All Praise To Barack Obama For Stiffing The War Party – Peace Is Finally Being Given A Chance – David Stockman’s Contra Corner 07-17-15

Salient to Investors:

David Stockman  writes:

  • Obama’s Keynesian policies are deplorable.
  • The Iranian nuclear deal could mark a decisive turning point in rolling back US destructive interventionism and imperial pretensions in the Middle East and the world.
  • Iran is not hell-bent on obtaining nuclear weapons as shown by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimates report – that the small-scale Iranian weapons research effort was abandoned in 2003 and never restarted – and evidenced several times since. The overwhelming evidence over more than three decades is that Iran’s primary aim has been to obtain enrichment capacity for its civilian reactors.
  • The nuclear deal’s containment machinery keeps Iran far away from anything even remotely resembling an A-bomb capability, and virtually suffocates even Iran’s civilian nuclear industry which it entitled to under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which excludes only India, Pakistan, South Sudan and Israel.
  • Israel can thank its lucky stars that Obama and Rouhani have transcended 30 years of lies and enmities on both sides in order to give peace a chance. Netanyahu fashioned the giant lie that Iran is a fount of terrorism dedicated to the destruction of Israel and other treacherous purposes. Iran is no better or worse than any other major power in the Middle East, and far less of a threat to regional peace and stability than Egypt and Saudi Arabia – the Saudis have funded more terrorists throughout the region than Iran has ever imagined.
  • US archives prove that the CIA overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953 and installed Mohammad Reza Shah to rule as a puppet on behalf of US security and oil interests.
  • Iranian support of Syria is a long-standing alliance that is rooted in the historic confessional politics of the Islamic world.
  • Assad’s Alawite regime has protected all of Syria’s minority sects, including Christians, against a majority-Sunni ethnic cleansing, which would occur if the Saudi supported rebels, led by ISIS, were to take power.
  • Yemen has been racked by civil war since the early 1970s, driven by confessional differences between the Sunni south and the Shiite north.

Read the full article at http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/all-praise-to-barrack-obama-hes-giving-peace-a-chance/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+Mid+Day+Friday

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 06-21-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Energy-related emissions were flat in 2014 for the first time in 40 years.
  • Technology and policy innovations in energy are not happening on the scale that they need to.
  • In 2011, federal spending on R&D as a percentage of GDP in 2011 was half what it was in 1960, 30% of global R&D spending vs. 37% in 2001 – China is projected to pass the US by 2019. The world is copying the US model while the US has lost the smarts or the will to keep up.
  • NASA no longer has the ability to independently put an astronaut into space, instead relying on private companies or foreign governments. China does have the ability and intends to build a new space station, go to the moon, and go to Mars.

Richard Clarke said:

  • The whack-a-mole strategy has disruptive value if done persistently but until we have a political solution involving an ideological counter weight to the terrorist view of Islam, we will be doing this forever. Has to be part of a bigger strategy.
  • A major American military operation is not required, but getting all of the other players to act together.
  • After 9/11, we told ourselves we would never allow a terrorist sanctuary to exist again – now we have the greatest terror sanctuary.

Leroy Chiao  said:

  • China’s space program is long-term and culturally consistent with their other views. China wants to put astronauts on the moon, which the US can no longer do. The moon is only three days away so can be used to make sure your stuff works before you send it to Mars.
  • A country gets into the human space flight business for the primary reason of national prestige.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1506/21/fzgps.01.html

Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 04-05-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Continued sanctions are highly unlikely to halt Iran’s nuclear program, which has expanded under for two decades under sanctions – from below 200 centrifuges in 2003 to 19,000 today.
  • The US would effectively have to go to war with Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities, thereby triggering a strengthened Iranian government with a clear rationale to acquire a nuclear deterrent, and helping the Islamic republic gain domestic support. Iran’s oil revenues are more than enough to rebuild its facilities.
  • The Intl Center for Prison Studies said the US imprisons the most people by far – nearly 1 in 4 of the world’s inmates – despite only 1/20th of the world’s population. Norway and Denmark’s overall incarceration rate is 10 times lower than the US,

James A. Baker at Rice University said:

  • There may be upside to a dialogue with Iran provided that we can trust them: but I am very leery of trusting the current leadership. We would alienate all of our allies in the region.
  • The US should not put boots on the ground to destroy ISIS. The GCC countries love to free ride off America. We cannot be the policeman for the world.
  • The West has to find a way to bring Russia back into the community of nations. Putin’s actions are reminiscent of Hitler: slice here, slice there, talk but don’t do anything about it.
  • The prospects of a two-state Palestine solution are bleak but it is critical to Israel’s future, otherwise it will be hard for it to maintain both its Jewish and democratic characters because of the overwhelming demographics.

