PM End of Week Market Commentary - 4/13/2018

davefairtex
By davefairtex on Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 6:03pm

On Friday, gold rose +11.10 [+0.83%] to 1348.60 on moderate volume, while silver climbed +0.20 [+1.22%] to 16.64 on moderate volume also. The buck was mostly unchanged. Today's rally wasn't about currency, it felt more as though it was safe haven buying prior to the weekend, although its hard to know for sure.

It was a bullish-looking sector map this week for the metals; miners led the metal, and silver led gold. All except copper moved above the 9 MA lines, and much of the group is also above the 50. Palladium led – perhaps because Russia is a big palladium producer, and the new sanctions on Russia might eventually affect supply. To me, the positive signs from the miners are the real bullish sign here for the group.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch MA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Palladium $PALL 9.22% 23.36% rising falling rising falling ma200 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Senior Miners GDX 3.72% -6.72% rising falling rising falling ma200 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Junior Miners GDXJ 3.40% -8.75% rising falling falling falling ma200 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Silver Miners SIL 2.70% -18.17% rising falling falling falling ema9 on 2018-04-11 2018-04-13
Silver $SILVER 1.71% -10.25% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Platinum $PLAT 1.49% -4.32% falling falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-09 2018-04-13
Gold $GOLD 0.84% 4.53% rising rising rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Copper $COPPER 0.82% 19.16% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-12 2018-04-13

Gold rose +11.30 [+0.84%] this week, breaking briefly above the previous high of 1365.40 on Wednesday. Gold was very choppy this week – Wednesday's strong rally was followed by Thursday's stronger decline, and then on Friday gold rallied once more. Gold forecaster ended up at +0.02, which is a buy signal for gold – just barely. Weekly gold is in an uptrend, while monthly is in a downtrend. Gold in Euros remains bearish in all 3 timeframes. It is possible that the Europeans need to become buyers for gold in order for it to break above 1377 resistance - but you can see in the weekly chart below that we aren't far away from that breakout.

The June rate-increase chances remains at 79%.

COMEX GC open interest rose by 13,411 contracts this week.

Silver rose +0.28 [+1.71%] this week. Silver moved higher for 4 days out of 5, which is a reasonably strong performance. However, it was not enough to move silver into an uptrend; daily forecaster ended the week at -0.11, which is a slight downtrend. While the weekly forecaster remains in a downtrend too, the monthly turned positive this week; if we close at these levels at end of month, monthly forecaster will issue a buy signal. And looking at the weekly chart with the Mk 1 eyeball, it sure looks as though the volatility has died away, there is a relatively strong bid at 16.10, and a move higher might just be in the cards. Adding the still-incredibly-bullish COT report into the mix, I'm positive about where silver probably goes next.

The gold/silver ratio fell -0.70 to 81.02, which is bullish.

COMEX SI open interest plunged -25,425 contracts, or 3953 tons of paper silver. That's a massive change – the paper equivalent of 16% of global silver production vanished in just one week. I think that's bullish too.

The miners had a good week, with XAU rallying +3.12%. This week saw a mini-breakout above a previous high, a retreat back to the breakout point, and then a strong rally on Friday to a new high. This is a bullish pattern. Although the miners aren't closing at their day highs, and the daily forecaster remains weak at +0.06, both the weekly and monthly forecasters remain in uptrends. XAU is now above both the 50 and 200 MA lines. That's also bullish.

The GDX:$GOLD ratio rose +2.85%, while the GDXJ:GDX ratio fell -0.31%. That's bullish.

USD

The buck fell -0.32 [-0.36%] to 89.42. The buck is slowly moving back down to the middle of its recent trading range, dropping back below its 9 and 50 MA lines – that's bearish. Daily forecaster moved lower, down to -0.56, which is a fairly strong downtrend. Weekly forecaster issued a strong sell signal this week (-0.58 to -0.42), and the monthly moved back into a weak downtrend.  This all suggests the bias for the buck is to the downside.

US Equities/SPX

SPX rose +51.83 [+1.99%] to 2656.30. It was relatively slow progress this week – at least compared with the recent past anyway – but SPX did manage to close back above its 9 MA, which is bullish. It also issued a buy signal on Tuesday, with the forecaster ending the week at +0.36, which is a reasonably strong uptrend. Weekly forecaster also issued a buy signal, up +0.62 to +0.35. Monthly remains slightly bearish, at -0.03.

Sector map was mixed; energy was incredibly strong, tech did fairly well, and utilities retreated – which looks relatively bullish - but homebuilders also fell, which is not a great sign. Homebuilders are showing a very distinct lower-high lower-low pattern, which is bearish. A death cross approaches too. Its hard to see how the economy does well when the homebuilders are falling. Financials have a similar look to them, although they aren't quite as bearish, but the sharp drop on Friday for XLF (bearish engulfing: 40% reversal) suggests lower prices ahead.

VIX fell -4.08 to 17.41.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch MA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Energy XLE 6.03% 3.03% rising falling rising falling ma50 on 2018-04-10 2018-04-13
Telecom XTL 3.94% 3.45% rising rising rising rising ma50 on 2018-04-10 2018-04-13
Gold Miners GDX 3.72% -6.72% rising falling rising falling ma200 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Technology XLK 3.54% 26.64% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-10 2018-04-13
Materials XLB 2.83% 13.25% rising falling rising falling ma200 on 2018-04-12 2018-04-13
Healthcare XLV 2.49% 10.67% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-10 2018-04-13
Industrials XLI 1.68% 15.57% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-12 2018-04-13
Defense ITA 1.50% 35.12% rising falling rising falling ma50 on 2018-04-12 2018-04-13
Financials XLF 1.07% 19.91% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Cons Discretionary XLY 0.54% 16.95% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Cons Staples XLP 0.32% -4.10% rising falling falling falling ema9 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
REIT RWR -0.52% -9.20% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Utilities XLU -1.25% -3.66% falling falling falling falling ma50 on 2018-04-13 2018-04-13
Homebuilders XHB -2.01% 8.96% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2018-04-11 2018-04-13

Gold in Other Currencies

Gold rallied in all currencies this week except GBP; gold in XDR climbed +7.50.

