Friday, July 15, 2016

XGTI is still a nice Intraday Buy -- Average Out or Buy @ $.535; +/- .015

Well, ETRM bottomed out @ $.20 almost immediately and has recovered nicely -- Safe Move Is Sell @ $.26

Enteromedics (Stock Symbol #ETRM) Is an Intraday Buy @ $.25; +/- .015

XG Technologies (Stock Symbol #XGTI) Is An Intraday Buy @ $.575; +/- .015

Today's Stock In Play Is Forbes Energy Service (Symbol #FES)

Lessons From The Second Lebanon War

At the end of the day, there are no good wars.

By Amir Peretz
The Jerusalem Post
July 15, 2016

This week, Israel marks a decade since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

When the war broke out, I knew our reply could not be as in the past. A decisive action was needed in response to Hezbollah’s murderous attack inside our sovereign territory in which two of our soldiers were kidnapped and three were killed, along with massive Hezbollah rocket fire that targeted civilians in Israeli towns on our northern border.

Throughout that day, all of the security apparatus switched to emergency mode and we held intensive discussions to prepare proposals to the prime minister and the security cabinet.

We decided to carry out a mission to bomb the most secretive missile systems in Hezbollah’s hands which were concealed inside Lebanese civilian homes - long and medium- range missiles aimed at strategic targets and concentrated civilian population centers in Israel.

My position was clear that we could not continue to allow Hezbollah to use the Lebanese population as a human shield. Our justified stance was that those who place a missile in a civilian home convert that building into a legitimate military target.

In retrospect, it is clear that an attack on Hezbollah’s long-range missiles was strategically important, dramatic, and deeply shocked Hezbollah’s commanders.

However, successes from the air cannot decide the outcome of the battle alone, and therefore one of the lessons for the future is that the transition to ground operations has to come faster. IDF ground forces and reserves must be prepared and trained, with faster replenishment, with each unit knowing its goals and operational area where it may engage in battle. In my opinion, the IDF today is better prepared for any conflict that may occur.

Another important lesson from that war was how we protect our home front. The Second Lebanon War reinforced the perception that the threat on Israeli civilians and infrastructure must be treated as a strategic threat.

That is what brought me to the decision to establish the Iron Dome defense system that has changed Israel’s balance of power with all the terrorist organizations.

In modern times there are no immediate and clear decisions in the military so things must be measured over time. Sometimes the sense of a big victory is revealed over time as a missed opportunity or failure, and sometimes the opposite can occur.

The Second Lebanon War ended with a feeling of disappointment in Israel, but as time passed and the dust settled the achievements become more obvious and significant.

In historical perspective the Second Lebanon War created a deterrence against Hezbollah, but also gave an unequivocal message to other terrorist organizations, especially Hamas.

It is important to remember that Israel is not alone. The entire world is challenged by global terrorism fueled by radical ideology that has no qualms about harming civilians indiscriminately. Therefore the free world must unite in the face of these threats with a new joint intelligence gathering network and new tools for dealing with the incitement that exploits the Internet world and social networks. In addition, international funds are needed to eliminate ignorance and fight poverty, the two hot houses that have the biggest potential for feeding world terrorism.

As for Israel, one of the most important conclusions is that the military campaign cannot stand on its own, but it needs to create, whenever possible, a new political space that will allow us to turn military gains into a strategic political document, as we attempted with UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the war.

At the end of the day, there are no good wars. The Israeli leadership’s task is to create new political opportunities, as Israel tries with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East. When it comes to extremist enemies like Hezbollah, Israel should maintain its redlines, but also work together with the international community in order to prevent the next war and provide this troubled region with the possibility of a brighter future.

Article Link to The Jerusalem Post:

Brexit Isn't Theresa May's Only Challenge

By Editorial Board
The Bloomberg View
July 15, 2016

Britain’s new prime minister, Theresa May, is all for union. Not the European Union -- “Brexit means Brexit,” she has repeatedly assured voters -- but greater union within her own country.

In a speech Wednesday that barely mentioned Brexit, May set out two priorities. The first is preserving the “precious, precious bond” among the constituent parts of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To succeed, she’ll need to make it attractive for each of these entities -- especially Scotland and Northern Ireland, which enjoy a fair amount of autonomy and view the EU more favorably -- to remain closely connected to London. These will be difficult and complicated negotiations, but they are manageable.
A successful long-term union, however, will depend on whether she can make progress on her other major goal: leading what she called a “one-nation government.” The idea of “one-nation conservatism” -- which focuses on improving social cohesion and opportunity across society -- started with Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the Victorian era, and has been invoked more than achieved ever since.

May promised to fight against “burning injustice,” whether faced by working women who earn less than men, blacks who are mistreated by the criminal justice system, or the “white working-class boy” who struggles to get into university. These are worthy aims. They have also been declared, in one way or another, by each of the U.K.’s previous four prime ministers.

All the same, Brexit gives them new urgency. The vote puts in sharp relief the divide between the disadvantaged north, which largely favored Brexit and where the population is older, poorer and less educated, and the younger, more prosperous and more cosmopolitan area around London, which mostly voted to stay.

The priorities here are largely to be found in policies May’s predecessor, David Cameron, set out but was unable to deliver. May can go further. While former Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to revitalize the northern economy holds some promise, the new government must follow through with plans not only for infrastructure development, but also for enabling better and faster decisions at local levels of government.

May’s approach to the British economy needn’t be radically different than the Cameron-Osborne agenda. Britain needs fiscal discipline to keep inward investment flowing, but it also needs reforms that will require both government spending and more private investment. A true one-nation agenda would also focus on improving education standards and job training, lowering barriers to entry for new businesses, and improving access to housing.

May has appointed an experienced cabinet from both sides of the Brexit divide. How well her ministers can unite behind her one-nation agenda will be at least as important -- maybe more -- than the deal they strike with Brussels.

Article Link to The Bloomberg View:

#NeverTrump Goes Down in Flames

After a tireless campaign to unbind Republican delegates to ‘vote their conscience’ at next week’s convention, the anti-Trumpers were trampled at a marathon rules committee session.

By Alexa Corse and Tim Mak
The Daily Beast
July 15, 2016

CLEVELAND—Anti-Trump delegates’ last-ditch attempt to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination failed late Thursday night, after a 15 ½ hour marathon committee session.

