In this interview, I discuss what’s needed for microfinance institutions to progress and develop in the Middle East, how we began and implemented our programs in that region, and the milestones we recently celebrated in Georgia and Pakistan.
I want to thank The Banker‘s Middle East editor, James King, for having me on the show. Here’s the link:
Having time on my hands, I though I would dash off to Iowa to see how the Republican field is doing. To my surprise, I found Romney, whom I had written off as being too smart and competent to stand a chance with either the Limbaugh brainwashed base or the clandestine leadership, which favors congenial dimwits easily subject to manipulation, with a slim lead over the rest of the pack.
But the mood at Romney’s HQ in Des Moines was not one of jubilation. Rather, a profound gloom prevailed over his campaign team. The reason was not his competition, which he was confident he could defeat, but the less sanguine view of his chances in November.
“We’ve run the polls,” one of his organizers told me,”and if the economy stays on its current course, he looks tough to beat.”
I asked him if that meant that, contrary to the message Romney was putting out, Obama’s policies were, in fact, working.
“Oh, no,” he reassured me. “It’s not so much what he’s doing, but what he hasn’t done.”
“Well, he hasn’t attacked any other countries, borrowing a 6 trillion dollars to establish a new ally of our worst enemy in the middle east while giving Al Queda another toehold, which they didn’t have before. Nor has he deregulated Wall Street to the point where it can crash the global economy again, requiring another 4 trillion dollars of debt to repair the damage.”
“I see what you mean,” I said. “So what’s your plan?”
“I have an idea,” said Karl Rove, who had just joined us. “Since Romney can’t beat Obama, have him run against someone else.”
“Like who?” the organizer asked, skeptical.
“A made up candidate. For example, one who is a socialist and believes in the government controlling everything, and who hates America and believes that the fruits of those who work for a living should be redistributed to those who don’t.”
“Brilliant! And how about if we make him an African American, to boot!”
“He IS an African American,” someone in the back of the room noted.
The gloom resettled over the Romney team.
Suddenly, Rove smiled. “How about an African American who was born in Africa?”
Pictured here is a Harry Ferguson tractor, made in Detroit in 1950. It still runs. Okay, so the brakes don’t work, which my brother-in-law discovered when he fired it up and ended up crashing into and over turning his pick up. But what a beast! And still going strong 62 years later.
Hmmmmmm, sounds like………..
Had this tractor been made today, it would probably have a shelf life of about 5 years, thanks to Planned Obsolescence, which became all the rage shortly after this marvel of machinery was born in Detroit’s now quiet forge. What a brilliant innovation! Deliberately make junk that breaks and needs to be replaced a few years down the road, forcing your customers to fork over another big capital investment.
This idea worked fine until people began to think “Well, if I’m going to be forced to buy junk anyway, I may as well pay less for it.”
Hence the rise of China and the decline of Industrial America.
Okay, so it’s more complicated than that, but not much.
Meanwhile, as we look to the East — and the Middle East — it’s pretty much trouble as far as the eye can see. In Europe, it’s still who will blink first: Italian tax cheats or German and French bond holders. In South Yemen, a deal was struck which resulted in Saleh stepping down. But guess what? The Mob says “Not enough”. The Mob wants Saleh to be held accountable for his crimes and the murder of his countrymen. The Mob wants justice, in other words.
Take heed, Assad. Take heed, Egyptian military.
Meanwhile, our own Congress behaves as if it had all the time in the world to sort out our mess.
I find it fascinating — morbidly so — how differently the Republican and Democrats treat their radical fringes. We Democrats throw ours under the bus at the first sign of trouble. The Republicans put theirs in the driver’s seat.
Oh ‘Bama, why hast thou forsaken us?
Barring a revolt of the Liberals in the Senate and House (are there any?), it looks like a massive victory for the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, and those who think the poor people in this country should make all the sacrifices and the wealthiest should……get more tax breaks. That strategy has worked brilliantly in the Middle East, so, yeah, let’s try it!
Meanwhile, Kim had to issue a ‘tweet back’ to some of her more rabid fans, who apparently discovered where she lived and have staked (stalked?) out her mans in the Hills. She appealed them to respect ‘my personal space’. Whew, so she has some, that’s good.
And, yes, I still edged her out on the Velocity of Tweet Growth Index, 4% to 2%, although she surged an impressive 174,619 to my…….3. Come on, Followers, show me some love!
I finally managed to chop the zambia video into digestible chunks. I will be alternating these with the more conventional pieces so we don’t lose the threads of the other themes, the Middle East, Microfinance, Don Quixote, etc. Some of the camera work is rough, as my wing man, Ben was still working out the technology, but we’ll have it cleaned up in time for Cannes.
Well now I’m blogged, tweeted, facebooked and youtubed — what’s next? Bring it on!
On second thought, please don’t, not yet, read my lips: NO NEW APPS! Let me digest these, first.
After five weeks on the road, I’m back at the res in Bethesda, catching up on work, bills, repairs, and, of course, Don Quijote. In a neat twist, I discovered that I was just pages from the end of the “Primera Parte”
(a mere 660 pages), where our protagonist returns home to La Mancha from his first series of adventures. DJ is carried into his house amidst the lamentations of his wife and maid, stripped naked and tossed into bed where he is presently recovering and gathering strength for his next “salida”. The priest and the canonist, thankfully, have gone their merry ways.
I have more clips from Zambia which will appear in this space in days to come, including a shameless promotion for the “Handbook” , plus observations on Libya and the rest of the Middle East (quick take: O, stop trying to be the anti-Bush. And don’t worry about Security Council members who want to preserve their right to garrot journalists and crush their citizens beneath tanks)
Meanwhile, here is a clip of one of our clients, Evelyn, plying her trade in the main market in Lusaka: