Saturday, October 3, 2015

Obama Keeps Shooting His Mouth Off On Guns!

I have never owned a gun, my wife won't allow one in the house and when I served a brief stint in the Marine Corps, I never was able to hit the target with a 45.  My Gunny Sergeant told me '...not to worry because I would not live long anyway.'

That said, our Founding Fathers understood we were a people who were suspicious of government and wanted to be able to protect ourselves and our property. After all we were Frontier Folk  Thus, The Second Amendment, but I doubt Jefferson and other proponents anticipated the type of technology that permits guns to fire as rapidly as many do.

As I have written before, I doubt most gun owners would object to reasonable background checks and might even agree to limits of the type of weapons individuals could own. The problem with the latter suggestion is once you open the door you never know where the flood takes you..

Finally, we have ample evidence strict  gun laws do not work because we have Chicago, Baltimore and D.C. All this talk about gun restrictions is another canard used by progressives and liberals to stir people up and cause divisions.

Gun control advocates have not offered anything practical, Constitutional or even effective. Until they propose  rational solutions they should quit 'shooting' their mouths off and accept the fact we are a violent society, we are an increasingly dumb-ed down society and there is nothing they can do about this state of affairs, sad as it may be.

As for Obama , he is the worst offender but then, we know every thing with him is purposed to bear a political and divisive price and he always tends to "jump the gun!"
So you do not think we are in a mess. Some impressive others do think we are in a mess. (See 1 and 1a below.)
Go see "The  Intern." starring diNiro and Hathaway.  Poignant melding and merging of generation disparity.
We have been cleared to drive to Edisto but need to avoid high tide time.

How we got to the Syria mess


AMERICANS AND Europeans are seeing the results of four years of U.S. disengagement in the Middle East. A country destroyed, with half its people displaced from their homes. Hundreds of thousands of refugees besieging an unready Europe. And now, Russian warplanes bombing U.S.-allied forces as American officials alternate between clucking reprovingly and insisting bravely that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin will be sorry in the end. That is a tempting dream, but it represents the same wishful thinking that got us here in the first place.
How did we get here? It’s worth recalling, briefly, a bit of history. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry took office at the beginning of President Obama’s second term, he argued that Syria could be saved only with a political solution: The United States did not want to repeat its Iraq mistake and chase President Bashar al-Assad and his regime out of office with nothing to take their place. But, he said, the regime would not negotiate seriously until its opposition was strengthened, and so Mr. Kerry and others in the administration favored U.S. assistance, including training for the rebels, protection of safe zones where they could begin to govern without fear of Mr. Assad’s barrel bombs and chlorine gas, some arms and other military aid.

Mr. Obama would never agree; or rather, sometimes he agreed, and failed to follow through, and sometimes he just said no. Mr. Kerry was left with no option but diplomacy, in particular begging Russia and Iran to bail him out. This was always based on a fantasy: An essential plank of the Putin ideology is to protect dictators wherever he can. Anything less could give his own people dangerous ideas. He toyed with the Obama administration for a few years and then took matters into his own hands. Of course he is not in Syria to destroy the Islamic State. He is there to save a dictator, while protecting Russia’s naval base on the Mediterranean coast.

It is tempting, as we say, to believe that this must end badly for the Russians. “They want this quagmire? Welcome to it!” And perhaps they will be bogged down and targeted at home by terrorists; we can’t foresee the future. Certainly U.S. officials are right that Russia’s actions will not be helpful to Syria. More and more Sunnis, seeing they have no protection elsewhere, will gravitate to the Islamic State as their only refuge. Radicalization will increase, and the prospects of a negotiated solution will recede.

But that is not Mr. Putin’s concern. Already he has forced the West to change its tune on Mr. Assad; he has to go, but “it doesn’t have to be done on day one, or month one, or whatever,” Mr. Kerry now says. Europeans, desperate for anything to end their refu­gee crisis, are wondering whether Russia might not offer a better bet than the United States. Mr. Putin has broken out of the isolation Mr. Obama tried to impose for Russia’s illegal dismemberment of Ukraine. And Russia’s lesson is not lost on people all over the world who might attempt to democratize their authoritarian countries: You cannot count on the United States, but your dictator can count on Russia.

Two things always have been true about Syria. First, there have been no good or easy policy options; and second, with time and inaction, the options become worse and harder. Today there are still things Mr. Obama could do: Carve out safe zones. Destroy the helicopter fleet Mr. Assad uses for his war crimes. Provide aid to the battle-hardened force of 25,000 fighters, mostly Kurdish, that, as Post columnist David Ignatius has reported, is ready to attack the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa. As Russia deploys more air defenses to bolster the Assad regime, some of these options, too, will narrow and disappear. What will not disappear is the humanitarian catastrophe Syria represents, nor the national security threat emanating from its ruins.

Read more on this topic:

As I see it: Putin and the West’s moral vacuum 

Any lingering doubt about the lethal weakness of America and the West has been brutally shot down in the skies above Syria.

Russia’s President Putin sent in his warplanes ostensibly to bomb ISIS but actually, it seems, to bomb more moderate opponents of Syria’s President Assad, including CIA-trained rebels.

