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The Donald’s Latest Iranian Caper – Sh*t-Faced Stupidity


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This is just wanton sh*t-faced stupidity. We are referring to the Trump Administration’s escalation of sanctions on Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and its foreign minister, and then the Donald’s tweet-storm of bluster, threats and implicit redlines when they didn’t take too kindly to this latest act of aggression by Washington.

That last point can’t be emphasized enough. Iran is zero threat to the American homeland and has never engaged in any hostile action on U.S soil or even threatened the same.

To the contrary, Washington’s massive naval and military arsenal in the middle east is essentially the occupational force of a naked aggressor that has created mayhem through the Persian Gulf and middle eastern region for the past three decades; and has done so in pursuit of the will-o-wisp of oil security and the neocon agenda of demonizing and isolating the Iranian regime.

But as we have demonstrated previously, the best cure for high oil prices is the global market, not the Fifth Fleet. And the demonization of the Iranian regime is based on lies and propaganda ginned up by the Bibi Netanyahu branch of the War Party (that has falsely made Iran an "existential" threat in order to win elections in Israel).

Stated differently, the American people have no dog in the political hunts of Washington’s so-called allies in the region; and will be no worse for the wear economically if Washington were to dispense with its idiotic economic warfare against Iran’s 4 million barrel per day oil industry and allow all exporters in the region to produce and sell every single barrel they can economically extract.

Viewed in the proper context, Iran’s response to the new sanctions and intensified efforts to destroy their economy was readily warranted:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the new sanctions 'outrageous and stupid.' Mr. Khamenei, while the political leader of Iran, also is one of the world’s leading authorities for Shia Muslims.

'Would any administration with a bit of wisdom [sanction] the highest authority of a country? And not only a political authority, a religious, social, spiritual one, and not the leader of Iran only, the leader of the Islamic revolution all over the world?' Mr. Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television.

He said it was 'obvious' that the US was lying about wanting to negotiate with Iran: 'You want us to negotiate with you again?' Mr. Rouhani said, 'and at the same time you seek to sanction the foreign minister too?'

…Iran also said these sanctions closed the door on diplomacy and threatened global stability, as American officials renewed efforts to build a global alliance against Tehran.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take the Donald long to upchuck what amounted to a dangerous tantrum:
….Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!
Those words are utterly reckless and outrageous. The Donald is carrying water for the neocons, Bibi and the Saudis without really understanding what he is doing and in the process is betraying America First and inching closer to an utterly unnecessary conflagration in the Persian Gulf that will virtually upend the global economy.

Worst of all, as he escalates the confrontation with the Iranian regime, he espouses a pack of lies and distortions that do no remotely comport with the facts. For instance, the following tweet is absolutely neocon baloney:
….The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The US has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more…
The truth of the matter is that the Donald is referring to attacks on US forces by the Shiite militias in Iraq during Washington’s misbegotten invasion and occupation of that woebegone nation during the last decades. The Shiite live there, constitute the majority of its electorate, didn’t want America there in the first place, and now actually run the government that Washington placed in power and are totally opposed to Trump’s confrontation with their Shiite compatriots in Iran.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Better still, it is crucial to understand that this entire dangerous escalation is owing to the fact that the Donald got into his thick head that utter nonsense that the Iran nuke deal was some kind of disaster, and from there walked-away from the deal and restarted a brutal economic war against Iran in the guise of sanctions.

But nothing could be further from the truth. The Donald’s action to terminate the Iranian nuclear deal was a complete triumph for the War Party.

It gutted the very idea of America First because Washington’s renewed round of sanctions constitute economic aggression against a country that is no threat to the US homeland whatsoever.

In fact, Iran did not violate any term of the nuke deal, and as we demonstrate below, scrupulously adhered to the letter of it. So the real reasons for Trump’s abandonment of the nuke deal have everything to do with the kind of Imperial interventionism that is the antithesis of America First.

