» Monday, September 5, 2005

New Orleans

Asked for a response to accusations that British officials had been slow to assist British nationals in New Orleans, the PMS said that as the Prime Minister, among others, had already said, British officials had been working extremely hard on the ground dealing with people evacuated from New Orleans

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  1. Well, maybe. But the question was about pace of response. It’s no good ‘working very hard on the ground’ after events have moved on by several days. Anyone thought that people were starving, dehydrating, dying within hours of the predicted disaster?

    What worries me is the fact that apparently our ‘professional’ diplomats sat around waiting to be told by the Yanks that it was now OK for them to go to the affected areas. How long were they prepared to wait – days, weeks? Isn’t this so typical of where we are in relationship to Washington?

    Do we really trust American judgement of events to that extent? Surely our people at the sharp end should realise just how incompetent this ‘Superpower’ really is?

    And where are our great leaders in all of this? No courage, no leadership and no initiative. Even the French (God help us!) could have done better.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 7 Sep 2005 on 9:28 am | Link
  2. The whole debacle seems to be a repeat of the general ‘lack of imagination syndrome’ that is endemic within the USA.

    Pearl Harbour, Vietnam, 9/11, Iraq, Space Shuttle disaster ………

    The application of some -non political – lateral thinking to ‘rehearse the worst’ in any of the above would have minimised the loss of life.

    What worries me is that I can see that we already have ‘lack of imagination syndrome’ infecting all levels of government in the UK.

    Common sense and Wisdom appear to have no place in modern ‘democratic’ government.

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 7 Sep 2005 on 11:29 am | Link
  3. Cuba managed to evacuate one and a half million recently in preparation for a hurricane; admittedly a lot of homes were destroyed but guess what? Not a single life lost.

    Cuba. A Third World country? A COMMUNIST country?!

    While I’m not advocating Communisn, that in itself says a hell of a lot.

    Firstly, ours and the American governments do not give a SHIT about the populations of their respective countries. They really couldn’t give a toss. They couldn’t care less whether we as individuals live or die, as long as at the end of the day we as a mass pay our taxes (not that we have any choice in that one) and continue to buy heavily taxed products. And why are these products so heavily taxed? So that no matter how much disposable income we have, the government never loses out. If their take starts to fall, all they do is raise the tax.

    Look at the US; you can bet your last penny the insurance companies will eventually profit; they may have a lot of claims to pay out – although we all know they’ll fight tooth and nail to avoid doing even that. The price of oil has shot up – so the oil companies profit. Companies like Halliburton have once again got in on the act – so Dick "I have no conflict of interest" Cheney personally profits.

    If nothing else, Hurricane Katrina has once and for all proved that modern Western "democratic" government is driven solely by personal profit and corporate interests. Anyone who claims otherwise is just deluding themselves and the unfortunates who are willing to listen to them…

    And you know what the saddest thing of all about the mess in the USA is? If this HAD been a terrorist attack, Dubya would have had more photo ops and more opportunities to further curtail civil liberties in the name of "protecting" Americans (which would incidentally have had a knock on effect on this side of the pond). But because it is only a natural disaster, he can’t even raise the enthusiasm to get through a speech without smirking or cracking jokes at the expense of the unfortunates who are affected.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 7 Sep 2005 on 6:06 pm | Link
  4. Well said Papa! Reports suggest that the very first priority in the wake of Katrina was – wait – you guessed it – SECURITY! What does "security" mean – it means (in New Orleans, at least) trigger happy police and guardsmen ready to "shoot looters on site".

    What seems to be the LAST priority? Well that would be clean water, food, shelter, clothing and medicine – none of which arrived for THREE FRIGGING DAYS!

    What else does "security" mean? We suggest you might try CONTRACTS & MONEY for the likes of Halliburton & – wait – yep, you guessed again – the Bush Crime Syndicate company – CARLYLE Group.

    Yet some GOOD may come from the tragedy of Katrina. The knock-on effect on the US economy is likely to be extremely severe and may well be the event which triggers the total collapse of the USA. YES – we said GOOD! We believe that the evil besetting the world today can only be stopped and reversed if the US is brought economically to its knees. We certainly do not think terrorism would be even slightly helpful in bringing this about. Indeed the encumbent US regime is quite capable and certainly heading in the right [sic] direction to achieve this without any external interference.

    Why might Katrina be the trigger?

