Is The US Military Laying The Groundwork To Reinstitute The Draft?

Is The US Military Laying The Groundwork To Reinstitute The Draft?

Authored by Zachary Yost via The Mises Institute,

The most recent edition of the US Army War College’s academic journal includes a highly disturbing essay on what lessons the US military should take away from the continuing war in Ukraine.

By far the most concerning and most relevant section for the average American citizen is a subsection entitled “Casualties, Replacements, and Reconstitutions” which, to cut right to the chase, directly states, “Large-scale combat operations troop requirements may well require a reconceptualization of the 1970s and 1980s volunteer force and a move toward partial conscription.”

An Industrial War of Attrition Would Require Vast Numbers of Troops

The context for this supposed need to reinstate conscription is the estimate that were the US to enter into a large-scale conflict, every day it would likely suffer thirty-six hundred casualties and require eight hundred replacements, again per day. The report notes that over the course of twenty years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US suffered fifty thousand casualties, a number which would likely be reached in merely two weeks of large-scale intensive combat.

The military is already facing an enormous recruiting shortfall. Last year the army alone fell short of its goal by fifteen thousand soldiers and is on track to be short an additional twenty thousand this year. On top of that, the report notes that the Individual Ready Reserve, which is composed of former service personnel who do not actively train and drill but may be called back into active service in the event they are needed, has dropped from seven hundred thousand in 1973 to seventy-six thousand now.

Prior to the Ukraine war, the fad theory in military planning was the idea of “hybrid warfare,” where the idea of giant state armies clashing on the battlefield requiring and consuming vast amounts of men and material was viewed as out of date as massed cavalry charges. Instead, these theorists argued that even when states did fight, it would be via proxies and special operations and would look more like the past twenty years of battling nonstate actors in the hills of Afghanistan. In a recent essay in the Journal of Security Studies, realist scholar Patrick Porter documents the rise of this theory and the fact that it is obviously garbage given the return of industrial wars of attrition.

As military planners have woken up from the fevered dream of imagining that modern war consisted of chasing the Taliban through the hills with complete and overwhelming airpower, they have similarly started to wake up to the idea that industrial war has vast manpower requirements and that seemingly the only way to fill these requirements is by forcing young people into the ranks. That has certainly been the only way Ukraine has been able to maintain its forces, although it has required increasingly draconian measures to do so as conscripts face attrition rates of 80 to 90 percent by Ukraine’s own admission.

Obviously, the reintroduction of conscription is an extremely disturbing prospect given America’s propensity for getting involved in meaningless wars that accomplish nothing other than empowering our enemies, killing and maiming our soldiers, and wasting vast resources.

This is especially true given the unstated assumptions implicit in this paper. Who is the enemy that would be inflicting thirty-six hundred casualties a day? A war in the Pacific against China would primarily be a naval and airpower war with an extremely limited role for the army (even the current inept regime seems unlikely to be stupid enough to try and wage a land war against China) which obviously leaves Russia as the main adversary that would require the US Army to round up conscripts to feed into the attritional meat grinder.

There Is No American National Interest That Requires a Standing Army

However, while these manpower shortages may be a valid concern for someplace like Russia, Ukraine, or Poland, we here in the US are quite fortunate that we have no compelling national interest that would require us to engage in an industrial war of attrition in Eastern Europe.

To the extent we are at risk of becoming involved in such a disastrous mess, it is entirely of our own doing via the entangling alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and our leader’s own messianic gnostic crusades for democracy or whatever pseudo religious ideology is presently in vogue.

The US is blessed as being the most secure power in history. We are the hegemon of the western hemisphere, with vast moats in the form of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that no other state has the capability to project military force across, and all our neighbors are weak and relatively friendly. We are not at any risk of being forced to fight an industrial land war on the home front. Any war the army would be used in would be as an expeditionary force fighting in the eastern hemisphere, where we have no compelling defensive need to do so.

From the beginning of the US, there have been warnings against the dangers of both entangling alliances and standing armies. The best solution to the military recruitment crisis is to simply abolish the standing army and not plan to wage a costly and pointless war on the other side of the planet that would result in trillions of dollars down the drain and who knows how many tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans being killed, maimed, and psychologically scarred.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 18:30

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Hunter Biden’s Daughter Was Living In White House While Representing Peruvian Government

Hunter Biden’s Daughter Was Living In White House While Representing Peruvian Government

The Biden family may have some more explaining to do over their international affairs, after the NY Post reports that Naomi Biden (Hunter’s eldest daughter, not the grandchild Joe Biden mouth-kissed during the 2020 election), was living in the White House while representing the government of Peru in a legal case.

