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.

Source: Zerohedge – What Would A U.S. Civil War Look Like?

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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Source: Zerohedge – Bitcoin (BTCUSD) Breaks Below 4000, Testing Month Plus Upchannel Support

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. 

Source: Zerohedge – Secret Service Reportedly Going Broke Protecting Trump Family

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, “playfully” reassured Americans the treasure was still secure.
“Glad gold is safe!” he wrote in a post on Twitter.
Thanks to @usmint staff for hosting at #FortKnox #USBD. First @USTreasury Secretary to visit since John Snyder in 1948. Glad gold is safe!
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) August 21, 2017
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… 

Source: Zerohedge – Mnuchin Visits Fort Knox, Says "Gold Is Safe"

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.
Update: Here’s Breitbart’s take, as expected.

Source: Zerohedge – In Angry Tweetstorm, Ron Paul Lashes Out At "Neocon" Trump

"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. 
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…" pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
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 preve nt 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?

Source: Zerohedge – "Democrats Badly Need Barack Obama" In 2018; Party Insiders Long For Former Leader's Return

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 3 to 1.
Joe just doesn’t understand how the DNC keeps losing.

Morning Joe panel tries to explain how the RNC outraised the DNC by 2-1 in July. pic.twitter.com/nykUxXtRGY
— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) August 22, 2017
 

“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.

Actually just shocked at how bad the Democratic Party is at finding a unifying message after getting hammered in elections for 7 years. https://t.co/LQJcjRTRsC
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

They continue to wallow in identity politics instead of finding a unifying message for working class Americans. They can’t help themselves. https://t.co/GgubO2mmYY
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

How do you fail to find a unifying message when Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are your opponents? Unbelievable. https://t.co/Arm3UN4C9u
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

Dear @JoeNBC –
Civil rights are under attack by Trump.
And those non-white, non-male, non-straight “identity” folks?
They WORK too. https://t.co/P7GYlnfqeW
— Shareblue Media (@Shareblue) August 21, 2017

Dear Shareblue,
You just proved my point. You racebaiting me on Twitter won’t win a single Democratic seat. That should be your concern. https://t.co/JmQ487fvhC
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

When you Balkanize voters and then suggest I think “non-white, non-male, non-straight” people don’t work, that’s a problem. https://t.co/nMs1aNRErj
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

I’m suggesting the Democratic Party needs a unifying message for ALL working class voters. You somehow tried to make that negative. #Unite https://t.co/cgLAywbw2f
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017

Independents and concerned Republicans also need to build a message that unites ALL Americans together as one. #Unite #EPluribusUnum https://t.co/DH6xKpzLzh
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 21, 2017
Explain how this is happening, democrats?

Source: Zerohedge – Morning Joe Panel Melts Down After July Fundraiser Data Shows the RNC is Crushing the DNC

Think Like A Corleone

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,
Leave fools’ paradise to the fools.

If you are offered a choice between having your tuition and expenses paid at a top of the line business school, or buying with your own money Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (the book and the movies, Parts One and Two) choose the latter. You’ll find them far more useful than the MBA.
Americans are frequently condemned for obliviousness to the lies and depredations of the people who rule them. Much of the condemnation is merited, but the obliviousness is also a vestige of a better time. The best gauge of a society is truth: its prevalence and how it’s treated.
You go to a store and buy a product. Your transaction rests on implicit assumptions that everyone in the supply chain is telling the truth and acting honorably. The product was manufactured to the manufacturer’s advertised standard. It was delivered by a transportation company in good order, and marketed by the store in good faith. Every step of the way you could have been ripped off and not known it. The product could be a counterfeit. The delivery truck could have been hijacked and the product resold to the vendor at a cut-rate price. The product might be defective, but the manufacturer and vendor continue to sell it. A paranoid could drive himself crazy imagining all the possibilities, most of which cannot be dismissed out of hand.
When exchange is voluntary, a producer’s reputation for integrity is an invaluable asset and an consumer’s trust is both rational and productive. A producer’s reputation rests on millions or billions of transactions in which consumers receive the value they expect, with any problems quickly addressed and remedied to the consumer’s satisfaction. One reason John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil did as well as it did was because its refining and distribution processes delivered oil that was of a uniformly high standard. Many of the company’s competitors did not. One batch might be acceptable, but other batches had impurities or varying chemical compositions. Those who think it’s easy to manufacturer millions of items or refine millions of barrels of oil to a uniform standard over a span of years or decades only betray their ignorance of manufacturing and refining.
The companies that reach the top of the heap in a voluntary exchange system save their customers immeasurable time and effort. Imagine if you had to inspect and test every item you bought before you used it. That would be a dump truck full of sand in the gears of your life; you’d get nothing else done.
Voluntary exchange rewards both integrity and trust. That was once the American milieu, and is still a significant part of it. We trust Apple to deliver great phones, ExxonMobil to deliver top grade gasoline, Whole Foods to deliver quality food, and so on. Unfortunately, another class of interactions has overshadowed the realm of voluntary exchange, interactions based on fear, force, fraud and theft. Nefarious means to nefarious ends are the province of governments.
Expanding government power and domination are the deadly enemies of integrity and trust. As a government uses violence to subjugate, the subjugated quickly learn that honesty and honorable behavior are persecuted; to survive they must resort to deception and covert resistance. The subjugators invariably regard the subjugated as an inferior class and disparage their tactics as dishonorable.
History is replete with such instances. Sicily has been ruled by a long line of outside powers. Starting in the late 1800s, the Mafia became the embodiment of the inverted morality that takes hold among tyrannized and brutalized peoples. That morality does nothing to advance the general welfare; it doesn’t promote prosperity or progress. It only allows the subjugated to survive.
In this antique garden, Michael Corleone learned about the roots from which his father grew. That the word “mafia” had originally meant place of refuge. Then it became the name for the secret organization that sprang up to fight against the rulers who had crushed the country and its people for centuries. Sicily was a land that had been more cruelly raped than any other in history. The Inquisition had tortured rich and poor alike. The landowning barons and the prices of the Catholic Church exercised absolute power over the shepherds and farmers. The police were the instruments of their power and so identified with them that to be called a policeman is the foulest insult one Sicilian can hurl at another.
 