Rates & Commodities

Bonds moved slightly lower, with TLT off -0.17% on the week. TY did substantially worse, falling -0.45%, making a lower low on Thursday. Friday's doji was a bearish continuation, and TY forecaster ended the week at -0.20, which is a mild downtrend. The weekly TY forecaster also issued a tentative sell signal this week, dropping -0.24 to -0.04, but the monthly forecaster remains in an uptrend. When I see how bonds did during the recent concern over Syria, it sure looks as though US treasury bonds aren't acting like the safe haven they once were.

JNK rallied +1.18% this week, which is a strong move for junk. The move this week in JNK could be a relatively strong risk on sentiment – or it could be a result of the large move higher in crude. Forecaster ended the week at +0.75, which is a strong uptrend. BAA rates also appear to be on the cusp of heading lower, which would be bullish for junk debt as well.

Crude shot up +5.40 [+8.72%] to 67.33, a very large move in the price of the master resource. Crude rallied 5 days out of 5, breaking above the previous multi-year high of 66.66. The combination of reduced concerns over the US-China trade war, plus the geopolitical uncertainty in Syria seemed to be the cause for the rally in crude. I also believe that the rising crude price is – for now – supporting equities, since it is the energy-equity subsector that is rallying the hardest at the moment.  Still, the forecaster ended the week at +0.30, which suggests that the uptrend is slowing. Crude has this pattern of moving up, and then retracing, and that may be what it is preparing to do right now.

Crude remains in an uptrend in all 3 timeframes.

Physical Supply Indicators

* The GLD ETF tonnage on hand rose +5.90 tons, with 866 tons in inventory.

* ETF Discount to NAV:

 PHYS 10.92 -0.63% to NAV [down]
 PSLV 6.15 -2.17% to NAV [down]
 CEF 13.53 -2.39% to NAV [down]

* Bullion Vault gold (https://www.bullionvault.com/gold_market.do#!/orderboard) shows no premium for gold and a 2-3% premium for silver.

* Big bars premiums were: gold [1kg] 1.08% and silver [1000oz] 3.40%.

Futures Positioning/COT

In gold, the commercial net position rose by 13k, mostly closed shorts (-9k) but also some new longs (+4k). Managed money net position fell by 1k, mostly long liquidation (-1.5k) but also new shorts (+466). These were very minor changes. Gold remains in limbo from a COT perspective, neither bullish nor bearish.

In silver, the commercial net fell by -1.9k, mostly long liquidation (-3.1k) but also some short covering (-1.1k). The managed money net rose by 3.2k, mostly short-covering (-2.9k) and a small number of new longs (+292). These are minor changes, and we remain at near-record levels for managed money short interest – a COT low for silver.  This week, I'm going to show you the big picture for silver - and the COT.

Grey Swan Status

  • Italian Elections – No progress forming a government in Italy. A succinct description from (http://the-view-from-rome.blogautore.repubblica.it/?refresh_ce) follows: “...5-Star’s 33% of the vote makes it the country’s largest party but still lacking a majority, Di Maio has said he could govern with the League, but has categorically ruled out participating in a government that includes Berlusconi, while Salvini has so far ruled out abandoning his partner in the right-wing coalition, Berlusconi. Di Maio has been clear and consistent: “We see only one way to resolve this stalemate: Silvio Berlusconi should step aside and allow the creation of a government of change.” Berlusconi is famous for many things: putting aside personal ambition for the good of the country is not one of them.”

  • US Congressional Elections, 2018. The generic ballot shows Democrats 46.5% [+6.8%] vs Republicans 39.7%, a decrease of -1.8% in the spread vs last week. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/congress-generic-ballot-polls/

  • German refugee reunification restrictions: anecdotal evidence suggests some number of migrants & refugees who are denied reunification (i.e. the ability to fetch their relatives into the country) are returning to their country of origin. The Greens are very unhappy, calling this a catastrophic error, but I suspect AfD and CDU feel differently. Might the Germans be starting on the slow path towards recovery from the migrant/refugee situation? http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-refugees-leaving-germany-over-family-reunification-policy/a-43358055

  • Mueller Investigation: FBI investigators raided the offices of Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, allegedly looking for evidence about payoffs to Stormy Daniels; perhaps they are hoping to flip Cohen by threatening him with a charge of making an illegal campaign contribution. In the meantime, the FBI will now presumably dig through all that attorney-client-privileged communication looking for new avenues for their investigation; they can always use parallel construction to sidestep the pesky rules about violating privilege. Republican Lindsey Graham has previously said that if Trump fires Mueller, its an impeachable offense – impeachment being a political process rather than a legal one. Trump pardoned Scooter Libby this week, perhaps signaling his willingness to use pardons to help those he believes have been victimized by Mueller's prosecutorial enthusiasm.

Summary

While the concerns over a trade war with China appear to have ebbed, it was replaced with concerns over a war with Russia over Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians – although it was unclear why Syria would want to do this, given they are winning the war at the moment and apparently are not in need of any “edge” that such weapons might provide. Economic reports have taken a back seat to geopolitics in terms of the forces affecting the markets.

Silver remains at a COT low, with near-record short positions for managed money, and near-record long positions for the commercials. Gold remains in a no-mans-land, neither bullish nor bearish.

