“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Market chokes on treasury $100bn offering, $900bn more by September.

The global bond markets are beyond the ability of any one government to control for more than a short period of time. That period is rapidly ending for the US. A few months ago long term bond yields were less than half of what they are today. The fed is monetising debt faster than the world is willing to accept, except at higher and higher pricing.

The current economic crisis started with housing. Yesterday, the US Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 12pc of homeowners are either behind on their payments or facing foreclosure, the highest level since records began.

I cannot guess as to the number of posts made on this subject. Most were met with a damn the consequences, let them lose their homes. Very few people understood the far reaching consequences to the banking system, the economy and ultimately themselves.

Mortgage rates will follow raising bond rates. Housing will continue the decline because of lack of leadership, vision and understanding of the peril to everyone because of the damage done to and by a few.

That will teach them a lesson.


Bond markets defy Fed as Treasury yields spike

The US Federal Reserve may soon be forced to launch fresh blitz of quantitative easing whatever the consequences for the US dollar, or risk seeing economic recovery snuffed out by the latest surge in long-term borrowing costs.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph
Last Updated: 5:51AM BST 29 May 2009

Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have risen relentlessly since March when the Fed first announced its plan to buy $300bn (£188bn) of US government debt directly, a move that briefly forced rates down to nearly 2.5pc, a level thought to be the Fed's implicit target.

Yields have jumped to 3.69pc – after spiking as high as 3.74pc on Wednesday – pushing up the standard 30-year mortgage loan to 5.08pc and lifting the borrowing cost for corporations.

"The Fed is going to have to consider doubling its purchases of Treasuries," said Ashraf Laidi, from CMC Capital Markets. "We could be nearing the end-game for the US dollar but the Fed has little choice at this point. We're in a vicious circle where any policy aimed at supporting the US economy must be at the expense of the dollar."

The US Mortgage Bankers Association yesterday highlighted the fragility of the US housing market, reporting that 12pc of homeowners are either behind on their payments or facing foreclosure, the highest level since records began.

Almost 6pc of "prime" borrowers are in arrears, showing how far the crisis has moved beyond the sub-prime. Most arrears are caused by job losses. The US unemployment rate has reached 8.1pc, and is even higher under older definitions, running at 15.8pc under Clinton-era metrics.

It is unclear why US bond yields have spiked so violently, with spill-over effects on gilts and bunds. One camp of investors is worried that inflation is rearing its ugly head again: others fear a sovereign debt crisis as over-extended states loses their AAA ratings.

What is clear is that the market choked on $100bn of US Treasury debt issued in three auctions this week, and on the knowledge that Washington must raise a further $900bn by September. Governments around the world must fund $6 trillion of deficits this year, exhausting the capital markets.

The US is at the front of the firing line. Beijing is clearly losing its patience with the Fed's policy of printing paper, seen as a form of stealth default. There is some risk that further moves to step up quantitative easing could cause China to boycott US Treasury auctions. China and Japan together hold 23pc of all US federal debt.

Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher said his recent trip to Asia was an eye opener. "Chinese government senior officials grilled me about whether or not we are going to monetise the actions of our legislature.


  1. Let them eat cake.

    CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Foreclosure actions were started on 1.37% of first mortgages in the U.S. in the first quarter, a record jump from 1.08% in the fourth quarter and the highest level on record in the Mortgage Bankers Association survey. Mortgage delinquencies -- loans that were at least one payment past due -- also leaped in the quarter, to a seasonally adjusted 9.12%, also a record, the MBA said Thursday. Also hitting a record high were the number of loans that were somewhere in the foreclosure process, which jumped to 3.85% of loans outstanding from 3.3% in the fourth quarter.

  2. Area home prices buck U.S. trend
    Do recent rises signal a turnaround?

    Many are still cautious

    By Tom Bayles
    Staff Writers

    Published: Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

    Homes prices in Sarasota-Bradenton rebounded 9.5 percent from March to April, pushing the market's median sales price up about $20,000 from a possible bottom earlier this year.

    The median in April was $164,300, up from $150,000 in March and a February low of $144,000.

    That bucks the trend of falling prices nationwide, though it remains unclear whether it will hold.

    Many experts fear another large wave of foreclosures as adjustable-rate mortgages reset to higher payments at the same time more people are losing their jobs. Some worry that the failure of those boom-time loans could add more distressed inventory to the housing market and further depress prices.While pricing rose during April, Sarasota-Bradenton saw sales fall 12 percent, one of only five large Florida markets to see declines, data released Wednesday by the Florida Association of Realtors showed.

    The Charlotte County-North Port market saw a bump in pricing but it also came with a 2 percent rise in sales. The southern market's April median was $95,500 in April, up from $92,200 the previous month but down from $99,500 at the beginning of the year.

    Matt Augustyniak, owner of Bradenton-based Horizon Realty, said the recent movement in the million-plus foreclosure market is contributing to price gains.

    "It's not just the low-priced stuff that people are salivating over, it's these higher-end properties, too," Augustyniak said. "You take a half-dozen of these high-end properties and throw them in the mix and they will pull the price points up."

    Bottom line is that there are some really good deals to be had if you have money. What most of us have though is credit or perhaps that is what we once had in abundance. Overabundance even. For a season, we had small (and large) paper fortunes in stocks, funds and real estate equity and we had access to unbelievably generous lines of credit. In other words, debt, which now that the bubble has burst, has become onerous and undesirable. Across America, in its churches, Dave Ramsey is becoming richer as hundreds of thousands if not millions pay $83 a pop to gain "Financial Peace".

  3. This is the line that caught my eye

    The US unemployment rate has reached 8.1pc, and is even higher under older definitions, running at 15.8pc under Clinton-era metrics.

    Redifining the matrix, to achieve "better" results, seems a hallmark of Team43's operations. Foreign and domestic.

    Giving rise to the answer of bob's last post, previous thread.

    No, words have no real meaning, to the Federal Socialists. The meanings are not samcrosect, definitions are in flux.
    Evidenced by the "fact" that under GW Bush's definitions 8.1% now equals 15.8%

    Same way the Federals changed the historic meaning of inflation, adding the word "core", and defining inflation "down", while energy prices spiked, causing the recession. For no "real" reason.

    Batten down the hatches, boys, rough seas ahead.

  4. Mixed signals abound in housing dataSome see recovery; others not so sureThat unemployment rate caught my eye too, rat. One has to wonder whether the Feds, fearing the worst, have gone "all in" in a last desperate roll of the dice.

  5. They definitely panicked. The question is, what did they see? A total monetary collapse?

  6. Smooth move bludgeoning the Chrysler and GM bondholders. Must have been very reassuring to the present and future bondholders of the U.S. of A.

    I wonder how many billions that will end up costing us?

    I can see Obama running the table with the congress, the media, the hapless Republicans, and even the Judicial branch...but I think his undoing will be the bond market. And rather soon.

  7. Freytag went in, thinking of a bath and a shave, and found Hansen, the big langly Swede, half dressed, sprawling in the upper berth with his bare feet dangling.

    "What's the matter? Seasick?"

    Hansen's great worried face hung out over the edge. "I, seasick?" He seemed ready to take offense. "I was born on a fishing boat."

    After this personal confidence, if it was that, he rolled back and gazed upward. "I am thinking."

    Freytag stripped off his shirt and started the warm water in the hand basin.

    "I am thinking," said Hansen, "about all the things people everywhere do to make each other miserable--"

    "What was your poor mother doing on a fishing boat", asked Freytag. "I thought no woman was allowed to set foot---"

    "It was my father's boat," said Hansen, gloomily. "Look, the big trouble is, nobody listens. People can't hear anything except when it's nonsense. Then they hear every word. If you try to talk sense, they think you don't mean it, or don't know anything anyway, or it's not true, or it's against religion, or it's not what they are used to reading in the papers...."

    At this point Freytag stopped listening and devoted his whole attention to brushing lather on his face. Balancing expertly with the roll of the ship, he proceeded to shave himself with a straight razor, a feat of which he was

  8. proud. If any witness remarked on this, he was certain to say it seemed to him the only way to get a real shave. Not once during the entire voyage had Hansen noticed Freytag's way of shaving; he rubbed on ready made lather out of a tube and scraped his cheeks and chin briskly with a small safety razor, and appeared to be quite unconscious that there was more than one way of shaving. When next Freytag heard Hansen's voice he was saying: "No. They won't. In France, for example---all the bottles, white wine, red wine, pink wine, everything but champagen---the bottles have shoulders, no?"

    "Quite," said Freytag, rolling up his socks and putting them in a brown linen bag with the word wasche embroided in green.