    Have a read of:

    Stratfor is a MAINSTREAM strategic intelligence and analysis agency and reports geopolitical change to governments and many of the world’s largest companies.

    Comment by JK5 — 8 Sep 2005 on 7:22 am | Link
  5. Whilst getting rid of this ridiculous lot of clowns in "charge" (did I really say that?) of the USA could never be a bad thing, I still fail to see a solution to many of the problems caused by (or ignored ruthlessly by) these criminals (and our own) if they DID manage to get rid of them. Global warming; is it already too late? Dependance on fossil fuels; is it already too late? The hand of industry & commerce in supposedly Democratic government; is it already too late?

    Nah, George will "investigate" what everyone else did wrong and promote most of those involved, as he did after the 9/11 stunt. Another tame Supreme Court judge in place, a few refinements to the bits about Martial Law in the "Patriot" Act, and job’s a good ‘un. Georgie Boy will be as waterfight as a mermaids brassiere. No-one’s going to rock the boat too much. Too many "Democrats", if not all, move in the same circles.

    Same this side of the pond. Money talks and if you ain’t got it, tough titty for you, big nose. There’s some lines being drawn in the sand right now. Or should that be in the silt?

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 8 Sep 2005 on 9:40 am | Link
  6. Small comment:

    The consequences of bringing the US economy to its knees (rather than ‘economically to its knees’ – if you see what I mean) or triggering the total collapse of the USA will be that we will all starve to death.

    No country can stand on its own and the demise of the USA would have devastating consequences world wide.

    And let’s recognise that those who would suffer most would be the poorest and the economically disadvantaged.

    I do not support all Americans, but it is a gross oversimplification of the argument and completely inhumane to argue for the collapse of any country.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 12 Sep 2005 on 1:46 pm | Link
  7. Hi Chuck

    you said:
    "…but it is a gross oversimplification of the argument and completely inhumane to argue for the collapse of any country…"

    We fully respect your views; we THINK we understand why that is the majority held view; but we disagree on several points.

    We do not agree that it necessarily follows that the economic demise of the USA (which we believe to be a very REAL, near-term possibility) would result in us "all starv[ing] to death" nor, indeed, "that those who would suffer most would be the poorest and the economically disadvantaged".

    We certainly do not accept that "No country can stand on its own", though we would accept that "the demise of the USA would have devastating consequences world wide".

    The economics of the current relationship between the USA and most other nations is a net flow of wealth TO the USA, FROM those other nations. This has been, irrefutably, the case since the end of WWII and arguably earlier. Stopping that process will , apart from some short-term disruption, be very much to the benefit of almost ALL USA’s trading "interests" (recall – they do not have "allies", only "interests"). Sadly for the USA they have squandered that wealth on wars, corrupt hand-in-the-till politics and inept economic mismanagement.

    As the US dollar collapses (there is NO escape from this certainty) the funders of american profigacy (mainly poorer nations) will start to refuse to accept USD for the transferrance of wealth from their peasants to the Wall St. bankers. China will no longer accept USD for the clothes, electrical goods and (soon) motor vehicles and machinery it sends to USA. The Mid East (& Venezuela) will no longer accept USD for oil. Of nearly equal destructive force (to the USD and the US economy) will be the dumping of accumulated USD (by Japan, China, India and others) as the value plummets. Already the USA simply prints more billions of fiat (not a penny backed by ANY real wealth) each month just to pay the interest on its burgeoning triple deficit.

    Of course the USA will (as it always does) react violently with its military arsenal. The USA cannot fund or manage (largely through its systemic ineptitude) the EXISTING wars it has started. It has NO chance of resourcing any further aggression which would rapidly run the deficits through the roof further crushing the USD and the non-military economy. The "devastating consequences" will, we believe be derived from the wars that the global bully pursues in a futile lust to cling on to global hegemony.

    When EVER ANY person or country continually spends more that they have – it ALWAYS comes to an end! – sonner or later, and usually it ends in tears!

    "Later",we think, is already here and yes, it will get VERY ugly. HOPING for something to not happen does not stop it happening.

