Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"The darkness has become pitch black"

Bill Roggio carefully analyzes Osama Bin Laden's latest audiotape. Basically Bin Laden is unhappy with how his forces are faring in Iraq. They are split among themselves. Infiltrated by the hated Americans. IED attacks don't work so well. He says "the darkness has become pitch black".

So where are those who prefer the religion to the lives of themselves and their children? Where are the people of Tawheed and those who topple the banner of unbelief and polytheism? Where are those who find torture to be pleasant and don't fear the blows? Where are those who find difficulty to be easy and bitterness to be sweet, because they are certain that the fire of Hell is much hotter? Where are those who go out to fight the Romans, as on the day of Tabuk? Where are those who pledge to fight to the death, as on the day of Yarmuk? Where are the soldiers of the Levant and the reinforcements of Yemen? Where are the knights of the Quiver (Egypt) and the lions of the Hijaz (western Saudi Arabia) and al-Yamamah (central Saudi Arabia)? Come and aid your brothers in Mesopotamia and relieve them by coordinating with them by way of dependable guides.



Where have they gone? Maybe into the camp of those who realize that the real triumph of Islam lies in the power of learning and economic development. That it lies in teaching children how to ride a rocket to Mars instead of strapping a vest full of nails and C4 onto themselves. That it lies in life and not death. Because people are beginning to realize that it's the dead past that Osama really wanted, not the living present or a future by a flowing river springing from some glorious place.

Osama laments that "the darkness has become pitch black." That's him looking into his soul.

75 Comments:

Blogger JimMtnViewCa said...

Meanwhile, the situation for Islamo-fascists is brighter in Euro-land.
1) gov't won't protect people
2) people not allowed to protect themselves
3) solution seems to be: don't report the news

but people do.....
http://kleinverzet.blogspot.com/2007/10/yet-more-car-b-ques-in-amsterdam.html
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2588

10/24/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Verizon's UPS - "it's all about the network"

Two posts ago -

"or even possible to damage a networked insurgency like al-Qaeda?"

This post -
"Infiltrated by the hated Americans"

What happens when a networked insurgency faces a highly networked military force?

"The US military has learned to exploit -networked- information and precision weapons to conduct real-time, coordinated, and precision joint/combined operations against an enemy dispersed over complex terrain in a chaotic theater on the other side of the world. Troops have learned to use a networked, distributed force of coordinated but independent joint combat elements with a wide range of capabilities. They have demonstrated that command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) can be fused and focused directly on a small, effective formation at the tip of the spear, allowing US forces to apply the right tool at the right time in the right place. Ultimately, this capability will prove itself more important than raw firepower."

The node of the insurgency network disrupted, the link in the chain compromised if you will.

Are there weaknesses in the network centric military approach as well?

Militaries rely on certain critical functions, any one of which, if disrupted, will render a military unable to operate effectively. For example, command systems, information systems, weapon systems, logistics systems, and the linkages between the systems. In the context of a conflict with the United States, this means that the United States must be prepared for attacks that are focused less on its main combat forces than on key support systems.

In a recently published paper from SAIC’s Strategic Assessment Center, Chinese military documents advocate the covert deployment and use of ground- and space-based ASAT weaponry. The Chinese state that they view our space systems as the “lynchpin” of American power with respect to C4ISR (Command and Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and, to address it one step further, key to the precision targeting of our weapons. Chris Lay, one of the paper’s authors, stated, “The capability to negate US space based C4ISR is very important to China if they are to deter, dissuade and /or defeat US power projection into their region. The ASAT capability probably fits with their concept of ‘assassin’s mace’. My view is that they will deploy.”

How about information networks?

Algorithms that penetrate enemy defenses. William Arkin's book, Code Names, discusses the Air Force's growing interest in and development of the new field of computer network warfare and electronic attack. He proposes that information operations and computer network attack programs are now considered the U.S. military's most closely guarded projects, surpassing even new stealth advances.

. . . "perhaps if we are smart enough, do information operations

10/24/2007 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

When one plays in an orchestra, not everybody gets to play first violin. Not everybody ought to. Making the entire orchestra sound good is more important than standing out from the crowd. And while one doesn't always hear the bassoon or the trumpet, but when a solo presents itself, the soloist has no margin for error.

To fight a war is like playing in an orchestra; just as harmony within the orchestra is more important than upstaging other players, victory over the enemy is more important than seeking personal acclaim.

Al-Qaeda's weakness is that it is unwilling to play second violin, especially in Iraq. Osama bin Laden is unwilling to subordinate his faction to obtaining victory. He acts as if he were the conductor of the orchestra of Islam, yet he brings cacophony to everything he touches. Muslims want to follow winners and they want to include the entire orchestra in their symphony, not merely the sections Osama bin Laden likes.

In Islam, the enlightened ruler does not seek honors for himself, not does he indulge his personal vanity. His desire is to serve his community and by serving his community, serve God. If "darkness has become pitch black", perhaps that is because Osama bin Laden refuses to listen to what God is saying.

10/24/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/24/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

it's the dead past that Osama really wanted, not the living present or a future by a flowing river springing from some glorious place.


Oh, I don't know that I'd agree with that. I think Osama is (was?) very much interested in the present. He wanted a present and a future, however, where everyone else HAD to do exactly what he told them to do, no matter how stupid or painful it was. Imagine his surprise that so many people declined to allow him to lead them like that. And not only that, but violently declined.

10/24/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Nahncee,

I believe that for Osama it was always about myth. It was myth that attracted him to the past and it was myth that gave him power. He lived, like all of us, in the present, but the roots of his influence lay in inhabiting some timeless region in the minds of his followers. Osama the man was nothing to feared. Osama the myth was a force to be reckoned with.

Lawrence Wright in the Looming Tower wrote that Osama's actual role against the Soviets in Afghanistan was operationally insignificant. His chief achievement was in creating a legend, largely of himself. It consisted in the idea that a handful of Jihadis could topple a superpower. He was like Che Guevara in that he believed the idea, articulated by the deed (foco) could set continents ablaze. But like Che Guevara he was an imposture, powerful for so long as no one looked behind the curtain.

Bin Laden could have withstood any number of casualties inflicted on him by America. But what he could not endure, what recent events in Iraq, and to some extent in Pakistan recently have done is effect the destruction of his myth. Osama Bin Laden's legend is dying. The romantic image of the invincible Jihadi struggling in the arid hills of Afghanistan has been replaced by its actuality: al-Qaeda is no more than a cheap production house with a gory slaughterhouse and video camera peddling fantasy fare to the world. It has a book alright, but its not the Koran. Just a torture manual to be used especially on Muslims, American infidels being too hard to catch in any great numbers.

The darkness that has become pitch black is Osama himself: that of a high but impotent shadow clutching desperately at a wakening world.

10/24/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger j willie said...

When Wretchard is on a roll like this, it's like watching Micheal Jordan toy with other men on the court flailing about trying to play in his league - a sight to behold. And enjoy.

10/24/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

j willie --yep, when it comes to putting gravity in the short form, there's really nobody more on-point and interesting--

10/24/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Nihilism is obvious in statements like "we love death more than you love life," and other Jihadist sayings. The ultimate emperor-has-no-clothes experience is when the curtain is pulled away and nihilism is revealed for what it is. This is no less true for the traditions of the West than for the traditions of the Islamic world that bin Laden rejects for his inhuman literalism.

10/24/2007 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Where are the convenience store clerks in Al -Ameriki who prefer slushies to goat urine? They must come to the aid of their brothers in mess-o-potof-fleas Go back to the 7th century where you belong,camel breath.

10/24/2007 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

OF course the Jihadis and their admirers are far too unsophisticated and mired in ignorance to grasp that the retreat of the Soviet Union was actually a result of the HUGELY intimidating refusal by Jimmy Carter to allow U.S. participation in the 1980 Olympics. His form of protest of the invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviets were devastated by the disapprobation, and the stinging loss of McDonalds and Coca-Cola franchises they had wanted their people to enjoy.

10/25/2007 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Binny Boy and Dr. Z compose their For Public Release speeches straight out of the Koran and Haidith. Muhammed was constantly bitching about the Arabs' lack of zeal for making war on their neighbors. Allah wanted them out slitting throats for the glory of Islam and the enrichment of Muhammed and not sitting at home playing parchese with worthless women.

Muhammed was also big on mandatory indoctrination sessions, otherwise known as Friday prayers, and once told his minions to burn down the houses of Muslims (with the occupants still inside) who did not show up at the mosque.

From its inception Islam has used murder and terror against its neighbors for plunder and recruits and against its own less than enthusiastic members for not participating in this jihad. That practice continues to this day with capital punishment for apostasy still the rule in about 51 Islamic countries.

This is probably the major reason that Islam still has a large number of people who self identify as Muslim - your neighbors and family members kill you if you say otherwise.

If the so called Human Rights crowd really wanted to accomplish something meaningful there would be universal condemnation of apostasy laws.

10/25/2007 02:58:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Mad Fiddler,
Thanks for pointing out the REAL reason the Soviet Union fell! I am also a big fan of the way Jimmy Carter spanked Castro by letting him empty all of Cuba's prisons into the streets of Miami.

How Castro survived that blow politically remains a mystery to liberal historians the world over.

10/25/2007 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

The romantic image of the invincible Jihadi struggling in the arid hills of Afghanistan has been replaced by its actuality

Maybe in Anbar Province, where every house still has an AK-47 in the closet, it has, but we are still a long way from the sissified chattering class of the West standing up to the invincible jihadi.

In the early days of Afghanistan the constant theme of the Western media was that the Afghan mountain men would endure more pain, more cold, more fear, and perform more heroically then any of their Western contemporaries.

The theme has been carried through Iraq. During Fallujah, Dexter Filkins, a NYT reporter, wrote an orgasmic article about an heroic jihadi sniper single handedly holding up a company of Marines. (ed.it turned out badly for the jihadi).

Mainstream Western reporters, the men particularly, still portray the jihadis as heroic because they are personally afraid of the possibility of confronting another human being who would cut of their head. By the same token, these reporters portray the US military as crazy and animalistic because they know that 20 year old Marine kicking down doors in Fallujah is more "manly" than the entire staff of the NYT (including themselves) will ever be. The only way to hide their own inadequacy is to make the Marine something other than a normal human being and then they do not have to compete with him.

Islam has made greater inroads in Europe and among the US academics because the sissification process has moved further along. The politicians, professors, and media types are simply afraid to confront an aggressive culture. They make concessions under the guise of multiculturalism with the hope they won't be personally hurt.

10/25/2007 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Osama still Hidin' asks: "...where are those....?"

Answer: We have killed them, hunted them down and exterminated them like the despicable curs they are...and the more sensate amongst them must have noticed that you are still hiding...the munchkin genocidal MD, too.

You are proven to be a deceiver, a liar, an offense in the eyes of all that is Holy. We are getting stronger and more focused. Our Marine Corps wants to leave Iraq and come East...to you. They are not afraid of you. They are not afraid of "the warlords" behind whom you still hide. More Marines in the East means more flexibility and support for the SpecOps guys so close on you. Your pitch black is coming and, God willing, pitch black for the genocidal dwarf, too.

10/25/2007 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Ha ha ha! You Americans are so funny.

