Our blog's intention is to request the US government to grant us a chance to defend our mother country Japan at the American court of law regarding the resolution "Comfort Women" passed July 30, 07.


jalalabad south afghanistan 12.30.09
12.30.09 アフガニスタンのジャララバードで抗議集会があった。最近、アフガニスタン、クナ地区で、米軍NATO合同軍の空爆によって、10人の市民が殺された。そのうちの8人が、12歳~14歳であった。はじめ、NATO軍は「武装集団」だと主張していた。だが、オバマが送った特別調査団は、子供を含んだ市民が殺されたことを確認した。

afghan child killed kabul 12.30.09

afghan protest 12.30.09


afghan map 12.30.09

(解説) 悩ましいのは、日本の立ち位地である。アフガン戦争は、同盟国のアメリカが主導だが、NATO~韓国~オーストラリアなども入った多国籍軍である。ここでも、中国は介入しないし、ロシアはキリギスタンのマナス基地を貸すだけだ。米空軍に、ロシア上空を通過させるかどうかは未知である。ここでも、明確なように、中国というのは、日米の同盟国ではない。どっかの国の与党幹事長が「日・米・中は、正三角形だ」と言っている?こういった歪んだ思想が、日本のサヨクにある。朝鮮戦争でも、ベトナムでも、中国解放軍は米軍に発砲した。明らかに、敵であった。日米にとって、中国は、“ADVERSARIAL"つまり、敵対的な国なのである。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ


Iseheijiro wrote:
I just read "With the Old Breed:At Peleliu and Okinawa" by E.B.Sledge. I recommend that you all read this book, Amazon sells used books. I am a Japanese and I must tell American troops, foreign troops and CIA you must not kill innocent people especially children. Sledge who was a Marine did not mention about how many civilians were killed in Okinawa, I can tell you it was 94,000. My country did not revenge for Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bombings which killed 220,000 the old, women and children. In March that same year Americans killed 100,000 civilians by dropping hundred of thousands of napalm on populated downtown Tokyo. If you want to see a mother and her baby turned into charcoal, I will post the website for you. Why no revenge you might ask? Not because the Japanese are coward but we are Buddhists who do not believe in acts of revenge. Unfortunately, I can assure you that Islams will revenge Americans every where in the world; if US led forces continue to kill civilians, you will lose both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't forget Christians revenged Pearl Harbour which was a military attack on a military installation.



detroit tero 12.28.09
Déjà vu on Flight 253 in Detroit. Nigerian passenger is cleared in Sunday's incident

12月25日クリスマスの朝、ノースウエスト253便がアムステルダムからデトロイトに着陸する姿勢を取った。そのとき、ナイジェリア人(23)が靴に仕掛けた爆弾に着火した。未遂に終わった。乗客の数は報道されていないが、オバマによれば、犠牲者は300人を超えたであろうと。以下、ハワイで、休暇中のオバマの緊急メッセージだ。イランの内乱にも言及している。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

President Obama's remarks Monday about airline security and this weekend's protests in Iran. The Washington Post maintains a full database of Obama's speeches here.

Transcript of Obama remarks on airline security and terror watch lists

Good morning, everybody. I wanted to take just a few minutes to update the American people on the attempted terrorist attack that occurred on Christmas Day and the steps we're taking to ensure the safety and security of the country.

The investigation's ongoing. And I spoke again this morning with Attorney General Eric Holder, the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, and my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, John Brennan. I asked them to keep -- continue monitoring the situation to keep the American people and members of Congress informed.

Here's what we know so far: On Christmas Day, Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was en route from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit. As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body, setting off a fire.

Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of passengers and crew, the suspect was immediately subdued, the fire was put out, and the plane landed safely. The suspect is now in custody and has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft.

A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism, and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable.

Now, this was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland. Had the suspect succeeded in bringing down that plane, it could have killed nearly 300 passengers and crew, innocent civilians preparing to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends.

The American people should be assured that we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure during this busy holiday season.

Since I was first notified of this incident, I've ordered the following actions to be taken to protect the American people and to secure air travel.

First, I directed that we take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the traveling public. We made sure that all flights still in the air were secure and could land safely. We immediately enhanced screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. We added federal air marshals to flights entering and leaving the United States. And we're working closely in this country, federal, state and local law enforcement, with our international partners.

Second, I've ordered two important reviews, because it's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism.

The first review involves our watch list system, which our government has had in place for many years to identify known and suspected terrorists so that we can prevent their entry into the United States. Apparently the suspect in the Christmas incident was in this system, but not on a watch list, such as the so-called no-fly list. So I have ordered a thorough review, not only of how information related to the subject was handled, but of the overall watch list system and how it can be strengthened.

The second review will examine all screening policies, technologies and procedures related to air travel. We need to determine just how the suspect was able to bring dangerous explosives aboard an aircraft and what additional steps we can take to thwart future attacks.

Third, I've directed my national security team to keep up the pressure on those who would attack our country. We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the United States will more -- do more than simply strengthen our defenses. We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland.

Finally, the American people should remain vigilant, but also be confident. Those plotting against us seek not only to undermine our security, but also the open society and the values that we cherish as Americans. This incident, like several that have preceded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist.

As a nation, we will do everything in our power to protect our country. As Americans, we will never give in to fear or division. We will be guided by our hopes, our unity, and our deeply held values. That's who we are as Americans; that's what our brave men and women in uniform are standing up for as they spend the holidays in harm's way. And we will continue to do everything that we can to keep America safe in the new year and beyond.

Before I leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even death.

For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days. And each time that has happened, the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people who are part of Iran's great and enduring civilization.

What's taking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It's about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran's leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away.

As I said in Oslo, it's telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

Along with all free nations, the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people.

We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.

Thank you very much, everybody. And Happy New Year.


CNN Poll: Afghanistan war still unpopular, but troop increase isn't December 23, 2009 11:30 a.m. EST

米国民の55%が、アフガン戦争に反対だ~だが、59%がオバマの3万の増派に賛成している。増派に反対している人たちは、“即時撤退”を望んでいる。ちなみに、30%は最初から反対であり~25%は2001年11月の開戦には賛成していたが、現在は反対に廻っている。面白いのは、白人は真っ二つに割れているrが、黒人の70%は反対であることだ。このアフガンは難しいだろう。なぜなら、ヒラリーの国務省は、カルザイを疑っており消極的~ゲーツの国防省は制服組を敵には回せないのである。つまり、二兎を追うという戦争だから。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

A majority of people polled said they approved the president's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

Fifty-five percent of people polled say they're against war in Afghanistan
But 59 percent of those polled say they favor sending more U.S. troops
Seven in 10 black respondents are opposed to this war, higher than white opposition

Washington (CNN) -- Although the war in Afghanistan remains unpopular with most Americans, the public supports President Obama's decision to send more U.S. troops to the conflict, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-nine percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday morning said they favor the president's plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, with 39 percent opposed.

"Most of those who oppose Obama's plan would like to see the U.S. immediately withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

The survey indicates that a majority of the public opposes the war, with 55 percent of respondents opposed and 43 percent in support of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

"Three in 10 say that they opposed the war from the start and another quarter report that they favored the war when it began in 2001 but oppose it now," Holland said.

Only 18 percent of those polled said that the United States is winning in Afghanistan. Two-thirds said neither side is winning.

"That may explain the support for Obama's plan, since a victory is likely to require more troops," Holland said. "But it may also explain the overall opposition to the war, since Americans tend to dislike losing."

The survey also indicates a racial divide over Afghanistan, with whites questioned split over the war, but seven in 10 black respondents opposed to the war.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted last month and released November 24, 45 percent of those polled supported the war in Afghanistan, and 52 percent were opposed.

The most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted December 16-20, with 1,160 adult Americans, including 259 African-Americans and 786 whites, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample.



us tresury bond

米国債(US・BOND)の売れ行きに不安が持ち上がった。US経済に復活がの兆し。だが、その復活というのは微妙なのだ。キャッシュ(増刷した)が過剰なのかも知れないと。引き締めれば、再び、経済は後退するし~どこかで、引き締めなければ、インフレの津波がやって来る。オバマが賢い男ならば、何よりも先に、「失業」を押さえることだ。言葉では、分かっていても? 伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Treasury Yield Curve Steepens to Record on Debt Demand Concern

By Susanne Walker

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Treasuries fell, with the difference in yields between 2- and 10-year notes widening to a record amount, as investors bet the U.S. recovery will fuel inflation and reduce demand at the government’s debt auctions.

The 10-year note’s yield climbed to the highest level in four months as reports showed increases in sales of existing homes and orders for durable goods. The U.S. will sell a record- tying $118 billion of 2-, 5- and 7-year notes next week.

“We are in a steepening trend,” said John Spinello, chief technical strategist in New York at Jefferies Group Inc., one of the Federal Reserve’s 18 primary dealers, which are required to bid at government debt auctions. “It was the recognition that the Treasury will be extending the debt as we know it and the economy is showing signs of recovery.”

The benchmark 10-year note’s yield rose 26 basis points on the week, or 0.26 percentage point, to 3.80 percent, according to BGCantor Market Data. That’s the highest level since Aug. 10. The 3.375 percent security due in November 2019 fell 2 5/32 or $21.56 per $1,000 face amount to 96 16/32.

Two-year note yields rose 18 basis points on the week to 0.97, the highest level since Oct. 30. The note to be sold on Dec. 28 in a record-tying $44 billion offering traded at 1.02 percent in pre-auction trading. The debt drew a yield of 0.802 percent, the lowest ever, at the last auction, a $44 billion offering on Nov. 23.

‘Inflationary Pressures’

The difference, or spread, between 2- and 10-year note yields widened to 2.88 percentage points on Dec. 22. The previous record of 2.81 percentage points was set on June 5, when Treasuries plunged after a government report showed the smallest decline in U.S. payrolls in eight months. Ten-year note yields touched 4 percent the following week, the highest level in 2009.

“If you are going to have a recovery, you are going to have higher inflationary pressures, so the curve should continue to steepen from here,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York. “The curve could reach 300 to 325 basis points.”

Holders of U.S. Treasuries of all maturities have lost 3.3 percent this year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. That would be the worst performance since 1994.

American consumers’ spending and incomes climbed in November, indicating that the biggest part of the economy is poised to strengthen as the labor market recovers, government reports showed. Purchases rose 0.5 percent and incomes increased 0.4 percent.

Debt Sales

Existing home sales rose 7.4 percent last month to a 6.54 million annual rate, the highest since February 2007, from a revised 6.09 million pace the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said on Dec. 22. Sales were expected to rise to a 6.25 million annual rate, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

Excluding demand for transportation equipment, bookings for long-lasting goods climbed a greater-than-forecast 2 percent in November, figures from the Commerce Department showed on Dec. 24 in Washington.

The U.S. will sell $44 billion in two-year notes on Dec. 28, $42 billion in five-year debt the next day and $32 billion in seven-year securities on Dec. 30. The five-year sale and seven-year offering equal the all-time highest issues of the securities set last month.

Seven-Year Auction

“The seven-year coming just a day before New Year’s eve, when the Fed had been a strong buyer of the seven-year sector to help out mortgage rates, that’s probably the auction to worry about,” Michael Pond, an interest-rate strategist in New York at primary dealer Barclays Plc, said on Dec. 24 in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “The two-year should be well spoken for. At year-end, there is plenty of demand for short paper. It’s really further out the curve that you have to worry about.”

President Barack Obama is borrowing unprecedented amounts for spending programs. U.S. marketable debt increased to a record $7.17 trillion in November from $5.80 trillion at the end of last year.

Treasury officials on Nov. 4 announced a long-term target of six to seven years for the average maturity of Treasury debt and said the department wants to cut back on its issuance of bills and two- and three-year notes.

Treasury yields will increase in 2010 as the Fed ends purchases of mortgage and agency securities, Barclays’s Pond said. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note may climb to 4.5 percent, he said.

The Fed said on Dec. 16 it will continue purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities totaling $1.25 trillion and about $175 billion of agency debt through the first quarter of next year. The Federal Open Market Committee and the Fed’s Board of Governors reiterated that “most of the Federal Reserve’s special liquidity facilities will expire on Feb. 1 2010.” The central bank completed a $300 billion program of Treasury purchases in October.



china narrowing gap with japan

2008年の中国のGDPは、9.8%成長し、$4.6兆ドル~それに対して、日本のGDPは、$4.9兆ドルであった。中国が世界第二位の経済となるという。だが、国民一人当たりの収入は、人口比によって、日本が10倍である。日本丸は暗夜の海を行くわけではない。必用な経済政策とは、マクロ経済の視点とイノベーション(技術革新)である。勿論、生産拠点の移転は起きる。嘆いても仕方がないことだ。日本人には、世界へ出て行き、世界のリーダーになって欲しい。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

China Raises GDP Growth Estimates, Narrowing Gap With Japan

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- China raised its 2008 growth estimate to 9.6 percent from 9 percent and said this year’s quarterly figures will increase, narrowing the gap with Japan, the world’s second-biggest economy.

Gross domestic product was 31.405 trillion yuan ($4.6 trillion) last year, the statistics bureau said at a briefing in Beijing today. That compares with a previous 30.067 trillion yuan and the World Bank’s estimate of $4.9 trillion for Japan.

China’s expansion will be more than 8 percent in 2009, according to government officials, and the nation is poised to overtake Japan next year, International Monetary Fund projections show. Today’s figures result from an economic census which showed a bigger contribution from services and continue a pattern of China revising up preliminary growth estimates.

“The big underlying factor propelling China’s growth is the continued migration of people from the agricultural sector to the more modern economy -- industry and services,” said David Cohen, an economist at Action Economic in Singapore. “There’s no stopping China.”

For 2009, revisions will mainly affect the value of the year’s gross domestic product, with a “very small” impact on the growth rate, said Peng Zhilong, the head of the bureau’s national economy calculation department.

China’s expansion in 2008 compares with U.S. growth of less than 1 percent. Japan’s gross domestic product shrank 1.2 percent. The Indian economy expanded 6.7 percent in the fiscal year ended March 2009.

‘Loose’ Monetary Policy

This year, the Chinese economy grew 8.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, 7.9 percent in the second and 6.1 percent in the first. The government has pledged to maintain a “moderately loose” monetary policy in 2010 to sustain a rebound driven by a stimulus package and record lending.

The pace of growth is attracting more investment. Foreign direct investment climbed 32 percent in November to $7 billion from a year earlier. Luxury carmaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG said last month that it will build a new factory worth 5 billion yuan in China to tap an auto market set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest.

“Investors are anxious to participate in what remains, with India, the biggest story that’s out there,” Action Economics’ Cohen said.

Today’s figures showed a 13.1 trillion yuan contribution from services in 2008, compared with 12 trillion yuan previously. The census, intended to give a better picture of the economy’s make-up, focused on industry and services rather than agriculture.

More Revisions Pending

Gross domestic product figures for 2005, 2006 and 2007 will also be revised as a result of the census, Peng said.

China’s economy was 4.4 percent bigger in 2008 than originally estimated, today’s figures showed. In comparison, a previous census in 2005 showed the statistics bureau had under- estimated the size of the 2004 economy by 17 percent.

Besides the census, China routinely carries out a first and second check of each set of annual figures for gross domestic product, issuing revisions where necessary.

In April last year, the bureau raised the growth figure for 2007 to 11.9 percent from 11.4 percent, citing larger estimates for the contribution from service industries such as telecommunications and retailing. In January this year, it raised the estimate again to 13 percent.

“Upward revisions of China’s GDP numbers are frequent, large and well expected, so we expect little market impact from today’s revision,” Lu Ting, a Hong Kong-based economist for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said.

Energy Consumption

China also revised energy consumption per unit of economic output in 2008, officials led by chief statistician Ma Jiantang said at today’s briefing.

The measure showed a drop of 5.2 percent compared with an earlier estimate of a 4.59 percent decline. The statisticians revised up energy consumption for the year by 2.12 percent to the equivalent of 2.91 billion tonnes of standard coal.

Before this month’s talks in Copenhagen on climate change, China announced a target of cutting its 2005 levels of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by between 40 percent and 45 percent by 2020.

Today’s figures suggest “it should be a reasonable goal,” Merrill’s Lu said.

--Li Yanping, Nerys Avery. Editors: Paul Panckhurst, Nerys Avery.



no resign 12.24.09



「辞任はしない。国民への無責任だから」とのことである。長々と陳述したが、要するに、「自分はバカだ。首相に向かない」と言っている。恥さらしである。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he won’t resign

By Takashi Hirokawa and Taku Kato

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he won’t resign after prosecutors charged two former aides with falsifying the source of 400 million yen ($4.4 million) of campaign funds, including money from his mother.

“Talking about whether I will stay or leave would be tantamount to abandoning my responsibilities to the public,” Hatoyama said at a press briefing in Tokyo today. He doesn’t face charges, the Tokyo Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

Hatoyama, 62, also said he will pay more than 600 million yen in taxes dating back to 2002 on 1.26 billion yen given by his mother, eldest daughter of the founder of Bridgestone Corp., the world’s largest tire manufacturer by sales.

The funding investigation and unpaid taxes threaten to further undermine Hatoyama’s waning popularity as his government struggles to sustain an economic recovery and implement campaign pledges. The approval rating for his cabinet has fallen below 50 percent for the first time since the Democratic Party of Japan’s landslide general election victory in August.

“How Prime Minister Hatoyama explains himself to the public will come under scrutiny,” said Hirotada Asakawa, a Tokyo-based political analyst. “If the support rate for the cabinet were to drop below 40 percent, it might be difficult for the administration to stay on.”

Opposition leader Sadakazu Tanigaki said earlier that Hatoyama was “making a mockery of honest taxpayers” in comments broadcast by NHK television.

Aides Charged

Former aides Keiji Katsuba and Daisuke Haga were charged today with misrepresenting the source of donations to Hatoyama’s campaign fund since 2004, the prosecutors’ statement said. His predecessor as DPJ leader, Ichiro Ozawa, resigned after one of his former assistants was arrested in March and charged with concealing 35 million yen in corporate donations.

Support for Hatoyama’s cabinet declined 7.6 percentage points to 46.8 percent, Jiji Press reported on Dec. 18. The Jiji survey was conducted between Dec. 11 and 14.

“The public will naturally want to know why I wasn’t aware that I was receiving 180 million yen in political funds annually,” Hatoyama said. “My parents and I were used to being taken care of by the people close to us. To be honest, I almost never had any opportunities to speak directly with my parents or the people close to me about money.”


obama geithner cut spending 12.23.09

米議会とオバマ政権は、連銀(FRB)から銀行への融資(キャッシュの供給)を削減して、STIMULUS(7870億ドルの半分が残っている)を使う方角に舵を切った。これは、当然だ。だが、STIMULUSで大番振る舞いすれば、ドル紙幣増刷~大増税~または、大借金を重ねなければならなくなる。この意味するところや、日本への影響を考えよう。カネを借りて、ジャブジャブと使えば、借金地獄が待っている。鳩山のような財政政策は、結局は、国庫破綻~政府のサービス低下~生活水準を下げる~失業者が巷に溢れるという結果を招くのだ。思い切って決断できない者が首相では、日本は彷徨う。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Congress and the Obama administration are taking a bigger role in the rescue of the economy from the Federal Reserve, shifting the strategy to stimulus spending from central bank lending.

The amount the Fed and U.S. agencies have lent, spent or guaranteed has fallen 15 percent since September to $8.2 trillion, the lowest in a year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Spending on infrastructure, tax breaks and other fiscal measures account for 52 percent of the total, up from 39 percent in March, as central bank loan programs are phased out.

The change marks a new phase of public intervention in the economy. Congress and the administration’s $4.2 trillion portion, which amounts to 30 percent of everything produced in the country this year, also complicates any future exit strategy. It may be tough for elected officials to quit spending, prolonging the bailout and adding to the federal budget deficit.

“There’s a danger of getting addicted to fiscal stimulus programs,” said David Wyss, chief economist with New York-based Standard & Poor’s, in an interview. “The Fed can print money. Government has to raise taxes or borrow more.”

The U.S. House of Representatives last week increased the federal government’s debt ceiling $290 billion to $12.4 trillion. It also passed a $154 billion economic aid package to pay for extended unemployment benefits, new infrastructure projects and help to state governments.

Stimulus Packages

Commitments by Congress to spend more than $984 billion, or about 8 percent of the national debt, include stimulus packages championed by President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush and a November 2008 change in the tax code to encourage large banks to buy smaller ones.

The U.S. has run 14 consecutive monthly budget deficits and 7.3 million people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, according to the Treasury Department. Monthly budget shortfalls have outnumbered surpluses almost 2 to 1 this decade, according to Treasury data.

“We can’t continue to spend as if deficits don’t have consequences, as if waste doesn’t matter, as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money,” Obama said Dec. 21 at the White House.

The Obama administration still has about half its $787 billion stimulus package to spend, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The Fed has shut or is phasing out the 10 support programs it created after August 2007 as the financial system recovers from the longest recession since the 1930s.

European Central Bank

As the economy improves, policy makers are pulling back liquidity to prevent inflation and asset bubbles. The European Central Bank last week raised the interest rate on its tender of 12-month loans to the one-year average of the bank’s benchmark, a departure from its policy of offering the money at a fixed 1 percent. The ECB said it will also cease lending for six months at the end of the first quarter.

The S&P 500 Index has climbed 24 percent this year, its second-biggest annual percentage gain this decade. That has helped banks make money outside of Fed programs. In the first nine months of the year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s trading revenue doubled to a record $27.3 billion, while JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s climbed 122 percent to $17.9 billion, according to company reports.

Spreads on U.S. corporate debt, which show the risk premium that investors demand to own them instead of government bonds, have plunged to below 2 percentage points from more than 6 percentage points at the start of the year, according to the Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master Index. That’s the most spreads have narrowed this decade, the data show.

‘Walking a Tightrope’

The Fed’s plan to buy $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities is its largest spending program. The Fed holds $901.2 billion of the securities and is scheduled to complete the purchases in the first quarter.

That will leave the central bank “walking a tightrope” between blocking economic recovery and sparking a rise in prices, according to Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.

The Fed’s balance sheet ballooned to $2.24 trillion in assets as of last week, up 142 percent from the beginning of 2008. Selling some of those assets to take money out of the economy has its risks, Greenhaus said.

“You have to ensure economic expansion without fanning inflation and assess prospects for asset bubbles while bringing down the unemployment rate,” Greenhaus said in an interview. “The difficulties can’t be easily dismissed.”

Price Rise

Consumer prices rose 1.8 percent in November compared with a year ago and have increased by an average 2.6 percent over the last decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As U.S. banks have rebuilt their balance sheets after taking $1.1 trillion of losses and writedowns, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, they’ve tapped the central bank less.

The Fed said there’s been no borrowing from the Term Securities Lending Facility since mid-August and from the Primary Dealer Credit Facility since mid-May. The central bank will phase out both programs. The Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility hasn’t attracted customers since May. The Fed has indicated it will expire Feb. 1.

The Fed will shorten the maturity dates of primary credit loans at the discount window to 28 days from 90 days starting Jan. 14 as banks are better able to find funding themselves. The central bank said it will close the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility and swap lines with foreign central banks on Feb. 1 and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, on June 1.

The Money Market Investor Funding Facility, known as MMIFF, was shuttered on Oct. 30. The Fed’s planned purchase of $300 billion of longer-term Treasury securities was also completed at the end of October.


taiwan protest reunion
日曜日、台湾で「台中自由貿易協定」に反対する台湾人の集会があった。10万人が集まったと報道された。馬英九が進めてきた台中自由貿易の流れは自然だ。だが、民主主義や人権を信奉する台湾人にとって、この貿易協定は、やがて、大陸との統一に繋がると危惧しているのである。馬は、「自分の任期中に台中統一はない」と言って当選した。アメリカは、この馬の政治姿勢も、台中自由貿易もサポートしている。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Over protest, Taiwan moves toward free trade with China(Associated Press)

By Jane Rickards
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

TAICHUNG, TAIWAN -- Taiwan and China signed a series of business accords on Tuesday, bringing them closer to economic integration amid vociferous protests here from critics who fear that the move will eventually lead to unification with the Chinese mainland.

