The Obama administration has been a disaster, to put it mildly. America has had so many chances to do the right thing but it just can't seem to do it.The day after I posted this, TiVo shares lost 15 cents to $9.42. But on the other hand, Vonage shares soared 29 cents to $4.84. This, however, does not contradict my theory about the price movements of Vonage and TiVo shares.
We made our first mistake by letting Lehman Brothers go under and not responding swiftly to the ensuing financial crisis. Granted, the Bush administration made the first mistakes in this process. But Obama played along and compounded the problems. After his election but before his inauguration, he refused to do anything to step in and fix things, presumably, because he agreed with the Bush administration and wanted to let the financial system collapse for a while. The market didn't begin its recovery until the spring of 2009.
America let the financial system collapse for two reasons. We wanted to correct the trade imbalances and we wanted to put pressure on other countries, in particular Japan. By crashing our economy, we did decrease domestic demand in America. At the start of the crisis, China enacted a robust stimulus package which greatly expanded its domestic demand. These two actions had the effect of significantly reducing the trade imbalances, though these actions obviously didn't completely correct the problem. This was a really stupid way of doing things. By crashing the system, we dramatically increased our government debt. A better way of doing things would have been to cut spending and increase taxes. That too would have cooled off our economy and it wouldn't have had the disastrous effect of increasing our debt. Crashing the financial system had one other effect as well. It put a lot of pressure on Japan. The financial crisis basically cut their exports in half. It appears we did that in an attempt to pressure Japan into bailing us out. That didn't work.
We should not have sent more troops to Afghanistan. We spend well over $100 billion a year on that operation. They aren't that many members of Al Qaeda. For each member of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we are spending something like $1 billion per year to go after them. That's crazy. Al Qaeda is not the threat our government made it out to be. Our intelligence community could have prevented 9/11 if they so desired. We knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened. If you need convincing, watch the Spy Factory, a documentary produced by our government. That documentary shows, among other things, that we had the satellite phone of Osama bin Laden tapped before the attacks. Of course, there is lot's more information which shows that we knew about the attacks before they occurred, but I won't get into that here.
Obama probably sent more troops to Afghanistan for the same reason that Bush sent more troops to Iraq. We wanted to protect our reputation. Adding a couple thousand more troops to either Iraq or Afghanistan could not win the war in and of itself. However, both the insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq were supported by foreign actors, presumably in Europe. Europe may have publicly opposed the surge in Iraq and Afghanistan, but privately, I guarantee you they supported it. They did not want a group of Muslim extremists to triumph over the West any more than we did. The surge gave the illusion that our military might won the war, but it did not. The insurgents in Iraq stopped fighting because their foreign backers told them to. I believe Europe told those insurgents in Iraq to stop fighting us after America started to distance itself from Japan. If you look at the timeline of when things improved in Iraq and when relations deteriorated with Japan, those two timelines overlap nicely. There is nothing Europe wants more than for America to keep its distance from East Asia. I believe we did the second surge in Afghanistan for the same reason. But this time it didn't work because Japan didn't cave in and give the West what it wanted, which presumably, was a bailout.
We should not have insisted on keeping the existing Futenma relocation plan. We are already spending too much money on our military. When Japan asked us to get rid of Futenma, we should have counted our blessings and closed the facility. The people of Okinawa do not want it and Japan does not need it for its defense.
We badly screwed up the Middle East peace process. Though this problem seems intractable to observers, this problem is very much solvable. Almost everyone agrees on the solution, which would be something like the solution proposed a decade ago during the Clinton administration. Obama should have figured out a solution, announced it, and insisted that both Israel and Palestine accept it, or else America and the world would stop supporting both countries. Had Obama done this, Israel and Palestine would have accepted our solution.
We didn't do that because whomever runs our country does not want a peace agreement, or at least they didn't for the first two and a half years. This may or may not change in the future. The only reason this may change is because our government may realize how bad it is for us now that everyone else realizes that we don't want peace.
Our government screwed up again when it extended the Bush tax cuts. In America, the top 10% hold about 80% of all financial assets. And despite our exploding deficit we just gave them a tax cut.
We caused all sorts of problems when we printed $600 billion in a quantitative easing program known as QE2. This flooded emerging markets with hot money and increased inflation worldwide. The countries on the receiving end have raised their interest rates in response, but that only exacerbated the problem as raising interest rates only attracted even more money from overseas as investors in America took advantage of the higher interest rates in those countries. This was great for American investors. In addition to earning them a higher rate of return because of the higher interest rates, the hot money also lowered the value of the dollar and raised the value of their overseas assets. But it has not worked out well for other countries.
Besides QE2, the war in Libya has also increased inflation worldwide as speculators drive up the price of oil. The Jasmine Revolution is yet another thing that America and Europe have unleashed upon the Middle East that has increased inflation (like the previous two oil shocks) and killed Muslims. Though we were quick to bomb Libya, we have been much less swift and effective in sanctioning the regime. That seems odd. Our government has said that Gaddafi has a group of mercenaries protecting him. Our government has said that once Gaddafi runs out of money he will run out of support. If that is true, shouldn't we try harder to sanction his regime?
Our government has hurt our economy and our environment by screwing up our resource extraction industries. They caused both the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the recent spill of fracking fluid. They did this in an attempt to convince the public to restrain the amount of oil and natural gas we produce in America. This hurts our economy and increases our trade deficit. However, the powers that be have apparently decided that they want us to use oil and gas from other countries and not pay for it. Either that, or they want to use our trade deficit as an excuse to complain to other countries, namely China, about how their currencies are too low or their markets are too closed and that is why America has a trade deficit, not because we don't use enough of our own resources.
Most of these things, and perhaps all of these things, that were done by our government, supported by our elite, were probably carried out by our intelligence community. They keep screwing things up. And our government keeps letting them do it. George Bush had a chance to rein them in after 9/11, but he didn't because he said, I believe, that he wanted them to continue to take risks. Then we had the financial crisis, we didn't get Japan to bail us out, and I remember reading an article written by Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, pleading with the public, saying how America doesn't need to shake up its intelligence community. No problem here. Now we have unleashed disaster in the Middle East and once again I'm sure the CIA is trying to convince everyone how this latest disaster isn't its fault either. As long as we continue to play these games, other countries will not trust us. They will retaliate.
Over and over again, instead of stopping our bad behavior, we've doubled down and made things worse. We need to stop this. We need to tell the truth, start acting responsibly, and move on. But instead of doing that, we insist on compounding our mistakes by uttering more lies, killing more people, launching new wars, racking up more debt, splitting more countries, and making more enemies.
This process has been very painful for me, in many ways. You people need to stop drugging me and start telling the truth.
And one more thing, Obama must go. It's time to give someone else a chance and it's time to give another country a chance.
Soon after I posted this article, Blogger, the service that hosts my blogs, began malfunctioning. Apparently, Blogger started failing at 10:30 PM on May 11, two hours and a half hours after I posted this article.
To repair the damage, Google took a series of actions that effectively deleted all the posts made after 7:37 AM on May 11 (which included this article).
Eventually, Blogger restored the missing posts. I don’t remember exactly when they restored this post. But based on another post that I wrote on my blog, it seems like they didn’t have it restored by the closing bell on May 13.
As to why Vonage shares rose on May 12, I can’t say for sure. Perhaps my government was happy that I could no longer post anything on Blogger. Incidentally, after May 12, Vonage shares declined for three straight days. TiVo shares declined on May 16 (they were almost completely flat on May 13 and May 17).