    "But now, you go to Germany---yes, just barely across the line, not even to Germany, just to Alsace---and what do you find? All the bottles without shoulders, bottles like bowling pins!" His wrathful voice shook Freytag's nerves.

    No wonder people don't listen, he thought unkindly. What is it now, I wonder---that Spanish woman or Herr Rieber, or what? For he had discovered about Hansem something he had surmised a good while ago about most persons---that their abstractions and generalizations, their Rage for Justice or Hatred of Tyranny or whatever, too often disguised a bitter personal grudge of some sort far removed from the topic apparently under discussion.

    This elementary fact of human nature came to him as a personal discovery about others; he did not once include himself in it. His own plight was unique, peculiar to himself, outside all the rules. His feelings about it were beyond question, subject to no judgments except his own, and not to be compared for a moment to such shabby little troubles as Hansen's.

    "It is such things," said Hansen, " men insisting to make bottles with shoulders on one spot; and not fifty feet away, on the other side of a purely imaginary line which would not exist except for the stupidity and greed of mankind, just to show their independence they make bottles without shoulders!"

    Freytag felt patience settling and weighing down his spirits like a fog. "But the line is not imaginary, it is there to define something, to give shape to an idea, to express the language and ways of a certain kind of people...look," he said, with a glance at the knotted, inpenetrable face above him, "nobody fights about the shape of a bottle. They fight about the differences in their minds that shaped the bottles differently in the first place..."

    Hansen sat up and roared: "But yes, yes, that is just what I am trying to tell you. That is what I am saying."

    "I didn't quite catch that," Freytag said, folding his razor.

    "Naturally not," said Hansen, his face so closed in despair his rudeness gave Freytag no offense. "Nobody listens."

    from "Ship of Fools"

  9. only 4094 characters allowed, says my verbotten

  10. Don't know much about markets, so I don't comment.

    There was an interesting little item in the local news today, however.

    The Idaho Supreme Court turned down an appeal--because he filed too late(don't know what was the basis of the appeal)--of a guy who had been convicted of killing his pregnant girl friend and her unborn child---two counts of murder--in our code, by whapping her around and kicking her in the stomach.

    So the status of the unborn child is like that cat in the box, Schrodingers Cat, who is said to be alive or not, depending. This unborn child is evidently a human being, or not, just depending.

    Or maybe in the future depending on the 'empathy' practised on some particular day by some particular, peculiar Supreme Court Justice.

  11. When I was younger, the line was that Federal deficits and debt was of little consequence.

    We "owed the money to ourselves" the storyline went. Even as a tike I saw through that spin, though it is not heard much, any more.

  12. Any idea where the the other 77% of the Federal debt is held?

    And by whom?

  13. Funny stuff, from you, bob.

    All this time, with regards to Israel you've played the "empathy" card. The Israeli, being nicer and more civilized as well as long time sufferers of discrimination were held to a different standard of justice then the Palistinians.

    The Israeli justified in ignoring the Geneva Accords, because of your empathy for their plight and their past.

    Not wanting to have their behaviour judged impartially, as the Swiss did, or as Mr Mitchell did, for US.

    So, in some cases you fully support the application of empathy in judgements and judges, while in other cases empathy is found to be repugnent to a sense of equal justice.

    That situation has got me rollin' in the aisles.

  14. Desert Rat - the other creditor nations who are being played for suckers by the Fed?

    Which includes my own country. Sigh.

  15. The enhanced questioning of the detainees, another spot where your empathy for the mitigating circumstances surronding the law breaking, well Treaty violations, should, you think, over come the strict interpretation of the Law.

    It seems clear that if you think the judge shares your feelings of empathy towards a suspect, then it is a viable tool of justice.

    If their feelings of empathy differ from yours, though, the application of empathy is cause for the ruination of the Republic.

  16. You often don't make any sense I can discern, Rat.

    But, that's ok, you know what you are talking about.

  17. It's funny, Bobal, when I read Rat's post my thought were "whhooooosh, right over poor Bobal's head". Ironic given your love of great literature and the message contained in your Ship of Fools excerpt.

  18. Been reading this 'Ship of Fools' all night. It's really good. Quite the party, towards the end.

    I don't know how she does it, you'd think it would get boring after a while, nearly 500 pages of examining people in the minutest detail. She's an excellent writer, Katherine Porter.

    Good morning, time for bed.

  19. The problem, both for the GOP and the country as a whole, is that there is no one prepping for '12, as Reagan was, back in the day.

