Afghanistan

American Psycho - Has The United States Lost Its Collective Mind?

From Ferguson, Missouri to the deserts of Afghanistan the specter of US aggression is fueling the flames of civil strife and military conflict around an increasingly volatile planet. Much of the problem may be connected to the breakdown of the American psyche. Before attempting to shed some light on America’s mental condition, let’s open with a pop quiz question: What is the top-selling prescription drug in the US? Nope, it’s not Viagra, not Prozac, forget the Percocet. The top-selling drug in the Land of the Free and Disturbed is an antipsychotic, happily named Abilify. Once again: The top-selling drug in America is an antipsychotic. Now some might say that’s mental.

Frontrunning: October 16

  • McDonald’s Close to Deciding Whether to Change Structure of U.S. Real Estate (WSJ)
  • Stocks Rise as Stimulus Bets Spur $4.1 Trillion Gain; Oil Climbs (BBG)
  • Wall Street bonuses likely to plunge as trading revenue drops (Reuters)
  • Syrian army launches Aleppo offensive with Iranian support (Reuters)
  • Malaysia’s Najib Razak Played Key Role at Troubled 1MDB Investment Fund (WSJ)
  • VW Loses Market Share in Europe as Diesel-Motor Recalls Loom (BBG)

The Fog Of "Everything": Why America's Eternally Caught Off Guard In The Middle East

Whatever the efforts of that expansive corps of intelligence analysts (and the vast intelligence edifice behind it), when anything happens in the Greater Middle East, you can essentially assume that the official American reaction, military and political, will be “surprise” and that policymakers will be left “scrambling” in a quagmire of ignorance to rescue American policy from the unexpected. The evidence, after all, is largely in.  In these years, for what now must be approaching three-quarters of a trillion dollars, the national security state and the military seem to have created an un-intelligence system.  Welcome to the fog of everything.

'New Snowden' Reveals Obama's Secret Drone Assassination Program

The reason these articles are so important, is not because they are based on intel leaked by an additional whistleblower (i.e., not Snowden), but because you can’t read the information without concluding quite simply that the U.S. empire is completely and totally out of control. That the plethora of American military adventures overseas are not only not making us safer, but are in fact making us far more vulnerable.

Obama Explains Why The U.S. Isn't Pulling Out Of Afghanistan After All - Live Feed

As the old adage goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and as the recent bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz clearly shows, the US military presence in Afghanistan is doing wonders for stability and security which is presumably why the Obama administration has just done a 180 on troop deployment in the country.

Frontrunning: October 15

  • China economic growth seen slowing despite policy easing (Reuters)
  • FBI, Justice Department Investigating Daily Fantasy Sports Business Model (WSJ)
  • Obama to slow pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan (Reuters)
  • Corporate America's Epic Debt Binge Leaves $119 Billion Hangover (BBG)
  • Islamic State battles insurgents as Syria army prepares assault (Reuters)
  • Why Hillary Clinton Can’t Win by Going After the NRA (BBG)

Futures Surge As ECB Bankers Resort To Verbal Intervention, Suggest More QE Needed

Aside from Chinese monetary data, it was a relatively quiet session in which traders were focusing on every move in the suddenly tumbling USD, and parsing every phrase by central bankers around the globe, as well as the previously noted piece by Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath which effectively ended the debate whether there will be rate hikes in 2015. Adding to the overnight froth were ECB speakers first Ewald Nowotny and then Spain's Restoy, who said that euro-area core inflation "clearly" below goal, remarks which were immediately assumed to signal increasing pressure to boost stimulus, and which promptly translated into even more weakness in EUR and equity strength, pushing US futures up about 15 points from yesterday's close.

The Fingerpointing Begins: House Armed Services Chairman Slams Obama's Syria Policy

The Chairman of the House Armed Services, Mac Thornberry, slammed the Obama administration's policy on Syria in an interview published Monday.  Thornberry said that he could not recall anytime during his 20 years in Congress where Russia or any other country told the U.S. when and where American forces could fly in another country. Well, there is always a first time for everything...

Obama Defends The Failure Of His Syria Policy Before A Belligerent 60 Minutes

Steve Kroft: A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border. Now it's also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States-- America leads. We're the indispensible nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.

President Barack Obama: In what way? Let-- let's think about this-- let-- let...

Pentagon Will Pay "Condolence" Blood Money To Afghan Hospital Bombing Victims

According to the WSJ, the Pentagon is offering "condolence payments" to the civilians injured and the families of those killed by a U.S. airstrike that destroyed a hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan. Because, the thinking probably goes, human lives are like any other commodity and can be measured in reserve notes. However, what is more disturbing is that since the US prints the world's reserve currency, should Obama proceed to exterminate countless other "collaterally damaged" civilians, all that the US will need to do is print a few more million to wash its - and that of the "free and democratic world" - conscience, and all shall be well in all future cases.