Category Archives: Obama Administration

ZeroHedge: Pentagon Prepares To Unveil Syria War Plans As “Broad Coalition” Crumbles

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A day after US ambassador to The UN Samantha Powers stated, "we will not do the airstrikes alone if the president decides to do the airstrikes," and Russia warned, "bombing Syria without the cooperation of Damascus can have destructive practical consequences on the humanitarian situation in Syria," it appears President Obama's grand strategy to combat IS via a 'broad coalition' of allies is flailing. While the WSJ reports, The Pentagon is preparing war plans in Syria that would include an intensive initial wave of strikes against Islamic State targets, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained today that providing air support or sending ground troops to fight Islamic State is "out of the question for us." For now, it appears, the only nation involved in the 'broad coalition' is France. Why? Because as we said yesterday, this is merely over fears of more BNPs. "A key component of this would be allied participation," said a U.S. official; does '1' ally count?

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

The U.S. is seeking commitments from allies to join in airstrikes on Syria before it launches attacks against Islamic State targets, American officials said, reflecting concerns about acting unilaterally.

 

The administration hopes that one or two allies will join in the initial wave of airstrikes, which could be launched as early as next week, these officials said.

 

President Barack Obama and other top U.S. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: The Tower Of Babel Comes To Paris: The Folly Of Obama’s “War” On ISIS

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Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

US imperialism was once a fearsome force – mainly for ill. Under the latter heading, Washington’s savage destruction of Vietnam four decades ago comes readily to mind. But now the American Imperium has become just a gong show on the Potomac – even as its weapons have gotten more lethal and its purposes more  spurious and convoluted.

There is no more conspicuous proof than Obama’s quixotic “war” on ISIS. The quote marks are necessary, of course, because the White House insists that this is merely a counter-terrorism project that is not really a war; that the campaign to “degrade, disrupt and destroy” the Islamic State will not deploy a single American soldier—at least not one with his or her boots on; and that the heavy lifting on the ground against the barbaric ISIS hordes will be conducted by a “broad coalition” of so far nameless nations.

In truth, the whole thing is a giant, pathetic farce. There will be no coalition, no strategy, no boots, no ISIS degradation, no gain in genuine safety and security for the American homeland. This is an utterly misbegotten war against an enemy that has more urgent targets than America, but a war which will nonetheless fire-up the already boiling cauldron of Middle Eastern tribal, religious and political conflict like never before. There is no name for what Obama is attempting except utter folly.

Even before Secretary Kerry brought his medicine show to Paris, it was evident there is no coalition of the willing—or even the bought. The best that the 26 odd signatories to his communique could muster was a vague endorsement of Iraq’s boundaries and a pledge to support its still only partially formed, three-week old government “by any means necessary“………except not by a single one of the “means” that are actually available.

Let’s start with the neighboring nations which should fear ISIS far more urgently than the citizens in distant places like Lincoln NE and Spokane WA. The short answer is not a single one of them want to help, can help or will be invited to help. Obama’s putative coalition consists of the invisible (Germany), the indisposed (Turkey), the indecisive (the UK), the ineligible (Iran), the unwelcome (Saudi Arabia), the insolvent (Egypt) and the incensed (Russia), among others.

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ZeroHedge: Anarchy In Washington: Is Anybody In Charge?

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Submitted by Justin Raimondo via Antiwar.com,

The President pledges "no combat troops" in Iraq.

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, says he may recommend combat ground troops in the battle against ISIS.

The President, in a speech, reiterates "no ground troops," and "no combat troops."

While Hillary Clinton, Obama’s presumptive heir, waits in the wings as her scheme to arm the Syrian rebels is implemented and the fuse is lit on the Levantine tinderbox. It isn’t a very long fuse….

So what is going on with the US government, and especially over at the Pentagon? Are they directly challenging the President – who is then acting to quickly quash them? Sure looks like it.

Amid reports of a titanic battle within the Obama administration, the conflicting messages being put out there by various wings of the national security establishment remind us of the Empire’s sheer size and the scale of the bureaucracy: it is large enough to constitute what are, in effect, competing governments – a condition statists of every variety always told us was unworkable.

In short, when it comes to the making of American foreign policy what we have in Washington is what appears to be the functional definition of anarchy! And the libertarians haven’t even taken over yet. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Why King Coal Will Keep Its Crown

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Submitted by Andrew Topf via OilPrice.com,

For climate change activists and those hoping for an energy future dominated by renewables or even less-polluting natural gas, the death of coal cannot come quickly enough. But with coal still the dominant form of cheap electricity throughout the world, it is unlikely the bogeyman of climate change will disappear anytime soon.

That's because the price of coal, compared to other fuels, is just too good to refuse. Just look at China, where the country's double-digit economic growth has largely been fueled by coal, which fulfills 60 percent of its energy mix.

According to a chart showing the levelized cost of energy — the price at which electricity must be generated from a source to break even — coal is the second-cheapest form of energy behind hydropower, at $40 per megawatt hour.

Compare that to the cost of nuclear at $60, natural gas at $70, and solar — which at $280 per MWH, is seven times the cost of coal. Coal is also plentiful, relatively easy to extract — though admittedly dangerous if mined underground — and requires minimal processing. And it can be used for power generation (thermal coal) or steelmaking (metallurgical coal).

Of course, coal-fired plants have exacted an enormous price on air quality, and the Chinese government – which has declared war on pollution — recently banned the use of coal in smog-cloaked Beijing. Last week, it was announced that for the first time in over a decade, Chinese coal imports and coal consumption both dropped.

While that may seem like a dart in coal's balloon, coal's continued use elsewhere is more than making up for China’s restraint.

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: The U.S. National Debt Has Grown By More Than A Trillion Dollars In The Last 12 Months

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Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

The idea that the Obama administration has the budget deficit under control is a complete and total lie.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government has officially run a deficit of 589 billion dollars for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2014.  But this number is just for public consumption and it relies on accounting tricks which massively understate how much debt is actually being accumulated.  If you want to know what the real budget deficit is, all you have to do is go to a U.S. Treasury website which calculates the U.S. national debt to the penny.  On September 30th, 2013 the U.S. national debt was sitting at $16,738,183,526,697.32.  As I write this, the U.S. national debt is sitting at $17,742,108,970,073.37.  That means that the U. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: U.S. Targets Islamic State’s Lucrative Oil Smuggling Operations

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Submitted by Nick Cuningham via OilPrice.com,

With U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of an open-ended plan for airstrikes on the Islamic State (IS), the U.S. and its allies will need to degrade the power and influence of the Sunni jihadist group, and that means reducing its incoming flow of oil money.

And the Obama administration seems aware of that, according to a New York Times article that reports that the President and U.S. diplomats are pressuring Turkey to cut off the stream of oil smuggled across its border.

IS controls territory in central and northern Iraq, and is thought to be producing between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels per day (bpd). Since they cannot sell this oil legitimately, they smuggle it and sell it on the black market. Some energy analysts think IS could be pulling in between $1.2 and $2 million per day.

“The key gateway through that black market is the southern corridor of Turkey,” Luay al-Khatteeb, a fellow at the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center, told the Times. “Turkey is becoming part of this black economy.”

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Preparing For All Out Iraq War: Joint Chiefs Of Staff Back US Troops In Combat “If Necessary”

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Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are “doing fine,” but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, “it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground.” Following Hagel’s remarks that the fight will “not be an easy or a brief effort,” Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.

 

 

As Politico reports,

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel emphasized on Tuesday the United States is at war with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, warning Congress that the fight will “not be an easy or a brief effort.”

 

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey defended the strategy announced last week by President Barack Obama. Dempsey said the approach “won’t look like a shock and awe campaign” but will be persistent and sustained. Read more »

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The U.S. National Debt Has Grown By More Than A Trillion Dollars In The Last 12 Months

via the economic collapse blog Be prepared for the next great transfer of wealth. Buy physical silver and storable food.

America Is BrokeThe idea that the Obama administration has the budget deficit under control is a complete and total lie.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government has officially run a deficit of 589 billion dollars for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2014.  But this number is just for public consumption and it relies on accounting tricks which massively understate how much debt is actually being accumulated.  If you want to know what the real budget deficit is, all you have to do is go to a U.S. Treasury website which calculates the U.S. national debt to the penny.  On September 30th, 2013 the U.S. national debt was sitting at $16,738,183,526,697.32.  As I write this, the U.S. national debt is sitting at $17,742,108,970,073.37.  That means that the U.S. national debt has actually grown by more than a trillion dollars in less than 12 months.  We continue to wildly run up debt as if there is no tomorrow, and by doing so we are destroying the future of this nation.

The chart that I have posted below shows the exponential growth of the U.S. national debt over the past several decades.  Anyone that would characterize this as “under control” is lying to you…

National Debt 2014

This is the greatest government debt bubble in the history of the world, but very few people seem to have any desire to do anything about this anymore.  We are literally gorging on debt, and most Americans seem to think that it is just fine and dandy.

Perhaps that it is because we have never really experienced any serious consequences for going into so much debt yet.

But when it comes to running up debt, a day of reckoning always comes eventually.

Just ask Greece.

And the absolutely insane spending policies of this administration and this Congress are hastening the day when our day of reckoning will arrive.

Consider the following facts…

-The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 7 trillion dollars since Barack Obama has been in the White House.  By the time Obama’s second term is over, we will have accumulated about as much new debt under his leadership than we did under all of the other U.S. presidents in all of U.S. history combined.

-The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first established in 1913.

-If the U.S. national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills it would circle the earth at the equator 45 times.

-Right now, the United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

-In August, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 2.028 percent.  In January 2000, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 6.620 percent.  If we got back to that level today, we would be paying well over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

-At this point the U.S. government has accumulated more than 200 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities that will need to be paid in future years.  In other words, we have made more than 200 trillion dollars worth of promises that we do not have money for yet.

Thomas Jefferson once said that “the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

What we are doing to future generations is absolutely unconscionable.  We are stealing trillions upon trillions of dollars from our children and our grandchildren, and we are willingly consigning them to a lifetime of debt slavery.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating.  If future generations get the chance, they will look back and curse us for what we have done to them.

