Berlin Calls For “Countermeasures” To US Sanctions Against Russia, Hints At Trade War

While the Pentagon may be already contemplating its next steps in the escalating conflict with Russia, which as the WSJ reported will likely involve supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry – a red line for the Kremlin not even the Obama administration dared to cross – there is minor matter of what to do with a suddenly furious Europe, which as we discussed previously, has vowed it would retaliate promptly after Trump signed the anti-Russia legislation into law, due to allegations it was just a veiled attempt at favoritism for US-based energy companies.
And, sure enough, on Monday, the Germany economy minister said that tew penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures.
Speaking to Funke Mediengruppe newspaper, Brigitte Zypries said that “we consider this as being against international law, plain and simple.” She added that “of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

The Military Industrial Complex Is Undermining US National Security

The ongoing problems with the F-35 and other military programs, stemming from virtually unlimited budgets, underline the inefficiency of the American military-industrial complex (MIC). In contrast, Moscow develops armaments capable of counteracting the latest technological advances of the US at minimal cost.
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One of a state’s most insidious mechanisms is the inefficiency of the military-industrial sector. When looking at the world’s first superpower, this becomes all the more pronounced. Still, the ongoing problems highlighted by the F-35 program and failed missile interceptions by ABM systems are a good demonstration of how inefficiency in the US military sector has risen to worrying levels.
The main cause of these issues is related to the huge military-industrial complex that employs hundreds of thousands Americans directly or indirectly. The unhealthy composition of this power conglomerate often employs a revolving door involving politicians and board members from large arms-producing companies. This situation raises questions about corruption as well as a number of obvious conflicts of interest.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 27, 2017.

Iran’s Ayatollah Vows Retaliation, Says Trump Exposes “Real Face” Of American Moral Corruption

Trump’s ongoing spat with Iran escalated on Tuesday, when Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the US president’s warning to Iran to stop its missile tests, saying the new U. S. president had shown the “real face” of American corruption. “We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” Khamenei said according to his website. He made the remarks in an address to the commanders of the Army Air Force on the verge of the Islamic Revolution’s victory anniversary which falls on February 10 this year.
“During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the U. S. ruling system,” he added. It is unclear if Trump’s domestic opponents will be quick to agree with the Iranian.
Provocatively, the Supreme Leader once again alleged that it was the US that created ISIS:
“The new U. S. president says Iran should thank Obama! Why?! Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran? He was the president who imposed paralyzing sanctions on the Iranian nation; of course, he did not achieve what he desired. No enemy can ever paralyze the Iranian nation.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 7, 2017.

Past Time To Rethink NATO

With Democrats howling that Vladimir Putin hacked into and leaked those 19,000 DNC emails to help Trump, the Donald had a brainstorm: Maybe the Russians can retrieve Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.
Not funny, and close to ‘treasonous,’ came the shocked cry.
Trump then told The New York Times that a Russian incursion into Estonia need not trigger a U. S. military response.
Even more shocking. By suggesting the U. S. might not honor its NATO commitment, under Article 5, to fight Russia for Estonia, our foreign policy elites declaimed, Trump has undermined the security architecture that has kept the peace for 65 years.
More interesting, however, was the reaction of Middle America. Or, to be more exact, the nonreaction. Americans seem neither shocked nor horrified. What does this suggest?
Behind the war guarantees America has issued to scores of nations in Europe, the Mideast and Asia since 1949, the bedrock of public support that existed during the Cold War has crumbled.
We got a hint of this in 2013. Barack Obama, claiming his ‘red line’ against any use of poison gas in Syria had been crossed, found he had no public backing for air and missile strikes on the Assad regime.
The country rose up as one and told him to forget it. He did.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 2, 2016.

Why The Donald Might Be Good For Peace

Donald Trump is erratic. We all know that. It is insulting to assert, in the words of Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, the erratic Boris Johnson, that he is frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States, but he’s certainly unpredictable and says some things that are, to put it mildly, intriguing. The fact remains that he could be next president of the United States, which makes it important to look at what he might do if that comes about, especially in the light of America’s military catastrophes so far this century.
Obama followed his predecessors in expanding America’s iron fist as self-appointed global policeman. He vastly increased the US military presence around the world and intensified the Pentagon’s aggressive confrontations with China and Russia.
In China’s case this was effected by sending US Naval E-P3 electronic surveillance aircraft on missions close to the mainland, deploying EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, ordering B-52 nuclear bombers to overfly the South China Sea where the US Navy also carried out extended manoeuvres by massive strike groups of nuclear-armed aircraft carriers and guided missile cruisers. All this in a region where the US has not the slightest territorial interest or claim. China’s Sea is 12,000 kilometres, 7,000 miles, from the American mainland, yet Washington considers it the sacred right and duty of the United States to act as a global gendarme and give orders to China about its posture in its own back yard, where there has not been one instance of interference with commercial shipping passing through that region.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 26, 2016.

Toward A New Dtente – Putin Offers A Way Forward

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in deconfliction mode with the West after a wild ride of two and a half years of military and diplomatic tensions.
In a wide ranging policy speech at a biannual meeting of Russian ambassadors on July 1, Putin did not just go through the regular litany of complaints over the West ignoring Russia’s interests, NATO expansion, U. S. unilateralism, missile defense and overthrowing regimes in ‘color revolutions.’ He eschewed saber-rattling over NATO’s decisions to deploy additional forces in the Baltics, called Western countries partners in creating a ‘broad anti-terrorist front,’ and emphasized Russia’s interest in ‘close cooperation with the United States on international affairs.’
Only two weeks before, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said Russia accepted the United States as the ‘only superpower’ and wanted to work with it, provided the United States kept its democracy lectures to itself. On a visit to Finland a few days ago, Putin agreed to hold a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council after NATO’s Warsaw summit this week, accepted NATO’s proposal for preventing military air and sea incidents and instructed Russia’s defense minister to fly Russian military planes over the Baltic Sea with their transponders on.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 11, 2016.

Europeans Say Enough With Washington’s Anti-Russian Hysteria

A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States. I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U. S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of ‘war-mongering’ against Russia.
Since the Bush administration’s twisting of events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which the E. U. blamed on Georgia, Western populations have been subjected to the steady message that Russia is a ‘threat’ to the West and is guilty of ‘aggression.’ This reached a peak with the false narrative of events in Ukraine, in which blatant evidence of the West’s complicity in a violent coups d’tat was omitted from corporate media accounts, while Russia’s assistance to eastern Ukrainians resisting thecoup has been framed as a Russian ‘invasion.’
The disinformation campaign has reached the depths of popular culture, including the EuroVision song contest and sports doping scandals, to ensure widespread popular support for U. S. hostile intentions against Russia.
The Russian ‘aggression’ narrative, based largely on lies of omission, has prepared the way for the U. S. to install a missile-shield in Romania with offensive capabilities and to stage significant NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders. For the first time in 75 years, German troops retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 1, 2016.

Russia, NATO, Stalin and Nationalism: John Batchelor Interview Stephen F. Cohen

The title of this episode is the ‘Return of Stalinism’ but in actual fact the discussion is more about the rise of nationalism that is occurring both in the West and in Russia. Cohen notes that in the United States it is an integral part of the election process (and perhaps less significantly about Washington’s foreign adventures); in the EU it is about the failures of the EU, especially the refugee crisis, and in Russia it is tied to the increasing threat of NATO on its borders. The latter now includes the so called ‘missile shield’ that has, with ribbon cutting fanfare, just seen Rumania added as the newest such missile site and newest threat to Russia. Putin, during his recent visit to Greece, has finally spoken out against these missile sites saying that as a threat to Russia they become targets of attack for Russia. That message is now clearly Russian policy should hostilities commence with NATO. Expect the obvious to be ignored.
But as a symbol of foreign policy success, for Russians Stalin has some credibility and now that Russians feel threatened the Russian Communist Party is planning to use his image during the coming election for the Dumas. He was a terrible despot, who killed millions, but as a military leader he had great success and Russians still debate his status. Cohen discusses how post Stalin Kremlin leaders dealt with the question until Gorbachev virtually defined himself as an anti-Stalinist. But now Russians are threatened again and Stalin is seen in a more positive way – ‘as an attitude of the people’, not as a regressive trend.
Cohen reminisces about how Russians would use Stalin’s image under post Stalin Soviet leaders as a quiet protest about failures of domestic government policies. And one can see the same today in Russia although ‘it is now commercialized and politicised’. This makes it a problem for Putin because the comparison is there to live up to when things go wrong and to defend against when the ‘Stalin label’ is compared to the present Putin regime. But Putin’s regime in today’s Russia, Cohen argues, does not in any way resemble Stalin’s state – nor a Soviet one -but, as Cohen points out, Russians know that the West did not put missiles on the borders of Stalin’s Russia.
In the last segment Cohen discusses the level of corruption in all areas of Russian society and how the perception of Stalinism has created myths about that leader. It is Putin’s domestic headache to address the corruption, but Stalin is seen, incorrectly, as a corruption fighter. Similarly Stalin’s collectivization efforts can be compared to the transformations under Putin, and while pro Stalin elements in the population proclaim Stalin’s efforts successful, the reality was very much more debatable. Putin’s successes, however, are far less debatable; they are very real. Putin has chosen the role of an anti-Stalinist leader. However, he is not seen as a leader who has taken a very hard line against provocative western interests (NGOs and media) within Russia and to an enemy NATO outside – as Stalin surely would have. This reality may have changed this past week with Putin’s warning to NATO that missile sites along Russian borders are now targets, and now the New Cold War is one more step closer to the military response.

