Category Archives: Obama Administration

ZeroHedge: How General Dynamics Just Got A $600 Million Check From Uncle Sam, Courtesy Of ISIS

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Sometimes, in the fog of whatever is the Mideast war du jour started initially under a “humanitarian intervention” pretext then quickly morphing into yet another counter-Syria campaign to appease various Saudi and Qatari emirs and princes, it is easy to lose sight over just what the purpose of said war is. Luckily, we have the US military industrial complex to remind us, and specifically weapons and ammunition specialists like General Dynamics. So here, for those confused, is a summary of the the first half of the great circle, which uses war, mass killings and civilian casualties, as a cover to deploy what else: US taxpayer money into the pocket of US corporations. Lots of it.

As Reuters reports, the U.S. government on Monday said it had approved the sale to Iraq of $600 million in tank ammunition manufactured by General Dynamics Corp saying it would help the Iraqi government establish an integrated ground defense capability.

In short: the Obama administration is about to give its latest puppet government in Iraq some $600 million in US taxpayer funds so said government can further arm itself in its war with a terrorist group that until recently was also being funded, trained and equipped by the US government. The beneficiary: a US company which some say is at the forefront of the US military industrial complex.

With that out of the way, here’s more.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, notified lawmakers that the State Department had approved the sale of 10,000 M831 120m, high-explosive anti-tank munitions, 10,000 M865 120mm kinetic energy warheads and 26,000 other munitions, as well as logistics services.

 

DSCA said the prime contractor would be General Dynamics, maker of the M1A1 Abrams tank and the requested munitions.

 

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Land Of The Free? 1 In 3 Americans Are On File With The FBI In The US Police State

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Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The sickening transformation of these United States into an authoritarian police state with an incarceration rate that would make Joseph Stalin blush, has been a key theme of my writing since well before the launch of Liberty Blitzkrieg. One of the posts that shocked and disturbed readers most, was published a little over a year ago titled: American Police Make an Arrest Every 2 Seconds in 2012. In the event you never read it, I suggest taking a look before tackling the rest of this piece.

Fast forward to fall 2014, and the Wall Street Journal has a powerful article about how children in schools systems across the U.S. are being arrested or turned over to police custody for doing things that children have always done since the beginning of time. Things such as wearing too much perfume, sharing a classmates’ chicken nuggets, throwing an eraser or chewing gum.

As a result of our insane societal obsession with authority and disproportionate punishment, the WSJ reports that “nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database.” 

USA! USA!

From the Wall Street Journal:

A generation ago, schoolchildren caught fighting in the corridors, sassing a teacher or skipping class might have ended up in detention. Today, there’s a good chance they will end up in police custody.

 

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: CIA Warned Obama that Funding Rebels Doesn’t Work … But Obama Decided to Fund Syrian Rebels ANYWAY For Cynical Political Gain

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Painting by Anthony Freda.

 

We’ve pointed out for years that arming the Syrian and Libyan rebels to topple leaders we don’t like is a really stupid idea.

It turns out that the CIA agrees with us.

The New York Times reports:

The Central Intelligence Agency has run guns to insurgencies across the world during its 67-year history — from Angola to Nicaragua to Cuba [to Syria].

 

***

 

An internal C.I.A. study has found that it rarely works.

 

The still-classified review, one of several C.I. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: “Ebola Cruise” Returns To Texas After Suspected Healthcare Worker Cleared

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In a tumultuous week for Ebola updates (which are only set to get worse with flu season about to unfold, and where every sneeze and fever will be interpreted by the potential host as an early symptom of the deadly disease, likely choking hospitals and ERs around the nation) Friday brought us one of the more disturbing updates when it was revealed that an Ebola-handling healthcare worker had decided to break the “self-watch” protocol and had gone on a Carnival cruise in the Caribbean.

The mood of the travelers promptly descended from merely depressed and dour to what the Independent described as “utter panic” after both Belize and Mexico refused to let the ship dock.

Hardly helping, yesterday a helicopter landed aboard a cruise ship to pick up a blood sample from a passenger who may have handled fluids from an Ebola patient, ahead of the Carnival Magic’s planned docking at Galveston, Texas, Sunday. Carnival said Texas health officials requested that a sample be taken from the passenger and tested, but that the ship is still scheduled to arrive Sunday morning. The company said of the passenger, who is in quarantine, that “she’s feeling absolutely fine.”

Fast forward to this morning, when after what one assumes was a negative blood test, the Carnival Magic ship carrying the suspect, was cleared to return to port in Galveston, TX this morning. As AP reports, “The unidentified woman who is being monitored disembarked the Carnival Magic with her husband shortly after the ship returned to Galveston, Texas, about 6 a.m. EDT, said Vicky Rey, vice president of guest care for Carnival Cruise Lines. Rey said the couple drove themselves home, but offered no further details.

Actually, it may well be that there was no definitive blood test result because according to AP, “company and federal officials have said the woman being monitored for Ebola poses no risk because she has shown no symptoms and has voluntarily self-quarantined.”

So, is it the CDC new “protocol” that self-quarantine and lack of symptoms for a several days is sufficient to pronounce one clear of any disease risk? Inquiring minds want to know. 

Petty Officer Andy Kendrick told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard crew flew in a helicopter Saturday to meet the Carnival Magic and retrieved a blood sample from the woman. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Markets & Ebola: Confusion, Containment, & Complexity

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Via Scotiabank’s Guy Haselmann,

Ebola Must Be Contained Now

President Obama and western governments are beginning to appreciate the scale of the Ebola crisis.  Unfortunately, the highly deadly virus remains rampant in western Africa and is spreading there at an alarmingly exponential rate.  Playing defense by trying to defend our borders will be insufficient since infected travels will not be identified give the long incubation period.  However, health officials are doing an admirable and prudent job immediately quarantining all victims and tracing all of their contacts.

Yet, the West must play offensive and snuff the virus out at its source. Stopping Ebola in western Africa is the only way that the virus will be beaten.  At the moment, entire societies are tragically being ravaged. These countries need desperate help, because, unlike in the West, they have poorly-equipped health care systems.  Spending more today will save much more money later. The world is too interconnected to allow the virus to move from remote areas to large urban areas.  

Nigeria did a masterful job preventing an outbreak when an infected person arrived in Lagos, a city of 11 million people.  However, not all large metropolitan areas are equipped to do so well.  There are 850 urban areas in the world with populations of 500,000 or more.  There are 26 cities that qualify as a ‘megacity’ or a city whose population is greater than 10 million people or more.   To put it in perspective, New York City is ranked 7th in population with 20 million people, but surprisingly it has the lowest population density of any ‘megacity’.

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Meet America’s New Ebola Czar

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This should fix it and calm the panic:

  • *OBAMA SAID TO APPOINT RON KLAIN AS EBOLA CZAR, CNN TWEETS

Forget medical experience, what the USA needs to combat the worst Ebola pandemic ever is "an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011)." Gotta wonder how Tom Frieden feels about this…

 

Via Wikipedia,

Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011). He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the Court's 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.

Early life
Klain was born on August 8, 1961 in Indianapolis and grew up in a Jewish home. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Frontrunning: October 17

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  • Obama open to appointing Ebola ‘czar’, opposes travel ban (Reuters)
  • Schools Close as Nurse’s Ebola Infection Ignites Concern (BBG)
  • How the World’s Top Health Body Allowed Ebola to Spiral Out of Control (BBG)
  • European Stocks Rise Amid Growing Pressure for Stimulus (BBG)
  • Putin Threatens EU Gas Squeeze Raising Stakes for Ukraine (BBG)
  • ECB to Start Asset Purchases Within Days, Says Central Banker Coeuré (WSJ)
  • Investors search for signs of end to stock market correction (Reuters)
  • Putin’s talks with EU and Poroshenko ‘difficult, full of misunderstandings’: Kremlin (Reuters)
  • Monaco Murders Reveal Six Hidden Real Estate Billionaires (BBG)
  • In Liberia, U.S. Soldiers Race Ebola (WSJ)
  • Islamic State training pilots to fly in three jets: Syria monitor (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Goes From Bad to Worse as Oil Prices Plummets (BBG)
  • Luxury Shoemaker Jimmy Choo Rises on London Trading Debut (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* President Barack Obama, after a day of withering criticism over the government’s handling of the Ebola virus, said Thursday he may name a point person to oversee the administration’s response and is open to a travel ban but isn’t planning one. (http://on. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Futures Surge After ECB Verbal Intervention Talks Up Stocks, Day After Fed

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Yesterday it was the Fed’s latest intervention in capital markets, when shortly after yet another ghastly open, the Fed’s Bullard added some PPTness to stocks when he first said that the Fed “should delay in ending QE“, only to backtrack several hours later he said he was nervous about “staying at zero” and that the Fed is “not too far from its employment goals.” Of course, the only thing the algos heard was a delay in QE and following John Williams’ comment earlier in the week about more possible QE, have now reverted to the old central-planning regime where the Fed (and other central banks) will step in the second there is even the smallest market correction, because in the New Normal price discovery is illegal and punishable by breaking markets, such as yesterday’s DirectEdge failure at just the right time.

And yet, if the last three days all started with a rout in futures before the US market open only to ramp higher all day, today it may well be the opposite, when shortly after Europe opened it was the ECB’s turn to talk stocks higher, when literally within minutes of the European market’s open, ECB’s Coeure said that:

  • COEURE SAYS ECB WILL START WITHIN DAYS TO BUY ASSETS

Which was today’s code word for all is clear, and within minutes US futures, which until that moment had languished unchanged, soared by 25 points. So will today be more of the same and whatever early action was directed by the central bankers will be faded into a weekend in which only more bad news can come out of Ebola-land?