Beijing's top negotiator for Taiwan, Chen Yunlin, signed three technical accords with his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung, in the central city of Taichung. They also said agreements on free trade and intellectual property rights would be negotiated in talks slated for the first half of next year.

"Through accumulated experience, exchange and cooperation, we will broaden cross-strait bilateral talks to bring all kinds of benefits to the people," Chiang said. "This will allow the peaceful development of cross-strait relations to march forward."

The agreements came after a mass protest Sunday organized by the independence-leaning opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which said 100,000 people took part, although the police estimated the figure at 30,000.

Since taking office in May 2008, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has sought to ease tensions with China, which were the hallmark of the eight-year administration of his predecessor, pro-independence Chen Shui-bian. The new president's government has signed several business agreements with Beijing, including ones for the first regular direct cross-strait flights in half a century.

The United States supports his approach.

Ma, who was educated at Harvard University, is in a hurry to sign the proposed outline for a free-trade pact, saying it is vital for preventing export-dependent Taiwan's economic marginalization once a free-trade agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian nations takes force next year.

But critics fear the agreement is a Chinese tool for inducing Taiwan to unify with the mainland.

The Democratic Progressive Party, which saw a boost in popularity in recent local elections, has complained that the government is negotiating the pact secretly and that it will bring an influx of cheap Chinese goods and cause thousands of job losses.

Although only vague details about the trade agreement have been made public, it is one of the cornerstones of Ma's China policies.

The proposed pact includes cuts of 5 to 15 percent on tariffs for China-bound Taiwanese exports and other agreements regulating trade.

Tuesday's protests were markedly smaller than the ones during a November 2008 visit from Chen, which was the highest-level visit to Taiwan by a Chinese official in half a century.

Analysts say Beijing is keen to hand Taiwan economic sweeteners to boost the chances of China-friendly Ma getting reelected in 2012. Ma, for his part, says he is eager to boost the island's business but has said there will be no unification during his presidency and has consistently ruled out previous offers of political talks.


first meeting economy 11.7.08
去年の11月8日。大統領選挙に勝ってから4日目、オバマは、第一回経済会議を行った。あれから、1年と1ヶ月が経った。当時、7%だった失業率は10%となった。失業保険は各州の蔵から出すものである。その財源が枯渇し~連邦政府からの借金が増えている。リセッションによる失業者が急増している。40州の金庫が、2年以内に空っぽとなる。連邦政府から。900億ドルを借りなければやっていけない。現在やらなければならないことは、1)増税~2)失業保険減額という厳しい選択である 伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

States' jobless funds are being drained in recession

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The recession's jobless toll is draining unemployment-compensation funds so fast that according to federal projections, 40 state programs will go broke within two years and need $90 billion in loans to keep issuing the benefit checks.

Running out of money

The shortfalls are putting pressure on governments to either raise taxes or shrink the aid payments.

Debates over the state benefit programs have erupted in South Carolina, Nevada, Kansas, Vermont and Indiana. And the budget gaps are expected to spread and become more acute in the coming year, compelling legislators in many states to reconsider their operations.

Currently, 25 states have run out of unemployment money and have borrowed $24 billion from the federal government to cover the gaps. By 2011, according to Department of Labor estimates, 40 state funds will have been emptied by the jobless tsunami.

"There's immense pressure, and it's got to be faced," said Indiana state Rep. David Niezgodski (D), a sponsor of a bill that addressed the gaps in Indiana's unemployment program. "Our system was absolutely broke."

The Indiana legislation protected the aid checks, Niezgodski said, but it came after a give-and-take this spring in which Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. (R) said the state had been providing "Rolls-Royce benefits" and several thousand union workers countered by protesting proposed cuts at the state capitol. In January, the legislature is slated to consider a bill to delay the proposed tax increases intended to refill the fund.

In Nevada, Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) and legislators have feuded over the unemployment program, which is $85 million in debt to the federal government, with Gibbons accusing the legislature of "callous disregard" for not setting a tax rate.

And last week, a state task force in Kentucky recommended cutting benefits about 9 percent and imposing a week's delay in their payment. The average benefit check there is about $309 a week. The task force also proposed raising taxes.

"There were some moments of high anxiety" during the negotiations between industry and labor groups, said Joseph U. Meyer, the state's acting secretary of education and workforce development. "But in the end, the realistic options became fairly apparent."

State unemployment-compensation funds are separated from general budgets, so when there is a shortfall, only two primary solutions are typically considered -- either cut the benefit or raise the payroll tax.

Industry and business groups often lobby against raising the payroll tax on employers, while unions and other worker groups protest benefit cuts.

"We want to make sure Kentucky remains competitive and also maintain an environment of fairness," Meyer said of the negotiations.

Nationally, the average tax is about 0.6 percent of payroll; the average weekly check is about $300.

Running out of money

The troubles the state programs face can be traced to a failure during the economic boom to properly prepare for a downturn, experts said.

Unemployment benefits are funded by the payroll tax on employers that is collected at a rate that is supposed to keep the funds solvent. Firms that fire lots of people are supposed to pay higher rates. The federal government pays for administrative costs, and in a recession, it pays for the extension of unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks. But over the years, the drive to minimize state taxes on employers has reduced the funds to unsustainable levels.

"The benefits haven't grown -- that's not the problem," said Richard Hobbie, director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

Even so, he said, he expects to see unemployment checks reduced.

A shortfall in a state unemployment fund, he said, "usually means cuts in eligibility or benefits."

In Virginia, the unemployment program has borrowed $89 million from the federal government, while Maryland has not borrowed, according to the federal data.

Wayne Vroman, an expert in unemployment insurance at the Urban Institute, said that entering the recession, state programs were on average funded at only one-third the level they should have been, according to generally accepted funding guidelines.

"If you fund a program adequately, you don't need to come to these kinds of difficult decisions," he said.

Before the recession, he said, the funding guidelines "were rarely honored."

While the amount of the states' loans from the federal government is expected to grow rapidly, it is not expected to add to the federal debt. "In the past, the federal government has always gotten its money back," Vroman said.

In the meantime, however, more states are struggling to fill the gap. West Virginia imposed a freeze on benefit levels this year, and legislators in South Carolina are considering one.

"We've obviously got problems with the fund," said South Carolina House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham (R), blaming the trouble in part on the state's unemployment rate of more than 12 percent.

The state owes about $654 million to the federal government for unemployment payments.

"We're not trying to cut benefits," he said. But "if you jack rates up, those business that are struggling to hang on, you make things more difficult."


sKoreans floating base
朝鮮半島西側の黄海に浮かぶ韓国の海軍基地。境界線をめぐって、何度も銃撃戦があった海域だ。北朝鮮は、「この海域はミサイル発射訓練地域だ」と再び挑発している。一方で、六カ国協議に応じる姿勢も見せている。だが、南北朝鮮は、現在も戦争中なのである。忘れてはならない。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

NKorea declares 'firing zone' in disputed waters

The Associated Press
Monday, December 21, 2009; 12:57 PM

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea threatened South Korean ships with possible attack by designating a firing zone along their disputed sea border Monday, raising tensions in an area where a brief but deadly clash erupted last month.

The western maritime boundary has long been considered a flash point between the two Koreas because the North does not recognize a line the United Nations unilaterally drew at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang claims the actual border is further south.

The dispute led to deadly skirmishes in 1999, 2002 and on Nov. 10. In the latest clash, ships from the two sides exchanged fire in the disputed waters, leaving one North Korean sailor dead and three others wounded, according to the South.

On Monday, North Korea designated what it claimed are its territorial waters in the disputed area a "peacetime naval firing zone of coastal and island artillery units." That apparently means that artillery shells could land in the waters at any time.

Analysts said the move was designed to show the continuing instability on the Korean peninsula, as the U.S. and other nations press the North to resume talks on its nuclear program, and as the North pushes for a formal peace treaty to replace the truce that ended the Korean War.

The lack of such a treaty means that the two Koreas are still technically at war. That stands in the way of a cherished North Korean goal - diplomatic ties with the United States, which leader Kim Jong Il sees as key to winning security guarantees for his regime and gaining a propaganda edge over his southern rivals.

Analyst Kim Yong-hyun at Seoul's Dongguk University also said the move was also aimed at pressuring South Korea to further soften its overall stance against North Korea. He said that chances of the North immediately carrying out the threat are not high.

In the North's warning, its naval command accused the South of violating its waters and staging military drills in the area and vowed to protect its border by force.

"All fishing boats and warships are required to take security measures by themselves in that zone to protect themselves," the command said in a statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

South Korea rejected the North's claim of border violations as groundless.

"We are fully ready to defend the maritime demarcation line and will act sternly in case of North Korean provocations," the South's navy said in a statement.

The threat comes amid an international push for the reclusive communist state to rejoin six-party negotiations on ending its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama's special envoy visited Pyongyang for talks on the nuclear standoff that also touched on the North's long-standing demand for a peace treaty.

The U.S. has said it is willing to discuss that if the regime returns to the nuclear talks involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the U.S. Pyongyang quit the talks earlier this year before conducting a nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches.

North Korea said after this month's talks with the U.S. that it understands the need to resume the nuclear negotiations, but cautioned there are still unspecified differences to be resolved.

In recent months, the North has sought to reach out to Seoul in what analysts said was an attempt to win badly needed aid following U.N. sanctions slapped on the regime in June in response to what was its second-ever nuclear test.

Relations on the peninsula have shown signs of warming amid Pyongyang's conciliatory attitude, with the South last week shipping the antiviral drug Tamiflu across the border to help North Korea fight swine flu. It was Seoul's first direct aid to the country under conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office last year with a pledge to get tough on the North's nuclear ambitions.

But his administration still refuses to resume full-scale assistance, demanding that Pyongyang make progress in efforts to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.



「茶会党」ともいうべき、ティー・パーティを米国市民が好むことが判明した。政党になれば、共和党よりも規模が大きいという。この仮説的な政党は、反・オバマ民主党でもある。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Voters Prefer Tea Party to Republican Party

More Americans would vote for a congressional candidate from a hypothetical Tea Party than for a Republican, a Rasmussen Reports national poll reveals.

Respondents to the poll were asked: “Suppose the tea party movement organized itself as a political party. When thinking about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district, or the Tea Party candidate from your district?”

The result of the three-way generic ballot: The Democrats attracted 36 percent of the vote, the Tea Party candidates 23 percent, and the Republicans 18 percent, with the rest undecided.

Among respondents not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party, the Tea Party candidates came out on top with 33 percent of the vote, while 25 percent chose the Democrats and just 12 percent preferred the GOP, with 30 percent undecided.

Even among Republican respondents, the vote was close, with GOP candidates getting 39 percent of the vote to the Tea Party’s 33 percent.

Overall, Tea Party candidates beat the Republicans among both men and women, and in all age groups except those over 65, Rasmussen Reports disclosed, but pointed out: “In practical terms, it is unlikely that a true third-party option would perform as well as the polling data indicate.”

The tea party movement arose out of opposition to big government, increased federal spending, the economic stimulus plan and tax increases, and rose to prominence when it organized protest gatherings across the country earlier this year.

The Rasmussen survey also found that 41 percent of voters believe Republicans and Democrats are so much alike that a new party is needed to represent the American people.

Also, polling shows that 73 percent of Republican voters think their leaders in Washington are out of touch with the party base.



insurgents in Iraq had intercepted video feeds from drones

Senior U.S. military officers working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the danger of Russia and China intercepting and doctoring video from drone aircraft in 2004, but the Pentagon didn't begin securing the signals until this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The disclosure came after The Wall Street Journal reported insurgents in Iraq had intercepted video feeds from drones, downloading unencrypted communications from the unmanned planes.

