MOAB Then and Now

Today the United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat. It was dropped in Afghanistan on the caves used by ISIS affiliate Khorasan to attack U.S. troops. The bomb is a GBU-43 named “Massive Ordinance Air Bomb, or MOAB. Am I the only one who was riveted by that acronym?

Moab is a name I am very familiar with since it is on the mountain Nebo, in the Land of Moab, that Moses gazed upon the Promised Land and died without ever having entered it. Why? Because Moses disobeyed God’s direction.  During the Exodus, while the Israelites were wandering in the desert on their way to the Land of Canaan, God instructed Moses to “speak to” the rock so that water could be brought forth to show the people that God would provide for them. Moses “struck” the rock instead and the water poured out.  The consequence of Moses having disobeyed God was that Moses would bring the Israelites to the land but never enter it himself. He died there.

What was so terrible? So he struck it instead of speaking to it. Wasn’t the purpose to get the water out to show God’s willingness to provide? Well, no. The purpose was to be humble, witness faith and be an example of patience with a doubting people. Moses brought forth the water in anger. Faith and patience know not anger. Then, to add insult to injury, he took credit for the miracle!

I don’t want to get all religious on you here. I write about energy not theology. From that perspective, different energies have different frequencies and effect different ends. The type of energy you use has a direct impact on the end you affect…on the outcome.

I remember what a teacher once told me when I was taking a class in Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. He said, “Of course you have to discipline your child. And sometimes it’s necessary to appear to be stern or even angry. That is fine as long as you are angry in appearance only, not in your heart. When you seem angry to that child, you must be holding love in your heart.”

It’s a nuanced approach but I get it. What originate from love can only create good. What originates from anger can only create more anger. Speaking to the rock would have done it without anger. When Moses struck that rock he was angry. So what began in anger ended poorly…for him.

We live in troubled times and, too often, we think we have all the answers. In our hubris, we act precipitously and take credit for the outcome, conveniently forgetting that there is a higher power that provides us with the basics of how we are to live our lives and who assures victory.  Have faith and be love. Its simple. We are still allowed to defend ourselves, or the oppressed, but we must do so with an awareness and circumspection of what is in our hearts. We must understand our connection to all that is. If evil was set back today, and good comes of it, let us understand that it was divine intervention that succeeded not egoic politicians.

So what’s the connection between Moab and MOAB?  I sure hope those pilots had love in their hearts when they dropped that thing.                     Carole

The Heart of the Presidency

I abhor war. Any sane person does.

I also don’t support the concept of nation building or think it is the job of my country to impose its culture or form of government upon other nations. I am not a nationalist or isolationist. I’m just an American who knows she is blessed to have been born in the United States.

I am also a Jew.

So when I watch Syrian children writhing in pain and unable to breathe because a barbarian named Hafez al-Assad used nerve gas on innocents, I am vividly reminded of the abhorrent use gas played in the 20th century history of my people. It reminds of a world that stood by silently and watched. And it makes me surprisingly proud of President Trump.

Why?

Because at the very least, bullies only understand an equal and opposite force. They don’t understand diplomacy, they don’t care about public opinion, and they mock “red lines in the sand” that are all talk and no action. In fact, they call it cowardice.

Such was the case with Barack Obama and Assad. What every Arab, and every Israeli, knows is that in tribal cultures such as exist throughout the Arab world, the failure to meet force with force is perceived not only as cowardice but also as an invitation for even greater brutality. Barack Obama invited the growing chaos of the Middle East and the spread of ISIS precisely because his repeated inaction was taken as weakness and he would not, or could not, see the damage he was doing due to his own ideology and ego.

Some are saying that in raining Tomahawk missiles down on Syria Trump was finally “Presidential.” It reminds me of Michael Douglas’s line from the movie “American President” when he orders a retaliatory bombing strike against a munitions warehouse in Libya, knowing he would, in the process, kill the innocent night watchman who was just doing his job. One of Douglas’ staff remarks,”Mr. President, what you did tonight was very Presidential.” To which Douglas replies, “What I did tonight is the least Presidential thing I do.”

Killing is never something to be glorified.

What President Trump did last night had nothing to do with being presidential. It had everything to do with being human. Regardless of your politics, we are Americans and do not stand by and watch children’s lungs incinerated in real time while we stand frozen in either ineptitude or fear. We do not make political calculations or take a poll to see what the popular response should be. We aspire to elect people who, in such moments, understand what is at stake and have the personal fortitude to stand and say, “No. Not on my watch.”

I watched a Syrian man interviewed on CNN who had suffered the chemical attack by Assad’s forces and survived. He was thanking President Trump for his action last night. He said it brought hope to the Syrian people who have been pleading for 6 years for some sign of support from the United States. He begged our President not to stop. When the CNN anchor then asked him what he thought of the President’s immigration ban, he said, ‘We do not want to be immigrants. We want safe zones in Syria. We want to live in our own country without being slaughtered.” So much for the anchor’s failed attempt to invite criticism into a moment of praise.

