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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Media Obeys the Government

Yet another story of how the media is losing its credibility in the United States: an award-winning reporter silenced by her editors for running stories critical of the Obama administration. See  Liberal media protects Obama  I like the description about how the news editors really control journalism and how their personal biases determine which stories run.  Note, for example, how the media has played up marginal successes of the already-struggling Obamacare program.  Hard to believe that no one in the administration lost their job over "Fast and Furious" or the Benghazi Debacle, but, sad to say, the mainstream media thought these stories were the domain of right-wing loonies.   Anyway, read the link.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fight Ebola by Restricting Travel

Washington and the head of the World Bank have been pressing the argument on NOT restricting travel from West African countries impacted by Ebola.  But closing the border and flight bans work.  Note how many countries in Africa still have bans in effect.  Travel Bans in Africa    Ivory Coast has had no reported cases and borders Liberia.  Why?  It shut down flights and border crossings.   Nigeria initially shut down flights, until the airlines go up to speed on prescreening passengers for Ebola symptoms.  We need to prohibit travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea until this virus burns itself out. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is the Next Economic Crisis Coming?

We get an economic crisis every six or seven years.  The last one was in 2008, so that means....

The mistake is to think this happen naturally, like meteorological events.  These crises are a result of policy. This summer the Fed started slowing down its inflationary "quantitative easing" policy, and now we are seeing the end of the bull market.  Market down, world growth slowing, oil prices headed south.  The Saudis will not ease back on production in order to capture more market share.  This will really hurt our unconventional oil production in North Dakota and Texas.

Jim Rickards, the Wall Street guru who wrote "Currency Wars" explains the current dynamic here: The Death of Money   Sooner or later, we will have to stabilize our money supply to preserve the dollar's status as the international reserve currency.  I'll vote for any politician who forces attention on this matter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Common Sense Strategy on ISIS

Should the US commit "ground troops" to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS)?  Or should we continue the current, limited policy of backing up the Kurds, conducting air strikes, and advising the Iraqi security forces? 

ISIS is entrenched in Iraq, and still carrying on an agressive fight against the Iraqi state.  It overran an Iraqi Army base in Anbar this week.   Iraq has three divisions in that province, but it continues to lose ground.

So, we are reaching a decision point.  Only a stronger commitment will be decisive.  Only the US can do this.  So, should we?

If we look at ISIS as a terrorist group bent on attacking the West, perhaps we should.  If ISIS consolidates, it could launch attacks against western cities.  That wouldn't be good.

But if we look at ISIS as a manifestation of the Sunni/Shia regional war, then maybe we shouldn't.  ISIS wants to kill Iraqi Shia.   It has the support of Sunni Arabs in the areas it controls, or it never would have gotten this far.  The only other regional power commiting ground troops to stoping ISIS is Iran.   Turkey won't.  Saudi Arabia won't.   That's telling.

Last week VP Joe Biden told an audience that Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had been supporting ISIS against Bashar Assad in Syria.  Just so.  He had to apologize for saying what everyone believes is true. 

To destroy ISIS, we have to side with Iran, Shia-controlled Iraq, and implicitly, Assad-controlled Syria.  Do we want to do that?  

Senators McCain and Graham want to square this circle.   Destroy ISIS by overthrowing Assad, they say.   Does this argument make sense to anyone?

Here's what we should do:  As long as ISIS remains committed to holding territory and fighting all enemies--Alawites, Kurds, Shia Arab, Persians, etc--it poses no direct threat to the West.  We should provide the limited support we currently are, mindful that only the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga have a real interest in eliminating this problem.  Go get' em boys!  Commiting ground forces will put us in another bloody fight with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, for no good reason.

Buchanan probably is right: this is another thirty years war we need to stay out of.  See his strong column here: can_america_fight_a_thirty_years_war

We need to think strategically about this problem.  It really isn't about terrorism.