Category: Finance

Back to Back US Drone Crashes In Turkey Come Amidst Severe Strain Between NATO Allies

Two United States MQ-1 Predator drones have crashed in Turkey within four days, possibly cutting the Air Force's operational fleet of drones at NATO's main Turkish base down to half. This comes at a moment when the future of US drone operations in the region remain in question due to heightened political tensions with the Erdogan government and the uncertain future of the war in Syria. On Monday Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, which hosts US and other NATO personnel conducting operations over Syria and Iraq, released a statement confirming the crash of the drone in southeast Turkey at around 11:50 a.m. (0850 GMT), with no further details given.

Incirlik had confirmed an earlier Predator drone crash just last Thursday (8/17) near the air base. Last week's statement quoted a US military spokesman as saying:

“At this time the safety of our host nation civilians and the recovery and security of our asset is paramount,” said Col. David Eaglin, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing.  “Our Airmen train continuously to respond to incidents such as this, and we are working closely with our host nation partners to ensure this is resolved without conflict.”

Both incidents, which are being described in official statements as accidents, are currently under investigation. While no fatalities or injuries have been reported in connection with either crash, NATO's 39th Air Base Wing issued a notice to Turkish residents indicating that any possible property loss or damage claims could be submitted for potential reimbursement. Photos of the second crash quickly emerged on social media and appear to show a downed drone in a private corn field.

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After the formal withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2011, the US Air Force negotiated the transfer of one combat air patrol unit (or PAC) of Predators to Incirlik. A PAC consists of a total of four drones, which theoretically allows for constant 24 hour aerial operations within a drone unit (one aircraft over the target area, one preparing to take over operations, one returning to refuel, and one in reserve).

Though it's unknown if the Air Force later added additional units, a Department of Defense internal briefing from 2013 indicates that the original memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the US and Turkey to allow a single drone unit transfer took five months to negotiate.


An unclassified slide from a 2013 DoD briefing on the original deployment of Predator drones to Incirlik. 

Assuming there was a single PAC in continued operation at Incirlik, this means the recent back to back crashes in southern Turkey have, at least temporarily, reduced the fleet by half. This comes at sensitive time for the US which desires to maintain a drone presence at the strategically located Turkish host base. The Air Force has further already planned to phase out the Predator drones, which are set to be completely replaced by the larger MQ-9 Reapers by 2018. 

But it's the rocky and worsening US-Turkish relationship which may ultimately deal a death blow for future Air Force drone operations out of Turkey. The two NATO allies are increasingly engaged in heightened diplomatic standoff over official US support for the Kurdish "People's Protection Units", more commonly known by the acronym YPG, which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating in Syria. Turkey sees no distinction between the YPG and the PKK, which operates within Turkish borders and is designated a terrorist organization by both the US and Turkish government.

Last May the US rebuffed repeat Turkish requests not to move forward with arming the YPG – something widely seen as pushing Turkey into closer cooperation with Russia. The following month American officials announced plans to charge members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security service after they were filmed attacking protesters outside of the Turkish embassy in D.C. – further harming diplomatic relations. 

But perhaps the greatest outrage came in July, when Turkish state media leaked the locations of US bases in Syria, putting US special forces personnel and local partners on the ground at risk. A prominent American analyst described the incident as "a F-you” which threatened to permanently destroy US-Turkey cooperation in the Middle East. Furthermore, among the general Turkish public anti-Americanism has long been on the rise over the past years, and US drones falling from the sky over inhabited areas will not make things any better. 

With ISIS now in retreat, and with both the Iraqi and Syrian governments looking increasingly confident in terms of regaining their sovereign territory, it is unclear what purpose US drones in Turkey will serve other than to prop up the SDF in Syria. This is something Turkey already sees as intolerable – the latest drone crashes could signal the beginning of the end for such operations at Incirlik.