Osama is spending almost no money - he just pops out of his bunker for long enough to record another video nasty to put on YouTube.

Your congress will then sign-off another gazillion dollars of your hard-earned tax-payer’s funny-money to keep Blackwater & friends beating up the natives in Iraq and Afghanistan and guarantee a fresh supply of free recruits for Osama.

It’s a smart scam: Osama’s costs are lowering as America’s costs are growing sky-high. Osama does not expect to win a military victory - he’s trying to bankrupt America. As the dollar's value plummets I am tempted to think that Osama's strategy is working.

That’s been his plan all along.

:-)

The only reason I can laugh is that I got rid of all my US Dollar linked savings. My savings are in Euros right now… :-)

Sal

10/25/2007 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Well Sal you are clearly a smug mug in your own mirror, but a detestable runt amongst runts is still a runt.

10/25/2007 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Wow, now I know that if I want to bankrupt the richest country on earth my first choice should be to make audiotapes about how badly my guys are getting their collective asses kicked

10/25/2007 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Wow, now I know that if I want to bankrupt the richest country on earth my first choice should be to make audiotapes about how badly my guys are getting their collective asses kicked

The sad truth is that Americans are getting poorer. You do not need to take my word for it:

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&from=EUR&to=USD&submit=Convert

This chart means that the dollar to Euro rate is at an all time high. That means if you are an American saver you are getting the bad end of a bad deal.

With the sub-prime crisis in full swing, plus record government spending you American tax-payers are getting squeezed hard.

According to the last statistics I saw between 30% and 50% of what you pay in Federal and State taxes is going towards fighting a state-of-the art war in Iraq, verses a bunch of amateur soldiers who are armed with decades old weaponry.

Now do you see the asymmetry? America spends trillions. Osama (if he is even still alive) spends almost nothing. America looses it's precious highly-trained soldiers. Osama looses other people's sons and daughters that he does not care about because he thinks they are going to heaven.

Net cost to America: Billions of dollars, thousands of lives.

Net cost to Osama: Almost nothing.

Have you ever heard of the concept of a Pyrrhic victory?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrhic_victory

It means you win a war or battle at an irreplaceable cost to yourself. That is what is happening in Iraq right now because all this military victory is coming at a terrible cost.

So tell me, do you think the USA should invade Iran?

Dobson

10/25/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Yes, where are they, the legions from across the Islamic World that would come save their brothers in Iraq?

And even more importantly, where are the legions of hardened Jihadists who would expand outwards from Iraq and bring their valuable experience and dauntless spirit to benighted nations across the globe, not only to Saudi, Egypt, and Kuwaitt, but to the Phillipines, Thailand, France, Germany, and evne The Great Satan itself?

My God! Have you people not heard? Have you learned nothing from the Great Ones: Pelosi, Reed, Streisand and Saint Hillary herself? Iraq is a massive, unstoppable production line for Jihadists! Because we are there, they are coming for us here!

In reality the grimly determined, battle hardened men who set out from Iraq will be those who have decided to clean up their neighborhood and then move on to the next one. Al Qudea has a franchise business? So do we.

10/25/2007 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sal

Do not confuse statistics with real life.

10/25/2007 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

Dobbie or Sally which shall it be:

Please, buy as mny Euros as you can. Invest in Europe and the EU.

Every couple of years the EU crashes and I would not want you to miss out on the rewards.

10/25/2007 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

..."According to the last statistics I saw between 30% and 50% of what you pay in Federal and State taxes is going towards fighting... a state-of-the art war in Iraq... verses a bunch of amateur soldiers who are armed with decades old weaponry"

Reads very much like an agenda driven view. Not a single sentence on the tremendous growth in spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - as it relates to deficits.

30 to 50% of fedral taxes each year toward defense - could you link that data please

Keep waiting for the fall, move you're money to the EU. Seems they're fairly concerned about the cost of their exports currently.
Not to mention how they will acquire hydrocarbons if Putin cuts off the spigot a la Ukraine.

And China, even more vulnerable than the U.S. to hydrocarbon fluctuations and supply.

Invade Iran?

Who? The Hebrews, Sunnis, Kurds, or Anglos

Iran is entirely dependent on revenue from hydrocarbons; seems like a weakness

10/25/2007 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Two tuesdays ago I went to a class on the book of Romans. The teacher is the team chaplain for the Washington Redskins football team.

He described hell as very much like a black hole. A place where matter & energy go in and nothing goes out.

10/25/2007 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

According to the last statistics I saw between 30% and 50% of what you pay in Federal and State taxes is going towards fighting a state-of-the art war in Iraq,
///////////////
Taken from an anti war website
http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm

Currently about 7% or $161 billion of the federal budget goes to to war fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,387 billion .

The men who come back from Afghanistan--and especially Iraq-- will be some of the canniest leaders America has ever seen. They will be leaders for several decades.

10/25/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You're right about that, charles, the Democrats will be able to change their image, with all their Iraqi vet candidates.

As exemplified by the fact that in 2006 most of the vets running for public office, ran as Democrats.

10/25/2007 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dobson, you're the one who's laughable, with such a ridiculously bogus analysis.

Yes, USA economy has ups and downs, but overall powerful growth with low interest rates, and a currency that fluctuates against other currencies, as they all do likewise against the dollar and each other.

USA is spending a fraction of one percent of GDP on the war, and the deficit, at 1.2% of GDP is historically low and in fact essentially balanced.

America is coming down off a boom, yes, but the boom has built a lot of good, lasting, things--and so will the next one, coming sooner or later, as supply and demand imbalances reverse,as they always must.

Economies exist within what people with a bit more knowledge than you call the "business cycle".

