Tag Archives: Idiot quotes

He Said That? 12/13/16

For the typical liberal, personal feelings are always more important than facts, logic, and truth. This fact, logic, and truth-free rant by Keith Olberman has to be seen to believed.

As Michael Krieger of libertyblitzkrieg.com put it: “If this is the best “opposition” to Trump out there, he’ll win a second term with ease.”

 

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She Said That? 7/10/15

Today’s quote is from Janet Yellen, a paragraph from a speech she gave today at the City Club of Cleveland. The entire speech was a mind-numbing 3,803 words, or a little over nine single-spaced pages. The quote was towards the end of the speech and most of the audience had probably already left the room, which is perhaps why it has not got a lot of attention.

Very low inflation may not sound like a real problem to many people. However, persistently low price inflation, which can tend to slow the pace of wage increases over time, can weaken the economy by, for example, making it more difficult for households and firms to pay off their debts. A persistent, very low inflation environment also tends to result in chronically low short-term interest rates. This type of situation would leave less scope for the FOMC to respond with its conventional monetary policy tool–namely, a cut in the federal funds rate–to counteract a weakening in the economy.

Very low inflation is indeed a problem, but not in the way Ms. Yellen suggests. In a free market economy with an honest money system that cannot be manipulated by feckless monetary mandarins, deflation will be the order of the day and low interest rates will follow. Why? Because capitalism constantly raises productivity—businesses continuously lower costs—and competition forces producers to lower prices as well. Declining prices are incorporated into interest rates. Lo and behold, when the world got as close as it ever got to free market economics, the Industrial Revolution, prices declined, which meant that real incomes increased even more than nominal incomes, and interest rates were low. Those facts are not found in most history or economics texts, but they are indeed facts, easy to confirm on the Internet with a five-minute search.

He Said That? 5/2/15

General Phillip Breedlove, Commander of the US Command in Europe and NATO’s top general in Europe, is a loose cannon (see “Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine, from Spiegel Online,” SLL, 3/7/15). Reprinted is an article that details his latest, “Bellicose Gen. Breedlove Pushes NATO Toward War In Ukraine,” from Daniel McAdams at The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, via davidstockmanscontracorner.com. The Breedlove quotes are bolded. McAdams does a good job of skewering his pompous and dangerous saber-rattling.

General Philip Breedlove, who serves as Commander of the US Command in Europe and NATO’s top general in Europe, is a good example of what happens when the division between a military and the civilians who in a democratic society should control that military breaks down. While there have been plenty of “political” general officers in the past, Breedlove has shown a particular predilection for infusing his policy preferences — and even fantasies — into what should be objective assessments of military capabilities and threats. Thus he has taken every opportunity to report to the media dozens of scare stories of Russian invasions of eastern Ukraine. But thus far he has presented no evidence of these “invasions.”

US partners in NATO have been increasingly alarmed by Breedlove’s bellicose pronouncements about Ukraine, which seem to have little basis in fact. As the major German news magazine Spiegel reported in March:

[F]or months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove’s leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements. … False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO — and by extension, the entire West — in danger of losing its credibility.
According to the same article, US intelligence is similarly perplexed over the pronouncements of General Breedlove.

But the US general is unchastened over criticism of his bombast. Just yesterday Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee (Chaired by Sen. John McCain), that:

Russia is blatantly challenging the rules and principles that have been the bedrock of European security for decades. The challenge is global. not regional. and enduring. not temporary. Russian aggression is clearly visible in its illegal occupation of Crimea, and in its continued operations in eastern Ukraine. (sic)

And just as the US has begun training its proxies in west Ukraine and supplying them with military equipment, General Breedlove accused:

In Ukraine, Russia has supplied their proxies with heavy weapons, training and mentoring, command and control, artillery fire support, and tactical-and operational-level air defense,. Russia has transferred many pieces of military equipment into Ukraine, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery pieces, and other military vehicles.

He has not provided evidence that Russia is doing covertly what we know the US is doing openly. But even if he had, does it not seem like double standards for the US to criticize in others what it is openly and enthusiastically doing itself?

As NATO moves troops and military equipment literally up to the Russian border, increasing military activity on the Russian border by some 80 percent, the US general blames Russia for, well, being in Russia:

Russia’s illegal actions are pushing instability closer to the boundaries of NATO.

