Daily news and comments on the situation in post Saddam Iraq by an Iraqi dentist living in Texas
Am thinking I should start a Salafi porn site called Muzziebros.com. Any1 care to invest? It would be a great hit in the Muslim world.
I presume the cartoon carries more meaning to those who can read Arabic?
To me the meaning and the irony is that it's a cartoon depicting a salafist insane with rage - to which the salafists respond with going insane with rage in the real world. They sort of proved the validity of this picture by their reaction towards it.
Yeah, on second glance, it looks like the text in the upper right corner is related to the Facebook logo and not an original part of the original cartoon.
Yeah it's just a logo of the facebook page I nicked the cartoon from.
more re: American politics:Wall Street financial types have donated to Romney's campaign to the tune of $37.1 million to date. Wall Street donations to Obama's campaign, $4.8 million.That's roughly an eight to one disparity.Last cycle Wall Street types backed Obama over McCain by a fairly large margin. But they're mostly goin’ for Romney this time. Apparently they do not like bein’ called ‘fat cats’.
It's a rigged game. Romney will win and the fat cats will continue laughing and getting fatter at your expense.
"Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win." R.A. Heinlein ― The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
It's hard to play fair against cheaters.
But, it's the only game goin’. Might as well step up to the table and play.
It's hard to play fair against cheaters.Tell that to Bernie Madoff.
Wall Street financial types have donated to Romney's campaign to the tune of $37.1 million to date.Hmmmm...may not be a good look, depending on how long people's memories are.
"Last cycle Wall Street types backed Obama over McCain by a fairly large margin."Just for the record, ‘a fairly large margin’ was something like 60%-40% (or three to two). Nothin’ like eight to one. That's a whole ‘nother ball game.
For us who haven't followed events so closely: does anyone have a clear idea on why Wall Street seems to so favour Romney? Are there any de-regulations they hope for, or some tax-increases or new regulation they fear from Obama in a second term, or do they simply believe Romney is a better choice for getting the US economy on its feet altogether?
Short answer version: "Are there any de-regulations they hope for…Yes, certainly. "…or some tax-increases or new regulation they fear from Obama in a second term…"That too. "…or do they simply believe Romney is a better choice for getting the US economy on its feet altogether?"They believe Romney is more likely to agree with them about what ‘getting the US economy on its feet’ actually would look like.Also, Obama called them ‘fat cats’ and kinda offended them, considering that they'd supported him 60/40 over McCain.
But how important is it for a candidate to have the backing of Wall Street?I get that it's an advantage, but the numbers you've mentioned so far $37.1 million VS $4.8 million are, while lots of money, still a small part of what either campaign will spend, no?In the eyes of the public, will an endorsment from Wall street be ann advantage in itself? Like: "look, the financial leaders want Romney, and what's good for them must be good for us all!", or could it be a curse even "look, the fat-cats want Romney, so Obama must be the better choice for the little man!" Or is that sort of reasoning not important at all? Also, how big a portion of the campaign funding is from Wall Street?
"…so far $37.1 million VS $4.8 million are, while lots of money, still a small part of what either campaign will spend, no?"They're not done yet. Figure the combined $42 million is probably 20% -- 25% of what they've combined spent so far. And it's gonna keep comin’ in as long as they keep spendin’ it. "Or is that sort of reasoning not important at all?"I think the only ‘reasoning’ that's gonna be really important in the long run is that it's either getting easier on Joe Sixpack or it's not. There's only so many ‘swing’ voters available, and a good chunk of those are fairly immune to reasoned economic arguments, because they don't understand economics. (If they did the Republicans would be toast.)They do know the easy part; blame the president or credit the president. So, if the economy picks up, Obama will probably win. If the economy craters again, a second big drop, Obama probably loses. If it just keeps bumping along, not takin’ off but not cratering either, maybe the debates will make the difference.
Oh, and Obama's probably got another couple of months max, before attitudes about how the economy's doing get ‘locked in’. Lot's of people will be making up their minds between now and the first of September.
