WEST RIVER, MARYLAND – We’re back at our post – watching… reading… trying to connect the dots.
And we begin by asking: What do “think tanks” think about?
The answer in a minute…
First, there is a dustup in the Washington, D.C., area. “Russiagate,” it is called.
As near as we can make out, some people think the Trump team had or has illegal or inappropriate contacts with the Russian government.
This knowledge, such as it is, has apparently been obtained by illegal or inappropriate leaks of information gotten by illegal or inappropriate eavesdropping by government agencies doing illegal or inappropriate things for illegal or inappropriate reasons.
Does it matter one way or another?
The insiders are firmly in control no matter which way it turns out. What we have here is a fight among insiders – a scrap over who gets to rip us off… and how.
Mr. Trump has proven to be flexible and compliant. He is willing to go along with practically every scam and bamboozle in the Deep State repertoire.
But much of the establishment finds him unreliable, embarrassing, and vulnerable.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, the president delivered the big bucks to Raytheon and other arms merchants.
But then he stiffed the “alternative energy” industry by rejecting the Paris climate change agreement. Both moves, he claimed, would lead to “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
I have just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. It was a very, very successful trip, believe me.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer:
The visit also included historic economic development deals for the United States, totaling well over half a trillion dollars and the creation of tens of thousands of American jobs.
Here, we get out the pencil and begin drawing some lines. First, we put a little note on the margin: “Huh?”
The Saudi feds have money. They get it by selling oil to people who need it to power their factories, fuel their cars, and heat their houses. The money comes out of the productive, win-win economy.
Every penny of this money gets applied to something. They can use it to buy tanks and fighter jets. Or they can buy tomatoes or make movies.
Big arms deals get the headlines, but do they create more jobs other than spending?
Does money spent by the feds ever create more wealth and satisfaction than money spent by the people who earned it?
The answer to both those questions is “no.” We know that only win-win deals add real wealth. Government arms deals are not win-win.
“But wait,” you say. “They might buy their tomatoes from anywhere… but we’ve got the high-tech killing machines. When they buy from Raytheon, they put Americans to work.”
Hmmm… Somewhere, someone looks at the Big Scheme of Things. He must wonder: Why is it better for an American to have a good job than, say, a Canadian?
He must also wonder: Why is it better to pay people to build a tank than to build a truck?
Fighter jets are bought by the government… with money it took, by force, from its citizens.
Most often, military spending serves no purpose other than to protect or enhance the power of the government. Only rarely does it pay to build a tank.
The last time American civilians were targeted by a conventional military attack was when Sherman’s Yankee army marched through Georgia – more than 150 years ago.
Like government itself, a little bit of “defense” spending may be necessary, but it fast reaches the point of declining marginal utility. Then, it is all downhill. The money is either wasted… or used to create a bloodbath.
In the Middle East, it’s been going downhill for many decades; the odds that these weapons will be put to any honest service – such as preventing an attack on Saudi Arabia – are close to zero.
Weapons and warfare are favorite Deep State scams; they are ways to transfer wealth and power from the people who earn it to governments and their crony military suppliers.
And here, we draw a line – from “The Donald’s” trip to the Middle East… to a think tank called the Center for Gulf Affairs at the Middle East Institute… to the Raytheon corporation.
Reports Just Security, an online forum for national security issues:
In March of this year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invited former ambassador Gerald Feierstein – director of the Center for Gulf Affairs at the Middle East Institute – to speak about the situation in Yemen and about his views on the sale of U.S. arms to the Saudis.
As one might have anticipated from his interview in the Washington Post, Feierstein told the committee, “Accusations of war crimes leveled against Saudi and Coalition armed forces and threats to end arms sales to the Saudis have the potential to inflict long-lasting damage to these relationships.” Limiting the supply of munitions, he said, would be “counter-productive”…
Never disclosed in the Washington Post interview or in the Senate hearing was the source of funding for Feierstein’s Middle East Institute. According to its most recent public report, the Institute counts among its chief donors leading members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and major arms manufacturers.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait provide the highest level of support as “Platinum Sponsors,” and the UAE [United Arab Emirates] is also a donor. Raytheon, the manufacturer of the very weapons at issue in the Senate hearing, is a Gold Sponsor of the Institute. It is worth noting, of course, that the Middle East Institute is not unique in Washington. The defense industry and foreign governments pump money into many think tanks.