According to a review of public records, the 29-year-old has been working for DC-based law firm Arnold & Porter since January 2021, the same month her grandfather was sworn in as the 46th US president, after interning for the firm in 2019.

In September 2021, Naomi appeared in a legal filing disclosing her involvement in a case brought by Worth Capital Holdings 27, LLC, a Delaware firm which claimed that the country was interfering in the operation of their oil refinery located in the southern Amazon. Worth has sought $590 million in damages.

Of note, Arnold & Porter specializes in foreign litigation, and has defended dozens of sovereign states – including Venezuela, Bulgaria and Hungary. Interestingly, the Post notes that Naomi doesn’t have a public page on the firm’s website, unlike other firm attorneys.

Which begs the question, particularly in light of questions over the entire Biden family’s foreign dealings, should Naomi have registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act)? That would of course depend on the circumstances and extent of her work.

“Everywhere we look it seems there are major conflicts of interest in which the Biden family leveraged their name, access, and patriarch’s power to benefit personal business dealings. All of this must continue to be investigated and exposed – perhaps Biden’s granddaughter should be the next person to come before the Oversight Committee,”

In November 2022, Naomi Biden married another up-and-coming attorney, Peter Neal, at a ceremony at the White House.

The Biden granddaughter lived at the first residence from August 2022 to March 2023. A rep for Naomi Biden insisted she only worked on the case for “three weeks” in September 2021 — and not while living at the White House.  -NY Post

“Naomi Biden’s international arbitration work doesn’t include matters involving the United States government — she is a junior lawyer and a member of international arbitration teams involving private sector plaintiffs. She doesn’t discuss confidential client work with anyone inside or outside the White House,” a spokesman for Arnold & Porter told The Post, while the law firm wouldn’t say if Naomi had represented any other foreign nations since joining.

The Post also notes that Naomi had quite the nice ride to the elite law firm – having attended the capital’s elite Sidwell Friends School in the summer of 2011 while Joe Biden was Vice President. She then worked as an aide for then-Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

More recently, Naomi was pictured and videotaped posing with Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky, and having a conversation with his daughter, Karina Zlochevsky.

“She is very excited to join us. Maybe we can find her a job now that she’s graduating college,” Hunter Biden wrote to Burisma CFO, Vadym Pozharsky, according to emails from his abandoned laptop, the Post further reports.

What a small world!

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 17:55

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What Is The Top Priority Or Number One Concern Of Most Americans?

What Is The Top Priority Or Number One Concern Of Most Americans?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Think about the headline question at a personal level and also how you think the average person might answer.

Image from YouTube video below.

In answer to my lead question, I would expect a huge variety of opinions including but not limited to: Inflation, putting food on the table, rent, student loans, US debt, rising deficits, Social Security running out of money, broken political system, care of a sick or dying loved one, climate change, Trump, Biden, gas prices, crime, education, employment, unaffordable housing, saving for retirement, the UAW strike, auto repairs, home repairs, the cost of an auto, lack of saving, finding a job after college, credit card debt, and gasoline prices.

That’s over 20 legitimate concerns off the top of my head. Assistance to Ukraine as the #1 top priority is one thing that would not have crossed my mind until I saw this Tweet.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Providing assistance for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans“.

Would assistance to Ukraine be your number one priority? Top 10? Top 20? On your list at all?

Q: Are politicians that seriously out of touch with what people’s concerns are?

A: Of course they are.

It’s not just McConnell, or Republicans, or Democrats. It’s the whole stinking collective lot of them.

They all make decisions based on their priorities, not yours, often based on which donors are giving them the most money for their election campaigns.

CBO Debt to GDP Estimates

Debt-to-GDP image from the Congressional Budget Office, annotations by Mish.

Debt to GDP Alarm Bells Ring, Neither Party Will Solve This

On September 7, I commented Debt to GDP Alarm Bells Ring, Neither Party Will Solve This

US Debt held by the public is soaring out of sight. It’s even worse than it looks for reasons I explain.

Yet, despite deficit spending and the national debt being enormous problems, I wonder how they would rate in a national poll.

The last concern of those struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, take care of elderly parents, pay down credit card or student debt, or pay the bills in general, is sending $100 billion and counting to Ukraine.

No One Will Fix This

Compromise is always more spending for this in return for more spending on that.

Bnd both parties want to spend more on the military.