There's only so many ‘swing’ voters available, and a good chunk of those are fairly immune to reasoned economic arguments, because they don't understand economics.I agree about the limited numbers of swing voters, not so much about being immune to reasoned economic arguments.I consider myself to be a swing voter, and am quite willing to listen to well thought out arguments. And being a "swing" does seem to me to mean not quite so entrenched in the dogma of either party. Economics itself can be a tediously boring subject, so it's no wonder people give it a pass on the macro level. However, I think most people will understand the basic ins and outs of their own finances. It's just that they choose to ignore what's staring them in the face at times.
Lee: "So, if the economy picks up, Obama will probably win. If the economy craters again, a second big drop, Obama probably loses. If it just keeps bumping along, not takin’ off but not cratering either, maybe the debates will make the difference."But to the conspiracy minded that would mean that the "market" could decide either way. Especially the major banks could certainly hold back on lending to ensure that the economy does not take off, right? I mean if they really wanted to get Romney elected they would have the means to halt any real recovery just to punish Obama, just by stifling the money flow. Banks, especially central banks but also possibly a banking-cartel in the rung below can choose when to turn on or off the flow of money, which will heat or cool the overall economy. Of course that would assume that banks would in fact work together towards this aim, which requires some form of conspiracy thinking.But in principle: if banks hold back money they can sink the economy. If they turn on the faucet they can get it going again. Normally we tend to think they make these decisions based on the illusive "market" at any given time, to further their own economic interests, but what's to stop them from doing it as a means to recieve a certain political outcome?
"…but what's to stop them from doing it as a means to recieve a certain political outcome?"Fear. Fear that one or more members of the conspiracy would bet against and then sandbag the conspiracy. And that's pretty much it, ‘cause the regulators sure as hell ain't gonna get out ahead of ‘em.
And, getting back to upheavals in the Middle East…The Russians, of later have been accused of sending a new run of attack helicopters to Assad. Rather than just deny that they've decided to instead accuse the U.S.A. of supplying arms to the FSA, which the White House has denied today.
Sure, that'd be my best guess also. That "they" are not a coherent entity after all. I was asking mosty because I was curious as to what your reply would be.Normally that sort of thinking is promoted by those who think "the jew" runs the show. Whether "the jew" is today actually a jewish person or collection of persons or wether it's a banking-consiracy led by an elite (where jews are always the alleged chief instigators).My take on it, this whole jew-banker thingy:Jews were the first bankers. They thought it out. And since Christians and later Muslims had religios decrees against what we can term banking, the jews had this business to themselves for quite some time. And it's one of the very best and most lucrative businesses. There were others practicing banking like the Romans but in religious terms it was the jews who were first at it. And once religion became omnipotent they had a sort of collective monopoloy, for some time. The Christians started with modern banking in the 11'th (or was it the 12'th) century, and the muslims haven't even started yet.I believe that's a cause for two things: 1. Jewish peoples relative success financially; and 2. Antisemitism against jews (resentment really).Had a collegue from Poland who came to Sweden in his 20's and he said a common term in Poland in his youth was "who's your jew?". Meaning that if you needed money in Poland for any investment you had to resort to getting it from "your jew". The "jew" could be good or bad from a personal opinion, but peoples view of the jews were that they controlled things, that you needed to go to them for funding if you wanted to fund something. Well, you need to go to the bank here as well.I think this has been one of the main causes of anti-semitism. Hell, most people don't like bankers today. See 'em as a necessary evil. But if they could also associate those bankers with a certain race or religion - there's a hate object for you!
Lee: "The Russians, of later have been accused of sending a new run of attack helicopters to Assad. Rather than just deny that they've decided to instead accuse the U.S.A. of supplying arms to the FSA"I'd believe both parts for once. I'm sure the Russkies are trying to back up their pal Assad (not for his sake but to retain control over their one remaining military base in the Mediterranean). And I'm equally sure ya'lls spooks are very busy supporting the opposition, probably through intermediates. Would you disagree?
