Thursday, 29 January 2009

Deception in Quest of Remedy (Willie)
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68. Deception in Quest of Remedy (Willie)Updated at 9:10 AM
Edited on Thu Jan-29-09 09:57 PM by Ghost Dog
by Jim Willie, CB. Editor, Hat Trick Letter | January 29, 2009

What an interesting time we live in! By now, anyone who feels burned by the establishment, whether the Wall Street banksters (fraud kings) or USCongressional representatives (paid lobbyist clients), or USCongress banking committees (bribed Wall Street tools), or a private hedge fund conman (protected by regulators), or financial markets (victims of naked shorting), or an employer (from foreign plant & equipment investments), beware. More deception and betrayal and smokescreens and outright lies lie directly ahead. The next TARP disbursal will be much better disguised, more of the same welfare for the elite. The next stimulus plan will be loaded down by pork, earmarks, and clever disguises to enable continued bank aid with unenforceable clauses to protect the public, and namby pamby thin oversight. The tragedy is that Jack Daniels cannot take a handoff in any reconstruction from a strawman dressed as John Maynard Keynes. The other tragedy is that the US does not have adequate labor workforce to do reconstruction, nor does the US have factory capacity to fill orders on reconstruction.



The Obama team is more of the same, with blue jackets instead of red jackets, whose bow ties to the corrupt power centers are just as firm as the last team. To their credit, they do deliver public addresses with better command of the English language and far less contempt for the unwashed masses. The utterly stupid message made by Geithner before Congressional questioners about Chinese Govt manipulation of their yuan currency is added proof of no changes to failed policy, and ratcheting toward full-blown trade war. The Chinese are really angry, and have heaped insults across the Pacific in return. Can anyone in a position of authority recall that the USGovt needs good relations from creditor nations, since absolute and total recklessness is required to purchase USTreasury Bonds in the current climate of failed systems. The US suffers from failure of an extraordinarily complex system. It needs an overhaul, not greater pressure applied to the same broken connections, channels, and imbalances. The Obama moves so far are more of the same with a banner of hope attached. Hope is a device used by failures who had no plan.

The Ethics Guidelines are a public relations stunt, visible already, akin to promises by pedophile priests not to touch the children. Note the exemption for William Lynn, appointed to be deputy Defense Secretary. Lynn was the Pentagon comptroller who oversaw $2 trillion in missing defense contractor funds years back, but is now a registered Raytheon lobbyist. He is the selection? He is on the rear pages of the news. And also Mark Patterson runs aground, appointed as chief of staff to Treasury Secy Geithner, but a high level Goldman Sachs lobbyist. Patterson will continue in his newly named post as long as he pledges to avoid all conflicts of interest. Whew! What a relief! This reminds me of the Microsoft Chinese Wall between application developers and operating system wonks, where the Sherman Antitrust Act forbids all communications. The Obama Admin is showing some peculiar exceptions, all certain favors to the Powerz. Recall that Defense Secy Gates is the first ever to continue during a transition of presidents. That is how important the clandestine war revenues are to the big banks and syndicates. Nothing changes. If real meaningful change was desired, then 90% of the lobbyist organizations would be forcibly disbanded, tax structures would be overhauled, manufacturing would return to US shores, and much more.


The USEconomy continues to deteriorate during the disintegration process that is evident only to those not paid to close their eyes. The housing decline continues, as new data is out. Consumer confidence is rock bottom, plumbing lower levels than ever. Job losses are the mushroom cloud, badly understated. Despite criticism of European high unemployment, the US has a very high jobless rate right now, when the novel approach is used, COUNTING PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS. Even the broader U6 jobless rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 13.5%, which counts the discouraged workers dropped from state insurance. The Shadow Govt Statistics folks go further, and ferret out other jobless who are typically ignored in a systematic fashion by the BLS. The SGS jobless rate is estimated at 17.4% alarmingly. It could be close to 30% for minority groups. The next stories to grab headlines will include the extreme supply chain constipation, from port facilities to chemical plants to refined energy products like gasoline to food items. Word comes to my desk that the plastics industry has a horrendous backup in the chemical pipelines, due to lack of end product demand. Soon a large slice of US industry will come to a halt, in a land where not much has the lights turned on...

