“Blogging” Elsewhere….

Posted by Chris van Avery on 16Jul12.

I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that I don’t have time to maintain this site, so posting here has been and will continue to be limited for a while.

In the meantime, I’ve been sharing a stream of stories with limited commentary at Google+ , and headlines from the Google+ stream are broadcast through @YankeeSage on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

  Eurozone Borrowing to Bail Out Bad Debts

Posted by Chris van Avery on 26Sep11.

Why does this sound like a bad idea?

Under pressure from the US and the rest of the international community, eurozone officials are considering a “big bang” plan to dramatically increase the size of the European bailout fund to tame financial markets and bring the sovereign debt crisis under control.

A European Central Bank (ECB) board member threw his weight behind a plan, first mooted by the US Treasury, to increase the size of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) by allowing it to borrow additional funds from the ECB. [Emphasis added]

The comments, by Lorenzo Bini Smaghi at a conference on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund, were the first hints that a plan to leverage up the EFSF is being considered by the ECB and the eurozone governments which are contributors to the fund.

Only in the perverse logic of government and bleeding edge investing does this kind of thing make sense.

  5 Predictions for the End of DADT

Posted by Chris van Avery on 21Jul11.

Seeing how the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is imminent , a few predictions came to mind I thought I might share:

  1. Very few supervisors or peers will be surprised by a subordinate or coworker who comes out of the closet. Secrets like that are hard to keep well, particularly in the tight-knit environment of military units.
  2. The numbers of service members who come out will represent a tiny fraction of the military–well below even the conservative estimates of their representation in the general population.
  3. Many homosexuals currently serving will stay right where they are–in the closet–due to other social pressures.
  4. While the media will be eager to portray a groundswell of homosexuals rushing to enlist, an actual groundswell won’t emerge.
  5. Activists and newly out homosexual service members will redirect their pressure and resources toward tearing down the Defense of Marriage Act.

In the meantime, standby for the official message and manufactured fanfare.

  Talking Up an Israel-Iran War…Again

Posted by Chris van Avery on 18Jul11.

Here we go again .

Earlier this week, Robert Baer appeared on the provocative KPFK Los Angeles show Background Briefing, hosted by Ian Masters. It was there that he predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to ignite a war with Iran in the very near future.

He obviously won’t name many of his sources in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere, but the few he has named are all Israeli security figures who have publically warned that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are hell-bent on war.

[According to Baer] there is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict”, Baer explained.

The Israeli air force would attack “Natanz and other nuclear facilities to degrade their capabilities. The Iranians will strike back where they can: Basra, Baghdad”, he said, and even Afghanistan. Then the United States would jump into the fight with attacks on Iranian targets. “Our special forces are already looking at Iranian targets in Iraq and across the border [in Iran] which we would strike. What we’re facing here is an escalation, rather than a planned out-and-out war. It’s a nightmare scenario. We don’t have enough troops in the Middle East to fight a war like that.” Baer added, “I think we are looking into the abyss”.

In the past I’ve mostly viewed this kind of talk as a sort of agitprop. Given the increasing pressure and isolation on the government of Israel from all quarters, it’s not unreasonable to think they might start to consider more radical moves. And concluding Israel would want the strongest US force possible in the region for potential backup makes good sense. We might not back them up in their attacks on Iran, but we most certainly would act to prevent Israel from being annihilated in the process.

Two immediate possibilities come to mind. First, this could just be an effort to try and get Mr. Netanyahu to show some of his cards with the hope of trying to limit his range of responses. Second, it could be a signal to Iran to coax them to resolve some of the ambiguities flowing from Ahmadinejad’s political situation. I think the usual suspects will pick up on and publicize this report and we’ll be better able to assess as more official statements start to flow.

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