Trump’s action, in fact, is predicated on the decades long neocon-inspired Big Lie that Iran is an aggressive expansionist and terrorism-supporting rogue state which threatens the security of not just the region, but America too.

But that’s flat out poppycock. As we documented last week, the claim that Iran is the expansionist leader of the Shiite Crescent is based on nothing more than the fact that Tehran has an independent foreign policy based on its own interests and confessional affiliations – legitimate relationships that are demonized by virtue of not being approved by Washington.

Likewise, the official charge that Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism is not remotely warranted by the facts: The listing is essentially a State Department favor to the Netanyahu branch of the War Party.

The fact is, the Iranian regime with its piddling $14 billion military budget has no means to attack America militarily and has never threatened to do so. Nor has it invaded any other country in the region where it was not invited by a sovereign government host.

As Ron Paul cogently observed:
Is Iran really the aggressive one? When you unilaterally pull out of an agreement that was reducing tensions and boosting trade; when you begin applying sanctions designed to completely destroy another country’s economy; when you position military assets right offshore of that country; when you threaten to destroy that country on a regular basis, calling it a campaign of “maximum pressure,” to me it seems a stretch to play the victim when that country retaliates by shooting a spy plane that is likely looking for the best way to attack.

Even if the US spy plane was not in Iranian airspace – but it increasingly looks like it was – it was just another part of an already-existing US war on Iran. Yes, sanctions are a form of war, not a substitute for war.
The point is Washington’s case is almost entirely bogus. To wit:
Mr. Trump also reiterated his demands Monday at the White House: 'We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.'
Let’s see about those "dangerous activities and aspirations".

In fact, Iran has no blue water navy that could effectively operate outside of the Persian Gulf; its longest range warplanes can barely get to Rome without refueling; and its array of mainly defensive medium and intermediate range missiles cannot strike most of NATO, to say nothing of the North American continent.

Likewise, it has presumed to have an independent foreign policy involving Washington proscribed alliances with the sovereign state of Syria, the leading political party of Lebanon (Hezbollah), the ruling authorities in Baghdad and the reining power in the Yemen capital of Sana’a (the Houthis).

All these regimes except the puppet state of Iraq are deemed by Washington to be sources of unsanctioned "regional instability" and Iran’s alliances with them have been capriciously labeled as acts of state sponsored terrorism.

The same goes for Washington’s demarche against Iran’s modest array of short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles. These weapons are palpably instruments of self-defense, but Imperial Washington insists their purpose is aggression – unlike the case of practically every other nation which offers its custom to American arms merchants for like and similar weapons.

For example, Iran’s arch-rival across the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, has more advanced NATO supplied ballistic missiles with even greater range (2,600 km range). So does Israel, Pakistan, India and a half-dozen other nations, which are either Washington allies or have been given a hall-pass in order to bolster US arms exports.

In short, Washington’s escalating war on Iran is an exercise in global hegemony, not territorial self-defense. It is a testament to the manner in which the historic notion of national defense has morphed into Washington’s arrogant claim that it constitutes the "Indispensable Nation" which purportedly stands as mankind’s bulwark against global disorder and chaos among nations.

Likewise, the Shiite theocracy ensconced in Tehran was an unfortunate albatross on the Persian people, but it was no threat to America’s safety and security. The very idea that Tehran is an expansionist power bent on exporting terrorism to the rest of the world is a giant fiction and tissue of lies invented by the Washington War Party and its Bibi Netanyahu branch in order to win political support for their confrontationist policies.

Indeed, the three decade long demonization of Iran has served one overarching purpose. Namely, it enabled both branches of the War Party to conjure up a fearsome enemy, thereby justifying aggressive policies that call for a constant state of war and military mobilization.

When the cold-war officially ended in 1991, in fact, the Cheney/neocon cabal feared the kind of drastic demobilization of the US military-industrial complex that was warranted by the suddenly more pacific strategic environment. In response, they developed an anti-Iranian doctrine that was explicitly described as a way of keeping defense spending at high cold war levels.

