Tuesday 905P Eastern Time: Aspirational report by Larry Johnson, No Quarter blog, in re: current Washington leaks. Joh Brennan, senior counterterrorism advisor, leaking info abt successful operations and jeopardizing troops, AQAP, Yemen: one of our allies had got a double agent inside; someone now in Washington leaked it to the New York Times and created a major mess.
Plame was a NOC - nonofficial . As for Flame, our guys acknowledged involvement, which constitutes an act of war against Iran. Grave retaliation from Iran would be in order. This is not illegal; it simply compromises intelligence. We ask other people to betray their country and their causes, for us. Whatever he motivation, here 's a sacred obligation by our intelligence agencies to protect the person. "Don't work for the United States if it's an election year." These leaks were not done on the spur f he moment; was a concerted, organized effort to portray this president as a strong, decisive leader - here, it exposes our assets to lethal risk and compromises the security of the United States.
Tuesday 920P Eastern Time: Satyajit Das, Economonitor, in Australia, in re: G20 in Los Cabos. Lovely weather, good swimming, food sailing; probably write press release a month ago, merely had to fill in the daily weather.
QE3? We've been here before. US running massive deficit. Stimulus pkg not giving any legs to the recovery. Fed has bought 60-70% of all bonds issued in the last three years; ergo, all purchases will repay Fed, and foreign holders of US bonds (in the trillions). Buyers like very low interest rates continuing, and - hope is totally independent of fact. Nothing is resolved. Hemispheric concerns: Chinese said clearly that they would not inflate their economy to become the consumer of last resort. Barroso (pres of EU) said bad-temperedly, Don't tell us what to do. Comedy: Gillard (Australia) and S Koreans offered their thoughts, which did not go down too well. Overnight reports on Greece: want significant concessions from the EU. Spanish debt auctions: only Spain is buying, but yield went well above 5%. Spain will have to borrow; Italy will buy - by borrowing at 6%. Yikes. Italy is the fourth- or fifth-largest bond mkt in the world; Italy is where this game has to bump into a wall, as Italy cannot be bailed out. Then the bond vigilantes will abandon Europe entirely. "The eureka! moment." World is heading toward a series of autarkic blocs; so this is all more about appearing to be a statesman than presenting any substance.
Grexit; euro thrills. "Germany's strengths, especially its export fetish, are weaknesses. Exports are over 40% of its Gross Domestic Product ("GDP"), compared to less than 20% in Japan and about 13% in the US. Germany's current account surplus, which is larger than China when measured as a percentage of its GDP, is a source of pride. Exports have provided the majority of Germany's growth in recent years."
Tuesday 935P Eastern Time: Graham Bowlly, in Afghanistan, in re: Taliban infiltration routes. Extremely remote combat outpost with 70 soldiers, wholly surrounded by enemy; US generals called these outposts unfruitful, high-risk and nuts, so they were closed down. Now, US is beginning to re-install them, even as the US says it intends to leave Afghanistan. Our young men, deeply at risk in immeasurably hostile territory.
Tuesday 950P Eastern Time: Arif Rafiq, adjunct scholar, Middle East Institute Weekly; The Express Tribune (affiliated with IHT); and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal, in re: . . . Imran Khan, began as star cricketeer, then set up a hospital inPakistan, then set up a political party for a third way. Finally becoming somewhat successful.
Tuesday 1005P (705P Pacific Time): Monica Crowley, WABC, Fox News, columnist, and author, in re: new book, published today, What the (bleep) Just Happened? Mr Putin in Los Cabos: "If [the American] Congress decides to adopt a new law, that's their issue. US trade with Russia is peanuts." Mr Putin mocks the US. Pres Obama's first overseas visit was to Mubarak, who's now dying. Putin,back in the driver's seat: dynamic between him and Obama for the last 24 hours has been comedic - Obama grimaced while Putin refused to meet Obama's eyes. "Reset" has been a fraud all along. Obama cancelled missile defense as an early presidential act. Putin thinks he can play Obama - roll him. Then recently Pres O made that on-mike comment; Vladimir got the msg loud and clear: doesn't believe the at America is a force for good in the world, allows enemies to run roughshod, dance all over us. Putin doesn't even put a gam face on any more. Pres Obama's first speech was to the Muslim world, which is now in chaos. The president could now express confidence, but today is silent. This speaks volumes. He's favored overthrowing two US allies, Mubarak and [Qadaffi?], both of whom are now hors de combat.
Pres Obama seems passive now. Why? He doesn't actually like the job - he likes the perks, the power, the ability to transform the county, having private staff; but he does not like the day-to-day grind; ergo, Pelosi and Reid, along with t rest of the Democratic leadership, haven't heard from him for a long time. He passively allows the wheels to come off the world. This is not truly passivity - under close examination, it's an activist agenda: he wants to see the rise of Islamists. How else to explain no response to the Iranian uprising, and his continuing, total failure to support genuine democrats in the Arab world?