I rest easier tonight not because my President bombed a country and flexed a muscle. I rest easier because he saw those children, as did I, and his heart hurt.  Oh yes, and because last night he said to bullies everywhere, “No. Not on my watch.”                 Carole

Time To Bug Out

“Bug Out” was a derisive term that emerged out of the Korean War after the U.S. Army hastily retreated from it’s holding position during attack. We abandoned our positions and fled en mass as the Chinese overran our positions. They “bugged out” the same way a cockroach flees when the lights are turned on. Weapons, equipment and radios were all left behind in the hasty retreat. That retreat by the U.S. Army left our Marine Corps brethren totally exposed on their right flank, which enabled the Chinese to completely  surround the Marines.

Bug Out

The Marine Corps were able to extract themselves from this precarious situation by doing a retrograde to the Chosin Reservoir and narrowly escaping the Chinese horde. Had it not been for the Marines bravery and resiliency, the outcome would most likely have been a total disaster for them.

The term “bug out” came to mind as I sat watching the Twin Towers come down 0n 9/11/01. Earlier that day, I had been in Tower 5 , one of the buildings connected to the World Financial Center, and was able to escape with my life. Later that same afternoon, my wife and I, joined by friends,  gathered on the lawn opposite the Twin Towers to watch the inferno while trying to gain some understanding of what had just happened.

At the time, we lived in a community in Jersey City populated with many people from Latin America.  These were our friends…Brazilians, Argentinians and Mexicans to name just a few. For the most part, we all worked in the banking sector and our lives were connected by families and jobs. Since I spoke Spanish fluently, most had no idea I was an American or that I had served in the military. They all thought I was an immigrant, like them, who was here under a work visa.

While they were all dismayed and distraught by the events on 9/11, to a person they all had the same plan in mind, to bug out, to leave the country as quickly as possible. The day before they were all happy living and working in the U.S., thrilled that they had high paying jobs and great careers as they had been unable to find these opportunities in their home countries. Yet, on the day of the attacks, they were already beginning to pack their bags and head home to, what they perceived to be, safer venues.

In a sense I could understand their concern. They were foreigners in a foreign land and, consequently, had no horse in the race. The U.S was being attacked and they were not willing to risk their lives as they were not Americans.  They all wanted to leave. I get that…to a point. On the other hand, they were willing to reap all the benefits American society had to offer them as long as they didn’t have to assume any of the responsibilities that citizenship required.

In essence, this is the problem of immigration (illegal and legal). If the only reason people want to come here is to extract benefits, in the case of my neighbors and high paying jobs, how was is that group of people any different from the illegal aliens who come here for free government benefits?  Neither group is here to benefit the country, only themselves.

When I was in the Marines, I had the honor of serving with a Marine from Ireland and one from the Dominican Republic, both of whom had joined the Marines as a path to citizenship. They served with honor and would have paid the ultimate price for this country. However, when I worked in the banking sector I was surrounded by foreigners whose main aim was to make as much money as possible and then “head home.” Hardly any of them had any real interest in understanding the country and the sacrifices people have made to make this country an economic juggernaut.  Admittedly, not all of them were like this; but, the majority was.

There is clearly something awry with an immigration policy that allows in economic “hit-men” (and women) whose sole purpose is to get as much money as possible from the American companies they work for and take it elsewhere.

Part of the reason Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls is his “pro U.S. worker” message. The middle class has felt the economic squeeze via illegal immigration as these immigrants compete with the middle class for jobs. Yet these same immigrants don’t pay any of the taxes for publicly funded programs, such as education and health care. The middle class feels unduly burdened because they are taking the hit and paying for it, too.

The white collar worker has felt the brunt of legal immigration, especially in banking and technology sectors via the HB-1 visa program which now pits Americans against immigrants for these high paying jobs. Many corporations know these immigrants will work for less performing the same job. The recent Disney scandal where American workers were forced to train their foreign replacements as a precondition for receiving termination benefits shows the great lengths to which American employers will go to bring in cheap labor.

The United States was founded on principles of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Many Americans and countless   families have paid the ultimate price for this great nation’s founding and its existence ever since. Today many people, especially the young, are attracted to the financial structure of socialism..being sold as an alternative to capitalism. But economic socialism is a derivative of a failed political system: Socialism. Capitalism is not. It is a purely economic model…one which has brought more wealth and innovation to the Western world, and more economic relief to the world in general, than any other in human history.

We were not meant to be a system of commerce where each and every transaction is to be judged by its optimal economic return. The immigration policies that the U.S has created, which incentivize illegal immigration by way of free benefits, undermines the ability of capitalism and free markets to self-correct.

Ultimately, the brilliance of the American citizen, and in particular the American worker, is that we are a nation that was built on showing up and staying the course…not bugging out. The path to citizenship should be one that honors that history.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

Britain Is On The Cutting Edge

Brexit is a lone voice in the darkness calling out “This way!

Brexit

I have often heard disaster experts teaching preparedness for an emergency say, “Whichever way the government tells you to go…head in the opposite direction!”  This sage advice was never more apparent than during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  While many people heeded governmental guidance, as well as taking advantage of busing provided by city and state heading for the Superdome, it was upon reaching that destination that some of the most egregious behaviors, from theft to assault to rape occurred.

Overall, the powers that be failed the people of New Orleans. As a result 1800 people died with untold numbers more the victims of crime.  Government agencies failed to be proactive in preparing for the storm and were, at best, confused as to their specific responsibilities and duties. Command and control had a complete breakdown of communications and the amounts of emergency supplies were woefully inadequate or ill positioned to reach the needy.

