Afghanistan

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Frontrunning: June 20





  • Bonds Tumble With Stocks as Gold Drops in Rout on Fed (BBG)
  • Bernanke Sees Beginning of End for Fed’s Record Easing (BBG)
  • Gold Tumbles to 2 1/2 Year-Low After Fed as Silver Plummets (BBG)
  • PBoC dashes hopes of China liquidity boost (FT)
  • U.S. Icons Now Made of Chinese Steel (WSJ)
  • Emerging Markets Crack as $3.9 Trillion Funds Unwind (BBG)
  • Everyone joins the fun: India sets up elaborate system to tap phone calls, e-mail (Reuters)
  • China Manufacturing Shrinks Faster in Threat to Europe (BBG)
  • More on how Syria's Al-qaeda, and now US, supported "rebels", aka Qatar mercenaries, operate (Reuters)
  • Echoes of Mao in China cash crunch (FT) - how dare a central bank not pander to every bank demand?
  • French watchdog tells Google to change privacy policy (Reuters)
 
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Guest Post: Who Are The Real Traitors?





Over the course of decades we have allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the love of material possessions, the lure of a debt based faux wealth, the money for nothing entitlement promises of dishonorable politicians, the evil of currency debasement, the effectiveness of mass media propaganda, and the belief that we could sacrifice freedom and liberty for promises of safety and security made by a cabal of powerful rich men. Power has been concentrated into the hands of the few, who operate in secrecy and despise the people. They don’t want transparency or open debate. Freedom of speech is nothing but a thorn in their side. They believe they are smarter than the serfs and have no morality when it comes to committing illegal acts and disregarding the Constitution. They are not acting in the public interest. Their abuse of power and looting of the national wealth have put us on a path towards a bloody revolution. This is not a time for conformity, obedience or submission. It’s time to stand up and expose the evil doers. It’s time to rally around those who care about this country. Who are the real traitors? You know the answer.

 
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The Taliban Open Political Office In Qatar





In an apparent effort to "facilitate peace talks," Al Jazeera reports that the Taliban - the armed Islamic fundamentalist group - will open a political office Doha, Qatar tomorrow.

  • *AFGHANISTAN'S TALIBAN TO OPEN OFFICE IN QATAR TOMORROW: JAZEERA
  • *JAZEERA CITES UNIDENTIFIED SOURCES ON TALIBAN POLITICAL OFFICE

Until earlier this year, Afghan President Karzai was strongly opposed to the Taliban having a meeting venue outside Afghanistan, but the US has pushed for the Taliban to be present at the negotiating table as Washington prepares to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in the next two years. This opening comes on the heels of accusations (here and as we discussed here) that Qatar (and Saudi Arabia) is reviving al-Qaeda in Iraq and now Syria.

 
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Military Minds





The Military mind is a dangerous mind. It promotes a lack of critical thinking.

 
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Iran Sends 4,000 Troops To Aid Syria's Assad





While the world awaits Russia's formal response to last week's US escalation in Syria (as Putin demonstratively arrived an hour late for talks on Syria with UK PM David Cameron) another country: Iran - fresh from an election in which moderate candidate Hassan Rohani became the new president - is taking matters into its own hands. The Independent Reports that "a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel."

 
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Ron Paul: "Iraq Collapse Shows The Bankruptcy Of Interventionism"





May was Iraq’s deadliest month in nearly five years, with more than 1,000 dead – both civilians and security personnel -- in a rash of bombings, shootings and other violence. As we read each day of new horrors in Iraq, it becomes more obvious that the US invasion delivered none of the promised peace or stability that proponents of the attack promised. We must learn the appropriate lessons from the disaster of Iraq. We cannot continue to invade countries, install puppet governments, build new nations, create centrally-planned economies, engage in social engineering, and force democracy at the barrel of a gun. The rest of the world is tired of US interventionism and the US taxpayer is tired of footing the bill for US interventionism.