And shame on anyone that would dare to suggest that we should continue to run up more debt that future generations will be expected to repay.

But government debt is far from the only massive debt bubble that we are dealing with as a country.

40 years ago, the total amount of debt in our nation (all government debt plus all business debt plus all individual debt) was sitting at a grand total of about 2.3 trillion dollars.

Today, that total has grown to 59.4 trillion dollars.

As the chart posted below shows, our total debt bubble is now more than 25 times larger than it was just 40 years ago…

Total Credit Market Debt 2014

If you were to take all forms of debt in our country and divide it up equally to each person, the average family of four would owe approximately $735,000.

This is not anywhere close to being sustainable, but most Americans don’t seem to care.  They just continue to recklessly run up even more debt.

However, there are signs that we are starting to hit a wall with all of this debt.

For example, an astounding 35 percent of all Americans have debts that are so overdue that they have been referred to collection agencies.

Our nation has become an ocean of red ink from sea to shining sea, and the only way to keep the bubble from bursting is for the total amount of debt to continue to grow much faster than the overall economy is growing.

Obviously this cannot happen indefinitely, and when this house of cards comes crashing down it is going to be absolutely horrific.  For much more on all of this please see my previous article entitled “The United States Of Debt: Total Debt In America Hits A New Record High Of Nearly 60 Trillion Dollars“.

The big question is how long our “bubble economy” can keep going before it finally collapses.

It has gotten to the point where even some of the biggest banks in the world are admitting that what we have been doing is completely and totally unsustainable.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Joshua Krause

*****

Recently, strategists for Deutsche Bank released a startling study in regards to government debt. They decided to investigate whether or not the bond market is currently in a bubble. What they found was, unlike previous eras, the past 20 years has seen no lag between economic booms and busts:

It has long been our view that over the last couple of decades the global economy has rolled from bubble to bubble with excesses never fully being allowed to unravel. Instead aggressive policy responses have encouraged them to roll into new bubbles.

This has arguably kept the modern financial system as we know it a going concern. Clearly there have always been bubbles formed through history but has there been a period like the last 20 years where the bursting of one bubble has consistently led directly to the formation of the next?

Essentially, our current system has been dying a very slow death. It’s running out of steam.

*****

Sadly, most Americans have no idea that we are living in a giant debt-fueled bubble that has a limited lifespan.

Most Americans just assume that since the politicians tell them that everything is going to be okay that they don’t need to be concerned about any of this.

But every single day our debts get even larger and our long-term financial problems get even worse.

Someday this bubble is going to burst and then all hell will break loose.

It is just a matter of time.

ZeroHedge: Former BP CEO Warns “Sanctions Will Bite West” As US Gives Majors 14 Days To Wind Down Russian Activities

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For the past six months, even as Obama and the EU were laying harsher sanctions on the Kremlin, one group of companies had managed to sneak by unscathed and largely avoided being impacted by Russia’s isolation by the West: the world’s biggest E&P companies, as explained in detail over a month ago in “Exxon Drilling Russian Arctic Shows Sanction Lack Bite.”

All that is about to change, because while sanctions until this moment had been largely intended to specifically allow energy companies to continue their status quo in Russia, as of this Friday, it is precisely the E&Ps that are being targeted, as we noted on Friday, and as Reuters follows up today, reporting that some of the world’s largest companies, namely Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Italian ENI, will have to be put their Russian projects on hold:  to wit, the companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities.

From Reuters:

Projects now in jeopardy include a landmark drilling program by U.S. giant Exxon Mobil in the Russian Arctic that started in August as part of a joint venture with the Kremlin’s oil champion Rosneft.

 

Now this and dozens of other projects that Rosneft and Gazprom Neft agreed with Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Italian ENI will have to be put on hold.

 

“Cutting off U.S. and E.U. sources of technology and services and goods for those projects makes it impossible, or at least extraordinarily difficult for these projects to continue…There are not ready substitutes elsewhere,” a senior U.S. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Obama’s ISIS War Is Not Only Illegal, It Makes George W. Bush Look Like A Constitutional Scholar

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Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

 

- Andrew J. Bacevich, the Boston University political science professor and former Army colonel who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007, in a recent Reuters article.

I have spent the past several days outlining my deep concerns about the “ISIS crisis” and Obama’s willingness to employ extreme propaganda in order to once again embark on another poorly thought out military campaign here and here. What I have also come to realize is that his latest war plan is brazenly illegal and unconstitutional.

 

While critics have been questioning the legality of U.S. military campaigns consistently since the end of World War II, one trend has become increasingly clear. With each new President and each new war, we have witnessed those who hold the office act more and more like dictators, and less and less like constitutional executives.

One very important, and up until recently, overlooked point about Obama’s latest “war on ISIS” is that this is not at all just more of the same. This crosses yet another very important line of shadiness, and if we as as American public allow him to do so, we will suffer grave long-term consequences to our economic future as well as our liberties. This is very serious stuff.

Read more »

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