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Europe Is Committing Demographic Suicide

Authored by Giulio Meotti via The Gatestone Institute,

  • The Archbishop of Strasbourg Luc Ravel, nominated by Pope Francis in February, just declared that "Muslim believers know very well that their fertility is such today, that they call it… the Great Replacement. They tell you in a very calm, very positive way: One day all this, all this will be ours…"
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán just warned against a "Muslimized Europe". According to him, "the question of the upcoming decades is whether Europe will continue to belong to Europeans".
  • "In the coming 30 years, the number of Africans will grow by more than one billion people. That is twice the population of the entire European Union… The demographic pressure will be enormous. Last year, more than 180,000 people crossed in shabby boats from Libya. And this is just the beginning. According to EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, at this very moment, 3 million migrants are waiting to enter Europe". — Geert Wilders, MP, The Netherlands, and leader of the Party for Freedom and Democracy (PVV).

This week, yet another Islamic terrorist attack targeted the Spanish city of Barcelona. As it was for many years under Muslim rule, it is, therefore, like Israel, land which many Islamists believe they are entitled to repossess.

At the same time, far from Spain, elementary schools have been closing, shuttered by the state after the number of children dropped to less than 10% of the population. The government is converting these structures into hospices, providing care for the elderly in a country where 40% of the people are 65 or older. That is not a science-fiction novel. That is Japan, the world's oldest and most sterile nation, where there is a popular expression: "ghost civilization".

According to Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, by 2040 most of the country's smaller cities will see a dramatic drop of one-third to one-half of their population. Due to a dramatic demographic decrease, many Japanese councils can no longer operate and have been closed. Restaurants have decreased from 850,000 in 1990 to 350,000 today, pointing to a "drying up of vitality". Predictions also suggest that in 15 years, Japan will have 20 million empty houses. Is that also the future of Europe?

Among the experts in demography, there is a tendency to call Europe "the new Japan". Japan, however, is dealing with this demographic catastrophe with its own resources, and banning Muslim immigration to the country.

"Europe is committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself in what British historian Niall Ferguson has called "the greatest sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century'", as George Weigel recently noted.

 

Europe's Muslims appear to be dreaming of filling this vacuum. The Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, nominated by Pope Francis in February, recently declared that "Muslim believers know very well that their fertility is such today, that they call it … the Great Replacement. They tell you in a very calm, very positive way: 'One day all this, all this will be ours' …".

A new report by the Italian think tank Centro Machiavelli just revealed that if current trends continue, by 2065 first- and second-generation immigrants will exceed 22 million persons, or more than 40% of Italy's total population. In Germany, as well, 36% of children under the age of five are being born to immigrant parents. In 13 of the 28 EU member countries, more people died than were born last year; without migration, the populations of Germany and Italy are expected to decline by 18% and 16%, respectively.

The impact of demographic free-fall is most visible in what was once called the "new Europe", the countries of the former Soviet bloc such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, to distinguish these from the so called "old Europe", France and Germany. Those Eastern countries are now the ones most exposed to the "depopulation bomb", the devastating collapse in birth rate that the current-events analyst and author Mark Steyn has called "the biggest issue of our time".

The New York Times asked why, "despite shrinking population, Eastern Europe resists accepting migrants". The shrinking demography is precisely the reason they fear being replaced by migrants. In addition, much of Eastern Europe has already experienced being occupied by Muslims for hundreds of years under the Ottoman Empire, and are all too well aware what would be in store for them were they to come there again. Aging countries fear the antipathetic values sure to appear if there were a replacement by the current young foreign population.

"There are two distinct views in Europe today to consider [regarding the decline and aging of the population]", Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently said. "One of these is held by those who want to address Europe's demographic problems through immigration. And there is another view, held by Central Europe – and, within it, Hungary. Our view is that we must solve our demographic problems by relying on our own resources and mobilising our own reserves, and – let us acknowledge it – by renewing ourselves spiritually". Orbán just warned against a "Muslimized Europe". According to him, "the question of the upcoming decades is whether Europe will continue to belong to Europeans".

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently said: "Our view is that we must solve our demographic problems by relying on our own resources and mobilising our own reserves, and… by renewing ourselves spiritually". (Image source: David Plas/Wikimedia Commons)

Africa is also pressing Europe with a demographic time bomb. According to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders:

"In the coming 30 years, the number of Africans will grow by more than one billion people. That is twice the population of the entire European Union… The demographic pressure will be enormous. One-third of the Africans want to move abroad, and many want to come to Europe. Last year, over 180,000 people crossed in shabby boats from Libya. And this is just the beginning. According to EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, at his very moment, 3 million migrants are waiting to enter Europe".

