Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's The Same Everywhere

In the eastern hemisphere the Afghanistan government and international governments are trying to tackle a different crisis.

In the western hemisphere the United States is trying to tackle an economic "crisis."

In a recent article from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting is a good article by Aziz Ahmad Tassal and Mohammad IIyas Dayee, titles Taleban Hamper Musa Qala Reconstruction Efforts.

In it Mullah Abdul Salaam, the district governor of Musa Qala says that after British and Afghan troops retook his district from the Taleban, there has been no assistance.  In the article he says, "My relations with Hamed Karzai (Afghan President) are very good.  But the president himself cannot do anything.  I have problems with Karzai's ministers.  They do not listen to the president and they promise to do things but they never do."

The economic "crisis" in the U.S. is a different problem, however, it appears that U.S. ministers and experts are like Afghanistan's ministers.  They are doing and have done very little.  

House of Cards, a program found on CNBC details many of the overlapping problems that "caused" (my quotes) the current financial situation.  Some of the causes stem from home buyers purchasing homes that they couldn't even pay interest on.  But, that is just the start.

It appears that marginal mortgages were consolidated into mortgage-backed securities.  These mortgages should have been rated EEE, but the ratings agencies routinely rated them AAA--the best with no, or limited risk.

Additionally, mortgage companies "targeted" sub-prime borrowers and then sold those mortgages to financial institutions that packaged and resold them.

Through the entire process regulators were "asleep at the wheel."  Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had some interesting comments.  When asked about the complex repackaged mortgage instruments, he said that he didn't really understand them.  (He implied that he didn't discourage the use of financial instruments that the country's head financial wiz didn't understand.)  Greenspan also said that if he had tried to stop a crisis, there would have been ten percent unemployment and other negative economic consequences.  Seems that is his reason for NOT DOING ANYTHING.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Anwar Khan, provincial council head said, "Promises made by the government and the international community have not been fulfilled in Musa Qala.  Residents in Musa Qala have nothing.  [ . . .]People are very disappointed in the government, they do not trust government and they do not listen to it."

The situation on both sides of the world are different, but they seem to share the common thread of government officials not listening and not doing as promised.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


This post was originally written to be a letter-to-the-editor for the Great Falls Tribune. Two days after it had been written, Tom Daschle stepped down as Secretary of HHS-appointee. Which makes this writing a little dated, but it still explains how Washington works.

The New Emperor has arrived and proclaimed change. After ordering no government lobbyists in his government, he changed and hired one. After claiming transparency and legitimacy in his government, he changed and nominated at least two who have followed comedian Steve Martin’s advice and “forgot” to pay their taxes.

One can only assume that since neither Timothy Geithner, nor Tom Daschle have been withdrawn from their appointments, that no one could be found who had paid their taxes. (Maxus Baucusus and Johnus Testerus voted to confirm Geithner.)

Geithner and Daschle are the best men for their respective jobs.

One of Geither’s bold actions during tenure at the Federal Reserve was sending a letter that admonished Citibank for some of its business practices; what “change” will he make?
Bill Burton, The Emperor’s spokesman, said, “The president has confidence that Senator Daschle is the right person to lead the fight for health care reform.” Daschle never led any substantive healthcare reform during 18 years in the Senate; what “change” will Daschle make.

The new emperor seems to be wearing the same threadbare rags as the last.

Were is the Roman who was mature enough to vote for change, but is also childlike enough to point a straight finger and proclaim, “The Emperor, the Senate and the Praetorians have no clothes?”

The Emperor and the Senators need to look up all those roads that lead to Rome and notice that the citizenry don’t run naked through the streets proclaiming new and improved purple garments.