Neither party will fix the deficits. Neither party will do anything about mounting debt. No one will do anything about anything because the political system is totally broken.” Mish

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 17:20

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Sixth Circuit Reverses Preliminary Injunctions Against TN & KY Laws Restricting Gender Dysphoria Treatments for Minors

In July, a divded panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed a preliminary injunction against a Tennessee law barring pharmaceutical and surgical gender-affirming care for minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria. A similar case arose out of Kentucky. On Thursday, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the preliminary injunctions issued in both cases. Chief Judge Sutton wrote the majoirty opinion in Skrmetti v. L.W., joined by Judge Thapar, rejecting both due process and equal protection challenges to the laws. Judge White dissented.

In his opinion, Chief Judge Sutton stresses the high hurdle plaintiffs must clear to justify a preliminary injunction, explains why the plaintiffs cannot show that the Tennessee and Kentucky laws are clearly precluded under existing precedent, and makes the case that judges should tread cautionsly before expanding existing constitutional guarantees to preclude state-level experimentation with emerging issues.

The claimants face several initial headwinds in obtaining relief. First, they do not argue that the original fixed meaning of the due process or equal protection guarantees covers these claims. That prompts the question whether the people of this country ever agreed to remove debates of this sort—over the use of innovative, and potentially irreversible, medical treatments for children—from the conventional place for dealing with new norms, new drugs, and new public health concerns: the democratic process. Life-tenured federal judges should be wary of removing a vexing and novel topic of medical debate from the ebbs and flows of democracy by construing a largely unamendable Constitution to occupy the field.

Second, while the challengers do invoke constitutional precedents of the Supreme Court and our Court in bringing this lawsuit, not one of them resolves these claims. In each instance, they seek to extend the constitutional guarantees to new territory. There is nothing wrong with that, to be certain. But this reality does suggest that the key premise of a preliminary injunction—a showing of a likelihood of success on the merits—is missing. Constitutionalizing new areas of American life is not something federal courts should do lightly, particularly when “the States are currently engaged in serious, thoughtful” debates about the issue. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 719 (1997).

Third, the States are indeed engaged in thoughtful debates over this issue, as the recent proliferation of legislative activity across the country shows. By our count, nineteen States have laws similar to those in Tennessee and Kentucky, all of recent vintage. . . . At least fourteen other States, meanwhile, provide various protections for those seeking treatments for gender dysphoria, all too of recent vintage. . . .

Most of this legislative activity occurred within the last two years. Failure to allow these laws to go into effect would start to grind these all-over-the-map gears to a halt. Given the high stakes of these nascent policy deliberations—the long-term health of children facing gender dysphoria—sound government usually benefits from more rather than less debate, more rather than less input, more rather than less consideration of fair-minded policy approaches. To permit legislatures on one side of the debate to have their say while silencing legislatures on the other side of the debate under the Constitution does not further these goals. That is all the more critical in view of two realities looming over both cases—the concept of gender dysphoria as a medical condition is relatively new and the use of drug treatments that change or modify a child’s sex characteristics is even more recent. Prohibiting citizens and legislatures from offering their perspectives on high-stakes medical policies, in which compassion for the child points in both directions, is not something life-tenured federal judges should do without a clear warrant in the Constitution.

The opinion goes on to walk through the various due process and equal protection arguments and rejects the claims that the laws in question impermissibly infringe upon fundamental rights or violate equal protection, either by adopting an impermissible sex-based classification or discriminating against a suspect class.

Chief Judge Sutton’s opinion concludes:

No one in these consolidated cases debates the existence of gender dysphoria or the distress caused by it. And no one doubts the value of providing psychological and related care to children facing it. The question is whether certain additional treatments—puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and surgeries—should be added to the mix of treatments available to those age 17 and under. As to that, we return to where we started. This is a relatively new diagnosis with ever-shifting approaches to care over the last decade or two. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments. That is precisely the kind of situation in which life-tenured judges construing a difficult-to-amend Constitution should be humble and careful about announcing new substantive due process or equal protection rights that limit accountable elected officials from sorting out these medical, social, and policy challenges.

For these reasons, we reverse the preliminary injunctions issued in these cases and remand them for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

As noted, Judge White dissented, concluding that the laws violate both due process and equal protection. Her dissent begins:

The statutes we consider today discriminate based on sex and gender conformity and intrude on the well-established province of parents to make medical decisions for their minor children. Despite these violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, the majority concludes that the statutes are likely constitutional and reverses district court orders enjoining the statutes. . . .

And her dissent concludes:

As the majority notes, the heated political debate over gender-affirming care has yielded varying laws in Tennessee, Kentucky, and throughout our country. In the normal course, the Constitution contemplates the states acting as laboratories of democracies to resolve the controversies of the day differently. See New State Ice Co v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting).