Big bar gold and silver premiums remain relatively unchanged; supply indicators suggest there is no current shortage of physical gold.

Miners are increasingly positive, gold is hovering not far below a major breakout point, with silver also managing to move higher. All this, while the buck may have turned back down again.  If the buck does break lower, gold probably breaks out through 1377.

I leave you with the following long term gold chart. It shows an ascending triangle pattern, which is generally a bullish pattern, along with rising volume. It is always good to have rising volume along with rising price – it is showing increased interest as price rises. The more shots gold takes at breaking out, the higher the likelihood it will do so.  As long as the buck keeps falling, I see two basic scenarios: #1 where it breaks out immediately, and #2 where it head-fakes lower, and then breaks out.  I know that seems like fantasy to the long-suffering goldbugs here, but this looks like a bullish chart to me.

Now we just need Europe to jump in and start buying gold, and we'll be all set.

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23 Comments

Cold Rain's picture
Cold Rain
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2016
Posts: 363
Open

Great write-up as usual, Dave.  Going to be cool to see futures open up 300-400 and gold open down at least $10, now that the worthless and widely anticipated “showdown with Syria and Russia” has blown over.

Cold Rain's picture
Cold Rain
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2016
Posts: 363
Calls

Looks like I was wrong, so far, about gold...although, you'd think with the buck down .40, gold would be doing a bit better.  Anyway, it's up around $5 right now at 10:45.  Will it hold?

Stocks, of course, appear to be on their way toward my 300+ target, although I did think they would open higher.  Probably will retest the 100 dma.

On another note, I find it amusing that Putin is saying there will be global chaos if we go into Syria again.  I am to the point where anything I see put out for public consumption, I am inclined to believe the opposite.  He said pretty much the same thing before we just bombed Syria.  What did he do?  Nothing.  He isn't going to do anything.  And neither are we.  Like we didn't give anyone a heads-up.  I guarantee everyone and their brother know exactly what we were going to hit.  And lol at this is going to teach Assad a lesson.  It didn't last time.  Why would it this time?  That's all even predicated on the fact that he launched the chemical attack, which makes no sense whatsoever.  All of this is just for show.  And people eat it up.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 3 2008
Posts: 5408
a show

I agree, the whole thing seems to be a show, with our missile strike a $100 million dollar propaganda exercise.

One hopes Trump sticks by his pledge to leave Syria.  It sounds like his "top advisors" never saw a quagmire they didn't like, but Trump's base want our troops to come home.  And whatever you say about Trump, he certainly does seem to remember what his base wants - and more often than not, he tries to live up to it.

If I recall correctly, Johnson's "top advisors" recommended we stay in Vietnam, and Bush's "top advisors" recommended we invade Iraq.

Cold Rain's picture
Cold Rain
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2016
Posts: 363
Sucks

Agree, Dave.  Also, it does suck that the buck is off nicely and PMs are barely clinging to gains.  That doesn't bode well for the rest of the week when, inevitably, we see some strength in the buck.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 1 2009
Posts: 250
Actions do match words
Cold Rain wrote:

On another note, I find it amusing that Putin is saying there will be global chaos if we go into Syria again.  I am to the point where anything I see put out for public consumption, I am inclined to believe the opposite.  He said pretty much the same thing before we just bombed Syria.  What did he do?  Nothing.  He isn't going to do anything.  And neither are we.  Like we didn't give anyone a heads-up.  I guarantee everyone and their brother know exactly what we were going to hit.  And lol at this is going to teach Assad a lesson.  It didn't last time.  Why would it this time?  That's all even predicated on the fact that he launched the chemical attack, which makes no sense whatsoever.  All of this is just for show.  And people eat it up.

It appears as if you are responding to clickbait headlines and various characterizations of what is said by Putin rather than what he actually says.  It would be a mistake to base your predictions on those derivative assumptions.

If you look at what  Putin actually says, his actions do match his words.  That is one thing that is refreshingly different about his leadership style.  

In the case of the Douma false flag attack, he directly and specifically warned the US that if we attacked in a way so as to harm or threaten embedded Russians in Syria,  he would shoot down missiles and attack platforms.

This was communicated  directly to Dunford and the result was that the 'realist's won the day over the Bolton wing and our attack was limited to a completely symbolic strike that was run through the deconfliction protocols, with reportedly even the targets being communicated via the French to the Russians.

Consequently Russia did not shoot down our missiles or attack the platforms so his actions matched his words.

As to his his current comments  he simply predicted that continued illegal unilateral actions outside the UN Charter would lead to chaos in International relations.

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said.

This is a simply call for Nations to act responsibly within the framework of established International Law and moreover seems like a completely reasonable prediction in light of events and the stakes and players involved.  I would argue that things on the international relation front  are already pretty chaotic and getting worse.

This is consistent with his words and deeds and strategy on the International stage and is in response by the US of it's current initiative to normalize unilateral actions outside of the Security council framework.

Btw  there is a concerted neocon/ Zionist propaganda effort to dismiss Putin as a 'paper tiger' which is both incorrect and foolish.  Putin has also been very clear that if we attack Russia directly their response will include asymmetric battlefield nucs and if they are threatened by strategic nuclear response, he won't hesitate to destroy us.  They clearly have the capability to do both those things.

Our senior military know,  as evidenced by the symbolic Syria strike, that Putin is not a paper tiger, the real danger is that the Bolton/ Neocon wing is able to gain the upper hand on Military policy and will force  Putin's response. That would be an epic miscalculation and potentially catastrophic. It is unfortunately however what Neocons are best at.

If Mattis or Dunford lose their jobs soon.  it will be time to duck and cover.

mememonkey

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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paper tigers

It is strange.  On the one hand, Putin is a paper tiger.  On the other hand, he's the biggest threat to the West since Hitler.  It seems like both messages issue forth from that group, depending on the circumstance.  Does this make sense to anyone?  It doesn't make sense to me.

Economically we outclass Russia tremendously, so Russia isn't any sort of conventional/existential threat to the west.  Strategically, however, it doesn't take too many missiles to destroy a country, and Russia certainly has enough to assure our destruction.  All the old cold war logic applies.  To me, Putin (and Russians in general) would be quite willing to destroy an adversary if they feel threatened, even at the cost of their own destruction.  They're a cranky bunch.  Napoleon and Hitler come to mind; Russians beat them both - at great cost.  Any reading of history tells you that: they'll do whatever is necessary to get the job done.

Fortunately, Trump appears to be against more quagmires, and he also appears quite willing to override (and summarily fire) advisors who try and push their agendas too hard.

My suggestion: maybe don't run the fear impulse too hard, because a) there's not much we can do about it individually, and b) Trump, so far, seems to have it under control.

However, in our circles of friends, it might be a good idea to point out the warmonger-mind-control techniques used throughout history: babies-in-incubators in Iraq 1, nonexistent WMD in Iraq 2, we-came-we-saw-he-died (and afterwards, chaos ensued - and still exists, creating a power vacuum into which ISIS is happy to appear) in Libya, Tonkin Gulf followed by 10 years of war in Vietnam, etc.  The techniques don't change, and when we see "children killed by poison gas" - it brings to mind babies in incubators.

"They" love using dead children to manipulate us all into war.  That's because they are sociopaths.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 1 2009
Posts: 250
Nature of the Threat
davefairtex wrote:

It is strange.  On the one hand, Putin is a paper tiger.  On the other hand, he's the biggest threat to the West since Hitler.  It seems like both messages issue forth from that group, depending on the circumstance.  Does this make sense to anyone?  It doesn't make sense to me.

You are correct both these messages are used.  Despite the inherent schizoprhenic contradiction, It makes perfect sense to me.  This is a push pull dialetic used to shape public opionion and to achieve support/aquiescence/funding for military intervention and related policies.  

Demonize Russians as an existential threat provides the tribal imperative to justify the MIC expenditures and circle our wagons with patriotic fevor against that  common threat

Minimize the threat  and disparage enemy as weak so as to situationaly justify and rationalize otherwise ill advised policy actions.

The public opinion is being played on emotional levels and doesn't have the institutional memory awarness or facilty to realize it's being led like a  'dumb' beast   with carrot and stick. ( apoligies to beasts for this slanderous comparison) This facility should be fulfilled an  independent media but that ship has sailed.

davefairtex wrote:

Economically we outclass Russia tremendously, so Russia isn't any sort of conventional/existential threat to the west...

You are correct that we currently economicaly outclass Russia tremendously.   However I believe That Russia in conjunction with China does represent an existential threat to the current global Western hedgemony.  Taken together China and Russia represent an almost perfect symbiosis of economic/manufacturring clout coupled with mineral and energy resources and military technology.    Driving these two traditional enemies into a strategic alliance is possibly the single biggest real politik blunder of empire ever.

If you look at the trends, across all domains, economic, technical, trade, geopolitical there is a clear shift over time towards a truly mulilateral world. As you point out MAD is still in effect so there already exists a defacto mulilateral security order.   Given our tottering financial systems and ability to fund deficits are predicated on the petro dollar/ reserve currency of the dollar status the 'trend is not our friend'

Rusia is leading and integral to these  trend shifts  nascent global alternative financial and trade and security structures,SPFS SCO OBOR, etc fractures in European unity and potential subservience to US (Austria, Hungary, Greece Germans re Nordstream2) shifting alliances in the Mideast ( Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar  )

Taken in isolation GDP as a sole metric  is a false barometer of power and influence  I take no comfort in the US ability to outspend on something. Case in point military technology, by any objective measure Russia is producing better military technology faster and more judiciosly than our sclerotic and corrupt MIC procurment systems are able.  In this analogy Russia is the nimble starup that takes down a staid market leader.

davefairtex wrote:

Fortunately, Trump appears to be against more quagmires, and he also appears quite willing to override (and summarily fire) advisors who try and push their agendas too hard.

I am less sanguine about this.  Yes he is firing advisors.  But the trend appears to that the advisors he is firing are those that have a modicum of reality based restraint.  He is replacing them with activist Neocon's. 

 

mememonkey

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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russia/china

The Russia/China combination is really a very powerful one, as you say.

And yet...Russia and China share quite a long border.  If China is looking for "living space" and/or resources, that mostly-empty section to the north may look tempting to them.

I think the Russia-China alliance looks better on paper than it does in real life.  Sparsely-populated Russia (with dreadful demographics) has to be more than a little worried about an ever-increasingly powerful China right there on the doorstep.

Certainly we are practically forcing them to work together, but if we were to let up the pressure for just a bit, China would rapidly become Russia's #1 concern.

That's just my sense anyway.

jerryr's picture
jerryr
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Posts: 157
Trump the biggest threat to Russia since Hitler
davefairtex wrote:

I agree, the whole thing seems to be a show, with our missile strike a $100 million dollar propaganda exercise.

Not exactly. The missile strike was a $200 million attempt to shut down Syria's air force by hitting all their major airports. And as such, it was a miserable, humiliating failure for the US military. This fact has been noted by the Russian Ministry of Defense, and verified by three independent sources. See:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-pentagon-hides-attack-failure-70-cruise-missiles-shot-down-.html

davefairtex wrote:

It is strange.  On the one hand, Putin is a paper tiger.  On the other hand, he's the biggest threat to the West since Hitler.  It seems like both messages issue forth from that group, depending on the circumstance.  Does this make sense to anyone?  It doesn't make sense to me.

I know you'll say we're on the same side here, but you have to recognize the irony in comparing Putin to Hitler. The Russians were responsible for defeating Hitler in WW2, far more than any other country.

It might be ridiculous to say that Putin is the biggest threat to the West since Hitler. But it's absolutely accurate to say that Trump is the biggest threat to Russia since Hitler. 

 

 

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Posts: 5408
trump as hitler

I know you'll say we're on the same side here, but you have to recognize the irony in comparing Putin to Hitler. The Russians were responsible for defeating Hitler in WW2, far more than any other country.

Yes I totally agree that Russia more than anyone else defeated Hitler in WW2.  If the Wehrmacht had been able to concentrate on the US/UK forces instead of being heavily engaged in Russia, the Normandy invasion would have been crushed within hours, if not days.  My mis-spent youth playing eastern front wargames taught me that.  The Wehrmacht was big, and powerful, and 85% of it was engaged in Russia - and by 1944, it was getting its butt thoroughly kicked.  Russia had to fight Germany largely on its own in 1941-1943.

Even without the weakness of the UK, I suspect the Allies were happy to let Germany and Russia go at each other.  That's because of the whole Nazi-Soviet agreement to chop up Poland...and there were those 30,000 Polish officers executed by the Red Army...and the Holodomor in the Ukraine in 32-33 where 7-10 million civilians were starved to death by Stalin, and of course the Russian attack on Finland in 1940.  Stalin may not have been Hitler, but ... he was Stalin.  He was not a nice man, but he was on our side - for a few years anyway - primarily because Hitler for some crazy reason decided to attack Russia.  Of course after the war he decided he wanted to keep Eastern Europe and the whole "Friendly Russia" thing went right out the window.

It might be ridiculous to say that Putin is the biggest threat to the West since Hitler. But it's absolutely accurate to say that Trump is the biggest threat to Russia since Hitler.

Yeah, I don't agree.  Trump quite clearly wants normalized relations with Russia.  That's what has all those people at CNBC in an uproar.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
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Joined: Nov 1 2009
Posts: 250
US Military Fail
jerryr wrote:

Not exactly. The missile strike was a $200 million attempt to shut down Syria's air force by hitting all their major airports. And as such, it was a miserable, humiliating failure for the US military. This fact has been noted by the Russian Ministry of Defense, and verified by three independent sources. See:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-pentagon-hides-attack-failure-70-cruise-missiles-shot-down-.html

I agree this was a big practical fail for US Military and that  the  Russian MOD report assessment appears to be factual.  The Pentagons version, like the rest of it's assertions in this matter are demonstrably ludicrous on their face. They are provably false  based solely on the self contradictory logic and the math inherent in their own public assertions.

The claim that they targeted those three above ground structure sites with 105 missiles doesn't pass the smell test.   Moreover the damage publicly visible to those structures is completely inconsistent with that level of firepower that supposedly landed. 

A good visual analysis that walks you through the logic site by site is found here in the second half of this article:

https://www.sott.net/article/382908-About-Those-Nice-New-Smart-Missiles-...

That said,  and while  the attack clearly had tactical objectives, even with the airfields included, it still fell within the parameters of a symbolic and capabilities probing strike. The level of firepower and the scope of the targets was done within the constraints that would not trigger a Russian kinetic response.

The apparent 100% efficacy of the airports defenses against missile strikes is certainly a function of the Russian, targeting help and their model of integrated systems level defenses and possibly even  Russian EW measures. 

The fact that it was done without activating Russian S300 and  S400 systems is a big deal.  Not only did it deny real world probing of those systems capabilities but the it's a huge win for Russia, even if the American people and the rest of the sheep in the West don't get the memo.  I suspect that demand for all things 'Russian Air defense' will skyrocket amongst the countries in that region and beyond and with that demand comes distinct political and diplomatic advantages and leverage for Russia. 

This apparent Russian technology success also has significant implication for strategic nuclear defenses combining the S400 and S500 systems present a credible domestic shield. 

The F UK US may have won the PR battle for the moment but they are losing the actual war that counts.

mememonkey

 

 

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mememonkey
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Trump V Putin
davefairtex wrote:

Yeah, I don't agree.  Trump quite clearly wants normalized relations with Russia.  That's what has all those people at CNBC in an uproar.

Dave it seems like your clinging to Trump V 1.0  which is really the Bannon/Flynn iteration of Trump

I view trump as a political animal/con man without real principles and or moral compass. His actions speak louder than words and his actions indicate that  Trump seems perfectly fine with  ratcheting up economic war via sanctions, expelling Russian diplomats, closing embassies, vilifying Putin  appointing Russian hardliners to his inner circle re-energizeing the arms race etc.  his occasional sop or dog whistle to his anti interventionist base not withstanding.

You could argue that he is pinned in by the environmental media and political pressures and I would agree that was a large factor in the devolution of Trump's Russia stance although I suspect just as relevant  that he lacks the intellectual and foreign policy depth which in addition to his narcissism and related personality shortcomings makes him vulnerable to manipulation. His anti Putin rhetoric, has the sound of a true believer now.

But if even if you accept the "they won't let Trump be Trump rational "  then regardless, functionally what does it matter?   Were left with Trump escalating the full spectrum campaign against Russia at the behest of the neocon insiders.

 

mememonkey

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davefairtex
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limited strikes

I'm not sure I'd want to overemphasize the "success" of the defense when there was no apparent attempt to first neutralize said defense - I'm guessing for fear of causing casualties among the Russian troops embedded with the Syrian Army.  From my understanding of doctrine, its important to jam radars, and to use anti-radiation missiles, and take other steps to suppress air defenses prior to executing a large attack.