Yet, those people who followed their own guidance, and headed west toward Texas, found refuge with fellow citizens and charitable organizations all too willing and ready to assist and house them. Yes, when disaster strikes, head in the opposite direction of where the government advises or commands you to go.

I think this is exactly what awakened and enlightened British voters just did in deciding to leave the EU.  And they did it just days before disaster was about to strike. For while Britain successfully rallied to regain its autonomy and independence from the bureaucratic-tax-heavy entity known as the EU, its most powerful member, Germany, was about to disclose a secret plan that calls for only one centralized army for all EU members with joint military planning. The plan would also negatively impact the member states ability to control their own borders and, therefore, immigration.

Both abroad and here at home in the U.S., there are those individuals seeking to create world dominance. We spend a great deal of time talking about radical Islamic extremism and its intent to set up a global caliphate governed by Sharia Law but little time considering the parallels with our own Western elite who also seek global domination, albeit of a different variety. Form over substance….since enslavement is enslavement regardless of who is the master. Both radical Islam and Progressive/Marxist ideologues believe they have the right to control and enslave the masses and force us to submit to the will of the few at the expense of the many.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist and spend virtually no time following such chatter. But this morning a friend texted me about a segment he was watching on “The Doctors” about a “cortex mind simulator” wherein it is possible to amp up someone’s energy, or diminish it, by means of frequency control.  So, in broad scale application, this is mind control. And guess where this “programming” will start? When you’re put on hold on a phone call!

We are dangerously close to losing not only our freedoms but also our minds or, at least, the free exercise thereof. And if all of that sounds way to sci-fi for you…well, then you aren’t old enough to remember when there was subliminal advertising on television successfully inducing people to buy products they didn’t need or want. With our unprecedented leaps in technological development since the 1950’s and those early and rudimentary subliminal ads, it’s no giant leap to anticipate someone regulating (read as: “controlling”) your mind via the technology.

I have written at least two prior posts on the need for us to see that we have more than two choices come November 2016. I hear people talking everywhere I go that 1) they cannot vote for Clinton or 2) they cannot vote for Trump or 3) they cannot vote for Clinton and so are rationalizing why they have to vote for Trump.  But what if all of us who decline both options came together with a single write in? Of course it’s improbable…but not impossible.  Its only impossible when we acquiesce to the masters…whoever and wherever they may be…and voluntarily cooperate in our continued enslavement by believing in the power of the limitations they attempt to impose upon us.  Its only impossible if we become like cattle and behave like a herd.

Now, more than ever in recorded history, we must ignore the “deliberately projected and media reinforced fear-based reality” and go within ourselves to find the truth. Having done that, we must have the courage to follow that inner guidance and seek out like-minded and similarly courageous others with whom we have more in common than we have with a Clinton, Trump, Soros, Merkel, Putin or any other elitists who are desperately racing to hold on to the positions of power that they believe are theirs by “divine right.”

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, as Europe cowered in the face of evil, only the British had the courage and the will to stand for freedom, autonomy and individual liberty. Britain had its Winston Churchill and we, the U.S., were latecomers to that stand.

It is the British who are leading that charge once again. That’s what Brexit is really about. Now they have their Nigel Farage. Who do we have? Where will we in the U.S. find ourselves this time? Late arrivals yet again?

Or no-shows?

Carole

Why Obama Calls it ISIL

Understanding history is the first part of the answer. Understanding psychology is the second part.

wordsSo, first a little history.

If you have never heard the names “Sykes-Pichot” you likely have no idea what or where the “Levant” is. The Levant is what the “L” of ISIL represents. Sykes-Pichot references two individuals who caused the Arab world to long for the reestablishment of the Levant.

As WWI progressed, Russia, France and the United Kingdom entered into a secret agreement to establish their control of the Ottoman Empire that would be defeated in the war.  These powers effectively divided the soon-to-be former Ottoman Arab provinces into areas of future British and French control. The slicing and divvying up of the vast amounts of Ottoman controlled territory was for the purpose of assuring that the empire did not reconstitute itself and once again pose a threat to the Christian world.

Sir Tatton Benvenuto Mark Sykes, on behalf of the United Kingdom was instrumental in the drafting of the document that defined the new boundaries as was François Marie Denis Georges-Picot who negotiated the agreement on behalf of France. Hence, the Sykes-Pichot Agreement became known at the conclusion of the war.

It infuriated the Arab world. Not only had it lost the political, military and geographic positions of dominance it held prior to WWI, the Agreement was a turning point in Christian-Arab relations as it reneged on the  UK’s promise for a national Arab homeland in the area of Greater Syria,which had been the quid pro quo for the Arabs having fought on the side of the British against the Ottoman Empire. It was a grand betrayal that took away protection for religious and ethnic minorities in the region.

The name “Levant States was the term used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon as a result of the agreement. More generally, in the Arab world, it refers to all of the Middle East… all the way to the Mediterranean and the islands beyond. The word itself instills and incites hatred, for what the Agreement did in creating 1) artificial boundaries; 2) confining conflicting ethnic and religious groups to the same geographic regions, and 3) generally disempowering the Arab world while placing a divided region under the auspices of either the British or the French.