#NeverTrump Republicans were pushing a proposal designed to stop Trump in the days leading up to the Republican convention next week. The proposal would unbind Republican delegates from how citizens in various states voted and allow them to vote instead based on their personal consciences.

They weren’t just beaten. They were humiliated, silenced, and shut down.

For weeks, members of the rules committee had been urged to support this rebel effort. One delegate said she had received some 400 emails urging her to support the so-called conscience clause.

It all converged late Thursday night, after an exhausting day of mind-numbing, obscure rules changes. Then came the dramatic moment, a vote that one 40-year rules committee veteran said had "obviously been the subject of more pre-convention publicity than any rules matter ever in living memory."

The incessant campaign of the anti-Trump rebellion rankled some of the delegates committed to the New York businessman. “The people who sent all those emails: It’s over, folks,” proclaimed Iowa delegate Steve Scheffler while the committee debated the proposal. “Let’s get behind our nominee right now.”

The results were disastrous: Not only did the #NeverTrump delegates lose on their issue by an overwhelming number, but the Republican delegates voted to strengthen the binding of delegates.

Using procedures to their advantage, pro-Trump forces on the committee shut down the #NeverTrump effort with ease. In the end, the anti-Trump delegates failed event to get a tallied vote on the “conscience clause”—they were shouted down in a voice vote. They were denied even the chance to debate the initiative.

“This angst isn’t going to go away just because we paper over it with rules,” said Sen. Mike Lee, a rules committee delegate from Utah and a key supporter of the “conscience clause,” urging Trump instead to make the substantive case to Republican delegates for why they should support him.

Not long after his speech, the senator walked out of the rules committee. He told The Daily Beast he didn’t want to comment on what happened inside.

Unbinding proponents never expected to gain a majority of committee members. Instead, the anti-Trump Republicans set their sights on securing 28—a quarter—of the committee’s 112 members, which would have sent the proposal to the convention floor as a “minority report.”

Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate leading the unbinding effort, claimed throughout the last week that the anti-Trump Republicans had secured the necessary 28 votes, citing the movement’s internal whip count. A Wall Street Journal survey last week found 20 members open to consider unbinding delegates.

Yet a survey by The Daily Beast, published the day before the failed vote, found only five committee members in support of allowing delegates to vote their conscience.

The anti-Trump Republicans now plan to take their fight to the convention floor next week. Under their interpretation of party rules, delegates have always been free to vote their conscience.

The #NeverTrump movement’s last chance to stop Trump will be through a last-minute challenge on the convention floor, when state delegations participate in the official vote for the presidential nomination.

Usually, each state delegation chairperson simply announces the state delegates’ vote count, as it has been pre-assigned by party rules. But an anti-Trump delegate could contest his or her state’s vote count and ask for, essentially, a redo of votes while on the convention floor—and the delegates hope to switch their votes away from Trump during the recount.

“Strictly speaking, the rules as they exist now support the fact that we are unbound,” Eric Minor, an anti-Trump Washington state delegate, insisted on Thursday afternoon.

Anti-Trump forces have tried nearly every tool in their arsenal to deny Trump the Republican nomination—but at this late stage in the process, the most they could cause is a little trouble. On Thursday night, they barely managed that.

Article Link to The Daily Beast:

This Is the Beginning Of The End Of The NRA

By Francis Wilkinson
The Bloomberg View
July 15, 2016

The NRA is not only a constituent part of the Republican Party. It is in some ways a microcosm of it. Its demographics: an aging, male, non-urban, racially anxious, white base. Its policy prescriptions: outlier positions unsupported by science. Its politics: defensive and bitterly opposed to compromise.

Like the GOP, which dominates state governments and has reached peak numbers in Congress, the National Rifle Association appears to be at the height of its considerable powers. It is well funded, professionally staffed and deeply entrenched in U.S. politics, having fully hitched a major political party to its single cause.

NRA ideology is popular, often intuitive and packaged in easily digested talking points and aphorisms -- "good guy with a gun," "if guns are outlawed..." -- that are widely repeated by millions of gun enthusiasts.

The group has been racking up victories in conservative states that have adopted wholesale the movement creed that guns on campus, in bars, at church, in cars -- guns everywhere -- constitutes both a rational public policy and an extension of liberty.

Still, it's more than likely that, for the NRA, it's downhill from here. In fact, some of the organization's strengths may prove to be its undoing.

Having abandoned even a pretense of bipartisanship, the NRA benefits from a conservative network of allies, including the religious right. But it has completely forfeited influence with Democrats, who have concluded that they have nothing to lose in becoming a party fully devoted to gun regulation. With the GOP publicly unraveling, congressional Democrats appear poised to grow stronger. That's not good for the NRA.

Similarly, extremism has been profitable for the NRA. But as the GOP is learning, there is no easy route back from the fringe.

First, the NRA's political power and fundraising depend on maintaining paranoia at a screaming pitch.

Second, the NRA has its own Tea Party problem. Gun groups that are even more extreme are ever eager to label the NRA a sellout -- too willing to appease liberals or compromise freedom or indulge thegirly-man politics of the mainstream.

When Open Carry Texas, a band of gun extremists, first began terrifying patrons and workers in Texas restaurants, the NRA mumbled disapproval. Under pressure from its fringier rivals, the NRA quickly reversed itself.

Extremism, of course, is a tricky game. If you don't convert the country to your cause, you risk being marginalized. That's already happening to the NRA in liberal states. The trend may expand.

Like open carry, NRA ideology doesn't hold up well in real life. "Good guys with guns" too often turn out to be bad guys who kill. And what are the chances that a very stupid, very reckless "good guy" will eventually shoot an innocent person while trying to be a hero? I'd guess the chances are quite high. Meanwhile, social media readily spreads news stories of foolish gun owners leaving senseless destruction in their wake.

Demographic decline also beckons. As Adam Winkler explained in the Washington Post, the growing parts of the population -- Hispanics and Asians -- generally support gun regulation, as do blacks. The NRA's old, white base is in steady decline as both a portion of the population and electorate.

It's true that the NRA retains cultural resonance as well as political power. Writing in the Economist, Will Wilkinson noted that the group is no outlier in American culture. "It is," he said, "an organic symptom of a widespread and deep-seated aspect of the American character."