NATO pushing its boundaries closer to Russia has nothing to do with it, presumably.

What is General Breedlove’s solution? War!

I am often asked, ‘Should the United States and others provide weapons to Ukraine?’ What we see is a Russia that is aggressively applying all elements of national power – diplomatic, informational, and economic, as well as military. So my view,.is it would not make sense to unnecessarily take any of our own tools off the table.(sic)

When US generals are allowed to shape policy to the degree that Breedlove has been afforded, there is a particular danger of every problem becoming a nail. The hammers may be thrilled, but the nation under such military rule suffers from limited inputs and often unsophisticated analysis that leads to policy mistakes — in this case potentially catastrophic.

Were President Obama truly the Commander in Chief of the US Military, he would do well to consider pulling a Truman with his increasingly McArthur-ite General Philip Breedlove. Before it’s too late.

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/bellicose-gen-breedlove-pushes-nato-toward-war-in-ukraine/

They Said That? 3/12/15

There are many worthy contenders, but the following, “Iran Occupies Iraq,” is what may be the dumbest Wall Street Journal editorial yet published on the Middle East. From The Wall Street Journal editorial board, with SLL responses in bold-face type:

While Washington focuses on Iran-U.S. nuclear talks, the Islamic Republic is making a major but little-noticed strategic advance. Iran’s forces are quietly occupying more of Iraq in a way that could soon make its neighbor a de facto Shiite satellite of Tehran.

That’s the larger import of the dominant role Iran and its Shiite militia proxies are playing in the military offensive to take back territory from the Islamic State, or ISIS. The first battle is over the Sunni-majority city of Tikrit, and while the Iraqi army is playing a role, the dominant forces are Shiite militias supplied and coordinated from Iran. This includes the Badr Brigades that U.S. troops fought so hard to put down in Baghdad during the 2007 surge.

The Shiite militias are being organized under a new Iraqi government office led by Abu Mahdi Mohandes, an Iraqi with close ties to Iran. Mr. Mohandes is working closely with the most powerful military official in Iran and Iraq—the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran’s official news agency last week confirmed Western media reports that Gen. Soleimani is “supervising” the attack against Islamic State.

[Well how about that, Shiites are fighting Sunnis in the Middle East! Lest it escaped the notice of the WSJ’s editors, they’ve been doing so for over 1000 years. Here’s a fact of which they are apparently ignorant: in the Middle East, family, tribal, and religious loyalties trump loyalty to governments, domestic or foreign (US). The resolve of the US-trained Shiite Iraqi army that turned tail and ran when charged with defending Sunni cities from ISIS stiffened remarkably as ISIS moved south and threatened Shiite holy sites.

Maybe the WSJ should have thought about Iraq becoming “a de facto Shiite satellite of Tehran” before it endorsed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Back then, it certainly was not a Tehran satellite. Saddam Hussein had waged war against Iran, with US assistance, and his minority Sunni government had managed to put a lid, albeit a quite repressive one, on the seething tensions and cross currents of Iraqi politics and society. We got rid of him, and in the name of “democracy,” installed a Shiite-majority government that, surprise, surprise, treated the Sunni minority poorly and moved into Shiite Iran’s orbit.]

This is the same general who aided the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq. Quds Force operatives supplied the most advanced IEDs, which could penetrate armor and were the deadliest in Iraq. One former U.S. general who served in Iraq estimates that Iran was responsible for about one-third of U.S. casualties during the war, which would mean nearly 1,500 deaths

[Two things many Shiites and Sunni agree on: they don’t like each other, and they like US  occupation even less. We discovered the antipathy characteristically directed towards armies of occupation in Vietnam, but it would have been  downright un-American to learn anything from our mistakes. Thus, US military personnel found themselves on the receiving end of deadly IEDs from local Shiite insurgents, which they obtained from their coreligionists next door. Those 1,500 deaths were as predictable as they were tragic.]

Mr. Soleimani recently declared that Islamic State’s days in Iraq are “finished,” adding that Iran will lead the liberation of Tikrit, Mosul and then all of Anbar province. While this is a boast that seeks to diminish the role of other countries, especially the U.S., it reveals Iran’s ambitions and its desire to capitalize when Islamic State is pushed out of Anbar province.

[The WSJ editors don’t like ISIS and want them out of Syria and Iraq, but they are awfully picky about who is supposed to do that job. Below, they pick their fantasy ISIS elimination team.] 

