Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why I Fear for my Country

For the first time I'm scared. I mean really scared. For the first time in my lifetime it looks like America may actually be coming to an end.

As I traveled over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays I payed special attention to the public. At gas stations and shopping centers - I took the time to observe. We are doomed. These people have nothing, know nothing, and are not interested. Talk about rabble.

As I spoke to members of my family at holiday celebrations - about topics foreign to me - like what's going on with their favorite TV show... my heart sank. No hope.

As I browsed the web to see the most recent joke of a terrorist attack - just enough not to cause property damage but just enough to scare the cringing American soccer-moms - I just stared. The conversation in the background continued - I didn't participate.

America is presently doomed. I've not even had the energy to do much blogging - since the words seem to fall on a mass of sheep intent on filling their stomachs. These are not citizens - they are consumers - oblivious to the death and destruction spread in their names.

The American citizen has become a penniless tool of credit card companies - unable to perform their duty as citizen since they cannot collect enough brain energy to grasp the mind-fuck under which they live. They live for a few moments between jobs - or rides to their children's activities, while monsters blow their still-uncollected tax money on expensive robot-drones used to kill "terrorists" - whatever they are. Ask an American what a terrorist is - you might as well ask a cinderblock.

We need a plan, leadership, and decisive action to save America. Our leaders have failed us. Many are being blackmailed. Unless those of us with the answers are taken seriously in public and supported this country is gone.

But maybe I'm wrong - that there really are Americans out there. That there are people who understand that anyone pretending that they have the power to take away their rights is a traitor and an enemy.

In the coming year it will be of the utmost importance to educate, invigorate and galvanize all. The American public is up against an organized force of thieves, liars and power-hungry oligarchs with the means, motive and opportunity to take everything. But what does it matter?

Our Bill of Rights is the only thing we have right now. There is absolutely no respect given to the Constitution of the United States - Why? Why when we have a so-called constitutional scholar in the White House? Perhaps the best way to undermine the Constitution is with someone who understands it best. And I've concluded from my holiday observations that no one is looking out for the American citizen regarding the Constitution of the United States. Especially not the American citizen. No - they cling to their belief that "somebody cares" - or maybe they are so ignorant of the theft of the only thing they have that matters - unique in time - and unique in world history - their Bill of Rights and Constitution - ...

I am concerned that the media is useless providing zero feedback to the population so elections can work. I am concerned that our elections are stolen - by companies who can give a paper receipt for a bank transaction at an ATM but not at the election booth. I am concerned that we have mercenary armies raping and pillaging half the planet with our money but not representing our ideals. I am concerned that our elected representatives, blackmailed, are using mercenaries to continue wars that have no support here in the United States. I am concerned that false-flag operations are constantly used, with the support of a phony news media - to stampede the American public into actions contrary to their freedoms. That's treason by the way.

For the first time in my life I've heard stable even-tempered adults discussing violent revolution. How crazy is that? Is that what it is going to take?

Where is the FBI on 911 Truth? AWOL. Our insane alphabet-soup agencies, CIA, NSA and the rest of them are simply a bunch of robotic brainwashed idiots - running around the world sticking their noses in everyone else's business - then when their nation-building antics backfire - we, the American public, are supposed to sit here and accept the police state required to maintain this madness. How about no?

How about no more prisons? How about no more cops running around with automatic rifles in this "land of the free and home of the brave?" How about some real change we can believe in?

Obama is a fraud, a liar, and as far as I am concerned a traitor. He is a one-world government con-artist with no respect for what America really stands for. He is a front-man for a group of con-artists - troops to Yemen, Columbia, Pakistan - continue the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, saber-rattling toward Iran. Is this clown for real? Why doesn't he declare war on the North Pole? Or is that a coming attraction?

Here in Charlottesville, Virginia we've recently been buried under a blanket of snow too high to drive through with most Jeeps. The entire town crippled - couldn't plow our own roads. What if Al Quaida attacked then? People were stuck in their cars overnight - no emergency crews could reach them. Yeah - we are really a superpower. Meanwhile our military is deployed the world over to save everything.

2010 must be the year of the plan. We need leadership, ideas and action. We need to shit-can our members of the House of Representatives - the first place to look - who don't know what a Bill of Rights is. We need to kick out anybody trampling on that Bill of Rights. Then we need to start working out from there.

Our dysfunctional House of Representatives is the starting line - the first place to focus all actions. And we need them to tackle the big issues - like 911 Truth and these phony wars. Anybody using the term "War on Terror" needs to be fired - period.

I guess I've ranted enough - I just hope some of this sank in. We are in big, big trouble here in America - and if we don't get organized and unite as Americans - we'll be saluting a new flag very very soon.




















































































Charlie Sheen arrested on felony charges in Aspen, Colo. [Updated]

Charlie Sheen has been arrested in Aspen, Colo., on felony charges related to alleged domestic violence. Police had responded to a 911 call early Christmas morning.

"Carlos Irwin Estevez, also known as the actor Charles I. Sheen, was brought to the Pitkin County Colorado Jail for booking and incarceration following his arrest by the Aspen Police Department,” sheriff's patrol director Jeff Lumsden said in a statement.

Police said the victim was not hospitalized, and they did not release a name. TMZ is reporting -- from an unnamed source -- that the woman involved was Sheen's third wife, Brooke Mueller. The actor married the real estate investor in 2008.

Sheen's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, cautioned that "appearance and reality can be as different as night and day. It would benefit everyone not to jump to any conclusion," People magazine reported.

[Updated at 8:58 p.m.: Sheen was released from Pitkin County Jail around 7 p.m. Friday after posting an $8,500 bond, said Stephanie Dasaro, a spokeswoman with the Aspen Police Department. He is scheduled to appear at the Pitkin County Courthouse on Feb. 8, 2010.

The release also carries "standard domestic violence bond conditions," the department statement said.

In Colorado, those conditions include no contact with the victim, the victim's family or any witnesses; no harassing or intimidation of the victim; no entry to the family residence until further order of the court; no consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs; and no possession of guns or other weapons. Arrest on any subsequent criminal offense would be seen as a bail violation, and violation of the conditions of the bond may be deemed contempt of court and could lead to a fine or jail time.]

