After 16 years and $1tn spent, there is no end to the fighting – but western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state. By Alfred W McCoyAfter fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies – and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect of stability in Afghanistan that, in 2016, the Obama White House cancelled a planned withdrawal of its forces, ordering more than 8,000 troops to remain in the country indefinitely.In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it. Continue reading...
By Rachel Blevins When U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealed that the Pentagon was missing $2.3 trillion on Sept. 10, 2001, it seemed like a massive amount—little...
While the fear-tracking VIX has been languishing near record lows this year, a gauge of so-called ambiguity, meant to chronicle the degree of uncertainty investors have in the probabilities they use to make decisions, has been at all-time highs in recent months, indicating that there’s more fear built into the stock market than common measures of volatility suggest. The decline in the VIX this year has befuddled investors and traders of all stripes, given the host of geopolitical uncertainties in locations like North Korea and political skirmishes in Washington. Not to mention, stocks have been rising relentlessly for years, unnerving some investors who say that stocks are trading too high relative to expected earnings. As The Wall Street Journal reports, two academics are rolling out a new measure of market fear that suggests investors aren’t nearly as complacent as they seem. In separating out ambiguity from common measures of risk, Menachem Brenner of New York University and Yehuda Izhakian of Baruch College are picking up on a concept that traces back nearly a century. Economist Frank Knight in 1921 wrote about the difference between risk and uncertainty. If volatility measures the uncertainties for which one can determine a probability, or the “known unknowns,” ambiguity measures the “unknown unknowns,” to use a term popularized by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to Mr. Brenner. In October, the gauge hit 2.42, its highest reading in monthly data that extends back to 1993. That’s above the gauge’s previous peak of 2.41 at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008. While none of the academics is willing to call a 'top' or any imminent decline, it is noteworthy that this new measure quantifies what many have noted - that market-based 'non-normal' tail risk remains elevated while 'normal risk' is repressed. * * * Full "Asset Pricing and Ambiguity: Empirical Evidence" paper below:
Paul Ryan's chief of staff would not confirm or deny whether he has been contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller about how a Ukraine-related provision was killed at the 2016 GOP convention.
Authored by Dmitri Speck via Acting-Man.com, Known and Unknown Anomalies Readers are undoubtedly aware of one or another stock market anomaly, such as e.g. the frequently observed weakness in stock markets in the summer months, which the well-known saying “sell in May and go away” refers to. Apart from such widely known anomalies, there are many others though, which most investors have never heard of. These anomalies can be particularly interesting and profitable for investors – and there are several in the precious metals sector as well. Today I am going to introduce one of those to you. As Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense knew, there are things we know we know, things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know (unfortunately he neglected to consider that there are also things we think we know that just ain’t so, such as “Saddam has WMDs” – but let’s not digress). Anyway, Seasonax knows them all! [PT] Gold investors dead asleep for days? To this end we are going to examine the performance of gold and gold stocks broken down by days of the week. The first chart shows the annualized performance of the gold price in USD terms since 2000 (black bar), as well as the annualized gain generated on individual days of the week (blue bars). I have measured the returns based on closing prices, thus the performance achieved on Tuesday equals the average percentage change between the close of trading on Monday and the close on Tuesday. Gold, performance by days of the week, 2000 to 2017. Friday stands out markedly As the chart illustrates, one day really stands out: Friday. With an annualized return of 7.50 percent it reflects almost the entire annualized gain of 8.84 percent generated by the gold price over the time period under review. By contrast, almost nothing noteworthy happened in the gold market from Monday to Tuesday. On Tuesday prices even declined slightly on average. The difference – which has been measured over a period of no less than 4,585 trading days – is obviously quite significant. This suggests that these patterns are not a coincidence. Gold investors indeed appear to be mired in deep sleep from Monday to Thursday, or at the very least they are showing