This post was published at Audioboom

The Endless Dodge – – -Why Washington Doesn’t Come Clean On The Downing Of MH-17

A newly posted video showing a glimpse of a Buk missile battery rolling down a highway in eastern Ukraine has sparked a flurry of renewed accusations blaming Russia for the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 people. But the ‘dash-cam video’ actually adds little to the MH-17 whodunit mystery because it could also support a narrative blaming the Ukrainian military for the disaster.
The fleeting image of the missile battery and its accompanying vehicles, presumably containing an armed escort, seems to have been taken by a car heading west on H-21 highway in the town of Makiivka, as the convoy passed by heading east, according to the private intelligence firm Stratforand the ‘citizen journalism’ Web site, Bellingcat.
However, even assuming that this Buk battery was the one that fired the missile that destroyed MH-17, its location in the video is to the west of both the site where Almaz-Antey, the Russian Buk manufacturer, calculated the missile was fired, around the village of Zaroshchenskoye (then under Ukrainian government control), and the 320-square-kilometer zone where the Dutch Safety Board speculated the fateful rocket originated (covering an area of mixed government and rebel control).
In other words, the question would be where the battery stopped before firing one of its missiles, assuming that this Buk system was the one that fired the missile. (The map below shows the location of Makiivka in red, Almaz-Antey’s suspected launch site in yellow, and the general vicinity of the Dutch Safety Board’s 320-square-kilometer launch zone in green.)

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 29, 2016.

Actually, NATO Is Much Worse Than A Cold War Relic

Whatever else might be said about Donald Trump, the fact is that he has provided a valuable service in producing a national and international discussion of NATO, the old Cold War organization whose mission was to protect Western Europe from an attack from the Soviet Union, which had been America’s partner and ally during World War II.
The obvious question arises: Given that NATO was a Cold War institution, why didn’t it go out of existence when the Cold War ended, as its counterpart, the Warsaw Pact, did? Indeed, let’s not forget that that’s precisely what U. S. officials assured Soviet officials would happen as the Cold War was ending. Shut down the Warsaw Pact and we’ll shut down NATO.
But U. S. officials double-crossed the Russians. Even though the Warsaw Pact, which consisted of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, dismantled, NATO didn’t.
Yesterday, the New York Times said reminded readers that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had expressed a concern back in 2011 that young Americans would have no memory of the Cold War and would consider NATO to be just an artifact.
If only NATO was only an artifact, one in which people just sat around collecting tax-funded paychecks. Instead, after double-crossing the Russians, it continued operating as if the Cold War had never ended, moving ever close to Russia’s border by absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact.
When NATO forces ultimately reached Ukraine, which is on Russia’s border, how could anyone be surprised over Russia’s reaction? The U. S. would have reacted the same way. In fact, it did in 1961, when the Soviets installed defensive missiles in Cuba.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 9, 2016.

Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2 (The Peace Deal)

When it comes to the economic future, a Trump presidency could bring either a shitstorm or salvation. Regrettably, the odds of the former are immensely the higher.
That’s because Trump is a welcome, but extremely unguided missile. On the one hand, his great virtue is that he is a superb salesman and showman who has captured the GOP nomination and has a serious shot at the White House with absolutely no help whatsoever from the Washington/Wall Street establishment.
So unlike any other candidate in recent memory, he owns his own talking points; is not saddled with a stable of credentialed advisors schooled in three decades of policy error and failure; and has the hutzpah to trust his own instincts – – many of which, especially on foreign policy, are exactly the rebuke that Imperial Washington and its legions of parasites and racketeers so richly deserve.
On the other hand, the Donald’s policy thinking, if you can call it that, is thoroughly inchoate. His policy pronouncements amount to little more than spontaneous eruptions of sentiment, prejudice, hearsay, bile, applause lines, wishful thinking and disconnected non sequiturs. That’s where thoughtlets like Muslim bans, mass deportations, a Trump Wall on the Rio Grande, paying off the national debt, 40% tariff barriers, obliteration of ISIS and numerous other stray verbal hand grenades come from.
Yet occasional wild pitches are not really the problem, and the cynics are surely correct in predicting that Trump will excise most of them from his patter even before the GOP convention. The real problem is that Trump has no detectable economic philosophy or policy framework, and it is in that arena that he could go careening off into a cacophony of misfires, mistakes and statist mayhem.
To wit, Trump has already said that he likes the Fed’s low interest rates, is considering a minimum wage hike, thinks social security and medicare should remain untouched, will rebuild the military, intends to drastically increase spending for veterans, wants to slash income taxes on corporations and individuals, thinks a big infrastructure program is warranted, plans to spend tens of billions on border security and the Wall and will drastically hammer $2.2 trillion of imports in order to bring jobs back home.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2

When it comes to the economic future, a Trump presidency could bring either a shitstorm or salvation. Regrettably, the odds of the former are immensely the higher.
That’s because Trump is a welcome, but extremely unguided missile. On the one hand, his great virtue is that he is a superb salesman and showman who has captured the GOP nomination and has a serious shot at the White House with absolutely no help whatsoever from the Washington/Wall Street establishment.
So unlike any other candidate in recent memory, he owns his own talking points; is not saddled with a stable of credentialed advisors schooled in three decades of policy error and failure; and has the hutzpah to trust his own instincts – – many of which, especially in foreign policy, are exactly the rebuke that Imperial Washington and its legions of parasites and racketeers so richly deserve.
On the other hand, the Donald’s policy thinking, if you can call it that, is thoroughly inchoate. His policy pronouncements amount to little more than spontaneous eruptions of sentiment, prejudice, hearsay, bile, applause lines, wishful thinking and disconnected non sequiturs. That’s where thoughtlets like Muslim bans, mass deportations, a Trump Wall on the Rio Grande, paying off the national debt, 40% tariff barriers, obliteration of ISIS and numerous other stray verbal hand grenades come from.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

America’s Imperial Overstretch

This week, SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U. S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes carried no missiles or bombs.
Message: What are you Americans doing here?
In the South China Sea, U. S. planes overfly, and U. S. warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing.
In South Korea, U. S. forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to a North Korea that is testing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles that can reach the United States.
U. S. warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf. In January, a U. S. Navy skiff ran aground on an Iranian island. Iran let the 10 U. S. sailors go within 24 hours.
But bellicose demands for U. S. retaliation had already begun.
Yet, in each of these regions, it is not U. S. vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam.
And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Patrick J. Buchanan ‘ April 15, 2016.

Could There Be A Coup In Turkey?

The situation in Turkey is bad and getting worse. It’s not just the deterioration in security amidst a wave of terrorism. Public debt might be stable, but private debt is out-of-control, the tourism sector is in free-fall, and the decline in the currency has impacted every citizen’s buying power. There is a broad sense, election results notwithstanding, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is out-of-control. He is imprisoning opponents, seizing newspapers left and right, and building palaces at the rate of a mad sultan or aspiring caliph. In recent weeks, he has once again threatened to dissolve the constitutional court. Corruption is rife. His son Bilal reportedly fled Italy on a forged Saudi diplomatic passport as the Italian police closed in on him in an alleged money laundering scandal. His outbursts are raising eyebrows both in Turkey and abroad. Even members of his ruling party whisper about his increasing paranoia which, according to some Turkish officials, has gotten so bad that he seeks to install anti-aircraft missiles at his palace to prevent airborne men-in-black from targeting him in a snatch-and-grab operation.
Turks – and the Turkish military – increasingly recognize that Erdogan is taking Turkey to the precipice. By first bestowing legitimacy upon imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah calan with renewed negotiations and then precipitating renewed conflict, he has taken Turkey down a path in which there is no chance of victory and a high chance of de facto partition. After all, if civil war renews as in the 1980s and early 1990s, Turkey’s Kurds will be hard-pressed to settle for anything less, all the more so given the precedent now established by their brethren in Iraq and Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on on 03/27/2016.