ISIL stands for “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” Its goal, among others, is to reverse the effects of the Sykes–Picot Agreement and reestablish the Caliphate, a Sharia-ruled Muslim nation with global dominance aspirations.

Now, the psychology.

Why does President Obama call it ISIL when every other public figure, and the global news media, call it ISIS?

Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, John Brennan, called Jerusalem “Al Quds.” Islamist terror groups routinely use the name to rally the faithful. It is the name Muslims give to Jerusalem. They do not recognize the name Jerusalem as they do not recognize the right of any of Israel or its Jewish or Christian inhabitants to exist. In fact, in the speech citing Al Quds, Brennan spoke a few sentences in Arabic then joked, “Don’t tell the folks who don’t speak Arabic what I just said.”

Brennan’s aside was quite revealing and consistent with a pattern of behavior in the Arabic world which is to say one thing in English when speaking to the West or western media but something totally opposite when speaking to the Muslim world in Arabic.  This is permitted under the Koranic doctrine of taqiyya, which permits lying to or deliberately deceiving infidels for the purpose of advancing Islam by drawing out, and making vulnerable, non-believers.

Why is Brennan’s choice of the name Al Quds instructive in understanding Obama’s choice of the name ISIL? Because by so doing, they are both publicly acknowledging and honoring the Muslim historical and political position on both Jerusalem and the Levant that is the majority view within the Muslim world.

The tragedy in Benghazi was the failed effort of the Obama Administration in transporting arms through Turkey to Syria in support of ISIS against President Bashir Assad, with the intention of toppling the Syrian dictator we had once supported. Now we claim to be trying to defeat ISIS in Syria. While in many minds ISIS may conjure up the militaristic terror organization carrying out heinous acts of slaughter, the greater entity and threat to freedom is ISIL, which seeks world domination.

Contrary to President Obama’s assertion in his post-Orlando-attack speech, wherein he stated that words don’t matter and therefore calling out “radical Islamic terrorists” by those words won’t make a difference in defeating them… words very much matter.  Ask Black America or the RNC.  Blacks have often spoken of code language used by white America to indicate a condescending attitude of the latter towards the former. For example, when speaking of “inner cities crime” Blacks say it’s really whites speaking about black people exclusively as the perpetrators. The political Left has also accused the political Right of using certain words to trigger racial fear and scare white working class voters. And who can forget the oft repeated “Right-wing conspiracy” accusation by the Clintons, designed to marginalize and demean their political opponents.

Al Quds and ISIL are code words. Lately, not very veiled ones at that because the enablers and supporters of radical Islam who serve at the highest levels of U.S. government have, in their confidence and arrogance, come out of the closet in their biases, alignments and political agenda.

When President Obama says ISIL the West hears ISIS… but the Muslim world, terrorist and non-terrorist alike, hears the validation of the Arab world’s claim to exclusivity throughout the Middle East, its expansion and dominance of a global Caliphate under Sharia law, and the annihilation of the State of Israel.

Yes, words matter.  For example, treason.

 

Carole

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering in the Saudi Desert

We met in the desert of Saudi Arabia.

desert

I had not seen him in two years and, too be perfectly blunt, I thought I would never see him again.

He had been in my class in the Marine Corps called T.B.S (The Basic School), the school all Marine Officers must attend to learn everything you need to know about being a Marine Corps Officer.

Although the course only lasts 6 months, it feels like an eternity. The school’s curriculum is the equivalent in intensity of getting a four year bachelors degree. The days are long, the nights are longer and many days are spent in the field.

Lt. Wahleed and Lt. Khalil (fictitious names) were Officers in the Saudi military and were here as exchange soldiers/students in my platoon. In addition, they were in in my squad which had only 11 members. So in theory, we were supposed to spend every moment together during training, working together and helping each other pass the course. That intention never materialized because both of them did as little as possible.

Lt. Wahleed learned very quickly that he was only going to be evaluated with minimal supervision and, so, he did practically nothing for six months. He knew he was too important of a person in developing a relationship between our countries such that he would never be held accountable. Lazy to begin with, each day he did the least amount of work possible.

Our rooms were on the same floor and he was given a suite to share with his Saudi colleague. The rest of us slept four to a room and always had to keep it clean. The Saudi suite was always dirty and set up like a makeshift tent. In the middle of the room sat a huge Arabian rug where the two Officers would lounge on the floor all day drinking tea and smoking cigarettes.

Every day we had a morning formation and every day these two Officers were nowhere to be found. We had to scramble around to find them and every day they seemed to find a new evasive hiding place. They would disappear for hours on end, and generally made our lives very difficult in relation to our Commanders. My squad and I were continually harangued for not giving “the proper guidance” to our Saudi guests.

During field events, it wasn’t unusual for the Saudi Officers to leave the field at night to go rest in their rooms, taking their rifles with them. On one particular occasion, the whole company got locked down because Lt. Wahleed had forgotten where he left his rifle (we found it in his car).  Since I was in charge of him that day, I had a particularly nasty “ass chewing” from my Platoon Commander. Luckily, for everybody involved, the situation was resolved, however; losing any weapon in the Marine Corps usually results in a court martial and/or prison time. Not so for the Saudi soldiers.

