Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Web Log - April, 2007


Senator Joe Biden wants to move troops from Iraq to Darfur civil war

Saying on Meet the Press that we should remove troops from Iraqi "civil war," the Delaware Democrat strongly criticized President Bush for continuing to be involved in Iraq, but for not getting involved Darfur. Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is running for President.

Joe Biden on <i>Meet the Press</i> <font size=-2>(Source: NBC)</font>
Joe Biden on Meet the Press (Source: NBC)

Biden repeatedly told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that the Iraq war was a civil war. Here's how he put it, at first describing the bill that just passed in the Senate:

"[The bill says] Mr. President, you've got to start moving combat troops out of harm's way now. The whole function of this is to try to get this president to change his strategy here. He operates on the premise that if we put enough troops in the middle of a civil war, we can give breathing room to a group of people in Baghdad to get together and form a strong central government that's a democracy. That will not happen in your lifetime and mine. I said that four years ago, I say it now.

The only rational purpose for troops in Iraq now - train Iraqis prevent al-Qaeda from occupying large chunks of territory, and we should begin to decentralize the government. That's the underlying essence of what the language in this bill is about. It says though start now to redeploy and have as a target to get out by April 1 the bulk of your combat troops. I strongly subscribe to that view. ...

We're trying to fundamentally change what this President is using our forces for. He's in the midst of a civil war, with the flawed objective of establishing a strong central government. That will not happen. And we have an obligation to push back as much and as often and as thoroughly as we can.

[Russert said that Biden had repeatedly changed his mind.]

The problem here is this is also a moving target. I also called for more troops in Iraq. I called for more troops on this program a couple of years ago. That was in order to stop a civil war. Once the civil war began, I was on the program after that, saying, all the troops in the world cannot settle a civil war."

OK, that's what he said at the beginning of the interview. Here's what he said later in the interview:

"The conduct of this war has so badly damaged our readiness; the conduct of this war and the blood and resources we've had to expend has limited our credibility around the world, and limited our flexibility in terms of the use of force. Here we are - we could end the carnage in Darfur tomorrow."

This is hardly the first time that Joe Biden has called for an invasion of Sudan's Darfur region. Here are excerpts from a news story from April 11:

"Biden calls for military force in Darfur

'I think it's time to put force on the table and use it'

WASHINGTON - Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Democratic presidential candidate, called Wednesday for the use of military force to end the suffering in Darfur.

"I would use American force now," Biden said at a hearing before his committee. "I think it's not only time not to take force off the table. I think it's time to put force on the table and use it."

In advocating use of military force, Biden said senior U.S. military officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S. troops could "radically change the situation on the ground now."

"Let's stop the bleeding," Biden said. "I think it's a moral imperative."

Under U.N.-backed agreements approved last fall, a hybrid force of 22,000 African Union and U.N. peacekeepers are to be deployed in Darfur to protect and provide relief for 2.5 million Darfurians who have been forced from their homes and are now confined to camps.

"We must set a hard deadline for Khartoum to accept a hybrid U.N.-AU force," Biden said."

Now, let's see. Biden calls Bush "incompetent" because he sent too few troops into Iraq in 2003, but now he wants to send just 2,500 US troops into Darfur to stop a civil war against 2.5 million Darfurians, even though the United Nations had called for at least 22,000 troops.

He says over and over and over things like, "All the troops in the world cannot settle a civil war," and now he's criticizing Bush for not trying to settle the Darfur civil war with 2500 troops.

You know, dear reader, I realize that I get criticized for calling these people "idiots," but I just can't help but express my sheer contempt for people like this. Is he just lying, and knows that what' he's saying is crap? That's quite possible - after all, he IS a politician. But let's suppose that he actually believes what he's saying.

Biden certainly doesn't know what's going on in Iraq. We know from articles in the Congressional Quarterly that Washington journalists, analysts and politicians have no idea what's going on in Iraq. They don't know the differences between Sunni and Shi'ite, they don't know that al-Qaeda is operating in Iraq, and they don't know that al-Qaeda is a Sunni organization. So Biden is just one of the mob in that regard.

The mob in Washington, including Biden, are also unaware that the Darfur genocide is a civil war, that began in the 1970s between farmers and camel herders, escalated slowly during the 1980s and 1990s, and became a genocidal crisis civil war in the early 2000s. The Washington politicians and journalists know even less about Darfur than they know about Iraq, and we know from the Congressional Quarterly articles that they know nothing about Iraq.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, putting American troops into the middle of the Darfur civil war would be a total disaster for America. This is a real crisis civil war, in fact the only generational crisis war going on in the world today (though the Sri Lanka civil war will be there soon ). In 2004, when the Darfur situation first gained international focus, I wrote that the U.N. is completely irrelevant to the Darfur genocide, and that it would not be stopped until it's run its course. That has continued true to this day. The genocide has gotten worse, and has even spread into neighboring countries Chad and Central African Republic.

On the other hand, the Iraq war is NOT a civil war, as I've written many times, and described in a lengthy analysis of the current situation in Iraq. Those car and truck bombs that lead the news every day are the work of al-Qaeda, and the suicide bombers themselves are all foreigners (Saudi and Jordanian), almost without exception.

So Senator Biden wants to remove all our troops from Iraq, which is NOT having a civil war, and allow the invading al-Qaeda force to take complete control of the country, or at least of Anbar province in the West. And he wants to move the troops into Darfur, where there IS a genocidal civil war going on, with millions of people on both sides.

You know, Tim Russert could have asked Biden why he wants to move the troops out of Iraq into the civil war in Darfur. That's certainly the question I would have asked, if I had been interviewing Senator Biden. But he didn't, and that's because Russert doesn't know what's going on in the world either.

In the Sunday interview on Meet the Press, Biden kept babbling about a "strong centralized government," which he said was impossible in Iraq. Thus his proposal is to partition Iraq into three autonomous regions, the west for the Sunnis (Anbar province for al-Qaeda), the south for the Shia, and the north for the Kurds, a proposal of monumental stupidity, as I wrote about last week in my article about Biden's soulmate, NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

It is worth mentioning again that Biden's proposal is COMPLETELY anti-historical. Biden talks about "going back in history," but by that he means three or four years. If you go back a little further to Iraq's crisis wars, then you find something quite different. In the 1920s-30s, in the aftermath of the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920, you find that Iraqis put their Iraqi identity ahead of the sectarian religious identities. Next, in the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, all Iraqis, including the Shi'ites, fought on the side of Iraq, and did not join with Iran.

But here's what Biden said on Sunday about getting to a partition of Iraq:

"What this is about is we have lost 3300 dead, we have 24000 wounded, and we still have an opportunity to deal with the possiblity of not trading the dictator for chaos, but it will not happen unless we have a serious change in our operating strategic premise. And that is we have to decentralize, not centralize this government. We've got to get the world community in on owning part of this, by calling an international conference to put pressure on the regional powers. If we don't do those two things, I don't see a happy ending to this whole undertaking. We may be forced into a position where there's no option, at some point, to withdraw and try to contain the chaos."

Now all of this is total guesswork by Biden, who is completely clueless about what's going on today, let alone what might happen in the future. But this remark shows that his ignorance is truly cavernous, because the "international conference" he's talking about is already scheduled.

There is an international security conference on Iraq on May 3-4, to be held in Egypt. The big news on Saturday is that Iran is going to attend this conference, where previously they had refused. While Joe Biden was talking on Meet the Press, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on the other Sunday talk shows answering questions about this very conference.

Now, how stupid is Joe Biden, when he calls for an international conference when Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi authorities had already set one up for next week? You see what I mean when I say Biden is a moron?

And, of course, Tim Russert might have challenged Biden at that point. "Why, Senator Biden, are you not mentioning the international conference that's already scheduled in Egypt next week?" But probably Russert doesn't know about it either.

One more point: If an international conference is such a great idea, why didn't he propose one for Darfur, instead of wanting to have the U.S. invade Sudan? Well actually, there have been international conferences in Darfur -- in the United Nations Security Council -- and they've been a total waste of time. If international conferences don't work in Darfur, why on earth does Biden's tortured logic propose one for Iraq? Really, this guy makes "stupid" a compliment.

I'm sorry, I'm just so contemptous of people like Joe Biden and Tim Russert. These are supposed to be our nation's leaders, and every time I see them, it sickens me how pathetically ignorant they are of even the simplest facts about the world.

Here's another of Biden's concepts, as he explained it to Tim Russert:

"[President Bush] is in the midst of a civil war, with the flawed objective of establishing a strong central government. That will not happen. ...

There's never been a time in history that I can think of where there's been a self-sustaining cycle of sectarian violence, that has ended even remotely reasonably without a federated system. Never."

He delivered the last sentence with special emphasis and sternness. I don't know what he's talking about -- and neither does he -- but the American Civil War was finally settled with a strong central government. The Cambodian civil war in the 1970s and the Rwanda civil war in 1994 were also settled with a strong central government. I think Biden was just babbling random words.

Let's address one more of Joe Biden's topics, because it raises some interesting theoretical issues:

"You know what happened in the Balkans. Once there was a political agreement reached as to the separation of the parties, from Brcko [pronounced Birchko] to Sarajevo to Srebrenica, there was an incredible diminution in the internecine warfare. Why? Because in the context of an overall political settlement. What this is all about is manoeuvering -- each of these groups -- to determine who is going to call the shots."

Now, Biden's words are total nonsense, and he has no idea what he's talking about, but even Donald Duck occasionally quacks something out that raises some interesting theoretical issues.

The comparison of the Iraq war to the Vietnam war has been troublesome to the Democrats, because after the Americans evacuated Saigon, there was a massive genocidal civil war in "the killing fields of Cambodia" that killed millions of people. The Democrats seem to realize that a similar outcome in the Mideast would be disastrous, so Biden is presenting a different comparison: He saying that we should set up an international conference, like the one we set up in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995, at the end of the Bosnian war. After that, as he points out, things settled down.

Let's discuss the theoretical factors affecting his proposal in the Vietnam War, the Bosnian War, the Darfur war and the Iraq war:

I've been saying for years that, despite the nonsense going on in the clown circus Congress today by Biden and others, my expectation is that American forces will be in Iraq until the Clash of Civilizations world war begins, at which time they may be forced to leave because they'll be needed elsewhere. Once that happens, Darfur-type genocides will be the norm, rather than the exception. (29-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Ethnic Russians rioting in Estonia after Soviet statue was moved

Some of the harshest World War II memories are being stirred, thanks to an Estonian government decision to move a controversial statue that honors Soviet soldiers who defeated the Nazis.

The Talinn statue depicts a tired Russian soldier returning home after defeating the Nazis. <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
The Talinn statue depicts a tired Russian soldier returning home after defeating the Nazis. (Source: BBC)

The riots began on Thursday evening in the capital city Talinn, where the statue is located, and spread to other Estonian cities on Friday evening. There were hundreds of injuries, and dozens of ethnic Russians have been arrested.

The statue was located near a busy intersection in the heart of Talinn, and has created a public order problem, according to Estonian officials, because it is flash point between Estonian and Russian nationalists. The plan is to move the statue to a military cemetary on the outskirts of the city, and also to dig up and move the graves of Russian soldiers buried near the statue. The statue was moved to an undisclosed location in the middle of the night on Friday morning.

Estonia was the "Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic" until 1991, when it gained independence from the Soviet Union. Ethnic Russians, which make up 25% of the population, have complained about discrimination since then, and conflicts between Estonians and Russians have been increasing. At the same time, relations between Estonia and Russia have been getting less cordial. Today, Estonia is part of the European Union, and relations between Russia and the EU have been getting less cordial as well.

Estonians as a distinct ethnic group have existed for millennia, but they have been surrounded by hostile powers. Denmark took control with the Battle of Lyndanisse in 1219, and shared control with the Germans, reducing the Estonians to serfs.

From the Estonian point of view, the seminal battle of the last millennium was St. George's Night Uprising, occurring on April 23, 1343. In this genocidal crisis war, Estonian peasants killed thousands of Germans, their masters and landlords. However, the Germans reestablished control by 1346.

Estonia - Ethnic Estonians have been surrounded by hostile powers for their entire history
Estonia - Ethnic Estonians have been surrounded by hostile powers for their entire history

The Livonian War in 1561 gave control of Estonia to Sweden. The Great Northern War of 1721 imposed Russian rule on Estonia. In the mid to late 1800s, an Estonian nationalism developed, and the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed on February 24, 1918, after the Bolshevik Revolution ended Tsarist Russia.

The period that's being relived today began in 1940, when Josef Stalin's Red Army reoccupied Estonia in June 1940, and made it part of the Soviet Union. On a one-night operation, June 13-14, 1941, thousands of Estonians, mostly women and children, were deported to Siberia, while tens of thousands of men were forcibly relocated to Russia to fight in the army. This period of bloody Soviet rule left a deep mark on the Estonians, and so the German Nazis who invaded later in 1941 were greeted as liberators. The Nazis were just as brutal as the Soviets, but when the Red Army returned in September, 1944, some 70,000 Estonians fled the country, and formed a diaspora throughout Europe and North America. After the war, Stalin's Soviet brutality continued as before the war.

Estonia remained under Soviet control until the days of the "Riga Barricades" in 1991. Soviet tanks and paratroopers first killed protesters in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and then in Riga, the capital of Latvia, after the people had built concrete barricades all around Riga to stop the Soviet army. In the end, as the Soviet Union collapsed, the three Baltic states became independent nations.

Today, as Estonia is well into a new generational Crisis era, it is haunted by ghosts of "Nazi sympathizers" who opposed the Soviets, and a substantial Russian minority, mainly descendants of Russians whom Stalin had forced to relocate to Estonia after the war, and who consider themselves to be victims as well.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a familiar fault line situation that leads to a new genocidal crisis war. In fact, there is a similar fault line between ethnic Russians and natives of other former Soviet satellite countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Generational Dynamics predicts that, in this region of the world, these will all be important fault lines in the Clash of Civilizations world war. (28-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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China's economy grows at 11.1%, continues to explode

And champagne corks pop once more, as the Dow tops 13,000.

If you even heard this story last week, you probably thought it was "good news": China's economy grew at an annual rate of 11.1% last quarter.

The reason that even Chinese officials are expressing dismay at this figure is because it represents a total failure to slow down the overheated economy. The extremely high growth figure doesn't represent real growth of Chinese industries. Instead, it represents pumped up liquidity and an increasingly credit-based economy, just like in the United States.

China's economy has been growing at near 10% annual for an extraordinarily long time -- since the early 1980s -- but for almost five years now, China's leaders have become alarmed that the growth has been too fast, and has created severe imbalances.

And yet, China's attempts to slow down its economy have been a total failure. China's growth not only has not been slowing down -- it's been accelerating -- from 9.5% in 2004 to 9.9% in 2005, 10.7% in 2006, and now to 11.1% in the first quarter of 2007.

Recall that in March, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said that China is "unsteady, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable." The overheated economy is one of the principal reasons.

Stephen Roach, the chief economist at Morgan Stanley, who is well-liked by the Chinese, and who was just promoted to be Morgan Stanley's Asia chairman, was evidently really shocked by the new growth figures.

Here's what Roach wrote in January:

"At the same time, I also believe that China is serious in its current cooling-off campaign. I expect it to be surprisingly successful in slowing down an overheated -- and commodity-intensive -- investment sector. If I’m right, that could prove to have far more challenging implications for the demand side of the commodity super-cycle than most expect."

And now, here's what he wrote last week:

"For those of us who have been steadfast in our optimism on China, the blistering first-quarter GDP report throws down the gauntlet. The government has no choice but to move quickly and aggressively to rein in the excesses of this white-hot economy. To stay bullish on China – and that remains my view – policy makers must do a much better job in establishing traction with both the bank lending cycle and the real economy. China has no other choice. ...

In the aftermath of this blistering 1Q07 GDP report, there is considerable focus in the markets on a new round of monetary tightening that will be needed to bring the Chinese economy back under greater control. While I have no doubt that additional actions will be taken by China’s central bank, I continue to believe that such moves are largely window dressing for a still blended economy. Fueled mainly by the combination of excessive bank lending and internal cash flow, China’s runaway investment boom has not responded to repeated tightening actions by the monetary authorities. That’s certainly not for any lack of trying. During the past year, bank reserve ratios have been increased seven times while domestic lending rates have been hiked four times. But these actions haven’t put a dent in bank lending growth, which was still surging at a 16% y-o-y rate in March 2007. ...

As is typically the case in this still-blended economy, the real tightening is likely to come in the form of administrative edicts issued by the modern-day counterpart of China’s central planning agency – the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). By setting stringent criteria for project approval on a case-by-case basis, the NDRC has both the clout and the tools needed to exercise much tighter control over the investment process. I had expected a new round of administrative actions to be unveiled around midyear – tied to increasingly stringent requirements on energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. But in the aftermath of the blistering first-quarter GDP report, I now believe that the next series of administrative edicts will be announced sooner than that, followed by additional actions on energy conservation and pollution. The longer China waits, the harder it will be to strop its rapidly moving investment train.

From where I sit, the Chinese government has no choice other than to up the ante on tightening and macro control."

In essence, Roach is saying this: China has totally failed to slow down the economy using standard macroeconomic controls. Now what China has to do is assume full dictatorial controls as in the days of Mao Zedong, and force businesses to do as their told, or be locked up for 20 years. No wonder the Chinese love Roach.

The problem is that it won't work.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, China's economy has increasingly been in an unraveling bubble. The cause is generational -- large masses of people are abusing credit because their generation has no memory of the last financial crisis, in the early 1930s.

And Communist nations are just as subject to generational cycles as capitalist nations are.

It's certainly ironic that China today suffers from exactly the same list of complaints that Karl Marx claimed only happened to capitalist nations: sharp class distinctions with the wealthy élite class exploiting the poverty-stricken lower class; vulnerability to business cycles; and a restive peasant class on the verge of total rebellion. Whenever I talk about China, I always have the temptation to scream, "Workers of China, unite!! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"

There's more to the unraveling of the Chinese economy than just GDP growth.

Recall that on February 26, I posted an article describing that the Shanghai stock market bubble appeared close to bursting. Manic Chinese day-traders would sell their homes and borrow money to invest in the stock market. Then the Shanghai stock market fell 8.8% in one day, causing a brief worldwide panic.

Well, the Chinese learned nothing from that experience. The Shanghai market has recovered that loss, and Chinese investors have returned to full-scale mania. Get these figures, as reported by China Daily:

My view is that China's investors are much more manic than America's investors.

The news about China's first quarter growth is stunning, though few people seem to realize it. This represents a total failure of China's macroeconomic policy, since they've been trying for years to bring down the growth rate to 7% in a so-called "soft landing." They've failed year after year, and the situation is getting worse, with more and more dislocations and worse imbalances. The Beijing government knows that things are going wrong, and they're getting increasingly desperate to change things, but they can't.

Even so, I don't believe that the Chinese have even the vaguest idea what's coming. In America, we had the 1930s Depression, and even though most people believe it can't happen again, at least there are small minority that know it's coming.

But in China, as far as I can tell, they don't have any idea at all what's going to hit them. They did have a financial crisis in the early 1930s, but it wasn't at the scale of the Great Depression, and anyway they blame the Great Depression on the evils of capitalism, while their managed Communist economy is presumably immune to it. And as I said, they learned nothing from the Shanghai collapse on February 27. It's going to be a huge and disastrous shock to them when it happens. My personal belief is that the most likely trigger of the coming world financial crisis will be triggered not by Wall Street but by China.

One of the questions that web site readers ask me most often is this: "You're predicting a worldwide financial crisis, but you never give a precise date, and so you can always say that it's still coming. That way, you're never wrong."

This is a fair question. I've answered it before, but the China situation gives me a perfect opportunity to answer it again.

The prediction of a worldwide panic and financial crisis is not the only prediction I've made. Implicitly or explicitly, I've made many other predictions that can be verified on an almost daily basis.

These other predictions have to do with the values of trend variables. I've shown that the stock market is far overpriced by historical standards, using both exponential growth forecasting methods and mean reversion techniques with price/earnings ratios.

Wednesday's rise to above Dow 13,000 is not good news, because it makes the stock market more overpriced than ever, with the result that the stock market is now overpriced by a factor of 252%. (Dow 13089.89 = 252% long-term trend value, 5193.) At the peak of the stock market prior to the crash of 1929, the stock market was overpriced by a factor of 255%.

I've shown that other trend variables -- exponential growth of credit usage, exponential growth of trade deficit, exponential growth of hedge funds and derivatives -- show no signs of leveling off.

The point is that mainstream macroeconomic theory has predicted that all of these trend values should have corrected themselves years ago. Instead, they keep getting worse. If any of them started improving as mainstream macroeconomics says they should, then it would be possible to claim that I and Generational Dynamics are wrong. But it never happens.

This is the proof that we're headed for a financial crisis: That as long as these trend variables are growing exponentially, with no sign of leveling off and getting better, then a financial disaster is inevitable. And then by comparing today's abuse of credit with similar situations just before the crash of 1929, just before the 1637 crash of the Tulipomania bubble and just before the Panic of 1857. Based on these historical comparisons, I can credibly make the claim that we're headed for a crash, and it's going to happen sooner rather than later.

This new situation with China provides me with one more example.

The best macroeconomic experts in the world are available to help China. But they've failed repeatedly to achieve anything. Even though they've applied macroeconomic controls to slow the economy down, it keeps speeding up. This isn't an accident. The generational forces are too strong; standard macroeconomic controls cannot succeed.

This is a point that I keep making: That mainstream economics has repeated failed, over and over, to predict or explain anything that's happened since the 1990s bubble, including the bubble itself. Mainstream macroeconomics has been a failure.

Last year's article on "System Dynamics and Macroeconomics" shows how macroeconomic theory can be made able to predict and explain more of the real world than mainstream theory. However, since I'm a "nobody," I can't get anybody to pay attention to it. But I can assure you, dear reader, that this theoretical development is completely valid.

In March, I posted some additional theoretical work, in my article based on research by Harvard economist Robert J. Barro. The point of this work is that shows how macroeconomic theory, enhanced with Systems Dynamics, predicts and explains periodic international financial crises.

So I've used several methodologies to prove that we're headed for a major international financial crisis. The only thing I can't provide is an exact date. (And, let's face it, if I had a date then I wouldn't tell you guys; I'd keep it to myself and use it to make some money.)

China is indeed "unsteady, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable." There are well over 100 million itinerant works, income disparities are growing, and rebellions are occurring more often. A nationwide rebellion could begin at any time, but it probably won't happen as long as China is in its bubble economy. Once the bubble bursts, and hundreds of millions of Chinese become unemployed, a war will not be far off. (26-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Iranian police swoop down on women with loose headscarves

Sorry, I just can't stop laughing at this one.

I'm reminded of the lyrics from the song "At the Big Check Apron Ball" from the Broadway show "New Girl In Town":

    Oh, in these modern days
    When ladies show their ankles
    What's there to keep a poor lad, poor lad,
    From going sim-puh-ly mad?

An obvious criminal at large on the streets of Tehran <font size=-2>(Source:</font>
An obvious criminal at large on the streets of Tehran (Source:

Well, that appears to be exactly what's happened to the poor lad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, as he's sent out his police officers to enforce the Islamic dress code that was imposed with the Islamic revolution in 1979.

A police bus screeches to a halt. The officers jump out, and swoop down on the women with loose headscarves or whose coats are tight enough to outline their bodies.

In some cases, they just warn the women to dress more modestly. At other times, one or two dozen women might be piled into a bus, and taken to the police station for more thorough, uh, questioning.

The women are furious. "What they do is really insulting," said one 23-year-old college student. "You simply can't tell people what to wear. They don't understand that use of force only brings hatred toward them, not love."

This is all very interesting from the point of view of Generational Dynamics.

Here's what I wrote in 2005, just after Ahmadinejad was first elected:

"A particular feature of most awakening eras is the rise of gender issues. Remember how American college girls burned their bras in the 1960s? Well, maybe Iranian girls won't do the same (or maybe they will!), but they'll make their opinions felt in other ways. And since Ahmadinejad obviously considers himself a ladies man, they're going to target him specifically."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran<font size=-2>(Source: )</font>
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran(Source: )

Iran is in a generational Awakening era, just like America in the 1960s-70s. What happens during Awakening eras is that young people rebel against their parents, and that almost always includes some kind of gender component. We had our "women's lib" in the 1960s, and Ahmadinejad is just starting to get into trouble with women in Iran's current Awakening era.

Iran is entering a very tumultuous time politically, as I wrote in an analysis last month, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under heavy fire. He's receiving heavy international criticism for his nuclear policy, and many Iranians are criticizing him as well. Iran was embarassed by last month's Iranian hostage crisis. Ahmadinejad got nothing out of last summer's Lebanon war, despite spending huge amounts of money to fund Hizbollah, and Iranians are furious that the economy is getting progressively worse.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a very dangerous person, and he may yet trigger a war in the Mideast. He may have gone "sim-pul-ly mad," as the song lyrics suggest.

However, for the time being at least, we can chuckle and enjoy the fury of Iranian women as the police swoop down on those criminals who expose a few strands of hair. (25-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Separatist rebels in Ethiopia attack Chinese oil facility, killing 74

To the Africans, it's the Chinese who are the "imperialists" now

Gunmen attacked a Chinese oil field in Jijiga, in Ethiopia on Tuesday <font size=-2>(Source:</font>
Gunmen attacked a Chinese oil field in Jijiga, in Ethiopia on Tuesday (Source:

200 gunmen attacked a Chinese oil field in a remote area of Ethiopia on Tuesday.

The event was described as "a massacre," as the gunmen overwhelmed more than 100 Ethiopian soldiers protected in the field in a fierce 50 minute gun battle.

According to Xinhua, 65 Ethiopian employees and 9 Chinese workers were killed in the attack. Seven other Chinese workers were kidnapped by the gunmen, indicating that the incident may not be over. The facility was run by the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau under the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation.

The oil field is located in JiJiga in the province of Ogaden, which occupies all of eastern Ethiopia. This province has been bitterly disputed in the past in wars between Somalia and Ethiopia, and the region contains both Somalis and Ethiopians.

The perpetrators were the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a terrorist group seeking to separate Ogaden from Ethiopia. They took credit for the attack in a press release on their web site. In it, they said:

"The ONLF has informed the Chinese government in the past that it would be unwise to pursue discussions with the [Ethiopian government] as it was not in a position to guarantee the safety of any firm operating in Ogaden nor was it in a position to enter into contracts with foreign companies for Oil exploration in Ogaden. Unfortunately this warning fell on deaf ears.

We urge all international oil companies to refrain from entering into agreements with the Ethiopian government as it is not in effective control of the Ogaden despite the claims it makes."

What makes this so startling, of course, is that we have a rebel group directing its fire at the Chinese rather than the Americans.

In the last decade, China has been making deals with various African governments to exploit the continent's massive oil and mineral deposits.

What's happening to China is what always happens when a powerful country makes a deal to exploit the resources of a less powerful country. It's starts out being a "win-win" situation, because the powerful country gets the resources it needs, while the less powerful country gets money and jobs that it wouldn't otherwise have gotten.

But, no matter what the deal is, sooner or later the less powerful country is going to feel that they're being taken advantage of, and they turn against what they now call the "imperialist power." This has happened to European countries, and of course it's happened to the United States many times.

Now it's China's turn, and it's only going to get worse for the Chinese. China is increasingly being called "imperialist," and the Chinese workers are viewed as often disrespectful of African workers. Recently, 15 Chinese workers were kidnapped in Nigeria, and other Chinese workers were attacked in Kenya. The Ethiopia attack is the largest so far.

Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa

The level of conflict has been increasing steadily on the horn of Africa for a year, now. The Ethiopians were at war in Somalia last year when Islamist groups took power, and the Islamists were forced to retreat into Kenya.

Since that time, however, the Ethiopian forces have withdrawn, and clan warfare has returned to Somalia, creating an enormous humanitarian crisis.

Up until now, it's just been African forces in the horn of Africa, with occasional support from Americans. So far, there are no Chinese armed forces in the region.

China isn't used to dealing with situations like the one they're faced with now. China is into a generational Crisis era, a time when anxiety and panic tend to take over the population and the government. If China overreacts and sends armed forces into Africa, things could heat up pretty quickly.

Conflict risk level for next 6-12 months as of: 9-Feb-2006
W. Europe 1 Arab Israeli 3
Russia Caucasus 2 Kashmir 2
China 2 North Korea 2
Financial 3 Bird flu 3
Key: 1=green 1=Low risk 2=yellow 2=Med 3=red 3=High 4=black 4=Active

I've never put the Darfur war (in the west of Sudan) or any African wars on my little risk graphic, because my risk graphic is intended to depict only regions where a regional war is likely to spread to a major war, and then a world war. My feeling has been that as terrible as the Darfur war was, for example, it was extremely unlikely to expand to pull in other countries, and spread into Europe or Asia.

If China overreacts and sends forces into Africa, that could change. In the meantime, there must be a great deal of handwringing going on in the hallowed halls of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. (25-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman shows ignorance and evasiveness about al-Qaeda in Iraq

In an interview that appeared on CNN on Sunday, renowned New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman spoke with anchor Wolf Blitzer about the Iraq war.

He's supposed to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about what's going on in the Mideast, but the interview showed why I have so little respect for him and other journalists.

By way of introduction, Wolf Blitzer quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who, last week, said:

"I believe myself that the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the President knows — that this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq."

As I've said many times, it's an absolute disgrace that many journalists and congressmen have committed their careers and credibility to America's defeat and humiliation in Iraq. These people are openly aiding and abetting the enemy, in a manner that some might consider to be treasonous.

But it's worth pointing out why there is "extreme violence in Iraq," as I discussed at length in my recent analysis. The violence is being caused by suicide car and truck bombers and, as I showed with numerous quotes from Arab and American sources, the suicide bombers are NOT Iraqis, with almost no excepts. Suicide bombers are being imported from militant al-Qaeda sympathizers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The reason for the violence is that an outside army of terrorists -- known as "al-Qaeda in Iraq" -- is setting off one of these violent bombs every day because they know that morons like mainstream media reports and Harry Reid will cave in to al-Qaeda's wishes. It's sickening.

There was some humor in the situation, at least. Reid's statement turns out to be a major gaffe since -- guess what? -- the American people don't want to just give up and go down in defeat. Reid was forced to back off and make some mealy-mouthed statement about changing course, and other Democrats ran from Reid to the hills. Maybe there's hope for Congress yet.

Thomas Friedman interviewed by Wolf Blitzer <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Thomas Friedman interviewed by Wolf Blitzer (Source: CNN)

So anyway, here are some excerpts of what Thomas Friedman said, according to the CNN transcript:

"Well, to me, Wolf, there's one metric to measure the surge by, and that is whether it's producing a political solution that will allow us to remove our troops. ...

Right now, I don't see that negotiation happening, let alone a conclusion that you say "Wow, the parties are really coming together. They are taking advantage of this, you know, little breathing spell to come together for a solution." And that's really what I'm waiting for.

To me, the metric of the surge is not whether the violence is down 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent. It is, are the parties coming together? ...

I mean you've got Shiites, Sunnis, the Kurds, whether they have the will to really come together. You know, when I first heard the surge idea, Wolf, my reaction was -- you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of a couple. They get married. The marriage doesn't quite take and they say "You know what? Let's have a baby." You know, somehow that if you put more pressure on this, somehow that will come together. ...

And I feel that about the surge, that unless the underlying thing is there, the willingness of the three parties to cut a deal to share power, revenue and space together, there is no possible solution. ...

I mean, I certainly think that we're on our very, very, very, very last legs. You know, we certainly haven't won, that's for sure. And I see no sign right now that we're winning because the question I'm looking for is, is that political deal coming together? And I don't see it."

You can see that he's gone on at length without mentioning al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Does Thomas Friedman believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq is irrelevant? Does he believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq can't be defeated? Why doesn't he mention this major foreign force?

I certainly don't know whether "al-Qaeda in Iraq" could be driven out of Iraq, but I'm almost certain of this: If it could be, then we'd win the Iraq war. It's al-Qaeda in Iraq that's the root cause of the problem.

The reason that I have so little respect for the Thomas Friedman's of the world is that he never even mentions al-Qaeda. I'll come back to this.

Here's how he responds when Blitzer asks him what would happen if we just pull out:

"But now let's put that aside. OK, what happens if we do leave? No one really knows, Wolf. One can make an argument that all, you know, heck is going to break loose in that part of the world. That's certainly one scenario.

Another scenario says there will be a period of fighting. The parties will eventually reach an equilibrium, and we may even have a better chance for a deal. I'm not here to tell you I know which it will be. All I'm telling you is, the president doesn't know either."

Now, I'll give this to Friedman -- at least he hasn't bought into the nonsense civil war scenario. You don't hear much about a civil war in Iraq any more. The morons who were so sure a few months ago that it was a civil war have now seen that it hasn't gone that way. You'd think that this would make some of these people apologize for their stupid remarks in the past, but no such luck.

Friedman acknowledges the possibility, not only is there no civil war, but that there are scenarios where the Iraqi people would reach a political solution on their own. I doubt that Friedman knows anything about generational theory, because that's exactly the conclusion to be drawn from the fact that Iraq is in a generational Awakening era.

So I would actually agree with Friedman, except for one thing: al-Qaeda in Iraq. If we pulled out, they'd just pour more forces in.

But Friedman is very carefully not mentioning al-Qaeda, so finally Blitzer asked him about it specifically.

Blitzer played a clip of George Bush talking about Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Blitzer asked, "Maybe al Qaeda wasn't a major player in Iraq before the war, but the argument is, it is right now."

Here's Friedman's reply:

"Well, there's no question al-Qaeda is there. They're having an impact. The question though, Wolf, is to what degree are we part of the problem, and to what degree are we part of -- our leaving would be part of the solution?

Our presence there clearly attracts certain forces to Iraq. There's no question about it. Now, are we 30 percent of that? Are we 70 percent?

In other words, if we leave, to what extent does the violence go down? To what extent do we create a context where Iraqi Sunnis would want to take these people on? I just don't know, but neither does the president.

So he's casting this all in one way, as if it's about winning. There is no more winning to be done there, OK? All that's left is to protect American interests and to be able to get out in a way that leaves some chance, some chance, Wolf, that we'll get some equilibrium in place there that won't destabilize the whole region. I think that's all that's left."

This is about dumbest response imaginable.

Al-Qaeda is active in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Egypt (through the Muslim Brotherhood), Somalia, and others. And it was just two weeks ago that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the group formerly named GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat), shocked Algiers and Casablanca with multiple coordinated bombings.

GSPC, which is centered in the former French colony of Algeria, has all but declared war on France. According to an analysis by Debka, GPSC and al-Qaeda are determined to do anything they can to derail the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy. According to the analysis,

"The al Qaeda jihadists view Sarkozy as a dangerous enemy of radical Islamic organizations in France, who must be prevented from attaining presidential office, exactly like Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar. His foreign policy is likely to friendlier to the United States than that of Royal.

Sarkozy is viewed as foe by millions of Muslims living in France from his tough record as interior minister. Royal in contrast wooed the Muslim vote with promises of advantages. A terrorist attack that brings the Socialist contender to power will give al Qaeda a huge prestige boost with French Muslims."

The reference to Spain's José María Aznar is about the Madrid subway bombings, masterminded by al-Qaeda, that occurred on March 11, 2004. Those bombings are considered responsible for Aznar's loss in the 2004 election. The Debka report says that al-Qaeda is hoping to repeat that "success" in Paris in the next two weeks.

And speaking of subway bombings, let's not forget about al-Qaeda's other "successes" -- the 9/11 attacks in America, and the 7/7/2005 bombing of the London subways.

Al-Qaeda has been expanding and gaining strength for at least two decades, and it continues to do so. Why on earth does Thomas Friedman imagine that al-Qaeda will withdraw from Iraq if America does? What planet is he on?