Wilkinson (no relation) is correct, of course. Perhaps Americans will gradually accede to the radical expansion of gun-movement ideology -- even to the sight of strange men walking grocery aisles with loaded weapons of war on their backs, muzzles dipping menacingly as they reach for the milk. Surely the tribalism and apocalyptic fetishism promoted by the NRA are secure in the GOP of Donald Trump.

But the aggressive crouch that defines the gun movement is a defensive one. Like Trump's troops, the movement perceives itself perpetually under siege. In places such as California and Hawaii, which continue to strengthen gun regulation, it pretty much is. (Question: What are the demographics of those two states like? Answer: The future.)

Demography may be the NRA's most obvious source of insecurity. But the American body count may also prove unsustainable. Guns are used in 100,000 shootings annually, causing more than 30,000 deaths. That's a staggering price to pay for policies specifically designed to facilitate gun possession, willy nilly.

On some level, those most enamored of firearms must sense that their victories, including a highly qualified 5-4 Supreme Court ruling written by a Supreme Court justice who is now deceased, are fragile. Technology, politics, demography and reason itself will eventually gang up to defeat a movement that demands guns for everyone, anywhere, all the time, for any reason, regardless of the consequences and in defiance of every civilized norm the world over.

In other words, maybe the NRA isn't crazy to be paranoid.

Article Link to The Bloomberg View:

The Pipe Dream That Is 'Free College'

By Peter Morici
The Washington Times
July 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton's plan to make college free for low- and middle-income families does not address the most fundamental challenges in higher education. No matter who pays, universities have become costly and wasteful and do a poor job of equipping young people to earn a living.

In this century, college tuition and fees are up 149 percent, whereas health care and overall consumer prices have increased only 81 percent and 42 percent.

University presidents are quick to cite cuts in public funding for higher education. Since the financial crisis, states have reduced per student contributions by about 17 percent, but that has not kept university administrators from spending ever larger sums.

From 2007 to 2013, enrollment at state-sponsored institutions increased 12 percent, while outlays jumped by twice as much.

A year or two of training beyond high school or a college degree increasingly is required to obtain a decent paying job, because the number of routine positions - such as assemblers in factories and clerical workers - has generally stagnated. 

Meanwhile, the demand for specialized technicians - such as those servicing factory automation equipment - and workers with executive skills and expertise normally associated with a college education - such as project managers and engineers - continues to grow.

President Obama has urged young people to extend their education beyond high school and to borrow to pay for it - outstanding student debt has reached $1.2 trillion. However, fewer than 40 percent of 12th graders are ready for reading and math at the college level.

Institutions are under pressure from the Department of Education to increase enrollment of minority and low-income students. This often results in more highly selective colleges and universities admitting students who are not academically competitive with their broader student bodies and who might have been better placed at less prestigious institutions.

Together, these require institutions to spend large sums on remedial programs, but it is simply too difficult to lift most students who enter with substandard basic skills or uncompetitive high school backgrounds through a summer bootstrap program or several hours a week of tutoring while enrolled in regular classes. Consequently, many of those students drop out and the burden of student debt and defaults is particularly acute among minority and low-income students.

Teaching even well qualified undergraduates to think clearly and analyze issues with detachment from personal prejudices is difficult and demanding work. Too often college faculty, outside the hard sciences and quantitative disciplines, appear more interested in imparting their liberal views on social issues than requiring students to accomplish genuine competency in their subjects.

Forty-six years ago when I started teaching, university faculty general taught 12 hours each academic year and advised graduate students. These days teaching loads of 6 and 9 hours are common, and undergraduate courses are increasingly staffed by adjunct and part-time faculty and graduate assistants who lack an adequate grasp of the disciplines they teach, pedagogical skills or facility with the English language.

It should be no surprise that four in 10 college graduates lack the problem solving and critical thinking skills required for white-collar professional work, and more than 35 percent of undergraduates exhibit no intellectual progress between their freshman and senior years.

Most of the additional money universities have been raking in has not gone into faculty salaries but instead into amenities, such as lavish student centers, athletic and entertainment facilities and hotel-like residence halls, big perks and high salaries for university presidents and senior administrators, and armies of new bureaucrats whose educational value added is dubious.

Americans are investing too much in higher education and getting back too little, and the resulting shortage of genuinely qualified workers is a barrier to more robust economic growth.

As with health care, the United States spends a larger share of GDP on higher education and gets less for its money than other advanced industrialized countries.

And like the Affordable Care Act, Mrs. Clinton's proposal is quite specific about the taxes she would levy on high-income families to offer 80 percent of all young people free tuition at community colleges and state universities, but is vague about lowering costs and imposing standards of productivity and performance.

In the end, universities will be jammed with even more applications from unqualified students, waste even more money and continue to do what they seem to do best - grant degrees to the intellectually illiterate.

Article Link to The Washington Times:

Shovels And Old Planes: As North Korea Pursues The Bomb, Its Military Wanes

By James Pearson and Ju-min Park
July 15, 2016

Like many in North Korea's army of 1.2 million, Eom Yeong-nam spent more time holding the wooden handle of a shovel than a Kalashnikov rifle during his years in the 501 Construction Brigade.

"Except for basic military training two to three months a year, we worked on building apartments or concrete structures for nine to ten months," said Eom, who served 10 years in the army before defecting to the South in 2010, a year before Kim Jong Un assumed power in isolated North Korea.

The young leader has since expanded the use of so-called "soldier-builders", fuelling a construction boom as many of North Korea's Soviet-era conventional weapons become outmoded.

His military focus is increasingly on "asymmetric" capabilities such as nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and cyber warfare to deter North Korea's main enemies, the United States and South Korea.

Tensions with both have been on the rise since the start of the year.

North Korea, under tightened United Nations sanctions following its fourth nuclear test in January and a space rocket launch the following month, said on Monday it will make a "physical response" to moves by the United States and South Korea to deploy an advanced missile defense system on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea also said on Monday it was cutting off its only channel of communications with the United States following a U.S. decision to sanction Kim Jong Un by name for human rights abuses and base the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

The focus on the asymmetric capabilities has been accompanied by a downscaling of the importance of the military within North Korea's power structure. Slowly, Kim is dismantling the "military first" policy of his late father, Kim Jong Il, and giving precedence to the ruling Workers Party.

This was evident most recently when the National Defence Commission, a military body promoted by Kim's father as one of the highest decision-making institutions in government, was replaced last month by the civilian-heavy State Affairs Commission.

