Beware of Dog - It Barks

I hate to say "I told you so" but, "I told you so!" Just like I said in this previous blog, Obama did not impose any sanctions against Iceland. This should come as no surprise to anyone who understands US policy on these matters. Sanctions are far too strong a diplomatic tool in an issue so benign as whaling in Iceland, simply because Iceland hunts whales responsibly and, more importantly, legally. Any action by the US against Iceland would ultimately be referred to the WTO and the US does not want a legal ruling on the issue of its sanctions or the legality of Icelandic whaling. So Icelanders can relax and continue to hunt whales- the big US diplomatic dog may bark but it will never bite.

GTB Vilja ađgerđir gegn fleiri hvalveiđiţjóđum
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Fluff and Bluff

I love "news" stories that state that the US threatens Iceland with sanctions over whaling.   That is not the story at all. The real story is that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke certified Iceland under the Pelly Amendment to be CONSIDERED for ecomonic santions. He did so under pressure from enviromental wacko groups. Now, Obama has 60 days to decide if he will ACTUALLY impose some sort of sanctions, which he will definitely NOT do. The threat is not to pressure Iceland but to appease voters in the US. Plain and simple. Mr Locke can now say that he has "taken action" on the matter, and Obama can say that certifiying Iceland under the Pelly Amendment is "a sign" of what the administration is doing to pressure Iceland. It is a win/win for both men and of absolutely no consequence to Iceland whatsoever (unless one counts their feelings being hurt). The US has already invoked the Pelly Amendment previously against Japan and Norway, and the US has never imposed sanctions on either. So Icelanders should consider themselves in good company and chalk the whole story up to politcal fluff and economic bluff.

 GTB Ađgerđir vegna hvalveiđa
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Learning Nothing from History

The Americans have buried Osama bin Laden at sea. By doing so they have attempted to keep his body and therefore his grave out of the hands of people that would try to make him a martyr. But by not showing the world the evidence of his death, the Americans have made the same mistake that the Russians did in 1945. The Russians captured the remains of Hitler but kept that knowledge a secret for the same reasons the Americans disposed of Osama's body at sea.  But because no one (except a few in Russia) knew Hitler was actually dead, many conspiracies arose about whether Hitler had survived and was living in other countries, for example, Brazil or Argentina. So now the Americans have repeated history. People will continue to wonder if Osama is actually dead. They may even think that his death was faked and he was captured alive by the Americans and taken to some undisclosed location for a lifetime of interrogation. Who knows? By disposing of the body, the legacy of Osama is kept alive by those that believe in him and by those that don't believe the Americans.


GTB Líki bin Laden sökkt í sć
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What is there to Celebrate?

 Today, Americans are celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. Congratulations, it only took ten years. But besides one man's death, what is there to celebrate?


The World Trade Centers are still gone.

The 2977 people who died due to the September 11th attacks are still dead. (Of which none were actually killed by Osama bin Laden. Should we hold Bush responsible for all the innocent people killed in Irag and Afganistan?)

The terror alert for most countries ironically went up and not down due Osama'a death and fear of retaliation. (good job)

America still has troops in Iraq and Afganistan with no end in sight.

America's image around the world is still damaged. (Perhaps more killing will help improve the image.)

The tension between the West and the Muslim world stills exist.

Americans will still be subjected to humiliating airport searches because of the fear of more terrorism.(I am waiting for the first person to say, "Come on, I don't need a full body scan, Osama is dead.")

People will still be detained indefinitely without a lawyer or a trial.

Homes will still be searched without a warrant.


In short, Americans are less free, still under threat, and living in a state of fear. That is "Mission Accomplished" for Osama bin Laden. It doesn't count killing the alleged leader of a group when that group has acheived its goals. So the killing of Osama does nothing but satisfy some primal need for revenge. How strange, coming from a country that proclaims itself to be "Christian." So Americans will enjoy this moment. And they should today, because tomorrow they will be in same shit they were in when Osama bin Laden was alive.


GTB Osama bin Laden allur
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Too Bad for Trump

It is too bad for Trump that he is polling ahead of everyone in the race to be the Republican nominee in 2012. When you start out so high so early, you have nowhere to go but down.  The only list he will be first on this time next year will be one of candidates that didn't make the cut.