Eastern Europe is thinning out. Demography has even become a problem for Europe's security. There are fewer people to serve in Europe's military and social welfare posts. The President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, has, in fact, called on the country's leaders to attend a meeting of the national Consultative Committee entirely devoted to the problem of national security. Once Eastern European countries feared Soviet tanks; now, they fear empty cradles.

The United Nations estimated that there were about 292 million people in Eastern Europe last year, 18 million fewer than in the early 1990s. The number is equivalent to the disappearance of the entire population of the Netherlands.

The Financial Times had called this situation in Eastern Europe "the largest loss of population in modern history". Its population is shrinking as has no other before. Not even the Second World War, with its massacres, deportations and population movements, had come to that abyss.

Orbán's way — dealing with a demographic decline using the country's own resources — is the only way for Europe to avoid Archbishop's Ravel's prediction of a "great replacement". Mass immigration will most likely fill those empty cradles — but Europe will then become also just a becomes a "ghost civilization"; it is just a different kind of suicide.

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APPENDIX

Romania will lose 22% of its population by 2050, followed by Moldova (20%), Latvia (19%), Lithuania (17%), Croatia (16%) and Hungary (16%). Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine are the countries where the population decline will be most severe. Poland's population is estimated to decrease by 2050 to 32 million from the current 38 million. Nearly 200 schools have closed, but there are enough children to fill the remaining ones.

In Central Europe, the proportion of "over 65s" increased by more than one-third between 1990 and 2010. The Hungarian population is at its lowest point in half a century. The number of people fell from 10,709,000 in 1980 to the current 9,986,000 million. In 2050, there will be fewer than 8 million people in Hungary; and one in three will be over the age of 65. Hungary today has a fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman. If you exclude the Roma population, this figure drops to 0.8, the lowest in the world — the reason Prime Minister Orbán announced new measures to solve the demographic crisis.

Bulgaria will have the fastest population decline in the world between 2015 and 2050. Bulgaria is part of a group that is expected to decrease by more than 15% between 2015 to 2050, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. Bulgaria's population of about 7.15 million people is estimated to fall to 5.15 million in 30 years — a decline of 27.9%.

Official figures show that 178,000 babies were born in Romania. By comparison, in 1990, the first post-Communist year, there were 315,000 births. Croatia last year had 32,000 births, a decline of 20% from 2015. The depopulation of Croatia could come to more than 50,000 people each year.

When the Czech Republic was part of the Communist bloc (as part of Czechoslovakia), its total fertility rate was conveniently close to the replacement rate (2.1). Today it is the fifth most barren country in the world. Slovenia has the highest GDP per capita in Eastern Europe, but an extremely low fertility rate.

 


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Petition To Label Antifa A “Terrorist Organization” Reaches Critical Milestone

A petition calling for the White House to officially brand the Antifa movement as a terrorist organization has reached the threshold of signatures necessary to compel the Trump administration to reply, according to the Washington Times. The petition received its 100,000th signature around 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday. Though it had 30 days to reach that goal, the petition did so in less than a week.

The petition contends that Antifa deserves the terrorist designation because of its “violent actions” in cities like Berkeley, Calif, and Charlottesville, Va., as well as its “influence” in the killings of police officers.

The full text of the petition is below:

“Terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims”. This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations.

 

AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States.

 

It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.”

If the petition is successful, Antifa would differ from other terror groups in one unique respect: Antifa isn’t an organization, so much as a blanket term for far-left protesters known for their violent battles with right-wing groups, as the Washington Times explains.

“Antifa is short for anti-fascists, and the people involved are generally extreme leftists known for their face-offs with right-wing activists, including recently in Berkeley, Calif. Antifa counter-protesters made an appearance in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend and clashed with white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.”

Antifa demonstrators are typically marked by their preference for black sweatshirts, and for wrapping dark bandannas around their faces. However, there's at least one reason why the White House might de-prioritize the petition: The urgency surrounding the violent clashes that have erupted between demonstrators at various right-wing rallies and events involving conservative speakers has quieted somewhat after Saturday’s gatherings in Boston, which were largely peaceful.

As the Times notes, President Donald Trump has criticized what he calls “alt-left” groups that instigate violence at public demonstrations. Trump’s use of “alt-left” has widely been interpreted as another term for Antifa.

