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Here are some recent selected tidbits. Your mileage may vary.
Workers Have Retirement 'Overconfidence'
Americans' Rosy Retirement Outlook Full of Holes
America's Pensions in Peril ' Or Gone
Funds Take the Plunge on Metals
Palladium Up 75% in Six Months
Senior China Official Urges Cut in U.S. Debt Holding
Russian Gold and Foreign Currency Reserves Hit Record
Dollar's Breakdown Nears?
Gold Breaches $600/oz., Everything's Adding Up
Seven Trends Spell a U.S. Financial Crisis
Zirconium: The Newest Strategic Metal
Quote for the Week
'This is just the beginning of a gold move to $4,000-plus by 2042 -- when Social Security is 'scheduled' to go bankrupt.' ~ John Stafford
U.S. Officials Are Mulling Iran Strikes, Experts Say
End Nuke Program or Else, Bolton Warns
Shiite Militias Seen as Top Danger in Iraq
Belligerent Until the Bitter End by Paul Craig Roberts
The Iran Plans by Seymour M. Hersh (MUST READ)
We need to withdraw all of our forces from Iraq soon, for one very good reason: to not take massive casualties from Shiites with Iranian support after the attack on Iran , but don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Green Zones are isolated defensive positions that never get underway; they are not mobile offensive forces in the field. The inhabitants are sitting ducks surrounded by hordes of armed barbarians bent on their destruction and they are located hundreds'if not thousands'of miles away from reinforcements and supplies.
If the (tactical nuclear?) American attack on Iran occurs sooner than later, there will be a bloodbath in Iraq . Bush is bent on regime change in Iran , but what he will get instead is stacks of full U.S. body bags in Iraq , which will only mark the beginning of the global Muslim backlash.
Apparently, Bush is determined to intentionally commit the biggest strategic mistake in the history of this nation'one that will make his illegal, unnecessary, and idiotic invasion of Iraq pale to insignificance. Got gold?
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on U.S. Attacking Iran
This rhetoric is simply political distancing from Bush's plan to attack Iran . By all accounts, the Brits fully expect an American attack on Iran ; they have already deemed it as "inevitable." This is posturing for public consumption only; it is merely a continuation of the current British perception that the neocons are just a bunch of cowboys with guns.
Senior British military officers are already on record in this regard, but Brit pols don't (yet) have the luxury of condemning Bush directly, so instead Straw is saying that the idea of a tactical nuclear strike on Iran is "completely nuts." When it actually happens the Brits will then be fully justified in finally saying what they already know to be true: Bush is around the bend and the #1 threat to world peace today.
King George II is about to risk our long-standing relationship with Britain over Iran , but when the attack occurs, the Brits will be the first in line to condemn it. Tellingly, Bush not only thinks that the attack will be successful, he also thinks that the Brits will take it lying down; he is wrong on both accounts. When the attack occurs, the world as a whole will condemn Bush for what he truly is: an aggressive warmonger.
The Empire is about to become a pariah on the world stage; Iraq was just a prelude. The Chinese must be loving this; Bush is doing all of the hard work for them. When the attack occurs, China can just stop buying Treasuries. The dollar will plummet, all precious metals will skyrocket, interest rates will jump up, and the U.S. will become a has-been overnight, just another bankrupt former superpower. The carnage will be economic, but it will be more than sufficient to affect the transition, with no shots fired by China .
Divine Strake Update
Also read this, and this, and this, and then try to tell me that this test has nothing at all to do with Iran . My guess is that the test results will be used to prove that nothing less than a tactical nuclear EPW will be sufficient to do the job in Iraq . The results of this test should provide a damage estimate equivalent to using multiple conventional warheads, all of them striking the same shallow underground target simultaneously. While theoretically possible, such a tactic would present some very real challenges in practice, especially if attempted in a war zone while under fire. The B61-11 will win this argument every time.
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A Few Days in the Capitol of the Empire by JCN
I am currently spending a few days in the capitol of the Empire. I normally spend my time here by working with the Empire's 'friends,' helping them build a case for acquiring their rightful share of the U.S. taxpayers' money. Over the past few years, I have mastered the generation of forceful PowerPoint briefings, the very essence of what today passes for facts and truth in our Imperial capitol.
On this trip, I am sensing that word has come down from above that the Empire is either short of friends or that it needs some new ones and the best way to do that is for us to purchase military and law enforcement 'goodies' for them; things that can, of course, be justified by the War on Terror and our compelling need to spread the joy of democracy.
In the past, I was often met with a certain degree of resistance and even pointed questions as to need and justification from USG officials, but sadly I have noticed that the questions and need for justification have become much more perfunctory. The transfer of taxpayer money to foreign friends in the form of these goodies is now much easier. This may be recognition that we are losing friends or that we can only keep the ones that we are buying.
The 'good' news is that there are still plenty of nations who want to be 'friends' of the U.S. taxpayer. The bad news is that the only nations coming to town with offers to buy (with their own money) are our competitors: the Chinese, Arabs, and Indians.
As a Pirate and observer of this scene, it seems to me that we can expect the USG to continue its current tactic of borrowing from our competitors to buy off our friends. The worst news is that there is no shortage of sponsors for this activity in either political party.
So, fellow Pirates, do not expect to see a reduction of the deficit (or borrowing) anytime soon. Of course, a change in party on top in the Imperial capitol could precipitate a shift away from massive borrowing to massive taxes. In the end, the result will be the same: economic failure brought on by either a currency collapse or confiscatory tax rates. Pick your party; pick your poison.
JCN is a retired naval officer who now makes an honest living as an arms dealer.