Archive for September, 2009

Losing in Afghanistan 2

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

When the US began its attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan, I said that destroying our enemies anywhere in the world would be easy, but building states would be hard, would most likely fail, for no one understands how a state is built, and the trend of the times is for states to fail.

And today, we again see state building failing.

In an earlier post “terror works” I said of our Afghan policy:

Forming a government in Afghanistan looked remarkably like selling our allies into the hands of our enemies, like Chamberlain selling Czechoslovakia to Hitler. The people who fought for us are outvoted and disarmed, which is why things are now going bad in Afghanistan. It is as if the Czechs had fought and won, and then Chamberlain sold them to Hitler.

Michael Yon is giving us the grunt’s eye view of Afghanistan:

we are fighting the people in general, and not some small group of Taliban … We generate the electricity and the Taliban collects money for wattage.

Audit the Federal Reserve

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

The most libertarian member of Congress, Ron Paul, has introduced a bill to audit the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve, you may recall, has been spending trillions off budget, and no one knows how much, or for what, who the beneficiaries are, or what commitments the Federal Reserve has made to foreign governments. (more…)

Obama’s public private partnership

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Before Obama became president, his big success was handing truckloads of government money to big property developer friends of Obama so that those big property developer friends could benevolently provide housing to the poor.

Your taxes at play

Your taxes at play

Obama told us:

“That’s an example of a smart policy. The developers were thinking in market terms and operating under the rules of the marketplace; but at the same time, we had government supporting and subsidizing those efforts.”

Of course, in practice, government support for developers meant that developers had an incentive to be active in politics, and be good at political activism, but no incentive to be active in preventing the roof from leaking, or the roof from falling in: Government handout, private profit, not “the rules of the marketplace”

And now the people who brought you homes for the poor with the roof falling in are fixing the American financial system with the same methods.

Losing in Afghanistan

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Michael Yon, who should know better than anyone, reports we are losing in Afghanistan.

He suggests the solution is more troops.  I don’t think so.  After all, we originally won in Afghanistan with near zero troops.

Democracy has been a disaster, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.  The masses just do not like us much, and tend to elect people that do not like us much – or like freedom, or like democracy, or like capitalism.  And especially, they do not like religious freedom.

The winner in a guerrilla war is the side that most brutally terrorizes the population.  Our troops lack the stomach for what it takes to win a guerrilla war, so more troops will not help.  We already have enough troops to win any conventional battle, and there is not much else to do, other than what our troops are reluctant to do.  It also helps to know the locals, know the language and know the culture – so winning in a guerrilla war means arming the local killers that are on your side, and killing the local killers that are against your side.  And that, of course, means arming the Northern alliance and terrorizing the Pashtuns.

American debt

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Total federal debt twelve trillion

That is not too alarming in itself. It is a bit less than GDP, and for most countries, trouble ensue when debt is around twice GDP. The liberty papers are not too worried.

Total American indebtedness (public and “private”) is sixty trillion, which is much larger than federal debt, and has been rising very rapidly. The primary cause of this rise has been implicit and explicit governmental and quasi governmental guarantees – FHA guarantees, debt of too-big-to-fail corporations, guarantees by too-big-to-fail corporations, state debt, for example California, and so on and so forth.

Some substantial part of this sixty trillion is secured by real assets such as houses and the income stream of hard working people, and some substantial part is not.

Thus the excess “private” debt is not private.  The normal level of public and “private” debt is about twice GDP, say twenty six trillion, so we are about thirty trillion or so in the hole and getting deeper fast – well past the danger level of twice GDP.

US turning french

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Number of weeks needed to find a new job

Number of weeks needed to find a new job

It is getting steadily harder and harder for someone to find a new job – and having found a new job, harder and harder to afford a house – presumably because of the very great and rapidly increasing regulatory burden on building houses and hiring people.

This renders employees powerless before their employers, which tends to result in class war and social violence as in France, and tends to result in greater regulator burdens.