Your friends can deny reality all they want, but their fabulism is keeping them a mere collection of backward losers, murdering innocents with stolen technology they could never produce themselves.

10/25/2007 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, if returning vets change the Democratic party, it couldn't happen soon enough. In fact, the way the blue dogs have been hanging in there against the leadership, it may already be happening.

10/25/2007 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Every couple of years the EU crashes and I would not want you to miss out on the rewards.

As they say the value of your investments can go down as well as up. Unfortunately yours is going down... fast.

That is if you have any. Unfortunately US government statistics confirm that Americans are borrowing more and saving less than at any time in the last 100 years.

Currently about 7% or $161 billion of the federal budget goes to to war fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,387 billion .

Your president just asked for another $46 Billion to which is estimated to cover the cost of the Iraq occupation for another 3-6 months. Do you consider that money well spent?

That figure does not include the many appropriations for the broader "war on terror" so the actual war-related spending could be a great deal higher.

How much do you think Osama is spending. Did you look up the meaning of a "Pyrrhic Victory"?

You're right about that, charles, the Democrats will be able to change their image, with all their Iraqi vet candidates.

I'm not going to assume that armed-forces families would abandon their historical connection to the Republican party, however I think it's clear that the fighters have great love for the neo-cons who send them into pointless un-winnable wars.

Anybody can see that the war in Iraq has been very bad for the GOP base. Even military families do not like to see their husbands and dads on extended deployments. Furthermore, as the economy tanks it's getting harder for many families to live on a military wage alone.

Yes, USA economy has ups and downs, but overall powerful growth with low interest rates, and a currency that fluctuates against other currencies, as they all do likewise against the dollar and each other.

I can tell you do not work in finance...

Low interest rates, volatility and high inflation are a give-away for big banks and speculators. It's bad news for savers.

How do I know? That's what I do for a living. I'm getting richer at your expense.

THANKS AMERICA!

Ha ha ha.

10/25/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

desert rat said...

You're right about that, charles, the Democrats will be able to change their image, with all their Iraqi vet candidates.

As exemplified by the fact that in 2006 most of the vets running for public office, ran as Democrats.
////////////////
I think its still early for the real talent to emerge because events havn't boiled down to a strategic theme. Now its all tactics.

10/25/2007 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sally: Go away

Rat

Why would new blood in the Democratic Party be a bad thing?

10/25/2007 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

''I can tell you do not work in finance...''

Wrong again, fabulous sage.

10/25/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger j willie said...

You keep on believing your own bullshit, Dobson. US economy lost several trillion in "value" in the dotcom bust and during the early 90's S&L bust, only to come back and replace those assets of overhyped value with real assets that generate real wealth. How many Googles, Amazon's, Ebay's or Salesforce.com's has your economy generated? Good for you that you have earned a nice living, but how much of it do you get to keep? If you've read anything by Taleb, since you seem to be a "finance" guy, you will understand that your type don't create value, it destroys it. So go start a real business in your Euro country and come back and tell us how life is after a few years.

10/25/2007 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

''I'm getting richer at your expense.''

We'll have to (giggle) take your word on that--but, even if true, what's new about it? USA has been driving the world economy for a hundred years.

10/25/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

It’s a smart scam: Osama’s costs are lowering as America’s costs are growing sky-high. Osama does not expect to win a military victory - he’s trying to bankrupt America. As the dollar's value plummets I am tempted to think that Osama's strategy is working.

That’s been his plan all along.


Dobson, did it escape your attention what happened to the USSR when they tried to keep up with us? And you think some raggedy old dude living in a cave is more potent than the ex-USSR?

As far as you getting rich off of us, won't that be nice when your own Islamist jihadists in Yurp take over and you have to use that money to buy protection from American troops? Because we sure as hell aren't going to come into Europe again and save your skanky asses for free. Again.

In fact, your post is so completely dim-witted I'm sort of wondering if you're not one of those backwards Pakistani jihadists (and not a Yurpizoid at all) trying to wage psychological cyber-war since you don't have any more bullets and you never did have a brain or any gonads.

10/25/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not think it will be a bad thing. I think it will advance the Nation, actually.

From the most public of political bios, it would seem that the Democrats are the Party of the veterans, as it stands, today.

Veterans not a monolithic ideological or partisan group, by any means.

10/25/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Philadelphia, PA — Emphasizing the importance of government service and sharing insight from his decades of military service, Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), today spoke at the commissioning of the University of Pennsylvania Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) officers.
...
former 3-star Admiral Joe Sestak served in the Navy for 31 years and now serves as the Representative from the 7th District of Pennsylvania. He led a series of operational commands at sea, including Commander of an aircraft carrier battle group of 30 U.S. and allied ships with over 15,000 sailors and 100 aircraft that conducted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. After 9/11, Joe was the first Director of "DeepBlue," the Navy's anti-terrorism unit that established strategic and operations policies for the "Global War on Terrorism." He served as President Clinton's Director for Defense Policy at the National Security Council in the White House, and holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. According to the office of the House Historian, Joe is the highest-ranking former military officer ever to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

10/25/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Dobson is making a good point about how cockeyed the war in Iraq is for anti American anti war Europeans. While they may be against the war -- for whatever reason-- its creating a world that's economically beneficial to them.

What to think?

Lately for the first time Europeans have started to join the USA in complaints against China for currency manipulation.

There is growing criticism that the EU expansion into the East backed by US anchored Nato is steadily alienating the Russians--even as rising oil prices driven by falling supply--fuels russian ambitions.

What to think?

Like the USA the EU is upping their spending on R&D for alternative fuels.