Figure ‘Jews’ been getting competition for the banking business for at least 800 years now by your reckoning. I'd have to guess that any lead they might have had in that business 800 years ago probably been compensated for by various pogroms and slaughters in the years since. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ "And I'm equally sure ya'lls spooks are very busy supporting the opposition, probably through intermed- iates."I have no reason to guess that's been necessary yet. Several potential intermediaries got their own reasons for supporting the opposition, wouldn't need us to be behind it.
Lee: "Figure ‘Jews’ been getting competition for the banking business for at least 800 years now by your reckoning. I'd have to guess that any lead they might have had in that business 800 years ago probably been compensated for by various pogroms and slaughters in the years since."Sure. I don't disagree at all, and you won't get an antisemitic statement out of me. But I stil think the heritage of a couple centuries of being the only (basically) bankers might play a role in jewish over-representation in the financial industry today. And good on them, I say. Of course a aociety with a certain skill would want to preserve it, and have reason to be proud of it.My point was that people don't much like bankers period, even people who actually turn to a bank of their own free will to afford something - they later resent the contract they willingly and fairly went into. henn the chips fall where they weren't supposed to people in debt get angry and resentful. They atart to hate the benkers they themselves went to to begin with.And at one time many bankers were associated with being jews. I do think that lives on.
"But I stil think the heritage of a couple centuries of being the only (basically) bankers might play a role in jewish over-representation in the financial industry today."More likely it's a result of Jews being forbidden to own real estate.
Lee: "More likely it's a result of Jews being forbidden to own real estate."Really? Where? I haven't heard of that so while I don't disagree with your suggestion please elaborate.And if you bring up old Europe, then remember that real estate was for the aristocracy. The common man had no claims to it, regardless of religios affiliation.
"Really? Where?Google up ‘Jews own land’, no quote marks, and pick a place to start.Remember, Google is your friend.
Pick a place? What about a place and a time? What'd that say bout ya'll whites in the Americas? What about the blacks in the Americas?Lee, don't resort to that "who were there first" stuff. That'd require a reorganisation of the entire globe and most of us would be left homeless if we were to give the natives back their land.
What the hell happen? Sweden come up first when ya hit Google there, or what's up with you here?
Apparently jews weren't allowed to ‘settle’ in Sweden until after 1718 (Wiki say)
^I had no idea about that.And my last answer was from misunderstanding your previous question.But we're getting away from the topic here. What I wanted to ask is whether or to what degree the "market", or the "banking system" was thought to be able to actually choose a president via their impact on the economy.Some, and here they are many, believe that the banks and financial institutions could and do control politics. That for instance they could sink Obama by stifling the flow of money and increasing unemployment on his watch. And that they to a great degree "own" the politicians from the get go. That it's technically possible we can probably agree on. IF a large portion of the major banks could work in a cartel like way towards a goal like that, it would succeed. They do have the power to bring down the economy. So the question would be whether there's a cartel like cooperation between them, and whether they'd dare to use it in an attempt against the political powers. Like I said, many believe that. Perhaps not based on rational thought or some collection of evidence, but based on some emotional or political wish to believe that.Some, a much smaller percentage, would claim that that economic power is ultimately controlled by the jews. Now, that last part I was quite certain that none of the remaining commenters would run with so it was perhaps unnecessary to bring it up even. But the first part, that could have some followers.
"What I wanted to ask is whether or to what degree the ‘market’, or the ‘banking system’ was thought to be able to actually choose a president via their impact on the economy."Nobody much expects them to put aside the straight ahead, full-tilt grubbing for every last dime possible long enough to try to ‘impact the economy’. They can give unlimited amounts in comfortable anonymity to the super-PACs already (in addition to the millions of dollars we do know about). Absolutely no point in trying to go the more roundabout route and risk having one of their competitors betray them and bet against the conspiracy and clip them for a few billion dollars in the process.
They say that money can't buy ya love. Beatles said that: ♪♫I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love♫♪ The Beatles was wrong.Dimon gets kid-glove treatment from senatorsandJamie Dimon Feels the Love at Banking HearingYou're wantin’ to dream up circuitous, conspiratorial route. They're used to just straight out buying their politicians. Considerably more straightforward, not to mention much cheaper.