Members of the Pentagon's Joint Staff discussed the potential security shortfall of drone feeds in 2004 and 2005, according to two officers with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

The State of U.S. Intelligence
Iraq Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
Dec. 17, 2009Drone Kills a Leader of Al Qaeda,
Dec. 12, 2009Terrorists Are Likely Testing Cyber Attacks,
Nov. 19, 2009U.S. Spy Efforts Have Improved,
Sept. 17, 2009White House Cybersecurity Czar Steps Down,
Aug. 4, 2009Cyber Blitz Hits U.S., Korea,
July 9, 2009Troubles Plague Cyberspy Defense,
July 3, 2009U.S. Cyber Infrastructure Vulnerable to Attacks,
May 6, 2009Officers at the time weren't concerned about adversaries intercepting the signals in Iraq or Afghanistan because drones weren't yet common there and militants weren't thought to be technically sophisticated.

Instead, some officers worried that such potential U.S. adversaries as Russia or China could manipulate the drone video feeds to hide battlefield movements. "The main concern was that the video feeds were being intercepted, manipulated and then fed to the commanders in the field," one of the officers said. "The fear was a commander looking on a feed, seeing nothing, and then having an enemy tank brigade come roaring into your command post."

The concerns were largely dismissed by more senior members of the Joint Staff, who were more worried about roadside bombs and other more immediate battlefield dangers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the two officers said.

The U.S. uses drones to track and kill militants in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, especially in regions too dangerous or politically complicated to insert ground forces. The drones have been responsible for killing nine high-profile terrorists in the past year, according to the Long War Journal, which tracks statistics on drone attacks.

On Thursday, Pentagon officials confirmed militants in Iraq had recorded drone video feeds several times in the past year. They said the feeds have since been secured. Officials said militants never took control of a drone or interfered with its flight.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters the Defense Department was constantly re-evaluating the security of its drones and other surveillance systems. He said the military worked to close any shortfalls that were discovered as part of those reviews.

Journal Community
Vote: How will the discovery that Iraqi militants intercepted U.S. Predator drone transmissions affect U.S. strategy and security? Related Intelligence Videos
U.S. Intelligence Detects Cyber Spies Obama's Cyber Czar Resigns New Military Command to Combat Cyber Spies
Intelligence reporter Siobhan Gorman discusses how hackers were able to gain access to U.S. military drones, and what type of information insurgents accessed.
Senior defense and military officials first became aware of the vulnerability of video feeds in the 1990s, during the U.S. campaign in Bosnia. But Pentagon officials acknowledge they didn't start encrypting the video feeds until April, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Some current and former officials say they believe that all feeds haven't yet been fully encrypted, given the expense and technological complexity. Rep. Norm Dicks (D., Wash.), vice chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said adequate encryption was a major concern.

Rep. Dicks said there was "a very good chance we're going to have hearings" on the matter next year.

Drones aren't the only U.S. systems that transmit unencrypted video signals. The military's Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, or Rover, is part of a widely used system that allows drones, helicopters and planes to transmit live video footage to nearby troops on the ground. Former military officials say the signals aren't encrypted, which means the tactical information can be intercepted.

One drone used in Iraq and Afghanistan is the Scan Eagle made by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing Co. It is used by the U.S. Special Operations Command, Marines and Navy, and lacks encryption, according to a person familiar with the matter.

An Insitu spokeswoman said the company was in the "advanced stages of development of a technical solution for video data encryption for ScanEagle."

The Scan Eagle can stay aloft for 24 hours and carries electro-optical and infrared cameras up to an altitude of 16,000 feet. Its video feed hasn't been encrypted because military officials have long assumed no one would make the effort to try to intercept it, according to a person familiar with the matter.

U.S. forces use so many high-tech surveillance and communications systems that Iraq and Afghanistan are awash in digital and analog signals, according to former military officials. In the rush to adopt these systems, less attention has been paid to encrypting signals.



wood made tiger

PGA~ゴルフ業界~CBSテレビ~ナイキ、、$220ミリオンドルの損失だと、、伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Golf Inc. Pays for Tiger’s Affairs With Lost Ads

By Michael Buteau and Andy Fixmer

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Tiger Woods’s indiscretions will cascade through Golf Inc., costing the PGA Tour, television networks such as CBS and merchandise vendors like Nike Inc. $220 million or more in lost revenue.

Woods’s indefinite leave from the sport, announced Dec. 11 after he disclosed marital infidelity, deprives professional golf of its biggest draw. In his absence, tournament crowds may be 20 percent smaller, according to organizers.

Television audiences may shrink by half, based on Nielsen Co. data from past events. TV advertising may drop by as much as 40 percent, said Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiating officer at New York-based ad agency Horizon Media Inc. Nike, which built its golf equipment business around Woods, stands to lose more than $30 million in sales, according to Claire Gallacher, an analyst with San Diego-based Capstone Investments Inc.

“It’s not so much a ripple effect as it is a tsunami,” said Rick Gentile, a former CBS Sports executive producer who teaches at Seton Hall University. “The aura is gone.”

The PGA Tour received revenue of $773 million from tournaments and television in 2008, according to its annual report. In turn, broadcasters received $642.7 million in TV advertising revenue, according to New York-based TNS Media Intelligence. Should Woods sit out the entire year, ad spending will skid 30 percent to 40 percent, Cohen said in an interview.

Golf Market

Through October of this year, marketers spent $576.4 million to advertise on weekend golf broadcasts, according to TNS. New York-based CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC had the largest exposure, the researcher said.

The 2010 PGA Tour season begins on Jan. 7 in Hawaii. Cohen’s estimate suggests ad losses may be at least $192 million if Woods is out all year. That, plus the potential damage to Nike, would put the effect at more than $220 million.

Weekend television audiences sank by 47 percent to an average of 2.4 million viewers when Woods was out with a knee injury in 2008 and early 2009, according to data from Nielsen, the New York-based researcher. Excluding major tournaments, ad prices were 30 percent higher when he was present than when he wasn’t, according to TNS.

“There will be an audience for the sport after Tiger Woods,” Cohen said. “They’ll just be much smaller because he attracts a casual fan who otherwise may not tune in.”

‘Doom, Gloom’

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said Woods’s sex scandal and self-imposed break from the sport won’t spell disaster for the tour’s business.

“I don’t see corporate America backing away from golf over Tiger’s issues,” Finchem said today on a conference call with reporters. “The doom and gloom needs to go away and frankly it’s misleading to our fans.”

The ad crunch will initially hurt broadcasters, then potentially affect the tour later when networks seek to renew television rights at lower prices, said Cohen.

Woods, ranked No. 1 for the past 4 1/2 years in the Official World Golf Ranking, has dominated golf since turning pro in 1996, earning a record $100.2 million in career prize money. His 14 major tournament wins are second to Jack Nicklaus, who had 18 as a professional.

Tiger’s Impact

The golfer built an endorsement franchise that helped propel his total earnings past $1 billion, according to Forbes, teaming with Beaverton, Oregon-based sporting goods manufacturer Nike, Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette razors, Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer, consulting company Accenture Plc and others.

Woods attracted sponsorships that helped lift prize money and feed the growth of professional golf. The industry pumped about $76 billion into the U.S. economy in 2005, a 22 percent increase from 2000, according to the most recent study commissioned by the U.S. PGA Tour, the PGA of America and U.S. Golf Association.

Operating golf facilities made up the biggest portion of the total, $28.1 billion. Endorsements, tournaments and associations accounted for $1.68 billion of activity. Golf supplies totaled $6.15 billion.

At tour events, ticket sales are typically 20 percent higher when Woods, 33, plays than when he doesn’t, according to tournament organizers. The PGA Tour, with 2008 total revenue of $981 million, runs merchandise booths that usually sell out of the Nike garb he wears for a given day. Before Tiger, sales totaled about $300 million, according to the tour.

Woods has apologized and asked sponsors and fans for understanding in a Dec. 11 statement. “I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people,” he said. Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Nike Costs

Tiger’s absence may cost Nike 5 percent of its golf revenue, Gallacher said in an interview. That would represent about $32.4 million, based on Nike golf revenue of $648 million for the year ended in May. The company’s annual sales were $19.2 billion.

“He is the face of Nike golf,” Thomas Shaw, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in Baltimore, said in an interview. “The longer he’s gone, it’s going to make it more difficult for them to initially appeal to people for their 2010 product line.”

Tour Impact

Nike sells Woods-branded hats, shirts, pants, sweaters, belts and shoes. The gear typically sells for about 25 percent more than similar Nike golf merchandise, Shaw said. The company developed its Victory Red golf clubs, referencing the red shirt Tiger wears on Sundays.

Beth Gast, a spokeswoman for Nike’s golf division, declined to comment beyond a statement of support for Woods the company issued on Dec. 11.

Nike fell 62 cents to $63.43 at 2:12 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading and had gained 26 percent this year before today. CBS declined 46 cents to $13.81 and is up 74 percent year-to-date. GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, rose 19 cents to $15.88. P&G, based in Cincinnati, dropped 50 cents to $61.66.

Woods’s presence has helped prize money quadruple to almost $280 million in 2009 from $70 million in 1997, his first full professional season. He used his celebrity to stage charity tournaments such as this month’s Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California. In 2007, the tour raised $124 million for charity, up from $40 million in 1996.

‘Poker Game’

The effect of Woods’s hiatus will cut deeper the longer he’s out. Television contracts with New York-based CBS and NBC are due to expire in 2012, and renewal talks were likely to begin next year, said Gentile, who teaches sports management at Seton Hall in South Orange, New Jersey.

With Woods’s return uncertain, the networks will probably balk at paying rates similar to the ones they pay now, Gentile said.

“It’s like a poker game,” Gentile said. “If I’m the PGA Tour, I’m not so happy about the cards I’m holding right now.”

CBS, controlled by Chairman Sumner Redstone, declined to comment, said Shannon Jacobs, a company spokeswoman.

The network, which carries the Masters and the PGA Championship, pays about $200 million annually to broadcast PGA tournaments, according to Michael Morris, an analyst at UBS AG in New York.

NBC, set to be taken over by Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., hosts the U.S. Open and non-majors including Woods’s Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship. Adam Freifeld, a spokesman for NBC Sports, declined to comment.

Broadcasters may have to offer advertisers free ad time if tournament ratings fall below guaranteed levels, Cohen said.

‘Financial Hit’

“CBS will take a financial hit,” Cohen said. “If Tiger is not there they won’t get the same price or get credit for the same audience levels.”

Prizes could also be affected, as eight U.S. tournament sponsor contracts expire after the 2010 season.

Of those eight, Woods typically plays in four: the WGC-CA Championship; the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley; the Deutsche Bank Championship, which benefits Woods’s charity foundation; and the Tour Championship presented by Coca- Cola Co.

The average purse for tournaments that make up Woods’s typical 18-event annual schedule, such as the Accenture Match Play Championship, is $7.3 million, about $2 million more than for tournaments he skips, such as the John Deere Classic.

‘Human Again’

The average sponsorship costs about $6 million, according to tournament organizers. Like TV networks, marketers are likely to be influenced by uncertainty regarding Woods, Gentile said.

As damaging as the personal revelations have been, Woods has solidified his impact on the game and within sports marketing, said Julie D. Lanzillo, president of InfoSport Inc., a Worcester, Pennsylvania-based sports marketing group.

“When he was still a rising phenomenon, I think the impact would have been far worse for the game, the PGA, the industry and sponsors,” Lanzillo said.

While Dublin-based Accenture and Gillette have dropped Woods from advertising campaigns, others including Nike and trading card company Upper Deck Co. have stood by the golfer.

That approach may pay off when Woods ultimately returns to the game, said Casey Alexander, who covers the golf industry for New York-based Guilford Securities Inc.

“The only story better than a God on Earth is a story about a failed God on Earth and watching him become human again,” Alexander said.