Also, details are given on martial law preparations that have become very loud, from numerous corners, whose order for mercenary troops comes from a very surprising place. That would sidestep the Posse Comitatus Act. Agreements have been struck to provide foreign mercenaries on US soil, an incredible development. Also, murmurs from international groups raise objections to US banks operating with ties to narco war funds. People in high positions are talking. Then there is Russia, which is pushing toward a review of the Afghan region and prosecution of the war. Sounds like Putin wants his cut, his leverage being airbase canceled contracts in the Chaos-stan nations. Worse, the Untied States, being a nation whose leaders do not read, respect, or learn from history, are committed to a disastrous path. Putin has blocked the USMilitary in both Krygystan and Uzbekistan. Next, in the words of a well connected contact, “ have the West cornered in Afghanistan, and they will stand by to see them being slaughtered as has happened many times before in Afghanistan.” It seems the planned Surge might just lead to a climax of destruction and failure to match that of the USEconomy. Nature does force balance.


Edited out plugs for gold.
Shattering a 'national mythology'
By Ofri Ilani
Thu., January 22, 2009 - Tevet 26, 5769

Of all the national heroes who have arisen from among the Jewish people over the generations, fate has not been kind to Dahia al-Kahina, a leader of the Berbers in the Aures Mountains. Although she was a proud Jewess, few Israelis have ever heard the name of this warrior-queen who, in the seventh century C.E., united a number of Berber tribes and pushed back the Muslim army that invaded North Africa. It is possible that the reason for this is that al-Kahina was the daughter of a Berber tribe that had converted to Judaism, apparently several generations before she was born, sometime around the 6th century C.E.

According to the Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?" ("When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?"; Resling, in Hebrew), the queen's tribe and other local tribes that converted to Judaism are the main sources from which Spanish Jewry sprang. This claim that the Jews of North Africa originated in indigenous tribes that became Jewish - and not in communities exiled from Jerusalem - is just one element of the far- reaching argument set forth in Sand's new book.

In this work, the author attempts to prove that the Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the Kingdom of Judea during the First and Second Temple period. Their origins, according to him, are in varied peoples that converted to Judaism during the course of history, in different corners of the Mediterranean Basin and the adjacent regions. Not only are the North African Jews for the most part descendants of pagans who converted to Judaism, but so are the Jews of Yemen (remnants of the Himyar Kingdom in the Arab Peninsula, who converted to Judaism in the fourth century) and the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe (refugees from the Kingdom of the Khazars, who converted in the eighth century).

Unlike other "new historians" who have tried to undermine the assumptions of Zionist historiography, Sand does not content himself with going back to 1948 or to the beginnings of Zionism, but rather goes back thousands of years. He tries to prove that the Jewish people never existed as a "nation-race" with a common origin, but rather is a colorful mix of groups that at various stages in history adopted the Jewish religion. He argues that for a number of Zionist ideologues, the mythical perception of the Jews as an ancient people led to truly racist thinking: "There were times when if anyone argued that the Jews belong to a people that has gentile origins, he would be classified as an anti-Semite on the spot. Today, if anyone dares to suggest that those who are considered Jews in the world ... have never constituted and still do not constitute a people or a nation - he is immediately condemned as a hater of Israel."

According to Sand, the description of the Jews as a wandering and self-isolating nation of exiles, "who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland," is nothing but "national mythology." Like other national movements in Europe, which sought out a splendid Golden Age, through which they invented a heroic past - for example, classical Greece or the Teutonic tribes - to prove they have existed since the beginnings of history, "so, too, the first buds of Jewish nationalism blossomed in the direction of the strong light that has its source in the mythical Kingdom of David."

So when, in fact, was the Jewish people invented, in Sand's view? At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people "retrospectively," out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people. From historian Heinrich Graetz on, Jewish historians began to draw the history of Judaism as the history of a nation that had been a kingdom, became a wandering people and ultimately turned around and went back to its birthplace.

Actually, most of your book does not deal with the invention of the Jewish people by modern Jewish nationalism, but rather with the question of where the Jews come from.

Sand: "My initial intention was to take certain kinds of modern historiographic materials and examine how they invented the 'figment' of the Jewish people. But when I began to confront the historiographic sources, I suddenly found contradictions. And then that urged me on: I started to work, without knowing where I would end up. I took primary sources and I tried to examine authors' references in the ancient period - what they wrote about conversion."

Sand, an expert on 20th-century history, has until now researched the intellectual history of modern France (in "Ha'intelektual, ha'emet vehakoah: miparashat dreyfus ve'ad milhemet hamifrats" - "Intellectuals, Truth and Power, From the Dreyfus Affair to the Gulf War"; Am Oved, in Hebrew). Unusually, for a professional historian, in his new book he deals with periods that he had never researched before, usually relying on studies that present unorthodox views of the origins of the Jews.

Experts on the history of the Jewish people say you are dealing with subjects about which you have no understanding and are basing yourself on works that you can't read in the original.