And the narrative they developed to this end is one of the more egregious Big Lies ever to come out of the beltway. It puts you in mind of the young boy who killed his parents, and then threw himself on the mercy of the courts on the grounds that he was an orphan!

To wit, during the 1980s the neocons in the Reagan Administration issued their own fatwa again the Islamic Republic of Iran based on its rhetorical hostility to America. Yet that enmity was grounded in Washington’s 25-year support for the tyrannical and illegitimate regime of the Shah, and constituted a founding narrative of the Islamic Republic that was not much different than America’s revolutionary castigation of King George.

That the Iranians had a case is beyond doubt. The open US archives now prove that the CIA overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953 and put the utterly unsuited and megalomaniacal Mohammad Reza Shah on the peacock throne to rule as a puppet in behalf of US security and oil interests.

During the subsequent decades the Shah not only massively and baldly plundered the wealth of the Persian nation. With the help of the CIA and US military, he also created a brutal secret police force known as the Savak, which made the East German Stasi look civilized by comparison.

All elements of Iranian society including universities, labor unions, businesses, civic organizations, peasant farmers and many more were subjected to intense surveillance by the Savak agents and paid informants. As one critic described it:
Over the years, Savak became a law unto itself, having legal authority to arrest, detain, brutally interrogate and torture suspected people indefinitely. Savak operated its own prisons in Tehran, such as Qezel-Qalaeh and Evin facilities and many suspected places throughout the country as well.
Ironically, among his many grandiose follies, the Shah embarked on a massive civilian nuclear power campaign in the 1970s, which envisioned literally paving the Iranian landscape with dozens of nuclear power plants.

He would use Iran’s surging oil revenues after 1973 to buy all the equipment required from Western companies – and also fuel cycle support services such as uranium enrichment – in order to provide his kingdom with cheap power for centuries.

At the time of the Revolution, the first of these plants at Bushehr was nearly complete, but the whole grandiose project was put on hold amidst the turmoil of the new regime and the onset of Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in September 1980. As a consequence, a $2 billion deposit languished at the French nuclear agency that had originally obtained it from the Shah to fund a ramp-up of its enrichment capacity to supply his planned battery of reactors.

Indeed, in this very context the new Iranian regime proved quite dramatically that it was not hell bent on obtaining nuclear bombs or any other weapons of mass destruction. In the midst of Iraq’s unprovoked invasion of Iran in the early 1980s the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against biological and chemical weapons.

Yet at that very time, Saddam was dropping these horrific weapons on Iranian battle forces – some of them barely armed teenage boys – with the spotting help of CIA tracking satellites and the concurrence of Washington. So from the very beginning, the Iranian posture was wholly contrary to the War Party’s endless blizzard of false charges about its quest for nukes.

However benighted and medieval its religious views, the theocracy which rules Iran does not consist of demented war mongers. In the heat of battle they were willing to sacrifice their own forces rather than violate their religious scruples to counter Saddam’s WMDs.

Then in 1983 the new Iranian regime decided to complete the Bushehr power plant and some additional elements of the Shah’s grand plan. But when they attempted to reactivate the French enrichment services contract and buy necessary power plant equipment from the original German suppliers they were stopped cold by Washington. And when the tried to get their $2 billion deposit back, they were curtly denied that, too.

To make a long story short, the entire subsequent history of off again/on again efforts by the Iranians to purchase dual use equipment and components on the international market, often from black market sources like Pakistan, was in response to Washington’s relentless efforts to block its legitimate rights as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to complete some parts of the Shah’s civilian nuclear project.

Needless to say, it did not take much effort by the neocon “regime change” fanatics which inhabited the national security machinery, especially after the 2000 election, to spin every attempt by Iran to purchase even a lowly pump or pipe fitting as evidence of a secret campaign to get the bomb.

