Monday, October 22, 2012

Foreign Affairs Turn Into 2nd Debate Rehash Then Refocuses


The debate on foreign affairs boiled down to this: the Middle East is a mess, we don't want the bad guys in charge, and we don't want more military involvement.  Both Obama and Romney agreed and tried hard to make it sound as if they disagreed.  Obama skated around the fact that the Arab Spring has became an Arab Chaos.  Romney skated around the fact that the new governments are not America's friends nor will they become our friends because they are in control of the Muslim Brotherhood and further changes in governments will open more doors to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Beyond that... the 2nd debate took a major portion of the debate time.

President Obama says he will stand with Israel ... if attacked.  President Obama say Iran will not get a nuclear weapon as long as he is President.  He pointed out that sanctions have now forced Iran to give up their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mitt Romney agrees that sanctions have been effective and wants to tighten them.  He want Iran's Ahmadinejad indicted for inciting genocide.  He agrees that military options are the last resort.

President Obama denies that he is working out a "one on one" deal with Iran.  The deal he will accept is that Iran ends their nuclear program.  He said "the clock is ticking" and he will not all them to use negotiations to protract their weapons development.

Mitt Romney said that Iran has seen U.S. as weak because Obama would meet with them without conditions.  Obama's failure to support the Iranian dissidents was seen as a sign of weakness.  Obama's apologies for U.S. actions were seen as another sign of weakness.

President Obama said, "Nothing Gov. Romney has said is true."  Romney: we're four years closer to a nuclear Iran with 10,000 centrifuges... you skipped Israel in your "Middle Eastern tour."  Obama: I went to Israel as a candidate in 2008 and learned about the dangers that face Israel.  Romney: the Middle East is deteriorating; our influence is receding.  Obama: the problem is on a whole range of issues is that you've been all over the map.

Afghanistan: 2014 deadline for withdrawal.  Romney: we'll get out by 2014... everything is on schedule.  We have to focus on Pakistan because a failed Pakistan would be dangerous to both Afghanistan and us.  President Obama: we got out of Iraq which allowed us to focus on Afghanistan and target the Taliban and al Qaeda...  now the Afghan military is capable of taking care of their country and we can pull our soldiers out and get them health care and treatment for PTSD.

Question to Romney: what is your position on drones.  Romney: use our technology, but what's missing is a strategy to move the Middle East away from Islamic extremism.  Obama: we've created partnerships with countries to go after the terrorists.  We've stood on the side of democracy and women's rights.  No doubt that attitudes toward America have changed [for the better].

China: what is the greatest threat to the future of this country.  Obama: China is an adversary, but a potential partner if they follow the rules.  A trade task force set up to deal with Chinese "cheaters."  Over the long term in order to compete with China, we have to improve education and expand government investments.  Romney: business makes investments, not government.  China needs trade.  We can be a partner; we don't have to be an adversary.  They question our economic and foreign affairs strength.  We have to focus on trade that is by the rules.  Would declare China a currency manipulator and economic pirates and counterfeiters.

Obama: Romney shipped jobs to China.  We want to have a stronger military presence in the Far East and create more trading partners other than China.  Romney: we have to have President that doesn't invest in companies, but invests in basic research.  Obama: that's not right.  Romney: you're wrong.

Well, that about sums up things.  We are better off/worse off; we are more/less influential in the world.

2012 IS HERE


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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."
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Tracking Interest Rates

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)