Then again, luckily algos have zero sarcasm tolerance because if they were delighted to respond to ECB’s “good cop” Coeure, then they would have puked moments after yet another ECB member, Constancio, rejected everything Coeure said:

  • CONSTANCIO: CEN BANKS SHOULDN’T BE MARKET MAKERS OF LAST RESORT

One can only smile with a market in which the only thing missing is the central banks’ advance report of the EOD closing print. Because fair and efficient went out of the window years ago: case in point yesterday’s DirectEdge breaking just as the selling intensified, just to prevent retail from piling into the fray and making the PPT’s momentum ignition inflection point impossible. The regulatory approach to “risk” was made even clearer when today Italian authorities took action to stem the downside and prohibit short-selling in Banca Monte dei Paschi whose shares had been suspended after they struck record lows yesterday.

But at least thanks to central planner regaining the upper hand in determining the “fair value” of assets, Greece is once again fixed when its 10 Year bond has soared from over 9% yesterday to just barely above 8% today… on absolutely no volume. Clearly, this is nothing but price discovery in its most purest.

In bond land, core Eurozone bond yields have risen alongside equities, with Germany’s 10yr yield rising back toward 0.85% as the IT/GE and SP/GE yield spread tightens. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Frontrunning: October 16

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  • Dallas County May Declare State of Disaster From Ebola Virus (BBG)
  • Markets on edge after worst turmoil in four years (Reuters)
  • Central bankers may have no quick fix as markets swoon, economy weakens (Reuters)
  • Risk of Deflation Feeds Global Fears  (Hilsenrath)
  • U.S. health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever (Reuters)
  • Texas Hospital Fights Allegations About Ebola Protocols (BBG)
  • Treasuries Gain as Oil Drops Below $80 While Stocks Slide (BBG)
  • Greek Bonds Slump on Bailout Concern as Spain Misses Sale Target (BBG)
  • White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response (Reuters)
  • Obama Confronts Slippery Slope as Islamic State Advances (BBG)
  • Cocktail of Trouble for Liquor Makers Diageo, Rémy Cointreau and LVMH (WSJ)
  • Dark Pools Said to Rebuff Orders Amid U.S. Volume Surge (BBG)
  • EU Starts Two-Week Austerity Scrutiny as Crisis Reawakens (BBG)
  • U.S. foreclosure activity falls to eight-year low (Reuters)
  • Read more »

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ZeroHedge: If The Oil Plunge Continues, “Now May Be A Time To Panic” For US Shale Companies

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Over the past 5 years, the shale industry, fabricated or real reserves notwithstanding, has been a significant boon to the US economy for four main reasons: it has been the target of billions in fixed investment and CapEx spending, it has resulted in tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, its output has been a major tailwind for the US trade deficit, and has generally been a significant contributor to GDP (not to mention various Buffett-controlled or otherwise railway corporations). And perhaps, most importantly, it has become a huge buffer to the price of global oil, as the cost curve of US shale is horizontal, with a massive 10,000 kbls/day available within pennies of $85/bl.

Goldman’s explanation:

We believe that the vast reserves that have been opened for development through shale oil in the US have flattened the cost curve meaningfully, at around a US$85/bl Brent oil price. We estimate shale reserves from the top three fields in the US onshore (the Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford) at around 91bn boe, which to put it in context, is equivalent to roughly one third of Saudi Arabia’s current stated reserves (ZH: this number may be vastly overstated). Most of this resource has become available in the past five years, with few barriers to exploiting the reserves. Production in the US as a result is growing strongly, by more than 1mbpd currently, and we expect this pace of growth to continue over the coming three years as capital continues to be drawn in to these developments. The consequence is that costs of production and E&P capex/bl should stabilise as the marginal cost of production remains stable. We believe that shale oil has become effectively the marginal source of supply, providing the bulk of non- OPEC production growth. This is also the key driver of our oil price view: we continue to expect Brent oil to stay at c.US$100/bl for the coming few years.

For once, Goldman is spot on (even if their Brent price target may be a bit off): with shale oil profitable only above its virtually horizontal cost curve, it means that a whopping 11,000 kbls/day are available as long as Brent is above $85, a clear “red line” for all OPEC producers.

The red line is conveniently shown on the chart below:

 

Furthermore, in the following chart, it is clear how lower rates of Fed-sponsored cheap-funding have enabled more and more mal-invested wells to drilled chasing ‘only-increasing’ shale oil… if rates rise (high-yield credit spreads broke 400bps today – the highest in 13 months) then the breakevens become even more expensive and that cost curve even more compromising to the marginal producer… Read more »

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