Post Script on the Economy’s Condition

This post is a very short post script to yesterday’s post on the economy’s weakening condition. In that post I noted the current evidence of both the stock markets and economic aggregate data supplied by the Federal Reserve tells us the economy is in a very fragile condition. It would not be surprising if a small economic perturbation caused by some “black swan event” bumped us into recession.   Continue Reading…

The Art of the Possible

Speaker of the House John Boehner           Photo Credit: flickr.com/Peter Stevens

The day after the Pope gave a historic speech to the joint houses of Congress, the Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he would resign both his speakership and his membership in the House. Faced with a revolt from House conservatives seeking to supplant him, Boehner decided it would be better both for the institution of the House and for himself to resign. “My first job as speaker is to protect the institution,” he said. When news of this resignation was announced by Senator Marco Rubio to the annual Value Voters conference in Washington, spontaneous cheers rang out. I noticed Rubio himself did not look particularly pleased.    Continue Reading…

Economic Damage Created by the Fed

Flooded Stream

With a turbulent flow of easy money having flooded into the banking system, the Federal Reserve System has inflicted great wounds on our economy. In previous posts we have shown that the Federal Reserve has failed to stimulate the American economy by means of the easy money policies of ZIRP and QE. See the posts Current Economic Effects of the Federal Reserve, Quantitative Easing and Its Effects, and Division in the Fed. We then speculated on some of the mechanisms that may have caused the failure in Why Have ZIRP and QE Failed?, none of which were  mutually exclusive and all of which may have contributed to the disaster. We have even discussed one of the main ways in which the Fed contributed to the smoking ruin of the American economy in the 2007-2008 financial crisis by financing the inflation of the real-estate bubble. Yet those narratives do not complete the tale of destruction the Fed has wreaked on the Economy.   Continue Reading…

Achilles Heel of Autocrats: Their Economy

Achilles' Heel

Achilles with Paris’ arrow in his heel.          Photo Credit: Flickr.com/texmex5

The national security outlooks of the United States and Western Europe are beginning to look grim. The future security of allies in the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia) and in China’s backyard (Japan, South Korea, the Philippines) appear similarly uncertain. The autocrats ruling Russia, Iran, and China, who have become de facto allies, are posing threats in all these areas.   Continue Reading…

A Failed, “Lead From Behind” Foreign Policy (2)

Russian TU-95 bomber intercepted over North Sea/Atlantic Ocean, 29 October 2014
Photo Credit: NATO/RAF

The Obama administration has made the world more dangerous for the West by more than just our withdrawal from Iraq. Indeed by Obama’s demonstration of U.S. weakness, he is enticing Russia, China, and Iran to consider what they each might gain by military force. The photo above of one of eight Russian TU-95 Bear H strategic bombers intercepted by NATO aircraft over the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean is evidence of just one of many incidents of Russia resuming its Cold War ways. Russian Federation President Putin has shown a great interest  in regaining its former Eastern European and Baltic state possessions. China meanwhile is working to seize the South China Sea for its own, and at the very least, dominating South-East Asia. Iran, for its part, is working hard to gain nuclear weapons and ICBMs. In addition, their military adventures in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen show Iran has the ambition to become at the very least the suzerain of the Middle East, and quite possibly the master of a world-wide Shiite imamate. In addition, there is the further bad news these three bad actors have formed a de facto alliance that may very well be formalized in the near future. And then there is ISIS.   Continue Reading…

A Failed, “Lead From Behind” Foreign Policy (1)

Negotiators

Iranian and P5+1 Negotiators for Iran Nuclear Deal
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/US State Dept.

At times it seems as if the Obama administration would just as soon wall the rest of the world off from the United States with its “lead from behind” foreign policy. At other times one might think Obama’s sympathies are more with our opponents than with the United States, especially when he apologized for the behavior of the United States to foreign audiences. Early in his first term, Obama conducted what the Wall Street Journal called his “international confession tour”. He told the French that toward Europe, America “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive”. In London, Latin America, and Egypt he expressed similar mea culpas, seeming to project a moral equivalence between the United States and its adversaries. In a secret cable published by Wikileaks, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan told Obama that the Japanese government did not want the President to visit Hiroshima to make an apology for the U.S. having dropped a nuclear bomb on the city to end World War II. As with many on the political Left, President Obama seems to believe that more often than not the U.S. is the villain in international affairs and should withdraw from those affairs as much as possible. That is, we should withdraw except for being a supplicant for forgiveness for some “crime” or other and offering reparations.   Continue Reading…

Why Have ZIRP and QE Failed?

