they are still MERCENARIES."Soldiers May Be Leaving Iraq, But Contractors Will Remain."American troops may be leaving Iraq before the end of the year, but U.S. contractors aren’t going anywhere soon.ABC News reports that the State Department “is expected to have about 5,000 security contractors in Iraq as of January 2012 (they already have about 3,000 in country).” There will also be 4,500 “general life support” contractors to provide food and medical services.Still, there’ll be a pretty big reduction in the contracting fleet. The Defense Department currently has 9,500 security contractors in Iraq in addition to several thousand general life contractors, said ABC News. At one point, in June 2009, the DOD had 15,200 security contractors in the country.The State Department’s track record on controlling its contractors isn’t so great, as Spencer Ackerman reports....http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/soldiers_may_be_leaving_iraq_but_contractors_are_just_scaling_back.php
U.S. troops leaving Iraq by the end of the year, Iran has to view this as a victory.FAREED ZAKARIA: Oh, I'm sure it views it as a victory. [...] Iran has long ties to many of threat groups that are now dominant in Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki and his party were in exile in Iran for 10 years. Many of the Kurdish leaders, including the current president of Iraq, was in Iran. Many of them speak fluent Persian. They have long and ongoing ties. Muqtada al-Sadr, when he finds that things get difficult for him in Iraq he head backs to Iran. So all of these political officials have been nourished sustained by Iran. And as American troops draw down, Iran's influence can only increase.[...]The United States was in active negotiations with the Iraqi government to try to retain a residual force. The Central Command of the United States wanted a force much larger than 2,000 or 3,000. The debate that was taking place in the American Administration was whether to have 15,000 troops. Clearly, what happened was on the Iraqi side, they were simply not able to muster the political coalition to make the deal work. And that tells you that there were strong enough forces on - let us for simplicity sake call it the "pro-Iranian side" of the Iraqi political spectrum, the Muqtada al Sadr's of the world and others - that made it very difficult for this to move forward.http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/10/22/fareed-zakaria-iraq-withdrawal-victory-iran
No WMD found, American credibility down the drain, huge costs involved in an occupation that has made more Iraqis hate the US than ever before, a bunch of Iranian stooges in power, the mighty US military humiliated by a bunch of guerrillas with garage openers and homemade explosives, NO permanent bases ... it would take a true idiot to call that 'victory'. Cue LEE.
The Iraq war is finally over. And it marks a complete neocon defeatThanks to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iran's greatest enemy, Tehran's influence in Iraq is stronger than America'sThe Iraq war is over. Buried by the news from Libya, Barack Obama announced late on Friday that all US troops will leave Iraq by 31 December.The president put a brave face on it, claiming he was fulfilling an election promise to end the war, though he had actually been supporting the Pentagon's effort to make a deal with Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to keep US bases and several thousand troops there indefinitely.The talks broke down because Moqtada al-Sadr's members of parliament and other Iraqi nationalists insisted that US troops be subject to Iraqi law. In every country where they are based the US insists on legal immunity and refuses to let troops be tried by foreigners. In Iraq the issue is especially sensitive after numerous US murders of civilians and the Abu Ghraib scandal in which Iraqi prisoners were sexually humiliated. In almost every case where US courts tried US troops, soldiers were acquitted or received relatively brief prison sentences.The final troop withdrawal marks a complete defeat for Bush's Iraq project. The neocons' grand plan to use the 2003 invasion to turn the country into a secure pro-western democracy and a garrison for US bases that could put pressure on Syria and Iran lies in tatters....http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/23/us-withdrawal-iraq-defeat-bush-neocons
"Cue LEE."You've backed down from ‘asswhuppin’ to ‘can't call that a victory’. What do you expect me to do other than laugh at you?
"the mighty US military humiliated by a bunch of guerrillas with garage openers and homemade explosives, NO permanent base"I think I'll make a celebratory coffee now.