But when a fundamental right or freedom from discrimination is involved, experimentation has no place. “The very purpose of” our constitutional system “was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.” W. Va. St. Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 638 (1943). Our “fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” Id. Similarly, “[n]o plebiscite can legalize an unjust discrimination.” Lucas v. Forty-Fourth Gen. Assemb., 377 U.S. 713, 736 n.29 (1964) (citation omitted).

Tennessee’s and Kentucky’s laws tell minors and their parents that the minors cannot undergo medical care because of the accidents of their births and their failure to conform to how society believes boys and girls should look and live. The laws further deprive the parents—those whom we otherwise recognize as best suited to further their minor children’s interests—of their right to make medical decisions affecting their children in conjunction with their children and medical practitioners. For these reasons, I dissent.

Given the holding and the current composition of the Sixth Circuit, this is not a particularly strong candidate for en banc review. There is also no circuit split yet on this question. The only other federal appeals court to rule on this issue thus far—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—reached the same conclusion. Several district courts have gone the other way, however, making it possible that a circuit split could still emerge, precipitating Supreme Court review.

The post Sixth Circuit Reverses Preliminary Injunctions Against TN & KY Laws Restricting Gender Dysphoria Treatments for Minors appeared first on

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“Premiums Are Going Nuts Everywhere”: Plunging US Supply Sends Oil Prices Around The World Soaring

“Premiums Are Going Nuts Everywhere”: Plunging US Supply Sends Oil Prices Around The World Soaring

Buyers of physical oil across the planet are experiencing an acute supply shortage and are facing some of the highest premiums for supplies they’ve seen in months as plunging stocks at the largest US crude storage hub send shockwaves cross markets from Asia to Europe and the Middle East.

As Bloomberg reports, US crude cargoes on offer in Asia are being offered at the costliest premium this year. The spread between Brent and Middle East oil has jumped to the highest since February while the premium for near-term US supply is close to the highest since July 2022.

Behind the soaring premiums is Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for benchmark US crude futures, which helps to set the price of oil across the Americas and beyond. As we have noted in recent weeks, inventories at the hub are now sitting just above seasonal lows last seen in 2014, and are effectively at the level known as “tank bottoms” below which inventories are for the most part unusable.

Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma tumbled below 22 million barrels last week, the lowest since July 2022, and have dropped for seven straight weeks, reaching the lowest level at this time of the year since at least 2018. At these levels, many traders consider inventories to already be at the lowest levels that allow tanks to function normally.

The situation is forcing some traders to pay up big for last-minute supplies at Cushing. The prompt futures spread, which closely tracks supply and demand at the site, surged above $2 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest since July 2022.

Meanwhile, the US refinery maintenance season is getting underway, which will prevent the storage hub from draining to absolute lows. Still, exports remain a wild card for balances, given that demand for American oil is high amid OPEC+ supply curbs, meaning domestic users will likely have to pay up to keep barrels in the US.

Operationally, pulling oil out of tanks when levels fall below the so-called “suction line” is difficult and expensive, and the quality of crude can be compromised by the presence of water and sediment. For now, traders are expecting stockpiles to halt their decline by October and possibly start building up again, depending on how exports shape up. Indeed, this week’s drawdown was less than 1 million barrels — the first time that’s happened since early August.

Cushing’s role in global oil markets has also diminished in recent years since the US lifted an export ban. Most barrels now flow straight from the prolific oilfields in Texas’ Permian Basin to the coast, where they are shipped to overseas buyers.

“Cushing can stay at minimum operating operating levels for an extended period of time,” said Scott Shelton, an energy specialist at ICAP. “It’s now a transit point to the US Gulf Coast and a supply point for Cushing-based refiners.”

The latest surge in US crude spreads also fueled a jump in Brent spreads, with the prompt spread climbing above $2 as well, to the widest in a year.

All that’s happening just as the world was already facing a tight supply situation with Saudi Arabia and Russia cutting output. In recent months, the US had helped fill a void left in the market, routinely sending more than 4 million barrels every day to sate global appetite. Between overseas shipments and strong domestic demand, stockpiles quickly declined in the US. Now there’s a question of whether those flows will continue.

“We’re running out of oil – you can see how low storage is at Cushing,” said Gary Ross, a veteran oil consultant turned hedge fund manager at Black Gold Investors LLC. “If we’re running out at Cushing, then we’re running out in Europe, because it relies on US exports. If the US exports less, then where is Europe going to get its oil from?”

As supplies collapse, cargoes of WTI Midland crude for January delivery to Asia are being offered for sale at premiums of $9 a barrel above benchmark Dubai oil, according to traders who buy and sell the grade. That would be the highest premium seen this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Actual trading will likely start next week, giving more clarity on how much stronger the market for US barrels has gotten.

