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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama: Israel Justified In Retaliation Against Hamas

SEARCH BLOG: ISRAEL and OBAMA.

UPDATE:

Nearly 250 Gaza rockets batter South; 3 Israelis killed.

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Israel has been becoming increasingly nervous about its belligerent neighbors and the apparent coziness of the Obama administration with the Muslim Brotherhood... the organization precipitating increasingly belligerent actions.  The question is: has Israel decided to take whatever actions it sees as necessary and appropriate to defend itself even if it means creating situations that disrupt the Obama administration's Middle East policies?

There are some who will blame Israel regardless of whether it is being aggressive in its retaliation or not; they will disregard what precipitated the action and characterize Israel as the big, bad military power killing defenseless people.

Bloomberg Businessweek, not necessarily a fan of Israel, couches a recent article about how Israel responded to 115 rockets fired into Israel by Hamas in terms of how it temporarily affected oil prices.   Fortunately, it looks as if oil prices will not stay affected by Israel's actions.  Unfortunately, this will not be the last time Israel is attacked by Muslim forces which surround it.
Oil in New York remains in a downtrend channel on the daily chart, signaling price advances may not be sustainable, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Futures have traded between the middle and lower Bollinger Bands for almost two months. These indicators, representing technical resistance and support levels respectively, are around $88 and $82.50 a barrel today.
The Israeli strikes followed the firing of more than 115 rockets from Gaza into Israel this week, adding to a total of about 14,000 missiles fired from the territory in the past 11 years, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry. Since the conclusion of Israel’s 2008 ground attack on Gaza, the government has said it holds Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks because it runs the coastal territory.
The New York Times characterized the Israeli retaliation this way:
Ferocious Israeli Assault on Gaza Kills a Leader of Hamas.
Israel hit at least 20 targets in aerial attacks that killed the military commander of Hamas, damaged Israel's fragile relations with Egypt and escalated the risks of a new war in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, to his credit, President Obama did side with Israel with regard to this attack and retaliation:
President Barack Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Wednesday night about rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel and escalating violence in the Gaza Strip.
The White House said Obama reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense from rocket attacks being launched against its civilians and urged Israel to “make every effort to avoid civilian casualties” in its response.
Israel carried out a blistering offensive of more than 50 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, assassinating Hamas’ military commander in the most intense attack on the territory in nearly four years.
Israel said the airstrikes, launched in response to days of rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza, were the beginning of a broader operation against Islamic militants. Israeli defense officials said a ground operation was a strong possibility in the coming days though they stressed no decisions had been made.
Obama and Netanyahu agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow tensions to ease, the White House said. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. Earlier Wednesday Netanyahu also spoke to Vice President Joe Biden on the events in Gaza.
Obama spoke separately to Morsi, given Egypt’s central role in preserving regional security, the White House said. The two men agreed on the need to de-escalate the conflict as quickly as possible. [source.]
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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates

FEDERAL RESERVE & HOUSING

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."
November 28, 2007 FED VICE CHAIRMAN DONALD KOHN
"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."
http://www.reuters.com/

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
fed_rate_moves_425_small.gif
[Image from: CNNMoney.com]
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 Economy.com. "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?

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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)