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Elon Musk reveals Twitter had FBI 'portal that...
CanadianLibertarian
 March 20 2024 at 12:48 pm
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X owner Elon Musk revealed during a recent interview that the FBI had a portal that “auto-deleted all comms with Twitter after 2 weeks,” remarking that it was likely a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.Musk made the comments on the Texas Lindsay podcast while discussing the censorship of Americans on social media by the US government. “This is coming from multiple parts of the government. From the State Department, the FBI, Homeland Security, from really many, many parts of the government. It wasn't just one arm of the government.” Musk continued, “There was this FBI portal that auto-deleted all communications after two weeks, so we actually don't know what was said there.”He added that the move struck him “as a FOIA violation, a Freedom of Information Act violation…because you shouldn't be able to delete orderly things after two weeks.”Musk also revealed that “there's a little-known agency in the state department called the Global Engagement Center, which most people have never heard of, but they might have been the single worst offender because they demanded the suspension of over 250,000 accounts which I think all Twitter largely complied with.”“The suspension demands were so broad that they accidentally demanded a suspension of a journalist on CNN and an elected Canadian politician. It was just an incredibly broad swath.” The Twitter Files, released through late 2022 into 2023 by a number of journalists, revealed the depth to which the FBI and other government agencies were working with Twitter. In one release, Michael Shellenberger revealed that former FBI agents had been working at Twitter in 2020, and that Twitter executives had been trained on a potential "Hack and Dump" operation relating to Hunter Biden in September of 2020, one month before the New York Post first began reporting on the infamous Hunter Biden laptop. A recent report revealed that Twitter was not alone in censoring Americans. According to the Media Research Center (MRC), Google has interfered in US elections at least 41 times since 2008. https://thepostmillennial.com/elon-musk-reveals-twitter-had-fbi-portal-that-auto-deleted-all-comms-after-2-weeks?utm_campaign=64466
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The CEO Of Boeing Exits - The Rest Of The Story
David Reavill
 March 25 2024 at 05:09 pm
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Dave Calhoun, CEO of the Boeing Company ** Earlier today, Dave Calhoun, the CEO of Boeing, announced his resignation. The Financial Press is full of headlines today: the Boeing CEO is stepping down in light of the ongoing “safety crisis” at Boeing. Indeed, the adverse press surrounding Boeing Commercial Airlines might have been the final straw that forced Calhoun to leave. But there is much, much more to the Boeing story. Calhoun is the type of manager we often see from our perch on Wall Street. Much of my research has been focused on company management. After all, the managers will determine the future course of any company and often determine whether their stock is a “buy” or a “sell.” Calhoun falls into the general category of “bean counter.” In college, he was an accounting major. Corporations hire this sort of manager when their numbers don’t add up when the company is less profitable than the Board of Directors would like. Production companies often hire engineers when their production falters or attorneys when they fall into legal trouble. In hindsight, it’s apparent why the Boeing board reached out to Calhoun. First, he was a known quantity, having been a Director for 11 years. More importantly, Boeing was in trouble. From 2018 until 2020, Boeing’s revenue fell by 43%. The company was bleeding, and Calhoun was just the sort of person, thought the Board, to right the ship. In a word, that means Calhoun was brought in to cut expenses. He was a hatchet man, pure and simple. In his first year as CEO, over 40,000 pink slips were handed out to Boeing employees, most of whom worked in the Commercial Airplane Division. Now, corporate hatchet men are never, ever the favorite. They aren’t invited to an after-work drink with the guys, and they don’t join the company bowling league. The average worker resents these executives deeply, both because they’ve often laid off a close friend and because the workers themselves feel threatened that they might be next to get a pink slip. Consequently, hatched men are usually well paid, with ample benefits for when they leave, because that follows. After a point, most hatchet-man