Abu Dhabi’s Murban crude also surged against Dubai on the ICE Futures Abu Dhabi exchange. Although spot cargoes of Middle Eastern crude will only begin trading in the coming weeks, the premium of the grade — often compared with WTI Midland — increased to the highest since February/

In the futures market, the surge is already apparent. The tightness in US supplies narrowed the gap between US crude and international benchmark Brent to under $3 a barrel, the smallest since May last year. Meanwhile, the spread between Brent and Middle East’s Dubai marker — also known as Brent-Dubai EFS — has skyrocketed

While there’s been a lot of angst over the shrinking US inventories, there are yet to be any concrete signs of a slowdown in American exports.

“Waterborne exports in October are still likely to come in close to 4 million barrels a day,” said Matt Smith, oil analyst at Kpler. “The lagged impact of the tightening Brent-WTI spread means we may not see the full impact until November’s loadings.”

For November and beyond, it’s still likely exports will hover around the 4 million barrels a day level, Smith said, citing strong domestic shale production.

Traders also point to inventories being fairly robust in the Gulf Coast region as a sign that US exports could continue to remain strong for a few weeks. At the same time, heavy seasonal refinery maintenance work in the US alongside turnarounds in Europe should also offer a cushion and free up some supplies.

Already, prices for WTI in Midland and WTI at Houston are weakening relative to prices at Cushing. If that continues, it could re-open the arbitrage window to ship crude profitably to Asia. It should also help to send more barrels to Cushing.

Still, there are signs that some European refiners are having to pay up for immediate supplies.

Angola’s Sonangol sold four cargoes as much as $1.50 a barrel above offer prices over the past week, with three of the shipments likely going to Europe. Those cargoes would usually be destined for Asia — the atypical trade pattern reflects some of the market’s sharp swings this week.

“The premiums are going nuts everywhere,” Ross said. “The Saudis have tightened this market up dramatically.” Almost as if Saudi Crown Prince MBS doesn’t care much for Joe Biden’s sole election “strategy” of keeping gas prices low – fist bumps notwithstanding…

… especially now that the US SPR is half-empty and any continued drainage would lead to catastrophic collapse at the salt caverns that hold US emergency inventories, sending oil prices to new record highs.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 16:45

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Victor Davis Hanson Blasts “The Most Politicalized & Weaponized 4-Star Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Ever”

Victor Davis Hanson Blasts “The Most Politicalized & Weaponized 4-Star Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Ever”

Via American Greatness,

Victor Davis Hanson criticized Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, for Milley’s retirement speech in which he blasts “Trump without mentioning Trump.”

“As Gen. Milley leaves office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on his last day he goes out ranting about his loyalty to the Constitution and not  to a ‘dictator’ – blasting Trump without mentioning Trump, and thus trumping as it were Trump’s own excesses with those of his own,” Hanson posted on X.

“So transits the most politicalized and weaponized 4-star Joint Chiefs of Staff since the office was created.”

“Would that instead Milley had at least explained the 2021 historically disastrous flight from Kabul and defeat in Afghanistan, or the radical implementation of woke agendas into the Pentagon retention and promotion policies, or why he felt the illustrious and renown Professor Kendi, of current Boston University ‘Center for Antiracist Research’ infamy, should be required reading for the U.S. military at time when its recruitment is descending into historical lows and its deterrent reputation is seriously questioned,” posted Hanson.

In his speech at a Friday ceremony honoring his retirement, Milley said:

We don’t take an oath to a country. We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king, or a queen, or a tyrant or dictator. We don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution.

So what about Milley’s own “constitutional” legacy? Victor Davis Hanson asks:

“Is it that an officer who deems his civilian President and Commander in Chief dangerous – as diagnosed by 4-star psychiatrist, state department diplomat, and now theater commander Milley – has a right to commandeer the chain of command, usurp powers that are expressly by law denied to him, and then take it on himself in a time of Chinese-American tensions to freelance, by contacting his communist counterpart to warn him about his own president’s diagnosed volatility,  and to reassure the hardened Stalinist that Dr/Gen. Milley will inform him first of any precipitate action from the White House.”

Dictatorial much?

Hanson suggests Americans ask the departing Milley, two questions:

1) if Trump is reelected in 2024, will a retired General Milley, as did his retired 4-star colleagues in 2020, violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice and repeat his current charges against a second-term President Trump – matching the previous invective of his colleagues’ accusations of “liar”  or “Mussolini”?.


