We’ve spent the last 7 months revising the website, making it more user friendly and adding content that is useful for our clients and prospective clients. Over the weekend, it was turned on and is now live. There is a link at the bottom of the next column that will take you there. Please take a minute and explore some of the new information and links.
We will be adding lots of information on a regular basis, so bookmark the site and check back on a regular basis.
If there are things you’d like to see on the site, please email me. We’ll keep track of the more frequent requests and try to accommodate them.
State of Affairs
Certainly there is a great deal going on around the world, since last months newsletter. We have some critical things happening in the world and hopefully we are paying attention to them. First, we have the Islamic State problem that I discussed last month. (more on that in a bit) Then we have Vladimir Putin who is building troops on the Ukraine border, more than 20,000 of them. One must believe we are being tested at the highest levels of government and that Mr. Putin is playing chicken with our leadership. Finally we have the border problem, which remains unsolved and there is a good chance that the President is going to enact his pen and phone to sign legislation that will likely ease the illegal situation here in the U.S. There are countless other things happening, but for our purposes this month, I’m going to concentrate on these three things and hopefully shed some light on the exposures we have as a country.
As I discussed last month, ISIS, which is now know as the IS, or Islamic State, has established some significant ground in both Syria and Iraq. There are reports that this group has taken over the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq. The dam is over 2 miles wide and provides electric power to a significant portion of the northern Iraq area. The dam was evaluated in 2007 and was labeled as the most dangerous dam in the world. If ruptured, it would create a wall of water 65 feet high and go straight through the city of Mosul, which currently is home for 1.5m Iraqi citizens. Mosul is about 30 miles
from the dam. Estimates state that water would flood all the way to Baghdad, which is better than 200 miles south.
The past weekend, there were several news stories about an IS video where an IS terrorist
made material threats against the United States, stating that the group would soon be “hanging their flag on the Whitehouse lawn.”
Pretty startling stuff….
We have commenced bombing of targeted areas in the IS foot holds. Fundamentally, we are bombing our own tanks, armored personnel carriers, Hummvees, artillery, etc. When IS invaded Iraqi military
basis, as I noted last month, the Iraqi army simply deserted their positions and left all the equipment and ammunition behind. The bigger issue is the thousands of Christians who are stranded and
being threatened with death, because of their religious beliefs.
This is an extraordinarily difficult situation. We established a democracy in Iraq and spent American lives and money conducting operations to establish some semblance of order over the last 10
years. The President is in a quagmire with regard to keeping his promise of staying out of middle east wars and maintaining some political respect internationally and here at home. Personally, I
think we are underestimating the IS and their abilities. Threats to the homeland should not be brushed off or underestimated.
The markets seem to ignore the political affairs both here in the U.S. and abroad. The S&P 500 is up about 4.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a meager 1.3% and the NASDAQ Composite is up about 5.4%, these are Year to Date figures, as of this writing. We are apparently immune to international behavior and the threats that are building abroad. I hope it does not take a catastrophe before we start readily dealing with people like IS and Putin. Our responses to these types of events in the past, have been swift, deliberate and unwavering force, which we are currently unwilling to explore. Russia The downing of MH-17 by would be Russian rebels last month is a tragedy that words cannot express. Unfortunately, more press was received on the missing Malaysia flight #370 in March then on this murderous act of violence on innocent lives. It was and still is Putin’s responsibility, yet he is not held to any standard of conduct by the U.S. or our allies abroad. Yes, there have been increased sanctions on Russia, but they have been brushed off as uneventful. In
retaliation for those sanctions, Putin has banned food imports from the U.S., as sort of an index finger in the eye of President Obama. All the while, he continues to build up the Russian army on the Ukraine border and threatens to invade that sovereign country, just like he did with Crimea. Putin is a KGB thug who will stop at nothing to expand the Russian territory with the threat of force and thinks nothing of human life to achieve his objective. He is subverting the democracies of surrounding countries with rebels that are causing unrest and then claims to provide humanitarian relieve in the form of military equipment and troops, all while we sit back and twiddle our thumbs and ponder how to handle him. The sanctions don’t seem to be doing anything but hurting the people of Russia, which in the long run may be reason for him to be removed, though I highly doubt it. HIs popularity in Russia is at 73%, as opposed to Obama, who is at 41%. That is a pretty stark difference.
The border crisis continues. There are two issues that require careful consideration and balancing. The first is our failed attempts to secure the border. Now before you think I’m pointing a finger, I’m not. One of the major issues with border security is that our border patrol agents are so busy handling the children and illegals that have already crossed, that they lack sufficient resources to secure the border. Rick Perry, Gov of Texas, requested 1,000 volunteers from the Texas National Guard, which has about 19,000 members, and got 2,200 volunteers. They are heading to the Texas border and will be staving off any further crossings by illegals. I’m unclear why that is not being done in California, Arizona and New Mexico. Seems like a simple solution to stopping the problem, while we sort out who is already here. The second part of the problem is the humanitarian issue. Many, however not all, of these illegals are children. They flee from terrible parts of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where they are forced into the ranks of gangs and drug cartels. They are smuggled into the U.S. by “Coyotes”, (not the dog) and can pay upwards of $8,000 U.S. Dollars to get here. The journey is dangerous and many are robbed and beaten along the way. Most will be deported at some point, at least that is what we are told.
So how do you balance securing the border with the humanitarian problem? It’s a difficult task.
I think the greater problem goes way beyond the children. If it’s that easy to cross our border, then who else can cross? IS Terrorists? Al Qaeda? This is not a political football, but somehow our leadership, which includes the House, Senate and Executive Branch, needs to quick bickering and deal with it. The number 1 responsibility of our nation’s leadership is the protection of the people. I suggest they get to it before something happens…….
Don’t forget to see the website!!!!
That’s all for this month…
As always, my very best to you and your families.
For information about the above, please contact Robin Whitlock at