do leave. So, for that reason alone, it was no real surprise that Calhoun was asked to leave. But we’re getting ahead of the story because, in addition to returning Boeing to profitability by cutting expenses, Calhoun also dramatically changed the direction of Boeing’s future — the most dramatic move in this century-old firm. For 94 years, Boeing has called the state of Washington home. It is a major employer in the state and has built significant infrastructure there, including the world’s largest building (by volume) in Renton, Washington. Boeing is comfortable in Washington, which is not always a corporate-friendly place, and Washington is comfortable with Boeing. That all changed in 2001 when Boeing decided to move to Chicago, Illinois. Why Chicago? Because that was the home of their largest customer, United Airlines. Being just down the road from United would give Boeing a critical advantage. Planning and service could be up close and personal. The two management teams could quickly meet and work out a proposal that Boeing might make. The strategy worked brilliantly. United remained one of the top US Air Carriers (if not always number one), and Boeing continued to be their primary plane maker. It was a corporate marriage made in heaven, or at least the “Friendly Skies,” until the “Hatched Man,” Dave Calhoun, came along. He decided to change all that. And it wasn’t that he wanted to abandon United; it was just that a more attractive “suitor” had come along. Calhoun decided to move the Boeing Corporate Headquarters to Arlington, Virginia. It might seem like a strange choice until you look at the numbers and remember that Calhoun is a numbers guy. Boeing has two major divisions: “Commercial Airplanes” and “Defense, Space, and Security.” The two other divisions, “Boeing Capital” and “Boeing Service,” are just offshoots of the central business sectors. Even though Boeing Airplanes has the premier position in domestic airplane production, its business was becoming increasingly volatile. The Airplane Division caused nearly all of Boeing’s revenue drop in the two years up to 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, people stopped flying, and Airlines stopped buying planes. However, for Boeing, expenses did not stop. They had those vast plants that needed to be maintained, and what’s more, they had over 45 thousand workers. It was a capital-intensive business, something Calhoun saw in an instant. On the other hand, Boeing Defense and Space was a relatively light business model, having only one-third the number of employees that Airplane has. By 2021, Defense and Space had produced more profits for Boeing than the Airplane Division. What’s more, the Federal Government is the perfect customer. They consistently pay on time, and their budget for new Boeing products never declines. Just like that, Calhoun decided to use the same strategy that had worked well these past 21 years: move next to your best customer. And so Calhoun made the decision: Washington, here we come! For Boeing, Dave Calhoun played a good management role. He went from the perfect hatchet man cutting expenses to the strategic marketing man by locating next to their chief customer. For Boeing, the numbers all added up. But for America, how do those numbers add up? Unfortunately, here, the ledger isn’t so optimistic. The workers who lost their jobs lived in turmoil. Many, perhaps most, have yet to return to their old jobs. It placed tremendous stress on the families involved, who lost both income and benefits. In many respects, the working class, blue-collar people have suffered the most from Boeing’s corporate transitions. Boeing’s future portends a less comfortable experience for America’s Airline Travelers. At the same time, it’s undoubtedly true that the headline-making Boeing accidents are just that — accidents and no one’s fault. However, it should also be appreciated that Boeing, our number one commercial airplane maker, has changed its focus. Defense and Space will become its number one priority, a change that will likely result in a longer R&D cycle for commercial aircraft. But most importantly, Boeing’s new number one customer will likely call the shots. When Washington calls, all other phones will be dropped. Washington, the new “Mr. Big,” will demand attention. In the past, we only achieved this kind of Government-Industry association during Wartime. We’re now reaching the point where it’s an everyday occurrence — the fulfillment of President Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial Complex. It’s a future in which Boeing’s military side continues to grow and grow, leaving the civilian side behind. Follow me here on ThinkSpot for more stories from the ValueSide.