2) what would Milley have done had a subordinate like himself, say a 3-star general, decided that Gen. Mark Milley’s Beijing gambit and his arrogation of command powers that were not legally his own, posed a grave threat to the republic? And thus would such a 3-star call up theater commanders to warn them to resist Milley’s reckless orders and to report to him first, followed by his  phone call to the top Chinese PLA general to assure them that if Milley somehow gave an order deemed by the 3-star to be dangerously provocative, then he would not only not obey it but rather first warn the Chinese military of Milley’s unstable state of mind.

Is that the kind of military Milley wishes to leave as his legacy, as he departs barking accusations at the moon?

*  *  *

In addition to being an American Greatness columnist, Hanson is a renowned American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illy Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Hanson has authored several books, including “The Second World Wars,” “The Case for Trump,” and the recently released “The Dying Citizen.” His insights and analyses on political and historical matters are widely respected and sought after in academic and media circles.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 16:10

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Wheat Prices Record Most Consecutive Quarterly Declines Since GFC Meltdown 

Wheat Prices Record Most Consecutive Quarterly Declines Since GFC Meltdown 

Russia’s second consecutive bumper wheat harvest has cemented it as the top producer of the grain, with the surplus leading to a three-year low in prices, overshadowing any concerns about tensions in the Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia. As the quarter ends on Friday, wheat prices are on track to record the longest quarterly slump in 14 years. While this development is favorable for consumers, traders must closely watch prices. 

Bloomberg reports wheat futures in Chicago have tumbled about 11% in the past three months and are set for the fourth quarterly decline. Even though Russia terminated a safe-passage deal in July that allowed bulk carriers to export Ukraine’s grain via the Black Sea to the rest of the world, prices have remained under pressure – mainly because Russia has had a record bumper harvest. 

“What the events around the start of the Ukraine conflict showed is that in this day and age, the world, by and large, has a way of getting grain to the people who need it,” said Michael Whitehead, the head of agribusiness insights at ANZ Group Holdings Ltd. He continued, “This may be the new, low price level for wheat.”

Bloomberg recently noted last year’s invasion of Ukraine, which “hobbled Ukraine’s food exports, helping cement Russia’s domination of the global wheat market. That’s reflected in record Russian shipments, as the nation’s traders overcome the financing and logistical challenges some faced in the aftermath of the invasion.”

“We have seen wheat prices substantially decline basically as a result of Russia,” said Michael Magdovitz, senior commodity analyst at Rabobank.

However, the Financial Times pointed out some “analysts warn that prices could rapidly rise if the war spills out across the Black Sea. Russia’s Black Sea ports handle about 70 percent of its wheat exports, making it a crucial artery for the global supply of grain.” These low prices could be a potential entry point for traders looking for an area of value. 

The slide in wheat prices coincides with the UN’s global food price index, hitting lows not seen since the early days of the invasion. 

This is a welcoming sign not just for inflation trends but also for consumers worldwide. 

However, there are risks, as Morgan Stanley warned clients: El Nino could spark another “inflation shock.” 

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 15:35

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Arab Gulf State Demands Israel’s Shadowy Nuclear Weapons Program Be Subject To IAEA Safeguards

Arab Gulf State Demands Israel’s Shadowy Nuclear Weapons Program Be Subject To IAEA Safeguards

Via The Cradle,

Qatar has called for intensifying international efforts to subject all Israeli nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The demand was put forward on Friday by the Chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons, Abdulaziz Salmeen al-Jabri, at the annual general conference of the IAEA currently underway in Vienna.

Image source: US Department of Defense

Jabri stressed these were legitimate demands that had been confirmed by “international legitimacy resolutions [that were passed] half a century ago,” including “resolutions of the UN General Assembly [that have been passed] since 1974, [United Nations] Security Council Resolutions 487 of 1981 and 687 of 1991, numerous IAEA resolutions, and the resolution of the Review Conference of the Middle East Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995.”

He also said that bringing the Israeli nuclear program under international safeguards “is a prerequisite for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in [West Asia].”

“Confronting nuclear proliferation in [West Asia] is at the core of the tasks assigned to the IAEA,” he stressed.

Estimates of Israel’s nuclear stockpile range between 80 and 400 warheads, which can be delivered via aircraft, submarine-launched cruise missiles, and the Jericho series of intermediate to intercontinental-range ballistic missiles.

Its first deliverable nuclear weapon is thought to have been completed in late 1966 or early 1967, making it the sixth country in the world to have developed them.

Israel has never openly tested its nuclear weapons nor signed the NPT, making it the world’s only unacknowledged nuclear power.

