Friday, September 12, 2014

WTI Crude Prices and GDP expectations

Source Zerohedge.  So if breakeven for Russian government is in the mid $80s, what is cause or effect?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New 2013 DARPA Building Real Life Terminators Military Robots (HD)

GXV-T Agility Concept Video

Madison Rising - The Star Spangled Banner

Hail and Farewell - Catullus

By ways remote and distant waters sped, 
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come, 
That I may give the last gifts to the dead, 
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb: 
Since she who now bestows and now denies 
Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes. 
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years, 
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell, 
Take them, all drench├Ęd with a brother’s tears, 
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell! 

--Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca 85-ca 54 B.C.),
translated by Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)

Five Finger Death Punch

Monday, September 08, 2014

Von der Leyen dubious about NATO's two-percent rule - DW

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told ARD public television on Sunday evening that she did not believe Berlin should dramatically increase its defense budget.
After NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for increased defense spending, saying "Russia's actions in Ukraine are a wake-up call," the Western alliance's non-binding defense spending target has come into focus.
Germany spends 1.3 percent of its gross domestic product on the Bundeswehr, while NATO's target stands at two percent of total economic output....

Germany's perceived lack of readiness both to spend on its military capabilities and to deploy its troops on international missions has long irked some of its NATO allies. The US, comfortably NATO's largest military power, spends 4.4 percent of its GDP on defense, the UK spends 2.4 percent. Greece and Estonia were the only other members of the 28-country alliance to clear the two-percent target in 2013.

-bth: two observations.  First, Europeans are selfish bastards sloughing off their collective defense responsibilities.  Second, how can Putin fear NATO that cannot field troops beyond a few thousand to its eastern border?

In place of 'boots on the ground,' US seeks contractors for Iraq - S&S

Wary of putting combat troops in Iraq, the U.S. government is gauging contractors’ interest in advising the Iraqi Defense Ministry and Counter Terrorism Service in a range of capacities, including force development, logistics and planning and operations.
The U.S. Army Contracting Command posted a notice last month seeking contractors willing to work on an initial 12-month contract, who should be “cognizant of the goals of reducing tensions between Arabs and Kurds, and Sunni and Shias.”
They would focus on administration, force development, procurement and acquisition, contracting, training management, public affairs, logistics, personnel management, professional development, communications, planning and operations, infrastructure management, intelligence and executive development, the notice stated....

-bth: so it looks like we are going to outsource the ground conflict in Iraq.  I seriously doubt this will be effective against IS.