The fall of the dollar hurts european exporters. However, since oil is pegged in dollars--systemically the matter is a wash to Europe.

imho it would probably be helpful if the Germans started to reduce their interest rates. Since Europe has experienced the same massive rise in housing prices as the USA--its not likely that that a cooling period will not follow.

10/25/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Gee, to be using the Euro as the measure of US decline sure is--proof of something.

The target "dollar price" of the Euro at launch was, I think, $1.17. It fell steadily after its roll out. To like 89 cents, I believe. Yes, those were the days! We all went to Paris for the weekend. Now, we're stuck in Kansas.

It may be that confidence in the World trading system has increased because of US actions. Meanwhile the increased flow of greenbacks outside the US to pay for the war has decreased its value (which we were told by De Gaulle in 1967 was far too high--could he have been right?)

Other currencies may strengthen because of our success preserving the trading system rather than our failure in the war. It makes the Euro an attractive "reserve currency" since it is possible the EU might be around for awhile. But nations with a reserve currency experience structural "trade deficits" because they are "over valued" in terms of goods (See British Empire). To keep this happy circumstance alive they have to allow free trade. How do you say, "Oh, the horror" in French?

For the USA a declining dollar increases the cost of imports while decreasing the cost of exports. Combined, these factors increases the short term downward pressure on the dollar. But as trade flows turn, at some point exports increase in comparative total value at the same time imports decline in total cost. Comparatively. Toss in a trillion dollars of currency flows and it is possible to guess right some of the time. But I would keep my day job.

We shall see!

10/25/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Dobson

fyi typically when real estate cools the investment money goes to stock markets.

10/25/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

China beats Germany to take world trade crown

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Mark Kleinman in Hong Kong
Last Updated: 8:14am BST 25/10/2007

China has surged ahead of Germany for the first time to become the world's top exporter, prompting ever louder demands from the United States and Europe to revalue the yuan.
/////////////
probably too this will increase pressure on the ECB & German banks to lower their interest rates

10/25/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

BTW, dobson, re the fact that you're able to deliver your witless maunderings:

THANKS AMERICA!

10/25/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

You may be right, charles--since the dollar/Yuan peg was pulled in July 2005, Yuan is up over 10% ag/ Dollar (not a bad second derivative), but but down 4% ag/ Euro. This is undoubtedly due to Bund rates, but also at least in part due to the rightward (read 'free market') swing in European politics.

10/25/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

dobson:

Wealth can be measured in more than just money. Sometimes it is measured in honor. Sometimes it is measured in friendship. Don't equate your money with happiness.

King Leopold II got rich, and then what? Belgium's legacy of rubber fortunes built on severed hands is not one to be admired; it inspires loathing. One shouldn't become the kind of rich and unpleasant man who cannot buy companionship with his money, for even paid companions have their standards.

10/25/2007 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

yes, regardless of wealth, an ingrate is still an ingrate.

10/25/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

via Atlas, some thoughts on Belgium:

Europe is in serious trouble and massaging the numbers ain't going to make it go away.

The overwhelming majority of the Muslim immigrants did not come to Belgium as so-called “guest workers” in the 1960s and 70s. They arrived since the 1980s purely for the purpose of claiming benefits. They sympathize with the parties of the Left. This is the very reason why the socialist Belgian establishment has given them the right to vote.

10/25/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Alexis:

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?from=EUR&to=USD&amt=1&t=5y

I hope you can spot the trend here.

Call me crazy but I truly believe that wealth IS measured in the amount of money you have. This is a fact that most Conservatives will readily agree with.

Speaking of friendship:

Do you imagine that America's occupation of Iraq brings friendship or loathing? What do you think the average Iraqi thinks of the average US Marine, or Blackwater contractor? Are they friends?

And as for who is the ingrate, I am profoundly grateful for the decline of the dollar. Like many investors world-wide I am short-selling it so your loss is literally my gain.

How much more gratitude do you want me to show? THANKS AMERICA! :-)

Dobson

10/25/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

what vehicle are you using to "short the dollar" ? Quick now--

10/25/2007 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

c'mon, dobson --it only takes a few seconds to type in a three-letter symbol.

10/25/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Every market top is marked by the pomposity of the fools calling for an everlasting trend.

Looks like it may be time to get Buck friendly again.

10/25/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

dobson must be tied up on dobson's bank of trading phones

10/25/2007 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sally is getting rich on a Euro savings account. He's going to live to be 1,000.

10/25/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

when he cashes in his winnings to go buy a frappe, world markets will wobble.

10/25/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Casper said...

Dobson/Sal's comments probably don't deserve the thoughtful responses they've already received, but I'll add a little more.

1. As for the vast sums we're spending to fight AQ, in comparison to OBL and his few brave riflemen: To a large extent we're just seeing the increasing mechanization of warfighting, what economists would call a "substitution of capital for labor". The trend has been visible for 150 years or so, since the invention of the Gatling gun, and parallels similar trends in mining, manufacturing, and most other work. New tools make each "worker" individually more powerful, so that we can put fewer of them in harm's way (or in repetitive or menial roles). Naturally these options are more available to industrialized countries than to OBL's fighters prowling the hills.

I give some of OBL's friends credit for their bravery, though not for anything else. Our boys are at least as brave, and it would be silly of us not to arm them to the teeth.

2. As for the effect on the US economy of all this spending, we should note that anyone who controls a huge oil supply and wishes fervently to do us harm, is in a great position to do so. That OBL and pals wish us serious harm is not worth debating. An "investment" made today to keep said crowd from getting hold of an endless revenue stream is probably money well spent. We may find it annoying that some Europeans would choose to be "free riders", but if we can handle the cost on our own, then that's a non-issue.

10/25/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Buddy,

As to what sort of vehicle you might use - you could just enter into a USD forward or a plain old swap.

