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Why I’m Changing My Mind About Impeaching Obama

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A lot of good people I know grumble that the House Republicans don’t try to impeach Obama.

I usually don’t say much in response. After the disaster of the ill-conceived Clinton impeachment fiasco, impeachment seems like a superstition. Like a unicorn. I think impeachment is a dangerous tool and should never be used for political purposes.

Besides, Harry Reid’s Senate wouldn’t consider articles of impeachment if they included NSA video of Obama throwing adorable, drooling toddlers off the George Washington Bridge.

Even further, I’m not sure that he’s committed a crime worthy of removal from office.

Until now, that is.

The Bergdahl terrorist exchange changes everything in my view. Everything.

Here’s what we know about the bizarre and troubling Bergdahl-for-murderers swap:

The United States has lost 2,323 troops in Afghanistan. Fourteen of them were reportedly lost looking for Bergdahl in the weeks after Bergdahl deserted–a crime punishable by death in wartime.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s Susan Rice extolled Bergdahl’s honor and heroism on the Sunday talk shows. This was the same Susan Rice who lied to the nation about the video tape after the Benghazi 9/11 massacre. Soldiers who served with Bergdahl prior to his desertion are “appalled” that anyone would call Bergdahl a “hero.”

Add it all up, and you have a pretty clear case. Obama dishonored every man and woman who ever wore the uniform with honor. He released enemy combatants to return to the field of battle and kill more innocents. He did so on behalf of an Army deserter with dubious allegiance to the United States and whose actions reportedly took the lives of 14 soldiers.

For these crimes against the United States and by aiding and abetting terrorists wanted for crimes against humanity, I now want the House of Representatives to start impeachment hearings against the President. The next Congress would have to hold the hearings and trial, but this Congress can get the ball rolling.

The Obama Administration has insulted millions of American service members and veterans. It traded terrorists for one deserter. The President broke the law in his quest to aid the enemy or to make himself look like a badass or whatever. I don’t really care what his motives are. I just want him punished for his crimes.

Maybe I’m All Wrong About Putin and Poland

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When you’ve stated your opinion or belief about something important, do you defend your belief to the hilt? Or do you immediately begin questioning your own conclusions?

Most of my life, I would defend my opinion to the point of losing friends. Even if I was wrong. Even I knew I was wrong. I’m a coward, what can I say?

I’m trying to get better, though. One practice I’ve developed and recommend to everyone is pretty simple but difficult. The week between Christmas and New Years, I list my Top 10 Unquestionable Beliefs. Then I try my best to debunk each one.

I don’t blog them. I don’t carry around my list and review it every day. It’s a one-day exercise. And each round begins the same, with the Apostles’ Creed:

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem; Creatorem coeli et terrae.

 

You could say the Apostles’ Creed is eight beliefs, but I consider it one. Then there are other beliefs, like, I am a terrible father and son, I’ve wasted most of my life seeking instant gratification, and the like. I’ve never debunked any of those, but I keep trying.

I have debunked a few of my beliefs with this process. One such belief involves my prior faith in the Republican Party to create a more perfect society. I think the GOP would suck less than the Democrat Party. But I no longer trust the GOP, as it’s currently formed, to actually improve things very much. There’s just too much money and power in perpetuating the crap.

The biggest benefit to my faith challenges, though, has been in my ability to question my own opinions about everything. It’s liberating. I finally get to admit I’m wrong when I’m wrong and celebrate that I found a better idea than the one I had.

I mention all this because I’ve been writing lately about Putin’s intentions in Eastern Europe. In What Will Putin Do? I speculate that he will advance into Eastern Ukraine. In What Would You Do If You Were Putin, I point out that Putin’s window for restoring Soviet borders and buffers might close with the next US presidential election. In Now The White House Says Russia Preparing to Invade Ukraine, I explain why seizing more land and conquering or intimidating more countries could be in Putin’s best interest.

Today, though, I read Charles Hugh Smith’s blog Have We Reached Peak Putin? I read it, and I agree with many of his points. I only wish my posts had been as thorough, intelligent, and well-reasoned as Mr. Smith’s.  His conclusion contradicts my own, as he says:

Given the context laid out above, it seems increasingly likely that we’ve reached Peak Putin. The capture of a few pawns has cleared the chessboard, but the strategic choices already made have greatly reduced Putin’s room to maneuver.