[Updated at 5:34 p.m.: TMZ also is reporting that Sheen told police Mueller was the aggressor.]

[Updated at 5:51 p.m.: Sheen had gone to Aspen to spend Christmas with Mueller, according to RadarOnline -- the site said Brooke had rented a home in Colorado for about three months while Charlie stayed in Los Angeles.]

Sheen mug

The actor, among the highest paid in prime-time TV, earning about half-a-million bucks for each episode of his sitcom "Two and a Half Men," has a checkered past, including stints in rehab and allegations of spending tens of thousands of dollars on call girls.

Sheen and his second wife, actress Denise Richards, split in 2006, and an ugly, accusation-laden custody battle went on for years afterward. At one time he was engaged to actress Kelly Preston, whom he accidentally shot in the arm.

He has also said that the 9-11 terrorist attack was an inside job, and wants President Obama to further investigate.

Sheen was arrested on felony charges of second-degree assault and menacing, and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, said Aspen police spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro.

He will be held without bail in Colorado until he appears in court; the court system is closed for Christmas, and no date for his appearance has been set.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Passenger: Terror suspect seemed 'stunned'

(CNN) -- Syed Jafry was preparing for his plane to land in Detroit, Michigan, after a long flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, when he heard a noise that startled him.

"There was a little bit of light, a little bit of -- kind of flamish light and there was fire," Jafry told CNN. "And people began to panic."

For a couple of seconds on Northwest Flight 253, nobody knew what was going on, he said.

That pop, officials say, came from a Nigerian man who ignited a small explosive device as the flight descended into the Detroit, Michigan, area. The White House described the incident as an attempted terrorist attack. The suspect was eventually subdued by passengers and crew.

As the commotion began, passengers didn't know what to think.

Jafry said he thought the man looked to be in his 20s.

Passenger Elias Fawaz told WDIV that the detonation sounded "like a balloon being popped" and said he could smell smoke.

That's when he saw a struggle in the cabin.

"We heard, 'What are you doing?' 'What are you doing?' " Fawaz told WDIV.

Within seconds a young man on the flight took matters into his own hands, according to Jafry and other passengers who spoke to CNN affiliate WXYZ-TV.

A man, sitting three or four rows behind Jafry jumped over a group of seats, tackled the suspect and put him in a headlock.

"He handled him pretty good, I think," Jafry said.

Jafry said other passengers and crew members then helped subdue the man and put out flames after the suspect's pants appeared to catch fire.

People screamed.

"Everybody was rushing towards that area and tried to get water," Jafry said, adding that people rushed the man with blankets and a fire extinguisher.

"They put out the fire, brought him up front where they stripped him down to make sure that he had nothing else," passenger Melinda Dennis told CNN affiliate WDIV.

Other passengers told WXYZ the injured suspect was put in the first row of first class.

"He appeared to be more stunned and surprised with the whole act," Jafry said of the suspect after he was subdued.

Passengers, including Jafry, said they could see the suspect was burned on different parts of his body, but he didn't seem to say much or act as if he were in pain.

Jafry said soon after the suspect was moved to the front of the plane, the crew and pilot told passengers the incident was under control.

"And we were on the ground, I think between 10 to 20 minutes after the incident," Jafry said.

Jafry and other passengers were screened again and questioned for about four to five hours before finally being able to meet their friends and family, or reach connecting flights.

Click to play

Man busted for stealing $500 worth of meat

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - An alert grocery store manager in Carlsbad thwarted a big meat heist last week.

An Albertson's manager said a man attempted to leave the store Dec. 13 with a shopping cart full of choice beef including five 10-pound chubs of meat, two rib-eye roasts, six packages of pork ribs, four sirloin steaks and five packages of chicken breasts.

A police complaint said the total value of the items came to $501.05.

As the female manager attempted to stop the man, he became startled, fled and left the cart and meat behind.

Police reviewed surveillance video from the store and saw a man placing items into a cart.

They later arrested 43-year-old Manuel Cabazuela, described as being a transient.

Cabazuela entered no plea to charges of shoplifting more than $500 but less than $2,500.


Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus,

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Dr. Graeme MacQueen on "9/11 Truth: the Challenge to the Peace Movement"

On September 13, 2009, Dr. Graeme MacQueen presented a speech titled, “9/11 Truth: the Challenge to the Peace Movement”, at the conference, "We Demand Transparency! For Peace, Truth, and a New Economics” in New York City.

Special Thanks to Joe Friendly for the videography.

It would be really appreciated if this video can be widely spread to our friends in the peace movement.
The presentation is also available in four parts on Youtube:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

Thanks Graeme once again for your hard work and outstanding scholarship. Happy Holidays Everyone !

This Crash Is Far From Over

We're not overly pessimistic on the economy, but it's hard to ignore truths when every one else falsely cheers a housing recovery.

So do yourself a favor... when housing bulls, for example, tell you all is fine, ignore them.

Sure, construction of new homes, helped by good weather, rebounded in November. And sure, the gain is a hopeful sign of a housing recovery. And yea, sales have surged in recent months, as homebuyers scrambled to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit.

But there's only one problem with the bullishness. It's overdone. There is no recovery... the crash is far from over. Even Moody's doesn't see any end to the housing meltdown, believing that home prices will soon start moving back down because of coming foreclosures.

Another obstacle for the housing recovery is the number of mortgages that are underwater where borrowers owe more than what the house is worth. This negative equity doesn't qualify those people for refinancing and even prevents them from selling the home.

But the most devastating of all could be the coming Option ARM resets of 2010 and beyond. It could easily lead to higher unemployment, housing glut, decreased home values, and the death of the cash-strapped consumer. And if you want to make money on this, you simply short housing, housing-related retailers, and the financial community.

What do you think will happen to housing when the resets happen? What do you think will happen when monthly payments on a $400,000 mortgage jumps from $1,287 to $2,593?