Putin thus well and truly rubbed President Obama’s nose in American impotence. The Russian leader is now making the immensely dangerous running in Syria. Blindsided America is reduced to scrabbling frantically in his slipstream.

Putin is ruthless and focused. Allying with Assad and the Iranian regime that pulls his strings, the Russian leader can pose – however preposterously – as the potential savior of the world from the Islamist specter that terrifies the West.

By contrast, America and Britain are wildly flailing around. Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron say both ISIS and Assad must be defeated. But although they are taking ineffectual military action against ISIS, they won’t attack Assad.

Instead, Obama has been reduced to pleading with Putin to restrain Assad’s worst excesses.

But to topple Assad requires defeating the Iranian regime – which the US and UK have just empowered still further by capitulating over its nuclear program and gifting it billions in trade deals.

This was all supposed to neutralize Iranian bellicosity. But some of those billions will be used to shore up Assad. No wonder Putin’s contempt for America is palpable.

It is a commonplace that power abhors a vacuum. As is painfully obvious, this latter-day Russian czar is merely filling the empty space left by the retreat of Obama’s America from its historic role as freedom’s defender.

But this vacuum goes far wider and deeper than Obama. It has resulted from the longterm cowardice, arrogance and moral confusion of the West.

For decades, Islamists have been pursuing a twin-track agenda to conquer and Islamize the non-Islamic or not-Islamic-enough world.

One track uses cultural invasion and takeover; the other uses violence and terrorism. The West has empowered both of them.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s principal agent of Islamic conquest, is run by a brutal and barbaric regime. There is currently outrage at its plan to behead and crucify a political dissident, Ali Mohammed al Nimr.

But what is the point of such protest given that British and American hands are deep in Saudi money? For sure, the balance between potential harm and benefit means that deals must sometimes be done with unsavoury regimes. Israel, for example, is reportedly allying with Saudi Arabia against Iran.

This, however, is a move born of desperation.

Israel is forced to form alliances wherever it can just to survive. It has been hung out to dry by America, and is being blackmailed by its supposed European allies to compromise its security with Palestinians out to destroy it.

Those western allies have empowered not only terrorist Iran but also Saudi Arabia. In Britain and America, the Saudis have been allowed unhindered to fund extremist mosques and university departments of Islamic studies peddling a sanitised account of Islam.

Grotesquely, Britain’s Ministry of Justice has negotiated a £5.9 million training contract with – of all things – the Saudi prison service, under which British officials presumably propose to help Saudi Arabia jail, flog, stone, amputate, behead and crucify people even more efficiently and effectively.

Worse still is the elevation of the Saudi envoy to the UN Human Rights Council to head its committee dealing with global human rights standards. This obscene appointment was actually welcomed by the Obama administration.

And reportedly Britain did a vote-trading deal with Saudi Arabia to ensure that both countries gained seats on the UNHRC in the first place for the 2014-2016 term.

The UNHRC itself is a sick joke. Dominated by human rights abusers, it rarely acts against tyrannies but instead repeatedly and mendaciously bashes Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East.

The UNHRC thus effectively condones violence around the world and abandons or punishes its victims. Yet by being members, the UK and US underwrite its legitimacy.

The West never challenges the UNHRC’s patently corrupted authority. That’s because western liberals are blinded by shibboleths such as internationalism, their hatred of Israel and their worship of anti-normative, anti-western “human rights” doctrine.

The result is that the West has got almost everything about the Muslim and Arab world totally wrong. Refusing to grasp the nature and global ambition of the Islamist onslaught, the West has unleashed chaos abroad and empowered those who would destroy it at home.

But its culpability goes back much further. It has been excusing, condoning and incentivizing Arab terror for the best part of a century.

In the 1930s, Britain reneged on its international treaty obligation to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Worse still, it proposed giving part of the Jews’ entitlement to the Arabs in a fruitless attempt to buy off their attempt to expel the Jewish presence from the land.

This original “two-state solution” effectively rewarded and incited aggression and punished its victims. Britain, America and the EU continue those perverse incentives to this very day by their resolute whitewashing of Palestinian incitement to murder Israelis and steal their land – the real reason why the Arab war against Israel is a conflict without end.

The reason the BDS movement and EU boycotts of Israel have taken hold is that the so-called allies of Israel refuse to tell the world that Palestinian identity is bogus and was invented solely to get gullible westerners to support the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their own ancestral homeland.

By failing to expose the Big Lies about Israel, the West is complicit in both the rise of anti-Jewish bigotry at home and the paranoid hysteria against Israel and the Jews coursing through the Arab and Muslim world.

The paralysis of the West in the face of the chaos in the Middle East and the mass exodus of people from the developing world is causing some to predict the collapse of Europe (and the US isn’t immune from this cultural tsunami either).

The real issue, though, is not so much mass migration as moral collapse. And anti-Jewish attitudes are at the very core of that collapse.

The West followed its perpetration of and complicity in the Holocaust with an onslaught against the Mosaic laws at the root of western civilization. Those ethical codes were dumped in favor of self-gratification. Belief in western superiority over other cultures was replaced by moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism and defeatism.

Both Obama and the British Labour party’s new unashamed Marxist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, are regarded by critics as some kind of aberration. They are not. They are merely extreme exemplars of the liberal mindset which is now bringing the West to its knees.