I still believe that Putin is far from finished. I’m not saying Russian tanks roll tomorrow (though they might). I am saying Putin intends to restore Soviet borders and buffers.

Still, you should read Smith’s post before accepting my arguments. I could be wrong. Or I could be right. History will tell.

King Abdullah Kicks Obama Out of Saudia Arabia ? **Video Added**

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You’d think American foreign policy couldn’t sink any lower than standing by while Vladimir Putin re-conquers the Warsaw Pact nations. Then you’ve underestimated Barack Obama’s incompetence.

Apparently, Obama didn’t bow low enough to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Whatever happened, an “intimate” evening planned for Obama and Abdullah was abruptly cancelled after a two-hour meeting between the two leaders. A meeting intended to “mend fences” between the two men.

UPDATE: Here’s the video from Lou Dobbs on Fox Business

 

The White House is now denying there was  dinner scheduled. They’ve scrubbed all references from the White House web site, they’ve demanded return of printed copies of the schedule (and the state media complied). They’ve even deleted a State Department tweet about the dinner. Before the MSM finishes scrubbing their sites, I grabbed a few screens. Here’s what WaPo said this morning:

Washington Post reports Obama’s overnight stay and dinner with King Abdullah

And USAToday:

USA Today Story Reports Dinner with King Abdullah.

But the dinner was cancelled:


Fox News reported that a State Department tweet posted earlier today was deleted after the White House announced that there never was a dinner planned between Abdullah and Obama. The White House would not explain why the dinner appeared on the President’s official schedule and the press briefing.

What we do know is this: King Abdullah thinks Obama’s a wimp who screwed up the whole Syria thing then appeased Iran on nuclear weapons. Abdullah has stated flat out that if Iran gets nukes, Saudi Arabia will go nuclear.

Apparently, Obama’s fawning, bowing, obsequious routine didn’t impress Abdullah. In fact, I’m pretty sure the King takes Obama for a child playing a man’s role.

It’s highly unusual for a US President to be effectively kicked out of a country–especially an allied country. Coming on the heels of Obama’s feckless deterrent in Eastern Europe, Iran’s flouting of the toothless agreement we signed in the fall, and Obama’s collapsing support at home, the world now witnesses a weird scenario in which Saudia Arabia and Israel become the only “Western” countries capable of bare-knuckle diplomacy with the world’s land-grabbers.

What’s to stop Putin from marching through Ukraine straight into Poland? As I said, Putin knows he has an open window to seize all the land he wants until January 20, 2017.

Now, the White House Says Russia Preparing to Invade Ukraine

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This morning, a White House aide told reporters that Obama’s sanctions are visibly “weakening” Putin and Russia.

Hours later, the White House recognizes that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could come any moment.

Speaking from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Mike Rogers, the chair of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, said US intelligence officials were convinced “that Putin is not done in Ukraine”.

Surprise. As I’ve written, Russian paranoia demands a larger sphere of influence and a large buffer of puppet governments, all the way to the German border with Poland. Plus, Putin has no strategic reason to stop with Crimea. Having articulated the Putin Doctrine that allows Russia to invade any country where two or three gather to speak Russian, any tweet from a Russian-speaking person in any country as a pretext for invasion and occupation.Finally, Putin knows that his window for re-establishing the Soviet Union’s extensive collection of occupied nations could slam shut when the United States elects a new President in 2016.

Here’s my best guess on Putin’s map for 2016:

russian-aims-5

Red is conquered. Pink represents countries forced, by Western weakness, to accept Russian dictates.

To me, the question is no longer “will Putin continue to conquer Europe,” but “will the West survive?”

The US and Europe have no economic means to go to war without first defaulting on trillions of dollars in debt. The Obama Pentagon has systematically dismantled the US military, currently working on a plan to reduce forces to pre-World War II levels. (Because man is too advanced to ever fight another war.) Plus, the US public’s tolerance for war is near zero. From left to right on political dial, the energy comes from those who want America to get out of the World’s Policeman role.

Put it altogether, and we could be in a for nasty 2014-2015.

This might not be a bad time to learn some basic disaster preparedness skills. Start with Peak Prosperity blog. If the bad thing never comes in your lifetime, you’ll at least learn how to live a little cheaper.

What Would You Do If You Were Putin?