The exaggerations, lies, distortions and fear-mongering which came out of this neocon campaign are downright despicable. Yet they incepted way back in the early 1990s when George H.W. Bush actually did reach out to the newly elected government of Hashemi Rafsanjani to bury the hatchet after it had cooperated in obtaining the release of American prisoners being held in Lebanon in 1989.

Rafsanjani was self-evidently a pragmatist who did not want conflict with the United States and the West; and after the devastation of the eight year war with Iraq was wholly focused on economic reconstruction and even free market reforms of Iran’s faltering economy.

It is one of the great tragedies of history that the neocons managed to squelch even George Bush’s better instincts with respect to rapprochement with Tehran.

The Neocon Big Lie About Iranian Nukes And Terrorism

So the prisoner release opening was short-lived – especially after the top post at the CIA was assumed in 1991 by Robert Gates. As one of the very worst of the unreconstructed cold war apparatchiks, it can be well and truly said that Gates looked peace in the eye and then elected to pervert John Quincy Adams’ wise maxim by searching the globe for monsters to fabricate.

In this case the motivation was especially loathsome. Gates had been Bill Casey’s right hand man during the latter’s rogue tenure at the CIA in the Reagan administration. Among the many untoward projects that Gates shepherded was the Iran-Contra affair that nearly destroyed his career when it blew-up, and for which he blamed the Iranians for its public disclosure.

From his post as deputy national security director in 1989 and then as CIA head Gates pulled out all the stops to get even. Almost single-handedly he killed-off the White House goodwill from the prisoner release, and launched the blatant myth that Iran was both sponsoring terrorism and seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.

Indeed, it was Gates who was the architect of the demonization of Iran that became a staple of War Party propaganda after the 1991. In time that morphed into the utterly false claim that Iran is an aggressive wanna be hegemon that is a fount of terrorism and is dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, among other treacherous purposes.

That giant lie was almost single-handedly fashioned by the neocons and Bibi Netanyahu’s coterie of power-hungry henchman after the mid-1990s. Indeed, the false claim that Iran posses an “existential threat” to Israel is a product of the pure red meat domestic Israeli politics that have kept Bibi in power for much of the last two decades.

But the truth is Iran has only a tiny fraction of Israel’s conventional military capability. And compared to the latter’s 100 odd nukes, Iran has never had a nuclear weaponization program after a small scale research program was ended in 2003.

That is not merely our opinion. It’s been the sober assessment of the nation’s top 17 intelligence agencies in the official National Intelligence Estimates ever since 2007. And now in conjunction with a further study undertaken pursuant to the 2015 nuke deal, the IAEA has also concluded the Iran had no secret program after 2003.

On the political and foreign policy front, Iran is no better or worse than any of the other major powers in the Middle East. In many ways it is far less of a threat to regional peace and stability than the military butchers who now run Egypt on $1.5 billion per year of US aid.

And it is surely no worse than the royal family tyrants who squander the massive oil resources of Saudi Arabia in pursuit of unspeakable opulence and decadence to the detriment of the 30 million citizens which are not part of the regime, and who one day may well reach the point of revolt.

When it comes to the support of terrorism, the Saudis have funded more jihadists and terrorists throughout the region than Iran ever even imagined.

In fact, Iran is a nearly bankrupt country that has no capability whatsoever to threaten the security and safety of the citizens of Spokane WA, Peoria IL or anywhere else in the USA.

Its $460 billion GDP is the size of Indiana’s and its 68,000 man military is only slightly larger than the national guard of Texas.

It is a land of severe mountains and daunting swamps that are not all that conducive to rapid economic progress and advanced industrialization. It has no blue water navy, no missiles with more than a few hundred miles of range, and, we must repeat again, has had no nuclear weapons program for more than a decade.

Moreover, Donald’s incessant charge that the Obama Administration gave away the store during the nuke deal negotiations that led to the JCPA is just blatant nonsense. In fact, the Iranians made huge concessions on nearly every issue that made a difference.