"It is true that I am an historian of France and Europe, and not of the ancient period. I knew that the moment I would start dealing with early periods like these, I would be exposed to scathing criticism by historians who specialize in those areas. But I said to myself that I can't stay just with modern historiographic material without examining the facts it describes. Had I not done this myself, it would have been necessary to have waited for an entire generation. Had I continued to deal with France, perhaps I would have been given chairs at the university and provincial glory. But I decided to relinquish the glory."

Inventing the Diaspora

"After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom" - thus states the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence. This is also the quotation that opens the third chapter of Sand's book, entitled "The Invention of the Diaspora." Sand argues that the Jewish people's exile from its land never happened.

"The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of 'the people of the Bible' that preceded it," Sand explains. Under the influence of other historians who have dealt with the same issue in recent years, he argues that the exile of the Jewish people is originally a Christian myth that depicted that event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

"I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."

If the people was not exiled, are you saying that in fact the real descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians?

"No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents. The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-9], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled. Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"

And how did millions of Jews appear around the Mediterranean Sea?

"The people did not spread, but the Jewish religion spread. Judaism was a converting religion. Contrary to popular opinion, in early Judaism there was a great thirst to convert others. The Hasmoneans were the first to begin to produce large numbers of Jews through mass conversion, under the influence of Hellenism. The conversions between the Hasmonean Revolt and Bar Kochba's rebellion are what prepared the ground for the subsequent, wide-spread dissemination of Christianity. After the victory of Christianity in the fourth century, the momentum of conversion was stopped in the Christian world, and there was a steep drop in the number of Jews. Presumably many of the Jews who appeared around the Mediterranean became Christians. But then Judaism started to permeate other regions - pagan regions, for example, such as Yemen and North Africa. Had Judaism not continued to advance at that stage and had it not continued to convert people in the pagan world, we would have remained a completely marginal religion, if we survived at all."

How did you come to the conclusion that the Jews of North Africa were originally Berbers who converted?

"I asked myself how such large Jewish communities appeared in Spain. And then I saw that Tariq ibn Ziyad, the supreme commander of the Muslims who conquered Spain, was a Berber, and most of his soldiers were Berbers. Dahia al-Kahina's Jewish Berber kingdom had been defeated only 15 years earlier. And the truth is there are a number of Christian sources that say many of the conquerors of Spain were Jewish converts. The deep-rooted source of the large Jewish community in Spain was those Berber soldiers who converted to Judaism."

Sand argues that the most crucial demographic addition to the Jewish population of the world came in the wake of the conversion of the kingdom of Khazaria - a huge empire that arose in the Middle Ages on the steppes along the Volga River, which at its height ruled over an area that stretched from the Georgia of today to Kiev. In the eighth century, the kings of the Khazars adopted the Jewish religion and made Hebrew the written language of the kingdom. From the 10th century the kingdom weakened; in the 13th century is was utterly defeated by Mongol invaders, and the fate of its Jewish inhabitants remains unclear.

Sand revives the hypothesis, which was already suggested by historians in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to which the Judaized Khazars constituted the main origins of the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.

"At the beginning of the 20th century there is a tremendous concentration of Jews in Eastern Europe - three million Jews in Poland alone," he says. "The Zionist historiography claims that their origins are in the earlier Jewish community in Germany, but they do not succeed in explaining how a small number of Jews who came from Mainz and Worms could have founded the Yiddish people of Eastern Europe. The Jews of Eastern Europe are a mixture of Khazars and Slavs who were pushed eastward."

'Degree of perversion'

If the Jews of Eastern Europe did not come from Germany, why did they speak Yiddish, which is a Germanic language?

"The Jews were a class of people dependent on the German bourgeoisie in the East, and thus they adopted German words. Here I base myself on the research of linguist Paul Wechsler of Tel Aviv University, who has demonstrated that there is no etymological connection between the German Jewish language of the Middle Ages and Yiddish. As far back as 1828, the Ribal (Rabbi Isaac Ber Levinson) said that the ancient language of the Jews was not Yiddish. Even Ben Zion Dinur, the father of Israeli historiography, was not hesitant about describing the Khazars as the origin of the Jews in Eastern Europe, and describes Khazaria as 'the mother of the diasporas' in Eastern Europe. But more or less since 1967, anyone who talks about the Khazars as the ancestors of the Jews of Eastern Europe is considered naive and moonstruck."

Why do you think the idea of the Khazar origins is so threatening?