THE ODDS ARE NEVER IN YOUR FAVOR

The irony of the phrase ‘may the odds be ever in your favor’ is not lost on the readers of the Hunger Games trilogy of novels or the film adaption. Despite the grimness of the story, over 65 million copies of the books have been sold. The total box office take so far has exceeded $1.4 billion for the four movies. The dystopian series tackles real issues like severe poverty, starvation, torture, oppression, betrayal and the brutality of war. It doesn’t fit into the standard film making success recipe of feel good fluff, politically correct storylines and happy endings. Each film in the series gets progressively darker, with the final episode permeating doom and gloom. The books and the movies capture the deepening crisis mood engulfing the world today. And they realistically portray the world as a place where there are no good guys in positions of power. The ruling class, in all cases, is driven by a voracious appetite for supremacy, wealth, and control.
An Ambiguous, Confusing, Dangerous World The world is a morally ambiguous place where those in power and those seeking power utilize the influence of media propaganda and PR campaigns built around ‘heroes’ and ‘icons’ to psychologically control the masses, while enriching themselves and their crony capitalist sponsors. Endless war against the latest ‘bad guys’ further enriches the arms dealers and their political lackeys who joyfully use faux patriotism and nationalistic fervor to insist upon more boots on the ground, drones in the air, bombs dropped, and missiles launched.

This post was published at The Burning Platform on 27th December 2015.

The Smoking Trucks: Proof That Turkey’s Intelligence Service (MIT) Shipped Weapons To ISIS

Secret official documents about the searching of three trucks belonging to Turkey’s national intelligence service (MIT) have been leaked online, once again corroborating suspicions that Ankara has not been playing a clean game in Syria. According to the authenticated documents, the trucks were found to be transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition. The Gendarmerie General Command, which authored the reports, alleged, ‘The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization.’ But Turkish readers could not see the documents in the news bulletins and newspapers that shared them, because the government immediately obtained a court injunction banning all reporting about the affair.
When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prime minister, he had said, ‘You cannot stop the MIT truck. You cannot search it. You don’t have the authority. These trucks were taking humanitarian assistance to Turkmens.’
Since then, Erdogan and his hand-picked new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have repeated at every opportunity that the trucks were carrying assistance to Turkmens. Public prosecutor Aziz Takci, who had ordered the trucks to be searched, was removed from his post and 13 soldiers involved in the search were taken to court on charges of espionage. Their indictments call for prison terms of up to 20 years.
In scores of documents leaked by a group of hackers, the Gendarmerie Command notes that rocket warheads were found in the trucks’ cargo.
According to the documents that circulated on the Internet before the ban came into effect, this was the summary of the incident:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 2, 2015.

The Russia/Turkey Clash – – – Some Relevant History

Turn to page 214 in the book ‘War-making for Dummies.’ You will find: ‘plan air operations right on your neighbor’s border, zig in and zag out, make rude gestures at enemy pilots, and shoot them down if you can.’
On Tuesday this week, the inevitable air clash occurred on the Syrian-Turkish border west of Aleppo. From what we know so far, two Russian SU-24 bombers that had been pounding anti-Damascus forces on the border briefly intruded on Turkish airspace for all of 17 seconds.
Turkish F-16 fighters, clearly pre-positioned in the area, pounced on the Russians and downed one Sukhoi with an air-to-air missiles. One of the Russian pilots was killed – probably by pro-Turkish Syrian tribesmen while parachuting to earth. A Russian Marine was killed when the helicopter in which he was flying to recuse the downed airman was hit by a US-supplied TOW anti-tank missile.
Turkey claimed it had warned the Russian warplane 10 times’ before shooting. How the Turks could pre-position its F-16′s and issue ten warnings within 17 seconds was not explained. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin furiously accused the Turks of murder and supporting ISIS extremists.
The US-led NATO alliance rushed to back up member Turkey, which moved forces to its long border with Syria. Putin ordered lethal, long-ranged S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and missile cruiser ‘Moskva’ to station off Syria’s Mediterranean coast. Both systems can cover large parts of western Syria, including areas routinely intruded upon by US, French, British and Israeli aircraft.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Eric Margolis ‘ November 26, 2015.