Jews are understandably wary of making themselves the center of anyone else’s story.

But they are inescapably at the epicenter of the West’s convulsions. The West will only save itself if it finally grasps that to do so it needs fully to embrace Israel and the Jewish story.

It's Messaging Stupid! "Put-in" Not Impressed With PP's Plumage. Obama is "Plum" Out of His Element! More Press and Media Hypocrisy and Double Standard Reporting!

This was sent to me by a very dear friend and fellow memo reader: "Hi Dick went to a lecture Dr Ellis was the speaker. Thought you might enjoy reading his paper...A--------" (See 1 below.)
Republicans continue doing a lousy job of explaining the Obama economic disaster.

PP tells everyone unemployment is 5.1%, down from 10%, when he came into office. Republicans  fail to explain that the actual number of Americans unemployed, working part time when they want and need full employment and no longer are looking because they are unqualified and/or there are no jobs available now totals 30 million. This is a disaster..

Republicans continue to talk about the deficit which is real and dangerous but an abstract matter to an unemployed person. Obama tells us the deficit is down when in fact the deficit is up but the amount each year is dropping simply because of sequester, which is another stupid meat ax approach toward governance. 

Furthermore, Republicans talk about the middle class and how they want to help them. What about helping Americans?  Many Americans have yet to reach middle class status but would like to believe some one cares about their plight.

Finally, since everyone has become so dependent on government, Trump's campaign message telling  us what he is going to do for us etc., is nonsense.  Americans have to do for themselves. This independent spirit is what made our nation great. Americans Went West not the  government!  It is the personal responsibility of everyone to get off their behinds and do for themselves.  The best government can do is get out of the way, quit stopping the building of pipelines, placing burdens on small business and spending tax payer money buying votes etc.

It is time for our elected officials to act like responsible citizens themselves and not the elitists they have become. Little wonder Trump, Carly and Carson have greater appeal than the political pros. The problem is we need political pros with integrity versus candidates who are novices though  some of the attributes of novices would be useful, ie. business savvy, guts to tell it in an unvarnished PC manner etc. .

As I have noted in previous memos, we have thousands of miles of pipeline that function delivering energy so why, all of a sudden, the furor over another pipeline?  We have thousands of railroad track-age. Do Greens object to laying more rail lines, building more highways etc.?  

When Republicans learn how to deliver a practical message in language people can  relate to they might begin to win elections that are there to win yet, they manage to lose.

It's messaging stupid!!! (See 2 below.)
Bret berates Obama for withdrawing and allowing Putin to kick us out of The Middle East! (See 3 below.)

"Put-in" understands he is dealing with a weak peacock named Obama and "Put-in" is not impressed with the beauty of PP's plumage. Obama is "plum" out of his element!. 
This was sent to me by a great friend and fellow memo reader.  It reveals our police at their best. (See 4 below.)
Today, American airplanes destroyed an Afghanistan hospital by mistake.  Russia bombs with abandon in Syria, killing civilians, including children, and American flights have killed untold civilians trying to destroy ISIS forces.  

None of these random killings cause an outrage from the liberal press and media. Not even numerical listing of those killed.  Ah, but suppose these "accidental" deaths were being caused by Israel.  Can you imagine the outrage, the double standard reporting? What hypocrisy Israelis are subjected to but it does not keep them from forging ahead and leading the world in start ups that benefit all.(See 5 below.)
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst cites four reasons why stocks have topped.

I am not totally willing to buy his analysis.  At this juncture, I see a correction, which has somewhat more downside, followed by a significant "rally" but I have been wrong before. (See 6 below.)
We have been told to call tomorrow to see if roads and bridges are cleared to Edisto. 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Expert Commentary Strengthening America's Adversaries September 30, 2015 | Dr. Evan Ellis

The Cipher Brief spoke to R. Evan Ellis, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, who said that while China does not directly challenge U.S. interests in Latin America, it in essence underwrites rogue regimes in the region that are opposed to U.S. policies.

The Cipher Brief: What are China’s strategic interests in Latin America? Does this pose a threat to U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region? Dr. Evan Ellis: China’s interests in the region are primarily economic in nature, but this does not make them any less strategic, nor any less impactful for the region or the position of the United States. These interests include: •

Reliable access to primary products, such as petroleum, minerals, and metals to feed the Chinese demands for industrial production, capital formation, and urbanization •

Access to agricultural goods (principally animal feed such as soybeans and fish meal) to help the PRC feed its 1.35 billion people •

Markets for Chinese goods and services, particularly as PRC-based companies move up the value-added chain •

Access to technology in order to achieve Chinese industrial competitiveness, particularly in strategically valuable industries, such as defense, electronics, and aerospace, and indirectly, to support a strong state with a diversified economic base

The pattern of Chinese engagement has facilitated an increase in Latin American commodity exports in recent years while simultaneously undercutting manufacturing in the region (including competition for exports to traditional markets, such as the United States and Europe). As a result, Chinese engagement has increased the region’s concentration on low value-added primary product sectors, leaving it more vulnerable to falling international commodity prices.

While the PRC is careful not to directly challenge U.S. interests in Latin America, its commodity purchases from, loans to, and investments in the region have sustained the life of regimes that are opposed to U.S. policy objectives—in areas such as democracy Evan Ellis Professor, U.S. Army War College 1 and human rights, transparency and good governance, and respect for private property and contracts.

 Indirectly, Chinese money has helped weakened the accountability of populist leaders of regimes, such as Venezuela, to their institutions and populations, short-circuiting corrective mechanisms in those countries, where, under normal circumstances, leaders exercising poor governance and unsustainable policies are reined in by their own people and institutions. By helping to decouple populist leaders from the short-term consequences of their policies, Chinese commodity purchases and loans have increased the risk of profound crises within those regimes. These not only prejudice their own people, but China’s willingness to “cash in” on the desire of such regimes to escape from Western norms of democratic controls and good governance, contributes to the insecurity of the neighbors of these regimes, and to insecurity and stability of the region as a whole. This can be seen by the increasing use of Venezuelan territory as a drug transit corridor, the border crisis that Venezuela has manufactured with Colombia, and Venezuela’s sending of troops into Guyanese territory.

At the end of the day, it is the United States, whose fate is bound to the region by ties of geography, economy, and family, which is prejudiced by such hemispheric insecurity, rather than China, half a world away.

Beyond its underwriting of rogue regimes in the region, China’s choice to use the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as its vehicle of choice for multilateral engagement with the region, supports efforts by the ALBA states (a Latin America regional bloc) and independent actors, like Brazil, to disempower multilateral institutions, such as the Organization of American States (OAS), undercutting the voice of the U.S. and Canada in regional affairs.

Furthermore, should the current competition between the PRC and the U.S. give rise to a conflict in the future, it is likely that the PRC would not resign itself to allowing the U.S. to conduct such a fight as an “away game.” Rather, it would use its economic leverage and global assets (including commercial assets in Latin America and the Caribbean) as part of the struggle.

Such actions might include, but are not limited to: using China’s economic influence to block states in the hemisphere from providing diplomatic, intelligence or other support to a coalition opposing the PRC in Asia; using Chinese commercial assets to introduce and sustain agents in the region to conduct intelligence or other operations against the U.S. and its allies; and in extreme cases, combining knowledge gained from its ongoing military activities in the region with that obtained from Chinese commercial companies operating in the region for staging or resupply, if invited to do so, in the course of a U.S.- China conflict.

TCB: What makes China’s activities in Latin America different from other outside actors in the region? How much of an impact have those differences had? 2

REE: While China has not used its presence in the hemisphere to challenge the United States in the same manner as extra-hemispheric actors, such as Russia and Iran, its engagement is far larger and more broadly distributed across countries and sectors than these other actors. Simply put, Latin American and Caribbean politicians and businesspeople do not dream of access to vast markets in Russia or Iran in the same way that they hope to gain access to the demand of one billion Chinese consumers, or to the loans and investment of the Chinese state.

 On the other hand, while other actors, such as Japan, South Korea, and the European Union do have an important trade and investment presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, these states do not challenge investment and financing norms, or turn a blind-eye to violations of intellectual property and environmental norms, in the way that China does with its companies.

TCB: Has China focused on some countries in Latin America more than others?

REE: China has applied a policy of “flexible engagement” with the region, pursuing relations with each country according to the opportunities and constraints of its government’s prevailing ideology and the nation’s institutions.

In general, the PRC has concentrated the majority of its loans in Argentina and the ALBA countries, because these regimes have had the greatest need and desire to escape from dependence on Western institutions and replace them with alternate sources of capital.

Yet China has also focused its manufacturing investment disproportionately in large mixed-market countries, such as Brazil (which offers an enormous internal market and access to other countries through MERCOSUR) and Mexico (with both a vibrant internal market and access to U.S. and Canadian markets through NAFTA).

TCB: How has increased Chinese investment and influence changed the U.S.’ relationships with countries in the region? Should the U.S. view this as a zero sum game?

REE: In the short term, Chinese commodity purchases, loans, and investments have sustained the lives of the ALBA regimes and, in the process, the continuing hostility of their governments to the United States.

Yet Chinese money has also provided enhanced economic and political options for other states in the region, re-orienting that subset of pragmatic political figures in the region who once supported U.S. policies out of a calculation of interest, and leaving behind a diminished pool of “true believers”; those who believe that alignment with the U.S. and pursuit of the values that it represents--western-style representative democracy, individual human rights, respect for private property, and a market-based concept of economic organization—is the best way to achieve broad-based prosperity, development, and human dignity in their countries. 3

Despite the erosion of the U.S. position in the short term, however, the impact of PRC engagement over the long-term in the region may be more benign. Ironically, even without a strong U.S. response, accumulating frustration in the region with the behavior of Chinese companies, the inability to secure access to the Chinese market comparable to the access gained for Latin American products in the U.S. and Europe, and increasingly stark examples of “China-financed populist socialism,” help the region to temper some of its harsher judgments of U.S. shortcomings.

TCB: How do you see Chinese influence in the region changing in the near future?

REE: Short of an economic and political collapse in China, the attractiveness of the PRC as a partner will probably decrease in the coming years.

While Chinese companies will become more adept at doing business in Latin America and the Caribbean, decelerating demand for primary products from the PRC will lower international commodity prices and thus decrease the value of Latin American exports to China, deepening hardship in the region.

Such decelerating Chinese commodity demand will also likely lead to delays in some investment projects in the petroleum and mining sectors by those Chinese firms who can do so without losing their concessions, further souring the relationship between the PRC, and Latin American and Caribbean governments. At the same time, delays in the “take-off” of Chinese consumer demand, and the evaporation of opportunities for construction and other investment projects in the PRC, will likely push Chinese banks, construction companies, and manufacturing firms to more aggressively pursue markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, increasing competition with Latin American counterparts at a time in which the region’s economy is stagnant, due in part to other aspects of the Chinese slowdown.

On top of such factors, to the extent that China’s aggressive behavior in the South and East China Seas continues, it may undercut some of the appeal that the PRC has sought as a “benevolent” global actor. While fear of offending China, hopes of profiting from it, and a general lack of knowledge will likely suppress the explosion of negative sentiments toward China in the region, the disposition of the region towards China, Latin America, Extractives

The Author is Evan Ellis Dr.

Evan Ellis is a research professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute with a focus on the region’s relationships with China and other non-Western Hemisphere actors. He has published over 120 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, the 2013 book The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America, and the 2014 book, China on the Ground in Latin America.
2) The Big Jobs Miss

The labor market is supposed to be the strong point of this underwhelming U.S. economic recovery, so Friday’s weak jobs report for September came as a jolt to investors and perhaps to the Federal Reserve. The question is whether this is another slow patch of the kind we’ve seen so often during this expansion, or a signal of something worse.
It’s certainly hard to find much good news in the September numbers. Employers added 142,00 net new jobs, but only 118,000 in the private economy. Payrolls were revised lower by 59,000 for July and August, for a monthly average of only 167,000 in the third quarter. That’s down from a monthly average of 198,000 for all of 2015 so far, which is down from 260,000 a month in 2014.
Worse, the labor participation rate—a key measure of labor market health—fell to 62.4%, the lowest rate since 1977, when the economy was still recovering from the rough mid-1970s recession. Some 350,000 Americans left the labor force in September, which is why the headline jobless rate was able to stay at 5.1% despite mediocre job creation.
In a blog post, the White House Council of Economic Advisers attributed the jobs miss to “slowing growth abroad and global financial turmoil,” which is true as far as it goes. What they didn’t say is that some of that turmoil and slow growth has been caused by the whipsaw effect in emerging markets from Federal Reserve policy.
Capital that rushed into those markets during the Fed’s bond-buying heyday is now flowing back into dollar assets as the Fed considers raising interest rates. Commodity markets have also deflated as the dollar has risen, with considerable damage to the U.S. oil and gas boom that had been a rare bright spot.
But this had to happen sooner or later, and the Fed’s expectation has been that the U.S. economy would be strong enough by now to withstand an emerging-market and commodity correction. The problem is that the post-2009 new normal of 2.2% growth is far too vulnerable to growth shocks elsewhere. It also isn’t raising U.S. living standards, as the labor report showed average hourly earnings were flat for September and have increased a mere 2.2% in the last year.
All of which heightens the Fed’s monetary dilemma. Fed officials had been promising to lift rates off the zero bound in September, only to stand pat. Fed Chair Janet Yellen and others have since pointed to the end of the year as the “liftoff” target, but the labor market will have to rebound from September if that is going to happen.
As we and others have written, the Fed seems to be trapped by its zero-rate policy: Aware that it is causing investment distortions but afraid of the economic impact if it does move. We thought the Fed should have raised rates modestly long ago, but now it may have missed its chance. Whether the Fed lifts rates soon or not, the limits of monetary policy have become clear.
If the economy is slowing down, don’t expect much help from the rest of Washington. In their blog post on Friday, the White House economists said “we must take steps to continue the domestic momentum that the U.S. economy has enjoyed in the last several years. That includes passing a budget that reverses the sequester and makes critical investments that help our economy continue to grow, reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank so that our businesses can compete on a level-playing field abroad, and increasing investments in infrastructure.”
Is that all there is? Revive a loan-guarantee bank and spend more on roads and bridges? Really? This White House is either intellectually tapped out, or too partisan even to consider Republican growth ideas such as tax and regulatory reform. This week the Administration piled another costly rule on the economy to limit ozone in the atmosphere, even though only parts of California are in serious breach of current U.S. standards.
It’s as if President Obama thinks the private economy can absorb all of this without a cumulative and damaging effect. This is how you get a 62.4% labor participation rate six years into an economic expansion.

An Afghan Against American Retreat

Afghanistan’s chief executive says it was clear Kunduz would fall, for lack of military resources.

