Attack on American Exceptionalism or Snooker?

“We’re special” has indeed evolved as a kind of American creed since the Kennedy assassination:  We seem to think we can do pretty much anything, foreign policy-wise, whether it’s Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and here pending, Syria.  This morning, Russian boss Vlad Putin dares call us out on it in an Op-Ed in the NY Times.   A key observation:

“Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world. “

Putin’s letter has a curious ending to it, possible a nod to the often-times hawkish American right:

“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal. “

Which, coming for the former KGB boss, turned multiple-term president, rings just a bit hollow.  Still, he’s made a few points, but as always, I don’t expect logic, common sense, goal-sharing, or any of that to matter a whit. 

In fact, despite my personal trading model (which says the market is going higher) I took profits in our long-side trade yesterday and have again returned to the short side.  I’m worried that America is going to be “saved” again from a bright future by a bunch of people in Washington who are armed with the two most dangerous attributes possible for people in positions of power and leadership:

They don’t seem to be able to read and they sure as hell have a hard time listening!

But meantime, be away of this:  there is some footage making the rounds, most recently in reports like this one, that shows Iranian troops have gone into Syria to help defend the Assad regime.

So suddenly, when this begins to get traction over the next few days in Washington and Tel Aviv, I expect the “keep out” sentiment in America could easily begin to swing.

And from our Nostracodeus surveillance of events, this odd phrase “The camel has become pregnant.”  We won’t guess what that means but it’s definitely an oddity in the language around this and we think and indicator or action trigger of some kind.

UN Report Coming

Still, just like a couple that’s been married for 40-years, folks in Washington do seem to have “selective hearing” and so when – as Foreign Policy points out as likely – the UN report is inconclusive when it comes out next week, we expect the American saber rattling to resume while the Russians, already number two in global arms sales behind us, are stepping up their marketing efforts in Iran.

Frankly, I’m still in the “Even IF Assad’s regime is behind the attacks, we can’t go bombing Syria just because we took a self-righteous pill this morning.”  There’s the matter of our double-standard, not to mention the lack of disclosure and candor around the Leviathan oil field prize off Lebanon, the proposed pipeline route through Syria, or the tied-in of Syrian air defenses with the Iranians, who are just waiting for the Israeli’s to come bomb their banks of centrifuges which are enriching uranium.

Face with the prospect that we could wake up to what the Mickey Mouse Club called “Anything Can Happen Day” I got short, believing that S&P 1,540 will come before S&P 2,000. 

While I’ve been wrong before on such calls, I find that if I bet on people being greedy and unable to “walk their talk” I’m seldom disappointed, but we shall see.  The trading model says I’m an idiot and if I listen closely, there’s something of a choir to that effect.

More after this…

While We Were Sleeping

You know that every time there’s a big blow-up in news headlines, like the current mess in the Syria debacle, there’s usual some serious screwing going on in Washington because people are distracted, right?  So here you go…another example, methinks:  “Monsanto Protection Act’ quieted extended by Congress.”

Again, the only time you can trust members of the House or Senate is the one day immediately prior to an election.  Still, I’m hopeful that some generous law firm will volunteer to help me sue some members of  congress to force resignations under the Truth in Advertising laws, which seem totally ignored by the fools on the hill.  Wholesale bait and switch mob:

Bait-and-switch is a technique where advertisers advertise an item which is unavailable when the consumer arrives at the store, who is then sold a similar product at higher price. Bait-and-switch is legal in the United States, provided that ads state that there is a limited supply (sometimes they must list the quantity) and that no rain checks will be offered.

Seems to me that congresspersons all advertise, make promises, and then switch, right?

Heavy Hand of Surveillance?  Blame Congress

So the question that keeps coming up in all this NSA stuff is this:  If indeed America has a foundation of due process, what’s the harm in telling people their own government is investigating them?  Which is essentially what would have happened if Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and whoever else, would have been doing in effect had they outed the surveillance issues, rather than leaving it to Edward Snowden. 

At any rate, that’s a dark hole to climb down because it’s such a short hop from secret investigations to secret courts to secret police.  I figure we’re about 2 1/2 steps along that slippery slope now.  And just as I was thinking this, along comes the headline “Yahoo CEO Mayer:  We faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets.”

Still, jail time or not, the idea of “gag orders” is offensive to a free and open society and those members of congress who blindly voted for the misnamed “patriot” acts, should be turned out of office, as I see it:  When it comes down to bad government, the people at the top are in charge and like they teach in management schools:  When you have the responsibility, you take the heat and so far, congressers have skated on this.

African Development Boom?

With China, Russia, and the West (AFRICOM) all trying to nuzzle up to Africa which has a lot of resource potential, we wonder how long new major aquifers under arid areas like this new find in northern Kenya, will last?

Puerto Banco

Oh, sure, it used to be Puerto Rico, but after reading this dandy Zero Hedge article on how Puerto Rico bond prices are collapsing, you may come over to the dark side with me.  As goes Detroit, I wrote a couple of years back…  first dominoes are going now…at a planet near you.  Think of them as the first dead canaries.

Meantime, the 10-year bond yield was up to 2.97 yesterday and although down a tad earlier this morning, it is still getting up toward that 3% kind of line in the sand where things start to hit the fan.

Stock futures are up a tad, but since I’m short, it’s just a matter of patience, now, doctor.

Glitterwood Writing Notes

I have to admire the fine writing in the NY Daily News about Kim Kardashian’s engagement write.  Pick it up at “His heart took a pounding, and now Kris Humphries reportedly plans to put ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s engagement ring under the hammer…”.

Damn shame the rest of mass media can’t write with Nancy Dillon’s flare.  Instead we have talking-deads lulling sheep to sleep and we wonder why elected official-dumb  ain’t exactly inspiring.

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