very little enthusiasm on these days. The days of the week under the magnifying glass What exactly was the cumulative trend in this pattern over time? The next illustration shows the indexed performance of gold since the turn of the millennium in gold color, as well as that of individual days of the week in other colors. Gold, cumulative performance by days of the week, 2000 to 2017, indexed. A steady uptrend was in evidence on Fridays – click to enlarge. As the chart shows, prices essentially tended to move sideways over the first four days of the week. Only in 2009 did Wednesday (green line) manage to generate a somewhat stronger average return as well. The gains in the gold price over the entire period of almost 17 years were primarily achieved on Fridays. The blue line depicting the cumulative returns achieved on Friday is in a very steady uptrend. On Friday prices frequently even managed to rise even when the gold price declined overall in the course of the year, such as e.g. in 2014. In short, Friday is indeed quite an unusual day. The action in gold stocks is even more extreme Given that Friday appears to hold a special position in the gold market, the question arises whether and to what extent gold stocks are affected by it. After all, the trend in gold stock prices depends on the trend in the gold price. The next chart therefore shows the annualized performance of the HUI Index of unhedged gold mining stocks since the turn of the millennium (black bar) vs. the annualized performance achieved on individual days of the week (blue bars) since the turn of the millennium. HUI, performance by days of the week, 2000 to 2017 – Friday shines brightly, Monday is weak Once again Friday is the by far strongest day. Its special status is even more pronounced than in gold itself: gold stocks on average rose by 13.28 percent annualized on Fridays, while the HUI on average gained only 5.76 percent over the week as a whole. Or putting it differently: Investors who were exclusively invested on this single day every week, were able to achieve more than twice the return delivered by a buy and hold investment! Moreover, in gold stocks the patterns from Monday to Thursday show a lot more differentiation than those in gold itself. For instance, the average gain recorded on Wednesdays actually exceeded the cumulative gain in the HUI over the week as a whole as well. By contrast, the average performance on Mondays was truly abysmal. Someone who invested in the HUI exclusively on Mondays would have suffered an annualized loss of 9.40 percent! The weekly performance of gold stocks under the magnifying glass The question of the cumulative performance broken down by days of the week arises in connection with gold stocks as well of course. The next illustration therefore shows the indexed returns of the HUI Index in gray, and those of individual days of the week in other colors. HUI, cumulative performance by days of the week, 2000 to 2017, indexed. Knocking it out of the park: Friday beats them all. As the chart shows, the blue line depicting the performance of the HUI on Fridays faithfully tracked the rally in gold prices in the first several years after the turn of the millennium. However, a welcome divergence emerged during the financial crisis of 2008, which had almost no discernible effect on the performance achieved on Fridays. Thereafter, the blue line by and large continued its ascent (only briefly interrupted in annus horribilis 2013), even though the trend in the HUI as such was quite dismal in recent years. Currently the cumulative return achieved on Fridays stands far above that generated by the HUI. This once again underscores how extraordinary the performance of gold mining stocks on Fridays actually was. Compare this to the terrible downtrend in gold mining shares on Mondays, which is found at the very bottom of the chart. The yellow line declines steadily. On Monday, prices even tended to decline in years that were otherwise strongly bullish for gold mining stocks.
«Возможно создание серии провокаций, предназначенных для оправдания военной интервенции, и они могут быть выполнены с помощью имеющихся ресурсов». Отчёт Объединённого Комитета начальников штабов США, 1963 год  Война Буша с терроризмом и манипулирование информацией 11 сентября 2001 года, сразу после совершённых в этот день террористических актов, Джордж Буш, Дональд Рамсфельд и Дик Чейни ввергли Соединённые […]
The problem of responding to attackers without a state
Никто ничего не знает. Трамп не может вспомнить имен погибших солдат. «Бешеный пёс» Мэттис не может объяснить, что солдаты делали, когда их убили. Линдси Грэхем и Чак Шумер понятия не имеют, что у США 800 солдат находятся в Нигере, несмотря на то, что оба они регулярно голосовали за выделение соответствующих денег на операции АФРИКОМа в бассейне озера Чад и в регионе Сахары, якобы для охоты на ИГИЛ* и «Боко Харам»*.
Становится всё более ясным, что двое советских шпионов, Клаус Фукс и Теодор Халл, должны получить посмертно Нобелевскую премию мира за действия, которые почти наверняка спасли миллионы невинных жизней.
