26 January 2015

Update no.684

Update from the Heartland
19.1.15 – 25.1.15
To all,

An opinion offered by a friend, colleague and contributor to this humble forum:
“In case you missed it, I wanted to repeat an article I found on page 6 of today's Wall Street Journal. It is very important to understand the Middle East situation. WSJ reports the death of an Iranian general, Muhammed Ali Allahdadi, in an Israeli airstrike with attack helicopters against a Hezbollah base inside Syria.
“This is an important event and brings to mind The Daily Show's wonderful routine last year hilariously explaining about Syria's "Good Opposition" and "Bad Opposition." America and a few allies (some European and Arab countries) are trying to support a handful of more moderate opposition groups who are caught between Syrian forces and ISIS, fighting in both directions. There are other more radical groups fighting the Syrian government and one of those groups morphed into ISIS last year and claimed nation-state status. The US and most of its allies oppose those radical groups. The Syrian government itself is supported by such groups as Hezbollah and some countries like Russia and Iran. We heard a couple months back that the US was OK with Iran helping its ally Iraq, but that the US would not cooperate in Iranian action inside Iraq.
“Now, Israel enters the fray in Syria by attacking its old enemy Hezbollah and, as collateral damage, killing an Iranian advisor. I say "collateral damage" with some hesitation, because I suspect that the Iranian general's presence at the Hezbollah camp may have been what raised the attack to a high priority for the Israelis. The WSJ article says Israel has not claimed credit for the assassination of the Iranian general, but one has to ask what other country has US attack helicopters with blue Stars of David on the fuselage. To add to the soap opera status of Middle East turmoil, last week ISIS showed video of a young ISIS boy executing by pistol two "Russian" advisors captured by ISIS in Syria. Russia has not commented on whether the two men really were Russian operatives helping Syria.
“The whole morass in Syria and Iraq makes clear the old catchphrase ‘the enemy of my enemy...’ no longer works in the Middle East and the entire conflict is becoming very confusing and dangerous.”

News from the economic front:
-- Nationalbank of Denmark lowered its deposit rate to minus 0.20% from minus 0.05% and its lending rate to 0.05% from 0.20% in an attempt to maintain its currency's peg to the euro.  Then, in less than a week, Nationalbank further lowered its deposit rate to minus 0.35% from minus 0.20%.  Denmark seeks to dampen investor interest in the Danish krone from investors selling the euro after the European Central Bank announced its stimulus package.  The Danish people rejected the euro in a 2000 referendum.
-- The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) grew 7.4% in 2014, down from 7.7% growth a year earlier – the slowest pace since 1990, when the country faced international sanctions in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
-- The European Central Bank (ECB) announced an expanded Quantitative Easing (QE) asset purchase program amounting to 60B (US$70B) a month for at least a year.  The ECB seeks to forestall economic contraction, and to stimulate growth in the eurozone and avoid deflation.  The ECB’s QE program continues to generate considerable stress within not only the ECB governing council but also the member governments in general.

Continuation from Update no.682:
“The issue with your commentary is that you do not apply standards to your writing.  You are quite capable of understanding those standards, as you demonstrated by your dissection of that hack writer's book on the Nazis. However, you use ‘fascist’ quite as freely as he uses ‘Nazi’ and you ignore context when it fails to fit your argument, as you accuse him of doing. I have spent too much energy trying to point out these issues. You have shown that you have awareness of this, but you never choose to apply that awareness to your own work. That is unprofessional at the very least.”
My response:
            Thank you for the criticism.  It is always appreciated.
            What term would you suggest for someone who seeks to impose his dicta by intimidation, violence, fear and coercion?  Just as the IRI points to the “Great Satan” for the cause of all evil in the world and especially in the oppression of their people, the various other factions, e.g., AQ, AQAP, ISIL, et al, share at least one common trait; they use intimidation, violence, fear and coercion, and their interpretation of Islam as their authority to impose their beliefs on everyone worldwide; that objective actually sounds far more ambitious than Hitler’s Nazism.  ISIL goes one step farther; they actually kill anyone who does not subscribe to their distorted view of governance.  Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck . . . probably a duck.  I have no interest in the PC game and no desire to sugarcoat reality around us.  I try to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but that does NOT make me correct or even remotely relevant . . . only a citizen willing to present my opinions for public debate.
            I endeavor to be precise with my words, but alas, I am only a flawed human being.  I make mistakes.
            I appreciate that counter-checking my opinions is a time-consuming and arduous process, and quite often frustrating.  I certainly cannot fault you for tiring of that effort.  Nonetheless, I have always respected and cherished your perspective and opinions.  I trust you will eventually return to the challenge.

No comments or contributions from Update no.683.

My very best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cap                        :-)