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WHY OBAMA OWNS THE DISASTER IN SYRIA

obama-owns-syrian-disasterObama owns the disaster in Syria in a way that no one else does. Three of his policies intersected to cause the bloodshed, devastation and horrors there.

  1. The Iraq Withdrawal
  2. The Arab Spring
  3. The Iran Deal
Obama’s Iraq withdrawal turned the country over to Iran and ISIS. The tensions between the Shiite puppet regime in Baghdad (which Obama insisted on backing) and the Sunni population created a cycle of violence that reduced the country to a bloody civil war between Shiite militias and Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The collapse of the multicultural Iraqi army allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to seize huge swathes of territory. And ISIS and Iran began carving up Iraq into their own ethnically cleansed dominions.

Iraq’s civil war spread to Syria. Initially Obama backed the Sunni Brotherhood militias. These groups represented themselves as free, secular and democratic. They were actually nothing of the kind.

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PUTIN’S FUTURELESS ECONOMY

putin-muscle-manRussia’s economy was smaller than that of Texas even before the latest and most lethal sanctions imposed by Washington.

It has diminished further to Benelux proportions after the ruble’s 10% crash this week, the steepest fall since the late Nineties.

Upon this slender economic base, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is posing as a world-class superpower, the new master of the Middle East, insisting on its ‘droit de regard’ over the old Tsarist realms as if by natural right.

What is extraordinary is than anybody should believe in such geostrategic posturing.

The harsher truth is that Mr. Putin squandered the windfall wealth of the commodity supercycle and hollowed out what remained of the Soviet industrial and engineering base, leaving Russia’s Potemkin economy in a futureless cul de sac.

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HALF-FULL REPORT 04/06/18

artificial-intelligenceMike Ryan is filling in for Jack Wheeler this week.

Control and use of information technology and the intellectual property behind it has been a significant factor in recent events. The so-called trade war with China and the tariffs on basic materials are really about the future of intellectual property rights.

President Trump is using solid commodities such as steel and aluminum to work towards more favorable intellectual property rights expectations and legalities.

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Google returned their self-driving cars to the road. They are perfecting information technology that has the potential to impact the 2020 election powerfully.

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Iranians appear to be on their way towards regime change, using information technology that the Mullahs are having difficulty controlling.

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At the same time, Facebook’s Zuckerburg proposes turning over access to messaging technology to the US Government in exchange for more favorable press.

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President Trump’s tweets turned around a horde of migrants, and Hillary still can’t accept that her AI driven election tools were fooled by President Trump. What do these all have in common? Artificially intelligent systems.

Read about all these in this week's HFR! ...

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A TWO-FER TODAY

1985-jw-interview-photoIt’s April 5, way too late for April Fools.  So when I got two big surprises this morning, I knew they were for real.

First, there’s a fabulous photo essay on my Himalaya Helicopter Expedition in the Daily Mail, the most widely-read English language news site in the world.

Second, a friend just sent me a video that has recently appeared on YouTube – of an interview of me back in 1985, 33 years ago!  I had no idea this existed and had never seen it before this morning.

I had just returned from Africa with the RENAMO freedom fighters in Mozambique, and the Jamba Conference in guerrilla-held Angola that formed an alliance between Anti-Soviet Freedom Fighters around the world.

My first reaction watching it was, wow, I sure looked younger then and had a lot more hair!  Next I noticed how relevant what I said – especially about the State Department – was to today.

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INDIAN TIBET

tibetan-trumpetsWhen most people think of Tibet, they think of Chinese-Occupied Tibet, which the Chicoms seized in the 1950s, committing genocidal slaughter of two million Tibetans in the process.

Today, the former independent country of Tibet is a Tibetan Theme Park for Chinese tourists, locked down tight by the Chinese military, and secret police who control all the monasteries.

Yet there are regions of ethnic, cultural, and geographical Tibet that China was not able to seize.  One of them, The Kingdom of Lo, tucked away in a tiny hidden  corner of Nepal, we go to on our Himalaya Helicopter Expeditions.   