I do not do that: That's for the big-boys. The FX traders will do that sort of thing with other people's money but I'm playing with my own savings.

For the record, I work on the trading-floor of a large Central-European bank but I am not a trader, and I am not by nature a big risk-taker.

Fortunately, European law allows private spread-betting on financial instruments.

It allows people to play the currency derivative markets as easily as betting on a football team.

Many sites allow you to bet that some instrument will rise or fall by some quantity. It's called a "Contract of Difference". You can take a short position if there is somebody else prepared to take a long position. Spread-betting effectively allows anybody access to the currency derivatives market.

I'd strongly urge those of you to hedge yourselves against likely falls in the dollar. There is a cost to hedging, but there is also a cost of leaving all your assets tied in an instrument whose value seems set to fall even further.

... that is of course if you have any savings at all!

:-)

10/25/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

1. As for the vast sums we're spending to fight AQ, in comparison to OBL and his few brave riflemen: To a large extent we're just seeing the increasing mechanization of warfighting, what economists would call a "substitution of capital for labor". The trend has been visible for 150 years or so,

Osama is not what I'd call an employer. He may not even be amongst the living. In any case I am not sure your analogy holds. It demonstrates how the world's best war-fighting machine can be de-railed by effective use of 1950s guerrilla tactics.

In time the US forces may will develop effective strategies to contain this insurgency but at what cost? It's likely to by one of those Pyrrhic victories.

I'd agree that the US Army is a more effective war-fighting machine than the various islamist factions (only one of which is Al-Queda), however the fact remains that despite the huge technological advantage the allied occupation of Iraq these factions remain viable.

As for the effect on the US economy of all this spending, we should note that anyone who controls a huge oil supply and wishes fervently to do us harm, is in a great position to do so.

America is hugely oil-dependent! The prices of oil is rising, but this is a double-whammy for America because the value of the dollar is expected to keep falling.

I'm cycling home tonight - see y'all tomorrow!

10/25/2007 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

dobson:

The wise war profiteer hires bodyguards -- lots of them. He needs them.

Occasionally, the King of France would take out loans at exorbitant interest rates to finance his ruinous wars. As a rule, the bankers lost, not the rulers. You are making the same mistake as the Knights Templar. Am I supposed to believe the Knights arranged for the King of France to be charged with heresy? When you owe forty thousand dollars to the bank, you are in trouble. When you owe forty trillion dollars to the bank, the bank is in trouble. And do not think the Euro or the Swiss Franc cannot be sabotaged.

As it is, there is more than the occasional European who can only value an American when an American becomes cannon fodder in his own wars. You apparently regard American blood as cheap. When the barbarians pillage your home, see how far your bank account can defend you.

10/25/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Dang I knew James Dobson was unhappy with the GOP slate, but I didn't think it would push him so far over the edge to make him a bent over for for Jihadis Euro-weenie. Oh, different Dobson.
Sal said this war is costing Bin Laden nothing. I guess there's almost an endless pile of cannon fodder in the Muslim world, but he has lost several chips including Zarqawi, Mohammed Atef, KSM, Abu Zubaida,Shamil Basayef ,etc. as well as several swell camps and houses which he exchanged for a life on the run.
Better dig counting your Euros Sal because the Muslim razor boys are going to come and slit your punk throat soon. We'll still be standing.
Desert Rat's thought that the vets will all be Dems is a bit of a specious extrapolation. I don't see all of our fine young warriors lining up behind Pelosi and Reid, however much you hope that happens.

10/25/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Okay, dobson --you win--there's no way to tell if you're actually knowledgable or not.

I could cite the amount of time it took you to type (or locate) that response, but, not giving you the benefit of the doubt would be small of me.

I would point out, tho, that in dealing with investors and brokers, one seldom hears capital referred to as "savings".

It's just a terminology thing--jargon.

10/25/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...but, it's a strong enough 'tell' that i'd bet 10 to 1 you're full of horse poop.

10/25/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

BTW, with oil closing today above 90, and the USDX below 80, the Yanks may not be as dumb as you think.

We can't control the open auction on spot crude, but the US trade deficit is most painlessy re-balanced for all players (except oil-producers) via a softer dollar. Dollar will cycle back up against your beloved Euro as soon as the European central banks cut rates--or as soon as the big financial houses mark-to-market on their mortagage portfolios.

Takes a little time but it'll come. Meanwhile, have fun with your cheap shots, and pray continue to both insult and profit by the US security umbrella under which you frolic for free.

10/25/2007 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/25/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is not my thought that they'll ALL be Dems, but that most veterans running in '06 were.
That is not even my thought, but a fact of life

Today in the Senate there are 32 vets, split evenly between the GOP and Dems. Eight of which are combat vets, who split 5 to 3 towards the Dems.

It is true that active duty folk tend to vote GOP, when they vote. After active duty, those that continue on in civilian Public Service trend towards the Democratic Party.

I realize it does not fit the popular stereotypes, but that is why it is so interesting a meme.

In 2006:
... Ashe, Duck, Dunn, Murphy, Lentz, and the others are, like Hackett, Democrats. In total, 10 Democratic vets are running, or considering a run, for Congress. The Republicans, by contrast, can only commit to two.


