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February 20, 2014

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A REALIST finally! I am listening to the new FED CHAIR before the Senate. I wonder if the White House ever talks with her? She has just testified that because so many Americans are employed PART TIME and in jobs they marginally want to be in the TRUE unemployment rate is 13%. Now we are talking something nearer to the truth. After 5 years of this FED policy and this Administration unprecedented stimulus policy we are at 13%. The next step is to admit that the economy cannot possibly grow at 3-4% and create good jobs while American businesses are using cost cutting and stock buybacks to make profits. Demand for goods and service will not occur with this kind of under employment. We have the Fortune 1000 using their cash not for investments but to buy back stock. We have the government raising taxes in every deceptive way they can. We have healthcare transition costing the public and small business billions. American infrastructure rots. The long term entitlement programs that create the biggest portion of the deficits go unaddressed by a do nothing set of politicians. Right now we have Yellen telling the Senate that she can only do so much. That Congress needs to get with it and address the entitlement programs. Bernanke was not so direct but issued the same warnings to the Congress.

While I do not agree with more money printing at least she seems to be a voice of reality. Unfortunately, she cannot tell us what the answer is hen inflation increases and unemployment increases at the same time. And, that brings me back to pictures of Jimmy Carter.

PERFECT TIMING for the US Secretary of Defense to announce his desire to make major cuts in US forces. Russia moves to the border of Ukraine. North Korea fires more missiles. It may seem to be a bluff of some type on Putin's part but he has moved into Georgia in the past so it is not without precedence that he make a move into the Crimea portion of Ukraine. And, who knows who encouraged the Russian Ukrainians to take government buildings and hoist the Russian flag.

It is interesting that we now have a Secretary of State who speaks to Putin by using some reference to Rocky IV as if that is supposed to mean we do not want a return to the Cold War. Then, the White House rushes out a proxy for him to interpret what he aid. This is the second time that has happened.

TYPO First line of prior comment Palin is Putin

RETURN TOTHE COLD WAR? Ukraine reminds us of the days of the fall of the iron curtain and the Berlin wall. I suppose the continued blind eye of the west to the rise and solidification of power by Palin had to lead us to this point. After all GWB looked in his eyes and thought he saw the soul of a good man. President Obama seems to have a love hate relationship with him that goes from seeming cool adversity to a policy of caving in to Putin's need for acceptance as a Super Power once again. In the end though Putin is likely a Dictator who rules Russia under the guise of a democracy as he skillfully uses puppets to hold offices in his place from time to time. In the meantime he crushes opposition leaders, arrests voices of social unrest and likely uses his version of the KGB to run the countries industrial complex. Perhaps his intelligence forces even interact with the Russian mafia so active in the US and eastern Europe. The youth of Ukraine seem to sense the possibility of a return to the days of their parents' USSR and ant no part of it. My son, who lives in the Ukraine, reminds me that the Ukraine has a large Russian population, mostly older I suspect, who feel a loyalty to Russia. We also know that Russia has a strong interest in the oil and natural gas in Ukraine and the pipeline to Europe that flows through it.

We just watched Putin take away the US leadership on chemical weapons and Assad's government in Syria in a move to save their ally involved in a battle to save his government. Now he faces the ouster of another of his puppet heads in the Ukraine. Pressure on US and EU leaders will be exerted by Putin, no doubt. He will not back down easily to watch Ukraine become a NATO ally.

In the meantime we have China increasing their military expenditures and buildup even as they remain one of our leading trading partners. Not likely they fear Taiwan or North Korea. More likely they intend to protect their self interests in intellectual piracy, world buy up of commodities they need to dominate the manufacturing processes, make sure their communist style government does not fall to revolution by the new growing middleclass, or needing 50% of the world's food supply in the next 20 years preparing to make sure they can get it from the oceans and neighboring countries if necessary.

In response to all of this the new US Secretary of Defense calls for massive cuts in the US military budget. The new reality he says means the US will never again fight a large scale land war. many of the things the military does are redundant and there is always a need for efficiency. But, the ability to deter land wars between north and South Korea. The Russians from invading Ukraine. Iran from moving into Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan are not so prudently dismissed in my mind. Secretary of Defense Gates who so brilliantly served both Bush and Obama is not likely to agree to these big cuts so long as there are communist governments, Russian dictators, Iranian Mullahs and Al Queda leaders on the horizon.

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