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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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4/24/2003

Mon Dieu!



"We haven't changed our analysis that the war wasn't necessary," said a senior French official. "We don't feel guilty. But now is a different time."

Another senior official put it more starkly. "It is a very serious, long-term crisis," he said. "The message from Washington is, `You go to Canossa or you are banished to the darkness outside,' " a reference to the site of the Italian castle where the Holy Roman emperor Henry IV did penance to persuade Pope Gregory VII to lift the excommunication against him. France, however, is not in the mood for penance. link new york times



At any second the French will invoke Jerry Lewis and annouce they were just kidding around.

Voicemail greeting....



via link mirabilis.ca

Some Rules...thank God...voice mail is one of the reasons I now communicate almost entirely by email.

2. Do not state the fact that you can't come to the phone.

We know. The fact that we are listening to a recording of your voice rather than actually speaking with you makes it fairly obvious that you have not answered the phone. Most people have the mental capacity to comprehend the situation without you pointing out that you "can't come to the phone right now." link buttafly.com




4/22/2003

Nasty; but the anti-corporates are nothing if not clever



What was Re-Code.com?
It was a web site that allowed users to enter information about products they purchased into a database that was then publicly searchable. This inormation included, name, brand, store, UPC ID number, price, and packaging material. It used the UPC number of the product to generate a representative bar code in real time on the user's screen. The web site itself was made to look very similar to Priceline.com. A step through visual guide and a commercial that dramatized the act of switching UPC bar codes were shown on the site. It did not PROMOTE theft anymore than movies, books, art and other forms of media PROMOTE theft. We find it absurd to think that someone would visit our web site and then decide to go steal because of what they "learned" from Re-code.com. link recode


Brilliant! Yes, it is theft. Yes, it is wrong. Yes, it is a means of subverting the technologies which make modern life possible. Brilliant!!

France wakes up??



Well maybe,

"We should immediately suspend the sanctions," de la Sabliere (the French U.N. ambassador) said. "And about the oil-for-food program, we think there should be some adjustment to the program with a view to phasing out this program." link washington post


Oil Prices and Iraq



It is no great feat to predict the coalition victory in Iraq will tend to drive oil prices down. More supply, a limit to Opec influence, a hungry nation....But who benefits?

Forbes, which should know better, ran this article by Richard Mably in which he makes this Reuteresque statement,

Already Iran has raised the prospect of an OPEC price war, music to the ears of Iraq's new masters in Washington, heavily dependent as they are on Middle East oil imports. link reuters


The common wisdom is that the US uses a lot of Middle Eastern Oil. Does it?

Here are the stats for 2002

Canada leads the pack exporting just over 1.8 million barrels per day. Then Saudi at 1.5m and Mexico at 1.5m. Sanctioned Iraq comes in at a little more than 500,000 barrels and the rest of the Middle East does not figure in the top ten exporting nations which account for 80% of America's imports.

Total US demand for oil is just under 20 million barrels per day. So the two biggest Middle Eastern suppliers of American oil supply just on 10% of demand. Hardly heavily dependent. link michigan public service commission

If there are winners from an OPEC price war they would tend to be places like France - make that oil guzzling surrender monkeys:

Middle Eastern countries supply 38.7% of France's crude oil imports, Saudi Arabia 22%, North Sea countries 35%. link tricolors.com



Leaving aside the question of when Saudi ceased to be part of the Middle East, this means France is dependent on the Middle East for 60.7% of her crude.

More to the point:

France has a limited amount of oil resources. Of the 2 million barrels per day of oil consumed in France, 1.9 million barrels per day are imported. France's oil consumption is projected to increase 0.4 percent per year until 2020. link export.gov


Bottom line: America's exposure to Middle East oil and the effects of an OPEC price war is around 10% of its total supply - though that number is a bit higher if you include Venezuela.

France's exposure is just under 60% of its total oil consumption.

Which makes you wonder just how dumb and well paid off Chirac really is. A twenty percent cut in OPEC's prices would stimulate the French economy as a whole. A stimulus which would more than offset any near term loss of the TotalFinaElf interests in Iraq. But the French economy as a whole does not make the ex-President of France's retirement nearly so comfortable as a major oil company might be able to.

Now that Chirac has proven himself an international goat there is no reason why he will not continue to block the right of the Iraqi people to sell their oil as best they can.






4/21/2003

Galloway   



The term traitor is rarely correctly used. If the Telegraph's story of George Galloway, MP's taking Saddam's dollars is true -- and given the British law of libel it almost certainly is -- there is every reason to try Galloway as a traitor.


Silly Euros



Washington wants the sanctions to go swiftly so the country’s oil exports can resume and help pay for Iraq’s postwar reconstruction.

But Paris and Moscow, who both have veto wielding power at the UN Security Council, fear that the United Nations will lose all influence over the future of Iraq if sanctions are lifted rapidly. Diplomatic sources said the two countries, who were ferocious opponents of the war on Saddam Hussein’s regime, are concerned that an automatic lifting of the sanctions would legitimize the civil administration that the United States is now attempting to set up in Iraq. link arab news


This is a classic. The only people who would be hurt by continued sanctions would be Iraqi people. Those people who the French and the Russians are so keen to protect.

But even better is the fact that the Europeans are once again cutting off their noses to spite their face. If the UN sanctions are not lifted it will be awfully tempting for the Americans to "bust" the sanctions - rather as France,Russian and Germany did while Saddam was in power.

Sanction busting would be a snap: the Americans would simply say to the oil companies, we are preapared to buy Iraqi oil. Shipments would begin, the world price of oil would begin to fall. And, best of all, the Americans would be perfectly within their rights to say that the money which they are paying for that oil would go to a trust to buy the goods and services that the sanction busting nations were willing to supply to Iraq. Which would be the end of any hope the Axis of weasels had of getting even the table scraps of Iraq's reconstruction.


Back to blogging



A short Easter respite. One thing about blogging, which all sorts of bloggers point out, is that it takes a lot of time and work to keep it interesting and up to date. After a short war's worth of blogging I realized I was writing much the same thing over and over and that could not be the right way to go. so a little time off and back at it.