After this incident, Lt. Wahleed was a hated man. All of the Marine Officers treated he and his cohort with outright disgust and disdain. I just made it a point to stay as far away from these two guys lest I get in trouble again. I was not mean to them. I simply treated them with indifference. The Battalion Commander, sensing the massive problem on his hands, had to plead with our company to treat these two Saudi Officers with something resembling respect and honor.  They were “our allies” with whom we might have to work if a Middle East war ever broke out.”  I had to suspend all belief when the C.O said that because I knew I would never see these clowns again once the course was over.

Well, as its said, “truth is stranger than fiction.”

A few months after I graduated The Basic School, Iraq invaded Kuwait and the Saudi’s pressed the U.S government to intervene. Sure enough, within a few months I was on a flight to Saudi Arabia with my unit to prepare for the coming battle to liberate Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia, at least the part I saw, is just sand…an “ocean” full of sand. No landmarks, hills or water; just sand. I spent months training and living there. One day, I was summoned by my Company Commander to go to a meeting with the Saudi’s with whom we would be working.

We boarded the Humvee and traveled for hours to get to our destination. Driving across the desert with a map and a compass, we navigated to a predetermined point on a map. That we found the place at all was nothing short of a miracle. Yet. in the middle of the desert, there at our meeting place was a huge tent and nothing else as far as the eye could see.

Lt. Wahleed was in charge of the meeting!  There in the tent, just as I remembered him back in The Basic School, he was sitting on a huge Arabian rug drinking tea and smoking cigarettes! Now, however, her was surrounded by other Saudi officers. Upon seeing me, he reacted as if I were his long lost brother! Given that I had treated him, back then, with only a modicum of decency, I thought his greeting odd at best. But I came to believe that in his mind, because I had treated him humanely, he was going out his way to help me and my unit.

Wahleed gave us everything we asked for and more. It meant a lot to all involved because, at that time, we had no idea what the Iraqi’s had planned or how long before the conflict would end.  So, any help from the Saudi’s was welcome and well received. In the end, I was even given high praise by my Battalion Commander for my efforts.

Life is strange.

We plan, we prepare and we give our best for a favorable outcome and still fate turns on us. Many times it is the human connection, and the helping hand of others, that makes all the difference in the world.

Wahleed sure brought that lesson home.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

 

 

The New Industrial Revolution

I spent the last few days at SXSW here in Austin, where I played around with hundreds of gadgets and electronics from the Maker Fair. If you have never been to one of these expositions, I would highly recommend you check one out. You will be blown away by what is taking place in the field of technology and the changes that are taking place in manufacturing.

3d printer

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic improvement in the quality and durability of electronic components and plastics. Engineers, artists and creators now have access to three dimensional printers that can produce physical products. We have gone from printing words via printers to printing three dimensional objects by the same process! If you have a machine and the blueprints, which can be found online, you can literally make cups, art, jewelry, parts, even guns… just to name a few. The designs are open sourced, so if you need to make a certain cup you can go online to see if somebody already has uploaded one on the web and then download the file and make your own. In addition, you can create your own design for a product and then upload it online for other people to use.

Over the last thirty years, the U.S has become a laggard in manufacturing for a variety of reasons.  Higher wages, a more onerous regulatory environment and a stronger currency, all of which have made manufacturing physical products here in the U.S almost prohibitive.  However, with the onslaught of 3D printing and some revolutionary changes taking place in the space and auto sector, manufacturing is enjoying a renaissance here in the U.S

At Tesla Motors, founded by Elon Musk, they are starting to produce cars in the U.S. and manufacturing their component parts here as well. What Musk discovered is that most car makers have hundreds of suppliers located all over the world, which makes implementing changes a process of dealing with a myriad of long distance suppliers. Frustrated by the lag time and inefficiencies of such procedures, Musk decided to make and manufacture most of the products right at his plant in California.  As a result, he has been able to speed up production of his autos and make  adjustments quickly.

Musk believes this approach has saved him a fortune.  Older car companies now complain that because he was able to start a car company from scratch, he has been able to revolutionize the manufacturing process. Imagine that!  Car companies are upset that Musk is able to manufacture the majority of his parts here in the U.S.  It was only a few years ago that the same car companies were saying that it was impossible to manufacture cars here in the U.S due to the high costs.

At SpaceX, another company founded by Elon Musk, they have been able to drastically lower the cost of manufacturing rockets. Part of the philosophy of his design and manufacturing strategy is to have the engineers work side by side with the builders of the rockets.  This process allows the engineers to see and fully understand what their designs are like when brought to life. Previously, it was unheard of  to have engineers and builders working side by side; but, SpaceX has made it work and has been able to revitalize the U.S. space industry while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs. One of the main manufacturing achievements of SpaceX has been in being able to weld large sheets of metal without rivets. This advancement not only makes the rockets safer it is also an innovation that will soon accrue to the benefit of other industries as well.

Combine the “Do It Yourself (DIY) Movement” and 3D printing, along with some of the breakthroughs taking place at SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and the U.S has good reason to be optimistic about the resurgence of our manufacturing sector. We have talented engineers and scientists that are revolutionizing many business and technology sectors. One only need look at the gas and oil sector where geologist and engineers, through fracking, changed the whole scope of the extraction process and its end product productivity. This new method of extracting oil has enabled the U.S  to garner untold amounts of oil which had been previously unreachable.

