Going short the market near the close Monday didn’t take a genius.
The speech in the movie Patton delivered brilliantly by George C. Scott sums up the feelings around here:
“Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”
We’re not Patton’s Third Army. But we will not tolerate a loser and the very thought of losing is hateful. Especially the money part.
If you’re in the dark, the quickie is Biden’s speech on Afghanistan fact-checked – BBC News. Unsurprisingly the former leader of the (also former) Soviet Union distilled it perfectly: U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan Was a ‘Bad Idea’: Gorbachev. You think?
Our analysis goes a few miles deeper.
Nine Steps to Losing ‘Stan
1. Make a war of unspecified length.
When the war in Afghanistan began it was nominally to deny al Qaida a refuge, After that, a 40-nation league of followers decided to try “nation building” in Afghanistan. The place has resources. But it also has a male-dominated (and brutal) tribal culture. Which is why this morning we see headlines like Taliban reign of terror begins as fighters go door to door in Kabul with ‘kill list’ as women face torture & execution.”
And this may only be the start.
The Taliban are pissed – long-term anger – and the “rescue mission” Joe Biden sent in may be set up for a vicious ground engagement in coming weeks. I’d score at least even odds that the Taliban will fight to the last man. Ours.
Joe Biden, and the political hack class that owns this clusterf**ck obviously doesn’t read history. If they did, they might have come across this important lesson on History.com:
“On January 13, 1842, a British army doctor reaches the British sentry post at Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the lone survivor of a 16,000-strong Anglo-Indian expeditionary force that was massacred in its retreat from Kabul. He told of a terrible massacre in the Khyber Pass, in which the Afghans gave the defeated Anglo-Indian force and their camp followers no quarter.”
To be clear: An all-powerful British-Indian group was trapped in Afghanistan. One survivor out of 16,000 seems unthinkable today.
Pray to God it will still seem unthinkable a month from now.
2. Fail to Assign Leadership
Anyone with exposure to management science has been brainwashed with
“matrix management.” This is a set-up for failure when powers to conduct a war are split between the House, Senate, President, State Department, Army, Navy, Air Force, C.I.A. and N.S.A. Infiltrated partisan Media, too.
Complexity results in “flexibility to meet the mission” is usually implied. But to a clear-headed traditional-style American manager, it sounds a lot like what happens in a blender, too. Every time one agency fails, the buck is passed and the he-said, she-said goes around.
The results are being evacuated even now.
3. Purge the Military
A few under Bush, a ton under Obama, the national “Yes Persons” festival was decried at the time. A 2016 Washington Post article explained one of the high-level Obama firing moves this way:
“President Obama had been in office for only five months when he relieved Army Gen. David McKiernan as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The new president made the move on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who told the president that he wanted “fresh thinking” and “fresh eyes” in Afghanistan. McKiernan was the first top wartime commander to be dismissed since Harry S. Truman’s removal of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951.”
“Fresh thinking” and “fresh eyes” sounds remarkably like a typical flailing progressive cover story. To this day, I believe McKiernan could have won except for two Management Problems related to the matrix: What was the objective and who are all these other people sticking their noses in?
4. Protect War Materiel of the Enemy
The Council on Foreign Relations explained the goals of president Obama in 2009 this way:
“The core goal of the strategy, as outlined in an interagency white paper, is “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan, and to prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan.”
The problem? Well, Pakistan has continued to give safe quarter to Taliban yet we have noticed a lack of cruise missiles back to the source of war materiel and safe harbor.
Which, in turn, was seen as a green light by Pakistan to continue feeding the conflict. Obama talked a good story, but the results – with key Pakistani support and influence – now speak for themselves.
As recently as this morning, Pakistan continues to play America for fools. Afghanistan: Pakistan calls for ‘inclusive political settlement’; to work with US for peace. Pakistan’s diversions have been incredibly successful. America’s? Not so much.
5. Respect the Enemy Cash Flow
American attacks and drug interdictions run in cyclical fashion. Earlier this year, the U.N. Office on Drug Control released its Afghanistan poppy report for 2019. Among its findings:
“Millions of US$ taken in taxes by Taliban and other insurgent groups
More than one-third of headmen in poppy villagers reported that their farmers paid taxes of roughly 6 per cent on sales of opium, and mostly to the Taliban. At the farm gate, this corresponded to roughly $14.5 million paid in opium taxes. If the revenues from manufacturing and trafficking of opiates were taxed in the same way, it could have yielded a total of $61 – 113 million for non-state actors in 2019. And these opium taxes are not the only source of income for insurgency groups. Most headmen reported that farmers paid the Ushr – a traditional Islamic tithe on agricultural production of about 10 percent. While the most common recipients of the Ushr were ‘poor people’, about one-fifth of headmen also named the Taliban as beneficiaries – almost double the rate of the previous year.”
The “good news” – which doesn’t matter now is that the area under cultivation in 2019 was the lowest since 2013 Which goes to our point that drug enforcement is a cyclical event. As soon as it becomes effective, the distribution channels will torpedo their effective use. See matrix management discussion above.
6. America Sold Values, Not Liberty
The matrix mess running this conflict on the American side made so many tone-deaf and outright stupid decisions it’s truly an embarrassment.
Not that the American-style new Constitution (*Value this morning? Zero.) was specifically bad. It sounded good. Here. Not there. But the fact is there wasn’t enough buy-in around the countryside. So much for that go at it.
Biden’s own State Department massively screwed the pooch in June. When the U.S. flew an LBGTQ flag over the American embassy for the whole month. This received some attention on Twitter. What the incurably stupid “woke” people don’t understand is the Taliban hate gay people and to wave the LBGTQ flag is like waving something in front of a bull. You better be prepared to run like hell.
Which, we are now doing.
Key Takeaway: Don’t waste energy on “virtue signaling” to heavily armed bearded male forces who don’t want anything to do with weak America’s “woke” bullshit. Pragmatists live; idealists get buried. Read history or repeat it.
7. Ignore Systemic Corruption
From an extremely savvy “sandbox” viewer, some insights into how the Accounting profession failed us. I’ll do my best to paraphrase here…
“Here’s how it worked: Corrupt senior Afghan military officers and civilian defense leaders, law enforcement chiefs, and “elected/appointed” political leaders simply made-up thousands of “ghost police officers” and fictional military positions existing only on paper. However, these were paid real salaries by the US Treasury. Those salaries were then pocketed by those military and other leaders who created the non-existent personnel on paper. Endemic corruption flowed everywhere. When faced with an advancing force of 75,000 Taliban, the hollowed-out (and made-up) forces either disappeared or rapidly collapsed. Afghanistan is not united as one people, one nation. There’s no way to unify against the Taliban because there’s no unifying history, philosophy, or national pride in that country. It’s still very much a loose collection of 19th century tribes surrounding a few cities.”
Which underscores our fear that the bloodbath there might just be beginning.
8. Clay Feet of American Leadership
Maybe you missed the story last week, so here’s a reminder: Hunter Biden nude video: Russian thieves, hookers, and other NAKED truths in explicit new footage | MEAWW.
If you have a misbehaving “first son” and if another laptop has gone missing, wouldn’t that be a HUGE lever to pull if you worked for a foreign intelligence service?
Control files and pulled levers are very real in that world. Like it or don’t.
9. Repeat Previous Mistakes
Fall of Saigon all over again? No, not hardly. That was a masterpiece of planning and inter-service cooperation in comparison.
Slate offers a comparison you might want to read: Afghanistan “fall of Saigon” comparison: Why the right really wants to link Kabul to Vietnam. Blame the right? GMAFB.
On the Positive Side? There Ain’t One
Biden owns this. Less positive is any chance of him resigning over it. Besides, if that were to happen, Kamala Harris would become president.
Still, the reality is neither has been able to stem the flow of illegals from Mexico and all those unvaccinated OTMs streaming in from south of the (once-upon a time) border.
Biden is setting up Civil War in America with his crazy open border with Mexico, as we read it: Suspected terrorists crossing border ‘at a level we have never seen before,’ outgoing Border Patrol chief says.
And if that’s not demented behavior, how about the leadership void around Debate rages over flights carrying undocumented children from border?
Quite rationally, then, Arizona AG Urges Biden to Replace Mayorkas: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’ for Border Security.
But don’t hold your breath for Biden to do anything to stem Mexico’s assimilation of the U.S. Just like he couldn’t stop Pakistan’s assimilation of Afghanistan.
I’m torn between whether he’s deliberately destroying America or he’s been so insulated from reality for so long, and fed so much bullshit by his colleagues and lobbyists on the Hill that he just doesn’t know Truth when he sees it, anymore.
I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter. But he’s building his own case for treason on a near daily basis, flaunting the Constitution along the way.
Meantime Kamala Harris is the best Impeachment Insurance Plan we could imagine.
We’ll just keep hiding out in the woods. With toilet paper and Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent, 1-Quart Bottles.
If Biden can’t hold Afghanistan, can he hold America? Or even Austin?
A Data Point: Retail
Here’s something to keep an eye on: I noticed this morning that the futures on FinViz were showing the Dow down 204 at the open. Yahoo Finance was saying down only 144. Thick this is a sign of m.a.n.i.p?
Then we have the Retail Sales report from Census just out:
“Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for July 2021, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $617.7 billion, a decrease of 1.1 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 15.8 percent (±0.7 percent) above July 2020. Total sales for the May 2021 through July 2021 period were up 20.6 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The May 2021 to June 2021 percent change was revised from up 0.6 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.7 percent (±0.2 percent).
Retail trade sales were down 1.5 percent (±0.5 percent) from June 2021, but up 13.3 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 43.4 percent (±2.8 percent)
from July 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 38.4 percent (±3.0 percent) from last year.
On this last point, the statisticians disingenuously don’t mention everything was locked down last year. So when we read from (xx) 2020, we label it “Instant BS” and move along. Slapstick and vaudeville isn’t this funny.
All of which warms us up to the idea the market MAY be about to roll over into the end of the Typical Summer Rally.
What this week being options, and all, on Options Friday last month our Aggregate was 39,715.64 while last month on options day it was 38,632.79.
Now, ‘lemme ask you sumptin:’ Tell me one thing – any one – that has gotten (on average) 2.8% better in the last month.
Maybe being old, fat, White, privileged, college edumacated and all, I just ain’t seein’ it. Other than hyperinflation doing war with deflation? Well, look at lumber which was down to $465 yesterday. Year ago it was sailing around the $800 level. So down at least 40%?
Maybe some enlightened Wokee can straighten me out. Thanks.
Sorting Through the Garbage
Interesting: Or spending like there’s no tomorrow (since there may not be…) Americans are spending $765 more a month than they did in 2020, survey finds How many are making that much more a month after tax? Near zero, betcha.
We’re not clear whether Afghans will have to get CV vax to come here, but did you see NPR’s To Lie Or Not To Lie: Our Readers Debate The Ethics Of Unauthorized Vaccines?
Still, the vaxpidity grows: New Zealand to enter nationwide lockdown after single coronavirus case found. Not sure how they’d react if there had been two cases…nuke a city?
We’ll make this easy for yah: The Human Behavior Academy Launches Online Course How to Spot a Liar in 7 Seconds or Less. Easier? Turn on MainStream Media, Presto!!!!
My golly. This has been so much fun. I better stop now while I’m behind.
Our Old Man Thought of the Day
“Pick up, after yourself.”
Yes, Joe, you too.
Write when you get rich,