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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Iran fuels up first nuclear power plant and launches new missile


Iran has started up its first nuclear power plant, built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr. Engineers from both countries are now loading fuel into the reactor under the strict control of the UN's atomic watchdog.The country says it is a symbol of resilience to UN sanctions which aim to prevent it building a nuclear bomb.Iran has also tested a new ground-to-ground weapon as it inaugurates its first nuclear power plant on Saturday 21 August.

Iran has started up its first nuclear power plant, built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr. Engineers from both countries are now loading fuel into the reactor under the strict control of the UN's atomic watchdog. Author and journalist Afshin Rattansi says the launch of the Bushehr plant is a victory for all nations independent of US hegemony.

Al-Qaeda Prepares to for War with Israel in Support of Iran


'Al-Qaida prepares for Israel-Iran war'
Photo by: Channel 10

'Al-Qaida prepares for Israel-Iran war'

08/20/2010 10:25

Report: Al-Shehri warns against "the greater state of Israel."

Al-Qaida is ready to exploit a war "by the Jews against Iran," the Sunni group's second-in-command in Yemen, Saeed al-Shehri, said in an audio message this month, according to the Daily Beast.
The mostly Shi'ite nation of Iran is an enemy to Al-Qaida, and al-Shehri predicted that after Israel attacked Iranian nuclear installations, Iran would blame Saudi Arabia - which reports say may let Israel fly through its airspace to attack Iran - and use the opportunity to seize the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Survival Preparedness beyond just food and water



Preparing for TEOTWAWKI does not necessarily mean that one needs to be prepared for survival in the stone age. Sure, there are disaster scenarios whereby we could truly be sent back to surviving and being self-sufficient in a stone-age-like environment, however these particular scenarios have a lower probability of occurring than others.

I believe that today’s ‘preppers’ range in variety from the casual (fairly high risk tolerance) to the extreme (very low risk tolerance). Surely, the extreme preppers will be far better prepared than the casual prepper if an extreme disaster strikes the world, however even the casual prepper will be far better off than the majority of the population who have not even contemplated such a life insurance policy.

The higher probability disasters will be less devastating when it comes to survival itself (at least for the general majority). If you are unfortunate enough to be caught in the bulls-eye of such a disaster, you will have the hope that others will be able to help, since the disaster will be somewhat localized. A wider ranging catastrophic disaster is statistically less probable, but far more people will be caught in it when it occurs, and far more will consequently suffer.

Everyone’s situation is unique. There are budget and time constraints that affects ones ability to develop and implement a plan of action. I do believe that a very good course of action to develop a survival preparedness plan is to first identify your existing skills. Think about how your skills could be put to work in a post-disaster scenario. Focus your survival preparedness plans to support your skill set. Having said that, really, the very first consideration is to simply store extra food – but I’m assuming you’ve already done that.

Survival, post-disaster, does not need to be entirely back woods and stone age. Who says that we cannot plan for some creature comforts, and even a thriving post-disaster community?

Apart from the very basic necessities to survive (shelter, fire, water, food), assuming one has enough supplies to make it through a number of months from basic storage, the real long term survival will come from ones skills and ability to contribute to a self sustaining community, and barter their services for consumables that are needed. This really is not much different from what we do today, except at a more basic level, and one where perhaps the paper currency will be worthless. Think of the situation as one where the worse and wider spread the disaster, the more value will be associated with practical and basic skills. For example, those who know how to successfully grow food, those who know how to leverage the tools around them to build and repair things, and the basic down-to-earth know-how skills will all be in demand.

Here is an example from a MSB reader who would leverage his current skills in a post TEOTWAWKI world.

I, being a person that enjoys his creature comforts would find living in such a manner (stone age) quite undesirable.

I much prefer my plan to buy up a parcel of land in (location xyz) complete with natural gas well(s). This is more complicated than it sounds but I have spent a good many years of my life as a petroleum landman, whose job it is to examine land title ownership on producing and non-producing properties.

With 100% ownership of a natural gas well you could divert said gas straight into your generator(s). Throw in a compressor and you could also fuel you vehicles, etc. In the event of severe climate change or lots of volcanic ash the food supply could come from hydroponics.