So, I'm in a familiar situation, as I try to decide: Is Friedman stupid or a liar? I can't be sure, but I don't think he's lying; that leaves "stupid." And as we've pointed out many times, most Washington journalists and politicians don't even know that al-Qaeda is a Sunni organization, and if you don't know that, then you don't know anything.

Here's one more interesting extract from the interview. Blitzer asked him which politician he thought was the most intelligent about the Iraq issues. His answer: "I think Joe Biden's been on top of this from the very beginning. ... So if there's anyone I felt in sync with from the very beginning, I would say it's Joe Biden."

Now, Biden has this truly moronic proposal of splitting Iraq up into three countries -- one for Sunnis, one for Shi'ites, and one for Kurds. It's so ridiculous that I've never even bothered to write about it. In the first place, there isn't a snowflake's chance in hell that the Iraqi government would ever agree to it. Second, there would be no way to split of Baghdad. Third, if the Kurds ever got their own nation, then a large Turkish army would come over the border pouring into Kirkuk.

So this is the guy that Friedman identifies with. Why am I not surprised?

I've previously pointed out this web page on that shows that Friedman has made one error after another. He's made one incorrect prediction after another. Unfortunately, he never seems to learn anything, and neither do the people who keep inviting him back for interviews.

Here's what I wrote on August 19, 2003, just after al-Qaeda had bombed U.N. headquarters in Iraq:

"That's not to say there aren't dangers, and here we'll point out two major ones:

First, the terrorist attacks may continue and get worse. Terrorism is more a political technique rather than a military technique. Al Qaeda may succeed in increasing the level of terrorist attacks in order to influence American public opinion.

And second, the terrorist acts may presage a larger regional war involving the Palestinian Arabs and the al Qaeda against Americans in Iraq. Iraq is in an awakening period, but the Palestine region is just about to enter a crisis period. Some analysts claim that the terrorist acts are being perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs and "Mujahadeen" being paid thousands of dollars each, funded by Saddam and Osama bin Laden, arriving from Syria and Saudi Arabia.

The really dangerous scenario is that large numbers of Palestinian and "mujahadeen" terrorists will be motivated by identity group relationships to move into Iraq as a theatre of war against the Americans. That isn't happening now, but it's one of several possible scenarios that may unfold in the Mideast region during the next few months and years."

This is what I wrote in 2003, and it's exactly what happened. Unlike Thomas Friedman, I have not gotten any predictions wrong when it was based on the Generational Dynamics forecasting methodology.

Now, as I said, I do not know whether "al-Qaeda in Iraq" can be driven out of Iraq by the surge, but my expectation is that American forces will remain in Iraq until the Clash of Civilizations world war begins. After that, they'll be withdrawn because they'll be needed elsewhere. (24-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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South Korea gives in to North Korea demands, and supplies rice unconditionally

So far, North Korea seems to be reneging on its promises to dismantle its nuclear program.

So Seoul's announcement on Sunday to provide 400,000 tons of rice to the North in late May represents a complete diplomatic victory by the North Koreans.

The South Korean politicians were "euphoric" in February, when the six-party talks reached an accord that would give aid to North Korea and North Korea would dismantle its nuclear program. South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, said he's expecting a "very easy implementation" of this accord.

Well, that hasn't happened. As each day goes by, it becomes increasingly apparent that the North Koreans snookered everyone (again), and they have no intention whatsoever of dismantling their nuclear program. This will be no surprise to regular readers of this web log, since I've said as much many times, but it apparently will be a surprise to the South Koreans.

Now, to be fair, there's been a hitch. For reasons that I never really figured out, $25 million in frozen North Korean funds remained stuck in a Macau bank because of some mixup between the State Dept. and the Dept. of Commerce. But that mixup has been fixed, the money was released to North Korea two weeks ago, and the North Koreans have no more excuses.

The South Koreans are, understandably, extremely anxious about the North Korean situation, and are afraid of an invasion either by North Korean missiles or by North Korea's one-million man army. Thus, the North Koreans effectively have the ability to extort whatever they want from their southern neighbors.

That's what happened on Thursday, when the South called for the North to fulfill the terms of their denuclearization agreement. The North Korean delegation stormed out of the conference room to protest, and the South caved in and agreed to the North's demands.

As I wrote in my article about the South Korean euphoria over the agreement, the South's leaders are all from the 386 Generation -- corresponding to our Generation X -- and they're too young to know how to handle the nuances of the negotiations with the North. In the hand's of the North's president Kim Jong-il, the South's leaders are simply lambs being led to slaughter. (22-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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France heads for chaos in Sunday's first round election for President

Nicolas Sarkozy is leading in the polls, and he may even not hate America. Mon dieu!

The four major candidates <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
The four major candidates (Source: CNN)

As the French head for the polls on Sunday, nobody really has any idea who'll win. The polls indicate that almost half of French voters are undecided, and won't decide until they're in the voting booth.

But one thing is certain: A major generational change will take place in the new few weeks, as lame duck President Jacques Chirac, born in 1932, disappears from the political stage, most likely to be replaced by someone born after World War II.

Chirac lived through World War II. He remembers how quickly German tanks broke through French lines of defense and occupied the country, and how the country wasn't freed until tens of thousands of British and American soldiers lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy. And he remembers how humiliating all of that was to France.

The French remember, with enormous pride, the French Revolution of 1789, considered by many historians to be the greatest revolution in the history of humanity; and they remember, with equal pride, the glory days of Napoleon Bonaparte I, who made France the leading power in Europe in the early 1800s.

Since then, France hasn't done so well, having lost to Germany in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, having destroyed itself in the Paris Commune civil war that followed the Franco-Prussian war, and having been saved -- twice -- by the British and Americans in two world wars.

The French military hero of World War II was Charles de Gaulle, and he and his vision have dominated French politics ever since. His view was of renewed French grandeur, as in the days of Napoleon. This meant, in particular, a rejection of the "Anglo-Saxon model," and a resulting anti-British and anti-American brand of politics. I've mentioned several times on this web site that I used to travel to Europe on business in the 1970s, and it was always very clear to me that the Germans like Americans and the French hate Americans.

Since de Gaulle launched France's Fifth Republic in 1958, and became its first President (1958-1969), every subsequent French President, even those from the Socialist party, has been a "Gaullist" in philosophy, and a "Napoleonist." These include Georges Pompidou (1969-74), Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1974-81), François Mitterrand (1981-95), and Jacques Chirac (1995-present).

But now that will change enormously, and that's probably why almost half of the population says that they haven't decided whom to vote for on Sunday.

Nicolas Sarkozy

The candidate currently leading in the polls, is Nicolas Sarkozy. Chirac recently gave grudging support to Sarkozy, even though he said that Sarkozy is too much of an "Atlanticist," meaning that he doesn't hate America enough.

Sarkozy is a prolific writer, and he's not afraid to talk about France's grandeur in his new book, Ensemble (in English: Together). Here's how Sarkozy introduces this book:

"Near the end of this campaign, where so many subjects have been broached, and so many words have been spoken, I wanted to tell you why and how we could one again dream of a better future for our children, why and how everything is once again possible for all of us, and for France, which is the name that we give to our common destiny. I didn't want to describe a government program, but rather to paint a great collective ambition. I want to share this ambition with you. Together, we can do what the preceding generations have already done. We can return France to its former grandeur. We can, once again, find the pride in being French. If we are united, if we want it, if we decide it. I know that, beyond all our differences, we have in common the same idea of France and the Republic. Through the strength of this bond that links all of us -- French people born anywhere, of all cultures and every generation -- we can find again the capacity to live together, to act together, to hope together."

This is political fluff, of course, but I wanted to quote it because what it says about Sarkozy himself. Like America, France is in a generational Crisis era, and in any Crisis era, the needs of the nation as a whole -- the survival of the nation and its way of life -- become more important than individual rights.

Unlike other French politicians, he doesn't hope to "return France to its former grandeur" by returning to Napoleonic values, and by being contemptuous of American values. This is clear from a a recent review of an older Sarkozy book, Testimony. Here are some of the passages that the review quotes:

"America came to aid and defend us twice in our recent history… You don’t have to be a grand strategist to understand that our interest is to have the best possible relations with this country... Where our strategic interests are concerned, systematically opposing the United States is a double mistake.... If I had to choose, I feel closer to American society than to a lot of others around the world. ...

France is going through a fundamental crisis of confidence… I’m convinced that no country in the world can get by without effort, and that France—notwithstanding its undeniable merits and prestigious past—will become a thing of the past if it doesn’t take the steps necessary to adapt to the changes taking place in the world. ...

[In France,] success is not really seen or accepted as a positive value... All the hard work done by those who are eventually successful is rarely acknowledged. This attitude is explained by the French desire for egalitarianism, the fascination with leveling out, and, frankly, jealousy... Success is more often criticized than presented as a model. ...

[In discussing the 35-hour work week, that he wishes to abolish:] Great Britain,... it will be remembered, in the late 1970s seemed to be completely left behind, with a GDP 25 percent less than that of France. [Today,] London is becoming the seventh-largest French city. It has attracted, practically to the point of saturation, thousands of young French people who go to live there, including my daughter.... It seems that success has become so shameful in France that a young person who wants to succeed must leave.... A million French people have gone to live abroad over the past few years, a loss almost equivalent in absolute terms to the losses of World War I (1.3 million French deaths)."

Sarkozy himself is the son of an immigrant -- a Hungarian who married a French woman of Greek-Jewish origin. This mixture of east and west European attitudes is undoubtedly what makes him different.

This is all very new for the French, and troubling to many of them, and not just because he's not anti-American.

Many Frenchmen refer to Sarkozy as a "right winger" and a "racist," because of his strong views of illegal immigration.

In fact, many people blamed Sarkozy for the violent racial rioting that lasted for two weeks in Paris's Muslim ghetto suburbs in November 2005. At the initial outbreak of violence, Sarkozy responded by saying he had a "zero tolerance policy" for violence, and he referred to the troublemakers as "scum" and "riffraff," and vowed to "clean out" the suburbs.

These views make Sarkozy anathema to the vocal "politically correct" segment of French society.

And yet, there's a strong visceral xenophobia among the French people, as we've previously discussed on this web site:

What Sarkozy has done is to tap into that visceral xenophobia. We'll see on Sunday whether it worked for him.

Ségolène Royal

There are twelve candidates running for President in the first round of voting on Sunday. The top two or three vote-getters will go on the next round, on May 6, where the President is finally chosen. Nikolas Sarkozy is almost guaranteed to be in that top two or three. Ségolène Royal is in second place, and considered likely to make it as well.

Ségolène Royal is the Socialist Party candidate with a fairly standard, classic Socialist economic platform of strong protections for workers while stressing traditional social and family values.

Like Sarkozy, Royal also benefits from the immigration issue. Young voters have registered to vote in record numbers, and many of these new voters are French-born children of North African immigrants living in the suburbs -- the same suburbs where Muslim youth were rioting and demonstrating in November, 2005. This generation is expected to vote to the left, and Ségolène Royal is expected to benefit.

Royal is unique, of course, because she's a woman. But she's even more unique (if that's possible) by playing the "woman card."

She says that Sarkozy is just interested in himself, while she is a woman and a mother who is interested in "all of you," the people. "I am a woman, a mother of four children," she says. "I have my feet on the ground. I'm a practical person. I am a free woman."

"I want to address myself to the women," she said. "I need the women's vote. ... I'm told that for certain women, it's too revolutionary to see the state and the nation personified by a woman. But I say to them as well that it is time to put an end to centuries of injustice, of marginalization. It is time to put an end to prejudices that make no sense."

She has also made it clear that she doesn't share Sarkozy's Atlanticism; she tells supporters, "We will not genuflect before George Bush."

Royal has made a number of gaffes, especially in the area of foreign affairs, giving the impression that she's not very competent. Thus her main appeal is that she's a woman. Whether that's enough remains to be seen.

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen has been called a fascist because of his nationalist, anti-immigrant, and perhaps even anti-Jewish views.

Although he's in fourth place in the polls, and given little chance of winning, his candidacy casts a shadow over the entire election because of what happened in the last Presidential elections on April 21, 2002: To everyone's shock and surprise, Le Pen and Chirac were the only two to win the first round of the elections, because the leftist vote was split among Chirac's opponents. In the second round runoff, Chirac won.

The 78-year-old Le Pen has been in politics for 50 years, and according to news reports, he appears to be greatly enjoying what will probably be his last run for President.

Commenting on the fact that his candidacy has forced the other candidates to respond, he said "They have all moved right except me." He predicts an "enormous double surprise" on Sunday when the voters select him and eliminate Sarkozy.

Still, there's a great fear hanging over many French voters that Le Pen will do it again -- that he'll come in second because undecided voters, afraid to admit to pollsters that they support him, will vote for him in the privacy of the voting booth.

François Bayrou

François Bayrou positions himself clearly in the center, between right-wing Sarkozy and left-wing Royal, and he's been trying to benefit from any distaste for either extreme. He claims to be a French Bill Clinton.

His candidacy has given rise to a special concept: The vote utile, or "useful vote."

Here's the pitch: If you vote for Ségolène Royal, then the runoff will be between Sarkozy and Royal, and Royal will lose, and so your vote will be wasted; instead, vote for Bayrou, the only candidate who can beat Sarkozy.

This approach has given Bayrou an unexpected boost in the polls, much to everyone's surprise, and he's even surpassing Royal in some polls.

Bayrou, a former sheep farmer, has promised to unify France's left and right by mixing policies from both sides. As in the case of the other candidates, no one really knows whether voters will be drawn by the proposal, or whether they'll decide that it's just wishful fantasy.

Chaos versus a right turn

From this side of the Atlantic, France looks a great deal like Israel -- and even like the Palestinian territories.

Since Ariel Sharon became disabled, the only word that can be used to accurately describe Israel's government is "chaos." Ariel Sharon was a survivor of the last crisis war, the genocidal war between Arabs and Jews in the late 1940s. His lifelong goal has been to prevent any such war from occurring again, and his experiences as a youth trained him to do that. With his disappearance, Israel is almost ungovernable, with no clear vision or direction.

On the Palestinian side, Yasser Arafat was a survivor of the same war. Although Arafat and Sharon hated each other, they cooperated, perhaps unconsciously, to achieve the same goal: To prevent a major genocidal war between Arabs and Jews from occurring again. In 2003, when the world was euphoric about the new "Roadmap to Peace," I predicted that the Roadmap would never succeed, and that the disappearance of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat would be part of a generational change that would lead to exactly that kind of genocidal war between Arabs and Jews. The Palestinian government today is just as chaotic as the Israeli government; the Palestinian territories are ungovernable, with no clear vision or direction, and the Gaza strip particularly is completely lawless.

The same kind of thing is now happening in France. All the French presidents since Charles de Gaulle, even when they were from different parties, shared a common vision and determination to avoid a new European war that would devastate France as much as World War II had.

But now the last of them, Jacques Chirac, is leaving, and with him goes that common vision and determination.

In his emotional farewell address, Chirac said: "Never compromise with extremism, racism, anti-Semitism or the rejection of others. In our history, extremism has already almost ruined us. It's a poison. It divides. It perverts. It destroys."

These are words that could only have come out the mouth of someone who had lived them, as he has, but as none of his likely successors have.

The voters of France are extremely anxious and worried about two things: the economy and immigration. And these two issues are far more deeply intertwined than most French journalists or politicians would care to admit, because the two issues intersect at one point: Jobs.

The children of immigrants are living in poverty in the suburbs because they have no jobs. The ethnic French, even the ones with jobs, are unhappy about the economy because of its poor record and unemployment. They blame each other for their problems, and as economic problems get worse, the means of expressing that blame will become more violent.

We've already seen the first major sign that France is becoming ungovernable: Chirac's attempt to reform the economy by permitting French employers to fire an employee under 26 years of age, provided that he's worked less than two years, was defeated by massive street riots.

Under this analysis, it really doesn't matter which of the candidates wins. Sarkozy's plans to put France back to work by eliminating such things as the enforced 35-hour work week cannot succeed because the powerful labor unions will oppose it, as will the same people who rioted against the firing law. Royal's socialist agenda will fail because it would be opposed by the strong conservative French parties, who will point out that France doesn't have any more money to spend. So nothing will get done.

In the past couple of years I've written frequently about how countries that fought in World War II are all becoming increasingly paralyzed and dysfunctional, as the generations that lived through and survived that war all disappear and are replaced by generations born after the war. This list includes the U.S., UK, Israel, all of the EU, China, South Korea, Japan, and others. With this new election, France is joining the list.

These countries, all paralyzed and dysfunctional, are just waiting for something to happen. History tells us that, sooner or later, one of them will end the chaos by panicking and taking a sharp political turn to the right. This will then lead us into the Clash of Civilizations world war. (22-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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As population increases in India, agriculture becomes a crisis.

Deaths on mobbed railway trains become a daily occurrence, according to a story in Thursday's Wall Street Journal:

About 13 people are accidentally killed every day Mumbai (Bombay), thanks to overcrowding on the railways. <font size=-2>(Source: WSJ)</font>
About 13 people are accidentally killed every day Mumbai (Bombay), thanks to overcrowding on the railways. (Source: WSJ)

"About 13 people per weekday were killed in 2006 scrambling across the tracks, tumbling off packed trains, or, occasionally, jumping onto an oncoming train. Last year, a total of 3,404 people were killed on Mumbai's railways. By comparison, 127 people were killed on New York State's railways in the last five years."

Although India is not the most densely populated country in the world, it's still ten times as densely populated as the United States, as shown by this table that I originally derived from the CIA Fact Book (2005):

   Country         Pop/sq km
   -------------   ----------
   Russia             8.46
   World             12.36
   United States     30.15
   Mexico            53.18
   China            134.10
   Haiti            271.27
   Israel           294.49
   India            319.29
   Japan            336.69
   West Bank        381.77
   Bangladesh       961.45
   Gaza Strip      3541.30
   Singapore       6653.09
   Hong Kong       6771.22

The population of India increases about 1.6% each year (compared to 0.9% for the United States). The Indian government claims that food production has been increasing at the rate of 2.3%, which should be enough, since it means that food production is growing faster than the population.