"It is clear that the fear is of an undermining of the historic right to the land. The revelation that the Jews are not from Judea would ostensibly knock the legitimacy for our being here out from under us. Since the beginning of the period of decolonization, settlers have no longer been able to say simply: 'We came, we won and now we are here' the way the Americans, the whites in South Africa and the Australians said. There is a very deep fear that doubt will be cast on our right to exist."

Is there no justification for this fear?

"No. I don't think that the historical myth of the exile and the wanderings is the source of the legitimization for me being here, and therefore I don't mind believing that I am Khazar in my origins. I am not afraid of the undermining of our existence, because I think that the character of the State of Israel undermines it in a much more serious way. What would constitute the basis for our existence here is not mythological historical right, but rather would be for us to start to establish an open society here of all Israeli citizens."

In effect you are saying that there is no such thing as a Jewish people.

"I don't recognize an international people. I recognize 'the Yiddish people' that existed in Eastern Europe, which though it is not a nation can be seen as a Yiddishist civilization with a modern popular culture. I think that Jewish nationalism grew up in the context of this 'Yiddish people.' I also recognize the existence of an Israeli people, and do not deny its right to sovereignty. But Zionism and also Arab nationalism over the years are not prepared to recognize it.

"From the perspective of Zionism, this country does not belong to its citizens, but rather to the Jewish people. I recognize one definition of a nation: a group of people that wants to live in sovereignty over itself. But most of the Jews in the world have no desire to live in the State of Israel, even though nothing is preventing them from doing so. Therefore, they cannot be seen as a nation."

What is so dangerous about Jews imagining that they belong to one people? Why is this bad?

"In the Israeli discourse about roots there is a degree of perversion. This is an ethnocentric, biological, genetic discourse. But Israel has no existence as a Jewish state: If Israel does not develop and become an open, multicultural society we will have a Kosovo in the Galilee. The consciousness concerning the right to this place must be more flexible and varied, and if I have contributed with my book to the likelihood that I and my children will be able to live with the others here in this country in a more egalitarian situation - I will have done my bit.

"We must begin to work hard to transform our place into an Israeli republic where ethnic origin, as well as faith, will not be relevant in the eyes of the law. Anyone who is acquainted with the young elites of the Israeli Arab community can see that they will not agree to live in a country that declares it is not theirs. If I were a Palestinian I would rebel against a state like that, but even as an Israeli I am rebelling against it."

The question is whether for those conclusions you had to go as far as the Kingdom of the Khazars.

"I am not hiding the fact that it is very distressing for me to live in a society in which the nationalist principles that guide it are dangerous, and that this distress has served as a motive in my work. I am a citizen of this country, but I am also a historian and as a historian it is my duty to write history and examine texts. This is what I have done."

If the myth of Zionism is one of the Jewish people that returned to its land from exile, what will be the myth of the country you envision?

"To my mind, a myth about the future is better than introverted mythologies of the past. For the Americans, and today for the Europeans as well, what justifies the existence of the nation is a future promise of an open, progressive and prosperous society. The Israeli materials do exist, but it is necessary to add, for example, pan-Israeli holidays. To decrease the number of memorial days a bit and to add days that are dedicated to the future. But also, for example, to add an hour in memory of the Nakba [literally, the "catastrophe" - the Palestinian term for what happened when Israel was established], between Memorial Day and Independence Day."

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Germany faces 'sizeable', possibly extended recession: IMF

BERLIN (AFP) — Germany faces a "sizeable" and "possibly extended" recession, with its economy set to shrink 2.5 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday, revising down a previous forecast.

Last November, the IMF had said Europe's largest economy would contract 0.8 percent in 2009. Germany can expect a "slow recovery" in 2010 but would still grow by only 0.1 percent, the Fund said Thursday.

The projection is even gloomier than Berlin's own assessment of its economic plight. The economy ministry said Wednesday the economy would shrink 2.25 percent in 2009 before rebounding slightly next year.

The IMF also warned that the "risks remain tilted to the downside.

"Germany faces the prospect of a sizeable, and possibly extended, economic downturn," it said.

The IMF praised Berlin's efforts to kick-start the ailing economy but suggested that it could have acted sooner and in close co-operation with other European countries.

"Global policy actions and measures to contain the risk of a costly global self-reinforcing slump should preferably be co-ordinated regionally and internationally for maximum effect. Germany has a special leadership role to play in this process," the report said.

While other major European economies, such as France and Britain, rapidly agreed massive fiscal stimulus packages and bank bailouts to stave off the worst effects of recession, Germany was slower to react, earning Chancellor Angela Merkel the soubriquet "Madame Non."

But last week, German authorities wrapped up a 50 billion euro (65 billion euro) shot in the arm for the economy, including a huge increase in public spending on roads, railways, hospitals and schools, and tax cuts.