The defense can probably do fairly well against an unsupported attack, whose targets and timing were telegraphed in advance.  That's "best possible case" for the defense.

That should probably not be mistaken for a surprise attack which would include an effort to suppress the defense radar and AA missile systems executed without regard for casualties among the defenders.

If worldwide arms buyers want to make arms purchase decisions based on this "best possible case defense", well, that's not my problem.  I just know that I wouldn't do that.

I'm all for not executing this kind of attack, because its dangerous, and counter-productive, and expensive all at the same time, but neither do I operate in a world where the Russian systems are super-capable-amazing while the US systems are pathetic and barely able to function.

Last time I heard this sort of line, I kicked the tires, and I found the "super-amazing system" that was bragged about by the Friends of Russia had yet to be deployed.  And it had been bragged about - breathlessly - for years.  And many of the people here at this site simply repeated this propaganda about how amazing this Russian system was, without even realizing it didn't yet exist.

As Chris has said about the "White Helmets", if you lie to me once, your credibility is gone.  And that's not about you guys here, its about the original source for the vaporware-Russian-weapon-systems claims, whom I no longer find credible.

So when I hear just how amazing the Russian systems are, I take it with a grain of salt.  That doesn't mean I want to attack Russia, it just means I'm just as suspicious of Russian propaganda as I am about the "information" put out by the US & NATO.

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full spectrum?

But if even if you accept the "they won't let Trump be Trump rational "  then regardless, functionally what does it matter?   Were left with Trump escalating the full spectrum campaign against Russia at the behest of the neocon insiders.

I'm not seeing any sort of full spectrum campaign here.  You can characterize me as "clinging" all you like, but this attack looked for all the world like the last one.  There were even complaints in the media I read that said it wasn't nearly enough.

We'll see soon enough.  If Trump gets us out of Syria, that will be good.  If he escalates the campaign against Russia, then that will be not good.  I will take it as it comes.

I honestly think you - and others here - are more fearful than you need to be, but everyone has their own lens through which they view the world, and who am I to say that using worst case analysis isn't actually the safest way to proceed through life.

If you always expect the worst, you will never be disappointed!

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Cold Rain
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davefairtex wrote: But if
davefairtex wrote:

But if even if you accept the "they won't let Trump be Trump rational "  then regardless, functionally what does it matter?   Were left with Trump escalating the full spectrum campaign against Russia at the behest of the neocon insiders.

I'm not seeing any sort of full spectrum campaign here.  You can characterize me as "clinging" all you like, but this attack looked for all the world like the last one.  There were even complaints in the media I read that said it wasn't nearly enough.

We'll see soon enough.  If Trump gets us out of Syria, that will be good.  If he escalates the campaign against Russia, then that will be not good.  I will take it as it comes.

I honestly think you - and others here - are more fearful than you need to be, but everyone has their own lens through which they view the world, and who am I to say that using worst case analysis isn't actually the safest way to proceed through life.

If you always expect the worst, you will never be disappointed!

I agree with this 100%.

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mememonkey
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Rose Colored Glasses
davefairtex wrote:

But if even if you accept the "they won't let Trump be Trump rational "  then regardless, functionally what does it matter?   Were left with Trump escalating the full spectrum campaign against Russia at the behest of the neocon insiders.

I'm not seeing any sort of full spectrum campaign here.  You can characterize me as "clinging" all you like, but this attack looked for all the world like the last one.  There were even complaints in the media I read that said it wasn't nearly enough.

We'll see soon enough.  If Trump gets us out of Syria, that will be good.  If he escalates the campaign against Russia, then that will be not good.  I will take it as it comes.

I honestly think you - and others here - are more fearful than you need to be, but everyone has their own lens through which they view the world, and who am I to say that using worst case analysis isn't actually the safest way to proceed through life.

If you always expect the worst, you will never be disappointed!

I can confidently predict that Trump will not get us out of Syria, and that this is not over, because the people that need for it to escalate and who are behind the false provocations  still wield power and control the narrative on both sides of our fake democracy (The complaints in the media that it wasn't enough) and have increasing control over Trump and any latent wayward non interventionist impulses that may pass through his pea brain.   Even if Trump is deposed, we get Pence who is the #1 choice of the Neocons to escalate and perpetuate this conflict.

Case in point Israel just fired ten more missiles at Syrian base in Hom's, the US carrier group is still steaming towards Syria as Russian Freighters are spotted bringing tanks and fresh military hardware through the Bosphorous.

The door was left wide open if Assad doesn't learn his lesson and stop faking gas attacks for US to revisit this.  (That's a tough order btw how do you stop doing something that the other side is actually doing on your behalf? ) You could even argue that this limited strike was a PR prerequisite to a full on Assad decapitation strike. which would of course require a commensurate fresh false flag provocation. 

You can characterize my perspective as fear based 'all you like', I prefer to think of it as probability assessments  based and informed by actual events, data and demonstrated patterns of behavior.

But If you can't see the escalating campaign against Russia, and the moves towards escalating the Mideast conflict to include renewed disruption in Syria as well as eventually conflict in Iran, and Lebanon as well as fresh initiatives in the Donbass than I would suggest that your rose colored lens  prescription is clouding your vision.

To each his own though.

FWIW  based on your truism I must be an optimist then, because while I'm rarely surprised, I'm constantly disappointed by the clowns running this circus.

 

mememonkey

 

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the orthodoxy

This discussion reminds me of the folks here who used to insist that a COMEX default was imminent.  And the flak I got (and the number of ad-hom attacks I endured) for challenging this orthodoxy was very curious, coming from a group of allegedly data-driven independent thinkers.  It wasn't the challenge I objected to, it was the tone.  It got personal really quickly.

We will find out soon enough if the world is just about to end, or not.

My money is on "not."

 

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mememonkey disappointment? Jeepers-creepers!

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mememonkey
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Really?
davefairtex wrote:

This discussion reminds me of the folks here who used to insist that a COMEX default was imminent.  And the flak I got (and the number of ad-hom attacks I endured) for challenging this orthodoxy was very curious, coming from a group of allegedly data-driven independent thinkers.  It wasn't the challenge I objected to, it was the tone.  It got personal really quickly.

We will find out soon enough if the world is just about to end, or not.

My money is on "not."

 

Nice straw man reframe!  I don't see where I'm suggesting the world is about to end. I'm discussing a dangerous pattern of behavior and escalation.  I am predicting further provocations and escalation of US involvement in Syria and further expansion of the campaign against Russia, including in the Donbass.  I disagree that Trump is able or possibly even inclined to normalize with Russia and to disengage with Syria. 

I would suggest that qualifies more under the heading of evidence based common sense than ideological orthodoxy.

I actually agree with lots of what you have said in this thread including your counter argument and points about a best case missile defense scenario not being definitive evidence.

Was actually hoping for a decent counter argument as to why you think Trump wants to or can normalize relations with Russia.  I usually find value in your responses even when I disagree with them. They help shape my thinking.

I hardly see personal attacks or ad hom here.  If so, you've got pretty thin skin.

If I said something like "I'll let you get back to your safe space now. so you don't have to endure any more harsh name calling like:   blinded by rose colored glasses"  that might qualify as objectionable personal tone.

 

mm

 

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davefairtex
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debates on the merits

Even as you say you're not making ad-hom attacks, you just have to toss in few more!  You just can't resist!

  • "thin skin"
  • [you need to go back to your] "safe space"
  • "blinded by rose colored glasses"

If you are hoping for a debate on the merits to help shape your thinking, and you value my observations, I would encourage you to suppress your urges to pepper your posts with those sorts of characterizations.  All they do is say to any thinking person, "I don't have enough actual points to make - so I'm going to toss in some personal "observations" in order to try and bolster my otherwise weak case."  Is this what you really want to convey?  I just see someone who doesn't feel they are able to engage fairly, so they have to start taking cheap shots and fouling their opponent instead.

I'll give talking about real issues one more shot.  But if you continue attacking me, I'm going to give up and stop talking with you.  I'm hoping you'll just say, "Ok, forget all that junk and lets move on", in which case I'll say "ok, great, we will speak of it no more."

-----

Suggesting the S300/S400 missile systems have proven to be an effective "strategic shield" as a result of this attack is not correct.  Best case defense had a 70% effectiveness.  Presumably, a strategic (nuclear) strike won't be telegraphed days in advance, with the targets pre-announced, and in such a geographically limited space.  A "strategic shield" requires 100% effectiveness.  Just 1 nuke gets through = utter failure of the "strategic shield."  In this example, 30 "nukes" got through to target.  Success or failure?  You tell me.

That doesn't mean I want to attack Russia, or I'm advocating an attack on Russia - I just don't trust Russian propaganda any more than I trust US propaganda.  I view it all with (what I like to think) is a critical eye.

Re: pulling troops out:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-trump-troops/white-house-trump-wants-u-s-forces-in-syria-to-come-home-as-quickly-as-possible-idUSKBN1HM116

“The U.S. mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region,” she said.

In the old days, that would called "declaratory policy."  It remains to be seen if that will be followed up by action - but I remain hopeful that it will.  Certainly I take it as a supportive and positive sign that Trump picked the more limited strike from the menu of options presented by his national security team.  He could have selected the "Flatten Syria" option advocated by Bolton, but he did not do so.

 

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mememonkey
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Who is Really Driving the Policy?
davefairtex wrote:

Suggesting the S300/S400 missile systems have proven to be an effective "strategic shield" as a result of this attack is not correct.  Best case defense had a 70% effectiveness.  Presumably, a strategic (nuclear) strike won't be telegraphed days in advance, with the targets pre-announced, and in such a geographically limited space.  A "strategic shield" requires 100% effectiveness.  Just 1 nuke gets through = utter failure of the "strategic shield."  In this example, 30 "nukes" got through to target.  Success or failure?  You tell me.

That doesn't mean I want to attack Russia, or I'm advocating an attack on Russia - I just don't trust Russian propaganda any more than I trust US propaganda.  I view it all with (what I like to think) is a critical eye.

Were talking apples and oranges and a bit of vapor ware here.  Nevertheless my point* remains valid.

*"This apparent Russian technology success also has significant implication for strategic nuclear defenses combining the S400 and S500 systems present a credible domestic shield."

 The defense of the airfields was done with 30 and 40  year old  S 200  Soviet era technology (albeit with electronic upgrades and no doubt lots of Russian targeting and integration and possibly EW  help)  Never the less, the success rate was arguably and credibly 100% for those strategic assets that had the benefit of the pre positioned fully integrated defenses.  compare that with the intercept record of the Patriot systems record in Gulf war at what was ultimately revealed by the Israelis at 2%

Your point that given the telegraphed and constrained nature of the attack means that this doesn't represent a true test of real world result is totally valid.  Still it is a pretty significant success and a useful data point.

  Note that a real world test would have been against the Russians with their much more advanced

S 300 and S 400 systems and full suite of what ever EW magic tricks they may or may not have up their sleeve as well as counter attacking launch platforms and targeting command and control assets like AWACS etc.  ( I will stipulate here that given the sheer numbers advantage of a full on assault by the US would in the case of Sryia overwhelmed and destroyed all defenses in the country as currently configured.)

The success of the Syrians with these limited systems doesn't obviate MAD, I'm not positing a 100% countrywide strategic umbrella. Besides  I'm sure the US will have Hypersonic ICBMs soon if they don't already.  Still I think the higly successful intercept rate is a useful data point and reflection of the advanced and advancing nature of Russian technology in this arena. 

