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2009 October 22 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Totally Different

So Digby agrees with Yglesias that Afghanistan isn’t like Vietnam.

Well, Vietnam involved a lot of jungle warfare, while Afghanistan involves a lot of arid rock. Access for logistics was easy in Vietnam, ports and an open path for aircraft, while it is a nightmare in Afghanistan, a landlocked country that involves cutting deals with other countries, many of which don’t like us. Vietnam involved a much bigger force, which we had because we also had the draft, but the tour was one year, not at the whim of the people in power, and multiple tours were not the norm.

They will both be logged at least a decade, and neither had/has an exit strategy. It is also obvious that we aren’t going to “win” in Afghanistan either.

Another difference is that the UN threw out about a third of the ballots, and the current government agreed that the election will go to a run-off, avoiding the Vietnam mistake of supporting an illegitimate government. John Kerry was the best choice to be sure that didn’t happen, as he knows how that path worked out.

Turkana notes that Dick Cheney is laying the groundwork for the claim of Der Dolchstoß, the “stab in the back”, to wiggle out of the responsibility for this mess. Cheney says that if Obama doesn’t immediately give the military everything they want, it will be Obama’s fault that we fail.

Elroon notes that Retired General Paul Eaton takes Cheney to school on that, pointing out all of the things that the Hedgemony did that made winning impossible at this point. This war was lost years ago, when al Qaeda wasn’t trapped and eliminated in Afghanistan, and the country wasn’t started on economic development almost immediately. You can’t do these things on the cheap – you need a lot of boots to control the situation and prevent a guerrilla war from developing. If you lose control of the security situation, you lose credibility with the people.

Just because they aren’t identical doesn’t mean that you should ignore the lessons that were learned at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives. That is exactly what the Hedgemony did.

October 22, 2009   4 Comments

People Who Know

If you see anything written by or attributed to:

  • Elizabeth Warren – Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel [BS University of Houston, JD Rutgers University]
  • Sheila C. Bair – Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), [BA, JD University of Kansas]
  • Brooksley E. Born – retired Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), [BA, JD Stanford University]

pay attention, because these ladies saw the disaster coming, understand why it happened, and want the underlying problems fixed.

The “boys”, who keep getting treated as knowledgeable pundits on these economic matters, have been uniformly wrong. Note that Ms Born served under Bill Clinton, and Obama has recycled a lot of Bill’s economic advisors, when Goldman Sachs didn’t have a suitable candidate. This is kind of like hiring criminals to solve their crimes.

October 22, 2009   6 Comments

Just Leave

Bank of America, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Citibank, and JP Morgan/Chase are all on the dole. They are the true “welfare queens” of the US. They have been bailed out to the tune of billions, and want to continue on their merry way, as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Well, they don’t, because the US government has proved to them that they will be bailed out regardless of what they do.

All individuals can do is to avoid any contact with them. Move your accounts to a credit union or local bank, and avoid them like the pestilence they are.

I have before me a missive from Citibank, which, for whatever reason, now owns the Citgo gas card business. After receiving billions of dollars in free government money to spur lending to help the economy, they have reacted with the following rates and fees on the Citgo card:

  • Rate for Purchases: Prime Rate plus 19.99%, but not less than 24.99%.
  • Rate for Cash Advances: Prime Rate plus 23.96%, but not less than 29.95%.
  • Fee for Cash Advances: 5% of the amount, but not less than $10.

This is on an account that has been open for more than a decade, and has never carried a balance, i.e. it is paid in full every time there is a charge on it.

The current Prime Rate is 3.25%, and it has been unchanged for months. A good rate on a CD is 2%.

If you look around, you can probably find a better rate at a pawn shop or from a loan shark.

October 22, 2009   3 Comments