Dean Ornish at Preventive Medicine Research Institute said:

  • We are not a victim of our genes. Simple lifestyle changes like a whole foods plant-based diet, modern exercise, stress management techniques like yoga and meditation, and getting the love and support we need can even reverse heart disease and prostate cancer.
  • Animal protein is bad for you.
  • Chronic emotional stress can increase the risk of almost any illness, and even shorten the ends of our chromosomes that can tell how long we live.
  • Obamacare is a game-changer because it incentivizes doctors to do more prevention and health care and lifestyle intervention. – doctors/hospitals get to keep what is left over. So the fewer procedures and hospitalizations you have, the better.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1504/05/fzgps.01.html

Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 03-29-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The pattern of Yemen’s descent into chaos is likely to repeat, possibly in more significant countries like Egypt. That pattern is repressive, secular regimes backed by the West become illegitimate, become more repressive to survive, and whose opposition becomes more extreme, religious and violent.
  • Learning how to read deeply, write compelling prose, and analyze well are essential skills in order to thrive in the world. The rapid trend away from majors like English and history and philosophy to skill-based ones closer to engineering or computer science is terribly short-sighted. How to think, read, study, write and are much more useful in the long run.
  • The genius of the American system is giving people the broad liberal education that allows people to start new companies, switch careers. The coding learned 10 years ago is obsolete today.
  • US education has never tested well against other countries – in the middle of the pack in 1964 and still in the middle of the pack. Yet the US has dominated innovation, research, new industries over the past five decades.
  • Israel is reported to have more NASDAQ listed companies than any country other than the US and China yet also does very badly on international tests, and worse than the US.
  • Israel and the US share non-hierarchical educational systems where you can challenge the professor, follow your passion, ask questions. Many high-tech people including Zuckerberg and Bezos put a lot in a liberal arts education.

Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

  • We are in for 30 years of religious war in the Middle East, if not more, with the US having to play a modest role managing at the margins.
  • Saudi Arabia is vulnerable because it is only a matter of time before it is challenged by the Islamic State.
  • Iraq is breaking into 3 separate countries – Iranian Shia, Kurdish, and Sunni Arab.
  • We cannot afford to live in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons and several other countries in the region follow suit.

Joseph Cirincione at Ploughshares Fund said:

  • Japan is a threshold power and can build a nuclear bomb within months.
  • US strikes on Iran would have to be weeks of hundreds of sorties, and cause a major war in the Middle East that would make the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq look like warm-up acts.
  • We cannot live in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons and several other countries in the region follow suit.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali said

  • Islam is in crisis and is decidedly not a religion of peace – it needs a reformation on the scale that Christianity had in the 16th century.
  • 70 percent of all fatalities in all conflicts involving Muslims are Muslims.
  • The strategy of let’s not call IS Islamic started in the Muslim world 3 to 5 decades ago and hasn’t worked.
  • To persuade Muslims to give up the 5 core concepts within Islam that are holding them back, the US should ideologically confront Islam with its ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as it has done in the past. Theological reformation has to come from within.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1503/29/fzgps.01.html

Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 03-22-15

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The greatest vulnerability for Israel is its legal jurisdiction over 4.5 million Arabs who have neither a state nor a vote – a situation that cannot last in a democratic society.
  • The Stockholm IPRI says Israel’s defense budget is larger than that of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon combined.
  • The UN says the US has taken in the equivalent of only .08% of its population in refugees, versus 1% for Sweden and 9% for Jordan.
  • IHS Global Defense Trade Report says the worldwide defense market rose more than 13% to a record $64 billion in 2014; Saudi Arabia overtook India as the world’s top importer and China was third.

Martin Indyk said Netanyahu has alienated just about every world leader including Israel’s closest friends Merkel and Sarkozy, by doing many things which contradict the promises that he has made them.

Elliot Abrams said the situation with Israel is the worst in a very long time because of Obama’s terrible personal attitude toward Netanyahu.

Michael Lewis said:

  • The technology is almost getting rid of Wall Street, but the resulting complexity and opacity still needs gatekeepers.
  • In the 1980s, the kind of young person who went to Wall Street changed from being one who was in the bottom of their class at Yale to one who was at the top and who can cause a lot more trouble – very bright people without a particular ambition except to be a success type.
  • Wall Street women are kept largely separate from the risk taking decisions. However, after the financial crisis, women rose to positions that were sufficiently senior that they could be plausibly blamed when things went wrong and were.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1503/22/fzgps.01.html

Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 12-07-14

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The Department of Defense cost overruns on one weapons system are more than the total defense budget of Britain and France put together.
  • The US spends more on defense than the next 8 nations put together including China and Russia.  Since 9/11 America has been too fearful, too reactive, too tactical in its foreign policy.
  • Ash Carter has already been a reformer and John McCain will soon be the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, but the problem is so immense that it is probably too much to hope for more than small victories – the Military Industrial Congressional Complex lives on.
  • Robert Gates wrote that the Pentagon is a gargantuan labyrinth of democracy, with 40% of its spending going to overhead.
  • If rebels don’t really want to fight unless you support them, it means they are not going to fight.
  • Obama fundamentally sees the Middle East as a hell hole that will suck America dry and so will never embrace a very ambitious strategy.
  • Northern Europe, South Korea and Singapore draw their teachers from the top third of the graduating college class versus the bottom third in the US.