Howard George/Getty Images Leaders face complex and uncertain situations every day: What will sales be like next year? Will our new product succeed? What will the competition do? But the most challenging circumstances are often completely unexpected, because we never even knew to look for them. (In the parlance of Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense, they’re the unknown unknowns). After I finished my master’s degree, for instance, I was planning on a career in academia. I applied to several doctoral programs, and wondered which I’d get into. The answer: none. I simply hadn’t realized that the exact quality that made me an ideal candidate earlier in my academic career — a “Renaissance person” who was interested in many disciplines — made me anathema to doctoral admissions committees, which were seeking hyper-specialized applicants. I didn’t know how the game was played, so I was rejected everywhere. The experience taught me an important lesson: I needed to better anticipate my blind spots. But how? Three strategies helped me understand the gaps in my own experience: Seek out an inside perspective. My biggest shortcoming in the doctoral debacle was my failure to seek out an inside perspective on the application process. I didn’t have any friends who were in doctoral programs, and — though my professors liked me — I hadn’t cultivated any as mentors. An inside guide could have quickly set me straight about how the doctoral admissions process differed, but I failed to seek one out. I thought I knew how academia worked, so it never even occurred to me. You and Your Team Series Learning Learning to Learn Erika Andersen You Can Learn and Get Work Done at the Same Time Liane Davey 4 Ways to Become a Better Learner Monique Valcour That’s why, for any major undertaking, it’s important to ensure you’ve connected with people who have direct experience. Not having ready access to someone is no excuse: When I recently applied for a prestigious fellowship, I hired a past participant as a coach to help walk me through the application process. This time, I was accepted. It’s also important to ask the right questions. Don’t start with “What should I be asking you?” or “What am I not asking that I should?” That’s outsourcing the intellectual heavy lifting to someone else, and is almost certain to fail. Instead of making them guess about your knowledge base, ask them probing questions about their own experience — which they can answer far more easily — and then take the time to apply those lessons to your own situation. For instance, you might ask, “What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?” or “What did you learn in the process of doing XYZ that surprised you?” or “What assumptions did you originally have about ABC that proved to be inaccurate?” War-game your potential failures. Studies have shown that one of the most effective methods for improving outcomes is performing a so-called premortem — imagining in advance that an initiative has failed, and working to understand the reasons why. This corrects against the natural bias we have to assume our project will be a raging success, and forces us to become the devil’s advocate: If we have to assume it’s a failure, what might account for that? The exercise can lead to creative insights and possible issues we might have otherwise overlooked (for instance, that my cross-disciplinary orientation could be a liability, rather than a strength). Test for implicit assumptions. Every person, and every field, holds implicit assumptions about “how things are done” or “the way things work.” Typically, those assumptions hold true, and provide a helpful framework. But occasionally, they can backfire, stifling progress and limiting potential because no one thought to question them. One way to break out of the rut and question implicit assumptions is to solicit advice from unlikely sources, who may see the problem in a different way. As Stephen Shapiro notes in his TEDxNASA talk, “If you’re working on an aerospace challenge, and you have 100 aerospace engineers working on it, the 101st aerospace engineer is not going to make that much of a difference. But you add a biologist, or a nanotechnologist, or a musician, and maybe now you have something fundamentally different.” We can also question assumptions ourselves, simply by poking at the concept of “what everyone does” or “the way it’s always been done.” In my new book Entrepreneurial You, I profile John Lee Dumas, a U.S. Army veteran who has become one of the world’s most successful podcasters. His fundamental insight was that almost everyone else released podcast episodes weekly, or even less frequently. But that wasn’t because listeners only wanted a weekly episode — it was because podcasters held day jobs and only had limited time to produce their content. Dumas realized that if he produced a daily podcast, he could capture a greater share of listener interest and downloads, which in turn attracted sponsor advertising dollars. By doing something no one else was doing and questioning the fundamental assumptions of his field, Dumas now brings in six figures every month. We can never completely eliminate our blind spots. But with the strategies above, we can reduce them enough to improve our performance and spare us from the mistakes that — in hindsight — should have been obvious.
