The Rabid Independent, Nonpartisan solutions, independent policy ideas

The Middle East is a multi-headed monster. There are so many kinds of bad guys that it fits in with no western paradigm. We just aren’t capable of getting it. Every time a politician asserts with confidence that (s)he has a plan or (s)he knows what any specific group wants, we should tune out – especially if (s)he starts explaining Islamic ethics.

What is the purpose of beheading western journalists (and posting the video on Youtube)? Is it to tell their people and their enemies that they are powerful and fearless or is to to taunt us so we engage them? Surely they expect a military reaction. If so, then they seem to be acting like Hamas, firing rockets ineffectively at Israel to get a military reaction that will win them sympathy.

Our limited perspective doesn’t allow us to understand how or why they have any support at all so (Washington wonders) how could they earn sympathy if/when we attack? Obama has said that no religion supports the murder of innocent people but he has failed to understand that an apostate is not innocent. If all their actions were so vile then why are people leaving their jobs and families (even in western countries) to go to Iraq and join up?

What would Malcolm Gladwell do? In his latest book David and Goliath, Malcolm tells us that to defeat a stronger enemy one must fight unconventionally. Presumably ISIS believes it can win a guerrilla war on home ground. We wouldn’t be able to tell a Kurd from a Yazidi and the useless Iraqi army sure won’t be much help. If ISIS were as bad as we think by Islamic standards then we’d have no problem finding allies to supply infantry (hello, Turkey?) but nobody seems interested… apparently it’s worse to be allied with the USA than with a band of fanatical murderers.

Syria has become a regional metaphor. Pop Quiz - who is worse: the dictator/poison gas lover-Assad, the local Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra, or ISIS? Yes, there are some local “moderates” but maybe that’s a pose everyone assumes to get some cash and weapons from Hillary and McCain.

My (not so clever) solution: Send no men to this region, even if they’re in airplanes. This is why God invented drones. We can try to “contain” the situation but every politician who signs on must also be willing to concede that if we attack these crazies then their popularity will rise and there will be an increased likelihood that they’ll attack us unconventionally, on our soil.

They’ve probably read Malcolm’s book.

 

 

 

Every so often we see something so extreme, so far beyond normal that it shakes up our understanding of a subject. The question becomes: What are policymakers thinking?

ISIS

Many years ago Saudi Arabia began funding religious education in destitute Muslim countries (Madrassas) so as to breed a generation of Sunni fanatics who would attack Shiites and work [...]

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Economics textbooks teach us that there is a sort of natural sine wave to the economy: A little growth->higher consumer confidence->more spending->lower inventories>production expansion->higher labor demand->higher wages->higher confidence and spending – and so we go round and round until inflation happens, and the Fed steps in to slow it all down because that’s what they [...]

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All the Chicken Littles of the world love to emotionally proclaim that the Fed will ruin us all. Inflation is about to explode due to inappropriately low interest rates.  Our currency will collapse when everyone figures out how irresponsible they have been with their balance sheet. Bond yields will soar; stocks will plummet. Needless to say [...]

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More Distractions

On August 20, 2014 By

I have argued that we need two leaders – a President who attends to foreign policy and ceremonial duties and a Prime Minister who works on domestic legislation to fix the (primarily economic) problems of the day. Then only one of the two can be distracted by foreign issues that don’t affect Americans such as Crimean [...]

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The latest trend in reducing one’s corporate tax rate is to buy a foreign company so you can move a revenue stream to a foreign/lower tax location. Frankly it’s no more egregious than all the other clever tactics employed over the last 20 years (A few examples). All these efforts have succeeded so [...]

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I’ve written about how the west has traditionally had a problem selling anything to the Chinese. Either they are too broke to afford western goods or their tastes just aren’t the same as ours. That’s why when the British discovered their taste for Opium they went to war to insure that the “market” stayed open. [...]

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What does the US have in common with Jordan?:

We have no border wall that keeps out refugees and illegal immigrants. We have no intention of deporting all the illegal immigrants who are already here (or who recently arrived). Any life inside our borders is better than the life offered in their home country.

Refugee [...]

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OK, first I have to establish the premise: Is the Fed obsessed with the stock market? It seems to be a fairly well accepted position by Fed followers that the thing the Fed most fears is another stock market meltdown. Like any fallible human it is most afraid of the thing that just happened – a meaningful [...]

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If you get involved in a foreign “civil war” by taking a side you invariably run into two problems:

Your good guys aren’t really so good or at least they may start that way but after they get some American cash they start to behave no differently than the bad guys. The bad guys can’t survive [...]

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Irritations

Here’s my list of things that bug me. Some are big and some are petty. Feel free to offer new additions.

Irritations

Mottos, Creeds, Rules

As we search for legitimate solutions to America’s problems everyone must obey these rules or we’ll never get anything done.

Mottos, Creeds and Rules

Reading List