    Why do we think all this is a GOOD thing?
    1. We think that single state hegemony eventually (will) leads to enslavement of all others and master-race status and priveleges for the one state. There are clear signs that the USA already regards itself as "entitled" to this and intends to pursue a policy of domination by force over the rest of the world. We believe this needs to the stopped dead in its tracks. US economic collapse would do this.
    2. The grossly uneven distribution of wealth in the world is largely a result of the historical theft of resources by the USA from the rest of the world. It would be quite reasonable for people of poorer nations to put a stop to this continued theft. This would happen if the USA collapses.
    3. The USA has started over 200 separate wars or military actions since WWII. Most of these have been to overthrow DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED governments. The economic collapse of the USA would put a stop to further wars initiated by the global bully to feed its insatiable greed.

    Comment by jk5 — 14 Sep 2005 on 10:16 am | Link
  8. One thing you’re overlooking there; a nuclear attack on Iran. If the USA could separate the Iranian oil provinces from the rest of the country (which it seems to think it can; having said that, the US thought Iraq would be a piece of piss!), it would then control directly the oil from 2 of the worlds 3 largest suppliers (Iran and Iraq) and indirecly control the supply from the largest producer (Saudi Arabia). While this wouldn’t necessarily solve the USAs financial problems, it would allow them to largely continue to ignore the problem and indeed, by dictating who does or doesn’t get oil (or how much, or at what price), to force weaker nations to write off it’s debt.

    This is a possibility that can’t be ignored. While the IAEA said recently that Iran isn’t trying to build nuclear weapons


    the US and EU still insist Iran is doing just that. It’s Iraq all over again; Iran is being backed into a corner from which there is no escape. And the more fiscally desperate the USA becomes, the more likely a possibility this becomes (shades of Red Storm Rising). There have been rumours for months now that Dick "I have no conflict of interests" Cheney has been drawing up plans for such an attack


    and while there is no knowing how reliable this information is, this recent article in the Washngton Post


    means the possibility CANNOT be ignored.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 14 Sep 2005 on 10:45 am | Link
  9. Totally agree with "the possibility CANNOT be ignored".

    Is this inconsistent with our overall argument that the financial collapse of the USA will be preceded by furthers wars designed to postpone ("allow them to largely continue to ignore") the inevitable?

    Not at all sure that Iran is being backed into a corner. Both China and Russia have ENORMOUS investments in Iran. Will Islam (or even the UK) ALLOW another Iraq. Even USA’s "allies" now realise they were duped into Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Where exactly will lie the END of tollerance and apologism for the global bully?

    Comment by JK5 — 15 Sep 2005 on 1:56 am | Link
  10. Well put it this way; Iran may not be backed into a corner just yet – but the USA is having a bloody good go at it, and the UK & EU are going along for the ride.

    Agreed, Islam probably would not stand for it, but if we’re talking about pre-emptive nuclear strikes then I think all presently accepted rules would go out the window. What then would Islam do? Declare jihad? That ain’t going to stop the Yanks; there’s not far off jihad going on in Iraq right now but American forces just hide in their bases so the "insurgents" have to use other tactics, ie. trying to swing public & world opinion by killing innocents. I can’t exactly see Pakistan standing up and using their nukes against the USA.

    Tony "lying bastard" Bliar has already signalled his total contempt for doing the right thing; his stance at the UN today says pretty much what he’s said in the past and what we’ve come to expect from a sociapathic control freak with homicidal tendencies. "This worm’s not for turning". So I don’t think we can rely on that particular piece of fungus for any help. And in all honesty it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find out that Bliar was actually egging on his mate Dubya.

    I didn’t mean Iraq as in an invasion; stuff I’ve read suggests that the only part of Iran which would actually be invaded would be the oilfields. Iran’s ability to respond would already have been destroyed by widespread bombing of it’s command and control structures. And while it’s true that China and Russia are now best mates with Iran, is it likely they’ll risk their own precarious economies by engaging in war against the USA?

    And I agree; the USAs unwitting allies are starting to see the light. But bear in mind that their original purpose was to lend respectability to the invasion of Iraq; without them the US would have went it alone anyway. So they don’t really count.

    One thing we can’t count on is the lunatics in the USA suddenly having a fit of common sense. One can only hope that Special Investigator Patrick Fitzgerald continues to dig deeper and deeper into the shenanigans of the White House past and present as part (or what started off as) the investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame (as reported on tomflocco.com) and that there is actually some substance to his stories. I have heard good things about his reliability (Tom Flocco, that is) from friends in the States but the only way we’ll know for sure is when formal indictments are made. Please GOD…!!!

