Monday, August 9, 2010

Follow Up From The Mainstream Media On Persistent Issues




The press has continued to cover topics and opine on matters that this blog has handled for months if not years, but the slants they offer now largely echo the sentiments that historically have dominated this column. Here are the specific areas, and I apologize in advance if the NY Times links require you to establish a free subscription to access the content.


Afghanistan

In "Let Them Have Oprah" (11/24/2009) and "More Afghanistan Commentary" (12/9/2009) I strongly suggested that our efforts should be oriented towards helping the Afghan citizens by educating them and showing them societal alternatives. As Nicholas Kristof wrote then and reprises now, our focus should be on, among other things, building schools. It costs $1 million per year to pay, equip and support each soldier assigned to this war, and that is more than enough to begin construction on 20 new schools. Kristof's article:

www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/opinion/29kristof.html?emc=eta1

"The Afghanistan Fiasco" (6/12/2010) details reasons why the war is not only un-winnable but also, is a tragic waste of lives and resources. Let's face it, neither the Soviet Union nor Genghis Khan were able to conquer this territory and we won't be able to either. Bob Herbert details the personal horror and Albert Hunt writes about the collapsing US-Afghanistan policy. For many months, the war was lightly covered by the media and nearly unspoken by the administration and Washington politicians. Since our country is now spending $105 billion+ per year on this lunacy, it is about time that the travesty, duplicity and confusion receive wide exposure. The two links are below:

www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/opinion/03herbert.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09iht-letter.html?emc=eta1


Prevaricator In Chief


I have severely criticized President Obama in a blog series entitled "Prevaricator In Chief" (June 12, 4, and 2, 2010) wherein the main issue I attack is the President's dissembling, spinning and outright lying to the American public. In the Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami, a Johns Hopkins professor has recently published an eloquent piece that depicts much more serious Obama failings. In essence, Ajami declaims that the Prevaricator is an "empty suit with a teleprompter," a sweeping, unpopular/socialistic agenda and wavering support from even his staunchest supporters. I highly recommend that you read this editorial, "The Obsolescence of Barack Obama":

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164904575421363005578460.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion


Greenspan


In "A Shameful Performance Mr. Greenspan" (5/13/2009) and in other blog notes, I pointed out that Alan Greenspan has been in high gear, using extreme revisionism to attempt to restore his tattered reputation.

The octogenarian is at it again. Why won't this guy just fade away? In any event, for what some believe is political expediency, Greenspan is throwing what little weight he has left into the Bush tax-cut debate. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that most people will simply ignore the guy who was a primary architect of the collapsed financial edifice. Here's a link if you are interested:

www.nytimes.com/2010/08/07/business/economy/07greenspan.html?_r=1&emc=eta1


The Economy

I have written repeatedly about our economic circumstances, and while some predictions have been wrong, for the most part, things are happening as I have been reporting all along. For example, I had thought that the domestic auto industry would have collapsed by now and clearly, it has not done so, albeit it now employs 30% fewer workers than it did two years ago, and Chrysler still can't manage to earn a profit. For the record, I'm still worried that the car markets will backslide into the morass.

On other items like unemployment, which now stands nominally at 9.5% and closer to 20% in reality, prognostications have been pretty accurate. The same goes for foreclosures (residential and commercial), the fiscal deficit, state/municipal finances and the like.

For your reading pleasure, I am including some links that I have assembled on the various topics:

Boiling Over:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703748904575411713335505250.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion

Foreclosures:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704499604575407584128526218.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

Going To Extremes:
www.nytimes.com/2010/08/07/us/07cutbacksWEB.html?emc=eta1

As The Economy Slows
www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/opinion/09mon1.html?emc=eta1


China Pollution


I have been a strong believer that we need to pay attention to cleaning up the environment simply because this is the proper way to mitigate even the slightest risk to the planet. In keeping with the "bad math" theme that permeates the blog, it makes no sense to ignore potential catastrophe, even if the probabilities are remote. The better solution is to conserve energy because that helps avoid the problem while at the same time, it improves economic efficiency.

"Global Warming Redux" (8/8/2009) and "Dirty Little Secret" (5/25/2009) both assert that if China and India do not also improve their entire pollution footprints, then the world's situation is hopeless because these two nations comprise the largest and fastest growing filth-perpetrators.

In a recent development, China announced that it is closing down 2000+ factories because they are "energy-intensive" and these companies satisfy that appetite by using older, expensive and dirtier technologies. Let's be clear here. The Chinese do not care one whit about global warming and such, but they do pay extreme attention to their economy. Since China imports 100% of its oil and increasing amounts of coal, it makes consummate sense for that country to realign its industries so that they ensure their future competitive viability. Obviously this is welcome news and perhaps it is also a standard-setting example for others. In other words, no matter what the motive...just clean it up. I hope India is listening.

Here's the story:

www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/business/energy-environment/10yuan.html?emc=eta1


2 comments:

  1. So, I take it you're not going to buy into the GM IPO? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Larry, I think the whole industry is still at risk. It's good to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete