Iran’s Drone Strike

Serious attack or more Middle East theater?

UPDATE: It was theater.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a plan to launch immediate retaliatory strikes against Iran after speaking to US President Joe Biden by phone on Saturday night, Israeli officials have told the New York Times. According to two anonymous officials, Netanyahu’s war cabinet presented him with a list of responses to a massive drone and missile attack by Iran on Saturday evening. While some members of the cabinet reportedly pushed for an immediate military response, Netanyahu ultimately chose not to follow their advice at Biden’s request, the sources said.

UPDATE: Upon further review and the release of much more complete information, the attacks were considerably more than just theater. The much-reported drone attacks were just cover for ballistic missiles strikes on the Israeli air bases that were utilized in the bombing of the Iranian consulate. And the failure of the US military coalition to stop the attacks is almost certainly why Biden told Netanhayu not to retaliate.

The U.S. scrambled a large coalition to shoot the threats down, which included the U.S. itself, UK flying from Cyprus, France, and, controversially, Jordan which allowed them all to also use its airspace and even partook in the shoot downs.

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Why Japan Matters

Clown World has stepped up and tightened its control of Japan, as evidenced by the newly announced change in immigration laws that will import nearly one million Africans to what is still one of the most homogeneous nations on the planet. The reason the clowns are so desperate to keep Japan in line is because without access to the ship-making capacities of both Japan and South Korea, the US Navy has zero chance of challenging China in the South Pacific.

Amid concerns about American shipbuilding, the US Navy’s top civilian official said this week that he was “floored” by a Pacific ally’s capabilities in this space.

The Navy secretary’s comments came on the heels of an internal review that discovered that most of the Navy’s top programs, including high-priority submarines, a first-in-class guided-missile frigate, and the third Ford-class aircraft carrier, were severely delayed by years, fueling worries from US officials about the ability to maintain the country’s pace against great power rivals…

Del Toro paid a visit to South Korea’s yards in February, during which he encouraged companies to invest in commercial and naval shipbuilding facilities in the US. He said there were “numerous former shipyard sites around the country which are largely intact and dormant” that were “ripe for redevelopment.”

The Navy said at the time that South Korean shipbuilding was “an asset” to the US, especially “as China continues to aggressively pursue worldwide shipbuilding dominance.”

That month, Maj. Jeffrey L. Seavy, a retired US Marine Corps officer, wrote for the US Naval Institute that China had roughly 47% of the global market on shipbuilding, the most of any country, with South Korea coming in second at about 29% and Japan in third at about 17%. He said the US had “a relative insignificant capacity at 0.13%,” referencing numbers from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

During his recent Sea Air Space speech, Del Toro further praised South Korea and commended Japan, saying both Pacific allies could build high-quality ships on time, on budget, and often at a fraction of the cost.

While everyone’s attention on the Asian front, including mine, has been focused on Taiwan, it is actually Japan that is the key to expelling Clown World from Asia. And despite Japan’s historical fear of Chinese power and eventual retribution for Japanese war crimes committed against the Chinese people in WWII, it would not be even remotely surprising if Japan ultimately chooses to take sides with BRICS against Clown World due to things like the ongoing military occupation of Okinawa and the mass immigration being imposed upon them.

Despite being smaller, Japan’s shipbuilding capacity is much more important than South Korea’s, because Korea’s shipbuilding activities can be easily obstructed, if not shut down entirely, by the massive North Korean artillery forces.

If the Chinese diplomats play their cards well and successfully allay Japanese fears, sometime before 2030 we will see a sudden and “unexpected” Japanese break with the USA, which will probably be tied in some way to Japan leaving the G7 and joining BRICS.

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BRICS Justice

Brazil has fallen. They are freezing the assets and bank accounts of journalists and confiscating their bank accounts. Pay attention. Coming to a Western nation near you.

I doubt it because I don’t think this is the conventional Clown World deplatforming and demonetization of the sort we so often see in the USA, Europe, and the antipodean colonies. It may, to the contrary, be more akin to BRICS’s ongoing war against Clown World’s soft power, as this article suggests:

Schirlei Alves gave up local journalism after being sentenced to one year in prison by a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. It happened in September 2023. Alves had published a news story about a businessman accused of rape and then cleared from it. Another judge filed civil and criminal lawsuits against her, and she decided that she could no longer do her job in her hometown.

In January 2024, it emerged that the same judge who sued Alves is also suing news organisations, artists and politicians for their use of a simple hashtag. Two months before, the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that news organisations can be held legally responsible for any interviews in which sources attribute crimes to third parties…

During the trial, the prosecutor said that the Brazilian laws do not cover the unintentional rape of a person in a vulnerable position. As this was not included in the law, he argued, this constituted “an atypical case.”

As she summarised the trial to readers, Alves used the term “reckless rape” in the heading of her piece and suggested that the victim had been humiliated by the businessman’s defence lawyers during the hearings. After the piece was published, the hashtag #estruproculposo (reckless rape, in Portuguese) spread across social networks in a movement of solidarity.

In other words, the reporter falsely and knowingly chose to publicly defame a man cleared of a rape charge at trial, and her defamation was spread nationwide via social media. This doesn’t strike me as a pernicious attack on journalism, but rather, an admirable willingness to hold journalists accountable to the same standards that everyone else is held.

This isn’t an exaggeration. An exemption from the libel and defamation laws is exactly what the media clowns are demanding. Their words, not mine: “From a conceptual point of view, we are fighting to ensure that international standards of insult, slander and defamation are not applied to journalistic activities.

Since Clown World is literally built on a foundation of lies, since The Empire That Never Ended is also known by its foremost opponents as The Empire of Lies, it should come as no surprise that any attempt to hold liars accountable for the damage caused by their lies is portrayed in its deceitful media as an attack on the satanic freedoms for which it stands.

I’m still waiting for justice in one of the more recent cases of my own defamation and insult at the hands of certain journalists. But if justice won’t be done under a Clown World regime, we may hope for it after BRICS wins WWIII.

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What Leverage is That?

Clown World’s strategists appear to be increasingly deluded concerning the arts of the possible with regards to the NATO-Russian war:

The war is not trending toward a stable stalemate, but toward Ukraine’s eventual collapse.  Russia has corrected many of the problems that plagued its forces during the first year of fighting and adopted an attrition strategy that is gradually exhausting Ukraine’s forces, draining American military stocks, and sapping the West’s political resolve. Sanctions have not crippled Russia’s war effort, and the West cannot fix Ukraine’s acute manpower problems absent direct intervention in the war.  Ukraine’s best hope lies in a negotiated settlement that protects its security, minimizes the risks of renewed attacks or escalation, and promotes broader stability in Europe and the world.   

Skeptics counter that Russia has no incentive to make meaningful concessions in a war it is increasingly winning.  But this belief underestimates the gap between what Russia can accomplish through its own military efforts and what it needs to ensure its broader security and economic prosperity over the longer term.  Russia can probably achieve some of its war aims by force, including blocking Ukraine’s membership in NATO and capturing much of the territory it regards as historically and culturally Russian.  But Russia cannot conquer, let alone govern, the majority of Ukraine, nor can Russia secure itself against the ongoing threats of Ukrainian sabotage or potential NATO strikes absent a costly permanent military buildup that would undermine its civilian economy. Reducing the deep dependence on China created by the invasion will also sooner or later require Russia to seek some form of détente with the West.  

As a result, the United States has significant leverage for bringing Russia to the table and forging verifiable agreements to end the fighting.  

As Andrei Martyanov points out, this particular analyst is talking out of both sides of his mouth. If, as he correctly says, Ukraine is on an inevitable path toward collapse, then Russia obviously can conquer, and if it chooses, occupy the entirety of the terrain over which the Kremlin ruled for eight decades. It’s obvious that Putin has no desire to do so, but it’s equally obvious that he will do so if Clown World continues to use the poor Ukrainians as an increasingly battered sword against a resurgent Russia.