    Well, maybe Huckleberry, that Governor from Arkansas that was a preacher, before hand. Huckabee, that's it. He's on FOX News, from time to time.

    That fellow still has aspirations to high office.

    When the messiah from Plains put his hand on the Bible, Reagan had been running for president for a little more than two years, having completed his second term as governor of California in January 1975. He had done this mainly by speaking and writing, following a program devised by three of his aides as he was about to step down from office, designed to keep him in the public eye when he was no longer governor, and establish him as the country's premier conservative voice. The plan, an idea of radio producer Harry O'Connor refined by Reagan aides Peter Hannaford and the late Michael Deaver, called for a five-minute radio address five days a week and a twice-weekly newspaper column based on those addresses, appearances on Meet the Press and other interview programs, and two to three speeches a month. In time, Reagan's radio talks were carried on 286 stations while his column appeared in 226 papers, giving him regular access to a national audience of about 20 million people a week. He began this regime days after he stepped down as governor, stopped it in November that year to run against Ford in the primaries, resumed it in September 1976, weeks after the convention ended, and then suspended it permanently three years later, when he began his second, and this time successful, campaign. In this program, the radio talks would emerge as his principal weapon.

    Reagan in Opposition
    The lessons of 1977.
    by Noemie Emery

  20. AW workers approve General Motors concessions The idea that this union will own 17.5% of GM is preposterous to anyone who witnessed the autoworkers strikes over the years. That the Feds will own 72% is surreal.

    Friggin' dumbass, weasel GM execs!

  21. UAW members approve General Motors concessionsOf course, there's a better than even chance that the Union will come to rue this day.

  22. This situation could accelerate very rapidly. Real buyers for bonds go away; Fed prints money instead; Obama dispatches Mrs. Rodham Clinton to Zimbabwe to pick up a few hints; Saudi decides to stop accepting dollars for oil. Civil war.

    And still, the only result we can see from all Obama's spending is Desert Rat's continued (& boringly continual) slagging of the previous President. Hey, DR! It's 2009. There is a new President now, everything is going to hell on his watch, and all he is doing is making things worse.

    It no longer matters if the problems were all caused personally and solely by President George Bush. The problems are here with us today, and they need to be solved. They are now Obama's problems to solve. And he had better stop voting Present soon.

  23. Mandatory 'gay' day for K-5 studentsA California school district has approved a mandatory homosexual curriculum for children as young as 5 – and parents will not be allowed to remove their children from the lessons.
    Parents will not be given an opportunity to opt-out of lessons that go against their religious beliefs. Some parents are threatening to sue the school board and mount a recall. Opponents presented a petition with 468 signatures from people who don't want the homosexual lessons in the curriculum.
    'And Tango Makes Three '
    - book about homosexual male penguins who name their chick Tango because 'It takes two to make a Tango.'

  24. What did 'Rat say, al-Bob?
    ...I was busy shaving.

  25. I did notice the Swiss and Mitchell being cited as fair-minded determiners of fact.
    Got a big laugh out of that.

  26. (as the Swiss blank out their memories of the Jewish Dental Bullion in their Safe Deposit Boxes)

  27. It was an incredibly scary situation, and we'll be trying to repair the damage for years.

    The economy is going to wallow around, and the markets will go full-blown, manic-depressive. The talking heads will make you want to jump off the highest bridge you can find.

    That said, don't believe a word you're hearing. It's all complicated, but, bottom line, the "danger" has passed, and now comes the slow, tedious work of rebuilding an economy. It'll be frustrating. Really, really frustrating.

    We'll have some quarters of pretty good growth, followed by lethargy, and despair. Predictions (such as my ill-considered growth in the second quarter prognostication, will be seen to be a Mug's Game.

    We are now trapped in the "accordion-affect" of impending energy (Oil) Shortages. It's going to be "intrestin" times for awhile. Enjoy.

  28. Re: unemployment innumeracy

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less."

    "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean different things."

    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."

  29. Don't know, Doug, I was busy sleeping. Then I had to go to Moscow.

    Is that the Allen from the old days?

    I hope so.

    But a new one is welcome too.

    Tancredo was good on the Lars Larsen Show coming home

    Sotomayor is a Tan Klanner. Good term. Ku Klux Tan Klan, which is exactly what La Raza is.