Depending on the output of the well you could possibly support a small community indefinitely. Much preferable than the back to basics approach, albeit a lot more expensive.

This is a good example of thinking ahead to possibly leveraging the skills and know-how that you already have, in order to place yourself in a better position than those that are simply trying to survive by getting enough food and water each day. Again, this isn’t much different than what we do today… many of us currently work jobs or have a career that is aligned with our skill set. I’m just saying to think of it in context of post-disaster, and think about how it could be put to use.

Not many people will truly posses all of the skills necessary to live self-sufficient. It will take a community of people with a range of skills and abilities. I have a feeling that some preppers may go down the wrong road (so to speak) by believing that if they purchase or acquire enough survival preparedness supplies, that they will be set. I do believe that it is wise to have at least a minimal set of broad ranging supplies (starting with food and an assured water supply), but really the most valuable long term survival asset will be what you can do, what you know how to do, your skills that would contribute to a post-disaster life while rebuilding a community. Think about that. Are there things that you could acquire now, that would help accentuate what you know how to do?

If you discover or believe that your current skill set would not be of much value in this scenario, then please do consider investing some of your time learning some basic practical hands-on skills. It really is a life insurance policy of sorts. Hopefully the insurance will never have to be called upon, but if it does, you will stand a better chance to survive and to help yourself and others rebuild.
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Pakistani Nuclear Expert: Pakistan Has 125 Nuclear Weapons; Taliban Threat To Pakistani Nuclear Program Does Exist


Dr. A. H. Nayyar, a Pakistani nuclear issues expert, has warned that the U.S. drone attacks could prove harmful for Pakistan's nuclear program and its various nuclear installations, according to a Pakistani daily.

At a seminar titled "What Is So Unclear About Nuclear: A Brief History Of Pakistan's Nuclear Program," Nayyar was asked if the U.S.'s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could take away Pakistani nuclear weapons.

Nayyar, who is director of the Ali Institute of Education, told the audience that Pakistani nuclear weapons are fully, as the state of Pakistan has taken strict measures according to modern standards of safety.

"But, due to U.S. drone attacks, Pakistani nuclear weapons could be targeted if these weapons were kept in the same areas of the country where U.S. forces are chasing terrorists and bombing their hideouts," he added.

Nayyar said that Pakistan has around 125 nuclear weapons, which are not placed together at any single location in the country, and that no other country including the U.S. could trace or take away these weapons from Pakistan.

According to the report, Nayyar said that threat from the Taliban or other religious elements interested in acquiring Pakistan's nuclear weapons does exist, saying, "Generally, it is a most dangerous situation for the nuclear weapons holder countries if they are dealing with terrorist activities in their territories and unfortunately, Pakistan is one of them."

Source: Daily Times, Pakistan, August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010, 2:32 pm

Friday, 20 August 2010

Jobless Claims Reach Nine Month High

The number of U.S. workers making new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in nine months, a distressing sign for an already-weak labor market.

Initial unemployment claims rose by 12,000 from a week earlier, to 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, the Labor Department said Thursday.

It was the highest level since Nov. 14, when claims stood at 509,000.

The increase indicates that the labor market remains in the doldrums and adds to evidence that the economic recovery is slowing. The bleak economic news flustered investors Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 144 points to 10271.21. (See article on page C1.)

The four-week moving average, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, rose by 8,000 to 482,500. It was the highest level since December 2009. The number of continuing claims— those drawn by workers for more than one week—fell by 13,000 to 4.5 million in the week ended Aug. 7.

"While we do not expect that the U.S. will fall back into recession, the rise in the four-week average of claims is quite troubling and signals that private payrolls may not expand in August," analysts for RDQ Economics LLC wrote in a note to clients.

"From a political perspective, a weak labor market makes for a dreadful economic backdrop for incumbents in the November midterm elections," they added.

The level of new claims had fallen steadily from a high of 651,000 in March 2009 to a low of 439,000 in early February.

Since then, it has been creeping back up.

The U.S. job market was already weak. The economy lost 131,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate stayed at a high 9.5%.