NASA To Test New-Generation Space Rocket Listen Now [4 min 13 sec] add to playlist All Things Considered, January 24, 2009 ·

Workers piece together the bottom of the Ares I
Workers move the capsule of the Ares I-X.

The aging shuttle fleet is scheduled to be mothballed next year, after construction of the international space station is complete. Now Ess is obsessed with the first test flight of the shuttle's replacement. This time around, though, it's his job.

Ess works at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., where he's in charge of the Ares I-X mission — NASA's effort to test out a new rocket and space capsule design by blasting off an experimental version from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The unmanned test flight is scheduled for July.

"This is the first time that NASA's gone through and done an unmanned test flight in a long, long time, since the Apollo era," says Ess.

He explains that the first flight of the space shuttle wasn't unmanned — it had two people on board. "There really was no other way to do it," says Ess. "The space shuttle required a lot of human intervention to fly it, and we needed people inside to actually do it."

But people aren't expected to ride on the Ares I-X until around 2015. NASA's plan is that the rocket will ultimately carry up a crew capsule similar to the one that took astronauts up during the Apollo era.


A military plane will take the capsule down to Florida on Thursday. There it will join other pieces of hardware, some real, some just fake stand-ins. If all goes well, Ess says, workers will stack them all up this spring to create a rocket that stands more than 320 feet tall.

"This vehicle is almost twice as tall as the space shuttle," says Ess, who adds that the rocket will be about 18 feet in diameter. "So it's very long and it's very thin."

During the first test flight, engineers will get real-world data on whether their flight control system can handle this long, thin design.


The idea is that this test flight will be followed by several more. But with a new president and a new administration in Washington, it's not clear if that plan will change — or how many Americans would even notice if it did.


"It's hard to explain going from a space shuttle to this new vehicle," Ess says. "Our minds are so used to the space shuttle, for 20 years, and before that, Apollo."


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

:: Further Forensic Examination.

Today's Market WrapUp 01.26.2009 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Kirby Archive

Further Forensic Examination

Borrowing from the axiom that, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” today we are going to view the incredulity of recent macro-economic events with the aid of charts and graphs. First up is a chart of the price of gold [POG] over the past year with a few “milestones” pasted in for good measure:


It saddens me to point out that – collectively - the milestones on the chart above are all indicative or symptomatic of systemic financial collapse. It saddens me even more knowing that the price of gold has acted counter-intuitively – getting hammered – each and every time these unfolding events should have propelled it higher.

How It’s Done

The manipulation / capping of the gold price is largely accomplished by appointees of the U.S. Treasury / Federal Reserve selling staggering amounts of gold futures on exchanges, like N.Y.’s COMEX, to suppress the price:


The table above is excerpted from the Quarterly Derivative Fact Sheet compiled and published by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. It shows that J.P. Morgan Chase has/had roughly 100 billion worth of gold derivatives [predominantly “short” gold futures] on their books as of Sept. 30, 2008.

Gold price suppression is not simply a “paper game” where relentless amounts of price suppressive “futures” can be sold forever; the price suppression scheme also requires that the price riggers expend some physical gold too – to make the ponzi-esque selling of futures “believable.” The physical gold which is mobilized to accomplish this is typically sovereign gold that is “leased” from Central Banks.

Leasing is preferred to outright sales because you can only outright sell something “once” – and it is gone. By leasing, the physical gold leaves the vault to be sold in the open market but Central Banks replace the missing physical gold with an I.O.U - for accounting purposes – and claim that they still posses the same amount of physical bullion! So, by leasing gold instead of “outright sales,” Central Banks can and do double count [cheat] – a la Enron – their gold stocks! [Don’t try this at home or you’ll end up in jail.]

The Unintended Consequences

The problem with cheating, besides being not nice, is that gold leasing, as it is practiced, still depletes physical caches of gold bullion. Logically and intuitively, if you practiced this thievery long enough it would lead to a bifurcated market where the price of the physical commodity would “decouple” and trade at a premium to the suppressed paper price. This is EXACTLY what has happened in the gold [and silver] market today! The premium being paid has expanded and it is growing in the price to acquire physical ounces. This decoupling of physical from futures pricing is reflected in the increased cost to lease precious metal over time. Demonstrably, even the crooks at Central Banks are less willing to “lend” their bullion – because they KNOW it’s unlikely they will be repaid:


Folks would do well to remember that once physical bullion is no longer available to “back up” the fraudulently derived futures price, the nominal cost of obtaining physical precious metal will skyrocket.