US calls Japan base delay decision unfortunate

鳩山内閣は普天間移設を無期限に引き伸ばすと受け取られた。「日米同盟が打撃された~信頼は低下した~不満が増大した~日米関係は明らかに冷えた」と、AEI(保守系シンクタンク)の客員アジア専門研究員は語った。アメリカを主導とするウエストにとって、在日米軍ほど重要な存在はない。在日米軍の役目は日本を守るだけでないからだ。中国~ロシア~朝鮮半島~台湾海峡、そしてシンガポールへと続く南太平洋~インド洋~パキスタン沖、、どの地点も、米軍の警戒が必要なのだ。つまり、民主主義が未完成な地域の紛争を警戒しているのである。「日本は重要でない」とアメリカが言うことはない。しかし、鳩山政権の反米色は濃い。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 16, 2009; 3:11 AM

WASHINGTON -- The United States is frustrated by Japan's delay in relocating a major U.S. military base, even as the U.S. signals a willingness to be patient with Tokyo's new government.

The moderate approach reflects the Obama administration's desire not to destroy ties with its most important Asian ally at a time when China is building up its military and North Korean provocations include nuclear and missile tests.

Despite widespread displeasure that Japan has backtracked on a signed agreement, the U.S. is giving Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama some time to get his footing in the aftermath of elections that threw out a party that had ruled Japan for most of the post-World War II era. That patience has its limits, however, as U.S. officials indicated Tuesday after Hatoyama said Japan needs several more months to decide on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the southern island of Okinawa.

The Futenma move is the centerpiece of a sweeping realignment plan for the 47,000 U.S. troops in Japan, and Hatoyama's comments that a hasty decision on moving the base would be irresponsible appear to spoil the U.S. goal of resolving the matter by the end of the year.

Gen. James Conway, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant, told reporters he had not been informed about the delay. But, he said, "at this point, it sounds like it's more and more up in the air, which is unfortunate."

"The Futenma replacement facility is absolutely vital to the defense that we provide for the entire region," Conway said.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and President Barack Obama's rival in the 2008 presidential race, spoke of the need to act urgently.

"American troops in Japan are a force of stability in Asia," McCain told a Washington think tank Tuesday. "I hope we can work out these negotiations as quickly as possible, since there is questioning throughout Asia as to what exactly the U.S.-Japanese relationship will be in light of the new government of Japan."

A 2006 U.S.-Japan reorganization plan was meant to ease the load on Okinawa, which hosts more than half the U.S. troops in Japan. Residents in Okinawa complain about noise, pollution and crime - including the 1995 rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen - and many want the Futenma airfield closed and its functions moved off the island.

Hatoyama, whose party came to power after a landslide election victory in August, has promised that Japan would adopt a less subservient relationship with the U.S. and has refused to accept any deadlines for signing off on the deal to move Futenma to a more remote part of Okinawa.

Part of the plan also involves moving about 8,000 Marines and their families from Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam by 2014, but the U.S. military says that plan cannot move forward until Futenma's replacement facility is completed.

Conway said questions have arisen about whether the move to Guam could be completed by 2014. "Any delay at this point only puts that date, I think, in greater doubt," he said.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley offered a more muted response when asked about U.S. frustration with Japan.

"The Japanese government has indicated to us that they'd like a little more time to work through these issues, and we're happy to oblige them," Crowley told reporters. But, he added, U.S.-Japan talks would not be "an indefinite conversation."

Futenma has proven to be a distraction as the two governments try to forge ties, with senior officials from both countries absorbed with the move.

Michael Auslin, a Japan specialist with the American Enterprise Institute think tank, said Hatoyama may be hoping that the United States will give in and agree to renegotiate the plan.

In the meantime, Auslin said, "the alliance has taken a hit. Trust has been degraded; frustration has risen; relations will be noticeably cooler for the foreseeable future."


Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek and Robert Burns contributed to this report.



「同じ山に、二匹の虎は棲めない」という中国のことわざがある。インドと中国は急成長のさなかだ。協力関係も深い。だが、相互不信は、もっと深い。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

As ties between India and China grow, so does mistrust

Recent border incidents test partnership in trade, climate change

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 14, 2009

NEW DELHI -- On a remote mountain pass, Chinese soldiers berated a group of Indian laborers building a five-mile road near the India-China border. The land belonged to China, asserted the soldiers, who reportedly waved their guns and scared off the workers.

The incident became the biggest breaking news story in India early this month, dominating TV coverage, capturing front-page headlines and igniting fears that the two countries were headed toward a crisis.

In many ways, cooperation between India and China has never been better, officials and observers say. China is India's biggest trading partner, and in the days before the climate summit taking place in Copenhagen, the two agreed on commitments to slow greenhouse gas emissions.

But border disputes are occurring more frequently, analysts say, one sign that a fierce competition between India and China for regional dominance is heating up.

"There is robust trade between the countries. But there is also the sort of tension that is like a series of pinpricks," said Nawang Rigzin, minister of tourism and culture for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where the road incident took place. "Both countries need to take these pinpricks seriously."

The two Asian giants have been locked in decades of mutual suspicion and lingering disputes over their 2,200-mile border since they fought a short war in 1962, in which China quickly overtook Indian forces. In the past two years, the heightened activity at the border has sparked a fresh round of discord.

"We are destined to be rivals," said Mohan Guruswamy, the New Delhi-based author of the new book "Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch Up with China?" He added: "This is because of the size of our economies and our geographic proximity to each other."

India has increased its military presence and infrastructure projects along the border, "which from the Chinese side . . . looks threatening, especially when coupled with statements and press reports from India," said M. Taylor Fravel, a specialist on China's border and security issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

China has also beefed up border patrols and development in the area, analysts say, and has spoken out about visits to the disputed frontier by high-level Indian officials.

Chinese cross-border incursions nearly doubled from 140 in 2006 to 270 in 2008 and have stayed at that higher level this year, said Brahma Chellaney of the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research. "China is breathing down India's neck," he said.

Most analysts say another war between the nuclear-armed countries is unlikely. But the friction reveals an increasingly tortured relationship that experts say will define a new world order as their economies and influence continue to grow.

"Let's keep in mind, not a single shot has been fired on the border," said retired Maj. Gen. Dipankar Banerjee, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi. "But there's also a recent realization about the nature of our relationship. As China grows more powerful, so does the anxiety and envy in India."

"Somehow, even workers arguing on the road became big news" in India, said Wu Xiang, who works for a Chinese news agency in New Delhi. "It's a real reflection of how important these tensions are between the two countries."

As India's economy and global standing have grown, China has come to view India as a legitimate threat, said Vikram Sood, a China specialist at the Center for International Relations here.

"In some ways," Sood said, "it's a sign of a more assertive India, and a China trying to flex its military and economic clout."

New alliances

The new alliances each country has made in recent years have contributed to the tensions. China angered India with its "string of pearls" strategy of building ports in Burma, Sri Lanka and Pakistan that could be used by its navy. And India has watched closely as the Obama administration advocates improved ties with China.

But China is also concerned about India's relations with Washington, and some say there is concern that an India backed by the United States would have more diplomatic clout.

"As a result, China may believe that India will be less likely to reach a compromise agreement in the border dispute and can take a harder line with China," Fravel said.

Since the 1960s, China has sought ties with Pakistan -- India's perennial archrival -- including nuclear cooperation and large-scale weapons sales in recent years.

For its part, China is increasingly critical of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who lives in exile in northern India.

"China and India are very prickly, both hypersensitive, emotional countries," said Jehangir Pocha, who worked in Beijing for three years and is now editor in chief of the Indian NewsX TV channel. "Their power has grown faster than their political maturity."

Fueling fears

Officials on both sides of the border say the Indian media have fueled fears with sensationalistic and often jingoistic reports.

The October road incident along the heavily militarized mountain border was reported weeks after it occurred, when a village leader's written complaint was leaked to Indian news stations and radio talk shows. The media repeatedly emphasized that the confrontation took place just a mile from a September incursion by Chinese soldiers, who painted huge rocks there with Chinese characters.

"It seems everyone wants to exaggerate what appears to be bad news," India's home minister, P. Chidambaram, said in an interview. "But . . . both sides are strong in their desires for a peaceful border."

Some news media outlets have defended their reporting, saying it simply reflects the deep mistrust between the two countries. Chinese and Indian media reports often include a quote from an old Chinese proverb: "Two tigers cannot share the same mountain."


Does Japan still matter?


Frd Hyatt WP Tokyo editor
ワシントン・ポスト紙の東京特派員だ。編集長でもある。BLAINE・HARDENという記者がいるが、反日的だ。朝日新聞のAKIKO・AOYAMAの名前がよく併記されるから、朝日の言うことを聴いている。だが、ハイアット編集長は、「日本は、まだまだ重要な国だ」と書いている。クエスチョン・マークが付いているが、彼の結論はそうだ。親日家と短絡しない方が良い。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

By Fred Hiatt
Friday, December 11, 2009


U.S.-Japan relations are in "crisis," Japan's foreign minister told me Thursday -- but I would guess that few Americans have noticed, let alone felt alarm. As China rises, Japan's economy has stalled, and its population is dwindling. The island nation -- feared during the last century first as a military power, then as an economic conqueror -- barely registers in the American imagination.

But Japan still matters. And despite the "crisis" set in motion by the electoral defeat of the party that had ruled for half a century, the United States has more to fear from Japanese defeatism -- from its own uncertainty about whether it still matters -- than from the assertiveness of its new government.

At a seminar here this week organized by the German Marshall Fund and the Tokyo Foundation, and in separate interviews, one Japanese after another delivered variations on gloom, doom and pessimism. Polls confirm that this is no anomaly; in one taken by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper last spring, the three words offered most often to describe the current era were "unrest," "stagnation" and "bleak," as the paper's editor in chief, Yoichi Funabashi, noted recently in Foreign Affairs.

"Japan's presence in the international community is rapidly weakening and waning," one prominent businessman said this week. "We have to bring Japan back to high growth, but that possibility now is nil. . . . There are heaps of difficulties facing Japan . . . insurmountable . . . Japanese people are so anxious. . . . We don't need to remain a major country. . . . 'Small-nation Japan' is my thinking."

Japan's fiscal challenges are daunting, as is its declining birthrate. Yet the negativity seems overblown. Japan retains the world's second-largest national economy and will be third or fourth biggest for decades to come. It is the world's second-largest aid donor, the fifth-biggest military spender (despite a constitution that bars the waging of war) and a technological powerhouse. It is a crucial player, and frequently America's closest ally, in international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. And as the longest-standing and most successful democracy in the non-Western world, it is a hugely important role model, and potentially a leader, in supporting freedom and the rule of law.

That potential was sharply enhanced by the landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in August, ending what one speaker at the seminar called the Liberal Democratic "shogunate." The Democrats have promised to disrupt the cozy relationship among bureaucrats, the ruling party and industry, and to govern with more public input and accountability.

But they're also disrupting the U.S.-Japan relationship. An agreement to realign U.S. Marine bases in Okinawa has been put on hold, despite what U.S. officials took as a promise from Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama ("Trust me," he privately told President Obama, according to Japanese officials) to implement the deal. The Democrats' coalition partners, as well as voters in Okinawa, loathe the pact.

"So we are in a situation where the U.S.-Japan alliance is being tested," Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada acknowledged.

Democratic Party officials have said they want to put the U.S.-Japan relationship on a more equal footing, and Hatoyama and others have at times gone further, suggesting a desire to improve relations with China while downgrading those with the United States. But Okada dismissed suggestions that the suspension of the base agreement reflects a deeper-seated resentment of America or a fundamental questioning of the alliance.

Citing North Korea's nuclear weapons and China's growing military, Okada said, "I don't think anyone would think that Japan on its own can face up to such risks. That is why we need the U.S.-Japan alliance. I don't think any decent politician would doubt that as a fact."

Frustrated by Hatoyama's amateurish handling of the issue, Obama administration officials are scrambling to come up with the right mix of tolerance for the coalition's inexperience and firmness on implementing an agreed-upon deal. They're right to insist on the importance of the military alliance, long a force for stability throughout the region.