    Tancredo said the nomination could come apart if the Republicans fight! Said there was much more that could come out. When I go to the next Tea Party, I'm taking, along with Rat's sign, some kind of Tan Klan sign too.

    Also he had an interview with some radio host in Vegas. Over a thousand had turned out at some local Tea Party/anti-Reid deal there today, in the heat. Said Dirty Harry is running scared, might be beatable.

  30. Theat's right, doug, those Swiss, they certainly do have a selective memory.
    Not a lot of empathy for the Israeli, there.

    The history of how we got to where we are bores Kinuachdrach, he wants something else, perhaps an echo of dispair.

    I do not complain, much, if there is no alternative that I can present which is a better approach to the problem.

    Those proposals which I had in regards the economic crisis were made in October, and were soundly rejected by the Congress and President Bush.
    There is no gain to made, complaining about the projected course of GM and Chrysler, without being able to present another, better, option. Those were presented months ago, and were rejected, soundly, too.

    I have no expertise in the auto industry, no training in that field, at all. So I do not give much advise, about that.

    As to finance, at a macro level, my understanding is simplistic, to be sure. I understand the basic premises that Milton Friedman advocated and tend to think that he was more right than wrong.

    But he is out of favor, now.

    So I go to what I know, social trends and military operation orders. Organization and motivations, but not to much time spent on motive, more time spent on the realities of who, what, where and then that always subjective, why.

    Going down the list of today's challenges, the trends and five W's are still all about Team 43, The policy changes made by Mr Obama have yet to take effect. This was highlighted by the thread, just the other day, which referenced how little of the Obama stimulous had reached the street, so far.

    Because it was designed that way, as part of the standard budget proccess. Perhaps that was an error, but the TARP 1 program proved, at least to me, that handing the Executive $750 Billion, to do with as they would, was terrible policy.

    Said so at the time, but we had to do something, or so I was informed.

    I think Obama is on the right track, in Afpakistan, at least sending six stars to manage the way forward. That is the major issue of the day, to my mind, all the others fading in signifigance to that conflict, against that enemy, there.

    He is right on Iraq, where he is following the modified Bush course. And, I think he is right on the Levant.

    He is doing as well as can be expected, across the ponds.
    If you do not think so, offer any series of alternatives, please,

    Domesticly, I have less interest in what the Federals do, my personal options not that effected by the mismanagement of the Federals. That has been a given, for me, over the past 40 years.

    The debt that Mr Reagan saddled the next generation with, setting new standards of irresponsibility in governace, which has only been amplified by each Administration since.

    No new news, there. We continue ahead, maintaining course and speed.

  31. BTW, our Debt Service is about $29 Billion LESS than it was a couple of years, ago. Remember, Dubya financed most of his debt with very short-term instruments. A lot of "Twos, and Fives." The last year we've been rolling those over at Very Low interest rates.

    Look, this debt ain't pretty, but it's nowhere near what it's being made out to be. The CBO's hands are tied in what it can "forecast." If money is spent "this year," they have to forecast it being spent "every year." Their hands are also tied as to what income they can forecast.

    It's to both party's (self-perceived) interests to preach "doom, and gloom," at this point. Mix a "Tall" one (not a laitte,) and go catch a little-league ballgame, or something. You'll be amazed. Life goes on.

  32. May 27, 2009

    Paying For Social Security

    Gates Of Vienna explains how Germans paid for Social Security.

    How socialist was Hitler? Let us look at the government contributions to social security between 1938 and 1943 (in millions of Reichsmarks)
    1938 640
    1939 749 +16%
    1940 940 +26%
    1941 1395 +48%
    1942 963 -31%
    1943 1119 +16%
    This is how socialist Hitler was. He commanded a solidarity and social justice policy the current Social Democrats can only dream about.

    The question is: how could Hitler pay for this all? Well, the 31% decline in spending on social security in 1942 reveals it. In that year, the expropriation of the rights of Jews to social security was processed in the accounts.

    Hitler's welfare was paid by the theft of Jewish property and wealth. First in Germany and later in the lands under German occupation. Six million people were first robbed and then forced to work without payment. Only when Hitler's Socialists couldn't make any money on them anymore were they murdered.

    There was nothing irrational about the Holocaust. It was the only way Hitler could finance his social security. And that very same social security was the reason that the Germans got carried away with him, despite the hardships of war. They gained: the companies and houses of Jews were available for "nothing". Jewish household goods and clothing went to those who lost their homes in the bombings. Money, jewels, and gold went to the state.