GTB Skiptar skođanir á Trump
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Get Out the Shovel

As my grandpa used to say, "Get out the shovel, 'cause you’re going to need it to get through all this bullshit!" That is the bit of wisdom I recalled when I read David Lesperance's answers to the questions put to him about his clients seeking Icelandic citizenship. ( I am going to let anyone out there who doesn't know this, in on a little secret. Americans and Canadians are free to invest in Iceland all they want just as they are free to invest in other European countries. They just can't own some of the things they invest in outright here. Is that right or wrong? I will let the Icelanders decide that. Now you can read the puffy little letter that Dave wrote and draw your own conclusions, but the letter is so full of crap I wanted to vomit when I read it.

Let us look at some of the shit, shall we?

David says that he didn't choose Iceland but that he was "approached by Icelanders". Then why does he initially say that his clients were "attracted to Iceland"? Which one is it? Did the clients find Iceland or did Icelander find the clients?

David is a lawyer who "developed a particular expertise in dealing with individuals who are acquiring residency or citizenship" and "includes immigration and citizenship issues, offshore trust and tax planning issues, and the introduction of these clients to banking, accounting, and other professionals. But he writes in the letter that "I have never actually examined the laws relating to privatization or foreign ownership of Iceland’s natural resources." If he is doing his job right, he most certainly has examined those laws, hence the reason he wants citizenship for the clients, so they can own what they invest in.

On the question of whether his clients are fleeing lawsuits and creditors, instead of the longwinded history of American litigation, he could have saved himself the ink and just wrote "YES". 

There is a lot more shit in this letter, especially the sob story about wars and environmental disasters and other heart tugging nonsense like democracy (and here I thought America was land of democracy, at least that is what they taught me in school) but what I would really like to focus on is Northern Lights Energy. Using that shovel and digging through the bullshit, you will find that NLE is at the center of all this mess. NLE signed an agreement to buy 150 electric Range Rovers for some company in England for a whopping 4.5 billion kroner. (BTW who the hell is going to buy a Ranger Rover for 30 million kroner?) But is not a contract to actually purchase. It is what the Americans call a letter of intent. That means that they have an agreement to have an agreement. NLE is not obligated to buy one car, thankfully, because I doubt they actually have the money to buy 5 let alone 150. So they need to get the money from somewhere and I don't think the Icelandic banks will be coughing up a few billion to any more wild schemes for some time. Enter foreign investors needing to hide invest some money, who have been approached by Icelanders and, by some strange coincidence, who also happen to be in love with Iceland, and you have the making for a rather odd citizenship for investment scheme. 

One final statement that Dave made needs to be considered. He wrote "Considering the size of Iceland’s population, it may even find such a program transformational." If Iceland were to prostitute citizenship to strangers for money, Icelanders, I'm afraid, will find out how small and vulnerable their country is the hard way.

If the clients really like Iceland, let them come with there families and there money and live here for the legal period like everyone else. With all the good things said about Iceland in the letter, it should be worth the wait, unless, of course, what was written was bullshit. You already know what I think.

GTB Spurningar og svör um auđmenn
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American/Canadian Trojan Horse

Why would Americans or Canadians need to have Icelandic citizenship to invest in Iceland? If their motive was to invest for profit then there are other ways to do achieve that goal other than obtaining citizenship. Sturla Sighvatsson, the director of Northern Lights Energy says that these people only want to invest in innovations and not in the fish industry or other natural resources. That may be true, but once these 10 people have Icelandic citizenship there would be nothing to stop them from later buying up whatever they wanted. These people have no connection to Iceland other than that they see it as an opportunity to make money. If these Americans and Canadians have access to so much money, then their allegiance lies with their investors and not with the people of Iceland. It would be a grave mistake to grant citizenship simply to receive investments. Ögmunder is right to state that Icelandic citizenship is not for sale, because if it were, the whole country would then be for sale, and nothing could be done to stop it.  The people of Iceland should beware of Americans or Canadians bearing gifts.