But they shouldn't lose sight of the larger picture. For years now the United States has been trying to engage China's government in strategic dialogues and high-level commissions. It should do no less with Japan, its most important democratic ally in Asia, and the advent of an untested government still feeling its way provides both reason and opportunity to do so.

So far, Japan's new government has not defined policies that could restore economic growth and lift the country out of its funk. But America should be hoping that it can. And if it wants Japan to regain some confidence, it makes sense to treat Japan as though it matters. Because it does.


ジョゼフ・スティグリッツ・コロンビア大学経済学部教授はノーベル賞受賞者だ。オバマのアドバーザーであったが、今、やめている。教授は、「パウエル・ドクトリンのように大量投入を行え」と米国議会に警告を出した。失業者のことである。現在、10%の失業率が改善の方向と新聞が書き、テレビのど素人が神輿を担ぐ。だが、スティグリッツ教授は、今やっているオバマのマイクロ・マネジメント(小技・小出し)では不足だという。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Stiglitz Urges ‘Powell Doctrine’ to Attack ‘Grave’ Jobs Outlook

By Steve Matthews

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz urged U.S. lawmakers to use “overwhelming force” to cut a 10 percent unemployment rate that’s forecast to rise.

Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and a former White House adviser under President Bill Clinton, told the Joint Economic Committee that more government spending and tax cuts are needed to put Americans back to work.

“There is, in economics, something akin to the Powell doctrine in the military -- one needs to attack the problem with overwhelming force,” Stiglitz said in prepared testimony for a congressional hearing, referring to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell. “As we approach the looming jobs problem, we should not repeat the mistakes we have continually made in responding to this crisis: too little, too late.”

President Barack Obama this week proposed additional spending on the nation’s transportation system, tax credits to spur hiring by small businesses and incentives to make homes more energy efficient in a second round of initiatives aimed at cutting the jobless rate.

Employers have cut more than 7.2 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. The unemployment rate last month fell to 10 percent from a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October. The rate will exceed 10 percent through the first half of next year, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists taken Dec. 1-8.

“We should not be fooled” by the decline in the jobless rate, Stiglitz said. “Growth in private demand” will probably be “insufficient to restore employment to normal levels any time soon.”

Too Small

Stiglitz said the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts enacted in February “has been working” although it was too small.

“Unless action is taken, we risk facing a vicious cycle: unemployment contributing to a weak economy, more mortgage foreclosures, more bad debts, lower demand, and possibly more, but certainly not less, unemployment.”

Stiglitz said priorities for spending should include extending unemployment benefits, aiding states facing revenue shortfalls, giving tax credits for weatherizing homes, government jobs programs and research and technology initiatives.

The economist shared the Nobel Prize in 2001 for work on problems that may arise in markets when parties don’t have equal access to information.

Stiglitz, 66, also said the Federal Reserve contributed to the financial crisis by failing to supervise banks or stem the housing bubble. He questioned proposals to give the central bank more authority to supervise firms whose failure might threaten the financial system.

“Giving more power to an institution which has failed so miserably, with results that have imposed such costs on all of us, cannot be the right solution unless there are deep and fundamental reforms in the institution, of a kind that are beyond those currently being discussed,” he said.



USD up or down
ドバイのデフォルトは返却期間の延長で逃れようとしている。ドバイの破綻に危険を感じた投資家は、米国債を買った。それが、米ドルを押し上げた。だが、ここから、USDは騰がるのか?下がるのか?誰にも判らない。以下の記事によれば、上下のどの方向にも行く。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Dollar Fear Trumps Greed in Guarding Against Rebound

By Liz Capo McCormick

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Traders in the $3.2-trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market are paying the highest prices in more than a year to protect against a sudden rebound in the dollar after its worst annual performance since 2003.

That possibility may be less remote, according to Bill Gross, manager of the world’s biggest bond fund, who says a prolonged period of record-low interest rates may foster the “systemic risk” of new asset bubbles. Dubai’s effort to delay debt repayments reminded traders how the U.S. Dollar Index surged 16 percent in the two months after the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. when investors sought a haven from the turmoil and poured money into U.S. assets.

“American investors have a lot of exposure now to foreign markets,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, the chief currency strategist at Zurich-based UBS AG, the largest foreign-exchange trader behind Deutsche Bank AG as measured by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc. “If investors become risk-averse again, which happened last year due to Lehman’s bankruptcy and could happen now for a whole host of reasons, they are likely to go into less risky assets like U.S. Treasuries, which would help the dollar.”

While Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s Dollar Index fell to a 16-month low last month, implied volatility on three-month call options granting the right to buy the greenback versus the euro exceeded that for options to sell it by 1.61 percentage points. The Dollar Index tracks the currency against the euro, yen, U.K. pound, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc and Swedish krona.

Risk-Reversal Rates

The so-called 25-delta risk-reversal rate, which was flat as recently as October, hasn’t shown such high relative demand for dollar calls since hitting a record 2.595 percentage points in November 2008. When the implied volatility of dollar calls exceeds puts, like now, the gap is expressed as a negative number, which would be minus 2.595 percentage points.

Investors are waiting for “the BOB event, a bolt out of the blue,” said John Alkire, the chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Asset & Investment Trust Management in Tokyo. “The world had a mini-BOB,” when financial markets tumbled after Dubai announced plans to restructure some of its $59 billion in debt, said Alkire, who helps oversee $40 billion.

The Dollar Index had its biggest two-day gain in a month on Nov. 26-27, rising 1 percent, as Dubai’s proposal to delay debt payments shook investor confidence by risking the biggest sovereign default since Argentina’s in 2001.

It surged 1.7 percent on Dec. 4, the most since Jan. 20, after the Labor Department said employers cut the fewest jobs in November since the recession began. The Dollar Index was at 75.959 as of 10:51 a.m. in London, from 75.911 in New York late last week.


Besides the financial turmoil in the United Arab Emirates, investors are also wary of the global economy falling back into recession with U.S. unemployment above 10 percent for the first time since 1983, non-performing U.S. commercial mortgage loans as measured by Moody’s Investors Service rising to 8.3 percent and the potential for stocks to fall after the steepest rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since the 1930s.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Nov. 23 that about half of bank losses from the global financial crisis have yet to be reported. The IMF said in September that banks, which have taken $1.72 trillion in losses and writedowns as measured by Bloomberg since the start of 2007, may have $1.5 trillion in toxic debt on their books.

“When viewed from 30,000 feet, there is even a systemic risk that new asset bubbles are in the formative stage,” Gross, the co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., wrote in his December investment outlook posted on the Newport Beach, California-based company’s Web site Nov. 19.

High Stakes

It’s not only currency traders that are concerned about a reversal in markets.

Forecasts for the fastest U.S. earnings growth in 15 years are failing to convince equity traders that the S&P 500 will extend its rally. S&P 500 options to protect against declines in stocks over the next year cost 40 percent more than one-month contracts, the biggest premium since 1999, data compiled by Barclays Plc and Bloomberg show.

Record-low interest rates in the U.S. have encouraged investors to borrow in U.S. dollars and reinvest the proceeds in countries with higher ones, such as Australia and New Zealand. The so-called carry trades, which contribute to weakness in the dollar, produced returns of about 50 percent over the past nine months, Bloomberg data show.

Rising Volatility

U.S. mutual fund investors raised the percentage of foreign assets in their holdings to 25.9 percent in October, matching the peak reached in mid-2008, based on Investment Company Institute data tracked by UBS. During the financial crisis, the percentage fell to 23 percent, after more than doubling from 2002.

The dollar has depreciated 6.2 percent against the euro this year, 23 percent versus Australia’s currency and 19 percent versus the New Zealand dollar.

Investors are buying options to protect their positions “given that recent moves in the exchange rate have been nasty on the downside,” said Neil Jones, head of European hedge-fund sales in London at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. “Investors bullish on the euro are prepared to pay a premium for the automatic stop-loss the options provide while also keeping their cash position in play.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s G7 Volatility Index rose to 14.43 last month from the low this year of 12.32 in September. The 10- year average before the 2008 credit crunch was 9.9 percent.

No Policy Change

Strategists are cutting their forecasts for the greenback. The dollar will depreciate to $1.55 against the euro by March from $1.49 last week, and to $1.62 by June, according to JPMorgan. Since September, the median June 2010 estimate for Australia’s dollar has risen to 94 U.S. cents from 85, and jumped to 74 U.S. cents from 67 for New Zealand’s currency.

Any flight to the dollar may prove short-lived, with the Federal Reserve signaling it will keep rates at a range of zero to 0.25 percent for an extended period, according to Axel Merk, president of Palo Alto, California-based Merk Investments LLC.

“If Dubai signals one thing, it’s that the odds of the central bank policy makers around the world mopping up all the liquidity they’ve provided anytime soon may be rather low,” said Merk, who manages more than $550 million in mutual funds that specialize in currencies.

Dollar bears also say the U.S. government shows little concern about the currency’s decline, paving the way for further depreciation. That’s because a weaker greenback has helped to bolster exporter earnings. U.S. exports increased for the last five months, the Commerce Department said Nov. 13.

Undue Speculation

The depreciating dollar is proving no deterrent to demand for U.S. financial assets. For every $1 of debt sold by the Treasury this year, investors put in bids for $2.59, up from $2.19 at this point in 2008.

Traders pushed up the cost to protect against a rise in the dollar after Fed policy makers said last month that their decision to cut rates to zero may be fueling undue financial- market speculation.

Its policy of keeping rates low might cause “excessive risk-taking” or an “unanchoring of inflation expectations,” according to minutes of the Nov. 3-4 Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The committee members also said the dollar’s decline has been “orderly.”

Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the financial crisis, said last week that Dubai’s attempt to reschedule debt underscores the global economy’s vulnerability to a setback.

‘Vulnerabilities’ Remain

“Although Dubai World’s financing issues are not a surprise and are relatively small given global credit losses, they are a reminder that the vulnerabilities and imbalances that contributed to the credit crunch have not disappeared,” Roubini said on his RGE Web site on Dec. 2.

The three-month risk reversal rate for options on the Australia-U.S. dollar exchange rate reached minus 3.57 percent on Nov. 27, the most since February. On the same day the New Zealand-U.S. dollar exchange rate, it hit minus 3.92 percent, the biggest negative since February.

“People saved money in the past by not insuring themselves, which proved to not be a great trade,” said Nick Parsons, head of markets strategy in London at NabCapital, a unit of National Australia Bank Ltd., the country’s largest bank by assets. “There is plenty of incentive and opportunity to hedge now. People are much more willing to buy insurance.”



obama biden pelosi 2.24.09
副大統領のバイデンはアフガン増派に消極的~下院議長のぺロシは増派に反対~オバマは選挙中から「アフガンは必要な戦争で勝たなければならない」と一貫していたのだ。だが、リベラル、急進派、非戦平和主義者たちは、オバマに幻滅したと言う。それは、“CHANGE AND HOPE" という選挙の宣伝文句に救世主を夢見たからだ。オバマの支持率が48%(CNN)となった。第一に、雇用創出(失業率10%)で失敗している~第ニに、国民皆保険の内容が不十分~第三アフガン増派(ブッシュの二倍となった)、、どれも困難な課題だ。だが、「ただのおしゃべり」と言われ始めている。この負の印象をどう跳ね除けるか?伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Obama the mortal

By Dana Milbank
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Some parishioners in the Church of Obama discovered last week that their spiritual leader is a false prophet.

Consider the blow suffered by the liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who issued a plaintive plea to the president on the eve of his announcement that he was sending 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. By escalating the war, Moore wrote:

"[Y]ou will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike."

Obama, of course, was not moved by his follower from Flint. The real question is why Moore, and those millions and multitudes of whom he wrote, thought that Obama would do otherwise. Obama never said during the campaign that he would pull out of Afghanistan; in fact, he had promised to escalate. "As president, I will make the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be," he said in July 2008, vowing to send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan. "This is a war that we have to win."