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How To Out-Smart Wall Street
David Reavill
 April 10 2024 at 08:36 pm
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Wall Street Trading Desk ** I’m writing this near the Market Close on Wednesday, April 10. Currently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down over 400 Points, all in reaction to the report this morning that the Consumer Price Index, our most widely watched measure of inflation, advanced by an annual rate of 3.5%, up from 3.2% the month earlier. Wall Street is shocked. Stocks and bonds were hit heavily, commodities were up, anticipating rising inflation, and cryptos were higher. What made today so very interesting was an apparent large bet gone wrong. It all began yesterday when a thoroughly lackluster session had an hour left. Traders felt they might even leave early, but nothing was happening. Suddenly, a series of buy orders hit the tape. In that last 60 minutes of trading, the Dow rose nearly 200 points, and the NAS was up 120. Someone appeared to know something. And that something was undoubtedly the direction of inflation. The monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report was due on Thursday. Someone was placing a large wager that CPI Inflation would be tame. This likely means the Federal Reserve could begin lowering interest rates, which would be a big positive for stocks. So, anyone who purchased shares yesterday would benefit today if, and it turned out to be a big IF, inflation was lower. To the whole world, it looked like someone had insider information. They knew what the rest of us did not know: the direction of inflation. Interestingly, Zero Hedge published an article later this morning confirming our worst suspicions. The title was: “Scandal Rocks Biden’s Labor Dept For Lying About Sharing Non-Public Inflation Data With Secret Group Of Wall Street “Super Users” https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/scandal-rocks-bidens-labor-dept-lying-about-sharing-non-public-inflation-data-secret-group There was one problem: whoever made this colossal bet, a bet large enough to drive the Dow up nearly 200 points, needed to be correct. That’s right. Billions of dollars were put into play in anticipation of lower inflation, and surprise, surprise, inflation rose. It wasn’t enough to cause someone to go bankrupt or out of business. But it is just the sort of thing that some fund managers would do early in the quarter to gain an advantage over all the competition. Had the manager made the right bet, they would lead in whatever sector they invest in. That kind of performance drives billions of dollars in new assets under management (AUM) into any fund that bets right. Even though they have all the tools, from analysts to AI, modern portfolio managers have incredible ways to gain economic insight. However, they’re only sometimes on the right side of the trade. And if Zero Hedge is correct, some may even use unethical means to gain an advantage. But as we’ve been telling them for months, if you want to know where inflation’s going, there is a straightforward measure: the gas pump. Follow the price of gasoline, and you’ll see the direction of inflation. CPI Inflation (blue, left scale) Price of Regular Gasoline (red, right scale) Follow me here on ThinkSpot for more stories from the ValueSide.
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Joe Biden And The Back-Door War
David Reavill
 April 06 2024 at 11:14 am
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President Joe Biden speaks with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy days after Russia invaded Ukraine. ** President Biden has pursued the Ukraine Conflict with single-minded ferocity, spending hundreds of billions of US Dollars and costing hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives. Here is our perspective. ** The American Political System aims to strike a delicate “balance of power” between the electorate, “we the people,” and those who govern us. The US Constitution seeks to give “we the people” a measure of control over our representatives by providing for periodic elections. However, on occasion, that balance of power slips. Our elected officials assume powers not given in the Constitution. This has led to what Arthur Schlesinger has called “The Imperial Presidency.” Of all the powers the Constitution gives our Government, the most awesome is the power to take us to War. Only five times in our country’s history have we declared War: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. Since World War II, the United States has been entangled in a series of conflicts, but none has been a Congressional declared War. From the “Police Action” in Korea to the Conflict in Afghanistan, the nation has committed its fortunes and often its soldiers to skirmishes around the globe. Each time, with the tacit acknowledgment that we can, at any time, bring our nuclear arsenal into play if the American homeland were to become directly threatened. Thankfully, this has all been a bluff, as we have not had to provide these ultimate weapons in a total war environment. Consequently, American presidents have been playing this “bluff” for half a century. From Vietnam to Ukraine, Presidents have committed arms and equipment in a series of brush-fire wars with the explicit understanding that while we can hit you, you can’t hit back. The battlefield has always been in the homeland of another country, not ours. Because to do so might