Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Not Necessarily My Friend


Americans tend to think in terms of black and white, good and evil, friend or foe.  There is a huge problem taking that thinking into the Middle East where everything is couched in shades of fog.

Our President and Secretary of State were quick to take the side of the rebels in Libya because Muammar Qaddafi was our historical enemy... old and impotent as he was.  Quick to provide guns and air support to the rebels who were fighting for "democracy."  Some of those weapons were used to kill the U.S. Ambassador to Libya so thereafter.

Our President and Secretary of State were quick to take the side of the protesters in Egypt and demand the resignation of an old semi-friend, Hosni Mubarak.  Quick to recognize the grab for power by the Muslim Brotherhood and quick to provide billions of dollars in aid and "loan forgiveness" to an organization that, until recently, was considered a contributor to Islamic terrorism.  The head of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, has made it clear through his meetings with the imams in Iran that his preferred alliance does not include the United States.

Our President and Secretary of State are quick to take the side of the Syrian rebels and to provide weapons and money in their fight against Bashar al-Assad, the head of government.  There are considerable reports indicating that most of the "rebels" are foreigners attached to al Qaeda.

Our President and Secretary of State are predisposed to think in terms of Islam and Islamists in terms of potential allies who will befriend us if we treat them with respect and large amount of weapons and money.  Their concepts of democracy and diplomacy are limited to community organizing and payoffs.  They don't understand fanaticism.

They are mistaken... and we will suffer the long-term consequences both in the Middle East as well as here in America.  How long will it be before the official government position is that the First Amendment applies to everything except speaking out against Islamic fanaticism?  They'll have to be our friends then, won't they?
Oh, and I'll save the commenter from Canada the time: "It's all Bush's fault because he started it.  You go in and kill innocent people and what do you expect?  They did nothing to you so why do you bring your military?  Your idea of democracy doesn't belong in those countries.  You should respect their culture, but you don't"  
... and nothing says we have to try to help them push their world agenda or apologize for our world perspective either.  They are lodged firmly in the 7th century and are willing to spread fear and loathing around the world as part of that... and believe that any land they have stepped foot in automatically becomes part of the new caliphate.  What part of that should we respect, support, or seek an alliance?  The only action that is rational is to resist them, impede them, frustrate them, rebuke them, ridicule them, and attack back when attacked.


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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)