"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Saturday, June 28, 2014

100th Anniversary of the Beginning of "The Great War"

June 28, 1914 - Sarajevo - Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are shot and killed by a Serbian nationalist. Our world will never be the same.

So might the title have been in the newspapers a century ago. That single act set in motion a profound series of events that culminated in one of the most horrific slaughters our world has ever witnessed.

For those of you who might be history buffs as I am, or for those who are merely curious about a War that forever altered the face of the world as it then existed, I highly recommend you read the following articles in the NY Times which is running with a marvelous series of writings on this human tragedy.

I am not normally a fan of the Times, as it is far too liberal leaning for my likes, but this series of articles is outstanding. They are superbly done!

Every time I read about the sacrifices, and the horrors that those who fought in wars experienced, but especially WWI, I  contemplate what it must have been like for those soldiers who fought, bled and died in muddy, wet, miserable trenches with artillery shells, sniper fire and machine gun volleys ripping ceaselessly through the air surrounding them. Far from home and loved ones, many in strange lands, with the shrieks and groans of agony surrounding them, how did they bear up and continue to do their duty? They charged over the top when commanded do to so, knowing full well that the odds favored their deaths shortly as a wall of lead and shrapnel were going to meet them.

It was less than three weeks ago when we were recalling the 70th anniversary of D-Day in WWII. It is humbling to consider that we are now 100 years removed from the tumultuous events of a bygone era.

Sometimes it is good to pause and reflect on such things.



  1. Always a good thing to remember the sacrifices of those that passed before us. The human experience continues on because of the bravery of men and women that struggled and strived on this Earth in hopes of leaving behind a better place for their children and the children of those around them. Thanks for the post Dan.

  2. Thanks Dan.
    Will it be an Ayatollah somewhere or Assad being offed this time around that sparks a greater MENA/regional conflict?

    Let's hope not.

  3. You don't need a spark, the sunni/shia civil war is already happening before your eyes and can only worsen if Iraq is carved into three. And Putin has Assad's back as we all saw last year.

    Everything is tribal in the Middle East, the main concern of US remains Saudi Arabia. Sadly, Saudi Arabia is the main concern FOR the rest of us....

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    2. I hear ya' on that.
      Iraq is well underway, no doubt.
      I guess what I meant specifically (besides al-Sadr) is if Assad, Ayatollah Sistani (Baghdad), Nasarallah (Leb.) or some Sultan in SA or Qatar etc or the big guy in Iran (Khameni) gets offed the whole MENA region (and beyond) could very quickly become engulfed.

      All the ingredients are there.

  4. Perhaps the biggest sea change in that war was the birth of fighter planes, the WWI flying aces fighting against the German Fokkers.

    My grandfather was a flying ace, his name was Oscar Mandel, he was shot down and captured, and escaped with John Donaldson. They got caught again, but escaped another time and attempted to flee by stealing a German plane. Donaldson was stabbed in the back by a bayonet, but not fatal. Both escaped on foot and made it to England two days before the end of the war.


    My grandfather retired in Delray Beach. He taught me how to drive a stick shift Volkswagen Beetle when I was 10 years old. He eventually died of a heart attack while sawing the branch of a tree after climbing up 20 ft. at 78 years old. He was a great story teller, hands down my favorite relative.

  5. The reason for the liar Wilson getting the U.S. involved in this war is very simple; the NY Bankers were scared shitless that the Kaiser was going to win out and that the French and Brits would not pay back loans. All you gotta do is follow the money and forget about democracy, domino theories and so forth. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Wilson a liar? Come on, Steve... he was the greatest president ever! He brought us the Federal Reserve AND Income taxes. How could you dislike this guy?

  7. It should be a requirement that anyone in a position to order others into combat have personally fought before on the front lines of a major bloody war like that.

  8. Unfortunately, that would mean we will always have to be at war OR we could never defend ourselves...

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  10. Back in the 70's. when I was a teenager, my mum still had an Uncle who lived nearby, and talking to him was like having access to a portal straight back into history. Think of an event in the 20th century, he either lived through it, or was in the thick of it.