bring about the ultimate American nuclear response. From Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, US Presidents have exercised a delicate balance between projecting America’s power and influence while risking as few military personnel as possible. These Presidents understood, especially following the Vietnam Conflict, that the one thing the public would not countenance was the loss of American lives. The Dawn of the New Century began with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and the subsequent declaration by George W. Bush of the “War” on Terror. Of course, like all the other modern American incursions, this was no “War” in the Constitutional sense but a series of discrete military actions as directed by the President. The War on Terror included kinetic actions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Although an American military presence remained in these countries, only Afghanistan remained when Joe Biden became President on January 20, 2021. Just seven months after he was inaugurated, on August 31, 2021, Biden ordered all troops to leave Afghanistan. The twenty-year “War” on Terror was over. Many hoped these endless American “Wars” might finally end. Unfortunately, that was not to be. There was a brewing conflict in a faraway country named Ukraine. A place that Joe Biden had been intimately involved with for more than a decade. As Vice President during the Obama Administration, he had been designated as the “Point Man” in charge of US-Ukraine relations. President Biden visits Ukraine on the first anniversary of hostilities. He ascends the stairs at the Palace of Marlinsky with President Zelenskyy. ** He had seen the Euro Maidan Coup of 2014, up close and personal, when he advised the old President, Yanukovych, to leave and welcomed the new President, Poroshenko, on board. (see my article). Not only did Biden know the players, but history has shown that he helped shape the current Ukrainian Government. So, when Biden became President, this self-styled foreign policy maven saw Ukraine as part of an overall strategy to blunt any future ambitions of its neighbor, Russia. With a growing animosity toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Biden has called a “dictator” and an “SOB,” Biden hardened the American position, encouraging Ukraine to join NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Putin was on record saying that if Ukraine joined NATO, it would be considered an existential threat to Russia. Russia would have no defense from nuclear weapons launched in Ukrainian territory. The Ukraine/Russia border is more than a thousand kilometers long, and atomic weapons placed along that border could be within Russian territory in mere seconds. An additional flash point for Russia emerged in the Donbas region of Ukraine (located in the southeast part of the country). This region was predominantly ethnic Russians — people amalgamated into Ukraine by the old Soviet Union but identified as Russian in language, culture, and religion. A particularly sketchy military group within the Ukraine Army had been targeting the Donbas for years. Amnesty International estimated that 14,000 Donbas residents had been killed by the Azov Battalion over the decade leading up to the Russian invasion. The Russians saw both the existential threat (potential nuclear weapons in Ukraine) plus the oppression of ethnic Russians living in the Donbas as the tipping point to war. On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the War was on. Interestingly, on February 22, two days before the Russian incursion, Biden declared that the Russian troop build-up was a sure sign that Russia would indeed invade. At this point, Biden announced the beginning of a series of economic sanctions designed to bring down the Russian Economy. Was Biden’s speech on February 22 a final provocation or simply an acknowledgment of what was already happening? It’s a fascinating question, especially considering Biden’s prior history in Ukraine (as “point man” under Obama). Be that as it may, America was again embroiled in War. Only this time, it was a Proxy War. A War fought principally by Ukrainian soldiers using American and European arms and equipment. And now, we see, under the skilled advisement of NATO technicians, advisors, and surveillance. From Biden’s perspective, this new Proxy War would solve the old American bugaboo of avoiding American casualties. No Americans would be killed. Instead, it would be the Ukrainian boys and girls who would endure the Russian onslaught. Biden’s note to President Zelenskyy pledging his support. (February 20, 2023). ** At the same time, Biden could pursue his anti-Russian strategy, depleting its military with combat, decimating its Economy with sanctions, and isolating the Russian state by uniting NATO, the United Nations, and other multi-national organizations against Russia. It has all of the essential elements that Biden learned during his half-century in Washington that Americans wanted. As a US Senator, Biden saw the devastation that American battle losses in Vietnam had on the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson. On the other hand, Biden saw the ease with which Bill Clinton could bomb Yugoslavia — bombing the Kosovo Albanians until they were forced to leave their homes in Kosovo. Flying the NATO planes above antiaircraft altitudes, making sure there would be no American casualties. This was a perfect model for American foreign policy from the Biden perspective. The