"The KPA (Korean People's Army) is undergoing actual modernization. Kim Jong Un is cutting through some of the fiefdoms and patronage networks that had grown too powerful," said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership.

After coming to power, one of the first of Kim's purges was the 2012 removal of Ri Yong Ho, the KPA's then Chief of Staff.

Since then, he has chipped away at the standing of senior military officers, in public.

In 2014, Kim made his admirals take part in a swimming competition on the beaches of his summer palace while he watched, according to state media.

That summer, his air force commanders were made to fly fighter jets as part of a military flying competition, and he instructed his generals to take part in a target shooting competition, state media said.

"Hacks and cronies are out in favor of professional military men," said Madden, adding that such competitions could distinguish genuine officers from those who rose through corruption and patronage.

Million Man Army?

While North Korea is often credited with having a "million-man army", many are not combat-ready troops and are instead conscripted for up to ten years at a time, largely as an easily-mobilized source of labor.

There are about 300,000 combat-ready troops, most of them poorly-equipped and concentrated in the area near the inter-Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), General Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year.

Still, the DMZ is just 40 kilometers from Seoul, which the North occasionally threatens to turn into a "sea of flames".

North Korea has 73 submarines, more than China and far more than the South's 23. Pyongyang's submarines, although ageing Soviet models, are a key part of Kim Jong Un's strategy to mount a nuclear warhead on a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

North Korea also has 21,100 artillery guns, mostly old Soviet-designed weapons, according to the IISS Military Balance, twice as many as South Korea and almost 8,000 more than China.

By comparison, South Korea has 628,000 active soldiers, most of whom are also conscripts, and 4.5 million reservists. North Korea has 5.7 million reservists, according to the IISS Military Balance 2016, most of whom are part of the under-equipped, paramilitary Worker-Peasant Red Guard.

The military's other antique equipment includes the Antonov An-2, a large Soviet transport plane built in the 1940s, used elsewhere as a crop duster, but capable of flying at slow speeds under radar.

The rest of its air force recently had its planes repainted, according to images released by state media, a move which "only disguises the underlying lack of new airframes over the past two decades," according to the Military Balance, a compilation of global military statistics from the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

Still, Kim's army has spent scarce resources to renovate cracked runways at its air bases, invest in island defense units across North Korea's rocky coast, and introduce new tank-training areas, according to satellite imagery analysis by Curtis Melvin at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.

The KPA "lacks the logistical support necessary to sustain a large scale attack," Brooks told the Senate.

Instead, the North is believed to have amassed enough plutonium for as many as 21 nuclear weapons, according to the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and has been accelerating testing of various types of ballistic missiles, all in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

It is also ramping up its cyber warfare capability, according to the South Korean government.

Along with nuclear weapons and missiles, cyber warfare was now one of North Korea's "omnipotent swords," Kim Jong Un said, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

Article Link to Reuters:

Friday, July 15, Morning Global Market Roundup: Asian Shares Rise, Europe Seen Subdued After Nice Attack

By Lisa Twaronite 
July 15, 2016

Asian shares extended gains to nine-month highs on Friday, on track for a solid weekly rise, as better-than-expected economic data from China lifted risk sentiment that was already buoyant after record highs on Wall Street.

But European stock markets were expected to dip lower at the open, while travel stocks could come under pressure after an attacker killed 80 people in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday.

Financial bookmakers at IG and CMC Markets expected Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX to open 0.1 percent lower, while France's CAC was seen down 0.4 percent.

"European markets look set to open lower on Friday, coming off multi-month highs in the wake of the horrific attack last night during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France," Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said in a note.

An attacker killed 80 people and injured scores when he drove a truck at high speed into a crowd watching a fireworks display on Thursday night.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent, off intraday session highs it hadn't reached since October, but it was still on track to log a robust weekly gain of more than 4 percent for the week.

On Thursday, both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 closed at record highs.

China's economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, steady from the first quarter and slightly better than expected as the government stepped up efforts to stabilize growth in the economy.

Industrial output and retail sales also beat forecasts, which helped alleviate fears of slowing momentum, though fixed-asset investment growth slipped and missed market expectations.

"The data showed the signs of stabilisation, which is very encouraging," said Julian Wang, economist for Greater China at HSBC.

"However, public sector investment and housing market are slowing down. So the challenges still loom quite large in the second half of the year."

China stocks wobbled, with the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as the Shanghai Composite Index both down 0.1 percent in choppy trading.

Japan's Nikkei added 0.7 percent, gaining more than 9 percent for the week with the tailwind from a weaker yen after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a fresh round of fiscal stimulus following last weekend's victory for his ruling coalition.

Part of the yen's recent weakness was also due to some investors' hopes that former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke's meetings with Japanese leaders this week would herald the adoption of further stimulus policy, to help meet the goals of the ambitious "Abenomics" reform plan.

"The amount of outflows from Japan year to date versus the amount of inflows in the last two weeks, it's been a significant reversal," said Logan Best, vice president of securities trading at INTL FCStone Financial in Orlando.

"We're talking about billions of dollars being put back to work, in the past week. I'm seeing significant buyers every day," he said. "There's definitely some hope rekindled in Abenomics."

News of the attack in France had lifted the safe-haven yen in early trading.

"Initially, some U.S. short-term guys used it as an excuse to test the downside and sell ahead of the long weekend in Tokyo," said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co in Tokyo, referring to Monday's public holiday for which Japanese markets will close.

The dollar added 0.4 percent to 105.70 yen, having dipped as low as 105.05 earlier in the session. It subsequently recovered to rise to a three-week high of 106.32 yen, and was on track to gain more than 5 percent for the week against its Japanese counterpart.

The euro was up 0.2 percent at 117.59 yen, up over 5 percent for the week.

The pound was up 0.4 percent at $1.3395, on track for a weekly gain of 3.5 percent, after earlier rising as high as $1.3481. On Thursday, the Bank of England surprised many investors by leaving interest rates unchanged instead of cutting to cushion the economic impact of Britain's vote last month to leave the European Union.

Oil prices gave up some of their overnight gains in early trading, after rising 2 percent on Thursday as traders covered short positions after data showing weak U.S. fuel demand. The bright signs of stabilization in the Chinese economic data could not offset concerns about a global supply glut. [O/R]

Brent crude futures slipped 1 percent to $46.92 a barrel, while U.S. crude also fell 1 percent to $45.23.