Iraq or Afghanistan War Veterans Running for the House


Name: David Ashe, Major, United States Marines Corps, Party: Democrat

Name: Andrew Duck, Captain, United States Army, Party: Democrat

Name: Tim Dunn, Lieutenant colonel, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Party: Democrat

Name: Patrick Murphy, Captain, United States Army; JAG Corps attorney, Party: Democrat

Name: Bryan Lentz, Major, United States Army Reserve, Party: Democrat

Name: Van Taylor Major, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Party: Republican

Name: Paul Hackett, Major, United States Marine Corps, Party: Democrat

Name: Hiram Lewis, Captain and JAG officer, West Virginia Army National Guard, Party: Republican

Name: Tim Walz, Command Sergeant Major, Army National Guard, Party: Democrat

Name: Chris Carney, Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserves, been stationed in South Korea and across the Middle East.
Party: Democrat

Name: Eric Massa, Commander, United States Navy, Party: Democrat

Ten to two, a sizable majority of the veterans trying to continue their Public Service, going with the Democrats.

10/25/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Can't help wondering what commenter DOBSON would have to say about the wisdom of spending the trillions and trillions of dollars that were spent by the U.S.
(a) as loans to allies during WWI, WWII, and Korea; (b) on ships, planes, weapons and materiél expended in those war efforts; (c) in U.S. personnel killed and wounded and lost to disease as a result of service in those wars; finally (d) the cost of maintaining U.S. forces in Europe, Asia, and many other countries from the end of hostilities in Europe WWII until the present.

Was all that wasted?

10/25/2007 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger dobson said...

I would point out, tho, that in dealing with investors and brokers, one seldom hears capital referred to as "savings".

Buddy, didn't I tell you that I am not a professional investor. I'm actually quite risk-adverse. My colleagues are professional traders, however I am not a trader myself.

The money I am betting with is my own personal savings. Perhaps the reason you hear the word so infrequently is that fewer Americans bother to save money these days.

We can't control the open auction on spot crude, but the US trade deficit is most painlessy re-balanced for all players (except oil-producers) via a softer dollar.

I hope for your sake that is true. Sometimes the optimists are right, but this time the market opinion seems to be against you.

Dollar will cycle back up against your beloved Euro as soon as the European central banks cut rates--or as soon as the big financial houses mark-to-market on their mortagage portfolios.

The thing is, I've got no personal attachment to the Euro or any other currency. It's not patriotism to keep your investments in a currency that is loosing value, it's your duty to maximize the value of your investment.

Right now that probably means getting out of USD, however for those willing to brave the rapids I wish you luck and good fortune.

Earlier today I discussed some of your points with a quant who specializes in FX. His opinion was that while the dollar has been hit hard we should not expect the current free-fall to continue much longer. On the other hand the trend of long-term decline is likely to continue as this reflects the fact that America is no longer the power-house of the world's economy.

He suggests that the biggest medium-term risk to the dollar are the fact that not entirely friendly nations like China and Saudi-Arabia hold huge amounts of USD in their reserve. If one or more of these countries should desire to pull out of USD then it could send the dollar into sharper decline.

There are plenty of political reasons why this would not happen, but it would be naive to suggest that this could never happen.

For example, the fact that China holds so much USD and US Debt gives China considerable political leverage over the US. A future government might find this loss of sovereignty unbearable and be willing to pay the financial price of disobeying Chinese creditors.

I still think that the safest thing to do faced with a declining dollar is to diversify your savings (e.g. buy some foreign government bonds that are weakly correlated with USD) or if you feel as I do that the worst is still to come, adopt a short position.

GOOD LUCK!

:-)

10/25/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dobson, after WWII, USA had about twice the share of the world economic pie as it does now--but the pie has grown so much that the USA share, though half what it was as a percentage of the world, is also several orders of magnitude larger itself, in real, inflation adjusted terms.

IOW, the world is catching up--which is and has been a primary US foreign-policy goal since the turn of the 19th century--free trade and liberty as the best bet to create prosperity, and prosperity as the best bet to let individuals live in peace.

Granted, USA is big and rich and acts as world cop--and that makes it a big, fat, easy target.

But all you who enjoy shooting at the big guy should realize that the tyrannical secret-police states are devilishly hard to kill, and as soon as there's nobody around willing to try to kill them, one of 'em will succeed--and what with modern technology, that'll be that, for the rest of human history. Think about it, my friend.

10/25/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger dobson said...

Think about it, my friend.

So are you offering me an apology for why the dollar is underperforming or perhaps is this intended as an ethical justification for America's costly adventures abroad.

I'm sure you will agree that good intentions can conceal all kinds of selfish motives - tell me if you think the war in Iraq is intended to bring "Freedom and Democracy" to the Iraquis, or is it to secure the world's most valuable oil-reserves.

As you are so fond of history you might remember that while he was CIA funded for much of his reigeme, Saddam Hussein was originally a British creation.

Osama Bin Laden on the other hand can thank America for his training and the funding that helped his organization beat the overwhelming numbers of russians who sought to control Afghanistan.

My point is that this kind of aggressive foreign policy seems to lead to unintended consequences. The war in Iraq has increased the violence and frequencey of Islamist attacks.

It seems that the road to hell is really paved with good intentions.

10/25/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Thanks for illustrating my point, dobson.

I'm afraid you'd have to be bent over digging potatoes for the Nazis, or the Communists, or the Oil Jihadis, before you'd pull your head out of your behind.

Well, go ahead with your ankle-biting and free association motive-imputing.

Maybe someday there'll be no guarantor of free and open markets--then you can negotiate with the Jihad or the Czars for the rubber for your bicycle tires.

That is, after you labor hard in return for the world-historical norm, that is, barely enough daily bread to keep you able to work the fields.

10/25/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Maybe your grandparents remember Normandy--which also "increased the violence and frequencey (sic) of Islamist attacks."

(well, not Islamist, but a fascist is a fascist)

Yep, your neighborhood was pretty peaceful from June 1940 to June 1944. No problems, eh?

10/25/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Weakness in the American economy is the result of social security and the other socialist transfer schemes dreamed up between the New Deal and the Great Society.