We're not trying to scare you... this is reality. And you have to play it smart.

The Year of Option ARM Resets. . . and Why There's No Foreseeable Bottom.

Just as 2007 and 2008 were the years of subprime woes, this one will go down as the year of Option ARM resets (or adjustable rate mortgage resets). With billions in Option ARM resets in 2009 and 2010, this crisis is about to unleash a fury no one's prepared for.

It won't be as bad as subprime, of course. It'll be worse.

That's because lenders created these ARMs with "teaser" features for borrowers, which included making lower minimal payments for the first few years before the loan reset to a higher payment schedule.

And if that weren't bad enough, there was another feature called "negative amortization," which meant you weren't paying back any principal.

In fact, with negative amortization loans your loan balance increased over time. Incredulously, every time you made a payment, you owed the bank even more. These are the loans that allowed consumers to buy houses they couldn't otherwise afford.

As for speculators, they may use negative amortization loans if they believe prices will increase at a fast pace. But with the opposite happening, they're out of luck.

And the banks will be left holding the bag.

So do yourself a favor. Ignore the housing bulls... they want to learn the hard way.

UN to produce bullion coins as world currency

The announcement by the United Nations this week that it will license the minting of silver and gold bullion coins bearing the UN logo may be the button that launches metal prices into orbit.

In its wide-ranging report this fall, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stated that the system of currencies and international banking practices within today’s economies were inadequate, and responsible for the present economic crisis. The report advocates that the present monetary system, wherein the dollar acts as the global reserve currency be re-examined “with urgency”.

The UNCTAD Report was the first time a major multinational institution had forwarded such a suggestion or measure, although a number of countries, including Russia and Brazil have supported replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. China’s central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan has mentioned that the dollar could become a basket of currencies instead.

The UN commission dismissed such a widening, saying a multiple-country system “may be equally unstable, and not transparent.”

The panel is seeking more monetary balance for developing countries, and a means for them to retain their reserves and domestic savings independent of foreign agencies and arrangements.

Panel Chair US economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel economics laureate, has made plain that there was “a growing consensus that there are problems with the dollar reserve system. Developing countries are lending the United States trillions dollars at almost zero interest rates when they have huge needs themselves,” Stiglitz stated.

“It’s indicative of the nature of the problem. It’s a net transfer, in a sense, to the United States, a form of foreign aid.”

A report contributor, Detlef Koffe, concluded that “Replacing the dollar with a bullion currency would solve some of the problems related to the potential of countries running large deficits and would help stability,”

US Fed spokesperson Patrick Paulsen acknowledged that there could be some strong reaction in the US to the global currency, and that it would “…be viewed as a step toward a New World Order. But those same people have probably lost patience with the money-changers as well.”

He clarified that he would “…nonetheless anticipate that the western currencies will continue to depreciate, given Asia’s ascendancy in trade and manufacturing, to find their own value and enable their economies to compete. This is a UN perogrative we cannot and should not control, it’s returning to what we had with Bretton-Woods.”

The UN decided to provide a “public option” savings currency, whereby currency mints will be licensed to mint two kinds of bullion coins the size of the 1€ coin – the Uno (silver ~$5) and the Oro (gold, ~$500). The names were adopted from the book “The Humanist”, which foresees the UN being better funded by 2015 via its licensing fees, expected to be 10-15%.

The coins have a marker chemical in them that enables their authentication and processing by modified retail ATM and exchange machines in Europe, which will be distributed globally. Any licensee, public or private, can produce such bullion coinage under contract. The United Nations is doing no more than what most countries do already, except that the value of its coins will reflect their bullion weight.

Armand Dufour of the European Bank welcomes their introduction. “People have enough Fiat currency options, government and banks cannot intrude on bullion coins – they will have their own inviolable value.”

He does have one concern, however. “If we see a dismounting from the US dollar, as is inevitable in the main view, there will be a strong move to the Oro, which may drive its price up to the point where governments will not allow its circulation; they will try to isolate it.”

“That’s when the fun begins.” he said.

Source: Before It’s News

In 2010, Demand For US Fixed Income Has To Increase Elevenfold... Or Else

As everyone is engrossed by assorted groundless Christmas (and other ongoing bear market) rallies, and oblivious to the debt monsters hiding in both the closet and under the bed, Zero Hedge has decided it is about time to present the ugliest truth faced by our 'intellectual superiors' and their Wall Street henchman who succeeded in pulling off Goal #1 for 2009 - the biggest ever bonus season (forget record bonuses in 2010... in fact, scratch any bonuses next year if what is likely to transpire in the upcoming 12 months does in fact occur).

If someone asks you what happened in 2009, the answer is simple - two things. There was a huge credit and liquidity crunch, and then there was Quantitative Easing. The last is the Fed's equivalent of band-aiding a zombied and ponzied corpse, better known as the US economy. It worked for a while, but now the zombie is about to go back into critical, followed by comatose, and lastly, undead (and 401(k)-depleting) condition.

In 2009, total supply of all USD denominated fixed income, net of maturities, declined by $300 billion from $2.05 trillion to $1.75 trillion. This makes sense: the abovementioned crunches stopped the flow of credit from January until well into April, and generally firms were unwilling to demonstrate to the market how clothless they are by hitting the capital markets until well into Q2 if not Q3. What happened was a move so drastic by the Fed, that into November, the worst of the worst High Yield names were freely upsizing dividend recap deals (see CCU) - the very same greed and stupidity that brought us here. Luckily, so far securitization and CDOs have not made a dramatic entrance. They likely will, at which point it will be time to buy a one-way ticket for either our southern or northern neighbor, both of which, in the supremest of ironies, transact in a currency that will survive long after the dollar is dead and buried.

Back to the math... And here is the kicker. Accounting for securities purchased by the Fed, which effectively made the market in the Treasury, the agency and MBS arenas, but also served to "drain duration" from the broader US$ fixed income market, the stunning result is that net issuance in 2009 was only $200 billion. Take a second to digest that.

