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September 2008

Sep 1  The US military signs a paper that gives authority in Anbar province to the Iraqi governor. On April 28, 2003, an incident involving US forces in the province's major city, Fallujah, helped turn the province into a center of anti-US insurgency, and this insurgency was joined by a rise there of al-Qaeda. By 2006 insurgents in Anbar province were sick of al-Qaeda. Alliances were made with US forces against al-Qaeda. Anbar is the eleventh of eighteen provinces that has allied itself with Iraq's central government.

Sep 2 In the second day of the Republican National Convention, speakers praise McCain, speak of their support for charity and the need to put "country first." They cheer military service and heroism, chant "USA, USA." and speak of God's guidance. They speak of restoring US prestige abroad. One speaker, Fred Thompson, says of McCain, "Being a POW doesn't qualify one to be president, but it does reveal character."

John McCain

Candidate McCain

Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill. Smiling, she
says she has a thick skin.

President Sarkozy of France

President Sarkozy

Gaddafi

Muammar al-Gaddafi, 2003

Sep 2  Iraq agrees on a plan that gives oil production rights to a Chinese petroleum corporation.

Sep 3  Candidate McCain has chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate. The conservative columnist George F. Will opines that this is "applied McCainism – a visceral judgment by one who is confidently righteous. But the viscera are not the seat of wisdom."

Sep 3  Journalists see it as their duty to investigate the background of Sarah Palin. At the Republican National Convention delegates cheer a speaker denouncing journalists. Some turn and shake their fist at a recognized journalist among the delegates: Gwen Ifill of the Public Broadcasting's "News Hour."

Sep 3  Journalists describe Sarah Palin as supportive of legislation that would deny women the right to abort a fetus with Down's syndrome or other chromosomal disorders. Palin's position is described as "right to life." It is a part of what she describes as reform.

Sep 4  President Sarkozy of France is in Syria, meeting with President Bashar al-Assad. Sarkozy has described re-engagement with Syria as risky but says that dialogue is better than isolation.

Sep 4  Candidate McCain accepts the nomination of his political party with a moving speech that proclaims "country-first" and coming change. He associates country with community, but by country-first he is not suggesting anyone give more in taxes for the sake of the community. By country-first he is speaking against corruption and against legislation that give federal money for projects congressional constituencies.

Sep 5  A US secretary of state visits Libya for the first time since 1953. Libya's de facto leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, has become a most popular leader in Africa, winning praise from Nelson Mandela and others. In Libya he is moving toward privatization and individual responsibility and away from bureaucracy. He wants to give oil money directly to people to spend on education. He wants society to "reformulate itself in a new, free, and democratic way."

Sep 5  A "One Million Signatures" campaign for women's rights has been underway in Iran since August 27, 2006. Four more women have been sentenced to six months in jail for participating.

Sep 5  The credit crisis continues. The Dow is at 11,221, down from 14,000 eleven months ago.

Sep 6  In Pakistan, parliament and provincial assemblies elect Benazir Bhutto's widower, Ali Zardari, as successor to President Musharraf. Insecurity and fear of instability persist.

Sep 6  The BBC reports that Britain's Trade Union Congress complains that the "super-rich" are better off than were the super-rich during the Victorian era, that the distribution of wealth has grown worse despite reforms. It is a development described as damaging to the economy, and a call is made to increase taxes on Britain's most wealthy.

Sep 7  In Saudi Arabia it is announced that the Human Rights Commission is to cooperate with the Saudi Lawyers’ Committee "to provide free legal service to those unable to bear the cost of litigation" – to quote the Arab News.

Sep 7  The US government announces plans to take over the home mortgage institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is a "bailout" that could be "one of the most expensive financial rescues in history, running to tens of billions of dollars," according to an article by Robert Peston at BBC.com. The article describes this as "an event of profound significance for the global economy." Peston writes that banks outside the United States, "including some of the world's most important central banks," have a "direct and substantial financial exposure to both Fannie and Freddie." Some believe that without the bailout the economic collapse would have included the collapse of the US dollar.

Sep 8  Democracy in Hong Kong produces success for the "pro-democracy" faction. It wins more than a third of the 60 seats in the island's Legislative Council, enough to give it a veto over major legislation.

General Petraeus

General Petraeus – no promise of "victory"

Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Putin

Sep 9  In Morocco, Mohammed Erraji, 29, is given a two-year prison sentence and fined $630 for an internet article that criticizes his king, Mohammed VI, for giving too much in donations and gifts.

Sep 10  For the past few days McCain has been ahead in a Gallup poll by five percentage points. Obama leads regarding issues. McCain leads regarding character. It's not very different from the year 2000 when candidate Al Gore led in the polls regarding issues and Bush led on character.

Sep 11  Candidate McCain has been speaking in support of "victory" in Iraq. In an interview with the BBC about Iraq, General Petraeus is asked, "Do you think you will ever use the word 'victory?'" Petraeus answers: "I don't know that I will." He adds, "This is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade... it's not war with a simple slogan."

Sep 11  Vladimir Putin says Russia had no choice but to intervene following Georgian aggression. "An aggressor needs to punished," he said, adding that Russian tanks could have ousted Saakashvili if they had wanted to. He accuses the US of behaving like the Roman Empire by believing it can pursue its interests and extend its influence to the Caucasus without regard for Russia's point of view. He speaks of anti-Russian hysteria, of Russia not interested in empire and of Russia's desire for all sides to agree on new common rules of behavior based on international law.

Sep 12  Saudi Arabia's most senior jurist proclaims it permissible for the state to execute owners of television stations that broadcast debauchery.

Sep 14  People and members of parliament in Malaysia have been rebelling against their prime minister, Ahmad Badawi,since 2003. They consider him corrupt. Malaysia's traditional media is severely regulated, but use of the internet is advanced. There is extensive blogging that government has not controlled. Badawi's government now sees blogging as a threat and has begun closing the websites of internet critics.

Jun 15  A crisis at Lehman Brothers bank freezes money markets around the world.  

Sep 16  The stock of Lehman Brothers has been falling. Lehman brothers has been an international player and benefactor from selling what will become known as toxic assets. One of its creditors, JP Morgan Chase, has been asking for its money. Secretary of the Treasury Paulson has announced that it will not rescue the company. Lehmen is forced to file for bankruptcy. Global credit markets freeze.

Sep 17  In the US in last three days the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped more than 7 percent to 10,602. A bubble is bursting in slow motion. The coming months frighten investors and others. The price of gold climbs 11.6 percent today to $870.90 an ounce. What is behind all this? Greed on Wall Street says candidate McCain. Deregulation and lack of oversight regarding financial institutions says candidate Obama.

Sep 17  Russia signs treaties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia that include pledges of military support. To the BBC, Georgia's President Saakashvili describes Russia's move as a "classic invasion and annexation".

President Bush

President Bush

Sep 19  Much analysis is being made about the economic crisis, and people are being told not to panic.

Sep 20  In the United States, stocks have recovered from their plunge of a few days ago, and stock markets have recovered or stabilized abroad, except maybe in Russia, where stabilization has been enforced by shutting down trading.

Sep 20  In the US some believe that taxpayers should not rescue financial institutions. The Bush administration claims that it is trying to prevent the collapse of the economy (all lending), skyrocketing unemployment and a disastrous run on the dollar. At the same time, President Bush does not want to leave financiers without accountability: the possibility of failing and taking a loss in their ventures. Bush says that "The Administration looks forward to working with Congress on measures to bring greater long-term transparency and reliability to the financial system. This includes the creation of new regulations."

Sep 21  South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki agrees with his political party's call for him to resign. A large part of the displeasure that many in his party (the Africa Nation Congress) have toward him has been his economic policies. Mbeki has been too oriented toward free enterprise for them and they are complaining about unemployment and under performance of the economy.

Sep 22  Rather than wait to strike at an enemies who have entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, the US has been hitting at Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan. It is the same issue that French forces faced during their war in Algeria. The French government denied their military the right to strike at Algerian rebel bases inside Tunisia or Morocco, adhering to what was perceived as international law. Today Pakistan intelligence claims that Pakistan's military fired warning shots at two American helicopters, forcing them back to Afghanistan.

