SEARCH BLOG: OBAMA and AFGHANISTAN.
Points on which I generally agree with President Obama are few. The one point I strongly agree on is that the U.S. should be out of Afghanistan. It is a war that should not have been fought because it is a war that never had an overriding reason to be fought... and it has become a money-pit and a cultural cul-de-sac for Islam meets and rejects West.
Has there been some good achieved? No doubt. There are individuals... mainly women... who have benefited from the U.S. presence. But it is a tenuous benefit hardly supported by the many of the population who would happily revert to 7th century misogynistic Islamic customs of southwest Asia.
Yet, the reasons for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan have expanded well beyond reasonableness. Nation-building has become its own reason with flimsy arguments that it is needed to fight the illiterate, but fierce, Taliban. The reality is that the Taliban held sway in a largely tribal area simply because it reflected the values of that area. In its place, the U.S. has installed a largely corrupt and devious Karzi government that tries to play all sides against themselves for the sake of power, not progress as defined in Western terms.
The only way I differ from President Obama's perspective about Afghanistan is that I would have ceased sending new troops to Afghanistan long ago and told Karzi to figure it out for himself how to deal with the Taliban or leave. The U.S. has no overriding interests... strategic or humanitarian... to send its young men and women into harms way in Afghanistan. That is even more true given the politically correct approach to fighting opposing forces which has done little more than make targets out of our troops.
Better to have let things stay as they were in Afghanistan. At least everyone knew where the military targets were. It would have made great target practice for drones.
Monday, January 14, 2013
SEARCH BLOG: OBAMA and AFGHANISTAN.
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Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.... 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.
- O. Henry
The Independent (UK)
FEDERAL RESERVE & HOUSING
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.December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
"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 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?
- Bruce Hall
- 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)