It was May 2014, and the war in Afghanistan would soon be over. Or so said Barack Obama.
“This is how wars end in the 21st century,” the president explained in a Rose Garden address. “Not through signing ceremonies, but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility.” Also prisoner exchanges, which is how the U.S. swapped Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban commanders long held at Guantanamo.
As with so many of Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy promises, things have not worked out that way. Sgt. Bergdahl, hailed by the White House for serving with “honor and distinction,” was charged last month with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Afghanistan’s political system nearly came undone last summer amid bitter allegations of electoral fraud in the second-round presidential contest between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. The Afghan army has been beset by high desertion rates, record casualties, poor logistics, and inadequate air and intelligence capabilities. The Taliban is resurgent under its new supreme leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
And Americans are still fighting. This week, U.S. Special Forces advisers and pilots fought alongside the Afghan army to reclaim the northern city of Kunduz, which had fallen to the Taliban in a predawn attack on Monday. It was the first time since 2001 that the insurgents had gained control of a major Afghan city.
Afghan forces would regain partial control of the city by Thursday. But Kunduz was still in Taliban hands Wednesday when Dr. Abdullah, a one-time ophthalmologist and now Afghanistan’s chief executive in a unity government with President Ghani, visited The Wall Street Journal during his stay in New York for the U.N.’s General Assembly. His visit has included meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry,though with Mr. Obama he says “there was only an opportunity of a chat.”
His message is blunt, even plaintive: American troops need to stay for the long term if a democratic Afghanistan is to survive.
“I personally absolutely think—and I’m sure the president [Ashraf Ghani] also is of the same opinion—that the withdrawal in 2016 as it is planned at the moment, that is a big risk for us, for the gains of Afghans and Americans in the past 14 years,” he says. “In our own discussions, we all agree that it is absolutely important in order for our forces to deal with the situation and cope with the situation to have presence beyond 2016.”
The 2016 date refers to the hard deadline Mr. Obama set last year for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces, on a schedule that was supposed to reduce force levels from 32,000 in 2014, to 9,800 today, to what was supposed to be half as many by the end of this year—and zero by the end of next. Mr. Obama slowed the withdrawal pace in March at the request of Mr. Ghani, but for now he remains committed to a total withdrawal before he leaves office.
Yet the risks of retreat were apparent even before the Taliban moved on Kunduz. For months, the Taliban—numbering some 3,000 fighters, according to Dr. Abdullah—had steadily taken control of the surrounding countryside, effectively unopposed. Joining them, he adds, were “terrorist groups from central Asian republics” as well as members of the Pakistani Taliban who had retreated into Afghanistan following a recent offensive by the Pakistani military.
“The people [of Kunduz] were complaining all the time that we should have taken action earlier,” Dr. Abdullah confesses. So why didn’t the Afghan government act sooner?
“I would say that mainly it was insufficient resources,” he explains. “The fact [is] that our forces were also engaged in other parts of the country and separate hot spots including Helmand [province], including the eastern province of Nangarhar, including in northern Afghanistan. In order to clean Kunduz from those elements, a large-scale operation was needed. And it was planned for some time. But then it didn’t happen on time, I should say.”
The explanation seems tentative, and Dr. Abdullah says the failure to prevent the Kunduz offensive “has to be investigated thoroughly.” Meantime, the Taliban have wasted no time staying on the offensive even as Afghan forces struggle to regain the city.
On Thursday, the Taliban captured a key district in nearby Badakhshan province, which borders on Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and China. The Taliban also pushed south from Kunduz into Baghlan province, threatening Kabul’s ability to move soldiers and supplies north to Kunduz except by air, where Afghan capabilities are limited. It was mainly due to U.S. airstrikes that the Taliban were stopped from taking Kunduz’s airport.
But that only underscores how dependent Afghanistan remains on America’s military presence. “The enablers, as we call it—air transport, air support, intelligence capabilities, anti-land mine equipment—these are part of the shortcomings of our army,” he says. “And work is under way. But it takes time, and in between the vacuum is not filled. And that’s why I was pressing earlier on the issue of presence of the current level of forces. That makes up for part of those shortcomings.”
All this may sound frustrating to American ears, after the U.S. has spent nearly $700 billion and lost more than 2,300 lives (with more than 20,000 wounded) to stand up a country notorious for repelling outsiders. Why can’t Afghans sort out their own affairs? Must they forever be dependent on foreign largess and American strength?