Yet Moore is surely right about the disillusionment of Obama's supporters. Even before the surge announcement, support among liberals for Obama's Afghanistan policy had dropped 22 points since July, to 59 percent from 81 percent, according to a Post-ABC News poll. Overall liberal support for Obama had drifted down to 80 percent from 94 percent in the spring -- and, given the noisy complaints from the left last week, that number seems likely to fall further.

It was bound to happen eventually. Obama had become to his youthful supporters a vessel for all of their liberal hopes. They saw him as a transformational figure who would end war, save the Earth from global warming, restore the economy -- and still be home for dinner. They lashed out at anybody who dared to suggest that Obama was just another politician, subject to calculation, expediency and vanity like all the rest.

Certainly, Obama gets some blame for encouraging the messianic cult as he stumped for change and hope. "I am asking you to stop settling for what the cynics say we have to accept," he would say as he wrapped up speeches. "Let us reach for what we know is possible: A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again."

In other cases, Obama truly has gone back on campaign vows. Even some of his advisers are disappointed that he has moved so slowly to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Civil libertarians are justifiably disappointed with his decision to continue much of the Bush administration secrecy. Clean-government types are understandably frustrated that Obama vowed that lobbyists "will not get a job in my White House" but now grants waivers so that lobbyists can work in key administration jobs.

But at least as much blame for the disillusionment goes to progressives who simply expected too much of him. Some are disappointed that the Nobel Peace Prize winner proposed even higher defense spending than George W. Bush did -- but Obama never said he would cut the Pentagon's budget. Many liberals are disappointed that he isn't pushing the "public option" more forcefully in the health-care debate -- but it was never something Obama emphasized during the campaign.

For all of Obama's soaring oratory about hope and change, it was plain even during the campaign that his record was that of an incrementalist. His signature legislation -- health care in the Illinois Senate and ethics in the U.S. Senate -- were evolutionary improvements, not revolutionary overhauls. His Afghanistan policy, likewise, is above all a pragmatic, nonideological strategy. He stayed true to his campaign promise to take the fight to the Taliban, but he also tried to build a consensus.

You'd think his supporters might applaud this sort of thoughtful, methodical leadership as a repudiation of the Bush style of government by political theory. Instead, they're using words such as "O'Bomber" to describe the president. launched a petition drive against the policy. Code Pink, the group that heckled Bush officials for years, heckled Obama advisers on Capitol Hill last week. The liberal Web publisher Arianna Huffington told Charlie Rose that the policy "puts into question his whole leadership."

This is what happens when true believers mistake a mortal for a messiah.


Irans weapons seized 12.3.09
Israeli officials said these rockets were seized last month from a Syria-bound ship that was carrying weapons from Iran for Hezbollah. (Tsafrir Abayov/associated Press)

Arms smuggling heightens Iran fears


Tehran may be building arsenal, helping militias

Israeli officials said these rockets were seized last month from a Syria-bound ship that was carrying weapons from Iran for Hezbollah. (Tsafrir Abayov/associated Press)

About this article
This article was reported with the support of the International Reporting Project, an independent, nonprofit journalism program based in Washington that provides grants to U.S. journalists to report overseas. The IRP is supported entirely by nonprofit foundations.

Arms Smuggling

Ship's route

View a graphic showing the route a ship carrying contraband took from North Korea.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 3, 2009

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- The warning came almost too late. The freighter ANL Australia had already fired its engines for a 70-mile dash to Iran when customs agents here were alerted to a possible hidden cache of weapons on board.

Inspectors from the United Arab Emirates quickly swarmed the ship and uncovered a truck-size container packed with small arms made in North Korea. Concealed deeper in the ship was the real find: hundreds of crates containing military hardware and a grayish, foul-smelling powder, explosive components for thousands of short-range rockets.

The nature of the cargo, seized in July and described for the first time in interviews with officials and analysts in the UAE and Washington, has raised fears that Iran is ramping up efforts to arm itself and anti-Israel militias in the Middle East. Israeli officials have warned that they may use force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The freighter seized in this port enclave was one of five vessels caught this year carrying large, secret caches of weapons apparently intended for the Lebanese group Hezbollah, the Palestinian organization Hamas or the Quds Force, a wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps that supports insurgents in Iraq, according to U.S. and U.N. officials and intelligence analysts. In three cases, the contraband included North Korean- or Chinese-made components for rockets such as the 122mm Grad, which has a range of up to 25 miles and which Hamas and Hezbollah have fired into Israel.

Among the weapons components discovered aboard the ANL Australia were 2,030 detonators for 122mm rockets, as well as electric circuitry and a large quantity of solid-fuel propellant, according to an account given by UAE and U.N. Security Council officials. The materials were bought from North Korea and shipped halfway around the globe in sealed containers, labeled as oil-drilling supplies, that passed through a succession of freighters and ports.

An Israeli raid last month on a ship in the eastern Mediterranean reportedly netted hundreds more 122mm rockets. Israeli officials said the freighter was bound for Syria and was carrying 500 tons of armaments intended for Hezbollah. Similar caches were discovered this year at a port in Cyprus and aboard Russian and German cargo ships searched by U.S. Navy teams.

A U.S. intelligence official familiar with the UAE episode acknowledged that U.S. spies "played a key role" in tracking the shipment, but he declined to elaborate.

The surge in smuggling is a direct challenge to the Security Council, which is convening a special panel this month to review Iranian violations of U.N. resolutions banning such weapons shipments. U.N. and U.S. officials say sanctions adopted by the world body against Iran appear to be having little effect, and Iranian leaders continue to defend their right to aid groups they call "fighters in the path of God."

"We are proud to defend Hamas and Hezbollah," Ali Larijani, Iran's parliament speaker, said at a news conference in May. "We are not trying to hide it."

High-seas shell game

The route chosen by North Korea to deliver the rocket components eventually seized by the UAE was hard to track. According to shipping records, the 10 large cargo containers left the North Korean port of Nampo on May 30 on a North Korean vessel, and two days later they were transferred to a Chinese ship in the port city of Dalian, in northern China.

From there, the containers were ferried to Shanghai, where on June 13 they were moved to a third ship, the ANL Australia, a Bahamian-flagged freighter owned by a French consortium. Spokesmen for the freighter's owner and operator say they received sealed cargo containers along with manifests that listed the contents as oil-well equipment.

By mid-June, the cargo had left Shanghai on the ANL Australia, which followed a meandering course through East and Southeast Asia, pausing in mid-July in Dubai, one of the world's largest seaports. Then it left on the final leg of its journey, to Shahid Rajai, on the shores of Iran's Strait of Hormuz.

Because of international sanctions, Iran and North Korea have been forced to buy and sell military-related technology through clandestine means. Iran, in particular, has favored a strategy of redundant purchases from multiple vendors, assuming that some shipments will be discovered and stopped, said David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit research group in Washington. Using such schemes, and employing a network of front companies, Iran has managed to obtain key technology and equipment for advanced missiles as well as a sophisticated nuclear program.

"These networks have spread like the Internet, and as they get bigger, they get even harder to destroy," Albright said. "They use fronts to obtain all kinds of technology from major suppliers, including Europe, Russia, China and the United States."

Gulf states crack down

For years, Dubai served as a convenient hub for Iran's illicit procurement network. But two years ago, the UAE began what U.S. officials acknowledge is a serious crackdown on Iranian trafficking in military technology. Its government has enacted tough export controls, restricted the number of business visas to Iranians and closed numerous suspected front companies, according to UAE officials as well as Western intelligence officers and independent analysts.

But government officials and analysts acknowledged that the UAE's capacity to shut down trafficking is still being developed, and much of the illegal trade in the region consists of cash-and-carry transactions that are harder to detect and control.

The crackdown also is not without costs. The UAE, which conducts nearly $15 billion in annual trade with Iran, has received numerous complaints over what Tehran calls unwarranted interference by UAE regulators.

Yet, UAE officials insist that they are acting in their own interest, and not in response to pressure from the United States or anyone else.

"No one can tell us that we can't have legitimate trade," one UAE official said. "But we were coming into a crunch, where we had to make a choice for the sake of national security: We either have to do a better job of stopping this trafficking or prepare to live with a nuclear Iran."

UAE officials faced that dilemma July 22 when alerted to possible contraband in the ship bound for Iran, the official said.

After the containers holding the arms and rocket materials were removed, the ANL Australia was released to continue its journey. The propellant was left on UAE soil, where it remained as recently as this week. The U.N. sanctions committee has filed a formal query with North Korea, but there has been no response.

UAE officials say they are awaiting the arrival of U.N. witnesses to begin the process of destroying the fuel.

Staff writer Colum Lynch at the United Nations and staff researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.



afghan pakistan border 1
アフガニスタンとパキスタンの国境線は、1600マイル(2574キロメートル)である。低地でも、海抜2000メートルだ。その上に峻険が聳(そび)える。オバマが、30000のアフガン増派を決定した。10万人になり、ブッシュ時代の丁度二倍の兵員なのだ。そのコストだが、兵一人に付き、年間$1ミリオン(9000万円)が要るとのことだ。すると、10万人 X 9000万円=9兆円となる。ついでに、日本政府(民主党)は、アフガンの復興資金として、4年間で5兆円を提供すると約束している。たいへんなコストである。だが、このタリバン(28000)・アルカイダ(100人足らず)の掃討戦の鍵は、パキスタンなのだ。そのパキスタンは、米国とその同盟国のアフガン政策に不信を抱いている。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Pakistanis voice concerns about Obama's new Afghanistan plan

The war in Afghanistan

Our interactive timeline shows the major events of the war, comments about the war from President Obama and the increases in troop levels over the past eight years.

Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 3, 2009

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- President Obama's new strategy for combating Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan fell on skeptical ears Wednesday in next-door Pakistan, a much larger, nuclear-armed state that Obama said was "at the core" of the plan and had even more at stake than Afghanistan.

Analysts and residents on both sides of the 1,600-mile border expressed concerns about Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan in an effort to quickly train local security forces and allow U.S. troops to begin leaving by July 2011.

But officials in Pakistan, which is fighting its own Taliban insurgency, expressed particular concern about their role in the strategy, which calls on this country to step up its cooperation in the fight against terrorism in exchange for a pledge of a long-term partnership "after the guns fall silent."

In a cautious statement, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the government welcomed Obama's "reaffirmation of partnership." At the same time, it stressed the "need for clarity" in the new U.S. policy and said it wanted to "ensure that there would be no adverse fallout on Pakistan."

The partnership with Pakistan is key if Washington is to succeed in a region that Obama said Tuesday night remains an enduring threat to U.S. security. Islamist insurgents, including members of al-Qaeda, have for years enjoyed a sanctuary in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan. Since long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the country's officials have been accused of favoring an unofficial two-track policy in which they pursue violent extremists who oppose the Pakistani state but ignore or even assist those whose targets are across the border.

Washington has now issued a sharp warning that that policy must end.

"For the first time, Obama was very categorical about these safe havens and sanctuaries. It's now going to be much more difficult for those in Pakistan who have been in a state of denial about it," analyst Ahmed Rashid told Dawn Television here. "It's really crunchtime."

Obama's strategy presents the Pakistanis with two central problems. First, they fear a troop buildup next door will send a surge of Afghan guerrilla fighters into Pakistan, further inflaming the situation in a country that has confronted a growing tide of urban bombings and terrorist attacks in the past several months.

The Islamabad government also has come under conflicting political pressures. While the United States wants the Pakistanis to eliminate al-Qaeda sanctuaries on their side of the border, security officials are focused on a military campaign against the Pakistani Taliban forces that are carrying out domestic attacks.

"Our military and civilian leaders need to speak with one voice, so the Americans can see we mean business," said Imtiaz Gul, a political analyst. "But we have to keep our own long-term interests in mind, while taking on the extremist groups that are of concern to them."

Although the United States has provided large amounts of military and economic aid to Pakistan, many Pakistanis remain suspicious of Washington's motives, in part because of its strong friendship with India, Pakistan's rival and neighbor.

And despite the recent domestic attacks, many Pakistanis disagree with Obama's assessment that Pakistan and Afghanistan have "a common enemy." Instead, they blame the United States for the Afghanistan conflict and are reluctant to be drawn into it.