But this government claim hardly seems credible, since India's food prices have been rising dramatically in recent years, as I wrote about recently. Prices of food are increasing around the world, but India's double-digit price increases make it almost a world leader. Furthermore, India used to be a grain exporter, but has been a net grain importer for the last two years.

In fact, agriculture in India seems to be increasingly in a crisis, especially since the early 1990s when the results of the "Green Revolution" began to peter out. This crisis takes many forms, the saddest of which is the dramatic increase in farmer suicides.

Agriculture is crucial to India for the obvious reason -- that it produces the food that people eat. But, there's another reason: Farming is the the source of livelihood for 115 million families in India, and 70 percent of the country’s population.

At the end of World War II, world leaders were extremely morose and pessimistic about the possibilities for peace. The world had just fought two extremely bloody world wars, and it appeared that a third world war, to be fought by the West against Communism, was on the horizon. Leaders were frenzied and desperate, as they looked for ways to solve the problems that had given rise to the two world wars.

Worldwide hunger was identified as a major problem, and it was felt that if a way could be found to guarantee that every family in the world had sufficient food, then a world war could be avoided. So countries of the world, led by the Rockefeller Foundation, launched a "green revolution" which brought modern agricultural techniques and technology to countries around the world. These technologies included new hybrid and genetically modified seed varieties and the use of pesticides.

In India, the results were dramatic. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, food production increased greatly. For the first time, India was able to feed itself and was actually exporting food to other countries.

On this web site, I often focus on certain theme: Following a crisis war (like WW II), the survivors of the war set up austere rules and procedures in order to guarantee that their children and grandchildren will never have to go through anything so horrible. But as the decades go by, and the generations of war survivors are replaced by young generations of kids with no patience for austerity, the rules begin to unravel and procedures become abused. This is certainly true of investors' use of credit today, as I've written many times.

Well, it's also true of the Green Revolution and farmers in India. Here are some of the things that have happened:

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what's significant is how similar India's unraveling is to America's unraveling. The details are different, of course, but the desperate use of credit in the hope of enough money to get out of debt is the common factor in all of these unraveling situations, including India today, America today, the 1929 crash, the Tulipomania bubble in the 1630s, the South Sea bubble of the 1710s-20s, the bankruptcy of the French monarchy in the 1780s, and the the Panic of 1857.

When a worldwide financial crisis occurs, everyone becomes extremely risk-averse, and turns against credit. As younger generations replace the risk-averse generations that lived through the last crisis, the population as a whole becomes more risk-seeking and more abusive of credit and more willing to engage in desperate and often criminal schemes to make money.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we're now overdue for the next major worldwide financial crisis. It might be triggered next week, next month, or next year, but it's coming with 100% certainty, and probably sooner rather than later. (22-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Collapse of Duke rape case represents cultural change

False accusations against men are likely to occur less often now.

District attorney Mike Nifong is facing ethics charges and possible disbarment after North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper criticized Nifong as a "rogue prosecutor" for pursuing unjustified rape charges against members of the Duke lacrosse team. Cooper also announced, based on the findings of his investigators, that the alleged March, 2006, attack never occurred, and that the players were "innocent." The alleged victim, who evidently lied repeatedly in making the rape accusations, will not be charged with anything.

The ethics charges being leveled at Nifong relate to his behavior throughout the case. He never spoke to the alleged victim, a stripper named Crystal Gail Mangum, alias Janette Rivers, a black single mother with two children.

He withheld DNA evidence from the defense that showed that the Janette Rivers had sex with several males on the day of the alleged rape, and that the DNA didn't include any of the members of the lacrosse team. Nifong violated the law by purposely withholding this evidence from the defense, since the evidence supports the players' claims of innocence. In a newspaper interview, Nifong called the entire team "a bunch of hooligans." Rivers was asked to identify her attackers from a photo lineup that included only photos of team members.

As the months went by, and it became clear to everyone that there was no evidence supporting the accusations, Nifong refused to drop the case. In December, after Rivers had changed her story several times, Nifong was forced to drop the rape charges, but kept the case alive by charging the students with kidnapping and sexual offense. Numerous analysts at the time indicated that it would be almost impossible to prove these charges.

In the end, Nifong has been totally humiliated. The ethics charges could lead to his losing his job and even his law license.

It's also clear that these college students would be in jail right now if they hadn't had to resources to hire top-notch attorneys. There are estimates that each of the charged students had to pay a million dollars in legal fees to fight the rape charges. If you or I or any man were the victim of phony rape charges by some woman, we'd be locked up for life. When a district attorney is willing to lie and selectively withhold evidence, then any of us could be a victim.

The question that I want to explore is this: How could Nifong, a district attorney with long experience, have done this? How could he have risked his entire career and all his credibility on this case?

I've discussed this kind of insanity many times on this web site. Investors today are pursuing a scenario of total mania, similar to the mania that investors showed just prior to the the crash of the Tulipomania bubble and the the Panic of 1857.

The mania has also occurred in the political arena, as shown by the intense fury of Senator Ted Kennedy screaming angrily at the top of his lungs in February, and NBC reporter Chris Matthews was screaming hysterically in January. As I discussed, this is caused by "cognitive dissonance," as Boomers' fundamental beliefs, developed when they were college kids burning their draft cards while their girlfriends were burning their bras, are now being challenged by intractable events in Iraq. The result is hysteria, paralysis, and a collection of idiotic proposals emanating from pundits and Congress.

Even worse, in a series of disgraceful actions and statements, many Democratic party politicians have risked their careers and credibility on America's loss and humiliation in Iraq. The same is true of many journalists and media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times.

So, when you compare Nifong's actions to those of today's politicians and investors, there are great similarities. They're all still living in the 60s and 70s, and they can't believe how things have changed today. (This is what happened to the survivors of World War II in the 1960s -- they couldn't believe that the American public would turn against their fight against Communism.)

The New York Times has been fully in bed in Nifong. According to an analysis by Stuart Taylor in Slate in August, the Times repeatedly joined Nifong in making false accusations against the students. Perhaps the Times' most misleading paragraph was this: "By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong's case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury." But when the evidence became public, Taylor also reviewed it, and found no such thing. Furthermore, there's some question as to whether the Times reporter even saw the evidence while it was still secret.

Last week's story about Don Imus provides some additional insight. The joke he told was incredibly stupid, offensive and insensitive. But it was still a joke, and he's apologized for it repeatedly. He deserved some consequences, but it seems excessive that he lost his entire career, as it now appears, since his radio and TV shows have all been canceled.

What I've particularly focused on was a statement by Jesse Jackson that I can only quote approximately, since I heard it quickly on the news. He said (paraphrasing), "This is just the first of many similar actions that will restore the power and influence of the Rainbow Coalition." I doubt that Jesse Jackson cares a hoot about Imus one way or the other, except that the case gives him a political platform.

What all three of these separate events have in common is that they represent Boomers reliving the 1970s and 80s, when the organizations they represent had a great deal of power and influence. These are all attempts to recapture that power and influence for their favored constituencies.

I don't know the ins and outs of racial organizations, so I won't comment further on the Imus case.

But as for the feminists, I did spend ten years writing a book called Fraternizing with the Enemy: A book on gender issues for men ... and for women who care about men. I interviewed thousands of men and women as well as numerous experts, and I reviewed hundreds of research papers on gender issues, including rape, divorce, custody, domestic violence, battering, sexual harassment, and other gender issues. I normally quote various experts when I write articles for this web site, but on this subject I'm the expert, and I'm pretty sure I have some insight into what happened in the Nifong case.

With regard to rape, feminists have enormously inflated the figures, making rape seem like a common occurrence. A 1985 woman's magazine claimed that over 25% of all college girls are raped in college, and feminist organizations have repeated this figure for fund-raising purposes. It's perfectly obvious that the figure is nonsense and not believable, since no father would ever send his daughter to a college if he thought she had a 1 in 4 chance of being raped. As it turns out, the actual figure is approximately ½% (i.e., 0.005 or 0.5%).

It also turns out that false accusations of rape aren't that rare. When stranger rape is occurs, the chances are 25-30% that the alleged victim will accuse the wrong person as a rapist. In about 6% of rape accusations the rape never occurred at all; it was simply a completely false accusation. Janette Rivers must have assumed that she could take advantage of the Duke lacrosse players and make a lot of money, one way or another.

When you look at Nifong's behavior over the entire year, you have to assume either that Nifong was unbelievably stupid and naïve, or that he was perfectly well aware, right from the the beginning, that the Duke lacrosse students were innocent. Since Nifong is clearly not stupid or naïve, my belief is that he was lying, almost from the beginning, and that he was determined to convict students that he knew to be innocent, in order to help himself politically and financially.

In today's world, men have no defense to even the most frivolous charges by a woman. Nifong must have been expected an easy ride: Rich, vulnerable young college men facing a young black woman claiming rape. What could be easier? But once the DNA evidence was in, at that point Nifong must have known that Duke players were innocent, but dismissing the charges would have made him political anathema. So he hid the evidence, lied repeatedly, and decided to convict innocent students in order to serve his own political purposes.

Men have no defense to even the most frivolous charges of rape and sexual harassment, and even less to frivolous charges of domestic violence.

Domestic violence has almost become a joke. Restraining orders are passed out like candy to women seeking advantage in a divorce -- some 70,000 per year in Massachusetts, and it's unlikely that more than a few hundred of those have any reality at all.

When a woman sees a divorce lawyer, the lawyer tells her how to make false charges of domestic violence; when a woman sees a "woman's activist," the activist will tell her how to lie and make false charges. A friend of mine wrote to NOW (National Organization of Women), pretending to be a woman going through a divorce, and NOW provided him with a thick packet of information about how to lie about domestic violence.

Another friend accompanied his girlfriend down to the town hall, right here in Framingham, Mass., where I live, to inquire about getting support for a divorce. The woman asked, "Was there domestic violence?" She said, "No." The woman responded by providing an extensive list of services -- housing, lawyers, social workers, etc. -- that she could get if she lied and said she was a victim of domestic violence. (It's hardly worth mentioning except for completeness, but of course there are no such services for men.)

Stories abound of judges and social workers giving custody to mothers who beat and starve their children, or whose boyfriends abuse and rape the children. These situations are incredibly lucrative to the judges and social workers, because the real father gets upset that his children are being beaten and abused, and they try to get help from the court system. The court system never sides with the father, because they'd make no money from that. Siding with an abusive mother brings in torrents of funding, because the mother's abuse never ends, so the court cases never end.

The winners are social service organizations, court clinics, women's shelters, visitation centers, feminist legal services agencies, women's protective services -- all stand to gain sums of money by supporting as many false charges of battering and abuse as possible. In one situation from the 90s that I've documented, these feminist organizations earned well over $300,000 by an abusive illegal alien who made false charges of domestic violence in order to keep from getting deported. She had the help of feminist divorce lawyers, feminist immigration lawyers, feminist judges, feminist shelters, and so forth. All of these feminists knew what was going on, but they pursued the false charges anyway, because that's how they make money.

According to government statistics, almost all child abuse is perpetrated by the mother, and most child sexual abuse is perpetrated by mothers' boyfriends. Judges and social workers always give custody to abusive mothers because it's so extremely lucrative to them, while giving custody to the father makes them no money at all.

The most spectacular related case occurred with Andrea Yates, the Houston mother who killed her five children on June 20, 2001. Feminist organizations went into overdrive raising money to "support" Andrea Yates. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that feminist organizations made millions of dollars from that case.

The saddest case was that of Democratic party official Susan Estrich. She was raped in 1974, and began lecturing about the unfair treatment of rape victims. She even wrote a book, Real Rape, where she wrote extensively about this unfair treatment. Then, in 1998, when a woman name Juanita Broaddrick credibly charged President Clinton with having raped her twenty years earlier, Estrich called the woman a liar and became Clinton's front-line defender. Estrich violated the body of her life's work, and sold herself out as a woman and rape victim's defender. She sent the message that it's OK to rape a woman if you're a Democrat. I honestly don't see how Estrich can live with herself. It later turned out, according to former NOW activist Tammy Bruce, that Clinton and Estrich paid off NOW to keep quiet. It's not surprising to me at all that feminist organizations couldn't care less how many women get raped, as long as they get their money.

That certainly must be what happened with Mike Nifong, Janette Rivers, and the Duke lacrosse students. Nifong certainly couldn't have cared less whether Rivers was raped -- after all, he never even bothered to speak to her. For him and for feminist organizations, rape is a financial opportunity and income stream, and they care about rape only insofar as it gives them money and political power.

Emily's List

Emily's List is far and away the wealthiest and most powerful political organization in the country, except for the two political parties. A lot of people haven't even heard of Emily's List, even though it has tentacles controlling politics at the national, state and local levels.

To see how wealthy and powerful Emily's List is, go to the Federal Election Commission web site and click on 2005-2006 Election cycle, Total Receipts, then click on "List Them." You get a huge list of PACs, with Emily's List on top, way ahead of everyone else. The same is true for every cycle since 1994, except for 2004.

Have you ever been in court and seen a woman sitting in the front row taking notes on what's going on? That's a court watcher, sent by an organization indirectly funded by Emily's List, who makes sure that the judge rules the right way -- whatever way will bring more money into Emily's List and the organizations it controls. If a judge rules the wrong way, then Emily's list will use its vast power and money to make sure that the judge doesn't get a budget or is removed.

This is clearly illegal extortion, but it happens all the time, and no one does anything about it.

Even if you haven't heard of Emily's List, you can be sure that all elected officials have. Emily's List affects almost every election, one way or another. Emily's List funds women candidates directly, and supports compliant male candidates indirectly, through "get out the vote" campaigns.

If you're a candidate and you're willing to submit to Emily's List's control, and say only what they want you to say, then you get their help at reelection time; otherwise your opponent does (at least in the primary). If you get elected, you're expected to favor legislation that will pour even more money into Emily's List's coffers, and this is almost always legislation that favors more extortion at the court level.

This extortion aids feminist organizations that provide the support for Emily's List at the grass roots level, encouraging women to take a part of the money they've received and donate it to Emily's List.

This is a HUGE flow of money, propelling a large, corrupt political machine. It has no purpose other than making money -- certainly not helping women or children. In fact, my book documents many feminist policies which actually promote child abuse, or rape and violence against women. The bottom line is that the more women who are raped and beaten, the more money Emily's List groups make, and the more false accusations they can make, and the more money they make.

For example, suppose a divorce judge appoints a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to investigate a dispute between a mother and father in a divorce. If the GAL resolves the problem in one meeting, then she only gets paid for one meeting, and the judge never appoints her again. If, instead, she encourages the mother to bring false allegations of domestic violence against the father, then she'll get paid for many more meetings, as the outraged fathers tries to get "justice." Little does he know that these women "professionals" simply shuttle the man from one woman to another, so that the GAL and all her girlfriends make more and more of his money. The judge makes out well too, when he imposes child support penalties, a portion of which get kicked back into his budget to be used to dispense jobs and favors. So everyone makes money, and the children get screwed.

Emily's List is so huge, wealthy and powerful that no one even questions it -- certainly no one in the press. Even so, Emily's List has turned the divorce system into a sewer, and created a huge criminal enterprise, probably the biggest criminal enterprise in the nation's history, and certainly larger than Tammany Hall.

Now, I'm cynical enough to know that many people reading this totally disregard it. In fact, almost every feminist I've ever met is completely dogmatic, and just repeats feminist propaganda without even questioning it. An Emily's List representative could commit murder, and feminists would support her. That's how sick things are.

Most readers will have guessed from my extremely strong views on the subject that I have a personal experience that goes beyond the thousands of men, women and experts that I interviewed over the years.

My personal experience occurred in the mid-1980s. There was a social worker named Carrie Phillips who was working for the Middlesex Court Clinic, in Cambridge, Mass. She told me, "We always do what's best for the children. Whenever there's a disagreement between the mother and the father, we always side with the mother, because that's what's in the best interest of the children." Ms. Phillips was following the policies set down by Barbara Hauser, who ran the clinic, and never met a father that she didn't hate.

Now, since most child abusers are mothers, especially single mothers, and most child sexual abusers are mothers' boyfriends, Ms. Phillips was admitting criminal activity. Since Ms. Hauser always sides with the mother, even when they know that the mother is abusive, then they're siding with abusive mothers. It's against the law to give custody to abusive mothers, but they do it because that's how they make money and pad their budgets.

The same can be said of Dr. Mary Scott of Longwood Pediatrics in Boston, who put in writing a statement that it's against her policy, and the policy of her clinic, that any child under two years old should be permitted to spend more than two hours at a time with their divorced father. Once again, this is criminal activity, because in the case of an abusive mother, or a mother with an abusive boyfriend, it's her policy to give the mother and her boyfriend as much time as possible beat, starve, abuse and rape the child.

It's time that we stop thinking of these women as hard-working public servants, when they knowingly and admittedly give custody to mothers who they know are abusive. It's time for us to start thinking of them as criminals who are allowing children to be beaten, starved, abused and raped so that they can pad their own wallets. Saying that these women are helping society is like saying that a child prostitute pimp is helping society by giving employment to teenaged girls. The same can be said for judges and legislators who suborn these illegal activities.

And I'm not talking about something that happens only occasionally. I've interviewed thousands and thousands of divorced women and men, and second wives, and the story is remarkably consistent. Virtually no one denies that social workers, psychologists, pediatricians, judges, and other divorce court workers side with mothers, even when they know that the mother is responsible for beating, starving, abusing or raping the children.

What makes this all possible is Emily's List. Because of its huge wealth and power, it controls almost every Democratic party seat in Congress. Emily's List claims that its only purpose is to support women candidates and to keep abortion legal, but you can be certain that a pro-abortion Democratic party woman candidate who favors equal parenting in divorce will receive only vitriolic opposition from Emily's List.

Emily's List's main legislative function is to make sure that laws are maintained that permit the criminal activities to continue. For example, a law that allowed a social worker to be prosecuted for siding with a divorced mother who knowingly beats, starves and rapes her children would be quickly squelched by Emily's List.

Emily's List's other function is to make sure that federal domestic violence programs get funded. The "Violence against women act" (VAWA) has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into an army of women whose only function is to accuse men of domestic violence. It's exactly the same as if the VAWA were paying billions of dollars to the KKK to seek out violent blacks. People do what they're paid to do.

And here's another thing that few people realize: None of these programs do women any good. No one even claims that they do. Feminists don't claim that these programs have reduced rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, or anything else. The reason they don't is because it would imply that their budgets should be reduced. For these feminist organizations, the more women who are beaten and bloodied the better, because the feminist organizations make more money. These programs spend billions of dollars and do nothing but promote hatreds that last for decades, and destroy children's lives.

Even more important to Emily's List is the blind, total obedience that feminists pay to it. As I said, an Emily's List representative could murder someone in cold blood, and feminists would support her. It's a total, unquestioning, almost robot-like devotion by many ordinary women.

A criminal organization like Emily's List requires for its success a large army of women who are so blinded to the feminist propaganda that they walk in lockstep with and obedience to the criminal enterprise and its money-generating machine, without even a whimper of protest about the people, especially millions of children, whose lives are being destroyed. Police are getting more into the act as well. Fathers are automatically assumed to be dangerous, and they're harassed and jailed at will.

The mainstream media plays an important role in all of this. Here in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe is almost totally under control of Emily's List, regularly publishing fund-raising press releases from feminist organizations as if they were news. In the 15-20 years I've researched this issue, I can't recall ever seeing an article that challenged feminist fund-raising press releases; or that spotlighted fathers' grievances in divorce; or that spotlighted the plight of second wives in divorce. With regard to this last point, second wives are vitriolically hated by feminist organizations, because they're women who completely contradict everything that feminists say. If you want to really understand what's going on in divorce courts, just start talking to second wives, as I have. You get a picture you've never seen before. But to Emily's List, to the Boston Globe and other mainstream media organizations, second wives are simply non-persons.

The power wielded by Emily's List over the Boston Globe, over Democratic party politicians, and the numerous organizations that it funds and controls is enormous. Anyone in the divorce system who doesn't conform is dealt with viciously and quickly. The pervasiveness of the control this criminal enterprise has over feminists and ordinary women speaks to the degree of political control and domination that Emily's List and feminist organizations have acquired over society as a whole.

Now, I don't know if Mike Nifong has any direct relationship with Emily's List. He's a Democratic party politician, so he's certainly aware of them, and may even have received indirect support from them in one of his election campaigns. But at the very least, Nifong followed the standard Emily's List and NOW prescription of using purposely using false accusations for political power and fund raising. Whether Emily's List was involved in the Duke case or not, Nifong's purposeful pursuit of vulnerable young boys whom he knew to be innocent is Emily's List policy and NOW's policy.

Mike Nifong's defeat represents a cultural change, because prosecutors were forced to dismiss false accusations against vulnerable male college students. This result should make prosecutors more reluctant to make false accusations for political purposes.

Things are changing in other ways as well. A detailed study by published by Evans and Novak Political Report published in the weeks following the November 2006 election showed Emily's list, despite its vast wealth, is doing worse politically. The report found that "of the 19 competitive House races in which EMILY's List backed and funded a candidate, only two won," after a result in 2004 that was almost as bad. "That Emily's List did so poorly, despite the [strongly pro-Democratic trend in 2006] trend, provides yet another interesting confirmation that this election was a non-ideological confrontation between the two parties, decided mostly on the basis of a failed Iraq occupation and a corrupt Republican establishment."

The changes in politics in general and "gender politics" in particular are accelerating, thanks to huge generational changes. Today's young adults (called the Millennial generation or Generation Y) are quite different from the Boomers and Generation-X. They grew up during the chaos of the 1990s when they didn't know if or when they'd ever see their fathers again, and all their parents did was argue vitriolically. It's not that today's young people are pro-feminist or anti-feminist (just as they aren't pro-war or anti-war); it's that they're just sick of all the fighting and bickering, and see feminism as one major source of that bickering.

As America heads deeper into a generational Crisis era, the country as a whole is increasingly putting national survival ahead of individual and ideological interests. Large political organizations, including the political parties themselves, are being forced to realign themselves and redefine how they do business, just as they had to do during America's last two Crisis eras. During the Civil War crisis, party realignments ended the Whig Party and created the Republican Party. During the World War II crisis, realignments in both major political parties were accompanied by destruction of the corrupt Tammany Hall machine, causing the entire organization to go out of existence 20 years later. In the current Crisis era, we can expect major realignments in both Democratic and Republican parties and, thankfully, the destruction of the corrupt powers of the huge Emily's List machine. Whether Emily's List will even continue to exist depends on how well it adapts itself to the new generation and to the country's changing needs. (This article was updated and expanded on 28-Apr) (22-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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President Bush gives Sudan "one last chance" to end Darfur genocide

But is Steven Spielberg aiding the genocide?

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Speaking on Wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Bush said he would give U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to try diplomacy, but delivered this warning to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir:

"President Bashir should take the last chance by responding to the secretary general's efforts and to meet the just demands of the international community. I'm looking at what steps the international community could take to deny Sudan's government the ability to fly its military aircraft over Darfur, and if we don't begin to see signs of good-faith commitments, we will hear calls for even sterner measures. The situation doesn't have to come to that."

So, there he goes again, threatening to invade another country -- Sudan -- a country having a real civil war.

Gosh, the Democrats must be FURIOUS. Imagine how angry Senator Joseph Biden must be, thinking of American troups in the middle of a civil war, having to keep both sides apart. Didn't the American people speak loud and clear last November, when they elected the Democratic congress, that we didn't want our forces in the middle of a civil war? Wow, the Democrats must be going nuts.

Ummmm, no they aren't. Biden is unhappy with the Bush Administration, all right, but only because the President isn't moving quickly enough.

Here's what Biden said on Wednesday: "I have little faith Bashir will keep his promise. He will just keep stringing us along. Instead of more threats, we need to act, now."

How should we act now? Here's what he said just one week ago, on April 11:

"I would use American force now. I think it's not only time not to take force off the table. I think it's time to put force on the table and use it. [2,500 U.S. troops could] radically change the situation on the ground now.

Let's stop the bleeding. I think it's a moral imperative."

Well, it's a moral imperative to get US troops in the middle of the Darfur civil war. Who would have guessed that?

Actually a lot of so-called "anti-war advocates" have been turning into war advocates in Darfur. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who never tired of bad-mouthing America and President Bush for intervening in Iraq, frequently called for intervention in Darfur.

And in 2004, I was startled to hear the great peacenik Jesse Jackson call for sending American troops to Darfur.

You see, Dear Reader, there are "good wars" and "bad wars" when it comes to sending American troops in. Iraq is a "bad war," but Afghanistan is a "good war," and now Darfur is a "good war." That's why the Democrats want us to KEEP ON fighting the Afghan war, and want us to START fighting in the Darfur war, but want us to STOP fighting in the Iraq war.

And people wonder why I call the Congress a "clown circus." This unprincipled bunch of politicians simply goes along with whatever the latest poll results say.

The only politicians I can think of who have shown any principles at all are Hillary Clinton on the Democratic party side, and John McCain on the Republican party side. Most of the rest are pretty worthless.

Steven Spielberg

If the situation in Darfur weren't so tragic, and if there weren't so many lives at stake, this would be worthy of a televised situation comedy.

There are groups of "stop the Darfur genocide" groups around the world, and they've begun to set their sights on China. Why? Because China is blocking any UN Security Council resolutions against Sudan. Why? Because China, through its leading energy companies -- Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corp., and CNOOC -- are buying up every available drop of African oil that they can get.

So we have actresses like Mia Farrow looking for ways to pressure China to stop supporting Sudan in the U.N. Now, China is very big and powerful, and really doesn't give a good goddam about the politically correct motivations that seem to drive Western politicians. But, by golly, Mia Farrow has found a way to pressure China: by threatening to label the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the "Genocide Olympics."

"[One] thing is more important to the Chinese than their access to Sudan's oil, and that's the success of their Olympic Games," says Farrow.

Well, it turns out that Steven Spielberg is playing a very big part in the Beijing Olympics -- he's orchestrating the huge opening and closing ceremonies. And so, Mia Farrow is saying that Steven Spielberg is aiding and abetting genocide in Darfur.

According to a Boston Globe article:

"Oddly, Spielberg has declared publicly that while aware of genocide in Darfur, he only recently became aware of China's involvement. But the facts are no secret. Beijing has unstintingly provided large-scale economic, military, and diplomatic support to the Islamist regime in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. Spielberg has now sent a letter urging China to use its influence constructively. But that gesture is not enough."

Steven Spielberg, of course, has very firm ideas about good and bad wars. World War II was a "good war" to him because of the Holocaust, and the Vietnam war and other wars were "bad wars" to him, presumably because there are few Jews in Vietnam.

So, it will be interesting to see who ends up getting blamed for the continuing genocide in Darfur. It's hard to blame President Bush, since he's actually taken the political lead in advocating international intervention in Darfur. It certainly is ironic that Steven Spielberg is receiving blame.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Darfur civil war is currently the only generational Crisis war in the world right now.

The Darfur war started in the 1970s in the form of classic disputes between farmers and herders, similar to the disputes between America's farmers and cowboys in the 1800s. But in Darfur the disputes escalated, and became steadily worse in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2003, it escalated to a crisis war, and by 2004, full scale genocide was in full progress.

As I've said from the very beginning, the U.N. is completely irrelevant, because a crisis war can't be stopped until it's run its course. I've written about this many times, as various politicians, month after month, have called for efforts to stop the Darfur massacre.

A crisis war is a generational war -- meaning that the war comes from the masses of people, entire generations of people -- not from the politicians. The politicians couldn't stop it if they wanted to. A generational crisis war is a huge force of nature, a raging typhoon, a tsunami -- and it can't be stopped until it's ready to be stopped.

There are no other crisis wars going on in the world today, although the Sri Lanka civil war between Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces is escalating into a new crisis war. The Bosnian war in the 1990s was a crisis war; the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s was a crisis war; the "killing fields of Cambodia" in the 1970s was a crisis war. And there have been others.

The biggest crisis war so far was World War II, which actually can be thought of as a collection of dozens of individual crisis wars around the world.

Now, 60 years after the end of World War II, there are few people left with personal memories of the horrors of that war. Generational Dynamics predicts that we're headed for a new crisis war, a Clash of Civilizations world war. This war might begin next week, next month, next year, or later, but it's certain to happen, sooner rather than later. When that happens, the Darfur genocide will the be the norm for a few years, rather than the exception. (19-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Some thoughts about the Virginia Tech massacre

The interesting question is how it will affect the people of Korea.

It's easy to try to make grand generalizations about what happened on Tuesday, but in one sense there really isn't that much to say. The United States has 300 million people, and out of that many people, you're going to get an occasional psychotic mass murderer.

The massacre is big international news. Every country in the world, especially throughout Europe and Asia, is giving this page one coverage.

Virginia Tech students hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening. <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Virginia Tech students hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening. (Source: CNN)

Of course, it's huge news in South Korea, because the alleged killer, Cho Seung-Hui, is Korean. It's affecting Koreans in many ways -- even creating a sense of national shame. And there's one thing that never would have occurred to me -- Koreans in America are afraid of a backlash, like the backlash against Muslims after 9/11.

Is there a generational explanation? It's hard to see how.

It's true that Generation-X, the generation born during the Awakening era in the 1960s-70s are in what William Strauss and Neil Howe call the "Nomad archetype," disaffected, most likely to be in trouble with the law, but nothing like this. That explanation doesn't go anywhere anyway, because Cho Seung-Hui is 23 years old, in the new Millennial generation.

Personally, what this incident reminded me of was something that happened in 1966, when Charles Joseph Whitman, was a student at University of Texas in Austin. On August 1, shortly after his mother divorced his father, who had beaten him, he killed his mother and his wife. Then he climbed the 27-story observation tower on the college campus, and killed 15 people with a shotgun, wounding 31 others.

Now Whitman was born in 1941, in the "nice" Silent generation, and he did the same thing that Cho Seung-Hui did. So this kind of psychosis affects all generations, and then only very, very rarely.

All the political talk in the last couple of days has been about gun control. In a country where any school kid has no trouble buying cocaine if he wants it, these people start talking about banning guns. It's just more fantasy drivel from politicians who feel it's more important to say something stupid than to say nothing. At least I haven't heard anything about video games this time.

A German expert was talking about the subject on the BBC on Tuesday. He said that Germany has very strict gun control, but even so there have been 7 school killing incidents in Germany in the last few years, six with guns and one with knives. Anyone determined to get a gun can get one, no matter how strict the laws.

I'm also reminded of an incident that occurred in Cambridge, Mass., around 10-15 years ago. A young MIT student was walking along Memorial Drive beside the Charles River, when a small group of local high school students came up to him, beat the crap out him, and killed him with their fists. It was a completely random killing.

There are just people like that. Some people are too shy, some people are too noisy, and some people are too violent. When you have 300 million people, you're unfortunately going to get some who are extremely undesirable.

So what's the long view of this incident?

The most compelling outcome, if the Koreans' worst fears come true, would be that there is indeed some sort of backlash. The only reason to think that might happen is that this is a time of increasing xenophobia in general, as I discussed with respect to the harsh trade sanctions that Congress is planning against China. And yet, I don't see the same general American xenophobia against the Koreans that I see against the Chinese.

But a more significant outcome can be imagined if we turn the above scenario around. The Virginia Tech incident may not substantially affect Americans' views of Koreans, but it might affect Koreans' attitudes toward Americans.

Recall that in February I wrote a summary of Korean politics since World War II and the Korean War.

Possibly the most significant event in that entire history occurred on May 18, 1980 -- the Kwangju (Gwangju) massacre. Student anti-government demonstrations were put down by the armed forces, and dozens of students were killed. This event led, in a series of elections, to government control by leaders from the 386er generation (the Korean generation corresponding to our Generation X). Because of unproved allegations of involvement by U.S. armed forces, anti-Americanism developed among the 386ers. And here's an article, written several day ago, before the Virginia Tech massacre, that describes how these feelings have persisted to today.

So, as of today, we have the 1980 Kwangju massacre, allegedly supported by the U.S., and we have Tuesday's Virginia Tech massacre, perpetrated by a renegade South Korean student.

Among the principles of Generational Dynamics is that history can be structured by identifying huge events, such as crisis wars and Awakening eras. These huge events must occur, and can often be predicted. But it's impossible to predict the minor, day-to-day occurrences that might trigger great events.

Who would have predicted that the the the publication of Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed -- a tiny decision -- would have triggered enormous confrontations between Muslims and Westerners?

Who would have predicted that a terrorist act by Hizbollah -- capturing two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanon border -- would have caused Israel to panic and attack Lebanon within four hours, with no plan and no objective?

Initial news reports indicate that Cho Seung-Hui's actions have been an enormous shock to the South Korean public. The connection to the Kwangju massacre is not obvious to Americans, but it must be painfully and conspicuously obvious to the Koreans of the 386 generation. It will be worthwhile watching, in the next few weeks and months, whether the actions of Cho Seung-Hui on Tuesday are forgotten quickly, or whether they have a lasting significance. (18-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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In Turkey, May 16 election may bring Islamist President into power

More than 200,000 secularist Turks protested on Saturday against Turkey's possible return to its old Ottoman empire days, when the Muslim Caliphate was located in Istanbul, and the entire country (and empire) followed strict Muslim Sharia law.

More than 200,000 secularist Turks on Saturday protested the possible candidacy of Recep Tayip Erdogan from the Islamist AKP party. <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
More than 200,000 secularist Turks on Saturday protested the possible candidacy of Recep Tayip Erdogan from the Islamist AKP party. (Source: BBC)

Turkey has been a secular state since 1924, when Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey, abolished the Caliphate and established secular rule.

Recep Tayip Erdogan and his wife, Emine.  Emine is controversial because she always wears a headscarf, considered by secularists to be a sign of a hidden Islamist agenda. <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Recep Tayip Erdogan and his wife, Emine. Emine is controversial because she always wears a headscarf, considered by secularists to be a sign of a hidden Islamist agenda. (Source: BBC)

However, in a March 2004 election, the Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party) made substantial gains in parliamentary elections. As a result, AKP's leader, Recep Tayip Erdogan, has become Prime Minister. Erdogan will announce next week whether he will run for President in the May 16 election, and if he does then he's favored to win, which would give AKP effective control of the entire government, except for the army.

Onur Oymen, leader of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), is also running for President. <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Onur Oymen, leader of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), is also running for President. (Source: BBC)

According to some Turkish political analysts, AKP control will be a threat to the core principles of the modern Republic of Turkey, and may even permit AKP to change the constitution and make Turkey into a religious state. A further fear is that the strongly secularist Army will intervene.

One of Erdogan's opponents is Onur Oymen, leader of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP). "If you make religion as the cement of our society, then you'll have no more democracy in Turkey," said Oymen to the BBC. "The single [greatest threat] to our society is the anti-secular movement, and the Prime Minister, unfortunately, has become a symbol of those who are attacking the secular principles of Turkey."

Brief history of Ottoman Empire

First off, the Turks didn't come from Turkey; Turkey was named after the Turks. The Turks came from central Asia in waves, especially after 1000 AD, and conquered Anatolia (the Asian portion of what is now Turkey). The historical surprise is that the Turks wholeheartedly adopted the Sunni Muslim religion from the Arabs whom they had conquered. The result was the Great Seljuk Empire.

Arrival of Seljuk Turks in 1100 AD: dark area was controlled by Muslim Arabs; medium dark area was controlled by Seljuk Turks; light crossed area were the remaining pieces of the (Orthodox Christian) Byzantine Empire, centered around Constantinople; dark crossed area was Slavic area, converting to Orthodox Christianity.
Arrival of Seljuk Turks in 1100 AD: dark area was controlled by Muslim Arabs; medium dark area was controlled by Seljuk Turks; light crossed area were the remaining pieces of the (Orthodox Christian) Byzantine Empire, centered around Constantinople; dark crossed area was Slavic area, converting to Orthodox Christianity.

What was the most important war of the last millennium? There are many candidates, including our own Revolutionary War. The conquests by Genghis Kahn and the Mfecane in Africa are on the list. But right near the top you'd have to put the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, a conquest that changed the world more than anything until the two World Wars.