Article Link to Reuters:

Oil Falls On Glut Fears, But China Data Curbs Losses

By Aaron Sheldrick
July 15, 2016

Crude futures dipped in Asian trading on Friday on renewed concerns about a global oil glut, but losses were capped by slightly better than expected Chinese economic data reflecting government efforts to stabilize growth.

Brent crude futures were down 51 cents at $46.86 a barrel at 0650 GMT. On Thursday, they rose 2.4 percent, supported by short covering, and were on track to be flat for the week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down 47 cents at $45.21 a barrel having earlier fallen to $45.05. The contract rose 2.1 percent in the previous session and is heading for a weekly gain of 0.4 percent.

Prices partly retraced their losses after China reported economic growth of 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The result was steady from the first quarter and slightly better than expected as the government stepped up efforts to stabilize growth in the world's second-largest economy.

While fears of a hard landing in China have eased, investors are concerned a further slowdown and any major fallout from Britain's decision to leave the EU earlier this month would leave the world even more vulnerable to the risk of a global recession.

At the same time, persistent oversupply of crude oil is not clearing as early as many had expected, reports from the International Energy Agency and the U.S. official energy think tank showed this week.

"Changes to our oil balances and OPEC crude oil production assumptions continue to show that very little implied global stock change will occur from Q3 2016 until the end of 2017," BNP Paribas said in a research note, which updated its scenarios for supply and demand.

"As such, the inventory overhang built from the start of 2014 will remain largely in place, and thus continues to represent an impediment to any price rally," BNP said.

Data on Thursday from market intelligence firm Genscape showed a 171,511-barrel build at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for WTI futures during the week to July 12, traders said.

Article Link to Reuters:

Nice Attack – The Wider Threat To France

By Peter Apps
July 15, 2016

With the death of the driver who plowed his truck through dozens of French civilians in Nice, it may take a while for authorities to get to the bottom of what motivated the attack. The broader picture, however, looks unpleasantly clear: mainland Europe, and France in particular, is facing a vicious, repeated string of attacks that are hard to stop and likely to produce evermore unpredictable political consequences.

In France alone, well over 200 civilians have now been killed since attackers targeted a kosher supermarket and the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. And while the vast majority of deaths occurred in just three events – that killing, the assault in Paris on November 13 and now the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice – it appears that much smaller, more limited but still often deadly strikes are also on the rise.

It’s not just France, of course, but for now that country appears the most at risk. According to European security officials, the March 22 Brussels attack that left 35 dead, including three perpetrators, also had been intended for French soil. In response, the country has mobilized on an almost wartime scale, with troops on the streets and a national state of emergency.

Only hours before the attack in Nice, President Fran├žois Hollande had ironically announced that the state of emergency imposed after November's attacks would be lifted at the end of the month.

Progress has clearly been made – militant cells have been rounded out and perhaps more importantly, disrupted. The fact that this attack appeared to have relied on a civilian truck might imply that there has also been some success in denying those who want to conduct attacks access to more conventional weaponry.

We don’t know for sure whether Thursday’s attack was directly related to Islamic State or even broader Islamist radicalism – although perhaps unsurprisingly, Islamic State and other jihadi-linked social media feeds were quick to rejoice in what had happened, implying that their supporters would at least like to believe there was a link.

Even if that proves not to be the case, that will not dramatically reduce the worry for European security chiefs. What the Bastille Day attacker successfully demonstrated was just how much could be achieved with a single determined driver and large motor vehicle.

Such tactics are hardly new. Israel has seen multiple attacks using vehicles and heavy building machinery conducted by Palestinian militants, in part seen ss a response to local security measures making it hard to transport bombs or firearms. The death tolls, however, have generally been much smaller: rarely more than a handful of civilian or security personnel.

This appears to have been at least the fourth politically or militant-inspired “vehicular assault” in France since 2014. Two attacks took place with motor vehicles in December 2014 in the towns of Nantes and Dijon, killing one person and injuring more than 20. In January this year, an attacker rammed four French soldiers who were guarding a mosque in Valence, although none were killed. The attacker was found to have jihadist propaganda on his computer, although it is not clear whether he was directly linked to any group.

The deadliest single attack in Europe remains the 2004 Madrid train bombings claimed by Al Qaeda that killed 192. Similar attacks on London’s mass transit system the year before took another 56 linves, including those of the four suicide bombers. But that momentum, crucially, was not maintained despite multiple other attempts to blow up airliners and conduct other attacks.

The death toll in Europe remains a fraction of that in countries like Iraq, Pakistan, Syria or Afghanistan. Still, given the savagery and death toll of recent attacks, it is fair to say France is now on the receiving end of the most sustained militant assault any Western state has yet faced.(The death toll from mass shootings in the US remains a substantially higher, but they are not seen as coordinated in the same way.)

In Europe, there are parallels with the campaigns waged by Northern Irish Republican or Spanish Basque separatists in the last three decades of the twentieth century. In total, those had death tolls that run much higher than the several hundred killed by militants in Europe since 9/11. But the individual death toll in each attack was invariably much lower, and there was never a sustained tempo of mass casualty events like that now seen by France.

Even some of the smaller attacks have had a truly brutal savagery. On June 13, a French police officer and his wife were stabbed to death in their own home in a town outside Paris by a single attacker in an attack claimed by Islamic State. The attacker live streamed the attack on Facebook. French officials said he appeared to be acting on a recent general order from the Islamic State leadership to attack its enemies during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Such “lone wolf” attacks are much, much harder to stop.

Even before the attacks of the last two years, France was struggling with serious social divisions, particularly around the integration of residents--many of them Muslim--on underprivileged estates on the outskirts of cities. That appears to have become compounded with the West’s war with Islamist militancy in general and Islamic State in particular.

Although the reality is rather more complex, it’s hardly surprising recent attacks have stirred up further public discontent over migration and open borders, fueling the limited but very real rise of Marine le Pen’s National Front. With presidential elections due in April and May next year, Hollande badly needs to look like he has a grip on the problem.

Whether that’s something that is genuinely possible, unfortunately, is a rather different question.

Article Link to Reuters:

The Strategy Behind The Nice Attack

The purpose of terror is to terrify.