Wanted Poster

Wanted for Bank Robbery                          Photo Credit: Flickr.com/takomabibelot

By now after roughly six and a half years of a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP started in December 2008), and an almost equal amount of time of Quantitative Easing (QE1 started in late November 2008), we should all be able to agree they have been complete failures in stimulating our low growth economy.  How big a failure have they been?   Continue Reading…

Sitrep on Russia’s Syrian Campaign

Russian T-90 Tank

Russian T-90A Main Battle Tank
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Vitaly V. Kuzman

Russian forces are arriving rapidly around the airport the Russians are building just south of the Syrian city of Latakia. Rapidly enough to justify a situation report after just four days since the last sitrep. Reuters has reported and American officials have verified that six tanks of the type shown above have been delivered at that incipient airbase. According to U.S. defense officials, Russian heavy equipment is arriving at the airbase at a rate of about two cargo planes per day. At this rate Pentagon officials believe the airbase will be ready to host Russian fighter aircraft by the end of the month.   Continue Reading…

Is the Republican Party the Party of Trump?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump: “You’re Fired!”          Photo Credit: Flickr/WalkingGeek

Democrats are having a field day, chortling at Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican nomination. The Huffington Post and Policy.Mic thought the Democratic National Committee had the perfect response to Trump’s candidacy when their national press secretary Holly Shulman released this statement with tongue in cheek:

Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation.

In fact when Trump gives a speech, it usually seems to be a rambling, stream-of-consciousness non-construction. Bombastic and insulting, he makes me wince every time I listen to him. The main message that seems to stick out is something like “I’ll be so good, it will make your head spin!” His gratuitously insulting statements about hispanics and women are becoming legendary.   Continue Reading…

A Republican Picnic

Republicans in Maryland are excited! Ever since their candidate for Governor in the 2014 election, Larry Hogan, won with 51.6% of the popular vote, they see a very real chance to turn this bluest of blue states quite a bit more red. Having been somewhat infected with this enthusiasm, my wife and I have become involved with the Republican party’s Maryland District 14 organization. Last Sunday they held a picnic at idyllic Brighton Dam Park, and since my wife had gone to Miami to visit her mother, I went alone.

While eating our hot dogs with beans, potato salad, and cherry-peach pie, we all had a chance to chat with a number of local candidates to Congress. Two especially stood out.   Continue Reading…

Quantitative Easing and Its Effects

Fed_building_DC

Federal Reserve Building, Washington DC         Photo Credit:  Flickr.com/wwarby

Despite its impact on our economic well-being, few people seem to know much about Quantitative Easing (QE). QE was a Federal Reserve monetary experiment, and not even the Keynesians running the Fed knew how it would come out. How then are ordinary people supposed to understand it? Yet understanding QE is important for all citizens, since it appears QE is doing very bad things to our economy. It may well be one partial explanation for the more than  bad “recovery” we have had from the “Great Recession”.    Continue Reading…

Russian Military Operations in Syria

ISIS Troops

ISIS soldiers              Photo Credit: shiitenews.org

Just two days ago I published the post Russia Inside Syria, concerning how Russia appeared to be preparing for air warfare against ISIS by building a new air base at the Mediterranean coast city of Latakia, Syria. This morning I was reading up on current events while half-listening to Fox News, when suddenly I heard news about Russian troops and armor pouring through the old Russian naval resupply base of Tartus. With my curiosity aroused, I paid more attention for further announcements. Later I heard that the Russians had made this move as part of an agreement with their ally Iran and that the troop arrivals so far amounted to about a brigade of infantry.   Continue Reading…

A More Accountable Fed

 

Flag of the Federal Reserve System

Flag of the Federal Reserve System
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Much of what ails this economy was caused by the Federal Reserve. Not all that damages the economy can be laid at the Federal Reserve’s door, but much can be. I have written about the Federal Reserve’s culpability in a number of posts now, and many who have had the stamina to read through them all may think I am beginning to beat a dead horse. For those of my readers here who have not gone through this exercise, I recommend reading the posts listed on the thematic post page for the Federal Reserve System to understand exactly why the Federal Reserve is guilty of helping to create many of our economic problems. The subject of today’s post, however, is not the fact of the Federal Reserve’s culpability, but  rather the fact that so many other people are now realizing how much the Fed is at the root of many of our problems.   Continue Reading…

Russia Inside Syria

Port of Tartus

Now we learn Russia is building an airbase in Latakia, Syria. Also see here. The United States may be attempting to withdraw from the world, but Russia is expanding to fill the vacuum. Ostensibly, they are there to fight ISIS. They are indeed there to do exactly that, but they are also there to support a client of Iran, the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, and thereby help out their allay Iran. In addition, it is not just Assad’s regime that is threatened, but Russia’s Syrian former naval resupply base in the port of Tartus, shown in the photo above, as well. As another goal, Russia may be seeking more permanent bases in Syria.     Continue Reading…

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