And while you are lamenting the death of private debt markets, here is precisely what the Fed, the Treasury, and all bank CEOs are doing all their best to keep hidden until they are safely on their private jets heading toward warmer climes: in 2010, the total estimated net issuance across all US$ denominated fixed income classes is expected to increase by 27%, from $1.75 trillion to $2.22 trillion. The culprit: Treasury issuance to keep funding an impossible budget. And, yes, we use the term impossible in its most technical sense. As everyone who has taken First Grade math knows, there is no way that the ludicrous deficit spending the US has embarked on makes any sense at all... none. But the administration can sure pretend it does, until everything falls apart and blaming everyone else for its fiscal imprudence is no longer an option.

Out of the $2.22 trillion in expected 2010 issuance, $200 billion will be absorbed by the Fed while QE continues through March. Then the US is on its own: $2.06 trillion will have to find non-Fed originating demand. To sum up: $200 billion in 2009; $2.1 trillion in 2010. Good luck.

As we pointed, the number one reason why 2010 is set to be a truly "interesting" year is a result of the upcoming explosion in US Treasury issuance. Fiscal 2010 gross coupon issuance is expected to hit $2.55 trillion, a $700 billion increase from 2009, which in turn was $1.1 trillion increase from 2008. For those of you needing a primer on the exponential function, click here. But wait, there is a light in the tunnel: in 2011, gross issuance is expected to decline... to $1.9 trillion.

And while things are hair-raising in "gross" country (not least not yet), they are not much better in netville either. Net of maturities, 2010 coupon issuance will be about $1.8 trillion, a 45% increase from the $1.3 trillion in FY 2009 (and the paltry $255 billion in 2008).

Now everyone knows that the average maturity of the UST curve has become a big problem for Tim Geithner: nearly 40% of all marketable debt matures within a year (a percentage that has kept on growing). In fact, the Treasury provided guidance in its November 2009 refunding, in which it stated that it intends "to focus on increasing the average maturity" of its debt after relying heavily on Bill issuance in H2. Once again, we wish Tim the best of luck.

Why our generous best intentions to the US Treasury? Because unless the US consumer decides to forgo the purchase of the 4th sequential Kindle and buy some Treasuries (and not just any: 30 Year Bonds or bust), the presumption that the Bond printer will have the option of finding vast foreign appetite for its spewage is a very myopic one. We already know that China is a major question mark, and will aggressively be looking at pumping capital into its own economy instead of that of Uncle Sam's - at some point the return on investment in its own middle class will surpass that of funding the rapidly disappearing US middle class. That tipping point could be as soon as 2010.

As for Japan - the country has plunged into its nth consecutive deflationary period. Whether or not the finance minister announces yet another affair with the Quantitative Easing whore on any given day, depends merely on what side of the bed he wakes up on. The country will have its hands full monetizing its own sovereign issuance, let alone ours.

Lastly, the UK - well, with the country set to have zero bankers left in a few months, we don't think the traditionally third largest purchaser of US debt will be doing much purchasing any time soon.

None of this is merely speculation: October TIC data confirmed these preliminary observations. It will only become more pronounced in upcoming months.

How about that great globalization dynamo: emerging markets? Alas, they have their hands full with issuing their own record amounts of both sovereign and corporate debt as well: in 2009 gross EM debt issuance reached an astounding $217 billion, $29 billion higher than the previous record in 2007. Gross EM issuance was particularly high in the last quarter at $73 billion, with October breaking the record for the largest ever monthly gross issuance of emerging market global bonds at $38 billion (January is traditionally the busiest month of the year.) With $81 billion, 2009 was notably a record year for sovereign bonds, while gross issuance of corporate bonds amounted to $136 billion, the second highest level after that of 2007 with $155 billion.

Bottom line: everyone has major problems at home, and is more focused on the supply than the demand side of the equation.

What options does this leave for the administration? Very few, and all of them are ugly. As we stated earlier on, the options for the Fed are threefold:

  1. Announce a new iteration of Quantitative Easing. This will be met with major disapproval across all voting classes (at least those whose residential zip codes do not start with 10xxx or 068xx), creating major headaches for Obama and the democrats which are already struggling with collapsing polls.
  2. Prepare for a major increase in interest rates. While on the surface this would be very welcome for a Fed that keeps hinting that deflation is the biggest concern for the economy, Bernanke's complete lack of preparation from a monetary standpoint (we are surprised the Fed's $200 million reverse repos have not made the late night comedy circuit yet) to a forced interest rate increase, would likely result in runaway inflation almost overnight. The result would be a huge blow to a still deteriorating economy.
  3. Engineer a stock market collapse. Recently investors have, rightfully, realized there is no more risk in equities, not because the assets backing the stockholder equity are actually creating greater cash flow (as we demonstrated recently, that is not the case), but simply because taxpayers have involuntarily become safekeepers for the entire stock market, due to Bernanke's forced intervention in bond and equity markets. Yet the President's Working Group is fully aware that when the time comes to hitting the "reverse" button, it will do so. Will the resultant rush into safe assets be sufficient to generate the needed endogenous demand for Treasuries is unknown. It will likely be correlated to the size of the equity market drop.

If the Fed decides on option three, we fully believe a 30% drop (or greater) in equities is very probable as the new supply/demand regime in fixed income becomes apparent. We hope mainstream media takes the ideas presented here and processes them for broader consumption as indeed the Fed is caught in a very fragile dilemma, and the sooner its hand is pushed, the less disastrous the final outcome for investors. Then again, as Eric Sprott has been pointing out for quite some time, it could very well be that the US economy has become merely one huge Ponzi, and as such, its expansion or reduction on the margin is uncontrollable. We very well may have passed into the stage where blind growth is the only alternative to a complete collapse. We hope that is not the case.

Escalating War in Afghanistan Apt to Hurt Fragile U.S. Economy

If Iraq war spending helped plunge the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Depression, what does President Obama think his escalation of the Afghan war will do it?

Besides forcing taxpayers to cough up fresh billions to enable the Pentagon to chase down a few hundred Taliban fighters, the Afghan war is liable to continue to inflate oil prices---and this means more than the ongoing swindle of motorists at the pump.

Higher oil prices also slow the global economy, causing our trading partners to buy fewer Made-in-USA goods, thus reducing demand for our products and leading to layoffs.

Spending money on war also siphons billions of dollars from truly productive uses.

“Today, no serious economist holds the view that war is good for the economy,” write Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard government finance expert Linda Bilmes in their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War: the True Cost of The Iraq Conflict.”

Referring to Iraq, they write, “The question is not whether the economy has been weakened by the war. The question is only by how much.” They note, “Oil prices started to soar just as the war began, and the longer it has dragged on, the higher prices have gone.”

Even so, by their estimate, (a word they stress,) the increased price of oil attributed to the war comes “to somewhat in excess of $1.6 trillion.” Not only consumers but State and local governments “have had to cut back other spending to pay the higher prices of oil imports.”

The co-authors reason, “Government money spent in Iraq does not stimulate the economy in the way that the same amounts spent at home would.” A thousand dollars spent to hire a Nepalese worker to perform services in Iraq does not directly increase the income of Americans, Stiglitz and Bilmes point out. Ditto for Afghanistan---and Pakistan, friends.

By contrast, the same thousand dollars spent on university research in the U.S. directly boosts the U.S. economy, then ripples out as the university researchers spend their money on goods and services, many of them made in America.

“The money spent on Iraq could have been spent on schools, roads, or research. These investments yield high returns. It could also have been spent more productively within the Department of Veterans Affairs, in its teaching and research programs, or in expanding medical facilities such as mental health clinics….Expenditures on the Iraq war have no benefits of this kind.” And by fiscal year 2010, the Center For Defense Information reports, the cost of the Afghan fighting will total $739 billion on the cost of Iraq fighting $2.337 trillion. Imagine the good those dollars would have done spent at home!

Bilmes and Stiglitz say by the end of last year, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq hiked U.S. indebtedness by $900 billion and just the debt from military spending (excluding veterans’ benefits) will exceed $2 trillion.

Today, the Pentagon sponge not only causes the U.S. to borrow billions from China and others but it is also putting American entrepreneurs out of business. “As the private sector competes for funds with the government, private investment gets crowded out…As a result, output is lower.”

The co-authors add that the crowding out causes a loss in investment in our economy by $1.2 trillion and “the forgone output” (unbuilt homes, etc.) could be as high as $5trillion.

Another expense the Pentagon doesn’t talk about is the waste involved when it doles out no-bid contracts to favored insiders such as KBR. Nearly all of the top 10 war machine contractors are said to land the majority of contracts without competing bidders. What a kick in the teeth to capitalist free enterprise!

Have your stocks suffered? U.S. economist Robert Wescott, Stiglitz and Bilmes write, estimated in the years immediately following the beginning of the Iraq war that “the value of the stock market was some $4 trillion less than would have been predicted on the basis of past performance.”

Why? Because, “Uncertainties caused by the war, the resulting turmoil in the Middle East, and soaring oil prices dampened prices from what they ‘normally’ would have been. This decrease in corporate wealth implies that consumption was lower than it otherwise would have been, again weakening the economy.”

Back in 2007, Democrats on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee issued a report on the two wars estimating their cost from 2002 to 2008 at $1.6 trillion. They put the cost to an American family of four at $20,900. That’s a whopping sum---but given all the indirect ways the wars have crippled the U.S. economy, probably a gross undercount.

President Obama’s expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistan has engulfed much of the Middle East in bloodshed that is, sad to say, of America’s making. And pouring more U.S. treasure into Pakistan will only further weaken the U.S. economy. This writer believes the American people---who want only what President Eisenhower’s slogan, “Peace and Prosperity,” once promised them---are going to pay dearly for a widening war the majority of them reject. And it may also bring economic catastrophe our way, courtesy of the “military-industrial complex” of which Eisenhower warned.

by Sherwood Ross

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The Sky Is NOT Falling!

Now what will you do Mr. Gore?

As Al Gore continues to put his mouth where his money is...

It is widely known that Al Gore stands to make billions on this ruse. While we thought of him as a stick in the mud, barely able to Macarena, socially speaking, he has drawn quite a crowd to his big faux green kiosk. And if you don't believe people are willing to buy useless junk, just scope out a few late night infomercials, or, for that matter, pharmaceutical ads. An Academy Award usually goes to the creator or an actor involved in a work of fiction. "An Inconvenient Truth" is looking more and more like extremely convenient fiction. Politicians occasionally lie to get elected. Scientists occasionally lie to acquire or retain grant money. We don’t know all of the pathology of Al Gore’s fantasies. But we can already see the pain train coming.

Whether Al is busy overselling the problem or profiting on the "solution," it seems he will not be relenting any time soon. Because their dreams and claims are not based on reliable science we can expect the climate superstitionists' "solutions" to wander further away from logic as time goes by. Even with all of the good intent in the world it is very difficult to solve problems that do not exist. In the meantime, resources will be diverted away from real, observable environmental problems that do exist. Example: Oozing landfills that are sitting over aquifers. We have real problems that need immediate attention. Ever hear of Yucca Mountain? Hanford? Of course I would advocate free market solutions to these – not restrictive and arbitrary regulations and bureaucracies to plague and tax the entire human race.

Click on the link to the right to read of yet another Goldman Sachs connection: Blood and Gore et Al?

At times the real Truth may be a bit Inconvenient – but it does come out sooner or later. As soon as it comes out, the true career liar, the real Pro, launches a well-prepared damage control campaign. Can you imagine the next round? They already went to Copenhagen to sew up the deal. Now they are going to need something like a full-scale attack from outer space. Watch the tabloids carefully over the next few months. Orson Welles would love it. When someone mounts an instantaneous visceral counterattack you tend to suspicion that they either have something they are well prepared to hide or they are "true believers [read delusional]" – either of which can produce disastrous and expensive results.