And while the Chinese alliance is important to Russia, it is not why Russia has survived the economic attack on it nor have the Chinese provided any substantial material military support to Russia. Russia is serving as China’s proxy on the military front, except that unlike NATO’s Ukrainian proxy, Russia doesn’t need any assistance because when it comes to military technology and expertise, it is the Russians who are the senior partner.

In fact, it is the alliance of Russian military technology and expertise with Chinese economic power and industrial capacity that indicates the high probability of Clown World’s eventual defeat. Throw in the massive quantities of natural resources in Russia and the other BRICS nations, and one would be tempted to declare the conflict as over before it even starts, were it not for the vagaries of history that render any such preliminary verdict foolish.

After all, who foresaw the withdrawal of the Turks from the gates of Vienna, or the sudden retreat of the Mongol hordes from Europe and Russia upon the unexpected death of the Khan? We don’t know if either Putin or Xi have competent successors selected and prepared to step up and complete their national missions, just as we don’t know how much longer the USA and the European nations can withstand the centrifugal demographics that have been inserted into their rapidly degenerating societies.

But it is clear that the current phase is quickly approaching its endgame. Whether that will be via a reasonable surrender and settlement or by a classic Zhukovian Manchurian mega-offensive cannot be known, except that to say that the longer the former is delayed, the more likely the latter becomes. Either way, the war will not end in Ukraine.

We are not approaching the end, only the end of the beginning.

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The Return of National Economics

While the Chinese have lower per capita income than US citizens do, the lack of debt and their median household wealth combined with their lower degree of income inequality means that the Chinese economy is much more economically stable than its US counterpart.

I’ll post more about this next week, but one of the reasons Western macroeconomic metrics don’t work to analyze the Chinese economy is because the Chinese are observably following the principles described by Richard Werner in his excellent Princes of the Yen, which chronicles the way Japan successfully maintained its centralized wartime economy to develop its economy and literally buy a significant percentage of the global assets from 1945 through 1990.

That relentless period of economic advancement came to an end in 1998 with the final triumph of the private Bank of Japan, which served as Clown World’s proxy, over the Okurasho, Japan’s Ministry of Finance, and the subsequent shift to the same sort of financialized unproductive economy featuring private credit creation that has systematically weakened the West for the last century.

As part of its policy of unrestricted warfare, China has methodically applied the lessons of Japan’s post-WWII economy and maintained control of its own credit creation, thereby boosting its productive capacity to historically unprecedented levels and providing it with the monetary resources to buy up foreign assets everywhere from Angola to the USA. By publicly breaking with Clown World in 2015, and setting up BRICS as an alternative to the various Clown World institutions, China is offering the rest of the world an observably viable and historically superior economic model to the corrupt and deceptive one that was holding the elites of the various nations enthralled.

This is why Janet Yellen, the US Secretary of the Treasury, was in China this week begging the Chinese to “reduce their overcapacity”. And it’s not an accident that China has applied Japan’s historical policies of a) government credit creation to fund b) productive industrial exports while minimizing the use of credit to fund domestic consumption. This is a proven means of enhancing national power and prestige at the expense of global competitors.

The economic assumptions of the Smith-Keynesian era have gradually been proven over time to be entirely false. This is a difficult lesson for even economic iconoclasts like me to accept, but it is inarguable at this point. From David Ricardo to Paul Samuelson, from free trade to the rational actor, everything about neoclassical economics is intrinsically and observably incorrect, which is why those nations whose economic policies are based on traditional neoclassical economics will inevitably fall behind, both in terms of societal wealth and military power.

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Clown World Finds Out

It’s not as if Russia didn’t warn the clowns what the consequences of imposing sanctions would be.

In a significant escalation of its retaliatory measures against “unfriendly” states amid heightened geopolitical tensions, Russia has seized assets of the agricultural holdings company AgroTerra Group. The move, announced on April 8, 2024, has sent shockwaves through the agricultural sector and raised concerns over food security and international trade relations.