The Ottoman tribe, led by its chieftain, Osman, began expanding around 1300. When it conquered Constantinople in 1453, and renamed the city Istanbul, it was the end of the Byzantine empire; and since the Byzantine empire had been the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, it was also the end of the Roman empire. By the 1600s, the Ottoman empire was the greatest empire in the world.

The effect on Russia was enormous. In 1472, the Catholic Pope offered Sophia, a Byzantine princess, to Russia's Ivan the Great, asking him to join the Roman Church. Ivan did marry Sophia, but also declared that Moscow was the third Rome (with Rome and Constantinople being the first two), the head of the "true" or "Orthodox" Christian Church. Ivan immediately took the title of Tsar, and thus became the first Tsar of the new Tsarist Russia. ("Tsar," or "Czar," was derived from the name of the Roman Emperor Caesar, as is the German word "Kaiser.") Thus, Ivan would be not only the head of Russia, he would also be head of the Orthodox Church -- and never part of the Roman Church.

War with the Holy League and Russia

The Ottomans won one battle after another, with few defeats, but the turning point came in 1683, when the (Christian) Holy League destroyed the (Muslim) Ottoman army as it was assaulting Vienna. This was a historic turning point when the balance of power shifted from the Muslims to the Christians. The Holy League joined with Russia and attacked the Ottomans on several fronts, inflicting unprecedented territorial losses.

In 1699, the Ottomans were forced to sign the Treaty at Karlowitz, a moment remembered by Muslim scholars today as a "calamitous defeat" of the greatest magnitude. The Ottomans and the Russians became bitter enemies and fought several wars.

In the 1850s, the Ottomans defeated the Russians in the Crimean War, but only with the help of the English and French. This was very significant because it was the first time that large numbers of European forces were present on Ottoman soil. This resulted in enormous changes in the decades to come, because of the Turkish people's reaction to European forces encroaching on Ottoman lands throughout the empire.

The Young Turks and Ataturk

After the Crimean War, the Ottomans continued to lose prestige and additional parts of their empire. In the generational Awakening era that followed, there was increasing discontent. In 1889, secret societies began to form with the intent of developing a Turkish culture -- as opposed to an Ottoman culture.

In 1908, the Young Turks, formed from these societies, launched a rebellion that engulfed the entire empire. In 1914, the Ottomans entered World War I on the side of Germany, resulting in enormous dislocations. Of the three million men drafted for the army, half of them deserted. Inflation was enormous, resulting in a 2500 percent increase in cost of living between 1914 and 1918. A famine in Syria and Lebanon (still part of the empire) in 1915-16 claimed 100,000 lives.

Turkish nationalism began to grow during World War I because it was becoming clear that only the Turkish people would remain from the Ottoman Empire, and furthermore, some Europeans wanted to even break off even pieces of Turkey. By 1919, there were so many Allied forces in Istanbul that the Ottomans feared that the Allies intended to keep Istanbul for themselves.

Actually, there were three separate Muslim identities within the Ottoman Empire that formed in the Mideast around this time: The Turkish identity (in what is now Turkey), the Arab identity (Saudi Arabia), and the Persian identity (Iran).

With the encouragement of the English, the Arab nationalists turned against the Ottomans.

Another group that turned against the Ottomans must be mentioned: The Armenians. This Orthodox Christian population lives in the midst of the Muslim population of what was the eastern portion of the Ottoman Empire. An Armenian uprising that occurred in Istanbul in 1894-96 was brutally put down, with a large-scale massacre of Armenians in Istanbul.

In 1914, Russia organized four large Armenian volunteer guerrilla units to support the war effort against the Ottomans. In reaction, the Ottomans began deporting the entire Armenian population -- millions of people -- resulting in deaths of over a million Armenians in what amounted to a death march. This event, known as the "Armenian genocide," is hotly disputed by Turkish politicians today, and is still a big part of the debate among EU politicians as whether Turkey should join the European Union.

Statues of Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey, are everywhere today. <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Statues of Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey, are everywhere today. (Source: BBC)

Finally, in October, 1922, the Turkish Republic was declared, putting an official end to the Ottoman Empire after 600 years. The president of the new nation was Mustafa Kemal, an activist who had led the fight to keep Turkey from being split up among the Europeans.

Mustafa Kemal, who later took the name Ataturk (father of the Turks), led the new country in a distinctly Turkish direction. He did everything he could to sweep away the Ottoman past. He abandoned the Ottoman policy of territorial expansion, required Turks to wear Western-style clothing, abolished polygamy, adopted the Christian Gregorian calendar, and adopted the Latin alphabet for writing in the Turkish language, which had previously been done in Arabic script. He even sought to purge Arabic and Persian words from the Turkish language.

Perhaps most important is that he sought to secularize Turkish society. The caliphate, the office of the supreme spiritual leader for Sunni Muslims worldwide, was abolished. Religious schools were closed, and Islamic law courts were dismantled. A new constitution separated religion from the state, and gave all male Turkish citizens over 21 the right to vote,

As for the other pieces of the Ottoman Empire, they were turned into independent nations: Iraq in 1924, Saudi Arabia in 1932, Syria in 1945, Lebanon and Jordan in 1946.

The revival of Islam in Turkey

Turkey and Russia have been in each other's face every since the Turks conquered Constantinople, so it's important to mention one more parallel: The destruction of the Ottoman empire occurred at the same time as Russia's Bolshevik Revolution. The Turks abandoned Islam as a state religion, and the Russians abandoned Orthodox Christianity as a state religion. Both nations turned their backs on their own religions and on many centuries of their own history.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Orthodox Church has been making a strong comeback in Russia. And now we see that Islam may be making a comeback in Turkey.

That's why the May 16 election is potentially so significant. The AKP and Prime Minister Erdogan have been playing down the Islamist angle, pointing to a secularist agenda and their continued intention to join the European Union. And if you go to read analyses of the upcoming election, you'll find that they mostly treat the idea of an Islamist government as little more than a change in political party, based on popular dissatisfaction with the economy, and so forth.

But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this goes far deeper than "it's the economy, stupid." It's as if America had decided, in World War II, to throw away our Constitution and go to some other form of government, and now we were talking about re-adopting the old Constitution. This would be a debate of enormous historical importance.

The same is true of the Islamist revival in Turkey. It will run very deep and revive ancient feelings, loves and hatreds. There are very good reasons why the Asian Turks adopted Islam when they conquered Anatolia from the Arabs a millennium ago, and all of those reasons will come to the fore and be remembered once again.

We never know what minor events are going to trigger enormous changes. One example is the the Danish cartoon controversy. In this case, a tiny decision by a Danish magazine to publish cartoons depicting Mohammed exploded into worldwide confrontations between Muslims and Westerners.

Maybe the AKP candidate, whether it's Erdogan or someone else, will lose the May 16 election; or maybe he'll win, and the world will go on as if nothing special happened.

But with Islamist Sunni groups around the world linking up with al-Qaeda, it's hard to see how an Islamist victory in Turkey would be anything but very significant. It will stir Muslim passions in Chechnya and southern Russia, in southeast Asia, in the Mideast and in the Maghreb (northern Africa). It will stir fears among the Western Christians in Europe, the Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia, and the Shia Muslims in Iran and Pakistan.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war with absolute certainty but, as usual, we don't know what will trigger that war or whether the trigger will occur next week, next month, next year, or later. For at least the next six weeks, it's well worthwhile to keep a close eye on Turkey, and an election that might not or might change the world. (15-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Northern Africa in shock after massive terrorist bombings in Algiers and Casablanca

The usual suspects claim credit: Al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa.

People running from the site of the Algiers suicide bombing <font size=-2>(Source:</font>
People running from the site of the Algiers suicide bombing (Source:

Three suicide bombers blew themselves up Wednesday in Algiers, killing 33 people.

The act struck fear in the entire city, because it signaled a return to the violence that plagued Algeria in 1992. At that time, the army canceled an election that an Islamic group appeared likely to win, and the resulting war and numerous terrorist attacks killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians.

After several years of relative peace, it appeared to the people of Algeria that most of the violence was behind them, but this new attack seems to indicate that it's starting again. "The worry is that this is almost a declaration of war because they targeted the Prime Minister's office and the Interior Ministry, which handles terrorist," according to one analyst on TV.

Last September, I posted an article about an Algerian terrorist group called GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) that had just announced that they were linking with al-Qaeda. Their goal was to establish an Islamist government in Algeria. They also threatened France, which has close ties with Algeria.

An Islamist web site claims that these three children are the suicide bombers. <font size=-2>(Source: Spiegel)</font>
An Islamist web site claims that these three children are the suicide bombers. (Source: Spiegel)

Since then, the group has renamed itself "Islamic North Africa" or "Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." (Maghreb is the Arabic word for North Africa.) This group took responsibility for the bombings on an Internet web site picturing the three suicide bombers, claiming that they used a total of 1,900 kilograms of explosives.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is part of a continuing process of "identity group" formation. Al-Qaeda is gaining in strength, with groups stretching from southeast Asia to the Mideast to the Mahgreb and from there up to Spain and France.

It's fashionable among today's pundits to blame al-Qaeda's gain on the United States, and especially on the war in Iraq. But in fact, the growth and strengthening of al-Qaeda has been going on at least since the 1980s. Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the 1990s included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the bombing of the USS Cole, and the bombing of two American Embassies in Africa.

Since 2000, there has been 9/11, of course, but also several bombings in southeast Asia by the group Jemaah Islamiah, which also played a part in the planning of the 9/11 bombing. Other al-Qaeda linked terrorist attacks have been the London subway bombing, the Madrid subway bombing, and bombings in Egypt, in Turkey, in Pakistan, in India, and in other nations. Al-Qaeda is experience a rebirth and a surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is the process of "identity group formation" that can occur very rapidly during generational Crisis eras.

The al-Qaeda leaders are trying desperately to gain control of an actual country -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Algeria, Morocco, for example. Once they've accomplished that, then they will command the resources to wage regional wars and make demands in the United Nations General Assembly.

As I've been saying for several years, Generational Dynamics predicts that we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war with absolutely certainty, but doesn't predict that scenario that will lead to that war. The increasing strength and reach of al-Qaeda suggests that one possible scenario is al-Qaeda control of some nation, leading to an escalation that pulls in other nations, resulting in a major war. In the meantime, the people of Algeria are preparing for the worst. (13-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Price of food is skyrocketing in India and China

In fact, crop prices are increasing around the world, according to an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal. (The article can also be found here and here.)

Rate of food price inflation in US, China, India and Turkey. <font size=-2>(Source: WSJ)</font>
Rate of food price inflation in US, China, India and Turkey. (Source: WSJ)

According to the report, US food prices rose 3.1% in the last year, but they rose 5-10% or more in countries around the world.

I'd like to focus on one particular paragraph in the story:

"Doomsday predictions of a major food shortage in China and elsewhere have circulated for years but haven't materialized. And some economists believe the recent increase in crop demand probably can be met without severely straining the global economy. They think prices could come back down over time, especially if some countries that have more land that could be put under cultivation -- particularly Brazil -- can greatly increase production. Technological advances, such as better seed varieties, could also help boost production to keep up with demand."

This paragraph is interesting because every sentence is wrong, or at least misleading:

My own estimates are that the Green Revolution had a major effect on food production for a long time, until the 1990s. Since then, food production increases have been leveling off, while the population continues to grow faster. The result is that there's less food for everyone, which pushes food prices up.

In 2005, an e-mail discussion led me to do a piece of research that that I originally posted at that time. I found some food commodity prices on the internet, and was able to prepare the following table:

                          ------ Prices -------    -- Increases --
                          1999-   2000-   2004-    Since    Since
               Commodity   2000    2001    2005     1999     2000
     -------------------  ------  ------  ------   ------  -------
            Spring wheat    2.85    2.79    3.35   17.54%   20.07%
                    Oats    0.90    0.86    1.11   23.33%   29.07%
           Oil sunflower    6.56    6.06   11.96   82.32%   97.36%
                  Canola    7.50    6.55   11.40   52.00%   74.05%
                Flaxseed    3.79    3.31    7.35   93.93%  122.05%
    Beef 400-500# Steers   97.68  106.07  128.86   31.92%   21.49%
             Hogs 250 lb   32.50   43.10   51.12   57.29%   18.61%
    CPI (Inflation rate)  168.80  175.10  190.70   12.97%    8.91%

The last line of this table shows the inflation rate for comparison purposes. This shows that for many foods, prices have increased far faster than inflation.

The percentages in the last two columns show price increases over a 5-6 year period. The figures in the Monday's news report indicate that prices in India rose over 10% in one year alone. So the new figures indicate that food prices are increasing even more rapidly.

From a theoretical point of view, I would expect food price increases to accelerate. The reason is that, as time goes on, population grows faster than food production, and the difference grows exponentially.

The "Malthus effect," the observation that population grows faster than the food supply throughout history, is an important part of Generational Dynamics, because it proves that genocidal crisis wars must occur.

The result of the Malthus effect is not "doomsday," or mass starvation. The result of the Malthus effect is war. An individual who can't feed his family anyway has nothing to lose by joining the army; and a nation that can't feed its people has nothing to lose by going to war against someone else. (11-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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BBC kills an Iraqi war story because it's "too positive"

But a drama showing British troops brutalizing civilians is perfectly fine.

Private Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross in March, 2005, for multiple acts of heroism, risking his own life to save the lives of his own injured men, according to a Sunday article in the Telegraph. He was citied for "valour of the highest order" on two separate occasions a month apart.

The BBC commissioned a 90-minute drama, tentatively titled "Victoria Cross."

However, the BBC has now canceled the project, because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq, according to the article. "It needed to tell stories about Iraq which reflected the fact that some members of the audience didn't approve of what was going on. Obviously a story about Johnson Beharry could never do that."

<i>Daily Mirror</i> front page, November 4, 2004: "How can 59,017,382 people be so DUMB?"
Daily Mirror front page, November 4, 2004: "How can 59,017,382 people be so DUMB?"

I've written many times how blatantly anti-American the BBC is, and that extends to even UK's participation in the Iraq war. It's true of most of the UK press.

So they see no problem that UK's channel 4 (not the BBC) is planning to show a program called "The Mark of Cain," which shows British troops brutalising Iraqi detainees, according to the Telegraph article.

In 2004, the BBC was reprimanded after a long investigation resulting the the Hutton Report. The investigation showed that the BBC had purposely lied repeatedly, with the result that a government weapons expert committed suicide, rather than continue to be humiliated by the false BBC news stories. The BBC suffered large budget reductions, partially as a result of the Hutton Report.

American news channels are even worse, as when Donald Trump went on a hysterical rant on CNN that was played over and over and over for three days. CNN is also paying the price for its blatant anti-Americanism, as the Fox News Channel is kicking its ass in the ratings.

As I've said before, it's an absolute disgrace how most journalists and Democratic party politicians have bet their entire careers and credibility on American failure in Iraq. This kind of behavior may have been OK during the 1960s, when America was in a generational Awakening era, but one thing I know is that this behavior will not be tolerated for long in a generational Crisis era, such as we're in today. The Hutton Report and the ratings loss to Fox News are just two early examples of this. (11-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Tens of thousands of Shi'ites protest against American "occupiers"

In what appeared to be a grand, party-like atmosphere, tens of thousands of Shi'ites heeded the call of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and poured into Najaf to protest against against America.

As we wrote yesterday, this is perfectly standard fare for a country in a generational Awakening era. The burning of the American flag might have been a scene out of America in the 1960s.

Fiery speakers roused huge Shi'ite mobs to scream "No to America," and burn American flags in Najaf on Monday. Moqtada al-Sadr (shown lower right) was nowhere to be seen. <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Fiery speakers roused huge Shi'ite mobs to scream "No to America," and burn American flags in Najaf on Monday. Moqtada al-Sadr (shown lower right) was nowhere to be seen. (Source: CNN)

During an Awakening era, there's always a "generation gap," separating the traumatized survivors of the previous crisis war, who have vowed that their children must never have to go through such a horrific experience, and their children, born after the war, who fight for individual rights, rather than the worrying about preventing another war.

In Najaf on Monday, the "children" were the generation born after the end of the 1980s Iran/Iraq war, and the "parents" were the Americans. (10-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Iraq's Moqtada al-Sadr tells followers to attack Americans, not each other

This could be good news.

This story is being reported in two different ways, as either bad news or as very bad news.

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in December, 2006 <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in December, 2006 (Source: CNN)

The Stratfor analyst firm took the most alarmist view: "Iraq: Al-Sadr Calls For Attacks Against U.S. Forces. Radical Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr on April 8 called on his militia, the Mehdi Army, to focus their attacks on U.S. forces instead of fellow Iraqis."

The slightly less alarmist view is a Reuters report:

"Sadr calls for anti-U.S. protest in Iraq

Thousands of Iraqis streamed to Najaf on Sunday in response to a call by a Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, for a big anti-American protest Monday.

Sadr, who blames the U.S.-led invasion for unrelenting violence in Iraq, has urged Iraqis to protest on a day that marks the fourth anniversary of when American forces swept into central Baghdad.

"In order to end the occupation, you will go out and demonstrate," Sadr, who accuses U.S. forces of fomenting civil strife in Iraq, said in a statement."

This report talks about a massive anti-U.S. protest, not an "attack." This is, in fact, what would be expected. Iraq is currently in a generational Awakening era, like America's last Awakening era, the 1960s-70s. And in any Awakening era, the population is attracted toward political protest, and away from violence. A large protest led by al-Sadr is exactly what one would expect during an Awakening era.

I get the feeling that what we're seeing here is a media reversion to 2004.

Starting in 2003, the media pundits were predicting that there would be a Shi'ite uprising against the Americans, led by Moqtada al-Sadr. The media frenzy increased throughout 2004, and by August 2004, the Boston Globe actually predicted that the Shi'ite uprising had begun.

Here's what I wrote at the time:

"Meanwhile, it's fun to watch how the mindless Boston Globe reporters cover all this. Tuesday's lead multi-column page one headline was "Shi'ites' uprising grows." That was wishful thinking, and by Wednesday the page one Iraq headline was, "Qaeda arrests called 'lucky' break." Today's headline is "Young marines frustrated by lack of progress." Each day's headline seems so moronic that it could never be topped, but the next day's is even more moronic. I don't know how they manage to do it."