The Debate: GOP Candidates Elevated, CNBC Eviscerated

Well now. We actually got our money’s worth last night.
Almost with out exception the GOP candidates conveyed a compelling message that the state is not our savior, while the CNBC moderators spent the night fumbling with fantasy football and inanities about which vitamin supplements Ben Carson has used or endorsed.
But this was about more than tone. The interaction between the candidates and the CNBC moderators revealed the yawning gap between the bubble world at the intersection of Washington and Wall Street and the hard scrabble reality of economic stagnation and political alienation on main street America.
Yes, the CNBC moderators engaged in a deplorable display of gotcha journalism punctuated by a snarky self-righteousness that was downright offensive. John Harwood is surely secretly on the payroll of the Democratic National Committee and it was more than obvious why Becky Quick excels at serving tea to blathering old fools like Warren Buffett.
So they deserved the Cruz missile that came flying at them mid-way through the debate.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on October 29, 2015.

History Note: Lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis On The 53rd Anniversary

I am writing this on October 22, the fifty-third anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, the day when President John F. Kennedy made a speech to the nation announcing that the US had detected Soviet missile bases being constructed in Cuba – and demanding that they be removed. A US naval ‘quarantine’ was imposed on the island, and the world held its breath as World War III hung in the balance.
Watching Kennedy’s televised speech brings back memories, none of them good. In those days, ‘duck and cover’ air raid drills were part of our routine at school, although at my school in suburban Yorktown Heights they eventually resorted to simply sounding the rather frightening air raid alarm and trooping us all out onto the playground – presumably so we could all die in the open air.
The specter of nuclear war was an integral part of my childhood: the science fiction stories I read and watched on television were obsessed with the subject, projecting visions of nuclear devastation and the mutant world that would emerge from the rubble. Who can forget Zsa Zsa Gabor in ‘Queen of Outer Space,’ when she drops her mask to reveal a face hideously distorted by nuclear radiation? Us kids used to play a game, ‘let’s pretend there’s been an atomic war’: as we hiked through the abundant woodlands that then surrounded Yorktown Heights, we would come across the remnants of abandoned shacks, only their concrete foundations evident through the undergrowth of weeds: ‘Oh look,’ we would cry, ‘they must’ve been quite advanced, these earthlings! But why did they destroy their civilization?’
Why, indeed.
For weeks after Kennedy’s speech we were scared out of our wits, convinced that our childish games were about to become reality. Air raid drills in school assumed a somber air. Little did we know that President Kennedy, while not quite lying through his perfect teeth, was speaking disingenuously when he said:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on October 23, 2015.

Collapse Of The Western Financial System Looms As A “Strategic” Russian Default Is Possible

History may eventually decide the ‘New World Order’ started on September 28, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama had a 90-minute face off at the UN in New York. Irrespective of spin – ‘productive’ according to the White House, ‘tense’ according to a source close to the Kremlin – facts on the ground accumulated almost immediately.
Putin did press Obama for the US to join Russia in a real grand coalition bent on smashing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The Obama administration, once again, relented. I detailed here what happened next: an earth-shattering game-changer in the ‘New Great Game’ in Eurasia, straight out of the Caspian Sea, that caught the acronym fest of US intelligence – not to mention the Pentagon – completely off-guard.
So this was Putin’s first message to Washington, and the Pentagon/NATO combo in particular; your fancy ideas of stationing tactical nuclear weapons or expanding missile defense to Eastern Europe, or even Asia-Pacific, are just a mirage. Our cruise missiles are capable of wreaking real effective havoc; and soon, as this piece argues, there will be more hypersonic, high-precision long-range missiles added to the mix.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/19/2015.