Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Black and white, red all over

It's the New Zealand Women's Monthly every day for the MSM these days. Lead story on One News and 3News tonight? Professional goon gets aggro when pissed. Ye gods, is that the biggest worry?

I entirely share Paul Litterick's concern at the lack of media attention to the Iran thing. Will Israel attack first or will the US? The Observer goes in-depth with what the implications of what the recent Israel sorties in the Mediterranean might mean. A supposed strike by Israeli forces in November is timed to coincide with the US presidential election for maximum effect. Here's hoping the former head of Mossad is heard:
"Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the intelligence agency Mossad, told a meeting of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem on Tuesday that Iran's nuclear ambitions did not represent an existential threat to Israel.

'I am convinced that Israel cannot be destroyed,' Halevy said. 'We should not sink into the doldrums of "Israel is on the verge of extinction".' Ultimately, he said, the United States would talk to Iran, and Israel needed to be part of that dialogue."

Unfortunately, Bush's invasion of Iraq has given precedent to pre-emptive military action, upping the ante considerably. It is entirely plausible for Israel to consider unilateral strikes against Iran, knowing full well that the US went to war in Iraq with far less justification and got away with it.

Meanwhile, Seymour Hersh writes on the increase in Iranian Black-ops by the CIA, JSOC and others, noting:
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
Destabilisation is a precursor to attack. The US hasn't learnt its lesson with the Iraqi quagmire, and enough voices in power are sabre-rattling for a fight in Iran to see it become an awful reality. With the military dangerously exposed on several fronts, the US is a Gulliver looking for a bunch of Lilliputians to get tied down to.

War, you see, is inflationary. It's non-productive spending taken to the nth degree. It's why, after WWII, steps such as the Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods and the Common Market (precursor to the EU) came to be. These structures were put in place to end war. However, as anyone who has read Watchmen knows, it never ends.

Bretton Woods is gone, replaced by the unofficial Bretton Woods II, between China and the US. Even that is by-the-by once the yuan was de-pegged from the US dollar back in 2005. Heaven forbid what would happen to the market if China decided to adopt the Euro instead of the US dollar like the drug cartels have been doing for some time (Apart from the E500 large demonination bills, the Euro has been steadily appreciating against the greenback).

Imagine what would happen if OPEC countries did the same. The run on the US dollar would be devastating. As for NZ, so much for the $4.2 billion that the Reserve Bank has bought in (assumed) US dollars on the premise that they can cash it in when the Kiwi drops against the US. What if it doesn't drop? McCain or Obama, the US deficit is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Any pay-off is on the never-never.


While the Guardian has a nice page on the Large Hadron Collider, Helen Clark has unveiled New Zealand's very own black hole, KiwiRail. Unsurprisingly, the livery includes red. It's a bit of unfortunate timing for the sustainability theme. Anyone who saw the trolley bus stranded at the Willis and Manners St intersection at rush hour this afternoon would have their doubts. And to think there's a 10 percent fare increase on the way...