That included deep concessions on the number of permitted centrifuges at Natanz; the dismantlement of the Fordow and Arak nuclear operations; the virtually complete liquidation of its enriched uranium stockpiles; the intrusiveness and scope of the inspections regime; and the provisions with respect to Iran’s so-called "breakout" capacity.

For instance, while every signatory of the non-proliferation treaty has the right to civilian enrichment, Iran agreed to reduce the number of centrifuges by 70% from 20,000 to 6,000.

And its effective spinning capacity was reduced by significantly more. That’s because the permitted Natanz centrifuges now consist exclusively of its most rudimentary, outdated equipment – first-generation IR-1 knockoffs of 1970s European models.

Not only was Iran not be allowed to build or develop newer models, but even those remaining were permitted to enrich uranium to a limit of only 3.75% purity. That is to say, to the generation of fissile material that is not remotely capable of reaching bomb grade concentrations of 90%.

Equally importantly, pursuant to the agreement Iran has eliminated enrichment activity entirely at its Fordow plant – a facility that had been Iran’s one truly advanced, hardened site that could withstand an onslaught of Israeli or US bunker busters.

Instead, Fordow has become a small time underground science lab devoted to medical isotope research and crawling with international inspectors. In effectively decommissioning Fordow and thereby eliminating any capacity to cheat from a secure facility – what Iran got in return was at best a fig leave of salve for its national pride.

The disposition of the reactor at Arak has been even more dispositive. For years, the War Party has falsely waved the bloody shirt of "plutonium" because the civilian nuclear reactor being built there was of Canadian "heavy water" design rather than GE or Westinghouse "light water" design; and, accordingly, when finished it would have generated plutonium as a waste product rather than conventional spent nuclear fuel rods.

In truth, the Iranians couldn’t have bombed a beehive with the Arak plutonium because you need a reprocessing plant to convert it into bomb grade material. Needless to say, Iran never had such a plant – nor any plans to build one, and no prospect for getting the requisite technology and equipment.

But now even that bogeyman no longer exists. Iran removed and destroyed the reactor core of its existing Arak plant in 2016 and filled it with cement, as attested to by international inspectors under the JCPA.

As to its already existing enriched stock piles, including some 20% medical-grade material, 97% has been eliminated as per the agreement. That is, Iran now holds only 300 kilograms of its 10,000 kilogram stockpile in useable or recoverable form. Senator Kirk could store what is left in his wine cellar.

But where the framework agreement decisively shut down the War Party was with respect to its provision for a robust, comprehensive and even prophylactic inspections regime. All of the major provision itemized above are being enforced by continuous IAEA access to existing facilities including its main centrifuge complex at Natanz – along with Fordow, Arak and a half dozen other sites.

Indeed, the real breakthrough in the JCPA lies in Iran’s agreement to what amounts to a cradle-to-grave inspection regime. It encompasses the entire nuclear fuel chain.

That means international inspectors can visit Iran’s uranium mines and milling and fuel preparation operations. This encompasses even its enrichment equipment manufacturing and fabrication plants, including centrifuge rotor and bellows production and storage facilities.

Beyond that, Iran has also been subject to a robust program of IAEA inspections to prevent smuggling of materials into the country to illicit sites outside of the named facilities under the agreement. This encompasses imports of nuclear fuel cycle equipment and materials, including so-called "dual use" items which are essentially civilian imports that can be repurposed to nuclear uses, even peaceful domestic power generation.

In short, not even a Houdini could secretly breakout of the control box established by the JCPA and confront the world with some kind of fait accompli threat to use the bomb.

That’s because what it would take to do so is absurdly implausible. That is, Iran would need to secretly divert thousands of tons of domestically produced or imported uranium and then illicitly mill and upgrade such material at secret fuel preparation plants.

It would also need to secretly construct new, hidden enrichment operations of such massive scale that they could house more than 10,000 new centrifuges. Moreover, they would need to build these massive spinning arrays from millions of component parts smuggled into the country and transported to remote enrichment operations – all undetected by the massive complex of spy satellites overhead and covert US ands Israeli intelligence agency operatives on the ground in Iran.