Marcus,For the banks to do what you are suggesting would be, in effect, suicidal. In the case of the United States there is more competition out there in the financial system than you may think. The credit unions actually held up quite well during the crash. There will always be someone to step in eventually and grasp the opportunity to make a buck. The banks aren't totally stupid. Just greedy. They will be more straight forward and contribute to whoever they feel will best suit their interests, and therein lies the problem for Romney. The American public is still rather pissed about what happened in the past few years. There is a real risk that that support could backfire on him.SnapThat kind of ink can be very bad for someone. While I don't agree with everything in that article, he does make a good point. The housing bubble bursting has left many people holding the bag. And from what I am hearing, banks are still not too popular.He goes a little overboard in his stating that the rich are the ones who invent what the masses buy. Tell that to people who have built fortunes from nothing. Dell started in someone's garage.
*Breaking news*Egypt's military has disolved parliament.
From Lee's Link:Later in the hearing, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) asked Dimon about some of JPMorgan’s stumbles in the home loan sector to which the CEO responded, “I have to confess we were not very good at it when we first started. We were overwhelmed.”I'd say that was a systemic problem. They also were not good at the methods used to try to ameliorate the situation. They only seemd to make it worse.
So, is this how Egypt's revolution crashes and burns?
I kinda liked their ending: CNN "The political scene in Egypt remains tense…"Masterfully understated I thought.
Yes.*sigh*The situation wasn't looking good anyway, but this just makes things far worse.Makes you understand why so many people in the past have given up on the Middle East and just let things ride.
Iraq opinion poll: we want electricity even if a dictator brings it.Then you will get a dictator. Freedom is something you must desire above all material things, and be willing to die for.(Zeyad, I couldn't resist grabbing that when I saw it as I was sliding by.)
Lynnette, here is an article from earlier in the year that agrees with your upbeat view on Bakken shale oil in the Dakotas. It says that production rocketed from 300 kbpd (the figure I had been using) at the start of last year to 500 kbpd at the start of this year. It also claims that it could be 1 mbpd by the end of the decade and that that level of output could be sustained for 30 years! Sounds optimistic to me, but I'm a glass half empty kind of person :-)Regarding the outlook for the rest of the world, one formation in Russia could be 80 times the size of the Bakken!http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/06/04/bakken-bazhenov-shale-oil/
Umm Lynnette we already have a dictator
Umm Lynnette we already have a dictatorSo where's the electricity?*sigh*This is so complicated...(Had to correct a typo.)
PeteS,Yeah, they are still going full bore out in ND. The Russia discovery is interesting. I noticed the article mentioned possible difficulty in extracting during the summer when the soil in Siberia softens. If global climate change is real, and I think it is, that may prove to be a nuisance for longer than just the summer. I'm not really worried about competition from Russia. I think production from a stable country is something that can't be undervalued. And while Russia is not unstable, there may be other issues that cause supplies from there to be less desirable.I noticed they are talking about gas prices going down here. And the were lower the last time I filled up. Don't know if that is because of increased supply or decreased economic activity in other countries. Maybe a combination of both.
Gotta run. Have to do my errands today as I'm seeing a play tomorrow.Have a nice evening everyone!Btw, we are still discussing immigration issues down in that other comments section, if anyone wants to participate...
Under the Friday June 1 post.
This will perhaps give Petes further opportunities to deny the anthropogenic nature of global warming.
You makin' a habit of lyin' and bein' simultaneously stupid these days?
Zeyad, I see the End of the Internet is in SATX :-)Speaking of the End of the Internet, or maybe it's the Weight Of The Internet, your front page is an almost 5 MB download at this stage, plus bucket loads of scripts to run! IE9 groans every time it loads.
Lynnette, I don't think you have to worry about competition for your half mbpd from the Bakken. It's a drop in the ocean of world demand, only a couple of percent of US demand. It's not going to set the world alight just yet. And if peak oil arrives it won't delay the onset.But, the supply and demand curves for oil being what they are, a marginal bit of production can affect prices. Careful what you wish for though -- there is a feedback mechanism in place. At sub-$80 the Alberta government shuts up shop, slashes spending, and Canadian oil sands production becomes unprofitable. Which means your Keystone pipeline get delayed some more. So you are never going to see pre-2008 prices again, IMHO.That said, I'm guessing prices will ease a little through 2012-13. I think you're right -- it's a combination of recession and new supply arising from recent investments based on high prices.