Those are fair questions. But it’s worth keeping in mind the costs the Afghans have borne, including more than 13,000 Afghan security personnel killed in the past three years, which hardly suggests an army unwilling to fight.
It’s also worth thinking about Afghanistan’s neighborhood. Iran, to the east, “has quietly increased its supply of weapons, ammunition and funding to the Taliban, and is now recruiting and training their fighters,” according to a June report in this newspaper. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a longtime ally of al Qaeda. Hizb ut-Tahrir is active in Tajikistan, which borders Kunduz province.
Then there is Pakistan, which, according to multiple intelligence sources, continues to support terror networks in Afghanistan including the Taliban and the Haqqani network—the latter responsible for most of the terror attacks within Afghanistan.
Dr. Abdullah, a former foreign minister, is careful not to criticize any of Afghanistan’s neighbors directly, much less say anything negative about the U.S. administration. But he is mindful of the price that Mr. Obama’s timetable for withdrawal has already exacted, even before the main drawdown of U.S. forces began.
“The economy started slowing down in 2012 and 2013, when the news about [NATO’s] withdrawal started,” he says. That in turn had its effect on the calculations of the Taliban, which “shifted their strategy from engaging the international forces or our forces to a mood of survival.” He summarizes their attitude as, “Let’s pass these few months or years and then come back full force.”
It also affected the military calculus of then-President Hamid Karzai, who took the U.S. withdrawal plans as a signal that he was better off accommodating the Taliban than fighting them. “There were a lot of bans on special operations and night raids against the Taliban,” Dr. Abdullah explains. “The Taliban took advantage of that situation.”
Finally, the withdrawal announcement helped revive the Taliban despite what Dr. Abdullah says are some serious internal divisions within the movement following the death of its leader Mullah Omar in 2013. And it crippled whatever chances there might have been for a peace deal with the Taliban, which Mr. Kerry continues to pursue.
“At this stage,” he says, “I don’t see many chances [for peace talks]. Even earlier, when the Taliban showed up around the negotiating table, they were not serious.”
Dr. Abdullah nonetheless remains remarkably optimistic, which may be his congenital virtue—or defect. He spent much of his 20s tending to wounded mujahedeen during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, and later served alongside Ahmed Shah Massoud, fighting the Taliban as part of the Northern Alliance. Many observers would also claim he was twice cheated of the Afghan presidency, first in the 2009 election against then-President Hamid Karzai, and again in last year’s election. Each time he accepted the result and never allowed his followers to resort to violence.
About his current political arrangement—his job as “chief executive” amounts to a sort of prime ministerial role in a presidential system—he says that he and Mr. Ghani “started very slow” but that they have come to a modus vivendi. “People might expect us to do better,” he adds, “but it is working.” He’s used to ups and downs.
Now Dr. Abdullah faces twin tests, possibly his greatest. If the Afghan military proves incapable of re-establishing its authority in Kunduz, it will inflict an irreversible blow on the ability of the government in Kabul to govern the country, especially the morale and capacity of the army.
“I don’t see a situation that a province with such a strategic location [is one] where we can afford to say, ‘OK, let’s contain them there,’ ” he says. Taking back the province, he says, is a “must” for the government. Otherwise, what happened in Kunduz could be replicated in Kandahar, Helmand, Nangarhar and other areas where the Taliban has traditionally been strong, especially against a panicky Afghan army.
The larger test may be in the U.S. Getting or staying out of wars, no matter what the consequences, has been the core principle of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy—something he has stuck to with a doggedness that has overruled the counsel of even his closest advisers. Why should Afghanistan be different? Dr. Abdullah might suppose that Mr. Obama will not want to lose Afghanistan when a relatively small American presence, doing almost no fighting, can maintain a margin between saving the country or allowing it to be swallowed again by the Taliban. But that’s not a sure bet.
In the meantime, the battle for Kunduz continues. The future of the country, and 14 years of American sacrifice, hangs in the balance.
Mr. Stephens writes “Global View,” the Journal’s weekly foreign-affairs column.
4)This dumbass picked the wrong police officer to pull a gun on.  Check please?
It's a video from an officer worn body camera.  It takes place in a restaurant where the male officer wearing the camera approaches a theft suspect in the restroom of the restaurant and asks him to step outside.  The male officer leads the suspect outside while a female officer escorts
the suspect from behind.  Once outside, the suspect pulls a gun and the male officer does what he is trained to do.  Nice shooting.
Police involved shooting - you won't see this on the news This is just what survival shooting instructors taught to do 30+ years
ago , you shoot and you keep shooting until you have neutralized the threat. I timed it and he gets off 13 shots in five seconds , hand as
steady as a rock! What a great video.