Kosovo conflict was short, lasting only two and a half months, inflicted maximum harm on the enemy, with nearly 15,000 dead and over three-quarters of a million displaced, and it achieved its objective: remove the Albanians from Kosovo. Like the similar bombings of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it had drawn few headlines and little dissent back home. However, the current situation in Ukraine has met none of these objectives. The fact that the Ukraine War lingers over two years after it began proves that Biden’s initial aim of a short, decisive conflict is impossible. Escalation after escalation has not deterred the Russians. As America placed better, more advanced weapons on the battlefield, they were matched by the Russians. Today, American supplies are dwindling; the Russians continue to out-produce and, more importantly, out-shoot NATO and the Americans in necessary artillery, drone, and missile attacks. Even the ultimate American “bluff,” the use of nuclear weapons, is more than matched by Russia. I think that most Americans will find it hard to believe, but Russia has a superior nuclear capability to America, with more warheads and likely better missiles than America’s arsenal. A Ukrainian soldier lies in the hospital, one of the hundreds of thousands of wounded in this brutal war. ** President Biden must face a bitter truth: His strategy is failing. The War in Ukraine has continued far beyond his Administration’s projections. The battles against Russia have not been quick and victorious. The Russian Economy was not reduced to “tatters,” as Ursula von der Leyen, the European President, envisioned. It’s time for NATO and the American President to negotiate for peace. President Putin has said that he’s willing to talk. Why not take him up on his offer? Why not begin to settle this conflict diplomatically? Perhaps a “Peace Time” President would be just what the American electorate would like to see. Follow me here on ThinkSpot for more stories from the ValueSide.
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The Russian-American Conflict II
David Reavill
 March 21 2024 at 02:03 pm
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Russia’s Sputnik: The World’s First Manmade Satellite ** In Part I, we discussed Russia’s move from a World War II Ally to a self-imposed isolation behind the “Iron Curtain” and how Russia went from friend to enemy. Today, we look at the Second Cold War.Cold War I For the next 46 years, the Soviet Union operated under the self-imposed Iron Curtain. Initially designed to keep control over its vast populace, it was seen as an object of paranoia by those of us in the West. We wondered what was happening in this very mysterious country. Only years later would we learn of the starvation and oppression that took place in the USSR, thanks mainly to writers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He made terms like “Gulag” commonplace and opened our eyes to the evils of Soviet Communism. A fascinating series occurred during this emerging Cold War, primarily between the USSR and the United States. These events are especially relevant given Russia’s recent Ukraine Special Military Operation (S.M.O.). The first event was the launch, on October 4, 1957, of the world’s first manufactured earth satellite. Remarkably, it was a Soviet satellite. The United States assumed it had the lead in all rocket and space technology. After all, the U.S. had collected some of the finest rocket scientists in the world when it won the War with Germany. In a program called Operation Paperclip, America brought the cream of the crop of German rocket scientists and engineers to this country. We thought we had an insurmountable lead over the USSR in space and rockets. And now, here were those up-start Soviets beating us. For three months, most Americans could see the tiny, silver dot over their homes about sunset each evening. It terrified the country. Before this, we thought that we were immune to overseas armies. That our twin oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific, protected us. Here now was vivid evidence that America could be reached by satellite. John F. Kennedy campaigning. ** The triumph of Sputnik did not go unnoticed by the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy, who was already planning to run for President in the next election. Kennedy recognized that the Soviets were far ahead of where the military establishment claimed. He coined the term “Missile Gap” to explain that Soviet Missile Technology was a real and present threat. It infuriated the military establishment, especially its former leader, current President Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower was livid that Kennedy would point to any weakness in national defense, especially on Ike’s watch. To this day, articles suggest that Kennedy exaggerated the threat and that the Soviets did not have the inventory of missiles and rockets that Kennedy implied. They miss the point. Kennedy’s message could be taken to indicate that America faced a genuine challenge, and we needed to wake up to that reality. A message we’ll see later is as accurate today as 60 years ago. The Iron Curtain Falls From Stalin’s death until the early 1980s, the USSR had two rulers: Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. (Georgy Malenkov ruled for less than a year and had little impact.) Both were strong leaders who maintained a fierce grip on their people and upheld the Iron Curtain. They