If the US economy were accounted for on an accrual basis instead of a cash basis it would be clear from the President's annual economic report that the US is already bankrupt because of future social security obligations. Even if all discretionary spending was stopped dead and the government confiscated 100% of everyone's earnings the government still couldn't pay off its obligations in one year, and next year new ones would come due. This is a price that will have taken 100 years from 1932 to come due, but come due it will just as the even more socialist schemes of the USSR came due after 72 years.

When an ordinary person or a company is faced by such financial ruin the only solutions are to (1) try to get part of your debts forgiven, or (2) to increase your income. The way for the US to do the first is to drive down the value of the dollar, or to reduce social benefits like a pension-raiding corporation. The way for the US to do the second is to replace social security and other entitlements with individual savings plans tied to markets, which are the largest generator of wealth in the world. There are a lot of bad laws and regulations that need to be repealed to allow the US to recover its financial footing. We won't see any democrats repealing bad laws. They will just add more, and take more taxes to pay the cash requirements, fritter away all savings on Woodstock museums and health care entitlements for 25-year-old "children," and cover their eyes and ears and shout "la la la" when the loanshark tells them the vig on that debt.

What do they care? They don't owe the debt. You do.

10/25/2007 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Pangloss, it's definitely a race between the printing press and productivity (in the output-per-time sense).

Of course, DC could fix everything in a hurry, if it had the incentive. There's nothing weak in the country's value as it exists in people, plant, and place.

Dobson's attitude--pissy as it is--may be valuable in the end. Our fiscal magic show maybe OUGHT to be ridiculed. Small comfort that other socialist schemes elsewhere are in even worse shape.

Instructive that the bloc currently making the most fiscal/monetary progress is Russia and her former colonies in eastern Europe. A rational tax system is a sine-qua-non it appears--the new 'flat tax' nations are getting stronger by the day.

The sooner we start holding our pols to higher standards, the less damage they'll be able to do to us.

10/26/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071026/bs_nm/markets_oil_dc;_ylt=AscmzoQMmxROHvwyGlFWXBis0NUE

So when do you expect all of this to change? I'm betting on a continued decline for the next six months.

Funnily enough VCY America's Crosstalk (ultra-conservative, christian, pro-America) did a show this week on the dollar. Their estimate of the total cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is about $US 2 Trillion.

Admittedly that cost has been split between the whole of NATO, but with the USA paying the overwhelmingly biggest share of the bill.

10/26/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dobson, 2 trillion is an overstatement x3 or x4, but maybe it's a 'projected' or 'blue-sky' cost --in which case it's political and there's little point in disputing it.

But another number to play with is the cost of the 9/11 decapitation attack on our New York and Washington financial, miltary, and governmental HQs.

Some analyses bring that in at 2 trillion, direct and proximate (and this is to disregard for the moment the underlying spiritual and national meaning of the mass death of civilians sitting at their work desks).

Some, citing the oil mkts est. $20/bbl terror premium, as well as the never-fully-recovered stock index price/earnings ratios, say that the cost is closer to 4 trillion--and counting.

Then there's the question of confidence, of the animal spirits and ambition for a better future upon which the entire capitalist system rests.

How many 9/11s would it take to break that spirit?

Maybe as few as two, sufficiently proximate, would create a promise of three, four, and more, indefinitely into a darkening, demoralizing future.

So, just for fun, just to improve your own argument, just so you don't sound like a sophomore poli/sci ninny, you might look into something as basic as why a ledger has two sides.

IOW, what is the cost of not fighting ?

10/26/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The one cost, we know we can, so far, bear.

The other cost, if realized, we know we could NOT bear.

I suspect your rebuttal will focus upon the "if realized".

You will ask, "how do you know there'd have been a second attack?"

I will answer, "how do you know there wouldn't have been a second attack?"

Then I'll add, that since there had been an escalating series already, and that since the capable and well-oiled enemy had declared war and promised our destruction, that the odds favor my position, and that your position is based on wishing n' hoping against all evidence.

Then I'll conclude by reminding you that the distance between the bearable and the unbearable is great, perhaps infinite.

10/26/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger dobson said...

Dobson, 2 trillion is an overstatement x3 or x4, but maybe it's a 'projected' or 'blue-sky' cost --in which case it's political and there's little point in disputing it.

But another number to play with is the cost of the 9/11 decapitation attack on our New York and Washington financial, miltary, and governmental HQs.


In this forum somebody gave an estimate of around $230bn, which might be close to the annual costs of war.

I notice you did not provide an estimate of the costs of the 9/11 attacks? Do you think they will be more or less than the overall cost of the war. I think there might be more cost-effective ways of keeping the homeland secure than fighting a war on Iraq.

The congressional budget office estimates that about $0.5 trillion has been spent on the Iraq occupation to-date, with a predicted cost of $2 trillion over the whole operation (just for Iraq).

My point has always been that these are significant costs that should make most small-government republicans angry. Are these costs justified by the attacks of 9/11? I think not.

Some bankers directly experienced tragedy, and others found themselves with some infrastructure damage most bankers saw this for what it was: The cost of doing business.

I'm not trying to say that we should never have reacted to these attacks, but that attacking Iraq (a country wholly unrelated to the Saudi-Arabians who executed the 9/11 attacks).

By the way, I'm entirely for the strengthening of America's homeland security. 9/11 was a wake-up call for the need to actually protect airports and harbors and critical infrastructure.

You now have a standard of security comparable to that which was the standard in the UK or Spain for the last 10 or so years before 9/11.

That probably has more to do with keeping America free of terrorist attacks than the costly foreign operations. I'd say homeland security represents very good value for money.

Dobson

10/30/2007 12:06:00 PM  

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