American Elephants

Egypt: Watching and Waiting. by The Elephant's Child

Michael J. Economides, editor in chief of the Energy Tribune, has a brief summary of the dysfunctionalities of three large North African countries, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, for those of us who need to do a little catching up with these Arab countries.

The recent regime change in Tunisia, but more to the point, the exploding unrest in Egypt has once again brought up the sordid past of Arab regimes. However, these two are certainly not isolated cases.

The dysfunctionalities of three large North African countries, Egypt, Libya and Algeria are transparent. For decades they have been the real “root causes” of the region’s many ailments: persistent inability to absorb modernity, total misunderstanding of democracy, corruption, and clearly, as a defensive crutch by a visibly dispirited population, increased Islamic fundamentalism. Contrary to what the West would expect, more women wear the veil today than 20 years ago.

The problems in these countries persist irrespective of these regimes’ stand with the West. Ally or foe, and they can change; they seem unable to evolve into anything that one would consider as progress. What’s worse is that since all of them sit atop some of the largest oil and gas deposits, the problems of these countries affect the rest of the world. Something made all the more important because of their proximity to Europe.

The president addressed the people of Egypt today, but as they supposedly have the TV shut down, I don’t know if anyone heard him.  It is completely obvious that we have no control over what happens in Egypt, and we don’t seem to have any real core principles either in dealing with the Arab world.  President Obama was in his full lecturing mode, annoyingly hectoring, with all the usual platitudes:

What is clear — and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak — is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.

John Hinderaker captured the moment: “The reasonable inference is that Obama is still waiting to see what happens next, and, once events have taken further shape, he will again scurry to the front of the parade, as though he were leading it.”

The Greedy Bastard Theory of Politics by The Elephant's Child

There was a great piece at American Thinker yesterday, called “The Greedy Bastards Paradox.” President Obama, in his State of the Union Speech, claimed that the road to economic wonders, the rescue of our economy and full employment resided in the pursuit of a clean green economy. Graceful wind turbines, solar shingles, high-speed rail — you know the litany.

Bet on green and you win the future. Let’s also stipulate, as the left believes, that private capital in America is in the hands of greedy bastards — capitalists who will do anything for a buck.

The question then becomes why all those greedy bastards are not pouring money into the epochal investment opportunity that President Obama unveiled.  Why is Wall Street not running up the stocks of companies positioned to flourish in the coming green economy?  Where are the private equity firms that should be knocking down the doors of the solar shingle company that the President touted?  Why aren’t hedge fund sharpies jumping into high-speed rail?  After all, if Warren Buffet or John Paulson delivered a speech that laid out the way to win the future, every other greedy bastard would be shoveling money into their ideas before the applause was over.

An excellent observation. Do read the whole thing. There’s a great lesson there.  Pay attention to the greedy bastards who are investing their own money and doing their own due diligence, instead of listening to the siren songs of the rent-seeking snake-oil promoters.

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