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Friday, July 19, 2019

"Transportation Recession" Gets Uglier by Wolf Richter Jul 15, 2019 After the boom comes the bust. Freight shipments in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.3% in June compared to June last year, after having fallen 6.0% in May, the seventh month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. This decline, along with other freight indicators, including orders for heavy trucks, now clearly outline the new Transportation Recession – number 2 since the Great Recession – in this very cyclical business:" read more

Thursday, June 20, 2019

U.S. rail traffic dipped again for the week ending April 20, according to data from the Association of American Railroads. Year-to-date U.S. rail traffic totaled 8.24 million carloads and intermodal units, a 1.8 percent decline from the same period in 2018. Of that total, U.S. carloads, which represented 48 percent of traffic, were down 2.7 percent to 3.97 million carloads, while intermodal units fell 1 percent to 4.27 million units. Rail traffic was also down from a weekly perspective. For week 16 of 2019, total U.S. traffic fell by 2.4 percent to 526,141 carloads and intermodal units compared with the same weekly period in 2018.


" 'Correct, but isn't the discussion about the wars in the ME?'


'Why weren't they 'over in weeks'? Even WW1 and WW2 wasn't 'over in weeks' in the ME.


It's speculation, of course, since politics tied the generals' hands, but it seems if a highly sophisticated fighting machine could win a global conflict in 4 years against other sophisticated fighting machines, it could win a regioanal conflict against a less sophisticated oponent in much less time. But again, the generals' hands are tied by politics. They weren't in WW2 Can you imagine what WW2 would have been like if the generals were told, "no collateral damage!" That war would have drug on for much longer, just as they are in the ME.
#42 | Posted by goatman at 2019-08-20 06:47 AM"

Your speculation isn't supported by historical facts. Similarly, your premise substantially ignores the other issues referred to in the link I provided above:

The ME has "enjoyed" the brunt of the latest/greatest equipped armies for millennia. In all that time, lasting peace has not been acquired. Surely that can't be attributed to politically hampered generals in all cases. In addition, comparing the WW2 victory by the Allies to the situation in the ME is difficult to fathom. The geographic/military scenarios are vastly different. It also completely ignores the multi-front advantage that the Allies had once Germany attacked the USSR. One could make a reasonable case that the USSR could have defeated Germany all by itself, even if it obviously would have taken longer.

Bottom line: the historical record repeatedly discounts the notion that a simple military solution alone will be effective in gaining lasting peace in the ME. Doing the same thing over and over has not produced different results.

""That's why Iraq dragging on for years is beyond comprehension. "

It's not incomprehensible if you consider that politicians fought the war and boo hooing liberals who screamed whenever an alleged milk factory got bombed or a mosque harboring munitions was targeted.

If the wars in the ME were fought like WW2, they'd be over in weeks
#23 | Posted by goatman at 2019-08-20 04:49 AM"

It is astounding how much power you ascribe to screaming 'boo hooing liberals'! Especially since, until very recently, the GOP enjoyed the control of all three branches of government for two years. Even now, the GOP has only partially been hampered in the exercise of their power.

BTW, wasn't there involvement of the Middle East in both WW1 and WW2? Weren't those conflicts "fought like WW2"?
How'd that work out? As long as we seem to be given over to simplistic solutions to the political situation in the Middle East, I'll conveniently do likewise and minimize the millennia of decentralized/tribal governments having any bearing upon the present situation.

The problem, IMHO, is not so much the capability (or lack of capability) of various armies to inflict shock/awe as the inability to have an effective plan of what to do once the dust settles. Much of the intensity of today's woe's in the Middle East can be directly traced to the FUBAR that the British implemented after WW1:


As Frank Zappa correctly noted in 'Trouble Comin' Every Day':

" 'Cause the fire in the street
Ain't like the fire in the heart ..."

Until there's a solution to the 'fire in their hearts', no amount of munitions will effect more than a temporary halt to the hostilities.

Speaking of being "not even close":

Election day in 2008 was November 4, 2008 (not November 9, 2008).
The DJIA close on November 4, 2008 was 9625.3 (not 12815.3).
It was the "Strongest Election Day Stock Rally in 24 Years":

Election day in 2016 was November 8, 2016.
The DJIA close on November 8, 2016 was 18,332.7.
Today (August 15, 2019) the DJIA close was 25,579.4.
This would amounts to a 39.5% increase.

A comparable time interval for President Obama would be on August 11, 2011.
The DJIA close on August 11, 2008 was 11,143.3
This would amount to a 15.8% increase.

Given that the DJIA had been falling for at least a year (since October 2007) before the 2008 election (and would continue to drop until March of 2009) and that the DJIA had been increasing for a historical 92 (!) months (since March 2009), it would appear that President Obama's tenure witnessed an incredible/sustained turnaround in the DJIA while President Trump's tenure has simply witnessed a continuation of that turnaround in the DJIA.

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