Larger than Lo is the Upper Indus River Valley as it flows out of Chinese Tibet into the remotest part of northwest India.  The region of the Upper Indus and surrounding side valleys is called Ladakh.  It is wholly Tibetan – here you will find real Tibetan culture truly alive and thriving, replete with astoundingly spectacular Tibetan monasteries or gompas.

I took the photo above at the Spituk gompa – the river in the foreground is the Upper Indus, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance are in Chinese Tibet.  It’s near the capital of Ladakh, Leh – an endlessly fascinating caravanserai town where you’ll find everything Tibetan.  Here’s the ancient Leh Palace and the Leh gompa hovering high above:

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JOHN BOLTON AND A REAGAN DOCTRINE FOR IRAN

bolton-quote Dear John,

You’re going to preside over the imminent Iran policy debate, and I’m sure you’ll do it the way we used to do it in the Reagan White House: bring the president the fullest possible picture of the disagreements among the Cabinet secretaries, and then he decides.

He’ll undoubtedly ask what you think, and I hope you tell him that the Iran deal is beside the point -- that we need a real policy to bring down the regime of the Islamic Republic.

Many smart people think the deal can be fixed, but we know based on past experience that this is highly unlikely. They are full of surprises.

The Iranians and their allies have a long history of successful deception when it comes to nuclear weapons. As the Washington Post said some years ago, if you want to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program, you need regime change.

That means a Reagan Doctrine for Iran.

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WHEN THE EPA WAS REALLY CORRUPT

epa-control-over-riversWho said this?

“The EPA is one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work. If you don’t get rid of the toxicity of the employees at the EPA, we are doing a great disservice to this country. I have serious questions about [the EPA administrator’s] ability to actually administrate.”

No, those remarks aren’t from one of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many critics on the Left.

They’re the words of former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who held several congressional hearings in 2016 to investigate egregious cases of misconduct and mismanagement under the leadership of Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s last EPA chief.

Since official Washington is consumed with Pruitt’s every move, perhaps it’s time to take a little trip down pre-Trump Memory Lane—when all was right in the world, according to incurious elite media—and jolt the faulty memories of these hyperventilating talking heads and editorial boards who insist Pruitt should be fired for spending 50 bucks a night to rent a D.C. condo.

Gina McCarthy should share a place of ignominy in the Obama Hall of Shame, right alongside IRS commissioner John Koskinen, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is impossibly corrupt – and here are the examples.

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THE FBI NEEDS TO BE DISMANTLED

fbi-was-warnedThe FBI, bluntly, is a mess. The level of incompetence mixed with bias is stunning. If the FBI were a private corporation, it would either be in Chapter 11 or fighting off stockholder rebellion or both.

Unfortunately, however, it's our most important law enforcement agency,

Its litany of incompetence is extraordinary -- completely missing the Boston Marathon and Pulse night club terror murderers when they were staring them in the face, grotesquely overlooking the Parkland schools mass killer when his violent psychosis should have been apparent to anyone with a 3-digit IQ,  are but three recent catastrophes on their watch.

As for the bias part, well, that is what is being uncovered.  The extent of it, it is easy to predict, will be great.  It already is.

We have already seen how dishonest the organization is, how desperately they are hiding facts from the public. Documents have to be pried out with a crowbar. The stonewalling is endless, the numbers of self-serving redactions myriad and seemingly rote.  It is anti-democratic in the extreme.

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THE BEATLES WERE RIGHT – IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME

In 1914, just over a century ago, the average American worker had to work about three hours to buy a bushel of wheat. Today it takes five minutes.

The real (inflation-adjusted) price of aluminum is now about one-fifth of what it was in 1914. These ongoing, real price declines are characteristic of almost every agricultural and industrial commodity.  And that is going to now accelerate, because:

The Trump administration has been undertaking a massive deregulation effort in order to get rid of regulations that are counterproductive and do not meet reasonable cost-benefit tests. This will reduce the direct regulatory expenses made by government but will cause a far larger reduction in private business and personal expenses made to support regulations.

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