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You saw Obama stand by as you threatened Georgia in 2009.

You heard Obama whisper to Medvedev that he’ll be willing to defy Congress to capitulate to you after Obama’s re-election.

You watched Obama and his bumbling Secretary of State mangle its its own strategy in Syria—if the US ever had a Syrian strategy at all.

You saw that the US was completely unprepared for your annexation of Crimea.

You see the headlines of massive NSA spying on US citizens, though that same NSA was blind to your invasion of Ukraine.

And you know that Obama will be a lame duck, weakened, unpopular president until January 20, 2017.

Think is, you have no idea what kind of leader will follow Obama.

You remember that the American people replaced a similarly weak and bumbling Jimmy Carter with the determined, affable cowboy Ronald Reagan.

If you’re Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you grab all the land you can before the next American election?

 

What Will Putin Do?

Book That Called Russia’s Expansionism.

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What Will Putin Do?

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Ask yourself this: why did the stock markets rally today after Obama announced sanctions against Russians? I’ll get back to that, but first some background.

I’ve often said that Putin plays chess while Obama fumbles with checkers. I picture our president, chin resting on fist, brows squeezed in childlike concentration, as he carefully chooses between jumping Putin’s piece to end the game or getting another of his pieces “kinged.”

Of course, Obama goes for the kingship.

But my chess-checkers analogy misses a key ingredient: empathy. America’s political class doesn’t understand a key Russian strategic trait.

Money, Money, Money

Money rules the West. Central bankers dominate every decision in the United States. The single goal of Fed policy is to push up stocks. It doesn’t care about profits, employment, interest, or inflation. It cares about the S&P 500.

Fed policy makers, and their enablers in Washington, also take an classical economics view of people. They missed out on the science of behavioral economics. They believe everyone, everywhere decides solely on the basis of economic self-interest.

Sure, Yellen-Bernanke has played The Ultimatum Game. It found the game amusing, like a parlor trick. Yellen-Bernanke sees no connection between the game and real-life, though. It believes people  always choose economic gain for themselves. The Yellen-Bernanke believes Putin and the Russians will always choose the option that gives Russia an economic gain.

Yellen-Bernanke is wrong.

Russians Think Longer Than Money

According to STATFOR founder George Friedman, Russians think in 20-year cycles, just like generational historians William Strauss and Neil Howe. But I’ve observed a key difference between Americans and Russians. This observation leads me to believe that US sanctions won’t bother Putin.

Something struck me about the batch of Russian software engineers my company imported in the late 1990s. Unlike American engineers, the Russian engineers had deep interest in the humanities and art.

For example, I know several software engineers who graduated from Washington University. They took not a single class in English, History, or any other non-engineering subject. They were, like Yellen-Bernanke, pure numbers people. Engineering, to the Americans, seemed like a religion.

The Russians, on the other hand, seemed to treat engineering like a trade to support their real loves. One Russian engineer I knew was a published poet in Russia. Another had recorded an album of original music. A younger Russian coder was an accomplished painter. The Russians’ parties were full of vodka and music. And the tobacco smoke was filled with air.

Not all US engineers are blind to the humanities, of course. Many engineers I know buck the trend. But put 100 US engineers in a room with 100 Russian engineers, and the Russians will dominate the humanities and arts. At least, that’s been my experience.

I admit my example represents a small sample size. Still, I came away from that experience with a strong sense of difference between Russian and American engineers. Russian engineers empathize with human beings in a way American engineers tend to avoid. Let’s call it an empathy gap.

This empathy gap showed itself in software design. The Americans favored efficient algorithms and complex UIs that would give expert users maximum control. The Russians favored usability and user experience that gave the user maximum pleasure and convenience. More importantly, this empathy gap leads Russians to observe people for who they are, and it leads Americans to see people as mirror images of themselves. 

As Russia embarks on a mission to re-establish  its Warsaw Pact buffer and to extend  its sphere of influence, American strategists expect that Putin will think like an American bankster. I expect Putin will think like a Russian.

So What Will Russia Do?

First, let’s look at history. What’s Russia’s famous war strategy to repel invasions? Come on, you know the phrase.

Scorched Earth.

Russia sustains unimaginable damage when foreigners invade. Think of Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope. Russia hunkers down and lets its enemy punch itself out.