Oh, mustn't miss my chance to spout on global warming. Those Siberian thaws do more than just make it harder to get oil out of the ground. Melting permafrost in Siberia and rotting vegetation are possibly one of the most important feedback loops in greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Siberia is basically a bog that never properly decayed because of the permafrost. Higher temps, more methane, higher temps again.
Marcus - while Zeyad's slow-loading front page was acting up, I accidentally clicked on a comments link containing this from you:"Unlike Ireland we also have a housing shortage, which I believe will help to keep prices up. There's not the same risk of a stampede away from the housing market as there is in countries/communities where lots of second homes, or homes bought solely as investments, are just dumped on the market all at the same time in a panic. "That's one of the comments that should make anyone with a stake in the property market run screaming for the hills. It's like all the arguments are recited from a script, every time I see anyone repeating the same things that were said here in 2006. We were told we had a severe housing shortage all the way through our bubble. There were academic reports on it. All the demographics pointed to an insatiable demand for houses. Towards the end we were building more houses per capita than Germany's reconstruction after the second world war. Then one day we woke up to be told that a quarter of all houses in the state were empty.It's uncanny. I see the same old lines being trotted about by Canadians, Australians, Hong Kongers, and now Swedes. Don't believe anything you hear.
Only getting to read sporadically, just as Zeyad's posting rate picks up again.Doing physics and maths exams at the moment. (No, not the sort with the boxing gloves where Lee C gets uses as a punch bag).
So, you decided to not come out on the skeptics' side this time? Well, good fer you then.
Pete: "There were academic reports on it. All the demographics pointed to an insatiable demand for houses. Towards the end we were building more houses per capita than Germany's reconstruction after the second world war. Then one day we woke up to be told that a quarter of all houses in the state were empty."The difference is that here it's true. We've built less housing units the last five years than both Denmark and Norway, despite us being a bigger population and our population growing more than theirs. We DO have a housing shortage.What I see here is a mismatch due to government intrusion into the market. As I explained to Lee before, and what might seem like some freaky thing to ya'll, we have rent regulation here. It means that a lucky person who can get a rental in Stockholm will be paying much less (by a significant margin) than a person just next door who had to buy his apartment and finance it with a loan and fees. Especially in Stockholm rents are WAY lower than the market price, but this distorts the market in the entire country. And therefor no construction companies are building any rental apartments, even though that is what's most in demand. You see - supply and demand has been disrupted by political decisions.This is also valid for private renters. If you own a house or an apartment and rent it out you have to do it at "reasonable prices", according to the regulated rental market, which is subsidised. If you over charge you might be dragged into court and be forced to pay back. So no-one is really interested in owning property and renting it out.I can say, with certainty, that we DO have a price bubble in housing along with a housig shortage. This may seem contradictory, but that's the case. How it plays out is anyone's guess since it's a pretty unique situaton. But there we are. It's not like Ireland, that much I can guarantee. What happens - I have no real suggestion.(BTW, I'm sad that both our nations are out of the Euro championships with 0 points after 2 games. I really thought Sweden put up a decent fight against England, but to no avail)
More re: American politics:Word is that Sheldon Adelson, the Los Vegas gambling multi-millionaire who single-handedly kept Newt Gingrich's campaign alive for months with major cash donations, is now prepared to donate $35 million to a small handful (three or four) of Republican super-PACs. Burns and HabermanAnd that's just for openers.
PeteS, you are wrong! This is the real end of teh internetz.
Rumor has it that Russia is sending troops to Syria. CNN
Russia is not about to abandon its lone military base in the Middle East. It will fight tooth and nail to keep it.
Ha ha ha, Zeyad... I didn't even know it was possible to have a 5 hour video on youtube. Although I see he says he couldn't get the full song into a TEN HOUR version!!!! LOL.