Chrystia Freeland said:

  • The economic crisis in Russia will worsen, partly by sanctions, partly by the oil price fall and the tremendous capital flight and brain drain outside of Russia.
  • Russian businessmen are incredibly unhappy as real businesses and fortunes are dissolving.
  • The Syria war is descending into warlordism.
  • Western leaders have forgotten how to deal with complexity and really long-term situations, and with situations where there are no good guys.

David Rothkopf at FP Group said:

  • Putin’s budget ignores economic reality in that it anticipates the price of oil being $100 and ignores the $85 billion in capital flight in the past year.
  • Human nature, national interests and all of history tells us that the US’s tacit alliance with Iran in fighting ISIS must be linked to the nuclear negotiations.
  • This is really an Iraq/Syria war, which is even more complicated than the Syria war.

Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

  • The real sanction against Russia is nothing that the US and Europeans have done but is oil prices around $60.
  • Russia has enormous reserves so Putin does not have to do things to trigger more sanctions or give up his goals of a greater Russia.
  • You cannot want peace more than the negotiators want to make peace or make war more than the locals want to make war, so do not  expect a wonderful moderate Syrian opposition any time soon.
  • US bombing alone is inadequate because we need to a ground partner to take and control the ground.
  • The powerful trends in the world include the diffusion of power in many forms to many types of actors, the decentralization of decision-making partly because American reliability is not what it was due to globalization, and a Middle East that is unraveling.
  • The post-WW I order won’t be put back together.
  • China has many internal challenges so we are seeing some progress in the region.

Robin Wright at the Wilson Center said:

  • In the past year we have achieved a level of dialogue with Iran that is unprecedented since the 1979 Revolution.
  • The danger in the Middle East is always that diplomacy is overtaken by events on the ground.
  • ISIS is the most complicated war in the Middle East since the modern borders established after WWI.
  • Aleppo is the New York of Syria and on the verge of being lost.
  • ISIS and the Assad government are not fighting very much against each other.
  • The rebels are the weakest of the three forces, so the prospect of building them up is tremendously hard.

The Wall Street Journal found 45% more police killings than reported in official FBI statistics.

ProPublica found that young black men were 21 times more likely than white men to be shot dead by cops between 2010 and 2012. Blacks are 3 times as likely to be arrested for drug offences than whites even though data shows that they do not use drugs at anything like 3 times the rate as whites.

Sentencing Project found:

  • Racial minorities are more likely than white Americans to be arrested and then more likely to be convicted and more likely to face stiff sentences.
  • African-American males are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than white males and 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic males.
  • At current trends, 1 of every 3 black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime versus 1 out of every 6 Latino males and 1 out of every 17 white males.
  • The American justice system is not racist by design but is split between justice for the rich and justice for the poor.

Joel Klein said:

  • US education is in really bad shape – while 35% graduate from high school ready for college some 20% do not graduate and will exacerbate the massive inequality.
  • The US teaching model is failing – half of teachers quit in the first 5 years – so we need more demanding requirements to get into the profession. Successful countries educate their teachers much more in content knowledge and classroom practice than the US and have a much more professional view of their role.
  • We need to give every schoolchild choices.
  • The technological revolution impacted the whole world but missed education.
  • In education, America will do the right thing in the end after trying everything else.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1412/07/fzgps.01.html

Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 08-31-14

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Defeating ISIS would require a large and sustained strategic effort from the US but without significant numbers of US ground troops.
  • ISIS videos of executions are designed to sow terror in the minds of opponents who when facing ISIS fighters now reportedly flee rather than fight.

Zbigniew Brzezinski at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said:

  • What is happening in Ukraine is a Russian invasion but also a major blow to Putin’s personal and international ambitions, namely to recreate something like the Soviet Union.
  • The West has been very slow in convincing Putin that he cannot go all the way.
  • Increasingly all the major partners in NATO and the EU.
  • Putin clearly has indicated that if he succeeds in Ukraine, he’ll do the same to the Baltic states.
  • Nato members are very glad to have American protection in NATO but not all of them are prepared to carry their burden, to stand together.
  • China is worried that if Putin’s adventurism produces a major conflict, that would be a very serious threat to global well-being and a fundamental disaster to China.
  • China must tell Putin that using force to change borders nowadays is not the way to deal with international problems.
  • ISIS is not a state but a bunch of decentralized brigands united by extremist views managed from a single leadership but not very effectively. It will have to be dealt with in different ways in different areas but cannot be led by America.