"What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any assemblage of guilt?" Trump told reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday.

 

"What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day."

Though the president’s hostility is an encouraging sign, petitions that have taken aim at other protest groups since Trump took office in January have mostly fizzled, like a petition to label Black Lives Matter a terrorist group.
 


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What Would A U.S. Civil War Look Like?

Authored by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs' Gregory Copley via OilPrice.com,

Yes, there is a civil war looming in the United States.

But it will not look like the orderly pattern of descent which characterized the conflict of 1861-65. It will appear more like the Yugoslavia break-up, or the Russian and Chinese civil wars of the 20th Century.

It will appear as an evolving chaos.

And the next US civil war, though it yet may be arrested to a degree by the formal hand of centralized gov-ernment, will destabilize many other nation-states, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

It may, in other words, be short-lived simply because the uprising will probably not be based upon the decisions of constituent states (which, in the US Civil War, created a break-away confederacy), acting within their own perception of a legal process. It is more probable that the 21st Century event would contage as a gradual breakdown of law and order.

The outcome, to a degree dependent on how rapidly order is restored, would likely be the end, or constraint, of the present view of democracy in the US. It would see a massive dislocation of the economy and currency. It would, then, become a global-level issue.

Humans mock what they see as an impulse toward species suicide among the beautiful lemming clan of Lemmus lemmus. In fact, these tiny creatures have a societal survival pattern which seems more consistent than that of their human detractors. The pattern of human history shows that civilizations usually end through internal illness rather than at the hand of external powers.

It is significant that the gathering crisis in the United States was not precipitated by the November 7, 2016, election of Pres. Donald Trump, and neither was the growing polarization of the United Kingdom’s society caused by the Brexit vote of 2016.

In both instances, the election of Mr Trump and the decision by UK voters for Britain to exit the European Union were late reactions — perhaps too late — by the regional populations of both countries to what they perceived as the destruction of their nation-states by “urban super-oligarchies”.

The last-ditch reactions by those who voted in the US for Donald Trump and those who voted in the UK for Brexit were against an urban-based globalism which has been building for some seven decades, with the deliberate or accidental intent of destroying nations and nationalism. It is now crystallizing into this: urban globalism sees nations and nationalism as the enemy, and vice-versa.

The battle lines have been drawn.

The urban globalists — the conscious and unconscious — have thrown their resources behind efforts to avert a return to nationalism, particularly in the US and UK, but also in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the like.

Urban globalists control most of the means of communications [is this new “means of production”; the 21st Century marxian dialectic?] and therefore control “information” and the perception of events.

“Nationalists”, then, are operating instinctively, and in darkness.

There is little doubt that the US, despite the evidence that economic recovery is at hand, could spiral into a self-destructive descent of dysfunction, dystopia, and anomie. The path toward a “second civil war” has significant parallels with the causes of the first US Civil War (1861-65). Both events — the 19th Century event and a possible 21st Century one — saw the polarization of a fundamentally urban, abstract society against a fundamentally regional, traditional society.

In some respects, it is a conflict between people with long memories (even if those memories are flawed and selective) and people to whom memories and history are irrelevant. Equally, it is a conflict between identity and materialism, with the abstract social groups (the urban populations) the most preoccupied with short-term material gain.

I have covered the US for 50 years, and my earliest view of it was, a half century ago, that its populations would inevitably polarize into protective islands of self-interest, surrounded by seas of unthinking locusts. What is ironic is that the present islands of wealth and power — the cities — have come to represent short-term materialism, as cities have throughout history.

But what is interesting is that, despite the global attention on the political/geographic polarizations occurring in the US and other parts of the Western world, there has been a reversion in other parts of the world to a sense of Westphalian or pre-Westphalian nationalism. The fact that “the West” may have ring-fenced Iran, Russia, and so on, with sanctions and other forms of isolation may well be what ensures their endur-ing status.

They have avoided the contagion of globalism.

Russia, indeed, recovered from the Soviet form of globalism in 1991.

An urban globalist “victory” over Trump and Brexit would trigger that meltdown toward a form of civil societal collapse – civil war in some form or other – as the regions disavow the diktats of the cities. That would, in turn, bring about the global economic uncertainty which could impact the PRC and then the en-tire world.