also continued to develop the USSR Military into a significant strategic foe. However, it was notable that Brezhnev’s health declined significantly during his rule’s last years. That would be in 1980 through 1982, at just the time when an audacious American President, Ronald Reagan, was elected. Like Kennedy, Reagan recognized the Soviet threat and proposed to meet it. However, Reagan suggested a new deterrence strategy, unlike the American presidents before him. American military doctrine throughout the Cold War was based on a strategy of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD). Reagan considered this to be little more than a “suicide pack.” Ronald Reagan's campaign with Nancy Reagan, Governors Pete Willson, and George Deukmejian ** Reagan proposed a series of missile defense strategies, which the Press dubbed “Star Wars,” after the famous George Lucas film of the same name. Mainstream media and most of Washington considered Reagan’s idea as little more than fantasy. But apparently, the Soviets took Reagan at his word. Then General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, then leader of a failing country, decided that this “Star Wars” challenge was the final straw, that the Soviet Union could not keep up with this increasingly formidable America, and still maintain the USSR’s needed economic growth. Nearly two years after Reagan left office, the old Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of a failing economy, an overextended government, and the added boost of Reagan’s Star War challenge. America had played to its strengths: a solid manufacturing base that could produce and develop the military force needed to carry through on Reagan’s vision and the technology infrastructure to create such a program.Cold War II Post Soviet Russia As Charles Dickens said, “Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.” So, too, the Soviet Union in 1992 was as dead as dead can be. The former satellite states of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Albania, and Croatia (formerly part of Yugoslavia) all fled. And more than that, they all became members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the American-centric defense pact. So, by the early days of 1992, there was little left of a corpse. A mere shadow of the former empire that would henceforth be known as the Russian Federation. A country in dire straights, barely able to keep order across its vast expanses. It is, after all, the world’s largest country by territory, expanding across 11 time zones and bordering 14 other nations. In 1992, Russia was on the dole, relying upon the generosity of the United Nations to feed its population, which was hardly a threat to anyone, much less NATO. East and West Berliners meet at the Brandenburg Gate for the first time in decades (1989). ** The Iron Curtain had crashed and burned in the most extensive conflagration since World War II. And yet, it had all been accomplished without the loss of life. A quiet implosion that many in the West failed to see. In Churchill’s immortal phrase, an Iron Curtain “…from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic…” ceased to exist in 1992. At least the eastern half of the Iron Curtain fell. But that likely is not the case for the western half. Throughout the Russo-Ukraine conflict, increasing evidence has emerged that America is implementing a new Iron Curtain. Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Lab in Ukraine ** Shortly after Russian forces crossed over into Ukraine, rumors emerged that the Americans had been operating a series of clandestine Bio-labs in Ukraine. If the Russian troops continued their assault, they would find the labs. At first, the U.S. Government flatly denied that any such Bio-labs existed. However, some internet sleuthing revealed that under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (C.T.R.) Program, such labs did indeed exist. (See: https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3057517/fact-sheet-on-wmd-threat-reduction-efforts-with-ukraine-russia-and-other-former/) Although the U.S. Department of Defense indicated that these labs were in place only to dispose of old Soviet Union bio-weapons, two salient facts remain. First, the labs were operational from 1992 until 2022 (the time of the Russian Invasion), an extraordinarily long period. And secondly, the number of labs increased during that time, from about a dozen immediately after the fall of the USSR in 1992 to an estimated 46 in 2022. In light of these two facts, it would appear that the lab’s mission, far from declining as Soviet stocks were destroyed, kept increasing. Odd. As suspicions continue to rise about whether the United States is continuing the old Cold War, the New York Times published a blockbuster article that confirms many of our worst fears. The article is entitled “The Spy War: How The C.I.A. Helps Ukraine Fight Putin’s Russia.” CIA Headquarters, Langley Virginia ** The Times article outlines the increasing role of the C.I.A. and other European Spy Agencies in monitoring Russian activity in Ukraine and worldwide. Ukraine, bordering Russia as it does, provides the perfect outpost for the U.S. and NATO to keep tabs on its neighbor. We’re not naive to believe that all “spying” is terrible. I think that some monitoring is essential to avoid catastrophic missteps. I wish that we’d had better “spying” when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Had we seen them coming, we might have avoided all-out