Americans take much less vacation and work longer work weeks than most of their counterparts in advanced industrial countries. The US is the only advanced economy where workers are not guaranteed paid vacation time. European workers are guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days a year.

South Koreans worked nearly the longest hours of any OECD country but were less productive than the average OECD worker. Asian workers have historically been less productive than Americans though the gap is narrowing. Germans work 600 hours less every year than Greeks but their productivity is 70 percent higher.

Ernst and Young found that for every additional 10 hours of vacation an employee took, the company saw an 8% improvement in performance ratings.

The US Travel Association said that if Americans used all of their allotted time off, there would be an additional $160 billion in sales across several sectors, generating an additional $52 billion in earned income and 1.2 million additional jobs.

By 2025, 58% of the world’s population will be living in cities.

China has the most financially literate teens, followed by Belgium and Estonia. The US was on a par with the OECD average.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript

at http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1408/31/fzgps.01.html

Jim Rogers: Biggest Event of Next 10-20 Years Just Happened in China – Moneybeat 11-18-13

Salient to Investors:

Jim Rogers said:

  • The most important economic event of the next 10 to 20 years is what happened in Beijing, though largely ignored, particularly by the Western media.
  • Current efforts to reform, if followed through, could take a generation to really bear fruit but Chinese agriculture, railroads, medical care and defense are attractive investments, even if the country’s stock market collapses
  • Buying Chinese stocks, including financials, for the first time since 2008.
  • The overriding concept from the plenum is “when in doubt, the market will decide.” Policy makers seem to have the wind at their back and leaders have put a lot of prestige on the line.
  • Talk about China’s economy being a bubble or that its ascendance will end is reminiscent of what Europeans said about the US after the Civil War. And within a generation after WWI, the undisputed No. 1, the United Kingdom, was no longer that.

Read the full article at http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/11/18/jim-rogers-biggest-event-of-next-10-20-years-just-happened-in-china/

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 06-16-13

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • China does infrastructure better than anyone in the world – trains, roads, airports, subways built at amazing speed, on a grand scale and with great foresight.
  • The HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company, Ltd, will help finance a Nicaraguan canal at a total cost of about $40 billion.
  • The average wait to transit the Panama Canal can top 12 days. Panamax cargo ships, which carry  4,500 containers, are the biggest that can transit the Panama Canal. Triple E cargo ships can carry over 18,000 containers. Panama is revamping its canal to accommodate bigger ships, but still won’t be able handle to accommodate the biggest post-Panamex ships.
  • The enlargement of the Panama Canal is expected to be complete by 2015, but Colliers says only 10 of America’s 55 major commercial ports will be ready for the bigger ships. The US Army Corps of Engineers expects US imports to grow 4-fold and exports more than 7-fold over the next 30 years. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives America’s ports a C rating. For the last 20 years Congress has diverted more than half of the Federal Harbor Maintenance Tax collected.
  • In 18 years, 60 to 70 percent of shipping will be on the bigger post-Panamax ships.

Jeff Sachs at Columbia said:

  • Jack Kennedy came to profoundly distrust the CIA and the military on giving him advice on what would lead to peace – the CIA is trained to spy or to cause unrest and the military to fight wars.
  • Recent presidents have not had that discerning understanding that the security agencies will not make peace.
  • The path to peace is based on the idea that both sides have a strong stake in peace, that there are human beings on the other side.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1306/16/fzgps.01.html

Biggest Defense Spending Dive Shows Risk of U.S. Cuts – Bloomberg 01-31-13

Salient to Investors:

Eric DeMarco at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said politicians on notice  that if they don’t fix the drop in defense cuts, the country is going back into recession.

Benjamin Mandel at the Bureau of Economic Analysis said on an annualized basis, defense spending for the year fell 3.1 percent from 2011.

Kevin Brancato at Bloomberg Government said the Q4 2012 decline partly reflects a spike in Q3. The Pentagon traditionally spends the most in Q3, the end

Byron Callan at Capital Alpha Partners said monthly and quarterly numbers are volatile – Q4 is an aberration.

Alan Krueger at the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the 22 percent drop in defense outlays is due to uncertainty over the automatic spending cuts.

Read the full article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-31/biggest-defense-spending-dive-since-vietnam-shows-risk-of-cuts.html

 

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