‘Rode a tank, held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged, and the bodies stank’
Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones
Last week, Canada became the latest nation in Christendom to come under attack.
At least that was the way the Wall Street Journal put it.
‘Terror in Ottawa’, began the security industry’s chief shill:
‘The Global War on Terror remains very much global. The war now being half-heartedly waged against ISIS and other jihadist groups is not some faraway struggle, but part of a war also being waged on Western streets.’
We will return to the battle on Western streets in a moment, but first let us talk about the battle on Wall Street…
Mr Fed vs Mr Market
Mr Fed vs Mr Market
It is a battle between the Federal Reserve and the market. The Fed wants stock prices high and going higher. We don’t know what Mr Market wants. He will declare himself in good time.
But we have had the weakest economic expansion on record. From 1791 to 1999, US economic growth averaged 3.9% a year. In the first half of this year, the US economy has grown at an annual rate of only 1.2% — not even one-third of the average.
And the typical household — the foundation upon which the edifice of a modern consumer economy rests — has less income today than in 1997.
How could that possibly power higher the roughly half of S&P 500 revenues that come from America? And last time we looked, growth in the rest of the world — where the other half of S&P 500 revenues come from — is slowing down, not speeding up.
Why would the S&P 500 be near an all-time high? Where will new revenues, and new earnings — needed to justify higher share prices — come from?
Hard to say…which is what makes us guess that Mr Market…when he gets a chance…will kick the stool and leave investors hanging.
The trouble with the warmongers is they have no respect for war. And no appreciation of real fighting or real dying.
From their comfy desks at the Wall Street Journal, or their cushy posts at the Project for a New American Century, they have no experience of real fighting…and no imagination. They’ve never seen a man blown to pieces…or had a frostbitten foot removed, without anesthesia, by a field hospital surgeon with a dull knife.
War is hardly a noble undertaking, but it is at least an honest one. People fight — usually over trivial stakes — and die. It is what it is. But today’s military boosters degrade war into nothing more than comic larceny.
The poor grunts are sent on fool’s errands for the sake of money, status and a clownish power that only an oaf could appreciate.
Too bad they couldn’t have been in Atlanta when William T Sherman showed up, almost exactly 150 years ago. He had 34,000 troops under his command. General John B Hood, of the Confederate States of America, had 40,000 ill-equipped and underfed soldiers in the Army of Tennessee.
They were no match for Sherman. And when the battle was over, one in eight of the rebels was lying dead and Atlanta was burned to the ground.
That was real war. Something real was at stake too: the sovereignty and independence of the Confederacy. And in Sherman’s words, it was hell.
Or maybe a little time travel could put their fat derrieres where war raged, in Leningrad in 1941. The battle for the city pitted 28 fully armed, trained and determined Wehrmacht divisions — with rifles, machine guns, artillery, aircraft tanks — against an even larger but less well-organised Soviet force.
The Germans encircled the city on September 8. By the start of November, the civilian population was out of fuel, power and food.
On November 8, Adolf Hitler said, ‘The city must die of starvation.’
‘Only Tanya is left’
‘Only Tanya is left’
It almost did…
People ate cats, dogs, rats…and then one another. More than a million people died. Cannibalism was common. Without heat or fuel, pipes froze. There was no water. And no way to bury the dead in the frozen earth. People stumbled over corpses…
An 11-year-old girl, Tanya Savicheva, left a record. She noted that her sister, then her grandmother, then her brother, uncle, another uncle and then her mother all died of starvation. Her last three notes:
‘Savichevas died.’ ‘Everyone died’ and ‘Only Tanya is left.’
She died a little later.
The siege lasted two and a half years. When it was over, the cost of real war was tallied. In addition to the civilian dead, more than half a million German soldiers were casualties and nearly 3.5 million Soviets. And Leningrad was still governed by the same incompetent sociopaths who had control of it before the war.
And now a man who said the devil ‘put voices in your head’ has killed another man in Canada.
Is that war? Don’t make us laugh.
Why such a hysterical and outsize response from the Wall Street Journal?
Why would a single crime, the perpetrator of which is now at room temperature and no further threat to anyone, cause a whole nation and its giant neighbour to the south to panic?
In three words: Because it pays.
More to come…
For Markets and Money