A combination of S 300  S 400 and the forthcoming S 500 systems arrayed in the motherland to protect strategic targets would give me pause were I a rational Nuclear war planner (is there such a thing?) maneuvering for a first strike advantage   Which is what we've been doing since we withdrew from the ABM treaty in early 2000's hence my point that Russians success here has implication for strategic considerations.

With regards to Russian propaganda.  Of course we should be all be skeptical and review the Russian's positions with a critical eye.  That said, There is a qualitative difference in their track record of veracity compared to our side.  This latest incident is case in point.  There is nothing remotely credible about the reasons we attacked, and the results of the attack as claimed by our propaganda machine whereas I can't find a single provable discrepancy on the Russian side.  Their public positions appear to match the facts. 

This is not a one off but a pattern, I believe this is not because the Russians are somehow more noble, but because they are both  playing a weak hand and a long game and strategically it is makes sense to conform to International legal constructs and to build credibility and increase influence as an honest broker.

So while my default position is to test and question both sides always  I have actually come to 'trust' their propaganda more than ours.  They simply have built up more credibility.  

davefairtex wrote:

Re: pulling troops out:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-trump-troops/white-house-trump-wants-u-s-forces-in-syria-to-come-home-as-quickly-as-possible-idUSKBN1HM116

“The U.S. mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region,” she said.

In the old days, that would called "declaratory policy."  It remains to be seen if that will be followed up by action - but I remain hopeful that it will.  Certainly I take it as a supportive and positive sign that Trump picked the more limited strike from the menu of options presented by his national security team.  He could have selected the "Flatten Syria" option advocated by Bolton, but he did not do so.

This declaratory policy is of course a lie on it's face.

The fact that we just bombed the Syrians at the behest of an 'ISIS' variant and that our (Israel's) actual policy has been to achieve regime change and depose Assad and that we have created, funded and protected ISIS and all of it's Sunni Takfiri variations as our proxy boots on the ground is revelatory of what 'our' actual objectives are.   If the premise is false it does build confidence in the veracity of other stated objectives like bringing our troops home or disengaging from the region.

Trump probably does want to bring the troops home, if for no other reason than his political instincts regarding his base.  However he appears to be completely under the sway and control of the Israeli's and Neocons as evidenced by his recent appointments, actions and rhetoric and he is constrained by narrow bound of the false Russian narrative in place as well.

How will he respond if there is another "gas attack"?  By the logic of his own recent actions He would be forced to escalate.

My thesis is that only the US can bring the level of force to bear to accomplish the Israeli/Saudi goals in deposing or hamstringing Assad, and containing Iranian and Hezbollah in the region. Moreover the Israelis have effectively captured our foreign policy apparatus. See: https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/whose-wars/

The current trial balloon/initiative  to get the Saudi's and Egyptian to substitute as a proxy force for the depleted terrorist corps and "hold territory"  which allow our boys to come home is not a realistic alternative to the true objectives of the people who are remaking the Mideast.  

It has the appearance of a fig leaf  or stop gap to assuage Trumpian reservations,  buy time as a rational to keep US engaged in Syria, at least for the mid terms, impeachment  or until another false flag atrocity warrants further engagement, whichever comes first.

 

mm

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who is driving?

Who is in the driver's seat - that's a key question.

CAF has the most rational explanation I've heard to date: the two main groups vying for control appear to the the military (who have supported Trump - MAGA is really about bringing critical manufacturing back to the US as a way of "shortening the supply lines" for the coming "time of troubles"), and the group roughly called "the intelligence services" who want to continue running the world as the hegemonic power we've been since the fall of the Soviet Union.

To date, the intelligence services have been in more or less complete control.  If HRC had won, that would have just continued.  But with Trump in power, now the military is having its say in how things develop.  The Syria strike (demanded by the CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer) was the least offensive option that could have been selected - urged apparently by Sec Def Mattis.

The FBI-CIA-NSA axis are the group that wants Trump gone.  The Pentagon wants him to stay.  As does his base.

What's more, Trump isn't stupid.  You think he has a pea brain, but look at the evidence: literally nobody wanted him to win.  He figured out how to become President all on his own.  A stupid man could not have done this.  You cannot pea-brain-bumble your way into the White House unless your name is Bush and you have Big Money behind you.  Trump crushed Bush 3 in about 5 minutes.  He did this all on his own - he really is just that good.  Sure he's obnoxious and thin-skinned and pussy-grabbing and whatnot - but he's also very sharp in some key areas.  Witness: he got away with DACA, a muslim immigration ban, getting North Korea to the table, renegotiating NAFTA, reducing illegal immigration by 66% just using tweets and a few ICE raids, dealing with the Chinese and their lop-sided trade situation...its a pretty good list for 14 months in office, especially given just how few Republicans wanted to deal with him when he arrived at the White House, while practically the entire media (the Mighty Wurlitzer) is dumping on him for literally everything he does - unprecedented in US political history.  And of course at the same time, there is this whole intel-services investigation where they are desperately turning over every rock to find some bad act to pin on him to get him out of power.

Just saying - he is anything but stupid.  And he's also not alone.  The military is behind him.  And they do not seem to want to play the same game as the intel services have been playing for the past 30 years.

 

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Edwardelinski
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Posts: 319
MAGA and manufacturing

The problem is technology.From what I have read manufacturing output is at an all time high and manufacturing employment is at an all time low.I believe it peaked in the late 70s.Deregulation,Chinese tariffs or currency devaluations will not bring back what once was.In Adams notes from the summit they attended it looks like Doug Duncan may have the same point of view.So,while the intentions might be good,reality suggests something different....

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