But such a conflict – physical or political – could, equally, lead to a victory for nationalism over globalism, and to the protection of currencies and values. We have seen this cycle repeated for millennia.

It is the eternal battle.


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Bitcoin (BTCUSD) Breaks Below 4000, Testing Month Plus Upchannel Support

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) Weekly/Daily

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) appears to be ending its month long rally from just below the 2k level, as it threatens to break an upchannel support (on the weekly and daily charts). Significantly, BTCUSD is forming a red weekly candle with its trading range thus far below last week’s Doji body. If BTCUSD breaches the weekly/daily chart upchannel support today, the current weekly red candle will likely continue lengthening potentially forming an Island Reversal pattern consisting of the last 2 weekly candles (and the current). Significantly, the all-time peak last week coincides with the 2.618 Fib extension that could have been drawn based on the May to July sideways channel low and high. With the daily RSI and Stochastics turning down from overbought levels, and the daily MACD negatively crossing, a decent chance exists for the daily/weekly chart upchannel support to be breached today. An upchannel support break would accelerate profittaking resulting in the weekly MACD blue line quickly flattening and turning down perhaps by late week.

 

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Click here for today’s technical analysis on Raw Sugar, Cocoa


 

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Secret Service Reportedly Going Broke Protecting Trump Family

The Secret Service is going broke trying to protect President Donald Trump and his family, according to an exclusive report by USA Today. After Trump released his first budget outline, mainstream media outlets seized the opportunity to attack the president by reporting on the exorbitant cost of protecting First Lady Melania Trump, and son Barron Trump, who had remained behind at the Trumps' suite in Trump Tower after the president moved to the White House so Barron could finish the school year.  

In an interview with USA Today, Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.

Randolph "Tex" Alles

Here’s USA Today with more:

“The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. "The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility.''

 

"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility.''

According to USA Today, 42 people have secret service protection under Trump, a number that includes 18 members of his family. That's up from 31 during the Obama administration.

The Secret Service said Monday it has enough money to protect President Trump through September, even as the agency acknowledged it’s running up against its spending limit for agents protecting the president and his family.
Since Trump took office, the Secret Service has spent more than $6.6 million to protect Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and each weekend trip there costs an additional $1 million. To cover these costs, the agency has asked Congress to increase its $60 million budget, and allow it to exceed overtime caps for certain employees.

However, in a statement published in response to the USA Today report, the agency assured its employees, and the public, that it will be able to fully compensate employees for overtime, according to the Hill.

“The Secret Service has the funding it needs to meet all current mission requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year and compensate employees for overtime within statutory pay caps,” agency director Randolph “Tex” Alles said in a statement.”

The current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
 


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Mnuchin Visits Fort Knox, Says “Gold Is Safe”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a busy day today: shortly after warning once again that a US debt ceiling deal has to be done by late September or else the country would run out of cash and suffer a technical default, roughly around the time he hinted that Trump may keep carried interest tax breaks for some firms that create jobs (while eliminating it for hedge fund managers), the former hedge fund manager and Hollywood producer paid a rare official visit to Fort Knox to check out the nation’s gold stash on Monday, while – as Bloomberg put it – keeping an open mind for future film projects.

“I assume the gold is still there,” Mnuchin told an audience in Louisville, Kentucky some 40 miles north of the biggest U.S. Bullion Depository (except of course for the foreign gold stash at the NY Fed). “It would really be quite a movie if we walked in and there was no gold.” It’s unclear if Mnuchin was envisioning a comedy or a drama.

After the visit, Mnuchin who was the first US Treasury Secretary to visit Fort Knox in nearly 70 years, playfullyreassured Americans the treasure was still secure.

“Glad gold is safe!” he wrote in a post on Twitter.

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Mnuchin, whose action-film credits include ‘‘Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Lego Batman Movie” and “Suicide Squad,” according to Bloomberg, said that he would be only the third secretary of the Treasury to go inside the vault since it was created in 1936 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“We have approximately $200 billion of gold at Fort Knox,” said Mnuchin. “The last time anybody went in to see the gold, other than the Fort Knox people, was in 1974 when there was a congressional visit. And the last time it was counted was actually in 1953.