By Geopolitical Futures
July 15, 2016

At this point, the details of the terror attack in Nice are still unknown. We still do not know if these were jihadists. However, it seems likely. Each attack is different in some detail, but it is not unreasonable to assume that it was. Assuming that, it is important to understand why Islamic State is doing this.

Its goal is to construct a multinational caliphate, uniting Islamic countries under a single state. In order to do that, it must unite Muslims. In order to unite Muslims, it must give them an unmistakable enemy, that only unity can defeat. At the moment there is no such enemy that would force Muslims to unite. IS wants to create one.

Lenin said that the purpose of terror is to terrify. The creation of terror can cause any population to demand protection from such attacks. IS is a sparse global network operating covertly. It is difficult to identify its soldiers, and therefore difficult to destroy them. A purely defensive posture, protecting airports and buildings, won’t work. In this case, the offense has a substantial advantage over the defense. The defense can’t be everywhere. Therefore, the offense can identify gaps and exploit them. Populations cannot live their lives constantly under threat.

Multiple attacks like the Nice attack can terrify a population over time. It is not an irrational fear. The whole point of terrorism is to take the population to the point where fear is the only rational response. When that happens, there are political consequences. First, governments that have spoken of prior tragedies but have not prevented further attacks become delegitimized. Second, there is no moderate response that could work – only extreme ones like mass deportations, or worse. Given enough terror, unthinkable results can be generated.

This is precisely what IS wants to achieve. Its wants a response so overwhelming it will unite Muslims everywhere. The strength of IS strategy is that it leaves the defenders an impossible decision. No moderate defense is possible. Any extreme response by France or the West will create a response in the Muslim world that would benefit IS.

The fact that there have been relatively few catastrophic events like Nice has kept the pot from boiling over. It may be that IS doesn’t have enough operatives or that Western intelligence is detecting and destroying cells. But if the number increases, then the only reasonable response will be fear, and fear demands action. It becomes an irresistible force. The brutal fact is that IS has not hit the tripwire on extreme fear yet, which means the likelihood of more frequent attacks is high.

Article Link to Geopolitical Futures:

Zakaria: Obama's Whac-A-Mole Strategy

By Fareed Zakaria 
The Washington Post
July 15, 2016

It has become conventional wisdom to note that President Obama has failed in his efforts to extricate the United States from military conflicts in the Middle East. Having promised to end these wars, he has in the past year expanded U.S. interventions in Iraq, Syria and other countries. The troop drawdown in Afghanistan has slowed to a trickle. “Obama’s legacy,” says Gene Healy of the Cato Institute, is clear: “endless war.” The New York Times’ Mark Landler noted in May that Obama had just “passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.”

But these characterizations treat all military activity as alike, in a way that blurs rather than sharpens the picture. When Obama entered the White House, about 180,000 U.S. troops were engaged in active military combat in two theaters, Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal of both wars was to establish political order in these countries — to create functioning liberal democracies.

U.S. military policy under Obama has been different, narrower in its scope and more modest in its goals. The United States is actively engaged in efforts to defeat terrorist groups, deny them territory and work with local allies to keep militants on the run. But these policies mostly involve small numbers of Special Operations forces and trainers, air power and drones.

It would be fair to conclude that Obama has come to his policy of intervention-lite through trial and error. In his first term, he remarked that “the tide of war is receding,” and he undoubtedly hoped to have fewer active military missions in the last year of his presidency. But political chaos in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State have forced him to settle on a strategy for the region: attacking terrorist groups without expanding the mission into nation-building.

Parts of the world are always going to be in turmoil, and some of those will export their instability in various ways, terrorism and refugees being the most obvious today. When a global superpower has been able to limit the chaos, it has often proved useful. Britain played that role in the 19th century, when, as historian Max Boot pointed out to me, “there was a British military intervention somewhere in the world every year of Queen Victoria’s reign.” The United States has had its own tradition of limited interventions. “Between 1800 and 1934,” Boot has written, “the U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad.”

But history is replete with examples of ill-chosen interventions in support of nasty regimes, with unintended consequences and creeping escalations that have produced greater instability and weakened the superpower, lessening its ability to act in central parts of the global system. Today, for example, were the United States bogged down in another major war in the Middle East, it would have less capacity to help its Asian allies deter Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea — which could threaten peace in the world’s most dynamic economic region.

So the challenge is to pick these interventions carefully, find decent allies and make sure that U.S. efforts are carefully defined and constrained, doing enough to help local actors but being wary of the constant pressure for escalation. Above all they require keeping in mind that these are ongoing challenges not easily “solved.” The result is bound to disappoint both ardent interventionists and anti-interventionists, but it reflects the realities of being the world’s leading power.

An important corollary is to recognize that these are not wars for national survival, and so they cannot be fought with the rhetoric and morality of such existential struggles. We cannot torture and imprison by using analogies to World War II. This is not such a war.

Can this strategy work? It has been characterized as a “Whac-A-Mole” approach that simply keeps beating up the bad guys without ever solving the problem. This is true, but actually solving the problem involves creating an effective and inclusive political system in places such as Syria, seen by all elements within the society as legitimate — an almost impossible task for a foreign country. Better to focus U.S. energies on defeating the most dangerous groups, which would then give local regimes a chance to take control of their countries.

These are ongoing military actions, not unending wars, and ones that the United States can easily afford. They also work. A Whac-A-Mole strategy is no fun for the mole. Just ask the Islamic State as it watches its territory shrink, its caliphate collapse and its finances dry up. These policies might not solve all of the problems in the Middle East. New groups and problems will arise. But the United States should be ready and willing to take a whack at those as well.

Article Link To The Washington Post:

Rove: What Trump Needs For A Cleveland Bounce

The underdog needs a good, unifying show to be competitive again.

By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal
July 15, 2016

In the next few weeks there will be much interest in “bounces”—the jump in the polls that most presidential candidates enjoy after their party’s convention. Gallup has found that since 1964 Democrats have received an average 5.8% post-convention bounce and Republicans 4.9%. Actual performances vary from these averages. In 2012 President Obama jumped three points after his convention; Mitt Romney’s numbers remained virtually unchanged after his.

Donald Trump has been trending up in the polls this month, but to win he needs next week’s Cleveland convention to succeed. Doing that—leaving voters with the best impression of candidate, party and message—involves more going right than might be imagined.

First, Mr. Trump must unify the GOP. This means forgoing attacks on fellow Republicans, acting gracious toward party leaders who skipped the convention, and making the gathering about more than simply himself. He should emphasize the party’s values and the success of down-ballot candidates.

