Syria Degenerates

The US has turned inward. The nooze has become a high-caloried stream of confectionary nonsense from Washingtoon, spiced up with genuine budgetary horrors. The diversions keep coming, keeping everyone’s attention away from the real stories – possible treason and a lot of incompetence.

Meanwhile, Syria has become significantly more dangerous. In the very near future it’s reasonable that the situation will demand genuine leadership and careful negotiation. Given that this is nearly impossible, based on the narcissistic machismo which substitutes for leadership on nearly all sides, the potential for something even more horrible is rising daily.

But it’s hardly being reported at all.

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Fake? Maybe. Fattening, Yes.

As a decade of Barataria approaches, the stories from 10 years ago have a strange relevance.  This piece is dated for two reasons – there are still local newspapers of interest and there is yet to be a staggering facebook phenom.  But the principle is the same.  It’s not that the news is fake as much as it is largely irrelevant.  It might as well be fake.  The devolution over the last decade is staggering – yet it could have been predicted.  I didn’t.  But the point still stands.

How many times have we read the really big story on the front of the newspaper with great interest? How often have we talked about it with our friends and colleagues the next day?

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Good Season(al Adjustment)

By the time you read this, the big news is likely to be jobs. It hasn’t been a hot topic since the election, and most of what was said during that strange period wasn’t exactly true. The big job gains for February, along with a large round-up for January, make it impossible to ignore.

The economy has definitely turned around.

It’s all over but the shouting, of which there will be a lot. There is little doubt that Republicans will claim credit for a big turnaround in 2017, which will be utter crap. This has been a long time in the making and things have not been actually bad for a long time. Nevermind. Positive news will feed on itself and everyone will be happier.

But there is one final twist to the very good news – it’s really in the adjustment.

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A Glance at the Dashboard

With all of the noise coming from general politics there’s hardly been any space left over for economic news. There’s nothing like a huge distraction to keep people’s minds off of how things are going in the areas which really matter the most.

So how are we doing?

One handy measure comes to us from what Barataria has taken to calling Yellen’s Dashboard. This is a list of the five most stubbornly bad indicators that were simply not turning around 3 years ago, despite many signs of improvement. With the Fed sending strong signals that rate hikes are assured in coming months they make a good place to start the conversation.

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Ready for the Main Event?

Before the circus came to town, it was Barataria’s position that we’d all be wise to ignore it as much as we possibly can. Obviously, we don’t heed our own advice.

Then again, things are happening which may point right at the heart of the problem – the flurry of Washingtoonia that actually winds up making a difference. In the great three ring circus of government it’s time to keep your eyes firmly on the center ring – and whether the supposedly tamed bear eats the Ringmaster.

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Do We Have an Actual President?

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. I have said many times that the best thing to do with President Trump is to ignore his antics. His address to Congress is the chance to redeem it all and make something happen.

In keeping with what passes for press today, here is my live commentary.

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Syria: The Next Phase

The war in Syria and Iraq continues. Our press continues to report it very badly, never providing any context whatsoever. How can anyone make sense of what’s going on or the likely conquest of Da’esh/ISIS which is in the works?

This is a brief update on the situation which is strangely not provided in any other outlet. Keep in mind, however, the essential truths about the ongoing battle with Da’esh:

  1. They pose no significant threat to the United States.
  2. In fact, the entire region is largely irrelevant to the US.
  3. The lack of relevance is not going to stop us from blundering remarkably close to a global conflict.

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the reality of this situation which is generally ignored.

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