After its policy-setting meeting last week, the Federal Reserve noted that the recovery in the jobs market had slowed. The central bank decided to keep its money in the bond market as one way to counter the slowdown in the economy.

Two other reports released Thursday also pointed to a gloomy economic outlook. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's regional business survey plummeted, and an index of leading indicators increased a slight 0.1% last month after falling a revised 0.3% in June, the Conference Board said.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell to -7.7 in August from 5.1 in July.

Signs of weakness in manufacturing are concerning because it's one of the few sectors of the economy that have continued to show strength—and to add jobs.

"The reality of the current recovery is that more sectors of the economy remain weak than are expanding," said Dan Greenhaus, an economist at Miller Tabak & Co. "Growth in the second half is going to be hard to come by."

Write to Luca Di Leo at

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Bond Markets Signaling Economic Crash


by Claus Vogt   08-18-10

Claus Vogt

My outlook for the economy and the stock market has steadily and significantly deteriorated since March 2010. That’s when monetary indicators started to signal renewed emerging stress in the financial system, and leading economic indicators started heading south.

The stock market was richly valued in terms of dividend yield and price/earnings ratios. And I predicted a topping formation followed by a new bear market. Since then the market has moved nowhere.

Price movement since last October looks like a well-formed topping formation. Longer term trend-following instruments like the 200-day moving average have turned sideways, thus confirming the topping process.

The Stock Market Is on the Verge of a Break Down

The most likely scenario now is a breakout below the lower boundaries of this topping formation — below the 1,010 level the S&P 500 reached on July 1. Such a move would definitely make clear that April’s high was THE high for the huge bear market rally that started in March 2009.

chart1 The Bond Market Is Signaling Trouble Ahead

This bear market rally was indeed a huge affair. But still not out of the realms of former bear market rallies, which are mostly forgotten today. A prime example is the rally following the 1929 crash …

Stock prices rose more than 50 percent, and contemporary economists declared the crisis over. But the crash was only the prelude to the devastating bear market that got going after the bear market rally of early 1930.

The Point of No Return


For the Obama administration, the prospect of a nuclearized Iran is dismal to contemplate— it would create major new national-security challenges and crush the president’s dream of ending nuclear proliferation. But the view from Jerusalem is still more dire: a nuclearized Iran represents, among other things, a threat to Israel’s very existence. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold…

Image credit: Alex Williamson

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Iran’s Nuclear Crisis: Why ICC Ratification Could Help Ease Tensions and Avert War


The drums of war against Iran in response to its nuclear program are getting ever louder, with headlines in Western media adopting a tone increasingly similar to those heard in the period leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The prototypical example of such incendiary rhetoric is none other than the "Point of No Return" -- a provocative article recently published by the national correspondent of Atlantic magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg.

The underlying objective of Goldberg's war serenade appears to be aimed at implanting in popular consciousness the belief that military confrontation with Iran is inevitable as the only 'real' option left to effectively neutralize Iran's 'nuclear threat' (see a contrario a detailed reply to Goldberg's piece: "A Campaign for War with Iran Begins" written by Trita Parsi, an expert on US-Iranian relations and the recipient of the 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order).

This precarious line of reasoning is being successfully propagated, generating receptive listeners, notwithstanding warnings by experts that war with Iran would be "disastrous" and its " consequences [...] so serious that they should not be encouraged in any shape or form."

Nonetheless, the US and Israel, in particular the latter, continue to declare that all options are on the table. Indeed, Israel's skirmishes with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and subsequently with Hamas in Gaza, both perceived as Iranian proxies along Israel's borders, together lend support to the views of certain analysts that such military moves are both geopolitical messages of strength to Iran, and strategically consistent with Israel preparing the groundwork for potential confrontation with the country.

The US, Israel, and the West at large should seek to avoid war with Iran over the nuclear question. Such a war will have perilous consequences. Apart from the crushing blow that would be inflicted on the Iranian people's indigenous calls for democracy and civil liberties, military confrontation in response to Iran's nuclear program will surely result in great casualties on all sides, regional blowback and significant radicalization of Iranian domestic forces - progressive and otherwise - in support of the very nuclear option it would seek to prevent.