Which is why the American public is so lucky it can take the word of a former Goldman partner without any trace of doubt… 


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In Angry Tweetstorm, Ron Paul Lashes Out At “Neocon” Trump

Roughly around the time Trump started his Afghanistan speech, Ron Paul tweeted out a cautiously optimistic note: “Hoping for the best in tonight’s @realDonaldTrump speech but fearful that foreign intervention is only going to get worse.  #Afghanistan.” Alas it was not meant to be, and over 20 tweets later in what proved to be the angriest tweetstorm of the night, Ron Paul had come to a conclusion: Trump is now nothing more than the latest neocon, one whom even Lindsey Graham applauded.

Below is a chronological rundown of Ron Paul’s progressively angier tweets, as he was live commenting on Trump’s speech:

  • Hoping for the best in tonight’s @realDonaldTrump speech but fearful that foreign intervention is only going to get worse.  #Afghanistan
  • Steve Bannon brakes removed. Neocons feeling their oats.
  • The military personnel are the victims of bad foreign policy.
  • Sad that these wars the politicians argue for are unconstitutional yet we are told we are over there defending the Constitution.
  • Mr. President it’s too bad you do not follow your instincts.
  • Planned in Afghanistan? What about Saudi Arabia??
  • What’s wrong with rapid exit? We just marched in we can just march out.
  • So far very discouraging. Sounds like pure neocon foreign policy.
  • The promoters of war win. The American people lose. #Afghanistan
  • Remember: there was no al-Qaeda until our foolish invasion of Iraq based on neocon lies.
  • The American people deserve to know when we are going to war and MUST give you permission through their representatives in Congress!
  • Emphasis on Pakistan just means the war going to be expanded!
  • Emphasis on military alliance with India may well lead to more vicious war between nuclear states Pakistan and India. Smart?
  • Terrorism is one thing, but what about massive collateral damage? Killing civilians creates more terrorism. Round and round we go.
  • Shorter Trump: “Afghanistan: give us your minerals!”
  • Nothing new. More of the same. Obama was wrong. This is NOT the good war. Sooner we get out the better.
  • More killing is not the road to peace.
  • The emphasis on the “grave danger” of terrorism is greatly exaggerated. But more intervention surely creates more terrorism.
  • How many Americans are really sitting around worrying about an Afghan terrorist coming over and killing them?
  • So many of our problems are self-inflicted by a deeply flawed foreign policy. US troops – and the family members – suffer the consequences.
  • Big issue of the night: US expanding the war into Pakistan. Could precipitate more conflict between nuclear India and Pakistan.
  • If Americans are tired of 16 year war, how will they feel about another decade or two? When will they wake up?
  • Our ultimately “hasty” departure from Vietnam finally ended a lot of grief. Even if it came way too late.
  • Beware! @LindseyGrahamSC loves Trump’s speech! Why are arch-neocons celebrating so much? Very telling!
  • There’s nothing hasty about ending America’s longest war. @POTUS bowed to military-industrial establishment; doubled down on perpetual war.

Based on Trump’s speech, Ron Paul’s concerns are well founded. Then again, as we await Breitbart’s response to Trump’s adress one thing is certain: Steve Bannon will not be happy with what “neocon” Trump said tonight, even if the WaPo and NYT are now on “mute” mode when it comes to NSA-sourced, anti-Trump scoops.

And while there is a distinct possibility that tomorrow night, when addressing his increasingly shaky core support base, Trump will change his mind, with two generals whispering in his ear constantly to determine US foreign policy even as two ex-Goldmanites now write domestic US policy, it is quite likely that the Trump who was unveiled tonight, is the Trump that will stay with the US population for the indefinite future. And if for some reason the “new and improved” Trump slips and fades away again… well there’s always the Mueller “Russia collusion” probe in the background keeping the president on his toes.


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“Democrats Badly Need Barack Obama” In 2018; Party Insiders Long For Former Leader’s Return

"Help us Barack Obama, you’re our only hope," is the call from The Left.

As Democrats’ struggle to find a new champion to lead them in next year’s battle to wrestle back control of the Senate and possibly the House – otherwise known as the 2018 midterms – party insiders are quietly hoping that the former president will step up and play a leading role in stumping for embattled Democratic candidates across the country, according to the Hill.