Two of Romney's events; the one at DeWitt was clearer. Group in charge was Good Jobs Now, union-backed and based in Detroit, carrying signs, "He's in the 1%" and interrupting his speech. One fellow was making $17/hr; a woman was making$7.25/hr. As soon as the supervisors came by, they clammed up. In all fairness, it was hot today and they had to stand in the sun. You could tell the difference between the real enthusiasts and the paid hecklers. Romney's crew are pleased, since they don't have to pay their demonstrators. Caveat: heckler gap! (To keep a secret, never say a word to Buzzfeed.) Other reporters say they've seen similar things in Ohio.
Marco Rubio. If you want to be VP, just leak to the press; in 24 hours, you'll be on the short list.
Tuesday 1035P (735P Pacific Time): Steven Cohen, NYU, in re: Russia. Vladimir Putin in a good mood in Mexico. he now has to stand behind Syria. Was lied to by US - Susan Rice, Secy Clinton, Pres Obama - which swore not to invade Libya and that Qaddafi would be allowed internal exile; instead, Libya is now overrun by Islamists. Putin says: Never again during this administration will he defer to the US. Russia is now ready to play the bipolar world of the old USSR vs he West. What shd be Russia's position vis-a-vis Iran? Russia urgently does not want a nuclear Iran, but Russia cannot afford to irritate Teheran, which has millions of Iranians within Russia. Ergo Russia is Iran's best lawyer. This is a new Cold War. The unipolar world is now moot as Russia matches the US in its energy-rich [incarnation]. The COld War had certain rules of he game - deals made, crises avoided; now, no rules of the game. Missile defense is a very touchy issue; historically, US and USSR always were able to agree, but this president says he'll abolish the START treaty, making things much more dangerous. Putin's solution is to call for a conference on Syria, demands that every influential country there be at the table.
Susan Rice misled ____ ; Secy Clinton misled Lavrov. Qaddafi's destruction proved to the Russian apparatus that the US cannot be tusted. However Sergei Lavrov truly does not like Secy Clinton - not only that she misled him abt Libya and humiliated him in Moscow, but she showed up at a Lavrov press conference and denounced the Russian election - hours before the results were announced. He clearly does not think she's professional.
Tuesday 1050P (750P Pacific Time): continued. Syrian arms ship 'Russia bound' The UK foreign secretary says a Syria-bound ship allegedly carrying Russian-made attack helicopters is returning to Russia. Russia and Syria: upcoming war games -air/land/sea - with China, Iran, Russia and Syria; 400 aircraft, perhaps 90,000 troops; GRU Spyetznatz from Chechnya. Suez allows PRC navy and Iran's navy to use Suez Canal. Interfax press agency, Moscow, asked Syria for a quotation; " Nothing of the sort; false news." In context of the current Syrian crisis, this is extraordinary, with all four being enemies of the US. This is a warning from Moscow to the US: as it hears more US clamor for intervention in Syria, it won't again allow the US to move in as Russia stands aside. It may be a bluff, but it's important. Pressure on Obama in an election year would be enormous. Today, Obama presented with elegance and precision the Russian and Chinese positions on Syria. You can see that he does not want a military confrontation.
Why Russia stands by Assad Syria violence as UN briefing due
Insurer Cancels Policy on Syria-Bound Russian Ship: The action by the Standard Club of Britain came after reports that the ship was carrying attack helicopters for the Syrian military, potentially delaying the delivery.
Russian Warships Said to Be Going to Naval Base in Syria Face to Face, Obama Tries to Persuade Putin on Syria
Tuesday 1105P (805P Pacific Time): David Kirkpatrick, NYT from Cairo, in re: the military coup; the chaos in the elections; Mubarak's health failure
Tuesday 1120P (820P Pacific Time): Eric Trager, Washington Institute at Cairo, in re: the Shafiq plan to celebrate; the Salafi march to Tahrir Square; the chaos imminent.
Tuesday 1135P (835P Pacific Time): Robert Zimmerman, behindtheblack.com, in re: Chinese space station; X-37B comes to earth; FAA trumps NASA; water on the Moon.
Tuesday 1150P (850P Pacific Time): Kate Galbraith, NYT, in re: Texas desalination plants for brackish groundwater
Tuesday/Wed 1205A (905 Pacific Time): The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet by Jim Robbins, 1 of 2
Tuesday/Wed 1220A (920 Pacific Time): The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet by Jim Robbins, 2 of 2
Tuesday/Wed 1235A (935P Pacific Time): Graham Bowlly, in Afghanistan, in re: Taliban infiltration routes. Extremely remote combat outpost with 70 soldiers, wholly surrounded by enemy; US generals called these outposts unfruitful, high-risk and nuts, so they were closed down. Now, US is beginning to re-install them, even as the US says it intends to leave Afghanistan. Our young men, deeply at risk in immeasurably hostile territory.
Tuesday/Wed 1250A (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. Bret Stephens, WSJ, in re: Greek and Egyptian elections: post- and pre-liberal democracies.
.. .. ..
Sherlock Holmes by David Arnold and Michael Price
Frost/Nixon by Hans Zimmer
The Hunt for Red October by Basil Poledouris
Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi
Star Trek by Michael Giacchino
True Grit by Carter Burwell
Avatar by James Horner