This ought to cheer the simian up: pictures of mighty Abrams tanks, with the stuffing knocked out of them by Iraqishttp://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?59314-Destroyed-Radioactive-Abrams-Tanks
"…the mighty US military humiliated by a bunch of guerrillas with garage openers and homemade explosives, NO permanent base"First of all, tanks aren't designed nor built for doing security patrols on already captured ground. One hopes that the jackass who thought that was a good idea got booted out with Cheney and Bolton and the rest. But it hardly amounts to a humiliation for the military itself.As for the bases: So, the neo-cons didn't get what they wanted. So what? Most of us never wanted what they wanted. That's why they found themselves getting voted out of office and out of power starting around 2006.
The only ‘success' in Iraq is that US troops are leaving "The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their head held high, proud over their success," says Obama, supposing you can call one million dead, 4 million refugees and a country in ruins a "success"....While Obama pledged just this past August that he would have “all our folks . . . out of there by the end of the year,” Wired reports that a private army of 5,500 U.S. mercenaries will be staying on in Iraq to guard the 10,000 State Department employees – yes, 10,000 – who aren't leaving Iraq anytime soon. And CNN reports 150 troops are set to remain though 2012 “to assist in arms sales.”The U.S. invasion of Iraq itself resulted in the violent deaths of no less than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, according to the most conservative estimate. A 2006 study by the British medical journal Lancet found that up to that point there had been more than 650,000 “excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war,” factoring in the lack of medical supplies and the civil war the invasion set off. Polling firm Opinion Research Business estimated in 2008 “that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens” died as a result of the conflict.More than 4.7 million Iraqis were forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, with 2 million forced to leave the country entirely. Many Iraqi women, three million of whom are now widows according to their government, were forced into lives of prostitution, with one refugee telling The New York Times that if “they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available.”http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/22-5
The problem with Bruno is that he's still fighting the imaginary enemy. In Brunoland the neo-cons rule America. In America, they sorta slid their agenda past one fairly clueless George W., who ran for office and won it on the notion that he was going to have a ‘humble’ foreign policy, and then didn't have a clue what to do after 09/11/01 happened. So, Cheney and the boys talked him into some fairly stupid stuff. Bruno is still fightin’ Cheney and his boys, long after we got rid of ‘em.So Bruno is sittin’ there and wonderin’ why don't I care ‘bout all these hits he thinks he's scorin’?Clue for you Bruno. We got rid of those guys years ago.
Hell, towards the end there, startin’ ‘bout the time of the ‘thumpin’’ in the 2006 elections, even Bush wasn't listening to them anymore. Cheney bitches about just that in his recent book.
I see LEE has returned, cheered up by my pics. HERE is an even better collection, compliments of the Iraqi people:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvoaD6Vnkg&noredirect=1Now, tell me that doesn't warm the cockles of the coldest heart?
I like LEE's cunning attempt to pretend to begin a rational conversation about the neocons, above. LOL That hook was well-baited, congratulations. The troll is learning.
Some good links, Um Ayad. :)
"That hook was well-baited…"Translation, that conversation didn't go where he wanted, so he's pretending he was just phishing. And any response at all means he “won”
Strikes me that any conversation that ends with Bruno in the fall-back position of pleading that ‘I'm just a troll’ can't be considered a “win” for Bruno.
Bruno, Thanks, as usual you have posted some good links too. Great to see all those tanks destroyed. Liked the music too
Also strikes me that calling George W. ‘clueless’ was probably unnecessarily harsh. ‘In over his head’ would probably be a better description. In his defense though, he didn't run that first time, well, second time either, claiming to be a foreign policy wonk.
When LEE tries to make out that he's a moderate, ya know that there's something seriously twisted about where he comes from.
Libya’s (Nato's) interim leader has just announced plans to enforce a stricter adherence to Islamic law as he declared the official liberation (?) of the country.Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de facto president, has declared that Libyan laws, in the future, would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its 'basic source'.Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.Oh Good....Libya is already the most conservative state in north Africa, banning the sale of alcohol (shameful), and now they're going back to the good old days when women are bought and forced to live in harems as sex slaves.Many of Nato's military leaders will be visiting Libya in the coming months to take full advantage of Libya's new democracy.