Since leaving the White House, the former president has been reticent about his plans for the future, though he has occasionally broken his silence to lob a critical tweet or two at his successor. Recently, one of Obama’s tweets, which depicted him smiling at three ethnically mixed toddlers above the message that read “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” became the most popular tweet of all time. 

The party’s enthusiasm for its former leader is at odds with the president’s desire to remain on the sidelines and allow the next generation of party talent to takeover. Though judging by Democrats’ performance since the beginning of the Trump era, it appears they have a pretty shallow bench.

Here's the Hill:

“Democrats are already nostalgic for Obama as they battle against President Trump’s agenda. When he talks, they listen, as evidenced this week by a tweet from Obama about Charlottesville that became the most popular in the history of the platform.

 

The tricky question now facing the party is how much should it rely on the former president to boost candidates’ profile in 2018.

 

“Some Democrats are pushing for Obama to have a more elevated role, but the president has made clear he is wary of sliding back into the role of party leader, which could prevent new leaders from emerging.”

But given the party’s waning popularity – recent polls show Democrats are even less popular with the American public than Republicans – it doesn’t look like they have much choice. Without their greatest political asset, the party will likely be doomed to another embarrassing defeat.  

“Democrats badly need Barack Obama,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “He offers such a vivid contrast to Trump in behavior and temperament.”  

 

“He always sounded reasonable and acted responsibly even if you disagreed with him,” Bannon continued. “None of the potential Democratic presidential candidates have the visibility or credibility to be effective.”

Another strategist said it’s “unconscionable” how little Obama has done to help the Democrats since President Trump’s upset victory in November.

“Brent Budowsky, a former Democratic aide and columnist for The Hill, said Obama “should play a far more aggressive role, starting today, to win back the House and Senate in 2018.”

 

“America faces an enormous political crisis and it is unconscionable how little Obama and other former top officials have done to help Democrats since Trump began his ugly abuses of power.”

Still, others argue that it wouldn't be wise to push Obama into the role of Trump’s “sparring partner,” and that when campaigning begins, the former president should play an important but "understated" role to help give the next round of party leaders some room to develop.

“Democratic strategist Christy Setzer agreed, saying while the Democratic nostalgia is “deep and real,” it isn’t wise to have Obama become Trump’s sparring partner.

 

“For Democrats, never has the contrast been stronger between what we just gave up and what we have now,” Setzer said.

 

But she added that for potential 2020 candidates like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) or Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to truly move into the political spotlight, “Obama has to remain in the shadows.”

 

While Democrats may be in a different place a year from now, she added, ‘right now, we’re still trying to figure out who the next leaders of the party are. Until that’s more clear, Obama can’t be as prominent.’”

To be sure, Obama has already been involved in fundraising for the party, and is expected to begin campaigning in the fall, according to the Hill. The broader question is, should the Democrats fail to find a new champion by the midterms, will desperate Dems turn to Michelle Obama, who already polls higher than many of the party’s other most prominent figures?


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Morning Joe Panel Melts Down After July Fundraiser Data Shows the RNC is Crushing the DNC

Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

The Morning Joe staff have been energetically suggesting the Trump presidency would mark an end to the Republican Party as we know it.

Just before the recent elections, which demonstrated widespread support for the GOP, former republican, Joe Scarborough predicted widespread losses for the party of Lincoln.

After the exact opposite occurred, Joe took to the teevee in shock — hemming and hawing about how America could still vote for the party of Lincoln, in spite of Trump.

Today, July fundraising data showed the RNC absolutely crushed the beleaguered DNC, prompting Joe to find religion as to why this is happening. He concluded that ‘identity politics’ was hurting the DNC, which drew the ire of Share Blue, the DNC backed propaganda arm responsible for spamming conservative websites with pro DNC messages.

Watch the Morning Joe panel lament over the utter and complete failure of the DNC to capitalize on Trump’s White House discord — pointing to the fact that recent polling shows republican candidates pulling ahead of democrats, out-raising them by 2 to 1.

“Maybe they (DNC) can retake the house in 2018 with a completely inept message.”

And here was Joe’s twitter screed, lecturing the democrats on how to beat his former party.

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Explain how this is happening, democrats?


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