Later, the media abandoned this line, and by 2006 was fully entrenched in the view that Sunnis and Shia were headed for a massive civil war. By November, NBC news had a big theatrical announcement that it was going to call the Iraq war a "civil war." It was grossly disgusting.

Well, now it's becoming increasingly clear to everyone except the stupidest Senators (i.e., Biden) and news organizations (i.e., NBC) that there's no civil war going on.

In fact, it was just last week that CNN's Michael Ware, formerly a big "civil war" cheerleader, gave an extensive analysis of the Iraq war without even using the phrase "civil war."

So now, with the "civil war" concept fading into the sunset, the media seem to be returning to their old 2004 concept of an anti-American uprising.

I recently posted a long analysis of the current situation in Iraq, emphasizing the fact that Iraqi citizens are turning against the foreign jihadist organization, "al-Qaeda in Iraq." Iraqi nationalism is beginning to re-assert itself, as it always has in times of war in the past.

In that analysis, I focused on the Sunni side of things in Iraq, but left the Shia side out, mostly because Iran's foreign policy is so contradictory, thanks to President Ahmadinejad, that it's impossible to discern what trend the Shia in Iraq might be following.

However, there are many reasons why Moqtada al-Sadr would not want see a large, violent anti-American uprising to be in his interests:

Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr

If you read the above list of reasons, you can see that the most likely explanation for what al-Sadr is doing is political. By bringing masses of Shia into Najaf on Monday for an anti-American demonstration, he proves his own political popularity.

Moqtada al-Sadr is one individual, and there's no way to predict what he'll do. He may order additional violence, and he may, in fact, be personally responsible for roadside bombs using Iran-supplied weapons, as well as death squads against Sunnis. But there will NOT be a massive civil war or a massive anti-American uprising. Even if he ordered one, it wouldn't happen, because Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, and the great masses of people, today's generations of people, do not want it.

Massive protests are exactly what one would expect from an Iraq in a generational Awakening period. Since 2003, when I first began posting predictions about Iraq, Iraq has never failed to do exactly as Generational Dynamics predicts for a country in a generational Awakening era. (9-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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The Administration and Congress plan harsh protectionist trade sanctions against China

The Chinese are "strongly dissatisfied" with a recent US decision to levy penalty tariffs on imports of Chinese coated free sheet paper. The US Department of Commerce last Friday announced its preliminary decision to apply US anti-subsidy law to imports of coated paper from China.

"This action of the US side goes against the consensus reached by the leaders of both countries to resolve disputes through dialogue," said Wang Xinpei, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce. "China strongly requires the US side to reconsider the decision and make prompt changes."

Coated paper isn't exactly a major strategic item, as those things go, but this new tariff policy signals the start of a whole series of protectionist trade measures targeting Japan.

In a separate matter, administrative officials have indicated plans to file formal trade complaints against China over pirated copies of American movies, music and software. (We can't even control our own "illegal" downloads of movies, music and software, so we're sanctioning the Chinese for the same thing?)

Chinese currency policy is a matter that's infuriating our people in Congress.

Democratic party Sen. Charles Schumer, and Republican party Sen. Lindsey Graham are cooperating on a "veto-proof" bill to FORCE the Chinese to revalue their currency. (Does any intelligent person really believe that the Chinese will accede to something like that if forced on them? Well, let's face it, "intelligent Senator" is a self-contradictory phrase.)

It's been my opinion for some years that the first major hostile act of World War II was not the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and was not any invasion by Hitler. Here's how I described in my 2003 book, Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny, what happened after the 1929 stock market crash:

"Perfectly reasonable acts by one country can be interpreted as hostile acts by another country. Guns and bombs are not needed to create an impression of war.

And if one country's innocent act is a shock to another country and is viewed as hostile by that country, and if the people of that country are in a mood for retribution rather than compromise, than they may well look for a way to retaliate.

In that sense, the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in June 1930 can be viewed as the first of the shocking, provocative acts that led to World War II.

The Act was opposed by an enormous number of economists as being harmful to everyone, but it was very popular with the public, because of the perception that it would save American jobs. Many in the public believed that the crash had been caused by withdrawal of investment funds by foreign banks, just as many in the public today believe that the Nasdaq crash of 2000 was caused by the illegal or improper actions of CEOs of Enron and other corporations. The public demanded the Smoot-Hawley Act in retribution, just as the public today demands the jailing of corporate CEOs.

Interestingly, the Smoot-Hawley Act is still debated by politicians today, with regard to whether it caused or aggravated the Great Depression or had no effect, with pro-free trade politicians taking the first position, and politicians supporting restrictions on free trade taking the second position.

Those discussions are entirely America-centric because, for the purposes of this book, it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not the Act aggravated the American depression. We're interested in the effect it had on foreign nations.

And the effects were enormous. The bill erected large trade barriers for numerous products, with the intention of saving American jobs. How many American jobs it saved, if any, is unknown, but it virtually shut down product exports to the United States. Both Germany and Japan were going through the same financial crisis America was going through, and they were furious that America as a market was closed to them.

Japan was the hardest hit. The Great Depression was hurting Japan just as much as it was hurting America but, in addition, Japan's exports of its biggest cash crop, silk, to America were almost completely cut off by the Smoot-Hawley Act. Furthermore, Japan would have been going through a generational change: The country had undergone a historic revolution some 70+ years earlier, culminating in a major change of government (the Meiji Restoration) in 1868, and the people who had lived through that revolution would be dead or retiring by the early 1930s.

So one thing led to another, and in September 1931, almost exactly a year after Smoot-Hawley, Japan invaded Manchuria and later northern China. Britain and American strongly protested this aggression, and Roosevelt finally responded with an oil embargo against Japan.

This is the usual pattern of provocative acts on both sides. America saw Smoot-Hawley as its own business, but to Japan it was a hostile shock. Japan saw the Manchuria invasion as "Asian business," while Britain and America saw it as attacking their own Asian interests. Roosevelt saw an oil embargo as a measured response of containment, while energy-dependent Japan saw it almost as an act of war, eventually triggering Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941."

As I've discussed many times on this web site, China is actively planning for war with the United States, and has indicated so in many statements I've quoted. China has over 100 million itinerant workers, and enormous income differences between elite and peasant classes, resulting in tens of thousands of large regional rebellions each year. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao recently said that China is "unsteady, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable."

So China has many troubles, and it blames many of those troubles on the US.

China is also aware that it has been subsidizing America's huge credit binge all these years, saving money only to lend it to Americans to spend on Chinese manufactured goods.

So after subsidizing America's credit binge for years, the Chinese, who are sensitive to disrespectful foreigners anyway, are going to be increasingly infuriated by further protectionist measures targeting China. As China's own economic problems increase, their anger at America will increase, as will their sense that America has been screwing them economically.

As I've discussed in the past, nations and populations tend to become increasingly xenophobic during generational crisis eras. That's been happening in the US between Anglos and Latinos, and in fact American hostility to illegal immigration has been growing steadily. It's happening throughout Europe, in the mutual level of distrust between Muslims and ethnic Europeans.

And it also flared up last month in a confrontation between Japan and China over comfort women, an issue that both sides had thought resolved years ago.

Usually, xenophobia takes the form of conflict between natives of and immigrants to a country. But xenophobia can take many forms, and they all come to the fore during generational Crisis eras. All of the examples we're giving -- comfort women, trade protectionism with China, stricter immigration laws, conflicts between Europeans and Muslims -- all of these illustrate exactly the same thing: The growth of xenophobia, hostility and even hatred toward other national, religious or ethnic groups. And they all illustrate what happens during generational Crisis eras.

China has been increasingly belligerent towards America, especially over the subject of Taiwan, and now America is becoming increasingly belligerent towards China in the form of protectionist trade sanctions. We saw this with Japan in the 1930s Smoot-Hawley act, and now we're seeing it with China in the 2000s.

This is also an illustration of the entire Generational Dynamics concept that when you examine a country's policies and trends, you can't just examine the words of a few politicians or economists. You have to look at the attitudes and behaviors of large masses of people, entire generations of people.

In the case of the Smoot-Hawley law, it was opposed by President Hoover and by economists. But the American people were looking for someone to blame for the stock market crash and the Great Depression, and they blamed foreign exports for stealing American jobs.

Today, we're in a similar position, and we aren't (yet) suffering anything even close to the pain Americans suffered after the 1929 crash. Still, Americans are suspicious of the Chinese, and China-bashing politicians like Schumer and Graham just pander to these suspicions by passing (or at least threatening to pass) laws that do America no good whatsoever, but will infuriate the Chinese.

Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley's chief economist, has been concerned about this issue for some time, and he also compares the current craziness to the 1930 passage of the Smoot-Hawley law: "[The] notorious Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 – a policy blunder of monumental proportions [played] a key role in `sparking a global trade war and the Great Depression. Some 77 years later, his spirit was very much in evidence as the Senate Finance Committee gathered to debate the 'China threat.'"

Roach blamed America's economic problems with China on America itself, and gave three reasons:

"One, America’s extraordinary saving shortfall sets us up for chronic trade deficits with China and a host of our other trading partners. Two, China is focused on a major rebalancing of its own economy that, over time, will provide structural relief to its trade surplus. And three, America’s middle-class angst – which is driving the politics of China bashing – reflects a US economy that failed to prepare its workforce for the pressures of an IT-enabled globalization. There was little or no response to anything I said."

Roach points out that China would not respond to protectionist legislation kindly, but would seek retaliation:

"In these more extreme scenarios, any number of possible Chinese actions might be expected – ranging from retaliatory tariffs of its own to restrictions on foreign direct investment to limits placed on overseas portfolio inflows. Then, of course, there is China’s ultimate trump card – the asset allocation decisions that pertain to its massive reservoir of over $1 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. In the event of a major trade sanction imposed on China by the United States, I think this option could well come into play – not in the form of outright sales of existing positions of China’s dollar-based holdings but more from the diversification of new inflows of foreign exchange reserves into non-dollar-based assets. In that event, America would feel the full force of China’s wrath in the form of a sharp decline in the value of the dollar and a concomitant increase in real long-term US interest rates.

Yet one thing is now for certain: America’s anti-China brinksmanship is escalating. ... For their part, the overwhelming majority of investors remain steeped in denial – convinced that nothing like this could ever come to pass. The ghost of Reed Smoot [of the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930] is a haunting image of an increasingly treacherous endgame."

The third of Roach's three possible forms of retaliation is particularly telling: China has hundreds of billions of dollars worth of American treasury bills in its reserves, representing the hundreds of billions of dollars that we owe to China. And yet, here we are telling China what to do, when it's China that should be telling us what to do.

Roach's examples of retaliation are all economic, but he neglects to mention that possibility that American protectionist laws may trigger a panic in China, leading to war.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, war with China is coming with almost mathematical certainty. As usual, Generational Dynamics tells where we're going, but now how we'll get there. In the past I've described several different possible scenarios that could lead to war: a bird flu pandemic, an international financial crisis, a Chinese economic recession, a threat from Japan, or a Taiwanese action that could be interpreted as moving towards independence.

These and other triggers could cause the Chinese public to panic, in the same way that American panicking is causing Washington impose protectionist trade sanctions on China. Panic plays a very important part in wars during a generational Crisis era, as shown by how Israel panicked in pursuing the summer, 2006, Lebanon war with Hizbollah.) Just as we're panicking now, and Israel panicked last summer, any of a wide variety of incidents could trigger a Chinese panic, leading to full-scale war. (9-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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California indoor pot farming soaring, thanks to housing bubble

Marijuana seizures in upscale homes have quadrupled in just three years.

Indoor pot operating using sophisticated irrigation, ventilation and lighting <font size=-2>(Source: LA Times)</font>
Indoor pot operating using sophisticated irrigation, ventilation and lighting (Source: LA Times)

Authorities have confiscated more than $100 million worth of pot in the last year alone, according to officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In just three years, the number of plants confiscated has grown from 54,000 to nearly 200,000 in 2006.

"They have cropped up in neighborhoods like never before," said Gordon Taylor, who heads the DEA office in Sacramento. "I am not talking about the Cheech and Chong marijuana cultivation of two plants in someone's closet. I am talking about organized crime groups who are purchasing homes in our communities and creating marijuana factories."

In recent busts near Los Angeles, marijuana plants valued at tens of millions of dollars were found in ordinary middle class homes purchased for $500,000 to $1 million.

The purchasers took advantage of widely available subprime mortgage loans with 100% financing, so that they didn't even have to pay anything for them.

Publicity shot of TV series <i>Weeds,</i> about a single mother selling marijuana from her home. <font size=-2>(Source: Showtime)</font>
Publicity shot of TV series Weeds, about a single mother selling marijuana from her home. (Source: Showtime)

In other words, it's the housing bubble, the credit debauchery, and the general investor mania -- the things that I keep talking about -- that explain why in-home marijuana gardening has quadrupled in three years.

Last week, I described in great detail how this mania worked in the case of the Tulipomania bubble:

"By the later stages of the mania [at the end of 1636] the fusion of the windhandel with paper credit created a perfect symmetry of insubstantiality: most transactions were for tulip bulbs that could never be delivered because they didn't exist and were paid for with credit notes that could never be honoured because the money wasn't there."

And I recently described how criminal activities were exposed in the Panic of 1857:

"Yet even large, incorporated banks were sometimes grossly misconducted. ... [The] bank had contributed to political parties out of a secret drawer, ... and it had permitted other shocking laxities in expenditure and bookkeeping. ... As the nation's load of debt from railway construction, the expansion of mills, factories, and stores, town promotion, and speculation in commodities rose, the sums owed to banks, brokerage houses, and private lenders became more and more disproportionate to the supporting assets."

And this is how John Kenneth Galbraith described what happened in the Wall Street crash of 1929:

"[Before the crash], to the normal needs for money, for home, family and dissipation, was added, during the boom, the new and overwhelming requirement for funds to play the market or to meet margin calls. Money was exceptionally plentiful. People were also exceptionally trusting. A bank president [was] unlikely to suspect his lifelong friend the cashier. ...

Just as the boom accelerated the rate of growth, so the crash enormously advanced the rate of discovery. Within a few days, something close to universal trust turned into something akin to universal suspicion. Audits were ordered. Strained or preoccupied behavior was noticed. Most important, the collapse in stock values made irredeemable the position of the employee who had embezzled to play the market. He now confessed."

The point, as always, is when a financial bubble is in progress, as it has been since 1995, money is plentiful. When money is plentiful, people spend freely, people borrow freely, everyone is happy, people trust other people. Since 1995, we've had several huge bubbles: the dot-com bubble, the credit bubble, the commodities bubble, the stock market bubble, and the real estate bubble.

This story of mushrooming (so to speak) in-home pot gardens in California is just one small example. The real estate bubble and the associated credit debauchery not only made it financially possible, but also made it attractive to people who might otherwise simply have gotten a burger-flipping job. And now that these bubbles are deflating, spending will turn to saving, borrowing will turn to bankruptcy, happiness will turn to desperation, and trust will turn to accusations and incriminations. (8-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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The financial mania continues with "CDOs Squared"

And suddenly, Moody's is worrying that derivatives may be riskier than they had thought.

I thank an entry in the SuddenDebt blog for calling my attention to a new investment craze: CDOs Squared!

CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) are credit derivatives that are a kind of loan insurance. If you loan someone some money, or purchase a corporation's bonds, which is similar, then there's a chance the loan won't be repaid. CDOs provide the mechanism whereby you can pay a third party an upfront amount plus an annual fee. The holder of the CDO just has to sit back and collect money unless, of course, the company you loaned money to defaults on the loan, and then the third party has to make good on the loan.

Banks will take thousands of mortgage loans or credit card loans and package them up together and split them up into pieces based on levels of risk. CDOs then can then be bought and sold the same as a stock certificate. Stock certificates are based on a company's assets, and the CDOs are based on the underlying collection of loans.

Well, thanks to the subprime mortgage loan debacle, a lot of people who had just expected to sit back and collect fees are suddenly discovering that they're responsible to make good on a lot of other people's mortgage loans. This is leading the holders to take desperation measure.

This brings us to the magic of "CDO squared" or "CDO^2" -- CDOs based on other CDOs. Now, if I have this straight, it works this way: Financial managers holding a lot of these CDOs suddenly have a lot of money to pay, so it's as if they have to repay a loan. So you can put together large bunches of CDOs, just as earlier you could put together large bunches of mortgage or credit card loans. Then you can break up the large bunches of CDOs into pieces, based on levels of risk, and CDO^2s become another money-making scheme.

When you get down to the heart of it, what all this does is recycle pieces of paper, CDOs in this case, so that they can be sold and resold, each time at a higher price.

It's getting to the point where even Moody's Investors Service is getting worried. They're discovering that CDOs are riskier than people ever realized because of "overlapping subprime exposure." Duh!

Last December, I explained how this works with hedge funds, how it's possible for a good salesman to start up a new hedge fund, based on underlying assets of any kind whatsoever, and then bid up the price of the hedge fund shares so that they're worth many times more than the value of the underlying assets. In essence, the hedge fund manager is "making money" -- literally, as if he had a printing press. The hedge fund shares can now be traded at their inflated values, so in some circles they're as good as money.

It all resulted in this table, as of last year:

    Item                          Value ($ trillion)
    ----------------------------- ------------------
    All public firms-"real value"   30
    All stock market shares         65
    All hedge fund shares          370 (June, up from 300 in Jan)

[[Correction: "All hedge fund shares" should have read "all credit derivative securities."]] (Correction made on 13-Nov)

My guess is that the $370 trillion figure reached at $500 trillion by January of this year, but I haven't seen those figures.

And when you have hedge fund shares that are worth 10-15 times as much as the underlying assets, then you can bet that there must an awful lot of "overlapping" going on. Moody's might have figured that out long ago.

The point I'm making with all of this is the hyper-manic nature of investing, just before a major financial crisis.