President Vladimir Putin’s decree places Dutch-registered firms AgroTerra Investments B.V. and AgroTerra Holdings B.V. under the “temporary management” of Rosimushchestvo, Russia’s federal property management agency. This action follows a series of similar asset seizures targeting Western companies, including multinational brewer Carlsberg and dairy giant Danone, which have sought to divest their Russian operations in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

AgroTerra, founded in 2008, is a major player in the agricultural industry, specializing in the production and supply of commodities such as soybeans, wheat and sugar beet. The company is recognized as one of the top 20 largest owners of agricultural land in Russia, with a cultivated area of approximately 265,000 hectares (654,829 acres).

The decree’s impact on AgroTerra’s operations remains uncertain. A spokesperson for the company stated, “As of now, the Company has not yet received any further details regarding the decree on the transfer of shares within the authorized capital of the AgroTerra Group to the temporary management of Rosimushchestvo.” Despite the lack of clarity, the company has assured that it is continuing its operations as usual, with a primary focus on the ongoing sowing campaign.

This seizure is part of a broader trend of Russia targeting foreign-owned assets in retaliation for sanctions and other measures taken against Russian companies abroad. In April 2023, Putin signed an executive order allowing Russia to take over real estate, securities, property rights and other assets from foreign companies with ties to “unfriendly countries.”

No doubt there will be serious ramifications. And there can be little doubt that Clown World will continue to fail to learn from its failures, and resort to even more huffing, puffing, and foolish gestures, before doubling down by trying to sanction countries like China and Saudi Arabia.

The seeds of failure are planted by past success. It’s very rare for anyone who has had any degree of success to grasp that what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, because the situations are different.

In the meantime, the Russians have completely destroyed the last of Ukraine’s coal-fired electricity plants and Kharkov, the second-largest city in Ukraine, is being evacuated.

“Very soon, the only topic for any international meetings on Ukraine will be the unconditional surrender of the Kiev regime, I advise all of you to prepare for this.” – Russian Representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya

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Air Supremacy in Ukraine

After two years of patiently attriting Ukro-NATO air defenses and keeping its resources in reserve, the Russian Air Force appears to have now achieved air supremacy in Ukraine.

Ukraine now lacking air defense, Russian jets freely fly over the front line as they never have, free to accurately hit Ukrainian positions with guided aerial bombs.

There’s nothing Ukraine can do now but lose positions.

The West needs to understand what this soon means.

What this means is that the Russian forces can now engage in the sort of one-sided risk-free turkey-shoots that convinced the US military and the IDF that their capabilities were considerably greater than they actually are. So the casualty differential, already heavily in Russia’s favor, is about to tilt even more against the beleagured NATO forces.

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Economics is Fake

Like everything else about Clown World, mainstream economics, as reported by the financial media, is not only false, but known to be false by the serious professionals. Which is why what passes for the “real numbers” are recorded in a separate set of books by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for release to their fellow clowns.

A little over a month ago, a scandal erupted among the (relatively small( group of economists who keep a close eye on the monthly inflation data reported by the Biden Department of Labor, when they learned that there is an even smaller, and much more exclusive group of economists called “super users” who get preferential treatment from the BLS, including wink-wink-nudge-nudge explanations of where the data may diverge from expectations. That was the case for the January CPI when as Bloomberg first reported, the BLS sent an email to a group of data “super users”, which “explained suggested a surge in a measure of rental inflation — which left analysts puzzled — was caused by an adjustment to how subcomponents of the index are weighted”.

Once it became public knowledge that there was a super secret group of preferential “accounts” receiving economic data, immediately following the Bloomberg report, a recipient of the email said that BLS Statistics “tried to retract it and that they were told to disregard its contents.”

The irony is that even those “real numbers” are also based on an incorrect, outdated, and misleading economics model, but they are sufficiently better than the publicly-released numbers to give the favored group of insiders an advantage vis-a-vis everyone else who is active in the financial markets.

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