The presumptive nominee must avoid putting himself in situations like President Carter did in 1980, pathetically wandering the stage trying to get his primary challenger, Sen. Ted Kennedy, to raise arms together. By word, action and the convention’s programming, Mr. Trump must enthuse the Republicans watching on television who are lukewarm about his candidacy.

These tasks are critical for the candidate. To win in November, he must capture at least 90% of Republicans. The June 23 Washington Post/ABC poll had him carrying only 77% of Republicans. While Mr. Trump called the survey “very dishonest,” the June 28 Fox News poll found similar numbers, with Trump winning 74% of Republicans.

The two polls differed in how independents split. The Post/ABC poll had Mr. Trump winning them 45% to 43% while Fox put him up 39% to 31%.

Swing voters are the convention’s most important audience, especially those in battleground states. They typically pay less attention to politics, so impressions created in Cleveland will greatly affect their openness to vote Republican.

The convention must therefore present Mr. Trump in the best possible light—humanize him by dwelling on his background and family. But overdoing it risks the gathering coming off a personality cult.

Successful conventions also focus on critical issues and America’s future: Republicans must leave viewers with clarity about the GOP’s agenda. This requires far more than a good platform.

Everyone who appears on the stage—the candidate, keynote speaker, convention officials and others—should offer a forward-looking message about what a new Republican administration would do. This vision should be inclusive (we are all in this together) and appeal to the best instincts of ordinary Americans. Showcasing rising GOP leaders, especially young and diverse figures, can help.

It is critical that Mr. Trump’s message be one of constructive change: After a period of disunity and rancor, he should offer common purpose; after economic malaise, growth and prosperity; and after U.S. retreat and weakness, a return of American leadership and resolve abroad.

This will require message discipline in all his utterances, especially his acceptance speech. Over 30 million watched Mitt Romney’s in 2012, while more than 38 million tuned in to Mr. Obama’s.

The moment has an inherent tension. The hall is jammed with 20,000 screaming partisans, but Mr. Trump should resist the temptation to deliver his typical rally speech. His target audience isn’t those in the building but everyone watching on TV. Viewers at home don’t want to be whipped into a frenzy by whatever pops into Mr. Trump’s mind.

Instead, these viewers want to connect with the candidate on a personal level, to understand what he values and what makes him tick. Only an effective acceptance speech will make them warm further to his candidacy.

Running mates don’t win elections. Bernard Grofman and Reuben Kline of the University of California, Irvine find that “the net impact of vice presidential selection is at most 1 percentage point.” But voters will form most of their impression of Mr. Trump’s choice during the convention. A good pick may improve their views of the presidential candidate, too—so give the VP nominee sufficient airtime.

Though trailing in the Real Clear Politics average by 4.3 percentage points, Mr. Trump has received good news this week. A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds that 56% of voters disagree with the decision not to indict Mrs. Clinton over her email; Quinnipiac polls show him leading in Florida and Pennsylvania and tied in Ohio; and a Monmouth survey puts him ahead in Iowa.

Donald Trump remains the underdog. But mounting a successful, attractive, compelling show in Cleveland could help cement his recent gains and give him the bounce he needs to be competitive.

Article Link to The Wall Street Journal:

Krauthammer: Deploying Troops To Eastern Europe, NATO Sends Russia The Right Message

Resisting the rising revisionist powers: finally, a first step

By Charles Krauthammer
The National Review
July 14, 2016

‘The most significant reinforcement of our collective defense any time since the Cold War,” President Obama called it. A bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but it was still an achievement: Last week’s NATO summit in Warsaw ordered the deployment of troops to Eastern Europe, the alliance’s most serious response yet to Russia’s aggression and provocations on its western frontier.

The post-Ukraine economic sanctions have been weak; the declamatory denunciations, a mere embarrassment. They’ve only encouraged further reckless Russian behavior — the buzzing of U.S. ships, intrusions into European waters, threats to the Baltic States.

NATO will now deploy four battalions to front-line states. In Estonia, they will be led by Britain; in Lithuania, by Germany; in Latvia, by Canada; in Poland, by the United States. Not nearly enough, and not permanently based, but nonetheless significant.

In the unlikely event of a Russian invasion of any of those territories, these troops are to act as a tripwire, triggering a full-scale war with NATO. It’s the kind of cold-blooded deterrent that kept the peace in Europe during the Cold War and keeps it now along the DMZ in Korea.

In the more likely event of a “little green men” takeover attempt in, say, Estonia (about 25 percent ethnically Russian), the sort of disguised slow-motion invasion that Vladimir Putin pulled off in Crimea, the NATO deployments might be enough to thwart the aggression and call in reinforcements.

The message to Putin is clear: Yes, you’ve taken parts of Georgia and Ukraine. But they’re not NATO. That territory is sacred — or so we say.

This is a welcome development for the Balts, who are wondering whether they really did achieve irreversible independence when the West won the Cold War. Their apprehension is grounded in NATO’s flaccid response to Putin’s aggressive revanchism, particularly in Ukraine. Obama still won’t provide Ukraine with even defensive weaponry. This follows years of American accommodation of Putin, from canceling a Polish-Czech missile-defense system to, most recently, openly acquiescing to Russia’s seizure of a dominant role in Syria.

And what are the East Europeans to think when they hear the presumptive presidential candidate of the party of Reagan speaking dismissively of NATO and suggesting a possible American exit?

The NATO action takes on even greater significance because of the timing, coming just two weeks after Brexit. Britain’s withdrawal threatens the future of the other major pillar of Western integration and solidarity, the European Union. NATO shows that it is holding fast and that the vital instrument of Western cohesion and joint action will henceforth be almost entirely trans-Atlantic — meaning, under American leadership.

The EU, even if it doesn’t dissolve, will now inevitably turn inward as it spends years working out its new communal arrangements with and without Britain. Putin was Brexit’s big winner. Any fracturing of the Western alliance presents opportunities to play one member against another. He can only be disappointed to see NATO step up and step in.

After the humiliating collapse of President Obama’s cherished Russian “reset,” instilling backbone in NATO and resisting Putin are significant strategic achievements. It leaves a marker for Obama’s successor, reassures the East Europeans, and will make Putin think twice about repeating Ukraine in the Baltics.

