Afghanistan

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Are The Real Enemies In Syria Or Washington?





The definition of what makes an “enemy” may vary from person to person. But we would say that, generally, an enemy is one who has an active ability to do irreparable harm to you or your essential values. He is motivated by destruction, the destruction of all that you hold dear. He is capable and unrelenting. He is a legitimate threat. He will not compromise. He will not waver. He will do anything to wound you. He will not stop. He is possessed. Americans have spent the better part of a century being told who their enemies are with very little explanation or substantiation. We have blindly rallied around our patriotic prerogative without knowing the root cause of the conflict or the nature of the target we are told to annihilate. We have been suckered into war after war, conjured by international interests in order to lure us into accepting greater centralization and concentrated globalism. As a culture, we're sorry to say, we have been used. We are a tool of unmitigated doom. We are the loaded gun in the hand of the devil. When one applies the above definition of “the enemy” to Syria, one comes away with very little satisfaction. So, the question arises: If Syria is not the real enemy, who is?

 
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Putin Wins Again As Obama Puts Attack On Hold





UPDATE 2: French draft UN security council resolution would give Syria 15 days to make complete declaration of entire chemical arms program

UPDATE 1: NASDAQ Futures are fading the Obama "Pause" spike after AAPL is not announcing a China Mobile deal

Starting just 1 minute late, the President begab by unapologetically conjuring images of WWI and WWII and stuck to the line that "we know" Assad was responsible for killing his own people with Sarin. Then moved to fear-mongery over what Iran might do, adding that he was very much for strikes. But, in giving Congress the hot potato he knew decision would be difficult. The US military does not do 'pin pricks' and a "targeted" strike will send a message to Assad. While recognizing the need for a diplomatic solution, Obama made it clear that those efforts would follow a military strike. But then, after all the angry banter, he then backed down and said, will work for peaceful solution by putting the strike on hold and will bring a resolution to UN. Ending on a more aggressive note, he warned Republican and Democrat lawmakers to rethink their opposition to the strikes should they be needed.

 
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Money Laundering Exposed As A Key Component Of The Housing Bubble's "All Cash" Bid





In August 2012, when isolating one of the various reasons for the latest housing bubble, we suggested that a primary catalyst for the price surge in the ultra-luxury housing segment and the seemingly endless supply of "all cash" buyers (standing at an unprecedented 60% of all buyers lately as reported by Goldman) is a very simple one: crime. Or rather, the use of US real estate as a means to launder illegal offshore-procured money. We also identified the one key permissive feature which allowed this: the National Association of Realtors' exemption from Anti-Money Laundering provisions. In other words, all a foreign oligarch - who may or may not have used chemical weapons in their past: all depends on how recently they took their picture with the Secretary of State - had to do to buy a $47 million Florida house, was to get the actual cash to the US. Well good thing there are private jets whose cargo is never checked. It appears that a year later this too hypothesis has been proven. Earlier today the Post reported that "U.S. authorities announced Tuesday that they are seeking forfeiture of pricey Manhattan real estate linked to a fraud they say was uncovered by a whistleblowing Russian lawyer before he died behind bars. A civil forfeiture complaint filed against the assets of a Cyprus-based real estate corporation and other holding companies alleges that some of the proceeds from the $230 million tax fraud in Russia were laundered through the purchase of four luxury condominiums located in a Wall Street doorman building and two commercial spaces in prime locations in midtown and Chelsea."

 
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Guest Post: From Russia With Love, Redux





Incredibly, the question being asked this past weekend throughout the US media had been: will Americans’ representatives in Congress vote to support the president’s wish to punish Bashar al-Assad (Syria, really!), or will their votes follow their constituents’ wishes at home against armed intervention?  Asking this question seems embarrassingly obscene, to both morality and democracy, and most of us cringe at the thought of these pusillanimous representatives and senators we have in Congress making such a decision. Now a diplomatic solution is floating in the air which may be Russia’s greatest gift to both Obama – one of saving face – and the United States – an unquestionable saving of blood and treasure.  Yes, let’s get Syria’s chemical weapons under international control... to hell with McCain and the demonic hawkish streak of politicians we harbor in the United States of America.  Thank you, Russia… we love you back!

 
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Guest Post: On Syria: Don't Take Regime Change Off The Table





Two weeks ago, the Syrian regime reportedly ordered the use of chemical weapons, which U.S. sources state killed over 1400 people. Over one year ago, President Obama declared that any movement or use of chemical weapons would cross a “redline.” Right from the start, officials in the Obama White House assured the public that any decision to use force against Syria would not be designed to impose regime change. Why would the administration take such an option off the table? As strategists and policymakers have understood since time immemorial, any decision to use military force must be guided by a strategy. If Washington’s strategy is to stop Assad from using chemical weapons, demonstrate that America is committed to enforcing this international norm, and undermine states that support such atrocious actions, regime change remains the critical instrument for the United States. In fact, all other options are highly susceptible to failure. In the end, the failure to put the instrument of regime change on the table demonstrates a lack of resolve, commitment, or weakness—all of which will be interpreted by friend and foe alike as acquiescence in the face of states using chemical weapons.

 
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Pro-War Senator Votes Bought With 83% More Defense Lobby Money?





Wednesday's 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee supporting an authorization of military attacks on Syria may have been affected by varying levels of financial support the senators got from political action committees representing the defense industry, and from the companies' employees. As The Daily Mail reports, on average, a 'yes'-voting senator received 83% more money from defense contractors than one who voted 'no.' Committee members who voted Wednesday to support the proposal collected an average of $72,850 in defense campaign financing between 2007 and 2012, Wired magazine reported, based on data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Those who dissented in the committee vote averaged $39,770, with the four senators who received the least amount of defense dollars, ranging from $14,000 to $19,250, all voted no. At a Pentagon-estimated cost of around $5 billion per month (for a 2-month deployment) - and in light of our previous discussion on lobbying ROIs - is it any wonder?

 
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Guest Post: What Do We Stand For?





As the U.S., led by the Obama Administration, moves towards yet another possible war in the Middle East, using covert terrorists as proxies and enacting violent policy based on dubious or non-existent evidence and far flung accusations, we realize that with all the blathering voices out there telling us what to think, what to do, what to fear, who to admire, who to worship, how to live, and what to aspire, perhaps it is time for each of us to solemnly question what we stand for, and what America is supposed to stand for? Really, think about it. What are we here for? What purpose do we serve in the grand scheme of things? What are our defining principles? Have we lost track of ourselves as Americans so completely that we cannot even explain in a reasonable fashion what kind of people we want to be, and what kind of world we want to live in?

 
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David Stockman On "The End Of The American Imperium"





Next week Congress can do far more than stop a feckless Tomahawk barrage on a small country which is already a graveyard of civil war and sectarian slaughter. By voting “no” it can trigger the end of the American Imperium - five decades of incessant meddling, bullying and subversion around the globe which has added precious little to national security, but left America fiscally exhausted and morally diminished. By long standing historical demonstration, the US Congress specializes in paralysis, indecision and dysfunction. In the end, that is how the American warfare state will be finally brought to heel and why the American Imperium will come to an end - at last.

 
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Fiction, Fact... Or Scandal?





* * * We make no claims that any of the presented is in any way accurate or representative of the truth. It is sourced from a "hack" by €Wagn3r of what the hacker purports to be numerous emails of one Colonel Anthony James MacDonald, his wife, and various other "Pentagon officers." However, if accurate, the exposed data sheds some critical, if circumstantial, light on the events that transpired in the days ahead of the Wednesday, August 22 "nerve gas" chemical attack alleged to have been executed by Syria's president al-Assad, and presented "beyond a doubt" as such, and as the basis for full-scale military operations and "surgical strikes" targeting Syrian assets, which in the coming days will involve a Congressional vote to determine the fate of the Syrian government and ostensibly of ten of thousands of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. While we doubt the Pentagon, the US Military, or any person in the administration will officially address these "hacked" emails, the world has a right to be aware of the existence of this information, and to come their own conclusions about the veracity of the official "case" for Syrian involvement * * *

 
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US Banks on Swiss: RIP





The Buffets and the Gates of the US will be shedding a few tears this week as the United States and Switzerland have reached an agreement that brings the status of the latter as a tax haven for Americans (or will they?).

 
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Guest Post: What To Expect During The Next Stage Of Collapse





The most likely path of collapse to take place within the U.S. includes economic destabilization caused by a loss of the dollar's world reserve status and petro-status.  This fiscal crisis event will likely not occur in the midst of a political vacuum.  The central banks and international financiers that created our ongoing and developing disaster are not going to allow the destruction of the American economy, the dollar, or global markets without a cover event designed to hide their culpability.  They need something big.  Something so big that the average citizen is overwhelmed with fear and confusion.  A smoke and mirrors magic trick so raw and soul shattering it leaves the very population of the Earth mesmerized and helpless to understand the root of the nightmare before them.  The elites need a fabricated Apocalypse. Enter Syria...

 
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US Marine Ship Approaches Syria; Russia Blasts Any "Acts Of Aggression" - Full Syrian Update





WWhile there may have been a verbal attempt by the Obama administration to diffuse Syrian tensions in the aftermath of Thursday's shocker out of the House of Commons, the action on the ground so far is hardly conciliatory. Or rather water, because a sixth US warship has now anchored in proximity to Syria, joining the recently arrived fifth destroyer USS Stout, which joined the warships already "breathing down Assad's neck." From AP: "Five U.S. Navy destroyers - the USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Barry, the USS Stout and USS Ramage - are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea waiting for the order to launch. And the USS San Antonio, an amphibious assault ship has now joined them. The USS San Antonio, which is carrying helicopters and can carry up to 800 Marines, has no cruise missiles, so it is not expected to participate in the attack. Instead, the ship's long-planned transit across the Mediterranean was interrupted so that it could remain in the area to help if needed." So in addition to a cruise missile based force, the US is now bringing in the marines? The justification that they are there "just in case" seems a little shallow in context.

 
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John Kerry's "Proof" Statement - Full Transcript





It seems clear that it is not "if" but "when" an attack takes place and as the following world-cloud confirms; the US "know"... as the strategy "better to ask for forgiveness than permission?" And that with the Russia meeting due next week, and a UN inspector report that appears pointless now that we have social media, that the attack will occur sooner rather than later...

 
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Citi Asks "How High Can Gold Ultimately Go?"





Gold looks to have found a base. Citi's FX Technicals retain a view that we can see a “low to high” percentage move in this gold bull market similar to what we saw in the bull market of 1970-1980. They add that if we extract the final leg of that move in December 1979-Jan 1980 which was totally driven by the USSR invasion of Afghanistan - almost doubling the price of Gold over 5 weeks - then we end up with a target of around $3,500 over the next 3 years or so. The charts below are compelling in that respect, but before we look at them we will indulge in some pontification...

 
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How Obama Got His Tomahawks





The rise of Tomahawk force began in 1983 during the Reagan buildup, but the demise of the Evil Empire did not slow down its development one bit. By the end of the century the United States had about 150 surface ships and attack submarines that could launch these deadly cruise missiles and an inventory of nearly 5,000 missiles. Tomahawks have a range of seven hundred miles. This means that from their offshore platforms they can reach three-fourths of the world’s population. And during the last two decades they have been used in just this “stand-off” manner against targets in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, and others—teaching presidents that they could meddle freely without getting bloodied.

 
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