Тотальная вакцинация: человечество объявило войну смертоносному гриппу, но он уже победил. Первую волну так называемого свиного гриппа H1N1 в России ожидают уже через неделю
В специальном, наглухо задраенном стерильном боксе, смертельным вирусом инфицируют куриный эмбрион - вручную, капля за каплей. Если что-то пойдет не так - например, треснет стекло - начнется страшная эпидемия.Однако все под контролем - у этой лаборатории несколько степеней защиты и строжайший регламент. Учтены все нюансы. Посторонних здесь не любят. А если и пускают, то сначала отмывают до блеска, потом переодевают в спецодежду.Похожие на космонавтов или ученых из фильма про секретные лаборатории сотрудники Санкт-Петербургского НИИ вакцин и сывороток заняты важнейшим делом - созданием препарата против гриппа. Каждую секунду они имеют дело с опаснейшими микроорганизмами, от которых ежегодно гибнут тысячи людей.На этой неделе в России - впервые за наступившую осень - диагностировали так называемый свиной грипп. Его зона поражения впечатляет - ежегодно в нашей стране заболевают гриппом и другими ОРВИ от 27 до 41 миллиона человек, несколько тысяч умирают. Во всем мире грипп ежегодно уносит до полумиллиона жизней. Медики предполагают, что именно свиной грипп будет свирепствовать в России в этом сезоне.Страшное слово пандемия - это когда заболевание охватывает почти весь Земной шар. Последняя волна заболевания - в 2009 как разна совести убойного свиного гриппа. Не считаясь с границами и карантинами, он проник в 46 стран мира. Унес сотни жизней. Панацея от него, по утверждению специалистов, одна - прививка. Причем, отечественная. Вакцинация идет полным ходом. Роспотребнадзор заявляет о выполнении плана по прививкам на 60 %. В качестве мер предосторожности предлагает дезинфицировать все, даже мобильные телефоны. Вместе с тем, в погоне за цифрами чиновники часто добиваются обратного эффекта - прививают стойкую неприязнь к вакцинации, в том числе и от гриппа.Семью инвалидов из Кисловодска хотят лишить родительских прав. В органы опеки на них пожаловался терапевт. Он обвинил родителей в неоказании детям медпомощи. Супруги считают, что прививки ослабляют иммунитет. А врачей подозревают в обмане и некомпетентности. И, кстати, имеют право: инвалидность Виктории - результат врачебной ошибки.Они редко обращаются к врачам не потому, что испытывают неприязнь к людям в белых халатах, Евгений сам такой носит - он медбрат. Просто до поликлиники им сложно доехать - Кисловодск не приспособлен для малоподвижных инвалидов. Но эти доводы не учли и признали семью социально неблагополучной. Вместе с тем, основания опасаться вакцинации у таких родителей есть. Многие помнят историю мальчика Мишы из Челябинска. Врачи поставили ему прививку от гриппа, не обратив внимания на врожденное заболевание. Последствия оказались катастрофически.Абсолютно здоровый ребенок превратился в инвалида, а спустя 2 года умер. Причем выяснить, кто же в этом виноват, следствию не удалось.Виновата не вакцина, а отсутствие информации. Прививать можно только абсолютно здорового человека. Специалисты говорят об этом постоянно. Со своей стороны, постоянно повышая качество вакцин. Борьба с гриппом подчас напоминает театр военных действий.Ассигнования на эту военную кампанию также готовы посоревноваться с военными. Так, объявленная в 2009 году пандемия свиного гриппа подхлестнула рост рынка вакцин. Фармкомпании заработали огромные 11 млрд долларов. Такие цифры вызвали подозрения. Парламентская ассамблея Совета Европы даже начала расследование и обвинила ВОЗ в лоббировании интересов "Большой фармы" - фармацевтических гигантов. Пытались выяснить, нет ли связи между громкими заявлениями о масштабах пандемии и заинтересованностью производителей? Случайно или нет, сотрудники ВОЗ оказывают платные услуги лидерам фарминдустрии? В итоге докопаться до истины почему-то не удалось.Предметом сговора становятся не только вакцины. Истерично заявляя об опасности птичьего гриппа, чиновники от здоровья одновременно вносят в список рекомендованных определенные виды лекарств. Например, препарат "Тамифлю". Как выяснилось, бонусы от роста акций его производителя получали высокопоставленные американские политики. В частности, бывший министр обороны Дональд Рамсфельд. Западные конспирологи и вовсе утверждают, что вакцины - не лекарство. Это оружие против человечества, призванное сдерживать прирост населения планеты. Именно поэтому споры о том, делать или нет прививку от гриппа, каждый год возникают с новой силой. Между тем, первую волну гриппа в России ожидают уже через неделю.(http://ren.tv/novosti/201...)