The irony is that critics long complained that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 created a strategic opening for Iran. [We have indeed.] But the 2007 surge defeated the Shiite militias and helped Sunni tribal sheikhs oust al Qaeda from Anbar. U.S. forces provided a rough balancing while they stayed in Iraq through 2011 [Not stated, but certainly implied: that “rough balancing” could be maintained only as long as US troops stayed in Iraq.] But once they departed on President Obama’s orders, the Iraq government tilted again to Iran and against the Sunni minority.

[Two important points. The candidate who promised during the 2008 election to get the US out of Afghanistan and Iraq won the election; the candidate who has never met a foreign intervention or continuing occupation he didn’t like lost. Obama was keeping a campaign pledge that a majority of Americans, and virtually all of his supporters, believed should and would be kept. That’s how elections are supposed to work. While Obama was uncomfortable with maintaining a continuing US presence in Iraq, so too was the Iraqi government. Obama offered to keep troops in Iraq, but the Iraqi government nixed the deal because Obama insisted on immunity from Iraqi law for US military personnel, a usual precondition for the stationing of US troops.]

Iran’s military surge is now possible because of the vacuum created by the failure of the U.S. to deploy ground troops or rally a coalition of forces from surrounding Sunni states to fight Islamic State. With ISIS on the march last year, desperate Iraqis and even the Kurds turned to Iran and Gen. Soleimani for help. The U.S. air strikes have been crucial to pinning down Islamic State forces, but Iran is benefitting on the ground. The strategic implications of this Iranian advance are enormous. Iran already had political sway over most of Shiite southern Iraq. Its militias may now have the ability to control much of Sunni-dominated Anbar, especially if they use the chaos to kill moderate Sunnis [both of them]. Iran is essentially building an arc of dominance from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut on the Mediterranean. [And we can’t have that, because fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Iran would challenge our buddy: fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Saudi Arabia.]

This advance is all the more startling because it is occurring with tacit U.S. encouragement amid crunch time in the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, competed last week with Gen. Soleimani’s anti-ISIS boasts by touting U.S. bombing. But this week he called Iran’s military “activities” against ISIS “a positive thing.” U.S. civilian officials are publicly mute or privately supportive of Iran. [There’s that pickiness again about who gets to defeat ISIS.]

While Islamic State must be destroyed, its replacement by an Iran-Shiite suzerainty won’t lead to stability. [Wait until you see what they think will lead to stability!] Iran’s desire to dominate the region flows from its tradition of Persian imperialism compounded by its post-1979 revolutionary zeal [The last great Persian empire was the Sasanian Empire, which fell in 651 AD after the  Battle of Nihawānd. Just imagine those Persian hordes, storming the Middle East, with their blood-curdling battle cry: “Remember Nihawānd!”] This week it elected hardline cleric [Has there ever been a cleric in Iran who didn’t have the adjective “hardline” put in front of his name by the WSJ?] Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi to choose Iran’s next Supreme Leader.

The Sunni states in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf are watching all of this [and doing next to nothing to stop Sunni ISIS that supposedly threatens them] and may conclude that a new U.S.-Iran condominium threatens their interests. [Those condo boards can be vicious!] They will assess a U.S.-Iran nuclear deal in this context, making them all the more likely to seek their own nuclear deterrent. They may also be inclined to stoke another anti-Shiite insurgency in Syria and western Iraq [The use of the word “another” implies that Bashar al-Assad and the Iraqi politicians who claim the Sunni states were behind the earlier insurgencies in Syria and Iraq are correct.]

All of this is one more consequence of America leading from behind. [Heaven forbid we don’t lead at all and just stay at home.] The best way to defeat Islamic State would be for the U.S. to assemble a coalition of Iraqis, Kurds and neighboring Sunni countries [i.e.,  the Sunni states in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf who have heretofore been watching all this] led by U.S. special forces that minimized the role of Iran. Such a Sunni force would first roll back ISIS from Iraq and then take on ISIS and the Assad government in Syria. [So the Sunni nations who midwifed Sunni ISIS by stoking the anti-Shiite insurgencies in Syria and Iraq are now going to join a coalition against their coreligionist creation? Right. After, and only after, they defeat ISIS will they get to take out a Shiite government the US doesn’t like in Syria, but not a Shiite government the US does like in Iraq. Right. And there will be no blowback—because WSJ editors refuse to acknowledge that phenomenon—as the US-led coalition wages war across a broad swath of the Middle East. There will be no new terrorists, no new refugees  joining the thousands that are already overwhelming Europe, especially Italy and Greece. Right. And Iranians will lay down their arms and go back to Iran, grateful that the US is taking out ISIS and they don’t have to, even if they are going to take out Shiite ally Bashar al-Assad afterwards. Right.] The latter goal in particular would meet Turkey’s test for participating, but the Obama Administration has refused lest it upset Iran. [Those damn Iranians just don’t understand the nobility of US government and WSJ editors’ intentions.]