“The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran,” the late former US state secretary Colin Powell wrote in a 2015 leaked email to business partner and democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds just months before Washington sealed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran – also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

While Israel and its vast nuclear arsenal have never been subjected to IAEA oversight, over a quarter of the 2,000 inspections carried out worldwide by IAEA in the past three years were conducted in Iran.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 15:00

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Satanic Pedophile Extortion Cult Uncovered By FBI After NY Arrest

Satanic Pedophile Extortion Cult Uncovered By FBI After NY Arrest

A November 2021 arrest in Queens, New York led to the discovery of a satanic cult of pedophile extortionists known as 764, which has been linked to significant criminal activity around the globe. The organization, which goes byseveral aliases, was uncovered by the FBI while investigating alarming posts on social media made by 23-year-old Angel Almeida of Astoria, Queens, The Guardian reports.

Prosecutors allege Almeida convinced a girl to cut herself, record the act on camera and send it to him. Photograph: Department of Justice

Almeida was flagged to the FBI by an anonymous tipster who was concerned over his social media accounts, which contained images of violence against children and animals. In one post, he expressed support for Charleston mass-murderer Dylann Roof. Another post showed him talking around with a shotgun while wearing a “a skull mask and crossed bandoliers of rifle ammunition across his chest with a flag in the background featuring an Order of Nine Angles symbol.”

Almeida served 18 months in prison for third degree burglary in 2018, and was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was detained in Brooklyn’s metropolitan detention center. In February 2023, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment on child pornography and exploitation charges related to his involvement in the cult, as well as hundreds of thousands of digital files recovered from his residence.

In new charges, Almeida is accused of coercing a teenage girl into having sex with an older man, and convincing another girl to cut herself on camera and send it to him.

In one post, Almeida posts “For the 2k pedophile haters,” showing his finger over the trigger guard of a Taurus handgun.

When the FBI searched his New York apartment, they found a 9mm handgun, ammunition, books pertaining to the Order of Nine Angles (a satanic occultist group). They also found a flag with the insignia of a US -9A offshoot, the Tempel ov Blood, according to a November 2021 detention memorandum.

The most telling item was an O9A “blood covenant” featuring a blood-smeared drawing of a hooded figure with glowing red eyes surrounded with sigils for four O9A deities and the caption Vindex, Nythra, Satan and Abatu. At the bottom of the page is an oath: “A covenant signed in blood. May the DEVIL walk with you always – SATANAE MANIBUS” (“by Satan’s Hand” in Latin). Similar indicia have been found in possession of O9A-influenced killers in Britain and Canada. -The Guardian

According to the agency, the group is “deliberately targeting minor victims on publicly available messaging platforms to extort them into recording or livestreaming acts of self-harm and producing child sexual abuse material.

Using manipulative tactics, the gang operated on several platforms, including Roblox, Discord, Twitch and SoundCloud – but the group’s main platform has been Telegram.

764 uses “threats, blackmail and manipulation” to convince underage victims to record videos showing acts of self-harm, animal cruelty, sexual acts and even suicide. The footage is then circulated among members, who then further exert control over the victims. Members share “gore” videos depicting all sorts of horrific acts, in order “to gain notoriety and rise in status within their group.”

Documents and sources familiar with 764 indicate the group is an offshoot of the Order of Nine Angles (O9A), a violent, subversive amalgam of esoteric Hitler worship, Satanism and Wiccan tenets that American authorities recognize as a terrorist ideology and that has been connected with murders and attempted terrorist attacks in countries including the US, Britain, Germany, Canada and Russia. -The Guardian

In one case, a German teenager allegedly connected to the group was accused of murdering his foster family in Romania, according to Der Spiegel and Libertatea.

Several books connected to satanism were also recovered.

The Stain Account

According to the detention memorandum:

Law enforcement also reviewed the publicly accessible portions of an Instagram profile with the name “Stain_Lord_352” (the “Stain Account”). That review revealed that Almeida acknowledged that the account belonged to him, admitted to owning and took pictures with a firearm, posted pictures depicting violence against animals, and threatened violence against police if they attempted to apprehend him. For example, on or about November 2, 2021, Almeida posted on the Stain Lord Account a photograph of a masked individual holding a firearm with the same mask and Order of Nine Angles flag depicted in photographs on the Sargent Account, which also appears to be the same mask that Almeida purchased from Amazon in June 2021 and had shipped to his residence.

Hardcore Kiddie Fiddler

In November 2021, Almeida posted a photograph of an individual in front of a Nazi flag while wearing a shirt that reads “Kiddie Fiddler,” and standing in front of a sign that rads “I’M ADDICTED TO HARDCORE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.”