However, the Western order remains challenged by the other two members of the troika of authoritarian expansionists: China and Iran. Their provocations proceed unabated. Indeed, the next test for the United States is China’s furious denunciation of the decision handed down Tuesday by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague — a blistering, sweeping, and unanimous rejection of China’s territorial claims and military buildup in the South China Sea.

Without American action, however, The Hague’s verdict is a dead letter. Lecturing other great powers about adherence to “international norms” is fine. But the Pacific Rim nations are anxious to see whether we will actually do something.

Regarding Iran, we certainly won’t. Our abject appeasement continues, from ignoring Tehran’s serial violations of the nuclear agreement (the latest: intensified efforts to obtain illegal nuclear technology in Germany) to the administration’s acting as a kind of Chamber of Commerce to facilitate the sale of about 100 Boeing jetliners to a regime that routinely uses civilian aircraft for military transport (particularly in Syria).

The troop deployments to Eastern Europe are a good first step in pushing back against the rising revisionist powers. But a first step, however welcome, seven and a half years into a presidency, is a melancholy reminder of what might have been.

Article Link to The National Review:

Noonan: Three Good Men Talk About Race

Powerful perspectives from a senator, a surgeon and a police chief.

By Peggy Noonan
The Wall Street Journal
July 15, 2016

The best question from a journalist for the man and woman running for president is this: In the area of race relations, why can’t we get it right? All your life, Mr. Trump, all your life, Mrs. Clinton, we have been trying to solve what divides America. Why can’t we?

Give them time to breathe, space to answer. Don’t lean in with that reporter-face that signals, “You’ve got 18 seconds, and near the end I’ll interrupt to show how probing and alert I am.”

Don’t do that. Give them time. In that time they will be forced to think aloud. If they change the subject, that will say worlds. If they don’t have thoughts to share that will tell us a lot too.

Beyond that, even though everyone on media asks for a conversation about race, most of them don’t really mean it. They don’t want a conversation but a platform. They want to talk and for you to listen. And they want what’s said to be circumscribed—they want narrow barriers put on acceptable limits of thought and experience.

So people turn away and everyone simmers.

But three good men this week were having a conversation, not with each other but with the country. And they said three big things:

You don’t know what it is to be a black man.

You don’t know what you’re asking of the police.

And, I’m trying to process everything in my heart.

Tim Scott, 50, the first African-American U.S. senator from South Carolina, spoke on the floor of the Senate about what it is to be him, and black.

He was not looking to grind a political ax. He wanted to explain that what you hear about being treated differently because you’re a black man is true. He has felt the “humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.” During one of his six years on Capitol Hill he was stopped by law-enforcement officers seven times. “Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood. . . . I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell—no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life.”

Last year a policeman stopped him on his way into a congressional office building, wearing his Senate pin on the lapel of his suit. “The officer looked at me with a little attitude and said, ‘The pin I know, you I don’t. Show me your ID.’ ” Was the assumption he was “impersonating a member of Congress, or what?”

That night he got a call from the officer’s supervisor, apologizing. Sen. Scott said it was the third such call he’d received since he entered the Senate in 2013.

He asked his fellow senators to “recognize that just because you do not feel the pain . . . does not mean it does not exist.” Ignoring the struggles of others “does not make them disappear. It simply leaves you blind and the American family very vulnerable.”

Thursday by phone I asked Mr. Scott what reaction he’d received. Colleagues were “very supportive.” “ Orrin Hatch came in and hugged me,” he laughed. Public reaction was “very positive,” though “a minor percentage” disapproved. “Some people asked me to leave the party. Some people feel, they’re white and have been discriminated against as well. My point is, exactly! All discrimination is bad.” Some blacks, he said, are offended that he is Republican.

“I wanted to uncover my own pain and become vulnerable in hopes that others, who may not have my microphone,” will take heart. “I wanted to validate people and their concerns.”

Much progress has been made, he emphasized: “I don’t want us to be mired in the idea we’re losing ground. We’ve made up so much ground in the past 50 years.” But “there are dark corners that need a little light.”

“The good Lord made me black, and he made me black on purpose,” Mr. Scott said. The country “is at a crossroads. . . . We have a chance to listen and not just talk.”

Another good man was at Parkland Memorial Hospital last week when victims of the Dallas shooter came in. Brian Williams, 47, was one of the trauma surgeons.

“This experience has been very personal for me and a turning point in my life,” Dr. Williams, who is black, told the press. They’re used to multiple gunshot victims at Parkland, “but the preceding days of more black men dying at the hands of police officers affected me. I think the reasons are obvious. I fit that demographic.” He too has been stopped by police over the years, once thrown “spread eagle” on the hood of a cruiser.

“But I abhor what has been done to these officers,” Dr. Williams said. He worked frantically to save them. Then he grieved.

At the end of that night, police officers lined up in the ambulance bay as the bodies of their colleagues were taken away. It was a line of honor. “I didn’t know if I belonged with them,” Dr. Williams said. He was a civilian, didn’t face their challenges. “But I was grieving with them. . . . And I wanted to show my respects.”

So he walked forward and joined the line.

“The killing,” he said, “has to stop.”

And then of course, the great man whose presence in Dallas has seemed providential: Police Chief David Brown, 55. In a press conference Monday he took all comers, admitted he was “running on fumes” and didn’t know how he’d get through this week but would, “a testament to God’s grace and his sweet, tender mercies.”

Answering a question, he told a great and immediate truth: “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country.” They’re paying the price for every societal failure. “Not enough mental health funding? ‘Let the cop handle it.’ Not enough drug addiction funding? ‘Let’s give it to the cops.’ Here in Dallas we’ve got a loose dog problem. ‘Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs.’ Schools fail, ‘Give it to the cops.’ Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women—‘Let’s give it to the cops to solve that is well.’ ” Society, Chief Brown said, has to step up.

He invited protesters to become part of the solution. “We’re hiring,” he said. “Get off that protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood and we’ll help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

David Brown has become an American folk hero. Who wasn’t grateful he was there?

We have been going through a hard time in America. Once, 20 years ago, I wrote something I didn’t fully understand, but it came with the force of intuition and I knew it was true: “Young black men will save our country.”

I thought of it all this week.

These great men, 20 years ago, were young. I must have passed them on the street. All three this week helped save our country.

Article Link to The Wall Street Journal:

Three Good Men Talk About Race