 
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On Crushing Student Loans, Worthless College Degrees And The Millennials





At some point, the Millennial generation will have to awaken to the fact that the only way to change its fate is to grasp political power and redirect the policy and mindset of the nation. Centralization is the black hole that is destroying the nation's social and economic vigor. Decentralization, transparency, accountability, adaptability, social innovation, a community-based economy - these are the key features of a sustainable social order. The existing social and financial order is crumbling because it is unsustainable on multiple levels. The Status Quo will cling to its false promises and corrupt centers of power until the moment the whole thing implodes. The central state is not the Millennials' friend, it is their oppressor.

 
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Guest Post: The Geopolitics Of Gold





Western central banks have got themselves horribly wrong-footed as a result of not adjusting their anti-gold policies to allow for the realities of Asian gold demand. Though their dealings are shrouded in secrecy, there is compelling evidence that much – if not most – of Western central bank gold has been quietly sold over the last three decades. More recently members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a common security and trading bloc led by Russia and China, and future members (India, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Belarus and Sri Lanka), with their citizens numbering over 3 billion people, have together cornered the global market for physical supply, without even taking account of demand from the rest of South East Asia’s gold-hungry population. The result is that gold markets are now failing to clear. The ability of the Western central banks to supress gold prices appears to be ending.

 
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Full Text And Wordcloud Of Obama's "Don't Drone Me, Bro" Speech





One can read "The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama" to get a true sense of Obama's "the best defense is a relentless drone everyone offense, ignore collateral damage and take out a few Americans in the process" policy. Or one can stare at rising stawks and enjoy their Obamaphones. Obe can't have both.

 
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Eric Holder Admits To First Americans Killed By Drone Strikes





In a letter to Congress (below), AG Eric Holder admitted that the administration deliberately killed American Anwar al-Awlaki (the radical Muslim cleric) in a drone strike in September 2011 adding, as the NY Times reports, "the decision to target Anwar al-Awlaki was lawful, it was considered, and it was just." As RT notes, there was collateral damage, as it has been widely reported but rarely acknowledged in Washington that two other US citizens - Samir Khan, and al-Awlaki's teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki - were executed in that same Yemen strike. With Holder’s latest admission, however, a fourth American - Jude Mohammed - has also been officially named a casualty of America’s continuing drone war; bringing the total 'known' Americans killed under the US Drone War to 4 since 2009.

 
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Guest Post: Lions And Tigers And Terrorists, Oh My!





The debate over what actions actually constitute “terrorism,” we believe, will become one of the defining ideological battles of our era. Terrorism is not a word often used by common people to describe aberrant behaviors or dastardly deeds; however, it is used by governments around the world to label and marginalize political enemies. That is to say, it is the government that normally decides who is a “terrorist” and who is a mere “criminal,” the assertion being that one is clearly far worse than the other. The more naïve subsections of our society will accept unConstitutional methods against the “radicalized” out of fear and conditioning, without realizing that the machinations of bureaucracy being used against those they hate could just as easily be used against them in the future.

 
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Postcards From Afghanistan





ConvergEx's Nick Colas undertook a recent trip to Afghanistan.  As he notes, the country has a long way to go to reestablish a viable economy and political stability, but he saw enough to be optimistic on both counts.  Security around the capital is tight, and Afghan troops look professional and disciplined.  There is ample food on display in countless local grocery stands.  Girls go to school throughout the city, although women are a less common sight on the streets.  Scarcity makes for odd economic outcomes – the only passenger car you’ll see is a Toyota Corolla, imported from different countries.  No Afghan will be surprised that you are a tourist in their country – they are still very proud of its history and resilience.  Westerners there will assume you are “On business.” Here are seven “Postcards from Kabul” with his last observations from this trip.

 
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Every President His Bubble – And Its Aftermath





Politicians love good asset bubbles. Until they blow up. Which they always do.

 
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