GTB Segir ríkisborgararétt ekki til sölu
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Blame the Followers Not the "Leader"

Glenn Beck, a Fox "News" commentator, said that the tsnumai that hit Japan could be a sign that God is not happy with what the Japanese are doing. Other people who have made such comments have been fired or have had to apologize for their moments of ignorace and stupidity. But Glenn Beck will not have to quit or apologize, because, although he is an obvious moron, he has a following of millions of dumber people than himself. That is the benefit of having a show in the US. Since TV news is more about ratings that about intelligent reporting, Beck will keep his job because of the stupidity of the many right wing, conservative, "Christian" Americans who watch Foxs "News" and agree with what he says.

There will always be a few crazy, stupid people in the world; that is just the world we live in. But they are generally not much of a problem and usually a source of amusement. The problem is when a large group of ignorant people start believing what the crazy, stupid person says. And what better place than America to have such a following. This is why Glenn Beck still has a job, and just one of the many reasons why I don't live there.

 GTB Telja jarđskjálftann refsingu guđs
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Too Good to be True

My grandpa always told me: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I really wish I could increase the fuel economy of my car by using water. But this hydrogen fuel "idea" has been around in the US for many, many years and I see it has finally made it here to Iceland. Unfortunately, this sytem doesn't work. That is the plain truth. I am sorry, I wish it did. You don't need to take my word for it, just read this information from Popular Mechanics. 

When I first heard of this "technology" years ago, I was really interested also. I heard all testimonials about increased fuel economy. But every time a car is actually scientifically tested, there is never an increase in fuel economy. Never. You can watch a test like this here from Dateline. Oddly, I can't explain the test at the inspection station Frumherji and I would like to see that test independently verified. I will say though, that the blue dye in the bubbling water is a really cool improvement over other designs I have seen. Kudos for that!

 GTB Síminn stoppađi ekki hjá vetnismanninum
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Reality Check

Today the President of Iceland (and my personal hero) Ólafur Ragnar Grímssson, refused, for the second time, to sign the ICESAVE agreement into law. Too bad he didn’t go further and dissolve the Althing at the same time, but there is always Monday. Before everyone rushes to judgment with what this all means to the British, Dutch and Icelanders, there are two important points that need to be seriously reflected on:


First, for the British and the Dutch- The problem with this ICESAVE deal, as it is with all the other deals, is that the total debt is unknown. Nobody likes unknowns. It is why horror movies are successful and ICESAVE agreements aren’t. Most people in their right mind would be terrified to sign under a contract without knowing the total debt up front. So this outcome should come as no surprise. The Icelanders are right not to take on a burden that they might not be able to pay. But before you throw your arms up in the air and walk away empty handed, consider this: Most Icelanders would agree to use the assets of Landsbanki to pay the ICESAVE debt. These assets could cover up to 95% of the debt. Also, no Icelander really shuddered at the idea of paying an extra 50 billion kronur (about 270 million pounds). One reason is that the Icelanders just spent 27 billion on their monstrous opera house so 50 billion doesn’t sound like that much. More importantly though, 50 billion is a set figure; the unknown factor would be removed. So a deal still could be reached, that would be acceptable, involving the assets and some reasonable fixed amount. As debt collectors say everywhere, “Something is always better than nothing”.


Now something for the Icelanders- To all that don’t want to burden their children and grandchildren with an unbearable debt I congratulate your efforts. To those that simply don’t want to pay anything, think about this: If it were a British or Dutch bank that collapsed in Iceland and left your government to cover your deposits (which the Icelandic government probably couldn’t do) and then paid British and Dutch depositors in full, you would be screaming for British and Dutch blood demanding quite firmly that the Britsh and Dutch pay. (corrected 21.02 for those who can't understand idioms) There would be no consideration for who caused the collapse, you would simply want your money, and rightfully so.  The British and Dutch saved their depositors (the life savings of real people with homes and families) of an Icelandic bank when the Icelandic government that you elected (and many want to put in power again!) failed them while saving its own Icelandic depositors. To put this all more succinctly, you owe them, plain and simple. You are correct not to want to take on an unforeseen and unsustainable debt, but the country must pay something, possibly with the Landsbanki assets and an additional fixed amount, to the British and Dutch. Sorry to say, but not wanting to indebt future generations is one thing, not offering any compensation is just shameful and embarrassing for the entire nation, and unfortunately, there will be consequences. That is a fact.


So this is where the ICESAVE matter is, today February 20, 2011. It most likely is not over, and won’t be until BOTH sides have faced reality.


GTB Forsetinn stađfestir ekki
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