Sep 22  France announces that it is increasing its force of 2,600 in Afghanistan with 100 more troops and more helicopters and drones. In August, ten French soldiers died in Afghanistan.

Sep 23  Some people believe that understanding events involves collecting many details, and some believe more in intuition and "gut feelings." Public Broadcasting's News Hour is examining the decision styles of the presidential candidates. Yesterday it quoted candidate McCain as saying "As a politician I am intuitive, often impulsive." McCain added, "Often, my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint." In this morning's Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will again criticizes McCain and quotes a Wall Street Journal editorial describing McCain as "unpresidential" and as responding to the financial crisis "without even looking around for facts."

Sep 24  Government finance agencies in Singapore, China, South Korea and Kuwait are buying U.S bank stocks. As government agencies they are giving their citizens an equity interest in these US banks. A few people in the United States want a similar equity interest for the taxpayer rather than the bailout of businesses being merely a gift-rescue.

Sep 25  Many who are supporting bailout legislation agree that, in the words of candidate Obama, "The American people should share in the upside as Wall Street recovers." This sentiment includes candidate McCain, who has changed his mind and is supporting the bailout as a dire necessity. Some conservative congressmen who are opposed are calling the bailout "nationalization."

Sep 25  Another sign of cultural diffusion: Japan's new prime minister, Taro Aso, is a Roman Catholic.  

President Hugo Chavez

President Hugo Chavez

President Saakashvili

Georgia's President Saakashvili

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, leader for the Democrats. She interjected a partisan campaign speech that kept some Republicans from supporting the bill.

Sep 25  China launches its third manned mission into space, to include its first spacewalk.

Sep 25  Media "talk-jocks" who attract audiences with other than civil discourse are now calling each other names. Bill O'Reilly of Fox News is feuding with Mark Levin on a difficult subject: economic policy. O'Reilly observes that "most talk radio" is dominated by "idiots" and "Ideologues." Mark Levin returns the compliment, saying of O'Reilly, "What an idiot. What a buffoon."

Sep 26  Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is in Russia and agrees to a new energy pact. President Medvedev tells Chavez that, "Our co-operation is multi-faceted... it includes economic and military ties."

Sep 27  Georgia's President Saakashvili turns away from conflict and confrontation with Russia to focus on rebuilding Georgia's economy. He says he wants to improve integration with the European Union rather than push for NATO membership.

Sep 27  Pakistan's military claims that in the last month it has killed "1,000 militants" in the tribal area of Bajaur, which borders Afghanistan.

Sep 28   US congressional leaders act on the administration's financial rescue request. Credit markets, frozen for about a week, begin to thaw. Firms that accept bail-out money will have to give warrants (non-voting stock shares) to the government – so that taxpayers will benefit from the banks' recovery. The top executives of banks that receive more than $3 million from the government will have their pay limited, including a ban on "golden parachutes" should their employment at the bank end. The government (taxpayers) will be first in line for payment if a participating firm fails.

Sep 29  The US House of Representatives fails to pass the financial rescue plan. US stocks plunge between 7 and 9 percent. A credit freeze continues.

Sep 29  Chinese dairy farmers have been paid low prices for their milk by middlemen – despite the rise in demand for milk. Dairy farmers have been adding water to their milk in order to make more money. To make up for the lower nutrient content from the dilution of the milk, melamine, a nitrogen compound has been added to the milk. Four people have died. The government in Beijing wants accountability and more regulation and cracks down. Police detain 22 people, 19 of whom are managers of pastures, breeding farms and milk purchasing stations.

Sep 29  Ecuadorean voters approve a new constitution that President Correa hails as a historic win. Articles of the new constitution are described as offering more political power to women, the poor and Ecuador's large indigenous community. New laws tighten controls of vital industries and reduces monopolies. The new constitution allows the president to stand for a second four-year term, it allows civil marriage for gays and declares free health care to older citizens.

to August 2008 | to October 2008

Copyright © 2008-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.