Further, as war is subject to strategic quantum physics, such a war, even if successfully waged from a military stand point, would - in time - likely generate unintended and unpredictable consequences. In the timeless and sagacious words of Benjamin Disraeli, "[w]ar is never a solution; it is an aggravation." In short, the diplomatic process must prevail.

Meanwhile, suspicions over Iranian intentions in advancing with the country's nuclear program prevail. Tehran, on the other hand, vigorously maintains that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the country is exercising its legal right to peaceful nuclear energy. The call to advance with the country's nuclear program, which the Iranian authorities assert is for civilian purposes only, reaches across political party lines in Tehran.

The fact remains that while Barack Obama's Presidency affords reasonable hope for more tactful American diplomacy, no apparent solution is in sight, and when opportunities have been presented to assuage the crisis -the nuclear fuel-swap deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey comes to mind- they have been hastily squandered.

Diplomatic efforts ranging from the 2004 Paris Agreement to Security Council referrals and ensuing sanctions have equally failed to generate the desired dividends from Tehran. Ironically, these sanctions, it has been argued, have only strengthened the incumbent government in Tehran and served as grounds to further "suppress the opposition."
To be sure, increasing sanctions coupled with a record of reliance on aggressive language, inflexible positions and the overhanging threat of war have only served to toughen Iranian resolve in pushing ahead with the nuclear program.

We must observe frankly that the current diplomatic deadlock is in desperate need of imaginative terms. In a recent policy report published in July, the Oxford Research Group in warning against a military response to Iran's nuclear program concludes by stating that: "[h]owever difficult, other ways must be found to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis."

So is there low-hanging fruit to be found?

Given that Iran has expressed interest in the International Criminal Court (ICC) - the country played an enthusiastic role in the negotiations of the Rome Statute ,the Court's founding treaty - one ostensible solution to defuse the crisis would be to explore Iran's ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC as part of the new round of nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

The ICC, based in The Hague, is the first permanent international court with jurisdiction to hold individuals - including heads of states - criminally responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and indeed crime of aggression.

Based on the existing evidence, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has to date maintained that Iran's nuclear program remains within the boundaries of peaceful civilian purposes, even if questions concerning a potential military dimension of the Iranian program remain unresolved, given that full cooperation from the Iranian authorities suffered a setback after the country's referral to the Security Council in 2006 (UN SC Resolution 1696) and the ensuing sanctions.

It follows that, at this stage, strictly speaking, the nuclear crisis is centered on the hypothetical threat of Iran's eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons and, in particular, the subsequent hypothetical use of such weapons.

On this logic, Iran's proprio motu ratification of the Rome Statute, as part of the nuclear negotiations could potentially be just the deal-clincher to defuse the crisis, break the impasse and avert a war with ripple effects that would likely spread well beyond the immediate Middle East.

ICC ratification would not only clarify Iranian intentions - the purported nucleus of this escalating conflict -, but would also present a clear disincentive for potential malfeasance and concomitant legal accountability in the event of violations of the crimes falling within the Court's jurisdiction. In short, the trust-building dividend offered by Iran's ratification, while certainly not a panacea, is well worth further exploration in ongoing diplomatic dialogue.

Iran has signed the Rome Statute but has not yet ratified the treaty. The country could be swayed and would do well to do so based primarily on the sour lessons of the bloody eight-year Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), where it became the victim of Saddam Hussein's aggression, as well as of the regular violation of the laws and customs of war by the Iraqi army. That war issued in hundreds of thousands of Iranian casualties. Iran never had the benefit of international legal recourse - something never lost on Iranians.

Furthermore, the country's turbulent geopolitical reality and a history of foreign intrusions and outside threats lend support to the possibility that Iranians could in fact look upon ICC ratification favorably.

In October 1998, Dr. Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh, Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran before the Sixth Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court in New York, said the following:

"The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran was among 160 delegations participating in the Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, and endeavoured to the best of its ability for the successful conclusion of the Conference and the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court on July 17, 1998. By the adoption of the ICC Statute the international community has laid down another milestone, at the turn of century, towards achieving peace and justice - two indivisible components of a global society."