Earlier this month, Almeida was deemed fit for trial despite repeated violent behavior in the courtroom – including attempts to attack a DOJ staffer as well as his own court-appointed counsel, his fourth attorney since his 2021 arrest. His trial is currently scheduled for December 4. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 14:25

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Time To End The Fed And Its Mismanagement Of Our Economy

Time To End The Fed And Its Mismanagement Of Our Economy

Authored by EJ Antoni and Peter St.Onge via The Epoch Times,

Every major economic downturn of the last 110 years bears the mark of the Federal Reserve.

In fact, as long as the Fed has been around, it has swung the economy between inflation and recession. Yet Americans, surprisingly, have tolerated it.

But we shouldn’t expect that to go on forever. We had three central banks before the Fed, and confined each to the ash heap of history. The problems inherent to central banking are cause to scrap the Fed as well.

Central banking dates to 1694, when the Bank of England was founded for the purpose of creating the hidden tax of inflation to provide cheap money to government—above all, for Britain’s many foreign wars. In exchange, the central bankers were paid well with interest.

Like any government-favored bank, the Bank of England lent money it didn’t have, lending far more than the silver in its vaults. The British government endorsed this fraud because the king and Parliament wanted the money.

But the fraud went further still: The Bank of England was allowed to use its new government bond holdings to back private loans, which meant creating even more money with no silver behind it to lend to private banks. This, too, earned interest, even though the money was created out of nothing.

The explosion of money caused a tissue fire in the British economy—a short period of fast growth followed by rampant inflation and an economic collapse. The boom-bust cycle was born, what we now call the “business cycle.”

When the Bank of England didn’t have enough silver to exchange for all the money it created, the British government pulled the 18th-century equivalent of a bailout by suspending specie redemption, allowing the Bank of England to stop repaying in the silver it had promised.

Central banking was imported to the New World before the Constitution was even written. The Bank of North America, our first central bank, copied the Bank of England and created hyperinflation under the Articles of Confederation. At that point, the Founding Fathers scrapped both the Articles of Confederation and the bank.

Thinking that the bank needed a replacement, Congress created the First Bank of the United States in 1791 to consolidate the various currencies and debts from the states and to provide short-term loans to the government.

The First Bank was forbidden from buying government bonds to avoid its predecessor’s hyperinflation. But when the government needed more revenue, Congress decided to sell its shares in the bank, and the charter wasn’t renewed. The central bank was dead, and the U.S. economy boomed until the War of 1812.

To finance that war, the government borrowed heavily from regional banks, which created money out of nothing for the government. That meant that much more paper money was in circulation than gold and silver in bank vaults. When people tried to redeem their paper for specie, the banks didn’t have enough, and many failed.

To bail out the banks, Congress created another central bank in 1816, the Second Bank of the United States.

The Second Bank curtailed excessive lending by regional banks, but only after first encouraging it. The result was a debt-fueled boom followed by a bust in 1819 that sparked the nation’s first depression.

Many in Congress were tolerant of the violent economic spasms caused by the central bank because it provided money for them to spend without overtly raising taxes. But the people were not fooled and would not tolerate it. They elected Andrew Jackson to do battle with the beast, and he ensured the bank’s charter wasn’t renewed in 1836.

That ushered in some of America’s greatest decades of economic growth.

The Golden Age came to an end in 1907 when mismanagement by major banks touched off a bank crisis that required a herculean rescue effort by J.P. Morgan and Co. In response, J. Pierpont Morgan wanted the government to sanction a private “bank for bankers” to respond to such crises.

The progressives in Congress refused because, as Sen. Nelson Aldrich (R-R.I.) said, “We may not always have Pierpont Morgan with us to meet a banking crisis.” And so, shortly after Morgan’s death in 1913, the politicians created a fully government-run institution to bail out government and bad banks alike: the Federal Reserve.

The boom-bust cycle was on steroids from that moment on.

The Fed ominously began with an inflationary boom to pay for World War I, ending in the depression of 1920. It created another inflationary boom to keep Britain afloat in the late 1920s, which set off the Great Depression. Every five to 10 years for the last century, the Fed has created, then popped, bubble after bubble, each time taking down swatches of the American economy.

Just in the past three decades, the Fed’s low interest rates caused the dot-com bubble in the 1990s, then the housing bubble and a global financial crisis in 2008. Today, there’s an “everything bubble” from the Fed’s panic-printing to bribe voters into lockdowns, yielding the combined risks of 1970’s stagflation and a 2008-style bank collapse.

Since its founding, the Fed has stolen 98% of the value of a dollar. It has used those profits to repetitively launch boom-bust cycles and to transfer trillions to the federal government, special interests, and wealthy borrowers.

Jackson did not tolerate such thieving rampages from his central bank. And we need not either.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 13:50

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden