The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
"Today the Whitehouse put out a private briefing to reporters about Wikileaks and me and it quoted a section from an interview with me in Die Spiegel saying that I enjoy crushing ——--.
"Somehow the Whitehouse finds that offensive.
"In terms of returning to the United States I don’t know. Our sources advise from inside the US government that there were thoughts of whether I could be charged as a co-conspirator to espionage, which is serious.
"That doesn’t seem to be the thinking within the United States any more however there is the other possibility of being detained as a material witness and being kept either in confinement or not being allowed to leave the country until the Manning case is concluded."
You can implode our banking system all you want but don’t you dare mess with our 9 year long wars.
Despite pessimism that the war in Afghanistan is turning out to be a quagmire, Democrats controlling the House muscled through a plan Thursday to finance President Barack Obama’s troop surge, but only after sweetening the measure with last-ditch moves to salvage their faltering jobs agenda.
Long delayed, the approximately $80 billion bill was passed amid building pressure on Democrats to act before their weeklong Fourth of July break begins. But the Senate approved a significantly slimmer measure in May and it’ll take additional weeks to reconcile the differences between the two battling chambers.
The crucial vote to advance the measure under unusually convoluted floor rules came on a 215-210 tally to bring up the nearly $60 billion Senate-passed measure for debate. Democrats added more than $20 billion for domestic programs late Thursday, including $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs, $5 billion for Pell Grants to low-income college students and $700 million to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
House Republicans supportive of the Afghanistan effort voted against the measure, angered that Democrats were using the must-pass legislation to try to advance unrelated spending.
"The Democrat majority is treating this troop funding bill like a cash-cow for their election-year wish-list," said Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.
But top Democrats such as Obey and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted on adding the domestic dollars, viewing the war funding bill as their last, best shot to resuscitate their faltering jobs agenda. The money was critical to winning support from Democrats frustrated over deepening Senate gridlock that has killed, among other ideas, $24 billion in aid to cash-starved states
I generally like Alan so I was stunned to see this bit of pandering - although perhaps I shouldn’t be, given that it’s election season and every one of the critters in Congress is trying desperately to justify their salaries.
5 minutes of worthwhile video, but….. (you knew there would be a "but", right?)
Yes, we could cut the separate funding for Afghanistan and Iraq. Of course we would then have the troops here, which still results in them being paid salaries, right?
The cost of a war isn’t just fuel for planes, bombs to drop and bullets to shoot. It is also salaries for our soldiers, salaries for the development of weapons, salaries for places like Eglin and other bases. If the total spent goes down that support to the economy goes down too.
You won’t see me argue for greater federal spending in the general sense. But I will argue that until and unless you deal with the energy situation and our 40 years of stupidity in that regard walking away from the sources of our nation’s energy isn’t exactly smart.
Worse, however, Alan Grayson wants to give 90% of the money he would "save" through this move to "the people", thereby not actually withdrawing the deficit spending (which we should do), but instead shifting it.
$16 billion of "deficit reduction", so he claims. But he’s not mentioning the $1.6 trillion in deficit that we have.
Cutting $160 billion wouldn’t be all that bad of an idea – that would be 10% of the deficit, and might actually matter. Indeed, it would be what I’d call "a good start."
That’s pissing into a hurricane.
Nice try at populism draped in a false cloak of "fiscal responsibility" Alan.
It’s unfortunate that "on the numbers" your bill displays an IQ smaller than your shoe size.
Next week, there is going to be a "debate" in Congress on yet another war funding bill. The bill is supposed to pass without debate, so no one will notice.
What George Orwell wrote about in 1984 has come true. What Eisenhower warned us about concerning the "military-industrial complex" has come true. War is a permanent feature of our societal landscape, so much so that no one notices it anymore.
But we’re going to change this. Today, we’re introducing a bill called ‘The War Is Making You Poor Act’. The purpose of this bill is to connect the dots, and to show people in a real and concrete way the cost of these endless wars.
Next year’s budget allocates $159,000,000,000 to perpetuate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s enough money to eliminate federal income taxes for the first $35,000 of every American’s income. Beyond that, leaves over $15 billion to cut the deficit.
And that’s what this bill does. It eliminates separate funding for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and eliminates federal income taxes for everyone’s first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for couples). Plus it pays down the national debt.
The costs of the war have been rendered invisible. There’s no draft. Instead, we take the most vulnerable elements of our population, and give them a choice between unemployment and missile fodder. Government deficits conceal the need to pay in cash for the war.
We put the cost of both guns and butter on our Chinese credit card. In fact, we don’t even put these wars on budget; they are still passed using ‘emergency supplemental’. A nine-year ‘emergency’.
Let’s show Congress the cost of these wars is too much for us.
Tell Congress that you like ‘The War Is Making You Poor Act’. No, tell Congress you love it. Act now.
When I discuss America’s accelerating descent into a fiscal abyss, I occasionally fail to mention the role that gargantuan military spending has played in getting us to this point. However, when I read reports like the following from the Inter Press Service, "Bill for Afghan War Could Run Into the Trillions," it quickly brings to mind the reason most often cited for the fall of so many great powers before us: imperial overstretch.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate is moving forward with a 59-billion-dollar spending bill, of which 33.5 billion dollars would be allocated for the war in Afghanistan.
However, some experts here in Washington are raising concerns that the war may be unwinnable and that the money being spent on military operations in Afghanistan could be better spent.
"We’re making all of the same mistakes the Soviets made during their time in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, and they left in defeat having accomplished none of their purposes," Michael Intriligator, a senior fellow at the Milken Institute, said Monday at a half-day conference hosted by the New America Foundation and Economists for Peace and Security.
"I think we’re repeating that and it’s a history we’re condemned to repeat," he said.
Intriligator also argued that the real, long-term cost of the war in Afghanistan may completely overshadow the current spending bill.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes estimated that the long-term costs – taking into account the costs of taking care of wounded soldiers and rebuilding the military – of the war in Iraq will ultimately cost three trillion dollars.
Intriligator suggested that a similar calculation for the costs of the war in Afghanistan would indicate a long-term cost of 1.5 to 2.0 trillion dollars.
"Why are we putting money into Afghanistan to fight a losing war and following the Soviet example rather than putting money into [our] local communities?" he asked.
I’ll tell you why: Because that’s what fading empires do.
Although one would doubt that the US would ‘go it alone,’ one has to question whether or not they would act in support of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Although this news piece assumes Iran is the target, other easterly destinations come to mind in the vicinity of Afghanistan.
The implications of such a strike on the world financial and commodity markets is obvious, and bears careful watching. I would doubt the US would circumvent a discussion at the United Nations. Even George W had to at least pay lip service to international support prior to his attack on Iraq.
Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.
Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.
Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971. The agreement led to 2,000 native islanders being forcibly evicted to the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Sunday Herald reported in 2007 that stealth bomber hangers on the island were being equipped to take bunker-buster bombs.
Although the story was not confirmed at the time, the new evidence suggests that it was accurate…
Crucially, the cargo includes 195 smart, guided, Blu-110 bombs and 192 massive 2000lb Blu-117 bombs.
“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” said Dan Plesch, director
In "Agenda: With George Friedman," the CEO of global intelligence company Stratfor suggests that three Islamic states — Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan — will be "the focus of intense conflicts" in 2010."
At least one Middle East commentator would probably say that talk of "intense conflicts" in the region is a major understatement. In a report at the American Chronicle, "2010 Will Witness the Most Destructive Wars in Modern History" (originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council Chairman Elias Bejjani), journalist and analyst Hamid Ghoriafi sets out a much more disturbing vision of what lies ahead:
Middle East analysts predict that the year 2010 could make the past nine years look laughable considering the kinds and ferocity of tragedies that might hit the region that has been a violent battlefield for four crushing wars.
The first two are the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and that of Baathist Saddam Hussein in Iraq which were toppled by force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida group that targeted New York´s twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington.
As a result of this deadly attack, Lebanon’s political and military map was changed in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. By the end of this devastating war, an Israeli security belt was established inside the entire southern Lebanese territory as far as 20 miles to the south of the Litani area.
In 2000 Israel withdrew its troops from a previous security belt in southern Lebanon, to a distance not exceeding four kilometers. This new wide Israeli belt on her borders inside Lebanon is maintained by a force from 34 countries under the UN flag, and not by her own troops as was the situation before 2000.
Meanwhile, Lebanon, Syria and Iran were forced to approve the redeployment of the Lebanese army in the entire southern region, including the Lebanese –Israeli borders after it was driven away by the Syrian occupation all through its 30-year occupation of Lebanon.
At the same time, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon was knocked out in a successful political war in 2005 in which the Lebanese "David" defeated the Syrian "Juliet" and the Syrian army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon with
Evidence which has come out over the last couple of years makes it clear that top Bush administration officials knew that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and knew that Saddam had no connection with 9/11.
It is now reasonably obvious that the Bush administration was looking for an excuse to oust Saddam, and – in the words of the Downing Street Memo – “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”.
Saddam allegedly offered to let weapons inspectors in the country and to hold new elections:
In the few weeks before its fall, Iraq’s Ba’athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even to allow US troops to search for banned weapons. But the advances were all rejected by the Bush administration, according to intermediaries involved in the talks.
"Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion)".
"The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President’s Texas ranch."
"The White House refused to comment on the report last night. But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted."
According to the tapes, Bush told Aznar that whether Saddam was still in Iraq or not, "We’ll be in Baghdad by the end of March." See also this and this.
Afghanistan Is Different
But Afghanistan is much different.
As President Obama said Tuesday night as justification…
With Monday set as the day the ECB will embark on an ill-fated crusade to monetize the entirety of euro fixed income net issuance twice over, inquiring minds want to know how long it will be before yields on all EMU government bonds fall into negative territory.
The yields on bonds issued by one-time trouble spots including Spain, Italy and bailout recipient Portugal struck record lows on Friday. Short-dated Irish bond yields fluctuated around 0% and Spanish two-year bonds dropped to around 0.08%.
Traders and investors often position for well-flagged monetary...
Look at those wonderful jobs numbers. It’s like a beautiful house where, hidden from view, termites are quietly and insidiously, slowly but surely, eating away at its structural elements. Eventually the building just starts falling apart and must be condemned.
The seasonally adjusted headline number for nonfarm payroll jobs added in February was 295,000. The consensus estimate of Wall Street conomists had been for a gain of 240,000. That beat of 55,000 was enough to surprise the hell out of the market and not in a good way, as I had warned based on the weekly jobless claims and re...
This morning's release of the February employment report surprised to the upside on new nonfarm jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped from 5.7% to 5.5%. But good economic news freaked out the market, with pundits jabbering about the increased odds of a Fed rate hike. The S&P 500 dropped at the open and sold off through the day, closing with a 1.42% decline. The tally for the week was a 1.58% loss. It remains in the green year-to-date by a fractional 0.60%.
Not surprisingly, Treasuries plunged. The yield on the 10-year note closed at 2.24%, up 13 bps from yesterday's close and up 36 bps from its 2015 low at the beginning of February. That equates to a 21.4% rise in yield.
Here is a 15-minute chart of the last five sessions.
Chris Kimble shared his chart of the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF, XLU, with us.
The one month performance inset shows XLU’s uninspiring performance compared to every other ETF on the list. However, the rather steep bullish falling wedge pattern says that it may be time for a bounce.
[Click on chart to enlarge]
Chris likes XLU for a short-term bounce off the 200 day moving average at $44. One way to play this setup is to buy the XLU outright. Chris suggests a 3% stop loss on the shares.
Another bullish play is to use options in a strategy designed by Phil:
Options volume on Alibaba Group Holdings is poised to end at the session at approximately three times the average daily level, with volume in BABA contracts approaching 300,000 contracts versus average daily volume of 105,000 contracts and less than 30 minutes to go before the closing bell. Shares in BABA are down 3.0% as of the time of this writing to stand at $81.50, off the intraday and fresh 52-week low of $80.03 set earlier this afternoon.
Across all available expiries, the 80.0 strike put options are seeing notable activity, with cumulative volume in excess of 30,000 contracts. As for trading in BABA...
Despite low trading volume, a strong dollar, mixed economic and earnings reports, paralyzing weather conditions throughout much of the U.S., and ominous global news events, stocks continue to march ever higher. The world remains on edge about potential Black Swan events from the likes of Russia, Greece, or ISIS (or lone wolf extremists). Moreover, the economic recovery of the U.S. may be feeling the pull of the proverbial ball-and-chain from the rest of the world’s economies. Nevertheless, awash in investable cash, global investors see few choices better than U.S. equities.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then ...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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