Similar sentiments have been echoed by other senior Iranians officials. In June 2010 for instance, Iran sent a delegation to the ICC's first Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda, where the country "[a]s a victim of an act of aggression in the 20th century", expressed its support for the Court.
So clearly, while Iran has not yet ratified the Rome Statute, holding out with, among others, the US and Israel, Iranian interest in the Court exists, and pragmatic voices within the establishment could be open to the formula proposed.

Giving added support to the above proposal are the following points:

1. Ratification would build much needed confidence and clear the air of 'unknown' Iranian intentions.

In 2009, Mohammad El-Baradei, former Director General of the IAEA, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, publicly stated that the international community's anxieties about Iran's nuclear program stem primarily from uncertainty regarding Iran's future intentions.

Indeed, this suspicion is 'the stated' driving force behind placing Iran under sanctions or calling for a military response.

By subjecting itself to the legal mandate of the ICC, Iran would have the opportunity to demonstrate that if in fact it has nothing to hide and that its nuclear program is transparent, peaceful and for civilian purposes only and in turn, call for the immediate lifting of sanctions.

Further, by so doing, the argument of those lobbying for war against the country would be seriously undermined.

2. Ratification could have a deterrent or disciplining effect on Iran's behavior and that of the US and Israel - the two other major state stakeholders - preventing the incidence of a destabilizing war and preserving territorial integrity.

3. Ratification would facilitate the reach of the Court and provide legal recourse for all sides to the dispute in the case of violations of the crimes falling within the ambit of the Court's jurisdiction.

4. To date, Tehran's reservations regarding ratification, and generally those emanating from the Middle East, have been predicated for the most part on misconceptions of the Court's legal machinery, jurisdiction and independence.

When these are properly understood, Tehran's views on ratification would likely be increasingly favorable.

5. A government's raison d'ĂȘtre is to protect and advance the interests and well-being of all citizens of the country it serves. Against the background of post-presidential election violence of 2009 in Iran, proposing and then ratifying the Rome Statute can serve as a bona fide attempt at national reconciliation by Tehran, and at ensuring that the crimes witnessed in the post election violence are not repeated in the future.

Unless Article 12.3 of the Statute is invoked by Iran itself, as a rule, the Court's jurisdiction does not apply retroactively and will only apply to crimes committed after the date of ratification by the country.

Ratification would also require the eventual adaptation of domestic laws to human rights standards enshrined in the ICC Statute - naturally, a positive consequence of ratification for human rights development in the country.

6. Iranian authorities' concerns that the Court has no judges trained in Islamic jurisprudence are moot to the extent that a judge's religious background has no real bearing on how the law is applied at the ICC, due to the operation of Article 21 of the Rome Statute and its hierarchy of applicable law. (Note that, in any event, a state can nominate its own candidates for election as ICC judges only if it has ratified the Rome Statute to begin with).

To be sure, many Islamic states with Islamic constitutions, like the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, have already ratified the Rome Statute.

Further to point no. 6, the larger issue of unfounded criticism that the Rome Statute has a particular 'Western' bias needs to be addressed head on. International humanitarian law and international criminal law work in concert to deter and minimize the occurrence of hostilities and the suffering caused by war, as well as to hold accountable those responsible for the commission of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The wrath of war neither spares nor is limited to race, sex, religion or regional alliance. It does not discriminate between East, West, North or South. Its misery on mankind has universal application, as do the laws that have been created to bring method to the madness of war.

Indeed, Islamic scholars will confirm that, under Islamic law, countless provisions exist to deal with unacceptable conduct during hostilities. The claim, therefore, that certain provisions of the Rome Statute may not be compatible with the strict application of Islamic law (Shari'a) - entrenched formally in Iran's legal system since the 1979 Revolution - and that the country cannot, as a consequence, ratify the Statute overshoots gravely. This is all the more true when, as mentioned, numerous State Parties of the ICC have Islamic constitutions and Islam as their official religion or as the religion of the majority of their population.
Rigid Iranian insistence on its sui generis Islamic character as a pretext for non-ratification of the Rome Statute, as against the current 112 State Parties of the Court, would seem to condemn that country to a future that is inward-looking and divorced from an increasingly interconnected international community.

Moreover, apart from being the benefactor of the Cyrus Cylinder, considered the first charter of human rights in recorded history, Iran is a founding member of the UN and the signatory to countless international covenants, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 1968, the country hosted the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Tehran, not least because Iranian diplomats (Fereiydoun Hoveyda, former Ambassador of Iran to the UN) were involved in the drafting of the Declaration itself. It would seem perfectly reasonable to hold that the universal values of respect and protection for human rights as enshrined in the Rome Statute are not only not inconsistent with Shari'a principles, but rather very much consonant with the country's multiethnic, multi-religious age old heritage.

Henry A. Kissinger astutely stated in a July 2006 Washington Post column:

"A modern, strong, peaceful Iran could become a pillar of stability and progress in the [Middle East] region. This cannot happen unless Iran's leaders decide whether they are representing a cause or a nation - whether their basic motivation is crusading or international cooperation [...]"

In the current context, with the potentially positive effects ratification could have on the nuclear crisis, failing to ratify the Rome Statute as part of nuclear negotiations on shakable grounds of cultural relativism could well be a serious missed opportunity for Iran and Iranians, the West and all parties genuinely in search of a peaceable solution to the present diplomatic impasse.

As part of the nuclear negotiations, Iran should place this proposal on the table as soon as possible. In any event, should the country be on the verge of being subjected to aggression, it should swiftly move to trigger ICC ratification and publicly pronounce its intention to do so.

It is hoped that diplomacy through bona fide negotiations and innovative thinking will untangle this proverbial knot.

This piece is a slightly modified version of the original published by Global Brief magazine.

The views expressed in this article have been provided in the author's personal capacity, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICC.

Israel Set to Reject Quartet Demands for Peace in One Year


World powers continue to pressure Israel… Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his “Septet” of trusted ministers met Sunday evening to discuss diplomatic moves expected to take place this week. They were reportedly set to reject a demand that the Quartet (the U.S., the U.N., the European Union and Britain) is apparently about to make, according [...]

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

2012 The Prophecies from The Heart


2012 : Prophecies From The Heart with Drunvalo MelchizedekIn this absorbing program, spiritual leader and author Drunvalo Melchizedek discusses the...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for the full story ]]

Iran Plans Third Nuclear Plant


Iran will begin building a third nuclear enrichment site within a year, the head of Iran's atomic program Ali Akbar Saleh announced Monday. He did not name the location of the planned facility, but said it will be built somewhere that cannot be targeted in an air strike.

Iran has one operational nuclear enrichment plant in the city of Natanz, and a second is being built at a mountain site in Fordo.

Iranian officials say their country's nuclear program is meant to provide energy for civilian use. However, they have refused to grant international inspectors access to nuclear facilities.

In addition, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map,” and Iran is openly supportive of terrorist groups that target Israel and Western nationals, including Hamas and Hizbullah. These are moves that add to Western suspicion that Iran's nuclear program is not peaceful in nature.

Ahmadinejad announced last year that his country would build ten new nuclear enrichment plants once appropriate sites were found. According to Saleh, the search for new sites has ended successfully.

In July, Saleh announced that Iran will open a nuclear power plant in September in the city of Bushehr. At the time he downplayed concerns over international sanctions aimed at stopping Iran's unsupervised nuclear program, saying such sanctions could “slow down the job but will not stop activities.”

Both the United States and the European Union voted this summer to impose tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The new sanctions seem to be having an effect on the Revolutionary Guards, whose industrial wing has been forced to halt development projects that were heretofore funded by international companies that have now pulled out.

Monday, 16 August 2010

“Hindenburg Omen” Foretelling Imminent Stock Market Crash?


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It may just be the summer doldrums, or the ominous occurrence of a Friday the 13 in mid-August, but the Hindenburg Omen -- a technical indicator of an impending stock market crash -- is suddenly as important a market mover as testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

The blog Zero Hedge, writing in a vein that seems made for professional boxing or WWE pay-per-view event hype, describes the Hindenburg Omen as "Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined). Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention."