I think 12 of the shots hit the perp! This shows the value of officer worn video cameras.  This video shows just how fast it can happen out there. I don't think the female officer ever got a round off. If you don't want to see a perp getting what is coming to him, don't watch. Its a Glock doing
what a Glock is designed to do! 

U.S. Airstrike Kills 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan

U.S. is investigating bombing that has prompted condemnation from U.N. and humanitarian groups

Doctors Without Borders surgeons worked in an undamaged part of the organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after operating theaters were destroyed in an airstrike. ENLARGE
Doctors Without Borders surgeons worked in an undamaged part of the organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after operating theaters were destroyed in an airstrike. PHOTO: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
KABUL—A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people at a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders early Saturday, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations.
The organization said 12 Afghan staff members and at least seven patients, among them three children, were killed when its trauma center “was hit several times during a sustained bombing” shortly after 2 a.m. An additional 37 people, including patients and medical staff, were wounded. All international staff members are alive and uninjured, it said.
U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said a U.S. airstrike hit Kunduz city at that hour and “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
The humanitarian group, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said it had informed all parties involved in the conflict of the precise location of the hospital, most recently on Tuesday. It said the airport was directly hit by a series of bombings at roughly 15 minutes intervals that continued for over an hour even after American and Afghan officials in Kabul and Washington were informed.
“This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of international humanitarian law,” Meinie Nicolai, the president of MSF, said in a statement. “We demand total transparency from coalition forces. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage.’”
U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell, who commands U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, on Saturday called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to apologize for the incident, according to a statement from Mr. Ghani’s office.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that while the U.S. was “still trying to determine exactly what happened,” a full investigation was under way.
Kunduz has been at the center of intense fighting over the past week. The city was stormed by the Taliban on Monday, prompting the U.S. military to carry out at least 12 airstrikes against the militant group to help government forces regain control and to protect U.S. and Afghan troops there.
Kabul said Thursday that it had largely recaptured the city but fighting has continued since, as Afghan forces struggled to dislodge remaining Taliban fighters holed up in buildings across the city.
Saturday’s airstrike, in the heart of the city, indicates that Afghan and Taliban forces are still battling for control of Kunduz
    Around 100 U.S. and coalition special-operations advisers have been deployed in Kunduz to provide tactical guidance to their counterparts.
    The U.S. maintains a small military presence in Afghanistan, largely to provide Afghan forces with intelligence and limited antiterrorism operations. This week, its personnel engaged in rare direct ground combat with Taliban fighters in the city.
    The Doctors Without Borders hospital, the only advanced trauma center in Kunduz and the surrounding provinces, had been at overcapacity since fighting broke out on Monday, treating around 400 patients.
    The airstrike destroyed much of the sprawling compound. The hospital’s main building—where the intensive care unit, emergency rooms and physiotherapy ward were located—was repeatedly hit during each aerial raid, while surrounding buildings were largely unscathed, the organization said. Parts of the hospital were still in flames hours after the attack, as doctors and nurses performed surgery in makeshift facilities.
    “The bombs hit and then we heard the plane circle round,” Heman Nagarathnam, an MSF staff member who was at the hospital at the time, said in a statement. “There was a pause and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again.”
    The organization treats patients from all backgrounds, including insurgents. However, the Taliban said none of its fighters were in the hospital at the time of the bombing, and condemned the attack.
    Afghan security officials said the hospital wasn’t directly hit and that the U.S. airstrike targeted a nearby building where some 60 Taliban and allied Uzbek militants were hiding.
    A doctor visiting an Afghan patient at the Doctors Without Borders trauma center in Kunduz on Aug. 19, 2014.ENLARGE
    A doctor visiting an Afghan patient at the Doctors Without Borders trauma center in Kunduz on Aug. 19, 2014.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
    “The airstrike had to be conducted,” one of the officials said. The U.S. military coordinates closely with its Afghan allies on airstrikes, which are usually launched in response to Kabul’s requests.
    Nicholas Haysom, who heads the U.N.’s mission in Afghanistan, condemned “in the strongest term the tragic and devastating airstrike.”
    The International Committee of the Red Cross and Italian charity Emergency, both of which also operate medical facilities in Afghanistan, also condemned the attack.
    “Bombing a hospital where the injured are being treated is an unacceptable act of violence,” Emergency said. Amnesty International called for an independent investigation.
    As the Taliban closed in on the city on Monday, Doctors Without Borders said it was assured by both warring parties that the hospital would be protected.
    The facility stayed open even as most foreigners, government officials and nongovernmental workers in the city were evacuated, including staff from the U.N., whose offices were subsequently looted by the militants.
    The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said Saturday that it remains “deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Kunduz and the difficult humanitarian situation faced by its residents.”
    In the past, U.S. airstrikes that killed civilians strained relations between Washington and Kabul, sparking furious condemnations from former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Bilateral ties improved under his successor, Mr. Ghani, whose administration embraced tight cooperation with U.S. and allied troops.
    Although U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have become less frequent as the U.S. military has reduced its presence here, they remain controversial. A U.S. aerial bombing killed 11 Afghan policemen in September in one of the deadliest friendly-fire incidents in the country in recent years. In July, seven Afghan soldiers were killed in a similar incident in the eastern province of Logar.

    Stocks won’t break any new records this year as the signs of a market top are growing, said Peter Cecchini, chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.

    There may be a short-lived rally into year-end as fund managers hunt for deals and ways to boost performance, but investors need to consider four omens of longer-term weakness, he said in an Oct. 2 report obtained by Newsmax Finance.

    “If our assessment is correct, we are about to get down and dirty,” he said. “Old school approaches to making money are about to work once again.” He recommended a put spread strategy to capitalize on weakness in equities.

    Cecchini predicted a market slide earlier this year, including an April report that cited five reasons why it was “almost impossible to be bullish.” The S&P 500 dropped 12.4 percent from its May 21 record through August 25, the first correction of more than 10 percent in four years.

    The stock benchmark has declined 6.2 percent this year to about 1,930 as of Oct. 2.

    Cecchini’s 4 Signs of a Market Top
    1. Junk Bond Cancellations: High-yield debt offerings are being canceled or re-priced by investors worried about higher risks. Olin, Altice, Santander Holdings USA, CBL & Associates Properties and Westfield Corp. either canceled debt sales or modified them. Also worrying is the widening of credit spreads, the difference in yield between two bonds of similar maturity but unequal credit ratings.
    2. Company Scandals: Markets of yesteryear were rocked by scandals at Drexel Burnham Lambert, Enron, Worldcom, Qwest, Tyco, Lehman Brothers, Countrywide and Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. This time around, Volkswagen, Petrobras and General Motors are hurting corporate credibility.
    3. Declining Profitability: “Without strong fourth quarter earnings, it is probable that fiscal year 2015 earnings per share will slip into contraction,” Cecchini said. “We haven’t seen that since 2007 and 2008, and before that 2001.”
    4. Neutral to Tighter Monetary Policy: After the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve helped to support markets with quantitative easing, or buying government debt and mortgage-backed securities to push down interest rates and boost the money supply. But its debt holdings steadied last year as the third QE program ended. “For now, the Fed balance sheet is flattening, and over the course of this recovery, that has meant more volatility,” Cecchini said.
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