Russia will employ that strategy again, only this time the invasion and counter might not be military. Russia could adopt a scorched economy strategy.

Last week, a record $104 billion of foreign-owned US Treasuries was moved out of Fed custodianship. Some people jumped to the conclusion that Russia was dumping US Treasuries. But Russia did not sell the debt. She simply took it under her control.

The Econs explained that Russia wouldn’t dump Treasuries because doing so would hurt Russia more than it hurts the West. Those Econs were thinking like an American, not like a Russian. Russians will sustain damage in the short run for a win in the long run. And their long run is 20 years, while the American long run is the next fiscal quarter. The next election, at most.

While the Fed could easily buy up $100 billion in dumped treasuries, the Fed would have trouble absorbing $100 billion from Russia and, say, $500 billion from China. And if Russians think in 20-year cycles, Chinese think in 200-year cycles.

So I expect Russia will use its growing coziness with China to dangle the threat of dumping Treasuries over the West’s head. And it will scare the US Chamber of Commerce and the Banksters enough to limit Obama’s potential moves.

After Crimea and Ukraine

While the US and allies apply incremental sanctions against Russia, Russian tanks continue to roll. The Putin Doctrine says that whenever Russian-speaking peoples ask for help, Russia has the right to intervene. In other words, Putin has granted himself the right to take any land inhabited by ethnic Russians. Maybe even people who’ve reached Level 3 in Rosetta Stone’s Russian courses, who knows?

We all know Putin couldn’t care less about ethnic Russians. Putin cares about re-establishing Russia’s Cold War buffer zones in Europe, the Caucasses, and Asia. Pockets of ethnic Russians in those areas give Putin cover for invasion.

STRATFOR’s George Friedman on Ukraine:

A second, more worrying effect of the competition between the West and Russia over Ukraine extends beyond Ukrainian borders. As competition over the fate of Ukraine has escalated, it has also intensified Western-Russian competition elsewhere in the region.

Georgia and Moldova, two former Soviet countries that have sought stronger ties with the West, have accelerated their attempts to further integrate with the European Union — and in Georgia’s case, with NATO. On the other hand, countries such as Belarus and Armenia have sought to strengthen their economic and security ties with Russia. Countries already strongly integrated with the West like the Baltics are glad to see Western powers stand up to Russia, but meanwhile they know that they could be the next in line in the struggle between Russia and the West. Russia could hit them economically, and Moscow could also offer what it calls protection to their sizable Russian minorities as it did in Crimea. Russia already has hinted at this in discussions to extend Russian citizenship to ethnic Russians and Russian speakers throughout the former Soviet Union.

As I wrote on Saturday, Putin believes he needs to bring Poland and Baltic States back into the Russian fold.

The question then becomes, will the West’s plodding, careful, incremental sanctions stop Putin? Or will Putin press his advantage to stay ahead of sanctions?

The Problem With a Weak President

Like it or not, the US is the only western nation with the power to frighten Russia. That power means little when wielded by a president who lacks both the political and the intellectual capital to compete with Putin.

Barack Obama may have been an ace student in his Affirmative Action class at Harvard. He doesn’t do so well in the real world, though. He failed miserably in two of three debates against Mitt Romney, only to be rescued by “moderator” Candy Crowley. Obama was outwitted by the Syrian dictator and by Iran’s regime. He looks weak and confused by the aftermath of the Arab Spring, which he personally helped engineer.

At home, Obama has little support from Democrats in Congress facing re-election. His signature legislation, Obamacare, is unpopular even with the its initial champions, young voters. In fact, the President himself is becoming increasingly unpopular among Millennials, especially the younger ones who were still watching Hannah Montana when their older siblings powered Obama’s election in 2008.

It’s Putin’s Game

So Putin’s adversary is a weakened, unpopular, lame duck President who plays geopolitics like a chicken playing checkers, as Tyler Durden put it. Obama talks tough and carries a little stick–a stick to which China, Russia, Japan, and the Millennials hold the mortgage.

Back to the question of why markets rallied on Obama’s sanctions. The banksters realized Obama’s sanctions are too weak to hurt their schemes. Obama won’t let Russian military expansionism interfere with their Fed-induced bull market.

Returning one last time to the question “What will Putin do?” I can only assume the answer: if you were Putin, and you knew Obama was hostage to the banksters who want only for the S&P to rise, what would you do?