War. But as the Times points out, the C.I.A. activities included active targeting of Russian Troops, Ships, and Planes, giving Ukraine real-time positioning, weapons, and troop levels. The Times also implies that the C.I.A. provides overall strategies and battle plans. The question then becomes, is the C.I.A. an active participant in the War? More bluntly, is the U.S. at War with Russia? Putin’s Strategic Vision Through these past three decades of Russian history, one man has been the common denominator: Vladimir Putin, the unbreakable thread that has led the nation. The West, and particularly Americans, like to vilify him. He reminds me of some of the best of American corporate leadership. He is a true technocrat who has welded together the divergent elements of a multicultural society into a smooth-operating war machine. Vladimir Putin ** Putin saw firsthand how Ronald Reagan’s formula of a robust manufacturing economy and cutting-edge military technology defeated the old USSR. Like any good manager, Putin has used the best of his opponents’ strategies against them. Putin took Russia from when food needed to be imported to feed its people to the most significant food exporter in the world. Today, Russian war factories outproduce America’s by a factor as high as ten to one. That’s how many more artillery shells Russia uses compared with Ukraine. Remember, Ukraine shells are the product of all of NATO, which includes much of European and American production combined. Yet Russia still outproduces them all. When the War began, Russia had little apparent drone technology available. Instead, they imported Drones primarily from North Korea and Iran. Today, Russia has caught up and enjoys an advantage over the NATO/Ukraine forces in drones. There is one unconfirmed report that by early next year, Russia will be producing a drone for each Ukrainian soldier, a frightening thought! All of this is right out of the American Textbook. Every history written about the Second World War indicates that the power of the American factories was the vital element that turned the tide against Germany and Japan. Production and logistics win wars. The Americans perfected that a generation ago; the Russians are today’s masters. “Rosy the Riveter, ” many women worked in factories during World War II to support the war effort. ** But there is one Russian development that should have us all concerned. This Ukraine war’s one “super weapon” has out-shown all the rest. Twice in less than 70 years, the United States has woefully misjudged the capability of its most capable opponent. Once again, Russia claimed to have developed a super weapon, a missile capable of reaching a hypersonic speed of Mach 10 (ten times the speed of sound). They named it the Kinzhal Missile. Nonsense, said Washington, hypersonic speed is not possible with today’s technology, and indeed, the Russians can’t produce such a weapon. Moscow vividly demonstrated that the Kinzhal could meet such speeds, as they used the Kinzhal to destroy not one but at least two of America’s premier anti-missile batteries, the Patriot System. Since 1984, the Patriot system has enjoyed great success in such diverse battlefields as the Gulf War and the Iraqi War. It is the Army’s principal High to Medium Air Defense System and is projected to be used against any Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) that might attack the homeland. The U.S. anticipates using the Patriot System as its principal air defense for the next 16 years. Those plans may need to be revised. Russia’s Dominance In The Ukraine War Despite all the propaganda and spin, the reality is that Russia has demonstrated capabilities that we never thought they possessed in the Ukraine Special Military Operation. They have proven to be a technologically advanced, highly lethal fighting force. Today, Russia stands at the apex of victory, having defeated the Ukrainian Army and the combined resources of the United States and NATO. It’s no small accomplishment. The Russian Army in Ukraine. ** Yet Washington continues to ignore this reality, pretending that money can substitute for soldiers. Ukraine President Zelensky said they need 500,000 recruits to continue fighting Russia. America’s answer: send them $60 Billion. Unfortunately, the War in Ukraine will be won on the battlefield, not by throwing money at it. Well, I remember the fear and anxiety that Americans felt as a small satellite, Sputnik, passed over our heads. The Sputnik did not represent a threat to us at about the size of two basketballs, with only a couple of radios. But for Americans, the terror of World War II was still fresh in their minds. The G.I.s returned home only 12 years before. They understood what a threat that little silver ball represented. Suddenly, Russia could send a satellite to our shores, and people literally “freaked out.” Today, we live in a world where a genuine threat exists, yet we seem to ignore it. Our President is so nonchalant that he hasn’t even picked up the phone to call Vladimir Putin. That is a significant miscalculation. It is well past the time that we engage Russia in diplomatic negotiations to end the War in Ukraine and ease the tensions between the two most significant nuclear powers. Let’s talk before we are missing an aircraft carrier or a city.* From the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy: "So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." ** Follow me here on ThinkSpot for more stories from the ValueSide.