Finally, it would require the activation from scratch of a weaponization program which has been dormant according to the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) for more than a decade. And then, that the Iranian regime – after cobbling together one or two bombs without testing them or their launch vehicles – would nevertheless be willing to threaten to use them sight unseen.

So just stop it!

You need to be a raging, certifiable paranoid boob to believe that the Iranians can break out of this framework box based on a secret new capacity to enrich the requisite fissile material and make a bomb.

In the alternative scenario, you have to be a willful know-nothing to think that if it publicly repudiates the agreement, Iran could get a bomb overnight before the international community could take action.

To get enough nuclear material to make a bomb from the output of the 5,000 "old and slow" centrifuges remaining at Natanz would take years, not months. And if subject to an embargo on imported components, as it would be after a unilateral Iranian repudiation of the JCPA, it could not rebuild its now dismantled enrichment capacity rapidly, either.

At the end of the day, in fact, what you really have to believe is that Iran is run by absolutely irrational, suicidal madmen. After all, even if they managed to defy the immensely prohibitive constraints described above and get one or a even a few nuclear bombs, what in the world would they do with them?

Drop them on Tel Aviv? That would absolutely insure Israel’s navy and air force would unleash its 100-plus nukes and thereby incinerate the entire industrial base and major population centers of Iran.

Indeed, the very idea that deterrence would fail even if a future Iranian regime were to defy all the odds, and also defy the fatwa against nuclear weapons issued by their Supreme Leader, amounts to one of the most preposterous Big Lies ever concocted.

There is no plausible or rational basis for believing it outside of the axis-of-evil narrative. So what’s really behind Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPA is nothing more than the immense tissue of lies and unwarranted demonization of Iran that the War Party has fabricated over the last three decades.

Iran Never Wanted the Bomb

At bottom, all the hysteria about the mullahs getting the bomb was based on the wholly theoretically supposition that they wanted civilian enrichment only as a stepping stone to the bomb. Yet the entirety of the US intelligence complex as well as the attestation of George W. Bush himself say it isn’t so.

As we have previously indicated, the blinding truth of that proposition first came in the National Intelligence Estimates of 2007. These NIEs represent a consensus of all 17 US intelligence agencies on salient issues each year, and on the matter of Iran’s nuclear weapons program they could not have been more unequivocal:
We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. … We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. …

Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”
Moreover, as former CIA analyst Ray McGovern noted recently, the NIE’s have not changed since then.
An equally important fact ignored by the mainstream media is that the key judgments of that NIE have been revalidated by the intelligence community every year since.
More crucially, there is the matter of "Dubya’s" memoirs. Near the end of his term in office he was under immense pressure to authorize a bombing campaign against Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities.

But once the 2007 NIEs came out, even the "mission accomplished" President in the bomber jacket was caught up short. As McGovern further notes,
Bush lets it all hang out in his memoir, Decision Points. Most revealingly, he complains bitterly that the NIE “tied my hands on the military side” and called its findings “eye-popping.”

A disgruntled Bush writes, “The backlash was immediate…….“I don’t know why the NIE was written the way it was. … Whatever the explanation, the NIE had a big impact – and not a good one.”

Spelling out how the Estimate had tied his hands “on the military side,” Bush included this (apparently unedited) kicker: “But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”
So there you have it. How is it possible to believe that the Iranian’s were hell-bent on a nuclear holocaust when they didn’t even have a nuclear weapons program?

And why in the world is the Donald taking America and the world to the edge of a utterly unnecessary war in order to force a better deal when the one he shit-canned was more than serviceable?

The answer to that momentous questions lies with the Bombzie Twins (Pompeo and Bolton) and the malign influence of the Donald’s son-in-law and Bibi Netanyahu toady, Jared Kushner.

Rarely have a small group of fanatics more dangerously and wantonly jeopardized the security, blood and treasure of the American people.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.
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