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 15 Sep 2005 on 4:18 am | Link
  11. As usual, Papa, your command of what’s really going on is a pleasure to read.

    Do you also look at:

    Their server seems to be down right now so we’ve copied some comments from "today’s lesson".

    ======= http://www.dailyreckoning.com/ ====

    In the late ’90s, New York enjoyed a classic stock market bubble centered on technology shares. It did not take a genius to see that it would blow up; they always do. At the time, we expected the U.S. economy to follow Japan’s path with a long, slow, soft slump that would deflate asset prices over the next 10 to 20 years.

    Japan’s Nikkei Dow hit a high over 39,000 in 1989. This week we read in the International Herald Tribune, "Japan [finally] roars out of its doldrums." The Tokyo stock market rose to 12,896! If America were to follow the same trajectory – as we guessed it would – in the year 2015 you might read in the paper, "America springs back to life…Dow rises to 4,000!"

    If this sounds extraordinarily gloomy, we point out that it is not our fault; it is only typical of the way stock markets work. There are upswings that last from 15-20 years followed by downswings that last 15-20 years. After WWI, stocks ran up to the 1929 high. Then, they crashed and dragged around until the depths of WWII. After WWII began, another big surge to the upside, peaking in 1966. Thereafter, stock prices shilly-shallied around, but generally sank until 1982. That was the year that Business Week famously pronounced that stocks were not just down, but out. "The Death of Equities," its cover pronounced. But the news of stocks’ death was greatly exaggerated. In August of 1982, stocks entered a bull market that lasted 18 years.

    America’s stock market bubble exploded in January 2000. But the damage was focused – as was the bubble itself – on tech shares. The Nasdaq has tracked the Nikkei fairly well with a 10-year lag. The economy and the broader market followed a different path. After seeming to sink into a Japan-like decline, the Bush/Greenspan team gave the world the biggest jolt since the invention of the electric chair. The federal budget swung from a surplus to a deficit – a swing of $700 billion. Interest rates were shoved down below inflation and remained there for more than two years. This was more stimulus than the world had ever seen. It produced the biggest bear market rally the world has ever seen, too; this time centered on residential real estate.

    We have a friend whose story is probably typical. The man is now in his 50s. He never earned very much money and lived hand-to-mouth all his life. But he bought a small house when he was in his ’30s, and then a larger one when he was in his ’40s. Now, through no effort of his own, he finds himself with a house said to be worth $1 million with a very small mortgage on it.

    He is now a millionaire. But where did that money come from? It seems to have come out of thin air. It may be said that it is merely a reflection of changing preferences in the society. Instead of spending their money on fur coats or McDonald’s meals, people choose to spend their money on housing; so, they are paying more money for houses. But we see no evidence in the statistics that fur coat sales have declined, nor have McDonald’s revenues. The property bubble added trillions to the net worth of Americans since 2001. If it were merely a shift of preferences, the figure would have been flat; something else would have had to go down in order for property to go up. But that is not what happened. Property levitated, as if by magic.

    People don’t ask questions when they think they are getting rich. The question marks come out later – along with the recriminations and show trials. For now, people happily count their money; they don’t ask where it came from.

    Japan’s property bubble occurred almost simultaneously to its stock market madness. Both then deflated: first stocks and then real estate. Property prices fell as much as 80 percent, and are still at their deflated levels 15 years later.

    Americans think their houses are actually worth more than they were five years ago, but most of that increase is a puffed up bubble…a delusion…a fiction, just as it was in Japan. We are waiting for the bubble to (finally) pop. When it does, we expect a resumption of the bear market/recession that began in 2000/2001. Asset prices should deflate for at least another 10 years.

    But there is a big problem with trying to apply the Japanese experience to the U.S. market. America needs a bear market, to bring stock prices down to more appealing levels. It needs a recession, too, to encourage Americans to save and reduce the trade deficit. America needs trouble, in other words, like white-hot steel needs a hammer, to beat out is fantasies and harden it up. It’s too bad Americans are so deep in debt. They cannot take a beating; they can’t afford it.

    === Here endeth the lesson ========

    Comment by JK5 — 15 Sep 2005 on 8:29 am | Link
  12. pls send me the full meaning of Bankers’ profigacy

    Comment by Omotayo — 25 Mar 2009 on 4:40 pm | Link

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