Last week, I described in great detail how this mania worked in the case of the Tulipomania bubble:

"By the later stages of the mania [at the end of 1636] the fusion of the windhandel with paper credit created a perfect symmetry of insubstantiality: most transactions were for tulip bulbs that could never be delivered because they didn't exist and were paid for with credit notes that could never be honoured because the money wasn't there."

A web site reader has referred me to a book that describes what happened in the Panic of 1857. This information is from a 1950 book by Allan Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln: Prologue to Civil War 1859-1861, Volume II.

The book has a lengthy chapter on the panic of 1857, and we're going to quote excerpts.

The New York Stock Exchange had been in existence for more than 60 years at that time, and had always been a staid, sedate institution, until the 1850s.

"No feature of the boom had excited more comment than the novel vogue of speculation in securities. Stock-gambling, scolded the National Intelligencer, has grown to "an incredible extent" in the chief cities. ... While numerous journals printed sharp exposures of nefarious operations of brokers, the New York Observer defended them. The public, it argued, had an incorrect estimate of the New York Stock Exchange. "It is not a gambling-house; and although many desperately risk their all on the rise and fall of the market, yet a large part of the business is as legitimate as any other commercial transactions. ... Transactions in bank and insurance stocks were usually sedate, but railroad shares often produced a wild hubbub." (p. 180-1)

It's worthwhile remembering that railroads were the high-tech innovation of the day, just as the Model T Ford was the high tech innovation of the 1920s bubble, and the internet is the high-tec innovation of today. (Incidentally, the tulip was a very high-tech item in the early 1600s, as botanists were able to produce tulips with spectacular colors by means of breeding experiments.)

"To John Bigelow, the sale of more than $22,000,000 worth of stock in one fortnight of 1857 seemed ample basis for an Evening Post editorial denouncing "A Growing Evil" -- overspeculation. The mania for playing the market had attacked every body, he wrote; lawyers, merchants, doctors, and even clergy were abandoning a safe seven percent to gamble for twenty. If the speculation was deplorable, the secret manipulation of stocks by insiders was far more reprehensible. (p. 181)

This raises a point that I've made several times before, and is worth repeating: There is a lot of crime going on today, committed by desperate people who are in over their heads in investments or subprime mortgages. Crimes like embezzlement are ticking time bombs. No one worries about embezzlement when everyone's making money, but when times get tough, every past transaction is gone over with a fine tooth comb. It happens in every generational panic. It's happening already, as even bankers are now being subjected to criminal investigations because of "predatory lending" on mortage loans.

What we're now going to see is how bubbles feed into each other. A bubble in one are creates money that can be used to drive up prices in another area.

"Commodity speculation was equally reckless. The press in 1856 and 1856 was studded with items on fortunes quickly conquered by bold Napoleons of the market. Chicago wheat brokers who bought at $1.40 and sold at $1.85, pork dealers who secured prime mess at $16 a barrel and parted with it at $20 -- these men were objects of admiration so long as prices rose. ... By midsummer of 1857, declared the New York Herald, commodity prices had increased forty percent in four years. ... [T]he Herald laid this disastrous rise to speculation. It made a particular point of cotton. Despite an estimated American crop in 1856-57 of about three million bails, with a large carry-over in European warehouses, raw cotton had gone so high that textile interests were being crushed between excessive costs and an overladen market. Within a year, declared the Herald, speculators had forced it up nearly forty percent. (p. 182)

Now we'll see how different bubbles tied in to one another. And for those of you who are interested in the causes of the Civil War, including slavery, the bubble economy even had it's effect on that:

"Speculative ventures in lands, railroad building, and slaves kept and were closely interrelated; the rise in grain, meats, and cotton, and the westward movement of the population, maintaining all three. The "negro fever" was now rife in the South. Cotton planters found that the cost of hands soared out of all proportion even to rising prices for their staple. Prices in the Lower South were rising to $1,800 and even $2,000 for prime field workers. The two possible remedies were a reopening of the African slave trade, and a utilization of cheap lands. Since the former could not be attained except after prolonged agitation, if at all, planters bought lands in Arkansas, Texas, and unsettled parts of the older States with avidity. If they could only get the labor, they might pay for their holdings with one or two crops. Similarly in the Northwest, where McCormick's reaper and other machinery made labor a minor problem, high prices for foodstuffs and meat turned prosperous famrers and immigrants into land buyers, while speculators crowded in early upon their heels. The Graduation Act of 1854, reducing the price of public land in proportion to the lengh of time it had been fruitlessly offered for sale, played into the hands of would-be monopolists; for it placed no limit on the amount of land one purchaser might take. Some bought large areas." (p. 183)

This is all very similar to the last few years. We've had a high-tech bubble, a real estate bubble, a commodities bubble, a stock market bubble, and even the price of food has gone up substantially.

It's a purely generational attitude that comes about at the height of the bubble mania, just before a crash, as I discussed in my article based on research by Harvard economist Robert J. Barro. Tying all the bubbles together is a credit bubble, which allows ordinary people to go more and more deeply into debt in order to get money to put into commodities or real estate or the stock market. It's a giant worldwide pyramid scheme (or Ponzi scheme), and every pyramid scheme must come to an end.

The mania continued to get worse and worse. As you read the following paragraph, keep in mind that hedge funds today are almost completely unregulated. Therefore, they play the same role today that unincorporated banks played in the 1850s:

"Most incorporated banks were prohibited by law from engaging in any business other than banking. Unincorporated banks, however, were free to employ part of their capital in outside operations, and frequently did so. They sometimes made prodigious temporary gains at the sacrifice of safety. Banks of large capital were likely to have a more prudent management than lesser institutions, for they could employ more skillful and experienced officers, and command better means of credit investigation. Yet even large, incorporated banks were sometimes grossly misconducted. Much indignation was aroused in New York when in 1855 the cashier of the Mechanics' Bank, who had been forced to resign after a quarrel with the president, published a pamphlet containing amazing disclosures. It showed that the bank had contributed to political parties out of a secret drawer, that it had paid "assessments" by the City Chamberlain without keeping any account of them or making any report to the directors, and that it had permitted other shocking laxities in expenditure and bookkeeping." (p. 185)

Once again, you can see that criminal activities became exposed.

Now, as you read the following paragraph, remember what I said above about how hedge fund managers "make money" literally -- as if they had a printing press. The same thing happened in the 1850s:

"Viewing the banking system of the country as a whole, men could see that it contained too many new and immature units; in the ten years preceding 1857, no fewer than six hundred and seventy-eight new banks had been set up. They could see that ready assets wee much too small in proportion to liabilities; in 1856, deposits and circulation came to $407,000,000, while specie was only $53,000,000. They could see that bank management was sometimes dishonest, often incompetent, and still more often reckless. The ablest bankers of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, eager to increase their deposits, fell in with an unfortunate trend. Not content with being mere passive recipients of funds from country banks, they actively solicited deposits, even sending out circulars. On the floating capital thus obtained, they paid as much as four percent for sums up to $5,000 and as much as five percent for sums beyond that amount. These funds they then lent to brokers and others, often on dubious security, at profits of one to three percent a year. The brokers then used the money inventures of a more or less speculative hue. As the nation's load of debt from railway construction, the expansion of mills, factories, and stores, town promotion, and speculation in commodities rose, the sums owed to banks, brokerage houses, and private lenders became more and more disproportionate to the supporting assets." (p. 187-88)

It never ceases to amaze me how blind people, even supposedly intelligent people, are to what's going on. People would rather think of almost anything else besides what's really going on.

This "global warming" frenzy is an example of how incredibly crazy all this is. Everyone's getting all upset because the temperature of the earth may go up by 1-2 degrees by the end of the century, and some species of animals will go extinct.

Well, how many species of animal will go extinct when we have a world war? Why don't people worry about a financial crisis leading to a world war?

And it's easy to prove that there's going to be a world war. Just extrapolate the population growth forward, and extrapolate the amount of food we'll have, and it's easy to see that there won't be enough food to feed everyone.

Why wasn't that in Al Gore's movie? Isn't that an environmental disaster too? I guess some "inconvenient truths" are more inconvenient than others, and some truths are just too darned inconvenient even for Al Gore. Better to worry about the earth's temperature in 2080 than in what might happen in the next year.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, a generational stock market crash is overdue. If you go back through history, there are of course many small or regional recessions. But since the 1600s there have been only five major international financial crises: Tulipomania bubble (1637), South Sea Bubble (1721), French Monarchy bankruptcy (1789), Hamburg Crisis of 1857, and 1929 Wall Street crash. We're now overdue for the next one.

It could happen next week, next month or next year. But when it happens, massive numbers of people will become unemployed, bankrupt and homeless. Many ordinary people will go to jail because of crimes they committed out of desperation.

As I've said before, it's possible that some people reading this have committed crimes, such as embezzlement, thinking that no one would check and they wouldn't be caught. It's true that no one checks as long as everyone's making money, but when things go wrong, everything is checked and double-checked, and criminals are caught.

If you've committed a crime out of desperation, then you should try to find a solution immediately; even if you're going to be bankrupt and homeless, you don't want to be a criminal as well. Don't tell a friend or family member of your crime, because you'll make that person an accessory after the fact. Go talk to a lawyer immediately, and examine the choices available to you.

As the crisis approaches, remember what I always say: No one can prevent the crisis, but you can prepare for it. Treasure the time you have left, and use it to prepare yourself, your family, your community and your nation. (6-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Democrats are now threatening total cutoff of funds to Iraq

CNN's Michael Ware gives a sober assessment, for a change.

According to Time Magazine and other news sources, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to try to completely cut off funding for the Iraq war if President Bush vetoes the bill that sets a withdrawal deadline, as he's already said he would do.

The clown circus in Washington gets worse every day.

I've been critical of CNN Baghdad reporter Michael Ware before, because he doesn't know what a civil war is, he doesn't know that there's a real civil war going on in Darfur, all he reports on are bombings and killings in Iraq, and he's contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with the Democratic party line.

So I was surprised on Monday to hear him give a very sober assessment of what would happen if Reid's threat came to fruition.

He was interviewed by CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux:

"Malveaux: What would happen if the US government pulled most of the funding out for US troops by March of next year?

Unshaven Michael Ware is interviewed by lovely anchor Suzanne Malveaux <font size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Unshaven Michael Ware is interviewed by lovely anchor Suzanne Malveaux (Source: CNN)

Ware: It would be an American nightmare. If Congress decided to cut off the flow of finances, if America decides to stop paying for this war, and the fight grinds to a halt, then the people who will benefit will be the enemies that America has identified -- al-Qaeda and Iran, particularly.

Because there's no one else to pick up the mantle of the fight and carry it forward. Within Iraq there would be unimaginable bloodshed. And, as the former chief of central command, General Abazaid forewarned, there would almost certainly be regional warfare within the broader Middle East that, without a shadow of a doubt, would not only produce more terrorists, but that would ultimately, eventually blow back on the United States of America.

Malveaux: Could the Maliki government survive such a pullout from reducing those funds.

Ware: Not at all, not at all. If those funds are cut off, not only does it rip the carpet out from underneath the feet of the American troops here on the ground, but given that America is underwriting the Maliki government, certainly in terms of finances, it would see this brittle administration here in Iraq crumble as well.


Again, who would be the victor? No one but Iran. Iran already has much greater political influence here in this country than Washington does. So if the pot of money stops, there's nothing to stop Iran consolidating its power.

Now, while I understand the Democrats and their posturing like this on the finance issues in Congress reflects the mood of America, here on the ground it just means trouble and a nightmare end to this war.

Malveaux: But Michael, what about the alternative: There are some Democrats who say, maybe we should redeploy, put US troops outside of Baghdad and perhaps outside of the country, and they'll be ready to go if such a crisis happens.

Ware: This is not a new concept, this is not a new strategy. This is the policy of containment.

Pull back, seal what borders we can -- but let's bear in mind, Iraq's longest land border is with Iran, and there'll be no US troops on that border. There's no guarantee that Turkey will allow US troops on it's border, either. And Syria - do you think Syria is going to allow US soldiers and marines on its territory to police Iraq? I don't think so.

And you want to make it a precondition that the troops will move in IF something arises? There is no IF. And you'll see America's Arab allies, who have been screaming about the disaster they see here in Iraq, particularly Saudi Arabia, become much more overtly involved in this fight on the Sunni side."

Notice that Ware never uses the phrase "civil war," and does talk about al-Qaeda and Iran. Perhaps in the last couple of weeks he's become aware of the efforts by Iraqi Sunnis to expel al-Qaeda in Iraq that I've been writing about.

He makes the point that a pullout from Iraq is completely unrealistic, and explains the reasons in detail. He points out that there's no reasonable place for the troops to go, and that if they're going to go back "if something happens," then they're going to go back.

It's not surprising that Michael Ware's comments are much more sober than they've been in the past, given that he's spending to much time these days with the US commander, General David Petraeus. It wouldn't surprise me if Petraeus has decided to personally educate Ware and other American reporters who aren't totally hopeless.

In fact, I can't prove it, but I've been getting a sense that many newscasts have been moving ever so slightly in the direction of sobriety, as long as you don't listen to the Congressional loonies.

There seems to be a greater general realization that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, and that the Palestinian issue is becoming increasingly serious. This is new.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Palestinians and Israelis are headed for a major war that will pull in the entire region, as Jordan's King Abdullah explained to a joint session of Congress, last month.

Abdullah said that the Mideast "is pulling the region and the world towards greater danger. As public confidence in the peace process has dropped, the cycle of crises is spinning faster, and with greater potential for destruction." Abdullah's prediction is coming closer to fruition every day. (3-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Sentimental Iraqi pop singer wins Arab 'Idol' contest, uniting Iraqis

Shada Hassoun has an Iraqi father and a Moroccan mother, and lives in France.

Shada Hassoun
Shada Hassoun

But she captivated the hearts of all Iraqis and won the crown as most popular singer on the TV show "Star Academy," the Arab version of American Idol.

As I understand it (but cannot verify), her final song was a very sentimental song about Baghdad from several decades ago. She has spoken frequently about her love for Iraq and Iraqis. It's not known whether she's Sunni or Shia, and so both sides have claimed her. In war-torn Iraq, she became a symbol that everyone could love, and her victory on Friday was celebrated across the country.

This is a video of one of her appearances on Star Academy (I'm not sure which one). She's singing along with another contestant, an Egyptian girl named Sally Ahmad. Shada is wearing the white dress.

I've just posted a lengthy analysis of the current situation in Iraq, emphasizing the fact that Iraqi citizens are turning against the foreign jihadist organization, "al-Qaeda in Iraq." Iraqi nationalism is beginning to re-assert itself, as it always has in times of war in the past.

The country-wide support for Shada, and the shared joy in her victory, are part of the resurgence of Iraqi nationalism.

This is a particularly sad time for Iraqis, after the events in Tal Afar last week, as I explained in that article. First, on Tuesday, al-Qaeda in Iraq launched two truck suicide bombs in a Shia neighborhood; then, on Wednesday, Shia gunmen killed numerous Sunni civilians in random gunfire. A total of 152 people were killed.

The mainstream media have been gloating about this all week, proclaiming triumphantly that it proves that the "surge" is failing. Actually, as I explain in the article, just the opposite is almost certainly true, as the citizens of Tal Afar have now united against their common enemy, al-Qaeda in Iraq.

As I've said before, it's a national disgrace that so many politicians, journalists and pundits have committed their careers and reputations to an American loss and humiliation in Iraq. Things have gotten to the point where almost everything that the BBC and American journalists say cannot be trusted. When you go deeply into foreign sources, as I did, and describe in my analysis, then you find that things are different.

And now we see this: If there were a massive civil war between Sunnis and Shia, then the national shared joy and unity over Shada would be impossible.

On Sunday, a Times Online article provides additional information:

"Sunnis try to blast Al-Qaeda out of Iraq

Late last year Salam al-Zubaie, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, began secret talks with the Sunni groups with the aim of coaxing them away from Al-Qaeda. He held meetings with commanders of groups including the 20th Revolutionary Brigade, the general command of the Iraqi armed forces, the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Ba’ath party and the Salah al-Deen al-Ayyubi Brigade.

He encouraged them to form a unified Sunni alliance that could fight Al-Qaeda and attack Iranian influence. They proved receptive to his arguments.

"Both Al-Qaeda and Iran seem to have an identical agenda to try to widen the sectarian split between Sunnis and Shi’ites, maintaining instability," Abu Baker, a commander in the 20th Revolutionary Brigade, told The Sunday Times last week. "They stepped up their attacks on innocent Iraqi people and we could not accept that."

A senior commander in the Islamic Army said Zubaie had promised not only to help to unify the Sunni groups but also to provide them with financial and logistical support to stop Iranian infiltration.

The insurgents demanded assurances from the government that they would not be arrested or attacked by the security forces. They also asked for promises that they could eventually join the security forces.

There was one sticking point. "We insisted that our fight with the occupying forces would continue as they are to blame for our current situation," the Islamic Army commander claimed.

"Zubaie’s response was that first we had to get rid of Al-Qaeda and turn ourselves into a strong legal force to be reckoned with. Then we’d be in a position to negotiate with the occupying forces and demand their withdrawal. This was something we could not accept."

Within weeks, however, the insurgent groups set out to "cleanse" parts of Baghdad of Al-Qaeda influence. Shaker Zuwaini, an Al-Qaeda emir, was assassinated by the 20th Revolutionary Brigade in the Adel district of Baghdad. The emir of the Amiriya district was also killed and another commander was chased away from the Khadra district.

Abu Omar, leader of a Ba’ath insurgent group and military commander in Amouriya, said: "Al-Qaeda have turned into a bunch of criminals and gangsters up to their eyes in kidnapping and robberies. We resolved to put an end to them."

This is a significant change in Iraq -- something that hasn't been seen before.

Will it last? That remains to be seen. But for the time being, at least, the disgraceful politicians and journalists who are hoping for an Iraqi disaster should be getting worried.

For everyone else, the victory of Shada Hassoun provides hope for a better Iraqi future. (2-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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Iran releases the British hostages, and ends its nuclear development program.

The New York Times and BBC congratulate George Bush and Tony Blair.

April fool.

(1-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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