What do think tanks think about?
Whatever they are paid to think about, of course. Like drunken bards, they sing praises to whomever will buy them a drink.
By Jeff Clark, Editor, Delta Report
While the broad stock market has been lulling us to sleep, gold has been putting on a show.
The metal blasted another $13 higher yesterday. Gold closed just above $1,294 per ounce – its highest closing price for 2017.
And… here’s the really important thing… Gold stocks finally played “catch-up.”
After underperforming the action in gold over the past month, gold stocks rocketed higher yesterday and solidly outperformed the metal.
This should signal the start of a new, intermediate-term uptrend for gold and gold stocks. Similar moves back in March and early May led to strong gains for gold stocks.
On a short-term basis, many gold stocks are a bit overbought after yesterday’s big move. So we might get a brief pause in the action before gold stocks try to pop higher again.
Keep in mind, we have the European Central Bank (ECB) announcement on interest rates on Thursday, and we have a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement next week. The gold sector might pull back a bit heading into either of those events.
But with the ratio of gold mining stocks to gold now trending higher, traders should use any short-term weakness in gold stocks as a chance to add exposure to the sector.
– Jeff Clark
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We received a flood of emails in response to Bill’s essay “Eulogy for My Mother.” Below, we share just a few…
My sincerest condolences on the passing of your mother. She sounds like one of the great people that this country, and world, are losing far too many of. My prayers are with you and your family at this time of sorrow, but it is also a time to celebrate her life.
– Gary G.
That was a lovely eulogy for your mom. I was warmed by it, and by your appreciation of the gift she clearly was to your own life, too many lives. When you described how your mother engaged with every person she met in a manner of complete acceptance and connection, it reminded me that is the way I have wanted to live my life since I became an adult. It buoyed me with renewed conviction that hers is the path we can all strive to walk: one of acceptance, respect and holding close the values and virtues of beauty.
– James L.
Your eulogy for your mother caused me to do a lot of soul searching. Thank you for sharing it with us, your devoted readers.
– Robert H.
You said your mother “focused her whole attention on the person in front of her; she cared about that person… and nothing else.” It is evident you inherited this as one of your strongest traits, expressing it daily in your Diary. Your mother described herself as “very lucky”. And after reading this heartfelt eulogy she certainly is. I am sure she’s looking down (as a wasp or angel above), grateful to have inspired such a flattering eulogy.
– Molly J.
I was moved to consider whether I am living a life that would move others to feel loss when I’m gone. It is good for me to reflect on this from time to time. I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral seventeen years ago, where, among other things, I noted that if there was any hypocrisy in her soul, it probably had something to do with chocolate! May your mother’s influence continue to bless your life.
– Gordon F.
Thank you for sharing your Mom’s eulogy (and for so much more over all these years!) Oh, to be more like Mamianne! A wonderful, extraordinary lady who gave us a remarkable son. In the end of the eulogy, the wasp story. I broke down and cried.
– Sandy L.
What a lovely and loving eulogy for your mother. I was deeply moved by it. So clearly written, I feel like I knew her. The postscript about the wasp is perfect.
– Mary I.
What an elegant eulogy. I’m sure your mom was proud of you and your family.
– Laurel W.
A beautiful eulogy for a beloved woman. Thank you for sharing her story, for it is the story of many of our own mothers, now fondly remembered.
– Jim B.
Your eulogy for your mom brought tears to my eyes. She was truly woven of the strong fabric that built this country. Mamianne sounds so much like my dear departed grandmother Leona. To never have heard a disparaging word about anyone from these steadfast matriarchs is extraordinary, but that was in fact at the core of their being. Saintly… never bitter, jealous nor rude. God bless them. The world has lost a beautiful soul. My heart goes out to you and your family.
– Bruce O.
Today I read that your mother had passed (“flown away”). Thank you for sharing your eulogy. We sang the song “I’ll Fly Away” at my mother’s funeral in 2010 (she was “only” 86) because it was one of her favorites, which she would oftentimes suddenly start singing!
– Sally G.
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