Monday, March 16, 2009


"Absolute madness....There is nobody there. You cannot believe how difficult it is,"

Sir Augustine Thomas O'Donnell, KCB, as reported in the Daily Mail, 11th March 2009 in

"In times of war and deep economic crisis, when the world we thought we knew may be falling apart, it is not a bad idea to have a government that can both think and act. The current US administration neither thinks nor acts much, judging from the results.

Willem Buiter, "To the Victor Belongs the Spoils: who answers the phone in the US Treasury?" in 11 March 2009 in

One does not necessarily have to achieve the august heights of worldly achievement as has Sir Augustine O'Donnell, the British Cabinet Secretary and formerly head of the British Civil Service as Permanent Under-Secretary of State to the Treasury. Nor does one have to acquire all of the academic & other laurels of Mr. Willem Buiter: former chief economist of the EBRD, former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy committee, Professor of European Political Economy at the London School of Economic, et cetera, et cetera, to know that the current American administration is deeply and if not entirely plagued by incompetence and an almost complete inability to act positively and then stand by that action. Today's laughable debacle of the now tolerable now intolerable bonus payments to AIG being the newest case in point (for which see: However this entry is about a more substantive issue: that of the decision by the new American administration to allow the eminently experienced and qualified Mr. Chas Freeman to be bounced from his appointment as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. A body which supervises the production of the ultra-important National Intelligence Estimates. Well known for being both an Arabist as well as being critical of the both Israel's policies in the Near East as well as the pro-Israeli slant of the Bush Regime during the 2006 Lebanon War and in general. It appears that it was Mr. Freeman's outspokenness on these issues which torpedoed his proposed nomination. With the administration caving in to the Israeli Lobby and its creatures in Congress and the press. At pretty much the very first volley of cannon fire. The fact that he was supremely qualified for the post, appears to have gone by the board. All one can say is that this is a result of the fact that we have a government which is lead by someone who did not have the slightest qualification for the supreme office that he holds and the upshot is this daily round of debacles that we see. It began with laughter and cries of hope, it will all I am afraid end in tears.


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