Faced with the savagery of this absolute power, the suffering people learned never to betray their anger and their hatred for fear of being crushed. They learned never to make themselves vulnerable by uttering any sort of threat since giving such a warning insured a quick reprisal. They learned that society was their enemy and so when they sought redress they went to the rebel underground, the Mafia. And the Mafia cemented its power by originating the law of silence, the omerta. In the countryside of Sicily a stranger asking directions to the nearest town will not even receive the courtesy of an answer. And the greatest crime any member of the Mafia could commit would be to tell the police the name of the man who had just shot him or done him any kind of injury. Omerta became the religion of the people. A woman whose husband has been murdered would not tell the police the name of her husband’s murderer, not even of her child’s murderer, her daughter’s raper.
The Godfather, Mario Puzo

Probably 20 percent of Americans will tell you their life stories in a grocery store checkout line, and 50 percent over a cup of coffee. Many trade information about themselves as freely as they trade their money for groceries or coffee. Ask those who have escaped life in a totalitarian regime about it and they will marvel at the foolishness.
The oppressed learn to trust no one other than those who have demonstrated they deserve to be trusted, usually family or long-time friends. In response to disclosures that the government is monitoring them 24/7 and knows virtually everything they do and say, many Americans breezily assert that they’re not worried; they have nothing to hide. Behind omerta was the Sicilian peasant’s reality that any information, no matter how trivial or innocuous, was a weapon that could be used against him by the hostile and corrupt regime. American openness and trusting insouciance is quaintly naive—anachronisms from a better time—and pitiably foolish.
If you think the government, its friends, and those who pull its strings have your best interests at heart, that they tell the truth, that they can be trusted, you are living in a fool’s paradise and deserve whatever you get from your “benevolent” masters. For the rest of us, it’s time to go Sicilian, to start thinking like a Corleone. The dangers will intensify as things get much worse, before collapse offers the prospect of rebuilding something better.
The times demand caution, skepticism, less talking, more listening, alertness, wariness, hiding one’s strengths, remedying one’s weaknesses, self-sufficiency, cunning, and drawing closer to those few people in your life you know you can trust. Your survival is at stake and there are no guarantees. All you can do is better your odds. Indiscriminate trust and hoping for the best—without thinking about and preparing for the worse—will dramatically lower those odds.

Source: Zerohedge – Think Like A Corleone

Trump Unveils New, Dramatic Afghanistan Strategy: "We Aren't Nation-Building Again, We Are Killing Terrorists"

In a widely anticipated national address, President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he will not pull out U.S. troops from Afghanistan, saying he’s committed to a new strategy aimed at winning the nation’s longest war, now in its 17th year. Admitting that his “original instinct was to pull out” of Afghanistan – Trump’s core campaign pledge was to reduce US intervention in offshore conflicts – Trump effectively admitted he had been wrong, and said he’s arrived at three “fundamental conclusions” about America’s core interests in Afghanistan:

U.S. “must seek an honorable and enduring outcome” in which American troops “deserve a plan for victory”
The consequences of a rapid exit would be “predictable and unacceptable” adding that “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11”
The security threats U.S. faces “are immense”; and “we cannot repeat the mistake in Afghanistan our leaders made in Iraq.”