"The U.S. is seen as an occupier in Afghanistan, and there's no way that can be turned around," said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a nuclear physicist and defense analyst in Islamabad. He said that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan would be "terrible for Pakistan," but that the United States had created the problem and must "clean up the mess before it leaves."

On the other side of the border, some Afghans place blame on Pakistan, saying that unless its military and intelligence services show more willingness to confront the Afghan Taliban and deny them sanctuary in the tribal regions of Pakistan, the U.S. military will face an impossible task in Afghanistan.

"Unless we really solve the challenge and the issue of Pakistan, I think you can bring in 50,000 more soldiers, 100,000 more soldiers, but in my view we will still have this problem," said Hikmet Karzai, director of the Center for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul. Unless Afghans and Pakistanis sit down and discuss the issues, he said, "I think we're going to be in this mess for a very long time."

Afghans raised their own concerns about the troop buildup. After eight years of war, many are deeply skeptical that any amount of U.S. forces can make Afghanistan safer. Some said the surge in troops could deepen the perception that the Americans are occupiers propping up a corrupt government, led by President Hamid Karzai, who has just begun a second five-year term after a fraud-plagued election.

"If the number of troops increases, insecurity and fighting will increase, more people will be backing the insurgents, more people will die," said Gul Mohammad, a retiree in Kabul. "If they leave, it would be better. Our Islamic territory will be calm, and the fighting will be over."

Paradoxically, many Afghans are equally concerned that the Americans will abandon them as they did in 1989, after Soviet troops pulled out. U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry tried to alleviate those fears Wednesday. "We're committed to Afghanistan for the long term," he told a group of Afghan journalists.



Yen drop and stock rises 9.9.09
日銀(白川総裁)は量的緩和に乗り出した。デフレが深刻となり~円高が進み~株価が下がっているからである。一方、日銀のGDP予想は、2010年に向かって、引き続き緩やかに成長すると見ている。だが、以上の理由は、企業心理を冷やす。企業も、個人も、問題は「借りたカネを何に使うか」なのである。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

BOJ to Provide 10 Trillion Yen in Emergency Credit

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Japan said it’s ready to pump more money into the financial system after unveiling a 10 trillion yen ($115 billion) program to help an economy battered by falling prices and the yen’s surge to a 14-year high.

“If there is a shortage of liquidity we are prepared to provide more funds,” Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said after an emergency board meeting in Tokyo today that decided to offer three-month loans at 0.1 percent to commercial banks.

Bond yields fell the most in 13 months, lowering borrowing costs for companies whose profits are being threatened by deflation and the yen’s advance. Today’s action constitutes “quantitative easing in the broad sense” said Shirakawa, who earlier today faced demands from government ministers to complement a stimulus package that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will release this week.

“The BOJ was facing a lot of pressure from the markets and the government, so it wanted to show that it was being proactive,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at RBS Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “The BOJ’s understanding is that deflation risks have increased.”

The yen pared losses after earlier falling the most in more than a month on speculation the bank would take action that would limit the currency’s appreciation. It traded at 86.83 per dollar at 11:39 a.m. in London from 87.53 before the announcement. Last week the yen reached 84.83, the highest since 1995, threatening earnings at exporters including Toyota Motor Corp.

Bond Yields

The yield on Japan’s five-year bond dropped 7.5 basis points, the most since October 2008, to a four-year low of 0.455 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed 2.4 percent higher before the decision was published.

The policy board kept the key overnight lending rate at 0.1 percent, a level that Shirakawa said is already effectively zero, indicating he is unlikely to lower the rate.

The bank also maintained its monthly purchases of Japanese government bonds at 1.8 trillion yen. Analysts expect the central bank to expand the bond transactions eventually.

“Today’s move is only the first tentative step by the Bank of Japan to a much more substantive quantitative easing policy,” said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong. “Ultimately, JGB purchases will form the bulk of that policy -- and to have any meaningful effect, those purchases will have to be in excess of 2.2 to 2.5 trillion yen per month.”

Asian Tightening

Japan’s central bank is expanding credit just when others in Asia-Pacific are looking to tighten. The Reserve Bank of Australia today raised interest rates for an unprecedented third straight month to 3.75 percent on mounting evidence that the economy is strengthening.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded at an annual 4.8 percent pace in the third quarter, the second straight expansion after the country’s worst postwar recession. Shirakawa and his colleagues maintained their view that the economy is “picking up,” adding that it will keep growing at a “moderate” pace until the middle of fiscal 2010.

“Although there is no change to our assessment of the economy, the yen has been rising and stocks have been declining, which may have adverse effects on corporate sentiment,” Shirakawa said, when explaining the basis for today’s decision.

The move came a month after the bank decided to phase out earlier emergency lending measures, including unlimited collateral-backed loans to banks. Shirakawa said introducing today’s program doesn’t conflict with the expiry of those measures, which were aimed at improving funding for companies.

Collateral Range

Unlike the unlimited lending facility, which required private-sector debt as collateral, the bank will accept a wider range of assets including government bonds as well as debt issued by local governments. The program has no time limit.

The measure will “further spread the strong effect of monetary easing and encourage a further decline in longer-term interest rates in the money market,” the central bank said.

Prime Minister Hatoyama welcomed the decision.

“I’m very happy that the BOJ and government share the same view” on the economy, said Hatoyama, who is scheduled to meet with Shirakawa tomorrow. “I applaud their efforts to show their resolve to stop deflation and spur the economy.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said the government didn’t pressure the central bank to make the move. “It was taken in step with the government’s economic policies and was an appropriate and timely action taken in response to a change in underlying economic conditions,” he said.

Extra Budget

The government said today the extra budget will fight price declines and the stronger yen. Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii indicated yesterday that the spending would exceed 2.7 trillion yen, or the amount of money frozen from the previous administration’s budget.

Fujii and Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan today said quantitative-easing policies of adding cash to the financial system can support the economy.

The BOJ introduced a form of quantitative easing in March 2001 when it began pumping cash into the reserves that it makes available for banks. It ended that policy in March 2006.

Consumer prices slid 2.2 percent in October, an eighth monthly drop, and the central bank forecasts the declines will extend into fiscal 2011.

The yen’s 11 percent gain against the dollar in the past six months has exacerbated the price slump by driving import costs lower. Today’s program may not be enough to stem those gains, said Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.

“The decision to offer only three-month loans has proved underwhelming,” Lee Hardman, a currency economist in London at Bank of Tokyo, wrote today. “It is unlikely to either have a material impact on economic recovery or alter the downward momentum in dollar-yen.”


afghan kabul
アフガン増派決定によって、アフガニスタン紛争は「オバマの戦争」となった。もはや、前政権(ブッシュ)を非難することは出来ないのだ。伊勢平次郎 ルイジアナ

Obama’s Troop Increase Means He ‘Owns’ Afghan War

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will make his case for increasing the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan, tying his presidency to the outcome of a war that has deteriorated since the U.S. ousted the Taliban from power eight years ago.

After a months-long strategy review, Obama tonight will address a range of listeners, including voters weary of the war, lawmakers divided over its cost in lives and money, a scandal- plagued Afghan government and a stubborn Taliban insurgency.

Obama, in speech of 30 to 40 minutes, will announce “an acceleration” of a strategy to “disrupt, dismantle and destroy al-Qaeda and its extremist allies” and help prevent another 9/11-style attack, spokesman Robert Gibbs said on NBC’s “Today” show. The president will order a troop increase of 30,000 to 35,000, Gibbs told Bloomberg News separately.

The goal, Gibbs said on NBC, is to “transfer the responsibility” to Afghanistan’s security forces as they meet unspecified political and civilian benchmarks.

“This will not be nation-building,” Gibbs said. “This will not be an open-ended commitment.”

Obama called Afghan President Hamid Karzai about 10 p.m. Washington time yesterday to brief him on the plan, Gibbs told Bloomberg News. “He walked him through the strategy” but didn’t get into specific troop numbers, Gibbs said. He also “reiterated the responsibilities” that Karzai has “to provide security.”

Obama’s Challenge

Obama’s televised speech from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point “is really going to prove that he owns the war,” said Karin von Hippel, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The president’s challenge is to demonstrate the U.S. is committed to defeating terrorists and stabilizing Afghanistan without creating the impression that American forces will be there forever, said Patrick Cronin, a senior director at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

“There are multiple messages and multiple audiences,” said Cronin, who until recently ran the Pentagon’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. Obama needs “to show the American public and the Senate and the House of Representatives that we have an exit strategy, not a permanent commitment,” while simultaneously convincing Afghanistan, Pakistan and U.S. enemies “that we are willing to see this through,” he said.

The new strategy ends Obama’s ability to “blame the last administration” for failings in Afghanistan, Cronin said. “Now it’s his war, and he’s going to have to live with the decision he makes about troops.”

Seeking Allies’ Help

Obama’s main objective is to train Afghan army and police forces to take over security, Gibbs said yesterday.

Obama has asked allies to provide 10,000 more troops for the Afghan campaign, including 1,500 from France, 2,000 from Germany, 1,500 from Italy and 1,000 from Britain, Le Monde reported today, citing an aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France may grant the request but wants its extra troops to focus on training Afghan forces, the newspaper said.

Obama ordered his new strategy into effect on Nov. 29 and has been explaining the plan to allied leaders, including and Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He’s scheduled to brief members of Congress from both parties today at the White House before leaving for West Point.

‘Heavy Lift’

“He has a fairly heavy lift,” said Representative Brian Baird, a Washington state Democrat who visited Afghanistan earlier this month. “He has to persuade lawmakers that it’s a government worth backing, that it’s a mission capable of succeeding and that Pakistan is viable partner,” Baird said. “And then he has to somehow pay for it.”

The U.S. public is divided. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted Nov. 13-15 showed that 50 percent of Americans would support sending an additional 34,000 troops to Afghanistan and 49 percent would be opposed. The U.S. now has a force of about 69,000, with about 36,000 troops from allied nations.

Some Democratic leaders, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts, have questioned an increased military commitment.


Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, his party’s senior member on the Armed Services panel, have said telegraphing an intention to withdraw from Afghanistan would let the Taliban and al-Qaeda solidify their presence in areas where the U.S. is drawing down.

“He has to convey the fact that his strategy is not an open-ended one for an indefinite war,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. “In different ways he’s going to have a hard sell with both Republicans and Democrats, simply because the country is in a kind of state of unease.”

U.S. allies face their own political pressures about the war and will look to Obama’s speech to underscore a durable American commitment before sending additional troops of their own, said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

“He’s going to need to give our European friends a boost and motivation to do more,” Katulis said.

October was the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the fighting began, with 59 military personnel dead from combat and accidents, according to Defense Department figures.

Shifting the Fight

Obama took office pledging to shift resources from Iraq to the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He ordered an additional 17,000 combat troops and 4,000 trainers to Afghanistan earlier this year. In June, he installed General Stanley McChrystal as his top commander and charged him with reviewing NATO’s prospects for victory.

Obama’s strategy was devised during a series of White House Situation Room meetings with foreign policy and military advisers after McChrystal submitted a request for additional troops.

Obama has said he wants to set benchmarks to measure improvements in Afghanistan’s military and government and lay out a path toward an end to the U.S. engagement.

Some of Obama’s more skeptical listeners may be Democrats. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey of Wisconsin is suggesting a tax on the wealthy to pay for the war. Each soldier added to the force would cost about $1 million a year, according to the Office of Management and Budget.




Author: Nobuyoshi Ozaki

A long forty six years have passed since I stepped on to American soil. I have had various odd jobs in the past until I recently retired. Examples include working with Steven Spielberg as assistant director in a film called "1941." I was supervisor and later became Public Relation representative for Toyota Group - USA. My last occupation was a Senior Research analyst working in Silicone Valley for a major news paper from Tokyo, Japan. My spouse, Christine is a flight attendant, traveling often to the Middle East and Africa. We have spent three quarters of our life together as world adventurers. This photo was taken in Argentina. We now live in swampy Louisiana.