On a more cultured note, I followed the link from your channel to the Iraqi Maqam one. I'd forgotten how good that stuff was.
Marcus, I hear you, but how is the situation you describe any better? The government is effectively creating a stranglehold on apartment availability by artificially keeping rental prices low. Same as the situation in the US when they tried to force American oil producers to keep prices low during the Arab oil embargo -- producers stopped producing. The end game is obvious -- the government is forced to butt out and let prices float freely, supply increases and prices return to the unconstrained long term average. So you're going to have your price drops eventually.
Petey, my new hobby is to keep up to date with all the 10 hour vids on youtube. This one is my favourite so far because of all the hidden gems within.
[Lee C]: "So, you decided to not come out on the skeptics' side this time? Well, good fer you then."Lyin' and stupid it is so.I've never in my life "come out on the skeptics' side" of the AGW argument.
That one's hilarious, Zeyad. I've just realised (duh!) that there presumably isn't actually 10 hours worth of video stitched together ... I guess there is some looping construct within Flash video that lets it repeat over and over, so it doesn't run to dozens of gigabytes.
"I've never in my life ‘come out on the skeptics' side’ of the AGW argument."Yeah, right.
Poor widdle Lee musta got upset by some treehugger comments :-)
PeteS,Well, you may be right about the Bakken not setting the world on fire, but it's sure doing a nice job in this little corner of the world! :)At the moment they are telling people not to even come unless they have prearranged housing. They had people sleeping in their cars, which is doable in summer if you're desparate, but get a real ND winter and you end up one of those "peoplesickles" I mentioned in the past.And that couple percent at the moment is providing jobs for all sorts of people that otherwise might be unemployed. So I'll take it. :)
PeteS,Melting permafrost in Siberia and rotting vegetation are possibly one of the most important feedback loops in greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.Yes, I know. Scary. I think people just don't get how suddenly things could change. And once that tipping point is reached we won't be able to turn back the clock.
Zeyad,LOL! We gotta find you a new hobby!:)
"And that couple percent at the moment is providing jobs for all sorts of people that otherwise might be unemployed. So I'll take it."More employment is good. I keep in mind though that the pre-boom population of North Dakota was little more than the population of Kansas City, Missouri or Omaha, Nebraska (downtown center city proper, not including the suburban metropolitan areas) It doesn't take as much oil money as one might think to swing a couple of points in such a small population.
Zeyad,Russia is not about to abandon its lone military base in the Middle East. It will fight tooth and nail to keep it.You're right. They don't want to see their presence erode any further in the region. It makes the situation even more difficult to deal with. As long as the Russians stay on that base, though, it may be possible to work around them. Stranger things have happened. Look at Gitmo.
Lee,The oil production in ND is affecting not just them but surrounding states as well. Along with oil companies, you have the basic infrastructure that supports them, such as the trucking companies or pipeline companies mentioned in my link. They all come from somewhere, ND didn't have enough to meet demand.Like the car manufacturers there is that ripple effect. I won't look a gifthorse in the mouth. :)
"I won't look a gifthorse in the mouth. :)"Nor am I. More employment is good. But, it doesn't translate into that the, ‘Drill, Baby, drill mantra is ever gonna get us a couple of points on the national employment numbers. I keep that in mind.
Fine straw man yer constructin' there.
"They don't want to see their presence erode any further in the region."Not to discount that motive, there are others. There were tens of thousands of demonstrators in Moscow, protesting when Putin was sworn back in for his third (non-consecutive) term as Russian President. Putin is not willing to concede that protests and strikes and general hell raisin’ by the people is sufficient reason to turn a head of state out of powerAnd he sure as hell don't want to see any more of this stuff where Western powers, or even Arab powers, lend their support to protestors intent on toppling their own government.That one hits a little too close to his own personal discomfort zone.He don't want anybody gettin’ the idea that it could be him next. So he's figurin’ to put a stop to this stuff where outside forces help call into question the ‘legitimacy’ of strong-man rule. He wants this to be seen as an entirely internal matter and everybody else just butt the hell out.
As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it. This piece http://goo.gl/DT6FN of video helped me forgive and let go of my frustration.
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