In case you hadn't heard, Thursday's action on the New York Stock Exchange registered a technical anomaly known as the Hindenburg Omen. Read: just like the doomed German airship, the markets are fated to crash and burn. Still worse, Wednesday's trading action almost sparked Hindenburg Omen conditions. It takes two Hindenburg Omen trading days within a 36 day window to trigger the end of life in the markets as we know it.

Writing on, Rev Shark notes of the market voodoo that "the logic behind this ominous-sounding indicator is this: When there are internal inconsistencies in the market that are causing a simultaneously high level of new highs and new lows, a greater risk exists that the resulting confusion and uncertainty will cause market players to exit... When the herd is confused and moving in two different directions, internally that is going to cause some problems."

But first the facts. There was a correction in the markets this week, and the sell-off triggered the Hindenburg conditions. The Hindenburg Omen occurs when an unusually high number of companies in the New York Stock Exchange reach 52-week highs and lows at the same time. The proportion of NYSE stock highs and lows must both exceed 2.2% of the total listed on the exchange. The Hindenburg Omen last occurred in October 2008, according to UBS data.

The House, the Senate, and the World


Thinking about sitting out the November elections because President Obama and Congress have let you down? Think again. The 2010 midterm could prove to be the most pivotal election of our lifetime.

This is already the most cutthroat contest I have experienced during the last 15 years of working on federal elections. According to The Cook Political Report, there are now 73 highly competitive House races, compared to 51 in August of 2008. 66 of these 73 endangered seats are currently held by Democrats, compared to 20 out of 51 in 2008. Senate Democrats are equally pressured.

Although my organization, Citizens for Global Solutions, endorses on both side of the aisle, these numbers do matter. In our latest Congressional Report Card the average Democratic grade was an A- in the House and Senate while Republicans averaged a D in the House and a D+ in the Senate.

While Republican wins in swing districts could result in a more moderate party, there is also a looming possibility of losing the internationalist majority in Congress that Citizens for Global Solutions has worked so long to establish. Tea Party endorsed Senate candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Clint Didier in Washington both want to see the U.S. out of the U.N. Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul insists that "funding of the U.N. as a whole becomes voluntary." So does Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who sponsored legislation that would "shift the funding mechanism for the regular budget of the United Nations from an assessed to a voluntary basis." Governments would vote with their wallets for their favorite U.N. line items, turning the U.N. into a Darwinian jungle.

2010 could decide if our nation will stay the course of responsible global engagement or slip back into a militant unilateralism. How the United States is governed matters not only to us, but to the world. All of the current international institutions that function today, from the United Nations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), were established with leadership from the United States. Implementation of credible proposals to empower international organizations will not be achieved in the future without U.S. support.

In 2008, speaking before a jubilant crowd in Chicago the night after his election, President-elect Obama reached out to the world saying:

To all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

I was on a flight to The Hague that evening. My fellow passengers shared great expectations: The U.S. would reengage globally in a responsible and multilateral way. Obama would close Guantanamo, pull us out of Iraq, seriously address climate change, and begin to eliminate nuclear weapons. We would shift from being the world's "super power" to the world's "super partner."

The Obama administration has taken serious steps towards this vision. They have paid off years of past due assessments to the United Nations, joined the Human Rights Council, negotiated and sought ratification of the New START treaty, engaged with the ICC, are removing all combat troops from Iraq, and more. In a letter introducing the National Security Strategy, President Obama laid out his world vision:

The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times... stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; resolving and preventing conflict, while also healing its wounds.

The president's desire for an "international order" is a signal to both support his administration's efforts and to push the envelope of what can be achieved. But will we have the opportunity to do so? Or will the belief of uber-nationalists prevail, like those of the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, who in her rant against the New START treaty said, "We live in a dangerous world in which bad guys respect strength and weapons and disdain weakness and disarmament."

Citizens for Global Solutions is working hard for a positive outcome from the elections in November. Global Solutions PAC is identifying and supporting candidates of any party or affiliation who share our internationalist values. We are reaching out to our members to volunteer, contribute and vote in November. In the end, it will be up to all of us. No one ever said that change would be easy. It's time to get to work.