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Archive for February, 2011

As I have been saying the solutions are there to bring our country back to strength.  One of them is reforming the tax code into a national sales tax called here Value Added Tax. Major economists have all told the government how fair this is, and how much more the government would bring in. The issue, no one at the political level wants to lead on this one. As always, lack of leadership.

Don

Does The U.S. Really Have A Fiscal Crisis?

By Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario, 24 February 2011

http://baselinescenario.com/2011/02/24/does-the-u-s-really-have-a-fiscal-crisis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaselineScenario+%28The+Baseline+Scenario%29

The United States faces some serious medium-term fiscal issues, but by any standard measure it does not face an immediate fiscal crisis. Overindebted countries typically have a hard time financing themselves when the world becomes riskier – yet turmoil in the Middle East is pushing down the interest rates on US government debt. We are still seen as a safe haven.

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The author of this important report in Politics Daily (also attached below), Dave Wood, is a very experienced combat reporter and one of the very best US reporters covering Afghanistan. (Truth in advertising: I have known and admired Dave for 25 years.) Wood has produced an an excellent, if grim, Afghan SITREP that is well worth studying carefully, including its hotlinks.

I think it would be a mistake to conclude that the situation being in a kind a balance, because we are in a strategic stalemate, however. While it is probably true we are in a strategic stalemate in the strictest sense of term ‘strategic,’ every year the Taliban is able to maintain its menacing posture gives the insurgents additional leverage at the far more decisive grand-strategic level of conflict: To wit, ask yourself if any of the following five trends (which are inversions of the five criteria defining a successful grand strategy) is way out of line:

(1) Polls tell us that the political will at home to continue this war is slowing deteriorating;

(2) our allies are also going wobbly and some have already pulled the plug;

(3) uncommitted countries are not being attracted to our cause and our warlike activities are alienating many in the Muslim world;

(4) the insurgents’ will to resist shows no sign of weakening; and

(5) no one the US government has a clue how to end this conflict on favorable terms for the United States that do not sow the seeds of future conflict in the region, or with Islam.

The Afghan insurgents may not understand grand strategy in these terms, but they understand instinctively that they can outlast invaders, because they believe they have done it before to Alexander the Great, the British at the height of their imperial power, and the Soviets. Is there anyone who not think the the insurgents’ moral is being boosted by the prospect of outlasting the Americans?

A simple grand-strategic analysis reveals that time is clearly on the Taliban’s side and to assume that battle hardened leaders of the Taliban do not understand this is just a tad optimistic, to put it charitably. In fact, the breakdown of President Obama’s strategic review last December, which devolved into a dispute over when to leave, simply reinforced the obvious.

Chuck Spinney
The Blaster

The Afghanistan War: Tactical Victories, Strategic Stalemate?

David Wood, Politics Daily, 13 February 2011

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/02/13/the-afghanistan-war-tactical-victories-strategic-stalemate/

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Why should the American public sacrifice when these worthless crooks get away with murder? I support what the leaders in governors of Wisconsin and N. Jersey are doing, but there job is even harder, harder for any leader with moral courage to start fixing our problems when greedy bastards get away with crimes as bad as Wall Street firms involvement in mortgage scandals a few years ago that took the nation and globe into a nose drive. I just don’t understand why most of our political leaders are so self serving in the face of all the major issues we face today. Now, don’t even mention having again to face our addictiion to oil??

Don

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

Matt Taibbi. Rolling Stone,

16 February 2011

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216?print=true

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The following introduction and essay are by two of my close friends and mentors, Franklin “Chuck” Spinney and Pierre Sprey. It talks about how we are not innovating, and continue to pour money down a black hole.

Don

President Obama says that restoring America’s competitiveness is one of his top priorities. Yet under his watch, deindustrialization, financialization, and globalization continue without interruption. Many advocates of defense spending argue that spinoffs from the Pentagon’s R&D and high tech engineering practices are keys to reinvigorating America’s manufacturing economy. For whatever reasons, Mr. Obama shows no intention of reining in defense spending by anything more than a cosmetic amount, even though the defense budget is higher now that at any time since the end of WWII (after removing the cumulative effect of 60 years of inflation), and despite the fact that the United States is spending about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Let us hope Obama has not bought into the bogus arguments that spending more on defense will be good for restoring competitiveness in the manufacturing sector of the American economy.

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