If there is a man we need to save, or a women, or a child, I would say it should be one of those who are placed in the greatest jeopardy by the globalists' plans for the planet. As I look across the world I think it is readily apparent that free market capitalism will do more for the suffering masses than any collectivist or coercive approach. The nations where it has been tried have been preferred destinations for numberless refugees over the years. The African continent desperately needs toilets and sanitation, food and potable water. They are not well prepared to simply skip all of the benefits of modern technology and live in some idyllic garden of Al Gore's grandiose delusions. The Chinese and the Russians will tend to be more pragmatic.

And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

~ Lewis Carroll

I have determined that the snarky snort emanating from Al Gore as he prepares to diss an adversary is actually a "chortle" – some admixture of chuckling and snorting.

This annoying chortler has got to go! Notice the strategy as Al first laughs, then engages in disingenuous subterfuge and sophistry in lieu of anything like a straight answer. Do we need a review on how "non-profits" are often used to garner real profits? Watch both of these videos and think about them carefully. The same incident is presented two different ways: Here is the Fox News "Fair and Balanced" treatment. Here it is with the "advocacy framing" of the Left. I think both adversaries were probably disingenuous to some extent.

When Al says he is "not making one single penny" is he really saying he is making two or more?

He is at least condescending enough to avoid all debate. The Weather Channel guy has 30,000 scientists that want to sue for the truth to be exposed. One of the main reasons given is Al’s smugness and lying about the matter having been settled long ago through an overwhelming scientific consensus.

You'll be relieved to know more about a "few" scientists who agree with the title of this article.

Bastiat put his finger on the combination of two principles that are being exposed right now in this controversy:

...unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: STUPID GREED and FALSE PHILANTHROPY... [emphasis added]

This leaves me with a contradiction in terms of Bastiat's wisdom, which I have found to be nearly flawless. Could Al Gore be some strange mixture of False Greed and Stupid Philanthropy?

Is it possible that Al Gore has divested himself of any possibility of financial gain regarding this fraud? I have come to realize there are a lot of wealthy "philanthropists" out there who still crave possessions and power – even though they cloak their true motives within non-profit corporate veils. The tax code was not written by Moses.

Do you want global government and universal taxation through the UN in order to protect you from something that couldn't happen in 10,000 years? When will all of these self-appointed philosopher kings stop torturing the rest of us with all of their artificial plans?

Isn't science supposed to be so much more than monkey see, monkey do? Is there so much peer pressure being generated here that such reputedly intelligent humans are willing to trash their own disciplines in order to fit in with Al Gore's clique? When I think of how Copernicus and Galileo labored to bring science out of the Dark Ages, I have to wonder how much Al Gore is willing to invest in his effort to take all of us into a new Dark Age, which by many recent accounts, may turn out to be Cooler than the last. If you think the Carbon Tax is bad, just wait ’til Al discovers the rest of the Periodic Table of the Elements. We have yet to discover AlGoreium.

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works. ~ Bastiat

As the scientific community searches for its own soul, I hope Mr. Gore can find a way to regain his, instead of trying to save the world from something no mortal man can honestly, or sanely, predict. Don't give up Al! Keep preachin' it! We want you to be a Metaphor some day – unless of course there could be some way for you to really come to the end of your Self [read Super-Ego].

"He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." ~ Daniel 2:22 KJV

December 26, 2009

Bill Huff [send him mail] is a Classical Libertarian and proprietor of and; a former public school music teacher turned home schooling advocate; a US Navy veteran, and host of He is available as a guest lecturer or for interviews on talk radio.

Copyright © 2009 Bill Huff

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China and Russia may mean more Spielberg

Russia and China are planning to get more involved in the Middle

Russia and China are planning to get more involved in the Middle

Seeing some recent news and developments on the Middle East game of “Smoke and Mirrors”, a game that the U.S. taxpayer funds and the U.S. government serves a key role. One of the many reasons the United States of America is hated across the globe. We have discussed how critical China and Russia are for the future of the Middle East, especially in Iran which already has close diplomatic and economic ties with Russian and China (two veto wielding, permanent members of the U.N. Security Council). See our Putin back to the Kremlin? post.

As it pertains to China, in the below RIA Novosti article we learn that China appears to be posturing somewhat to protect these important Middle East ties. We learn that “trade between China and Arab states totaled $132 billion in 2008, and that China’s influence in the region is continually rising.” Obviously, China will not allow events in the Middle East to unfold in a way that is contrary to its interests. With U.N. veto power, it has the power and ability to upset the kosher apple cart even if only briefly.

“China is likely to develop a growing military presence in the Middle East over the next decade to protect its interests in the region, a British analyst said….”

China currently world’s largest standing army and according to the below Bloomberg article planned to increase its military budget by roughly 15% so that it could compete “for regional influence with the U.S. and Japan.” Despite this increase, China’s military spending would still be 25% to 30% lower than U.S. military spending. But keep in mind, China does not have to wage war against Israel’s enemies and I am confident that will not change. And we should know, waging war against Israel’s enemies is a long-term, expansive, and expensive endeavor. China avoids that extreme liability on its military budget.

More from RIA Novosti article:

“However, he (the British analyst) said the international community is also watching closely what Russia plans to do in the Middle East, as countries in the region still miss the strong role of the Soviet Union.”

So, that takes us to a recent article in Reuters. There we learn that Russia appears to be on the brink of becoming more visible and active in the Middle East, especially the “Smoke and Mirrors” game that is usually dominated by just Israel and the United States. Russia has really been out of the game for twenty years or so. In addition to its U.N. veto power, it already has membership in diplomatic committee with the E.U., the U.N., and the United States.

“Russia on Tuesday said it planned to become more involved in resolving the Middle East conflict along with the European Union and the United States.”

Not only are Russia and China already strategically linked to the Middle East, Iran specifically, they are also already strategically inked to one another. A couple of months ago, Vladimir Putin was quoted in the Chinese press saying, “Russia and China have become genuine and comprehensive strategic and cooperative partners in recent years.” There is also a not-to-distant common history under Communism while the U.S.S.R. was still a powerhouse. Within geographic proximity, even sharing a common border, the geo-political history between these two Asian countries goes back hundreds of years.

China has the largest population in the world, holding roughly 20% of the global population. With that comes a huge energy demand and though China produces enough crude oil to put it in the very top of the top oil producing countries in the world, just behind Iran in fact, it must also rely on imports to satisfy its total demand for crude oil. There is a China-Russia oil pipeline already in the works and China gets much of its current oil imports from the Middle East, particularly Iran. With all the economic sanctions already imposed on Iran from the West, Tehran is happy to export oil to the East, and a very large portion of that goes to China.

When I think rationally about what all of this means to the Middle East game of Smoke and Mirrors, it makes me think that the rules of the game may change somewhat in the future. Israel may not be the only game-changer, rule maker in the future. Sure, I would expect the U.S. taxpayer to keep funding it, I just suspect the U.S. government may find it tougher to facilitate the game from a political perspective.

Think about the role Russia has played in the world within the past century, the global super power that it was and the one that it still is, strengthening more and more all the time. Think about how much China has nearly monopolized certain consumer and electronic markets and how dependent the U.S. is on Chinese products (walk around Wal-Mart for a while if you need a reminder). Think about how much leverage this gives China and Russia on the world stage.

Then think about what vested interest either of these countries, China or Russia, may have with Israel. Israel has no oil to export to China and only creates a barrier to any country that relies on oil imports to satisfy domestic energy demands. Russia can not find much of a market for its military technology in Israel when the U.S. already gives a free supply. Russia can not supplement any nuclear programs in Israel as it is already expected to have the strongest nuclear program in that region, albeit all on the hush-hush and down low. You know, one of those “Open, Public Top Secrets”. Speculate as to how much economic, military, and diplomatic aid either of these countries invest in Israel. Ponder how entrenched the lethal poisons of Hollywood and the controlled mass-media are in these countries.

I am not saying a stronger presence from China or Russia in Middle East affairs is good or bad for the Palestinians or Iran. I suspect it would be better for both. I am just saying the strategic variables could change and with that, so could Israel’s options.

Perhaps waiting on the “Smoke and Mirrors” game to continue, paying handsome dividends to Israel as it does, will yield to a more aggressive Israeli position. Perhaps in the not too distant future, the only option Israel sees available is a military one, using the ample military supply the U.S. has afforded it.

Israel could care less which option it employs. Sure, the military option will be a bit messier for Israel, but as long as it can rely on its democracy prostitutes in the West, you remember, what it likes to call “our friends, the US and other enlightened countries”, a mess can be cleaned up. The military option will just mean more Spielberg movies and controlled-media induced democracy. You know, just to keep all us soft enough to help keep the kosher apple cart on its wheels.

Click here for original RIA Novosti article

Harry Reid: I'm Santa This Year

WASHINGTON (SR) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is vowing to "deliver the goods" in passing the Senate health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve.

"This Christmas I'm Santa Claus, and me and my elves are bringing every person in America the biggest, most expensive present they've ever received," said Reid in an interview yesterday. "It's so huge it may not even fit down the chimney, hahaha."

Senate leaders have been working round the clock to finalize their 10-year, trillion dollar bill in time for the final vote on Christmas Eve, despite the fact that the majority of Americans adamantly do not want it.

One unnamed Republican senator bristled at Reid's comparing himself to Santa, saying, "Since when did Santa turn into a Godless, dried-up, bony old baby-killing socialist? The Antichrist maybe, but he's definitely not Santa."

"You can put a pretty bow on a pile of sh*t, but that doesn't make it a present anyone would want," said another Senate member. "I'll tell you one thing, when that little gift from Hell flies down the chimney and hits the fire, the stench will be so bad voters will still be smelling it next election."

My comments: Damn, I was hoping for an I-Pod!

Gather Sig

Harry Reid Santa

Harry Reid prepares his gift to America

MORRIS: No gain, plenty of pain, on Day One

Obama's health care bill, the poisoned Kool-Aid making its way through the Senate, will not confer any of its supposed benefits on Americans until 2013. But they will find themselves chafing at its restrictions and paying its taxes immediately after the law takes effect.

This odd juxtaposition of "suffer now, benefit later" is the byproduct of the administration's sleight of hand in specifying 10 years' worth of cuts and taxes in the legislation, but deferring its benefits for the first four years. By comparing six years of spending with 10 years of taxing, it managed to appear deficit-neutral under the rules of the Congressional Budget Office. In fact, the annual revenues fall far short of covering any single year's worth of spending, adding to the deficit for each of the last six years over the next 10 ---- but, viewing the decade as a whole, it appears deficit-neutral.

Yet the political price is hardly neutral. Democrats who misguidedly vote for this monstrosity will face immediate political repercussions.

The harshest of these backlashes will come from the elderly, who will face the rationing immediately.

The first "no" will hit the 10 million elderly who now rely on Medicare Advantage to pay for the care Medicare itself does not cover. In a payoff to AARP, Obama gutted this program in his bill, ending over $100 billion in federal premium subsidies. These 10 million voters will get the grim news that their premiums are going up and their benefits dropping early in 2010. The goal, of course, is to force them to drop Medicare Advantage and sign up, instead, for Medi-gap insurance ---- offered, not coincidentally, by the AARP ---- which provides less coverage at higher cost.

Young people without health insurance can expect to start writing $750 annual checks to Washington to pay the fines written into the bill. (And, after the Conference Committee finishes its work, the fines may be higher.)

All Americans will soon find their insurance premiums rising as a result of the bill. The young uninsured will not buy policies. Why should they? Why not just pay the $750 fine each year? Why pay between 2 percent and 10 percent of their household income before subsidies kick in? It makes no financial sense for anyone making more than $30,000 to pay for coverage. (And most of those under that threshold will be covered by Medicaid, not by private insurance.)

There is no reason for the young to buy private insurance. The legislation requires that health insurers take all comers and not raise rates based on pre-existing conditions. So the young can get coverage when they need it, having only paid $750 per year beforehand.