MY FIRST 9/11 COLUMN: Written the day of the attack. The column includes this line: Waging this war requires a national consensus to bear the responsibility of common defense and a commitment to common purpose. I think that’s true. I don’t think we’ve done it. For what it’s worth, here’s a column I wrote in […]
NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.U.S. allies will rest easy, Trump said, but America's enemies will "shake with fear" when they see the Ford cutting across the horizon.The president, who is commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, likened the $12.9 billion warship to "an incredible work of art" and boasted about the American labor that went into building a vessel that eventually will house thousands of sailors and crew members.Trump's participation in the ceremony also capped "Made in America" week at the White House, during which the president and administration officials sought to draw attention to the U.S. manufacturing industry."American steel and American hands have constructed this 100,000-ton message to the world," Trump said of the Ford during a speech that praised the bravery and spirit of U.S. service members and referenced his desire for a buildup after years of spending restrictions."American might is second to none and we're getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration. That I can tell you," Trump told thousands of service members and guests, including former defense secretaries Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and Govs. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Rick Snyder of Michigan, who were packed into the steamy hangar bay on the main deck."Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming, and America is coming strong," Trump said.After the speech, he put the Ford into commission and asked God to "bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her." He was followed by Susan Ford Bales, the ship's sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honors."There is no one, absolutely no one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford," she said. "I am honored to give the command: 'Officers and crew of the United States Gerald R. Ford, man our ship and bring her to life.'""Anchors Aweigh" played as row after row of sailors in crisp, white uniforms who had been standing in formation began filing off to man their stations. Sirens and bells sounded, horns blared and the U.S. flag was hoisted high above the deck.Soon after, the captain was informed that the "ship is manned and ready and reports for duty to the fleet."Trump, who visited the carrier in March, told Time magazine this year that the Navy should revert to using steam catapults to launch fighter jets because some of the USS Ford's state-of-the-art systems and technology "costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good."Construction started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. The Navy has blamed the delays and budget overruns on the ship's advanced systems and technology, including electromagnetic launch systems for jets and drones that will replace steam catapults.The warship also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it quicker to refuel, re-arm and relaunch planes, and a nuclear power plant designed to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots and operation for 20 years without refueling.The vessel completed sea trials in April but still will go through a battery of tests and workups at sea before becoming ready for deployment, work that is expected to cost nearly $780 million and take more than four years to complete, congressional auditors said this month.Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship's 50-year lifespan.The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.The Ford was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, a giant Navy contractor in Virginia."I was with you four months ago and I knew that I had to be here today and I told you I'd be back to congratulate you and the crew and everybody involved in commissioning the newest, largest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of this world," Trump said Saturday. "That's a big achievement."
Французские граждане, бывшие узники американской тюрьмы в Гуантанамо, подали в Суд большой инстанции Парижа новый...
Content originally published at iBankCoin.com Over the past 30 years, the neocons have presided over the worst foreign policies in American history -- pursuing their Trotskyite schemes of war that have accelerated to an ebb tide that peaked during Bush the Idiot's reign. Men like Max Boot, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, and many others, have attached themselves to the republican party like a cancerous tumor -- transforming it from a checkered pants, cigar smoked room, boys club into a satanic cult out for the blood of the indigenous. At the root of the neocon "plan", being disciples of Trotsky, is the destruction of "Mother Russia." It's in their blood -- because they're still mad at Stalin. This has been a constant since the 50's. It was only after the Berlin Wall fell and there was a detente between the United States and Russia in the 90s did these revolutionaries affix themselves to the GOP with real energy. The net result of neocon led foreign policies have resulted in thousands of dead Americans, the entire middle east reduced to rubble, millions of civilians dead and/or displaced -- and they have the stones to call Putin evil. Pray tell me, who has killed more people in the world over the past 30 years, America or Russia? Moreover, how has America benefited by these wars, which has bankrupted the treasury and led to an enormous spike in commodities, helped produce a housing bubble and subsequent financial meltdown and the ruin of countless people -- worldwide -- all because they had to export America democracy in order to "make America safe"? How has that worked out so far, Max Boot? Have you taken a look into Rome, Munich or Paris recently? This heated and contentious debate with the former defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney, Max Boot, and Tucker Carlson, should be archived and saved for the sake of posterity. I will not transcribe it for you -- because you'll miss out on the essence of this verbal and intellectual beat down. The world is a dangerous place. At the vanguard of that danger are respected 'intellectuals' like Max Boot -- trying hard to promote a demonic brand of foreign policy that will kill your sons.
The young rider gave France its second Tour stage win this year with a courageous kick in the mountains to break free and win on his own 4.18pm BST The French green jersey contender, Arnaud Démare, is still plugging away out there in his attempt to avoid the cut off time and face disqualification from the Tour. That time is set at 46 minutes I believe, so he should just make it. But for more details check out William Fotheringham’s report on here shortly. I’m off now. Thanks for your company. Here’s how tomorrow’s proper mountain stage looks. 4.15pm BST What a stage that was. A super-quick start in which the breakaway, well, couldn’t break away for quite some time. The pace of today’s stage was gruelling and will have taken quite a bit out of the riders who have to tackle the fierce 181km stage nine from Nantua to Chambéry, which includes three of the Tour’s six unclassifiable climbs, such is their difficulty. Continue reading...