Sunday, February 26, 2006

H5N1, The Adversary, Religion and Famine - Feb 26

Usually on a Sunday, things are pretty quiet. While the party winds down in Torino, Italy, humanity edges closer to it's appointed time, referred to in the book of Daniel as the 70th week. As Islam turns up the heat on tiny Israel and a dhimmified West, the judgement of our Creator looms ever closer. Those of us who know Jesus Christ can look at these things with optimism as Luke writes, "When you see all these signs, look up, for your redemption draws nigh".

In Egypt, Michigan, and New York City the H5N1 virus ('bird flu') is definitely on everybody's mind.

It appears our Adversary is putting in lots of overtime too:

a) The 'Gospel of Judas' is being printed and dissemenated.

b) Satan, it appears, is also in the movie-making business.

c) The Accuser of the Brethen is making news in Iraq and Israel over that recent bombing of that Shia mosque in Samarra.

Pope Benedict XVI calls for 'respect for religion'. As usual, he misses the point. We should respect truth (in the person of Jesus Christ), not religion.

And finally, a cool link on the human population explosion (now at 6.5 BILLION people). Can you say famine?

Cheers,

The Man In Black

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Four links and a blog - Feb 25

I've got lot's of stuff today, including three stories from the CBC, a very Canadian earthquake, and a cool blog to check out.

Unrest in the Philippines as Arroyo declares a state of emergency.

Dumb Criminal Alert: Apparently, depositing large sums of money so soon after a large heist arouses suspicion. Like D'uh!

A small victory for the unborn in South Dakota.

A very Canadian earthquake has occurred on the Ontario-Quebec border near Ottawa.

Also, a cool blog about that 'religion of peace'. I think the founder is Jewish but I'm not sure. Victims Of Allah

Cheers,

The Man In Black

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

February 22nd 06 Post

I have so much stuff to cover, hence no real title. Let's get started!

The funding for Hamas has been cut off from Israel, only to be replaced with Iranian financial support.

Jinsa offers it's opinion on the very strange story of the United Arab Emirates assuming ownership of various U.S. seaports.

Not to be outdone, Andy Borowitz offers his hilarious take on foreign out-sourcing.

Michael Ledeen gives us this excellent op-ed on the Iranian nuke crisis.

From the CBC: Here is some really cool pics of Afghanistan (flash req'd).

Here is some awesome and encouraging news concerning the fulfillment of the Great Commision in the ME.

The Man in Black

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Support Denmark and Sign This Petition - Feb 18

This is probably my shortest post. Hey, Eva Longoria is short and no man is disliking her!

For you Canadians, show your support of the Danes by going here.

Muslims to Harper, "Thanks for submitting!"

From Jihad Watch, check out these three photos of 'tolerant' Islam:
Photo One, Photo Two, Photo Three

Russia is inserting itself deeper and deeper into the Israeli 'peace process'.

An article from JINSA on the consequences of the Palestinian elections.

Cheers,

The Man in Black

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Upheaval of Nature - Feb 16

There is some seriously weird stuff going on out there. From terrestrial to extra-terrestrial, we appear to be drowning in a sea of signs by our Creator. If you don't believe me, then check these stories out.

A massive storm has been found on Saturn.

Drought in Somalia. Try surviving on 3 glasses of water a day in forty degrees Celsius heat.

Toxic toads tracing a trail of tumult and terror (clever alliteration, no?).

That's it for today. Perhaps some geopolitical stuff tomorrow

The Man in Black

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Gold Boom of 2005 and Beyond

 
KitcoKitco
 

The Gold Boom of 2005 and Beyond

By Roger Wiegand
February 14, 2006

www.tradertracks.com

Finding Security in a Dangerous World with Gold

“Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under
the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.” –William Proxmire

All the markets, particularly the stock markets prefer predictability. This is also quite true in bond markets which are many times larger and more difficult to move and rearrange. We have all seen the results when markets are surprised. Trading becomes erratic, investors and traders exit positions, make guesstimates and install new reactionary trades all while predicting what happens next and hoping to be on the right side of major move. This chaos creates huge losses, anger, doubt and fear. Notice that Greenspan telegraphs his intentions in advance for the bond traders so they can ease into and out of positions not rocking the boat. On the other hand Sir Alan and his merry band of Fed Governors have accidentally misled on occasion with casual remarks and all hell broke loose rocking the sinking boat. Question is can Bernanke keep up the mirage? We say no.

We are beginning to enter uncharted economic waters. No economy ever in history has been able to withstand the magnitude of the mess we have today. To make matters worse, astute market observers and economists (yes there are a few astute economists) have road mapped the end game and none of our remaining choices are inspiring to say the least. To put it bluntly, we have a choice of two disasters and the Fed is taking the lesser evil that being inflate it all away. This one’s not going to float like the early 1970’s or 1980’s. This one will rock the world and if you get in the way you will be crushed. My northlander reporter has a brilliant mind and keeps rolling out scenarios that are not only plausible but probably correct. He thinks the economy will be the main issue in 2008 which many agree to be true. Since the Republicans are setting the table for our next moves, he thinks Bernanke can reload the Fed Funds rate to at least 5% leaving space for lowering rates going into the election while keeping the housing bubble fully inflated. The printing presses are running white hot keeping the dollar moving and producing more votes by providing pay raises to the military, government employees and hiking social security. This buying of votes with taxpayer money is old news but it works. Congress can smash through with more big spending programs like road construction and defense contracts plus a variety of other neat spending tricks. Then of course we have the Plunge Protection Team to corral those wild markets and suppress precious metals. All this is then coupled to those magnificent propaganda machines known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Department numbers, CNBC and the National Budget Office. This is a plan preventing disaster while powdering and applying lipstick and mascara to this sick hog of an economy pushing and shoving this shattered drama straight into temporary respectability. However, what they cannot control is a nasty global event or the price of oil which is going where it wants to, which today happens to be straight up. Tom Donlan, Editorial Page Editor for Barrons summarized it perfectly in a discussion about judges. Mr. Donlan said, “The New Deal made the Depression Great. Price-Fixing, cartelization, supply constraints, protectionist tariffs, make-work projects, dollar devaluation, tax increases, pump priming and all the other expansions of government power limited the power of business to adjust naturally. The New Deal substituted hope for knowledge, activity for liberty and control for markets. (Emphasis Trader Tracks). We see nothing in this excellent summary that is any different from 1929-1939 compared to 1999-2009. However this time numbers are off the charts creating more radical extremes.

What I’m leading up to is a possible financial accident. Unlike the media which provides daily road maps for our enemies on how to destroy our country, let’s just say for instance we see a cascade of derivatives becoming Niagara Falls. The internet is a fabulous invention but it could also be our Achilles heel. Our tormenters in the Middle East have also gone to school many of them in America and Western Europe. With this intellectual ammunition my guess is they forget physical attacks on the United States in favor of economic attacks. With little trouble they can sign up (cheap) hundreds of computer hackers to make a gigantic mess. We are now receiving hack attacks from China, Russia and Eastern Europe. Seems to me this would be much easier than the military version. I think nasty old UBL has this same idea. Remember he hit the World Trade Center which was the biblical home of USA finance. We can guess and surmise all day so let’s see where our readers, traders and investors will be should this become reality.


Practicalities of a poor situation

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity.
They seem more afraid of life than death.” –James F. Bynes

I was never an ace history student but I enjoyed the subject in school and am a great believer in reruns. Every chance I get, I am constantly comparing 1929-1939 to 1999-2009. Analysts including me have seen several remarkable similarities from comparative charts, attitudes and social moods. The same dumb stupid mistakes are being made over again just like Smoot-Hawley and our current trade wars. We see the erosion of freedom in the name of national security and many global tribes and cultures determined to impose their will upon their neighbors including those in the United States. For the life of me I cannot see how five or ten Arab nations are supposed to get along and operate in a democracy when they cannot even keep peace within their own households without using the whip. Bush had a noble idea to impose democracy on the Middle East, but history and culture says not a chance.

In the United States, Dr. Gary North said, “Woodrow Wilson enacted the first executive order in 1916 with the U.S. Shipping Board Act. Since then 13,000 of these acts and laws have been entered on the books. They exist to provide supplemental powers to the Federal Government in times of emergencies to ensure the “continuity of government.” Dr. North goes further and says they represent a blueprint for tyranny. The most dangerous of these acts exist in Banking Regulation #1, which was signed into effect in January of 1961. It gives government sweeping powers to limit cash withdrawals, stop transfers of credit, and seize bank accounts, control rents, prices, salaries, wages, and rationing. Other regulations would allow government to enact total censorship, seize commodities, institute martial law, restrict travel and seize and control all transportation and communication. And finally, the government can use these measures to convert its debt from short term to long term, thereby devaluing the debt and putting the screws to anyone holding it.” Kind of makes book burning and Ten Commandments removal pale by comparison doesn’t it. Now that I’ve got your attention what do we do?

Gold annihilates government’s powers and eradicates their propensity
to print money, debase it and steal using inflation.—Trader Rog


Anybody with half a brain knows precious metals, stock and bond markets are manipulated. It’s common knowledge that after the 1987 scare, “controls” were made available to prevent financial meltdown. If you think those markets are free and open I’ve got a big bridge for sale. Roosevelt seized gold coins by calling them in and paid pennies on the dollar for this confiscation. I’ve seen numerous arguments as to why this could never happen again. If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Gold is feared as it represents true and honest value that cannot be tampered with. The way things got the way they are is with tampering. Gold as a currency and as a strongbox of enduring value is a major threat to global government as it takes away their ability to tamper, print money and notes, issue bonds and a load of other valueless crap. Gold annihilates government’s powers and eradicates their propensity to print money, debase it and steal using inflation. I not only think they will confiscate gold, but silver as well. You do not have to physically remove it, just fiddle with the prices, the buying and selling, and its ability to be bought, sold and moved around. A prominent Mexican who loves his country wants to install the pure silver coin for the population. That one was stopped in its tracks. Can you imagine 50mm poor Mexicans with their own real money? What would happen to the government’s peso paper? What would happen to the Mexican government?

We can do several things to prevent confiscation and ensure we remain free to conduct business and move about the world promoting free enterprise. Almost anything entrusted to the Swiss is safe; even yourself. You can buy Goldgrams from Jim Turk’s bank on the internet with cash backed by gold in Europe. You can load up on personal needs for two or three years on today’s cheaper prices instead of tomorrow’s inflated ones. You can buy a hidey hole; a (second home) for a place to flee if things get very uncomfortable. The Jews that fled Germany early on in Hitler’s game escaped with life, some cash and a new start. The ones who stayed were like the frog in the boiling water saying it’s not too hot yet. I see things getting real warm all of sudden. This is not good at all.

In our opinion, the inflationary conclusion has been all thought out and entirely planned. Years ago we were notified of a new red money currency which has been printed and stored for the day the green money is without value. Any kind of government notes, bonds, bills or paper can be transferred, realigned, debased or repudiated on a moment’s notice. Example: There are millions of dollars temporarily parked in Treasury bills which are supposed to be the safest and most liquid paper. Recently, there has been open talk of bringing back the 30 year Treasury bond. Why is this? I think the answer is to have all those new bonds ready and on the table when the day comes very soon requiring transfer of all Treasury Bills to 30-year Treasury Bonds changing the time frame when they become due and payable. Instead of 90 days due they become 30 years due. How cute. The T-Bill holders get erased and there is nothing they can do about it. Maybe the longer term bonds and notes will be stretched out even further as tens become 30’s and existing 30’s become 50’s or even 100’s. They have 100 year mortgages in Japan as homeowners could never pay those mortgages in 20 or 30 years. Families pass on their homes and mortgages to the children who take on the dual obligation of taking care of the parents, the home and paying the mortgage. In some cases it might take three generations to pay off a house.

Critics scoff and say this could never happen. Guess what, it has happened before. When our country was founded every little Podunk region had local money known as script. When the Revolutionary War was in progress, congress paid for it by issuing Continentals which were un-backed by gold or silver. Those accepting the Continentals were duped as they were inflated into worthlessness just like today’s dollar. When the south fought the north in the Civil War the southern Confederacy had to issue its own money. They issued the paper money, put it in circulation and after the war this currency died. In Wallace, Idaho, the home of the USA silver mining business, locals have cast their own silver coins and spend and trade with them for goods and services daily. They wisely do not call them “currency” as they could get arrested for counterfeiting. They are called medallions, gifts, or souvenir coins. Folks living in the area know in fact this is “really real money” as they are almost pure silver. I got one from a local Wallace coin shop when I visited the area which is a .999 fine silver, one ounce coin imprinted with date 1983 and the words “Sunshine Mining” produced from silver in that mine.

When you consider history and look at the huge mess on today’s table, can you honestly believe your gold and silver coins may not be called in by the government and paid for with the new red paper money? I believe it is not only possible by very likely for the gold coins and maybe even the silver ones. When “reconfiguration day” comes, any new currency, if it is to be trusted must be fully or partially gold backed or the Sheeple will not trust it nor use it. Consider that brain dead central bankers have sold most of their gold by the many tons to disparage it, and diminish its value for the junk paper floating in currency land. They do not have any gold left in large amounts to back the new red money. There hasn’t been a USA gold audit in years and you can be sure there will not be one either as the results would cause a revolution. Here’s the easy answer to that problem. They are going to come and take your precious metal coins and give you red money in return. If you don’t turn it in and comply with the new rules, you go to jail. This means the savers the people who worked, scrimped and put away real money will lose it all to profligate wasters who destroyed the monetary system. Do not give them the chance. Put heavy deposits overseas, most particularly Switzerland where they have over 300 years of obeying laws of responsible banking. It would not surprise me if new rules are mandated soon prohibiting large transfers of cash out of the country. When John Dorrance who retired as the major stockholder and owner of Campbell Soup he was faced with a massive tax on his 700mm worth of Campbell stock retirement money. He renounced his American citizenship, became an Irish citizen and saved his money from the tax thieves. Immediately he was roundly criticized in our congress for “not paying his fair share.” The leeches in Washington tried to figure how they could get the money and began to write new legislation prohibiting this kind of activity. I do not pretend to know all these rules, but as I understand it an American can possibly be obligated for a ten year tax liability after leaving the country. Taxpayers are only good for two things for politicians; they want your vote and they want your money so they can spread it around to more undeserving leeches to buy more votes. That’s the story in a nutshell and you can believe it or not. The biggest lie in the world is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Our next topic relates to vote buying as well.

USA Borders are Wide Open

Billions are spent for Homeland Security yet our Mexican border next to the southern USA is wide open with 600-800 illegals entering each day. Reports of non-Mexican illegals and some of Middle Eastern origin along with folks from Central and South America filter in daily. Homeland Security is a joke and is more of a nuisance for legal, law abiding citizens at their expense. We expect southern California, Arizona and New Mexico along with parts of Texas to become the new United States of Mexico. Conditions in California are now bad enough that when three newcomers enter, one leaves the state for good. This ratio is growing larger in favor of those leaving. Taxes, crime, housing costs, air pollution, earthquakes, make life in La La Land untenable. The smart ones are cashing in their chips by selling their million dollar upholstered garages and departing for greener pastures where you can buy a nicer home in a safe location for one tenth the price. When Pat Buchanan was a candidate for President he said, “I give you my word. I will halt the invasion cold. Six months after I become President, a security fence will be erected on the Mexican Border and I will use troops if necessary to defend it.” Too bad Pat never got elected. Trader Tracks Prediction: Our enemies will not inflict a major violent attack on the scale of 9-11 but will help wreck the economy by repudiation of USA notes, bonds and paper creating derivative failures. This coupled with internet attacks on a variety of institutions will complete the job. You saw the latter already when 40mm credit cardholders were exposed to the hackers. While we are busy pushing junk paper around the Asians and Arabs are buying gold with both hands in exchange for American dollars they are only too happy to kiss goodbye. It’s a new world for sure.

Gold will only be delayed not defeated

The gold boom of 2005 through 2007 and beyond will be unprecedented in history. Some of the best minds in the gold business expect $1200-1500 gold as a minimum. Jim Sinclair and Dr. Gary North are two highly successful analysts, market watchers and investors. They both expect the third alternative which is to impose the iron market controls Dr. North expects. This seems far fetched to some, but if things get wild enough it is entirely or partially likely. I wonder if the civilian population would openly revolt? Bob Prechter says he expects “clashes with the authorities.” A common first response for citizens will be to cower and watch. Then the bolder hotheads will turn to violence. Unless immediately crushed, this violence turns to open revolution and many old grudges will be settled once and for all. This stuff doesn’t just happen over night. Problems evolve and one thing leads to another until matters are radically out of hand. I do not expect another American Revolution, but another big world war over religion (the Middle East) over oil (East against West) and potentially over food and water. The older adult population has not done a good job for our children’s future which at this point in my life is of paramount concern. Today however, open minded adults with some money to invest can purchase gold positions for potentially a major investment result. Richard Russell who is highly respected for his views expects the Dow and Gold to cross at 3,000. Independent of his view, I compiled some long range charts and oddly came up with 2960 without knowing of Mr. Russell’s numbers. This could be a coincidence, but I doubt it.

Trader Tracks has provided lists of ideas before for the personal safety and protection of your financial future. This is not rocket science but the simple reapplication of plain old logic to previous historical results. We know the framework for all the wars, recessions and depressions. We know how various social and cultural groups will react and respond under these conditions. All that’s left is to take some serious simple steps preparing for the inevitable.


   

 

Canada, Egypt, Pipes and a Giggle - Feb 15

If you don't mind, I'm gonna clear up some residuals from yesterday. For some reason, the 'religion of peace' is dominating this post.

O (No) Canada! (pt. one): PM Stephen Harper is weaseling up to these scumbags and doing an excellent impersonation of a humiliated dhimmi. Where, oh where, is there a Churchill (Winston, not Ward) who will lead Canada into the light?

O (No) Canada! (pt. two): The Canadian Islamic Congress is bringing forth (sham) hate crime accusations against Ezra Levant (a Jew I'm guessing) in Calgary.

Another excellent essay by the erudite Hugh Fitzgerald on ending the Jizya (aka foreign aid) to our 'ally', Egypt.

Mr. Daniel Pipes on how 'cartoongate' is hurting the Muslims. It's not a clash of civilizations, it's a divorce (on a grand scale) of civilizations.

Check this funny bit out compliments of Israel Insider:
Wanna Shmooze? (not for dial-up)

Cheers,

The Man in Black

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Middle East and Russia - Feb 14

I've got a real doozy of a post here. Russians making hay in the ME spells trouble for America and Israel. Any type of incident, be it accidental or staged, could spell war in the region. As always, I'll keep you updated on this.

Mr. Johnny Cash

The Middle East and Russia's New Game
Feb 14, 2006

By George Friedman


Last Thursday, Feb. 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited the leadership of Hamas, the Islamist political party that won the recent Palestinian elections, to visit Moscow. Hamas quickly accepted, and the meeting is expected to take place later this month. As with many things diplomatic, the fact that the invitation was extended and that the meeting will take place is infinitely more important than what is said during the meeting.

The invitation has little to do with Hamas and less to do with Israel. On the whole, anything that strengthens the radical Islamist movement -- which would certainly include Hamas -- ought to be anathema to Moscow, given the trouble that the Russians are having in Chechnya. But Russia has bigger problems: namely, its own role in the world, and the United States. The invitation is not about Israelis and Palestinians. It is entirely about U.S.-Russian relations -- and as such, it represents a significant moment.

Backdrop: Russia's Strategy Reversal

On Sunday, Feb. 12, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeated what has now become a constant American theme on Russia, saying, "We are very concerned, particularly about some of the elements of democratization that seem to be going in the wrong direction." She went on to note, "I think the question is open as to where Russia's future development is going." To say that this theme irritates the Russians vastly understates the situation.

The Russians are, in fact, redefining their geopolitical position. Since the mid-1980s, the Russians have been of the opinion that abandoning a geopolitical confrontation with the United States would result in economic benefits. Put another way, the Russians were prepared to learn from the West and took their bearings from the West. Western advice and lectures were expected and, in some ways, even welcomed.

Today, the Russians' view of this strategy is divided. There are those who think that this arrangement has been a catastrophe for Russia. Then there are those who would argue that the process has been bad but can be redeemed. Finally, there is a very small minority who believe that the reforms would work if they would only go farther and faster. This faction has become irrelevant in Moscow. The debate is between those who want a complete reversal in policy -- a large minority -- and those who acknowledge that massive readjustments must be made on all levels but say the basic idea of private property and markets should not be completely abandoned.

What is going on, therefore, is a struggle over how far democracy should be curtailed and to what extent market reforms should be reined in. Overlaying this is a deep suspicion about the intentions of the United States. The dominant view is that Rice's demands for increased democratization are an attempt to weaken Russia further. Those who hold this opinion point to what they see as the behavior of U.S. intelligence in the areas of the former Soviet Union that they regard as being properly part of Russia's sphere of influence. In particular, they view events in Ukraine as evidence that the United States is committed to causing Russia's implosion, by forcing harmful reforms within it and then by surrounding Russia with hostile clients of the United States.

At the V-E Day celebrations in May 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush went out of his way to push both themes -- first by visiting Latvia and Georgia, two countries regarded as hostile to Russian interests, and then by publicly criticizing the failure of the Russians to democratize. Washington made it clear that it did not intend to relieve the pressure, and the Russians believed that. As a result, the Russians have been on an offensive, on multiple levels, to challenge U.S. influence in what they call "the near abroad." Since Jan. 1, shutting off natural gas flows to Ukraine and Georgia has been part of this process.

And this brings us to Moscow's invitation to Hamas. There are a number of reasons to make the invitation -- the single most important of which was that the United States did not want it to be done. The Russians also reached out to the Israelis, albeit belatedly: On Saturday, Feb. 12, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov invited his Israeli counterpart, Shaul Mofaz, to Russia in a gesture designed to show that the Russians were not tilting toward Hamas. But between the lines, the Russians wanted to deliver two messages to Washington.

The first was that Moscow no longer regards itself as a junior partner to the United States in foreign policy -- and, in fact, doesn't regard itself as a partner at all. Second, they wanted to make it clear that, just as Washington is making trouble for Russia in its own periphery, the Russians are equally capable of making trouble in areas that are of fundamental interest to the United States. Moscow's message is this: Do not assume that the failure of Russia to exercise its foreign policy options means that the Russians have no foreign policy options. Nothing Russia is getting from the United States in economic relations compensates for the geopolitical harm the United States is doing to Russia. In other words, this is about 2005, not 1995. A lot happened in the last decade, most of it not good for the Russians. The rules are changing.

There is another, more directly strategic reason for the move. Russia has, and has always had, strategic interests in the Middle East. Given the decay of Russia's strategic position in the formerly Soviet region, these interests -- which today include ties to Syria and a potential partnership with Iran on nuclear enrichment -- have become more important rather than less. The U.S. penetration of Central Asia, the Baltics and Ukraine cannot simply be countered in these areas; it is only by challenging the United States in the Middle East that Moscow can divert American attention from areas of great interest to the Russians. It is not just a matter of bandwidth -- meaning that the more trouble the United States has in the Middle East, the less time it has for the former Soviet Union. It is also the case that if Russia is to contain the American presence along its southern frontier, having influence and a presence to the rear of this region -- in the Middle East -- gives it leverage over some of the former Soviet republics.

Russia also sees a major diplomatic opening. The United States backed a political process in the Middle East that has resulted in the election of a government unacceptable to Washington. The United States does not have the means for negotiating with Hamas, given the rules of the game that Washington has defined. In some ways, Israel has expressed a less rigid view of Hamas than the United States has. The Russians, however, have no problem talking to Hamas, nor do they have a problem talking to the Israelis. The Israelis do not want the United States to change its position on Hamas; they welcome the rigid U.S. position. But they do recognize the need to deal with Hamas on some level. The Russians represent a useful intermediary. Thus, Russia could emerge as a critical mediator, at least for a time.

A New Dynamic

Russia's willingness to speak to Hamas creates a new dynamic in the Muslim world. Syria and Iran are seeking "great power" support against the United States. Indeed, we could expect an evolution in which the Iraqi government also would be looking for counterweights to American power. By inviting Hamas and possibly opening a channel between Hamas and the Israelis, Russia is positioning itself to become a mediator in other disputes, and to walk away with relationships that the United States has been unable to manage.

Given the robustness of Russia's arms industry, which is much more vital and advanced than is generally understood, the Russians could return to their role as arms provider to the region and patron of governments that are hostile to the United States. The situation from 1955 to 1990 was a much more natural geopolitical dynamic than the current situation, in which Russia is really not present in the region. Russia is a natural player in the Middle East.

Remember also that Hamas is very close to Saudi Arabia, with which Russia has an intensely competitive relationship in the energy markets. And then there is Chechnya. The Russians have long charged that "Wahhabi" influence was behind the Chechen insurgency as well as insurgencies in Central Asia. In the Russian mind, "Wahhabi" is practically a code word for "Islamist militants," including al Qaeda. The Russians also feel that, while the Americans have forced the Saudis to provide intelligence on al Qaeda, they have not elicited similar aid on the issue of the Chechens. In other words, Moscow perceives the United States not only as having neglected to help Russia on Chechnya, but as actually hindering it.

The Russians badly want to bring the Chechen rebellion under control without allowing Chechnya to secede. They believe that the Chechen insurgents, and particularly the internationalized jihadist faction among them, would not survive if outside support dried up. They believe that the United States is not displeased to see the Chechen war bleeding Russia, and that Washington has discouraged Saudi collaboration with Moscow. All things considered, this is probably true. In reaching out to Hamas, Russia is also reaching out to the Saudis. The Saudis cannot control the Chechens, but they may have some means of determining the level of operations the Chechens are able to maintain.

