Monday, May 16, 2011

Debt, more debt, and a bit of Afghanistan

I've been remiss. Sorry. Let's try to catch up a little.

So the US reached its current debt ceiling today, and Timmy Boy Geithner was only too happy to dip into the pension funds of federal employees to prolong the suspense. Nobody was surprised, and the yawns resonated across the Potomac. Wall Street, apparently, is not at all worried.

Why isn't Wall Street worried? My guess is that the Street is sure that nothing that happens will be in any way damaging to the Street. Oh, for Christ's sake, that's not a guess — that's just a totally non-creative reading of the way life is, these days. All I can hope for is that Democrats won't give in to "triggers" unless there are tax increase triggers as well as spending cut triggers. Hopefully, they won't have to look to Obama for leadership.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is in a New York City jail at the moment. Is it entirely likely that he, as a powerful world leader, has the testosterone, the hubris, and the disdain for lower class African immigrants to be guilty. Quite possibly, if he stopped to think at all, he presumed she was an illegal, and hence wouldn't report the assault.

On the other hand, it's not outside the realm of possibility that he was set up. Nicholas Sarkozy can't be terribly upset — in fact, quite a few champagne corks must have been popping at UMP headquarters when the news broke. A more likely scenario, though, is that certain bankers holding short positions on Greek debt find it in their interest to stop another bailout of Greece. With Strauss-Kahn out of the picture, the inevitable default is likely to come far sooner.

NYPD says it has forensic evidence supporting the alleged assault, which seems a little odd considering it took the form of what Bill Clinton famously called "not sex." The maid, who came from a Francophone country where France continues to exercise a good deal of economic power, must have shown extraordinary presence of mind — especially for a presumably traumatized woman pushing around a cart well stocked with those little bottles of mouthwash. Yes, testosterone, hubris, and disdain offer a more likely explanation, but I'm just saying that's not the only explanation.
Meanwhile, John Kerry and a few others are suggesting that the recent Osamacide makes a somewhat accelerated exit from Afghanistan more acceptable. Sadly, somewhat accelerated is not likely to mean "next week," but at least Petraeus is keeping his mouth shut for the moment, which is appropriate for the future director of the CIA.

Now, if only Asif Ali Zardari and Ahmad Shuja Pasha can persuade Pakistani Islamists that they really didn't have anything to do with bin Laden's assassination, and also persuade Hamid Karzai he's better of accommodating Pakistan than India, some real progress in getting the US the hell out of Afghanistan might be achieved.

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