    The question for us in America is WWOD. What Will Obama Do? Who will be declared surplus? No longer an asset to the State? All I can do is to remind you of what The Silhouettes used to sing about. Get A Job before you become a silhouette. The government needs your money.

    Note that the book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change is mentioned often in the comments and the post. You might want to give it a read.

    BTW who do I think will be "allowed" to die? The old and infirm. It is a twofer. It cuts down on Social Security payments and reduces medical expenses. And if we get government health care the culling will begin early. Starting with the birth of "unproductive" children. Maybe that is why liberals were so offended by Sarah Palin's Downs Syndrome child.

    H/T Dave, R. via e-mail

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

  33. "I think Obama is on the right track, in Afpakistan ... He is right on Iraq .. he is right on the Levant ... He is doing as well as can be expected, across the ponds."

    Yeah -- and he still gives you that thrill up your leg.

    Obama is in fact projecting weakness around the world. It is obvious that Iran, North Korea, China, Syria, Israel and others have all taken the measure of the man -- and human beings are going to die needlessly because of Obama's arrogant stupidity.

    It did not have to be this way. He came in with a lot of good will. He could have pursued bipartisanship, talked truth to power (in Congress) about the need to get spending under control. He could have committed funds to the F-22 instead of to ACORN. He could have committed to a major expansion of nuclear power.

    But he missed the opportunity then. Does Obama have what it takes to change course & start doing those things now? I for one would applaud him if he did. But we already know the answer to that question.

    Still, ol' DR can probably find some reason why Obama's fatal intransigence is all Bush's fault. Yes, that's it! Anything that Obama does wrong must be Bush's fault.

  34. Treat Sotomayor As Estrada Was Treated--

    Truly the dems are experts at hypocrisy. And the memory of events is short. Really good article. Good ol' Chucky Shumer, one of the worst hypocrites of the whole bunch.

  35. Remember the cool Black Panther dudes that intimidated voters at some Philly polling station, nightsticks in hand?

    Obama Justice Department drops the case. Overruling the career Justice Department lawyers.


  36. Well K, the Russians have pulled their military back from Georgia, after measuring Obama.
    The Turks have stepped up in Lebanon, after measuring Obama and the Pakistani have stepped way, way up, after measuring Obama.

    Those are three hard cases, in three months. Where Team Obama has out performed the status que of the past four years, at least.

    Mr Bush promised that he would not allow Iran to reach nuclear capability, saying it was uunacceptable, he lied, he did accept it.

    Much was promised and little delivered, in regards Iran and it's nuclear program.
    Why was this the case?

    Seems to me because there are no acceptable solutions, that stop the Iranian nuke program while assuring the free flow of oil.

    Given the National Interests of the US, a nuke capable Iran is less a liability than an oil shock to the economy. That decision was made by Mr Bush, ratified by Team Obama.

    There must be a viable reason that two such divergent Presidents came to the same conclusion.

  37. "the Russians have pulled their military back from Georgia, after measuring Obama.
    The Turks have stepped up in Lebanon, after measuring Obama and the Pakistani have stepped way, way up, after measuring Obama."

    There's that thrill up the leg again.

    Give the Russians a cheap plastic button (probably made in China) with the Russian word for "overcharge" written in Latin script (not Cyrillic), and they suddenly get the same thrill up their legs? Just wait.

    Having an armed insurrection 60 miles from the capital tends to wake politicians up. Worked in the US during the War Between the States. Works in Pakistan too.

    Turks in Lebanon? In what parallel universe?

    But if it helps you sleep at night knowing that Obama is watching over you personally, devoting every hour of every day to keeping you safe, carry on.

  38. Oh, come on, K, that the Turks are in Lebanon, advising and training the Lebanese Army was wi"o"'s scoop. Another grand threat to Israel, as he saw it.

    They're already there, amigo, in Lebanon, along with the Franks, Romans and Spanish.

    Four NATO stalwarts, all in the Levant, already.

    If you want us to judge your fears, you'll have to lay out the scenarios you see enveloping US.

    The ISI and the Paki Army, I would not be surprised if they engineered the entire Taliban advance, to facilitate a faight and withdrawl, but there is no evidence of that, publicly.

    You can keep yourself wrapped in a blanket of fear and anxiety, if you wish.
    Me, I'm still bettin' on the United States. You can place your bets on whomever you please.

    America, amigo, love it or leave it.