    At age 17, in 1917, he and his two brothers went "over the top" at Ypres, during the Battle of Passchendaele. He saw one brother shot dead next to him, was himself gassed and abandoned in No Mans Land for 3 days, and has no idea what happened to his third brother, who he never saw again. "After that", he said "Life didn't have much it could throw at me" and although Life apparently tried, he lived well into his 80's and died in his sleep, sitting upright in an armchair, watching TV

    My point is this - life is frequently cruel and almost always unfair, but it is always necessary to keep a sense of perspective and proportion. You may be experiencing some form of difficulty or adversity, but not only is it probably either temporary or survivable, but it is as NOTHING compared to what other people have suffered - or are suffering

    As a consequence Perce's motto was - and I am not making this up - "Count your Blessings, not your Brothers"

  11. War is a crazy thing. I'm glad I never had to deal with that type of warfare. It seems rather crazy to think of two sides pummeling each other with chemicals and bullets and explosives while making NO PROGRESS at all. Some men even CLAWED themselves to death while sitting in puddles of mustard... brutal! I hope we never have to see that... Although there are atrocities being committed all over the world, especially in Africa at this moment.

  12. Saudi Arabia sounds like they're ready to roll...

    "Saudi king, in Ramadan message, vows to crush terrorists"

    DUBAI | Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:19pm EDT

    DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi King Abdullah, in a Ramadan message on Saturday, vowed to crush Islamist militants threatening the kingdom, the state news agency reported, saying the world's top oil exporter would not tolerate "a band of terrorists".

    The remarks came two days after the monarch ordered all necessary measures to protect the country against potential "terrorist threats" resulting from turmoil in neighboring Iraq, where Sunni Islamist militants have captured some cities from the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    "We will not let a band of terrorists who have taken religion as a disguise behind which they hide private interests to terrorize the protected Muslims, to touch our homeland or any of its sons or its protected residents," King Abdullah said in a message at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

    Saudi Arabia crushed al Qaeda after the Islamist militant group began a campaign of bombings and attacks on vital installations and expatriate compounds in the kingdom.

    The U.S.-allied kingdom has been rattled by a lightning advance through Iraq by Sunni militants spearheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - aided by other Sunni Muslim militants, tribal leaders and remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party - which seized swathes of the country this month.

    Saudi Arabia shares an 800-km (500-mile) border with Iraq.

    The birthplace of Islam, it sees itself as a champion of pure Sunni Muslim values and regards Shi'ite Iran as its main regional foe.


  13. Dan- thanks for the post and link. This reminded me of a great Gary Cooper classic, "Sergeant York". Here is a clip...


  14. Apologies for apparently highjacking a serious discussion thread, but were any of you aware that this kind of things was going on, and does it perhaps resonate in the context of the "Cult" concerns? http://rt.com/news/169124-faceebok-users-emotions-experiment/

  15. Also, WWI "inspired" Tolkien with Lord of The Ring.
    I guess his batlles, and Mordon, have a lot in common with Verdun.

  16. 100 year war cycle in effect - WWI 1914-1918, War of 1812, 1702-13 Queen Anne War, WW3 - 2016-2020???

  17. Bob,

    You see my post to you?

    1. Hi Nate. Hope you did well on mnkd...I made 110% in 4 months. Not to bad but sold before the decision because the risk/reward dynamics changed greatly out of my favor by time of sale.

  18. usda report pounds soybeans -50, corn/wheat did about -20 right away. can see why short covering rally stopped late friday afternoon in corn-wheat, as somebody always knows.

    wheat looks the best for a turnaround tuesday, report was neutral at the worst.

    soybeans they found plenty old crop, and new crop is due to be biggest ever. corn stats say about 5th biggest new crop since WWII.


  19. gold very firm as 2Q report cards are printing in all asset classes.

    markets will be closed a long time from thursday, so looks like a risk premium is there for precious metals along with good performance 1H 2014.

    the bulls sure do see a bull flag from the one 'high volume expanded range' session day after fomc decision.


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