You bled, Iran won.We bled, yes. But Iran winning? That remains to be seen. At the moment they seem to be falling behind various countries in the Middle East. If they can't create a Persian Reneissance to compete with the Arab Spring, falling behind may be their fate.
IRAN is more than just the Iranian government, you see.
"the mighty US military humiliated by a bunch of guerrillas with garage openers and homemade explosives, NO permanent base"ROFL! To expect an opponent to put up no resistance would be foolish. That our military was able to adapt to the tactics chosen by them was actuallty quite resourceful. For an entity that many of us may consider inflexible, that was well done. As for no permanent bases, all that does is save us the money to maintain them. Which, as you know, is an issue right now.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de facto president, has declared that Libyan laws, in the future, would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its 'basic source'.I thought he resigned in deference to upcoming elections?
[lynnette] "To expect an opponent to put up no resistance would be foolish""Vice President Cheney, for example, predicted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's troops would "step aside" and that the conflict would be "weeks rather than months," a phrase repeated by other top officials. Others in advisory roles in the administration predicted Iraqi soldiers would "throw in the towel" and Hussein would collapse like "a house of cards" -- phrases senior administration officials often echoed in private. [...] Cheney said, "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." It was then he predicted that the regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle," and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside." Asked if Americans are prepared for a "long, costly and bloody battle," Cheney replied: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein, and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that." http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A44801-2003Mar28?language=printerThe neo-conservative ideologues in the in the Bush administration have never made any secret of their desire to see the U.S. military pursue "regime change" in Tehran next. "Real men go to Tehran" was one of their playful slogans during the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom.http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,671919,00.html
'Vice President Cheney, for example, predicted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's troops would 'step aside' and that the conflict would be 'weeks rather than months.'"Odd that you should pick that to mention. It's one of the few things Cheney got right.
[bruno] I think I'll just declare victory and make myself a celebratory coffee."[lee] "Yeah, pretty much."[lee] "I guess you can have coffee and celebrate"
Lynnette:"If they [Iran] can't create a Persian Reneissance to compete with the Arab Spring, falling behind may be their fate."Don't go banking on the success of the "Arab spring" just yet Lynnette, there are significant hurdles in the near future. Curiously even John makes a valid observation when he notes Islamist tendencies among some of the new leaders in Libya. In Tunisia an Islamist party got the biggest part of the vote. Now that doesn't necessarily lead to religous oppression but there are ample examples of the risk for just that. It would be a real shame to see the Arab spring hijacked and turned into an Islamist winter*. But it's a definite possibility.Further I have noticed some statements from the youths that initiated the rebellion (or demonstrations or whatever you want to call it) where the hopes seem to be quite a bit above what's realistic to hope for. Sure, getting rid of old despots is a good thing. But to expect the economies of these countries to immediately improve and to see a vast legion of unemployed youths have their fortunes turn for the better in a short time, that could lead to serious dissapointments. Which in turn could lead to serious unrest.Egypt for one is virtually bankrupt and the trade deficit is alarming and is made worse because of a massive capital flight and rampant corruption. That former bread basket can't even feed its own population but relies heavily on foreign imports of food staples, and the cash to pay for them are running out. The question of foreign aid is a whole discussion on its own and although some is still coming from KSA and the Gulf it's not nearly enough. And I don't expect to see ya'll yanks sending very much if the Brotherhood is the receiver in the future.And when did you last buy, or even see, any product of any economic significance that said "Made In Tunisia" or "Made In Egypt"? And tourism, in Egypts case a source of much needed foreign capital and a huge job market, is down the drain also.Even though I agree that the Arab spring is a good development, and that there might be tremendous opportunity down the road I would caution against claiming this a success just yet.(And note that I'm talking about Islamist, not Islamic. I've got nothing against Islam as a religion, no more than any other major religion. What I'm talking about is Islamists mixing religion with politics and aiming at creating oppressive theocracies).
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