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Iran Strikes Israel...The Rest Of The Story
David Reavill
 April 14 2024 at 04:50 pm
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Iran launches the Qader Missile. ** Modern information technology has put the globe at our fingertips. Today’s internet allows information to be gathered from the world’s four corners and instantly transmitted to us here in America. It has led most of us to believe we always have a complete worldview. Consequently, in a situation like Iran’s attack on Israel yesterday, many of us believe that we’re getting the whole story of the conflict. Unfortunately, I’m here to say that isn’t the case. A review of most of the American News Services shows a slight variation of the same perspective. In the American Press version of the story, it is detailed how Iran shot hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel. All of this is true, of course, and an accurate resuscitation of yesterday’s events. But few of the reports indicate that this attack was in response to Israel’s attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria. Inevitably, the news reports quickly transition to describing Israel’s response to the attack and, many times, the statement by US President Joe Biden of unconditional support for Israel should the conflict escalate. Most Americans are left with the impression that Iran, once again, committed a wanton act of aggression without provocation. I see dozens of “comments” from other readers. Many, but certainly not all, Americans see this as an attack on the United States’ principal alley in the Middle East, Israel. With that, many call for America’s immediate retaliation, falling in line behind President Biden’s call for complete military support of Israel. If only those were the facts of the matter, I can see how that response would be justified. But there is much, much more to this story. The American reports on Saturday evening events do not provide a historical context. The immediate trigger for Iran’s attack was Israel’s missile attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria. 16 Iranians were killed in the strike, including one of Iran’s most senior Military officers, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, along with seven other officers. The attack was an effort by Israel to expand the scope of the conflict now raging in Gaza. By taking out Iran’s military leadership visiting nearby Syria, it is presumed that Israel was attempting to mitigate any support these leaders may give to Hezbollah fighting in Gaza. At least, that’s the only logical reason I can see. No matter the rationale behind the attack, it was an apparent expansion of Israel’s growing war with Hezbollah. A step toward a Regional, if not Global, Conflict. Israel is playing with fire. In International Law, an Embassy is considered a sovereign part of the country it represents. It is a place where citizens of that country can seek asylum and are safe from arrest by the host country. An attack on the Iranian Embassy by Israel was a direct attack on Iranian territory and, thus, an act of war under International Law. Universally, most expected that Iran would retaliate. Do you see now how the limited perspective of the American Press distorted reality? The Iranian drone and missile attack on Saturday evening was NOT unprovoked. Instead, it was a response to an Israeli Attack on their Embassy two weeks earlier. With this simple change of perspective, perhaps we can change how America should react. While the President’s call to unconditional support would have been warranted if, indeed, Iran’s attack was unprovoked, that is not the case today. A simple recitation of this recent history indicates that it was Israel that was the aggressor, at least regarding its attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. Much of the world sees these events in this alternate way. Experts in Turkey, Pakistan, and Yemen were quick to point out that Iran was justified in launching missiles and drones precisely because of the Israeli attack on the Iranian Embassy. And that’s all understandable: allies support allies. We should expect the Muslim world to support Iran, just as the United States supports its ally, Israel. The danger arises when we refuse to look at the other side of the conflict. When lines are drawn in the sand, and positions hardened, conflicts become intractable when we refuse to see the view from the other side. Local conflicts become regional wars and perhaps even worse. That’s where we are today. Each side is digging in its heels, preparing its populations for what may follow — building the momentum for all-out conflict. Someone needs to step back and see the other side’s view. It’s time to pick up the phone and begin discussions. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening on the American side, where the US President sets the tone by declaring unconditional support of one side before the other side’s drones even reach the Negev Desert. It is a “quick-draw” foreign policy that risks World War III. Follow me here on ThinkSpot for more stories from the ValueSide.

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