The difference in cost will, of course, be borne by families throughout America, who will see their health insurance premiums increase. President Obama and his Democratic rubber stamps may appreciate that they are not raising taxes on the middle class, just raising mandatory health insurance premiums, but the distinction is likely to be lost on swing voters.

From now on, any increase in health insurance premiums will become the political responsibility of the Obama administration. As Gen. Colin Powell once said of Iraq, "You break it, you own it."

Dick Morris is a political consultant.

Mr. 10%: Our Man in Islamabad

In my office hang photos of this writer with Pakistan's last four leaders. Two of them - Zia ul Haq and Benazir Bhutto - were murdered. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a military coup led by photo number four, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was deposed last year by Pakistan's military.

Either leading Pakistan is a job with very poor career prospects, or I'm a jinx. Take your pick.

Now, in a delicious irony, Washington is finally getting the democracy it has been calling for in Pakistan - and it's the Mother of all Backfires.

I've not met Pakistan's current president, Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto. But I've written for decades about corruption charges that relentlessly dog him. At one point, I was threatened with having acid thrown in my face if I kept writing about the Bhutto-Zardari's financial scandals.

Asif Ali Zardari became known to one and all as "Mr. 10%" from the time when he was a minister in his wife's government, in charge of approving government contracts. Critics say the 10% and other kickbacks produced millions for the Zardari-Bhutto family.

But Benazir Bhutto repeatedly insisted to me that she and her husband - who was tortured and jailed for years on corruption charges - were innocent and victims of political persecution in Pakistan's utterly corrupt legal system where "justice" goes to the biggest payer of bribes, and politicians use courts to punish their rivals. Small wonder so many Pakistanis are calling for far more honest Islamic justice.

In 2008, Washington sought to rescue Musharraf's foundering dictatorship by convincing the popular but still self-exiled Benazir Bhutto to front for him as democratic window-dressing for continued military rule. Her price: amnesty for a long list of corruption charges against her and her husband. The US and Britain quietly arranged the amnesty for the Bhuttos and thousands of their indicted supporters (and other political figures).

Just before her assassination, Benazir told me jealous associates of Musharraf were gunning for her.

Asif Zardari then inherited Benazir's Pakistan People's Party, the nation's largest. He became president, thanks to strong US and British political and financial support.

Zardari repaid this support by facilitating the US war in Afghanistan, and allowed the Pentagon to keep using Pakistan's bases and military personnel, without which the war in Afghanistan could not be prosecuted. Washington promised Pakistan's elite, pro-western leadership at least $8 billion.

That sleazy deal has now come unstuck thanks to Pakistan's newest, rather improbable democratic hero, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. As chief justice of the Supreme Court under Musharraf, he was expected to rubber stamp government decisions.

Instead, Justice Chaudhry began enforcing the law by reinstating the dismissed corruption charges and examining the legality of Musharraf's self-appointed second term.
Musharraf, with shameful backing from Washington and London, had Justice Chaudhry kicked off the bench. He, and a score of fellow judges who would not toe the line, were placed under house arrest. Some were beaten. Their pensions were canceled.

But the ebbing of Zardari's power has resulted in the reinstatement by parliament of Justice Chaudhry, who promptly reinstated all the old charges. For the first time, Pakistan was tasting the true institutions of democracy at work.

Zardari has presidential immunity against criminal charges. But his chief lieutenants face prosecution, notably regime strongman, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar. Both are key supporters and facilitators of US military operations in Afghanistan, America's use of Pakistani bases, and Pakistan's war against its own rebellious Pashtun tribesmen (AKA "Taliban").

Opposition parties are demanding Zardari and senior aides resign. Islamabad is in an uproar just when Washington needs Pakistan's government to intensify the war against the so-called Pakistani Taliban and support President Barack Obama's expanded war in Afghanistan. Washington is also intensifying drone attacks inside Pakistan, that are provoking fierce public outrage against the US, and weighing air attacks on Baluchistan Province.

Skeletons are dancing out of Zardari's closets: $63 million in illegal kickbacks and commissions allegedly hidden in Swiss bank accounts; accusation of laundering $13.7 million in Switzerland. Charges of kickbacks on helicopter and warplane deals. In 2003, Swiss magistrates found Zardari and Bhutto guilty of money laundering, sentencing them to a six month suspended jail term, a fine of $50,000, and ordering them to repay $11 million to Pakistan's government.

Zardari has an estimated personal fortune of $2 billion; luxurious properties in the US, France, Spain and Britain, and on it goes. He avoided trial in Switzerland by claiming mental illness.

In 2008, Gen. Musharraf had all charges against the Bhuttos dropped as part of the US-engineered plan for a diumverate with Benazir.

The Bhuttos remain one of the largest feudal landowners in a desperately poor nation where annual income is US$1,027 and illiteracy over 50%. Pakistan has been ruled since its creation in 1947 by either callous feudal landlords, who bought and sold politicians like bags of Basmati rice, or by generals.

It appears that Zardari's days as Washington's man in Islamabad are numbered. Anti-American fury is surging, with popular claims that Pakistan has been "occupied" by the US, treated like a third-rate banana republic, and is run by corrupt, US-installed stooges and crooks. Shades of Iran under the Shah, and Egypt under Sadat.

Many Pakistanis blame the current bloody wave of bombings in their nation on US mercenaries from Xe (formerly Blackwater), and old foe India staging attacks in revenge for decades of bombings in Kashmir, Punjab and its eastern hill states by Pakistani intelligence.

Most Pakistanis believe Washington is bent on tearing apart their unstable nation to seize its nuclear weapons.

Washington is almost back to square one in turbulent Pakistan. When Zardari goes or is kicked upstairs as an impotent figurehead, attention will turn to Pakistan's 617,000-man military and its commander, Gen - or should we say "president-elect" Ashfaq Kiyani? He is already in almost constant contact with the Pentagon.

In 2010, the ugly acronym, "Afpak," will bedevil, befuddle, and consume the Obama White House that so unwisely and rashly ignored Gen. Douglas MacArthur's wise warning to avoid land wars in Asia.

As the US expands the Afghan War, its strategic rear area in Pakistan is up in flames.