Trump also promised to the soldiers gathered for the speech that “One way or another, these problems will be solved. I am a problem solver. And in the end, we will win.”
In other words, Trump is unveiling a dramatic, new offensive in Afghanistan, only instead of giving details on troop deployments, specific dates, or what the definition of victory would be, Trump will keep the details of the new involvement secret, and that “conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on.”

We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will. Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power, diplomatic, economic, and military, toward a successful outcome. Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban and Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen. America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field.

Trump also defined what a victory in Afghanistan would mean:

Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will.

President Trump: “From now on, victory will have a clear definition” https://t.co/WWDLK93V4z
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 22, 2017
Taking a quick detour into domestic politics, Trump said that “the young men and women we sent to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.”
However it was all about Afghanistan:

Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.

Well, that and Pakistan, which has now been thrown into the terrorist “melting pot” fray:

The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach in how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.
 
Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism.  We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices, but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately.

And, in a surprising twist, Trump also brought in India to the mix:

Another critical part of the South Asia strategy or America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic harbor of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Oddly enough, zero mentions of China, almost as if Trump is telegraphing the new US “axis” in South Asia.
Finally, speaking like a polished cog of a well-greased neo-con/military-industrial wheel – note that Lindsay Graham loved every word of tonight’s speech – Trump warned “Terrorists, take heed. America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat. Under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military. And this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense. In every generation we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed.”
In conclusion, Trump may not be able to get approval from Congress to pass his domestic spending agenda, but at least he is about to spend “billions” to continue a war that started 16 years ago and will surely never end, and make shareholders of defense stocks even richer.
Full transcript below (via NPR):
*   *   *
President Trump
Thank you very much. Thank you. Please be seated. Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson, members of the cabinet, General Dunford, Deputy Secretary Shanahan and Colonel Duggan. Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Fort Myer and every member of the United States military at home and abroad. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and lost after a tragic collision at sea as well as to those conducting the search and recovery efforts.
I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the service members here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home. Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history.
American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield – for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality. By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose.
They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They are all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag and live according to the same law.
They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon on a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt.
And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.
As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas, and we will always win, let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.
Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military, and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11, and nobody can ever forget that, have not been repeated on our shores. But we must acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight, that nearly 16 years after September 11 attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history – 17 years. I share the American people’s frustration. I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly, lives trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations. That is why shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.
My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. In other words, when you are president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. I arrived at three fundamental conclusion about America’s core interests in Afghanistan.
First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win. Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.
As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorists enemies. Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for bled to liberate and won were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS. The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit and launch attacks. We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq.
Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense. Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states, whose tense relations threat to spiral into conflict, and that could happen.
No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions.
When I became president, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into. Big and intricate problems. But one way or another, these problems will be solved. I am a problem solver. And in the end, we will win. We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now, the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, an extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal. We need look no further than last week’s vile, vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children.
You saw it for yourself. Horrible. As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia, three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology. Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and, that’s right, losers. Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear.
We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America. And we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us or anywhere in the world, for that matter. But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history.
As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I’ve said it many times, how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military operations.
We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will. Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power, diplomatic, economic, and military, toward a successful outcome. Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban and Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen. America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field.
Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.
The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach in how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.
Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices, but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.
Another critical part of the South Asia strategy or America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic harbor of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.
Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work and work effectively and work quickly. I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy. Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles. They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers, acting in real time with real authority and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy. That is why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.
The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms. Retribution will be fast and powerful. As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we are already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq. Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force.
Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will.
Since taking office, I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense, and they have done so. In this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of Afghanistan and their courageous armed forces.
As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. Afghanistan is fighting to defend and secure their country against the same enemies who threaten us. The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. But we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests.
We are not asking others to change their way of life but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives. This principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward. Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country.
But strategically-applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace. America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress.
However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results.
Our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes wide open. In abiding by the oath I took on January 20, I will remain steadfast in protecting American lives and American interests. In this effort, we will make common cause with any nation that chooses to stand and fight alongside us against this global threat.
Terrorists, take heed. America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat. Under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military. And this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense. In every generation we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed.
We prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for. Not far from where we are gathered tonight, hundreds of thousands of America’s greatest patriots lay in eternal rest at Arlington national cemetery. There is more courage, sacrifice, and love in those hallowed grounds than in any other spot on the face of this Earth.
Many of those who have fought and died in Afghanistan enlisted in the months after September 11, 2001. They volunteered for a simple reason: they loved America and they were determined to protect her. Now we must secure the cause for which they gave their lives. We must unite to defend America from its enemies abroad. We must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home, and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid.
Our actions and in the months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation.
With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace. We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls and everlasting pride in each and every one of you. Thank you. May God bless our military, and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Source: Zerohedge – Trump Unveils New, Dramatic Afghanistan Strategy: "We Aren't Nation-Building Again, We Are Killing Terrorists"