The result is that an enemy of the U.S. with American blood on its hands is taking a giant step toward becoming the dominant power in the Middle East. [The US is supposed to be the dominant power in the Middle East, because, after all, it’s our region, not theirs. And when we insist on asserting our rightful claim, nobody is supposed to shoot back and get blood on their hands.]

He Said That? 1/23/15

From billionaire Jeff Greene, at the Davos Glitterati Mental Masturbation and Other Forms of Self-Gratification and Self-Glorification Forum:

America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-22/billionaire-lectures-serfs-davos-americas-lifestyle-expectations-are-far-too-high

Mr. Greene is setting an admirable example. He and his wife brought only two nannies for their precious—and undoubtedly precocious—children on their private jet. He’s also trying to sell his California estate for $195 million, a price he believes is quite reasonable, presumably to adjust his lifestyle to less expensive digs. His sentiments are undoubtedly the prevailing view among the Davos worthies, which can only make the rest of us hope for a calamitous Alpine avalanche that will leave them buried in 20 feet of snow in addition to the massive mounds of their own bullshit.

She Said That? 12/11/14

From Ms. Martine Aubry, mayor of Lille, France, writing in the French daily Le Monde:

I’ll fight this social regression at a national level, as in my town.

The Wall Street Journal, France’s Move to Spur Moribund Economy Draws Fire, 12/11/14

And to what social regression was Ms. Aubry referring? Child or convict labor? Involuntary euthanasia? Privatizing health care? A forty-hour instead of thirty-five hour work week? Outlawing adultery? Conscription? Two-week instead of five-week vacations? Prohibiting dogs in restaurants? Google? Apple? Amazon?

None of the above. President Francois Holland has floated a proposal to allow stores to remain open on Sunday. The horror! Some might think that allowing people the freedom to shop an extra day of the week in shops whose owners want to stay open that extra day is social progression, not regression; but this is France. Ms. Aubry was not alone in her determination to fight Sunday openings and a range of similarly innocuous “outrages.” Thousands took to the streets of Paris in protest. Meanwhile the French economy is, as the headline notes, moribund, flirting with recession.

They Said That? 12/1/14

From the National Retail Federation’s press release on shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday:

Early holiday promotions, the continued growth of online shopping, and an improving economy changed the way millions of people approached the biggest shopping weekend of the year. According to NRF’s Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 55.1 percent of holiday shoppers were or will be in stores and online over Thanksgiving weekend, down from 58.7 percent last year. Overall shopper traffic from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, November 30 dropped 5.2 percent from 2013 (133.7 million unique holiday shoppers versus 141.1 million in 2013). Total shopping, including multiple trips by the same shopper, was also down this weekend (233.3 million versus 248.6 million). This is the 11th survey NRF has released in partnership with Prosper

“A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We are excited to be witnessing an evolutionary change in holiday shopping by both consumers and retailers, and expect this trend to continue in the years ahead.”

According to the survey the average person who shopped or will shop the holiday weekend will spend $380.95, down 6.4 percent from $407.02 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $50.9 billion, down from last year’s estimated $57.4 billion. Additionally, more than three-quarters (77.2%) say they took advantage of retailers’ online and in-store promotions to buy non-gift items for themselves or their family, similar to last year’s 76.4 percent.

As an exercise in spin, this is masterful. Fewer shoppers, making fewer trips to the malls, and spending less, somehow indicates a strengthening economy. It is quite an “evolutionary change” indeed if consumers flush with funds from that better economy have decided to spend less on Christmas. Those of us with an old-fashioned take on economics might conclude that reduced sales indicate consumers are less confident about the economy, but what do we know?