Conclusion

Of course, many of these things are amorphous, and some are certainly dubious. Nevertheless, the Hamas affair is of substantial significance, for several reasons. First, the Russians are clearly signaling that they intend to get back into the Middle East game. Second, they are aware that this will make the United States extremely uncomfortable. Third, that is exactly what they intend to achieve. Creating problems for the United States in strategic areas is what the Russians think is in their national interest right now.

Washington has been trying to get its arms around the evolution in Moscow for months now. Given everything on the Bush administration's plate, it is not clear that there has been time to look deeply at the emerging situation. At least publicly, the administration continues to maintain the same attitude toward Moscow that has been evident since Mikhail Gorbachev: The Russians are the students, and Washington the teacher. Washington is concerned about the Russian evolution, but at this point has no policy response.

Washington will have to choose one of two courses. First, it can try to close the noose on Moscow -- consolidating the U.S. position on Russia's periphery, blocking Russian counters and encouraging secessionist tendencies within the Russian Federation itself. In other words, the United States can go in for the kill and be prepared to live with the consequences of failure. Alternatively, it can accept that it has reached the high-water mark of U.S. influence in the Russian sphere, and then manage the return of most of that region to Moscow's orbit. In turn, it can then deal with Russia's re-emergence as a potential superpower in a generation or two.

What is not a strong option is what the United States is now doing. Wounding a bear without killing it is the most dangerous game of them all. Nothing the United States is doing now will kill the bear. It is, however, guaranteed to irritate him enormously and convince him that in due course, he will be killed. There are no good outcomes from this strategy.

In the end, Moscow's invitation to Hamas is intended to be a warning that Russia can make life increasingly difficult for the United States -- and that Russia plans to do just that.

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Syria switches to euro, plus England and EU - Feb 13

Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:31 AM ET

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria has switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars amid a political confrontation with the United States, the head of state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria said on Monday.

"This is a precaution. We are talking about billions of dollars," Duraid Durgham told Reuters.

The bank, which still dominates the Syrian market although private banks have been allowed to set up in the last few years, has also stopped dealing with dollars in the international foreign exchange flows of private clients.

The United States has been at the forefront of international pressure on Syria for its alleged role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri a year ago. Damascus denies involvement in the killing.

"It looks like a kind of pre-emptive action aimed at making their foreign assets safer, preventing them from getting frozen in case of any conflict," said a Middle East economist who requested anonymity.

England is going to be not so jolly in the future:
MP's reject national ID card due to cost overruns.
Gordon Brown calls for tougher laws against terror.

More dhimmitude from the EU: Media to impose 'speech codes' so as not to offend.
http://euobserver.com/?aid=20862&rk=1
http://euobserver.com/?aid=20856&rk=1
Sorry, both these links are now expired. You'll have to purchase credits to view them if you want. I left them untouched for that reason.

Plus a cool link of the day: Real Truth

Cheers for now......

The Man in Black

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Alabama, Snow, DHS, and Iran - Feb 12

About that earlier post when I stated it was a slow news day. Well, I take that one back. I have another post with lots of cool information.

1) Update on Alabama churches being set ablaze: Apparently there are now TEN churches that have been set aflame. These assholes are equal opportunity haters as five are mostly black and the other five are mostly white. So it's an anti-Christian thing, not racism.

2) Snow day! Eastern U.S. seaboard gets buried in the mother of all Nor'easters.

3) Detention camps: Never again? Think again!

4) A link in two parts from World Net Daily: The U.S. and Iran are getting ready to rumble

a) Pentagon drawing up final plans for Iranian nuke sites.

b) Mad Mo: 'Remove Israel!', may withdraw from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

This is some serious s**t people, I don't have a very good feeling about this.

Be Not Afraid,

The Man in Black

Bird Flu, Iran and Israel - Feb 12

It's a slow news day but here are some stories that are making the rounds

H5N1 Bird flu virus in Europe. So far there are no human casualties.

Here's a cool link from wikipedia on various Christian websites.

From the Ain't-Hypocrisy-Grand file: Israel called an 'apartheid' state.

Another home run by Hugh Fitzgerald by Jihad Watch on the war rumblings centered on Iran.

More to follow on Monday......

Mr. Johnny Cash