Over the past eight years, the problem facing U.S. businesses, and therefore the GDP, has been the restrictive regulatory policies implemented by the Obama Administration.  These crushing regulations and policies, such as Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, have hamstrung U.S. growth.  I believe, given a change of direction by the Federal government in it’s approach to private sector regulation and taxation, the U.S. economy could well see growth rates in GDP above 3%.  The private sector has made some major strides in manufacturing and technology that I believe could get the U.S economy back on track and begin to create many of those jobs that have been lost if the Federal government will just remove the stranglehold it has placed upon the development and operation of free enterprise.

If not, my prayer is that the government at least steer clear of this truly amazing innovation revolution and allow the U.S. to, once again, be the global leader in manufacturing and an example of free market capitalism functioning at its best.

 

Steve Clark

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Cash Outlawed

Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, recently said it is time to kill the $100 dollar bill because, in his opinion, high denomination bills are used for criminal and terrorist activities. Historically, physical paper (as well as gold and silver) has always been used and viewed as cash. However, there is now a growing plan to not only remove large denominated bills but all cash. Removing $100 bills is just the first step towards that end.

 

banned cash

We have seen similar statements made by European leaders regarding the removal of large euro notes as well; so, it seems that many government officials worldwide are warming up to this plan. Given the instability of the financial system, the banks need every bit of cash that is locked into their system. Removing cash from the system, and by default making all money electronic, keeps everybody trapped in the system and masks the fact that the banks do not have your money. It might be hard to believe given that when you check your online account, you can see all of your money there. But you have to understand how the banks operate in the West to see why your online statement does not really represent what you actually have in the bank.

Western banks operate under a fractional banking system. So for every $100 dollars that goes into the bank, roughly 10% is deposited in reserves and the rest is lent out. That other $90 dollars is invested in a variety of instruments as a means for the banks to money.

In a stable and functioning financial world, the bank would pay you 2% for your deposits and then invest the rest at, say hypothetically,  4%… capturing the 2% as profit. But given ever declining rates, it has been harder and harder for banks to capture a decent spread. After the crash in 2008, central banks all over the world did everything they could to prop up banking systems.  The hope was that they could “inflate away” the liabilities. But it did not happen.  In too many locales, real estate has not recovered, commodity markets have collapsed and, over the last six weeks, credit markets and stock markets have suffered significant declines.

One of the major problems for the banks has been the steep decline in oil prices. Over the last ten years, billions of dollars poured into the oil markets. However, the amount of money invested in new oil technologies caused the prices to plummet. This has been great for the consumer.  Not so for the oil companies that borrowed the money in the belief they would be selling oil at $100 a barrel not the current price of  $30.00 a barrel!

Now, all of the loans that were made between 2008-2015 by the banks and credit markets are going to come due. The oil crash will not only cause many oil companies to go under but will also adversely effect all the banks and bond investors that loaned them the money. They are going to get crushed.  For example, anticipating this outcome, JP Morgan just increased their reserves due to bad oil bets . In addition, oil producing countries such as Russia, Venezuela and  Brazil, whose economies and fates are tied to oil, will also see a plethora of defaults.  Further, banks have enormous exposure to these countries which will crush their loan portfolios.

The final blow to many of these countries’ finances has been the surge of the U.S. dollar against emerging market currencies. For example, the Brazilian “real” has fallen close to 40% over the last few years compared to the dollar.  Another way of saying this is that the Brazilians g will now have to pay 40% more on their dollar obligations because of these currency movements.

But it gets worse.

Bank are growing seriously concerned about pressure building on both the student loan and auto loan markets. So that $90 that the banks took from their depositors has been invested in the commodity, oil and credit markets-and those markets have taken a beating. The government and the banks know that if the public knew the actual economic picture of their financial institutions we’d be running to the banks to get our cash out… cash the banks do not have.

If depositors started taking large amounts of cash out of the system, we could see another run on the banks as we did in 2008. However, this time it is unclear that central governments around the world have the power to backstop the system as they did in 2008.  To complicate matters, governments world wide (Japan, Sweden, etc) are now experimenting with negative interest rates whereby banks will soon begin to charge depositors  a fee for the right to deposit money in their banks. It seems that after all the bailouts following the near disaster in 2008, we are back to where we were with government talking about restricting depositors’ cash withdrawals.

I will not heed the governments call to get rid of my cash. My simple advice is have ample amounts of cash on hand and prepare to be an outlaw (and an outlier!). The call to ban large denominated bills is the “canary in the coal mine” to all who know how to understand government deception, obfuscation and manipulation.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Women: Its Time To Sign Up For The Draft

As society continues to push the notion of  equality between the sexes, the feminist finally got their wish granted with our armed forces opening up all combat positions to women. Until now, all males age eighteen and older must register for the selective service, the precursor to the draft.  However, with women now eligible for combat positions, I anticipate that they too will have to register in the near future upon turning eighteen.

women in combat

Given the United States penchant for war, along with our global commitments, there is a continual demand for more bodies. This establishes the need for more soldiers; hence, the decision to open our armed services to women.  I believe the general public does not fully comprehend the ramifications of this policy.  Only when we begin to see women maimed and killed on the battlefield will the public finally understand the end to which the feminist movement has led us.

Only a small percentage of the population (about 1%) has ever served in the military so most people have no idea what it entails. They see the commercials and news reports and think they understand military life. They don’t.  Any veteran who has ever served in harm’s way will tell you that real evil exits in the world.

A lot of people navigate the world in deliberate ignorance of the evil that surrounds them. Veterans know it’s out there because they have seen it . . . and shot it in the face. They believe in the adage that ‘the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’ because they’ve seen it happen. They are willing to go to great lengths to make sure that evil can’t touch something that they love.

In the sake of gender equality, the U.S government is willing to sacrifice our teenage girls to the horrors of war. Our daughters, sisters and future mothers and wives are going to be sacrificed at the alter of gender equality.

My daughters, all five of them, will never serve.

I am a former Marine. I was an Infantry officer and fought in the first Gulf War. My father was a Marine Officer and was stationed in Okinawa as a Tank commander prior to the Vietnam War.  My uncle was a Marine who served in Korea. I can say with full confidence, the Clark family has done its part in serving its country

Now older and wiser and and a father of five girls, I would never ever want them to join the military or, for that matter, the Marines. War is a brutal business and the U.S continually pounds the drum looking for more conflict.  While we have not fought a battle on our homeland in over one hundred years, we none-the-less export our young people to foreign lands and ask them to do the politician’s bidding.

During the oath of office, all Marines are sworn to uphold the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. But just look at our southern border. We have no troops there. We are not protecting our borders from enemies intent on crossing them to do harm. We have a small contingent of border agents with a massive border as illegals continue to flood into the country. We have no way effective means of vetting friend or foe, as the invasion continues.

A safe border is clearly a national security issue and one that our military is equipped to meet and enforce yet we aren’t allowing them to do their job. Instead, we have elected to have massive military bases in Germany and Korea to protect their borders but not our own.  Let’s not forget that those bases were built for wars that ended sixty years ago.

If you go to any foreign country and ask the generals how they would defend their country, they will explain how to defend the terrain, the key choke points, as well as the easiest places to defend. They can do so because that is how they have been trained: to protect their country. Now, go ask any U.S general how they would defend this nation from an enemy invasion and I guarantee you they would have no idea because it is not mentioned or taught in any of the three branches of the service. But ask them, how they would invade Russia, Iran, Iraq, etc.. and they will have a  plan to do so. That is what we do and how we train our military: to attack not defend. The whole notion is so absurd and irresponsible that were it not so disastrous it would be comedic. Under the guise of gender equality we are going to export our female citizens to attack other countries.

The fact is that the U.S engages in wars with no hope of winning or justification for so doing.  Personally I do not trust the leadership in Washington to know how to fight or protect the troops once engaged in combat.  Just look at the rules of engagement that our troops are burdened with and the countless limbs and lives that have been lost because of them.  General McCrystal, U.S.Commander in Afghanistan, had a minor mutiny on his hands when we he explained the rules of engagement to his troops (as detailed in the book The Operators).

Additionally, we have a real disconnect between the leaders in Washington and the military. Bill Clinton actively evaded the draft but had no problem sending other people’s children off to war. The fantastic film Black Hawk Down will give you a good idea of the sacrifices made by the troops he sent to do battle. George Bush and Dick Cheney led us into Iraq and Afghanistan, yet both found ways to avoid going to Vietnam.  I find it totally inappropriate that our leaders spend time golfing and vacationing while our troops are at war. President Obama has been the worst of the bunch. To his credit, George W. Bush actually quit playing golf once the Iraq war began.

While the law mandating registration for females has not yet been changed, it seems inevitable that it will be.  For some reason, there has been very little coverage  and therefore, little or no outrage.  Part of me thinks that people are not connecting the dots. The depth of our government sickness continues to show no limits. It is an unspeakable disgrace that our country would be prepared to send young girls off to fight. Pondering this latest intention by our government has lead me to the point where I have lost all faith in our leaders and those who serve their administrations at every level. Military leaders know this plan to be absurd. The Marine Corps has gone on record saying it thinks this plan is insane and have yet to find one female able to complete the Marine Corps Infantry Officer program. The Navy has been integrating women onto their ships for years with disastrous results.  It is common knowledge within the Navy the integration of men and women on ships has resulted in an untold and under-reported number of pregnancies. It is not uncommon for war ships to make continuous stops to send back impregnated women to the States for treatment.  Aside from the pregnancies, yet more children will end up being born to single mothers; the economically and socially most disadvantaged demographic.

The old adage of “women and children first” was a siren song to protect our most valuable assets in times of emergency or war. Yet we stand on the precipice of sending that treasure not only into battle but also on the front lines of combat.  They will be sent not to protect our freedoms but to attack our latest enemy.

The feminists and their ilk who promote this nonsense will never be on the front lines. Neither will the privileged political class. Do you really think the Clinton or Obama daughters will ever join the military? It will be my daughters and your daughters who take up those battles and whose lives will be forever and irrevocably altered.  My daughters are not feminists and have not asked for this reality. But it will be them who will be told to pay the price.

This time, the Clark family will not be going.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

Things That Ain’t So

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Mark Twain

Over the last 40 years, we have been bombarded with news about a variety of environmental disasters that await us.  The first to be  promulgated by the press was over population. This perceived threat to mankind was so grave that some governments started legislating and implementing polices to stem the impending doom.

polar bear on wall street

The over population bomb, promoted by Paul Ehrlrich, proposed solutions to make the planet’s resources last longer lest we end up with global famine.  His ideas were not only not dismissed outright, they actually found a home in think tanks and even within some governmental agencies. Some of Ehrlich’s ideas included taxes on diapers and children, covert sterilization of the public through their drinking water, and spiking foreign food aid with anti-fertility drugs.

Ehrlich’s theories were taken seriously by many.  China went so far as to implement a one child policy in the late 1970’s  which resulted, by some estimates, in China aborting millions of infants. One of the main consequences of the policy was that it left China with a subsequent preponderance of men. Social scientists in China say the upcoming census results could reveal a gender ratio of 122 boys born for every 100 girls. Under natural conditions, there are typically 105-106 boys for every 100 girls.”

To better understand that number in 2010, the Economist ran a cover story highlighting the fact that over 100 million baby girls are “missing” – dead through sex-selective abortion, infanticide and general neglect.  Ehrlrich’s forecast, as well as China’s implementation of such fears in the form of law, caused massive devastation in China. The reality is that there are financial, not to mention spiritual, consequences for killing millions of babies. What does it say about a nation that would commit such violence against its most helpless members of society?

Or, take the latest scare issued from the environmental movement. We have been warned incessantly about the threats of Global Cooling, followed by Global Warming and, now finally, the main stream media has settled on “Climate Change” (I guess that covers their bases on both heating an cooling!) as the greatest threat to mankind. It seems that the environmental movement is continually looking for a new bogey man to scare the public; hence the ever changing threats to mankind.

I think what has disturbed me most about the latest environmental debate are the arguments made by the Climate Change proponents:

  • All the scientists now agree we have a problem with “Climate Change”
  • All the data is in on “Climate Change” and we have to act now!

These types of statements lead me to ask: “Why is there such a rush to cut off the debate?”

History is replete with theories that we once believed true that were not so. For eons, humans believed the world was flat until the 1500’s, and it was accepted fact that the earth was the center of the universe… prior to Copernicus dispelling that myth.

Having the benefit of hindsight and, of course, history, it seems ridiculous that anyone could have believed the world to be flat or the earth the center of the universe, but we did. If it hadn’t been the work of scientists who continued to question and test our assumptions where would humanity be?  Just imagine if the leading political powers back then had only funded scientists who believed in the flat earth doctrine! It seems ridiculous right? But isn’t that what’s happening today? Only proponents of Climate Change are deemed credible and legitimate recipients of funding.  But, what if in 20 or 30 years we look back and it turns out Climate Change was an expertly marketed false belief…not a fact?  Where are we then having closed off legitimate debate?

I would argue the essence of science itself is a series of questioning and testing of hypotheses that are meant to continue to explore and unlock the mysteries of our world. It seems the whole notion of cutting off the debate and settling “Climate Change” is political in nature not based in science.

Every human being benefits from a healthier and more robust planet. Our food, medicine and roles of stewardship of the earth is a responsibility upon each of us. No one I’ve ever met likes smog or pollution. So with statements like “All the science is in and its settled” there must be a hidden agenda because humanity can only benefit from continued intelligent dialogue, some of which raises legitimate questions as yet unanswered.

One of the main beneficiaries of the global change movement, if implemented in full, would be Wall Street and the United Nations.  The U.N would be the governing body and arbitrators of carbon emissions, while Wall Street would be the marketplace in which these credits would trade.  Climate change advocates believe that carbon emissions are one of the biggest contributors to global warming. The U.N. would set  quotas on the amount of carbon emission that companies could produce. In addition, the U.N. would also determine which companies, and their projects, were eligible for carbon credits.

To understand how this works in practice look at the following transaction: Costco produces 10 million in carbon emissions that have to be offset. They would have to buy 10 million in carbon credits from a carbon credit producer.( for example, a tree farm would be a carbon credit producer). Enter Wall Street.  Financial Institutions and traders would set up the exchanges where sellers of carbon credits would interface with carbon credit producers. Wall Street would be extremely happy because they would make money on both sides of such trades.

Given the declining revenues on Wall Street, now more than ever, they need a new product through which to fleece the unsuspecting public. The United Nations (and governing bodies all over the world) would be happy as they would have more power.  The U.N would be able to dole out carbon credit projects to their friends and family, thereby enriching themselves. Finally, the violators of excess carbon production could be shaken down and fleeced by the political class and other regulatory bodies. Everyone prospers…well, not everyone.

Everyone but the general population.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, what we learned is that the wealthiest  and most powerful institutions were saved by the government at the expense of the taxpayer and the middle class. The Climate Change Movement has the same formula in place; fleece the middle class in order for money to flow to a select few and into the most powerful institutions in the world.

Prior to the real estate crisis of 2008, the government sold home ownership as the ultimate form of wealth and we know where that got us.  In 2016, they and the financial markets are selling a new product: Climate Change.

We all need to help save the planet from carbon emissions and…oh yes… the middle class can pick up the tab one more time.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com