Category Archives: Obama Administration

ZeroHedge: Democrats Told “Don’t Mention ‘Economic Recovery’ – It’s A Political Loser”

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Democratic strategists have made a blunt declaration in an election-year memo, according to AP, “Don’t talk about the economic recovery. It’s a political loser.” Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word “recovery” is trumped by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to get the economy moving and its policies haven’t worked. But, but, but… stocks are at all-time highs?

 

As AP reports, Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don’t talk about the economic recovery. It’s a political loser.

As a start, Democrats should bury any mention of the recovery. That message was tested … and it lost to the Republican message championed by Karl Rove,” they wrote.

 

So say Democratic strategists in a blunt declaration that such talk skips over “how much trouble people are in, and doesn’t convince them that policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they continue to face.”

 

In addition, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word “recovery” is trumped by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to get the economy moving and its policies haven’t worked.

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Obama Administration Encouraged Insider Trading

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Back in 2011, many people were outraged when it was revealed that two months before the US Treasury pushed the insolvent GSEs into bankruptcy, then Treasury Secretary, Goldman alum Hank Paulson held a secret meeting with various hedge funds (most of them headed by Goldman alumni themselves) in which he gave them advance warning about the imminent bankruptcy, and allowing them to trade appropriately on material, and certainly non-public information.

Since then the general population has gotten far more used to encouraged criminal activity and facilitated insider trading by the government so comparable revelations no longer generate the expected loathing and disgusts, which is perhaps why over the past week the Obama administration once again leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told “asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.”

Bloomberg reports that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Officials from the Treasury Department and the National Security Council met in Washington with mutual-fund and hedge-fund managers, according to a person who attended. Their comments sent a message that more sanctions are on the way and that investors, if they were concerned about the impact, should manage that risk, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions weren’t public.

 

The meeting in Washington last week included several mutual-fund companies with large bond units, according to the person. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been asking U.S. asset managers about their investments in Russian securities, said the person.

 

The National Security Council is the president’s main forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Obama On The Red Line And On The Rat Line

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Submitted by David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Seymour Hersh’s Blockbuster: Obama On The Red Line And On The Rat Line

Read Seymour Hersh’s devastating account of Obama’s Red Lines and Rat Lines and weep for the Republic. It is no more.

For the first time in a half-century American voters actually elected the “peace candidate” in 2008 and sent Obama to the White House to end the interventionist foreign policy that had lead to disaster in Iraq, and, implicitly, to wind down the vast war machine that had been left over from the Cold War. The latter had  been converted  by the Bush’s and Clintons into an armada of invasion and occupation that had rained death and destruction from Bosnia to Baghdad to Kandahar for no reasonable or justifiable purpose of national security.  These aggressions were simply what a war machine does, making up rationalizations as it goes along.

But the Warfare State was not about to let peace happen. Soon Obama learned the Washington pivot, rehired the core of Bush’s War Cabinet and became enmeshed in the “national security” plots and schemes which were in the pipeline when he arrived at 1600 Pennsylvanian Avenue— much like JFK inherited the disastrous Bay Of Pigs invasion. Like the despicable Alan Dulles, he inherited ambitious scoundrels like so-called General David Petraeus, who soon had him convinced that the non-sensical and bloody “surge” in Anbar Province had been a roaring success, and that it should be exported to the quagmire in Afghanistan.

Indeed, after the Afghan surge was launched in 2009 there was no turning back. The peace candidate had already become co-opted—emerging as a pliant tool of America’s rogue Warfare State that functions almost entirely outside of the Constitution and often beyond statutory law, as well. Ironically, the former editor of the Harvard Law Journal and self-proclaimed constitutional expert apparently had no qualms whatsoever about any of this. The spy agencies were nourished with massive new resources and widened mandates; Rumsfeld’s disgraceful and illegal detention operation at Guantanamo Bay was not closed as he had promised; Bush’s cowardly and counter-productive drone wars were drastically escalated; and the defense budget grew by more than $100 billion from the already bloated levels he had inherited from the “decider”.

And this gets us to Hersh’s expose. By 2011 Obama had donned the full regalia of the imperial presidency. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Obamacare Claims Its Latest Victim: Kathleen Sebelius Resigns As US Health Secretary

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Obamacare has been such a smashing success that the US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just couldn’t wait until days after its “successful” rol out to get the hell out of dodge.

From the NYT:

Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

 

Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.

 

The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.

 

Officials said Ms. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Russian Sanctions And The Negative Effect On Global Energy Security

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Submitted by Igor Alexeev via OilPrice.com,

After a series of headline-grabbing statements about the possibility of “switching” European consumers over to American gas, the US media hastened to announce the launch of Obama’s oil and gas offensive against Russia. In reality the EU is not currently prepared, neither technically nor in terms of price, to buy its energy resources from the US.  It would take at least ten years to adapt even the technically advanced German energy system to work with American gas supply. In a crisis, when it is particularly urgent to see a quick return on an investment, such projects are unrealistic.

Whether German industry is ready to pay more for gas from overseas just for the dubious pleasure of “punishing” someone is a big question. Unlike EU officials, the German government is not publicly calling into question either its long-term contracts with Russia or the future of the South Stream pipeline. On March 13, 2014, the chairman of the board of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, attended a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Energy of Germany Sigmar Gabriel. “Germany is Russia’s number one partner in Europe’s gas and energy market,” Miller stated. “Russian gas accounts for 40% of all German imports. And we’re also noting an upwards tick in the quantity of gas supplies coming from Russia.  Last year, shipments totaled more than 40 billion cubic meters and we’ve seen a 20% annual increase.” Looking at these statistics, it’s clear that all the talk about Atlantic solidarity is having zero effect on the German government’s rational decision making. “We don’t need conflict escalation”, said Sigmar Gabriel during an expert roundtable on energy policy later in March. “Russia met its obligations under the gas contracts even in the darkest years of the Cold War”.

Sigmar Gabriel knows what he’s talking about. For Europe to be able to fully utilize gas supplies from the US, it will be necessary to build expensive facilities to decompress and store the gas. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine

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In response to claims by the Ukraine government (and the west) that Russia provoking trouble in Eastern Europe – with The White House’s Jary Carney even suggesting that pro-Russia demonstrators were paid – Russia’s foreign ministry has responded. Posting via their Facebook page, Russia urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations which could instigate a civil war. But the kicker, for which we anxiously await a rebuttal, is Russia’s comment that they “are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries.”

 

The US administration perspective… (via WaPo)

In Washington, the Obama administration expressed deep skepticism that the scattered uprisings and building takeovers in cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv have been spontaneous. “There is strong evidence suggesting some of these demonstrators were paid,” said Jay Carney, the White House spokesman.

 

If Russia moves into eastern Ukraine, either overtly or covertly, this would be a very serious escalation,” Carney said.

The Ukrainian perspective…

The Ukrainian government dispatched its highest-level police and security officials to the region Monday in an effort to put down the separatist agitation.

 

Kiev is confronting an attempt to “destabilize the situation,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at an emergency cabinet meeting Monday. “The plan is for foreign troops to cross the border and seize the country’s territory, which we will not allow. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Guest Post: Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too

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Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market blog,

Numerous cultures have had holidays dedicated to the celebration of pulling the wool over the eyes of others, from the ancient Romans, to early Muslims, to medieval Christians, to Americans and Europeans today. As April begins, we once again turn a mischievous eye to the concept of the fool and, as always, each person seeks to be the prankster and never the victim.

Unfortunately, even the most vigilant of Americans can sometimes be led astray by a clever ruse, and I believe this is taking place today in the Liberty Movement’s perception of the rising “tensions” between Russia and the West.

In my article Ukraine Crisis: Just Another Globalist-Engineered Powder Keg, I outlined the history of false paradigms and engineered conflicts between numerous nations, including how these conflicts are exploited by global money interests to consolidate and centralize social and political power. The birth of communist Russia, in particular, was directly funded by Western banks and supported with arms and military aid from the U.S. government itself. These sorts of startling facts are not taught in schools and universities exactly because the continued dominance of the money elite relies on continued misrepresentations of legitimate history.

Many in the Liberty Movement have studied and are well aware of the central banking cabal and its stranglehold on the U.S. and Europe. But strangely, some people refuse to acknowledge the substantial possibility that global bankers are also in control of Russia and are playing both sides of the burgeoning economic war.

As the Ukrainian crisis festers and other dangers in the Pacific and the Mideast grow, an odd consensus among alternative analysts is taking hold — namely the belief that President Vladimir Putin and Russia represent some kind of opposition to globalization and the rule of corporate financiers. Perhaps moments in Putin’s rhetoric and the existence of media outlets like RT have seduced elements of the Liberty Movement into assuming that Russia is a “victim” in the grand schemes of Western oligarchy and that Russia is truly the "white knight", the underdog willing to stand up against the New World Order. I’m sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: His Name Was Jeremy Stein: Fed’s Lone Bubble-Spotter Resigns

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The last year or two has seen a deluge of Fed speakers pay lip-service to watching/monitoring/keeping-an-eye-on potential bubbles… but as yet having found none… That is all except one – Jeremy Stein – who explicitly called out high yield bonds as in a ‘frothy’ bubble last year… it appears he has grown weary of smashing his head against that wall…

  • *FED SAYS STEIN SUBMITTED RESIGNATION LETTER TO OBAMA
  • *YELLEN SAYS STEIN WAS ‘AN INTELLECTUAL LEADER’ ON FED BOARD

Stein plans to return to teaching at Harvard but in his resignation letter noted that more work is needed on the job market and that the financial market needs strengthening.

Stein’s Feb Speech here

Stein’s warning…

One of the most difficult jobs that central banks face is in dealing with episodes of credit market overheating that pose a potential threat to financial stability. As compared with inflation or unemployment, measurement is much harder, so even recognizing the extent of the problem in real time is a major challenge. Moreover, the supervisory and regulatory tools that we have, while helpful, are far from perfect.

 

Waiting for decisive proof of market overheating may amount to an implicit policy of inaction on this dimension

Stein’s resignation letter…

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Guest Post: How To Undermine Russia From Within

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Submitted by Zachary Zeck of The Diplomat,

Since Russia moved into Crimea, there has been a strong desire in the United States to “do something” to stop Vladimir Putin. The general problem, we’re told, is that there just aren’t any good options.

This strikes me as both unimaginative, on the one hand, and a great example of what Robert Gates deemed the “militarization” of American foreign policy, on the other. The reality is that there are just not any good military options for countering Russia in Ukraine, and there aren’t going to be given prevailing geography, history, and nuclear capabilities.

But just because Vladimir Putin has pursued a military strategy for achieving his political goals in Ukraine, doesn’t mean that the U.S. response has to be in the military realm. Nor does it mean that Washington is limited to boring old economic sanctions, which increasingly seem to be the only tool in America’s foreign policy toolbox in situations when military force is inappropriate.

In fact, the broad components of what could be an effective response to Putin’s annexation in Crimea are already being pursued by the U.S., albeit not in the right configuration. So far the U.S. response has mainly focused on two fronts.

The first is a public relations campaign to rally international opinion against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Why Turkey Was Planning A False Flag Operation In Syria

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Submitted by Nick Giambruno via Doug Casey’s International Man blog,

You’ve probably heard about the recent leaked conversations involving Turkey.

It was stunning to hear the highest-ranking Turks casually discussing how to provoke a false flag incident that would justify a large military intervention in Syria.

This is a big deal because Turkish troops in Syria opens the door to NATO troops in Syria, which drastically expands the conflict.

As someone who has spent a number of years living and working in the Middle East, and having been to Syria multiple times, I was encouraged by my colleagues at Casey Research to share my perspective on this.

In case you didn’t know, a false flag is an incident that is designed to deceive people into thinking it was actually carried out by someone else.

It’s like the scene in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There’s a character who plays on the high school football team and has a fancy sports car. Later, his little brother’s friend accidentally trashes this car. Terrified at how the big brother could respond, they come up with a clever plan to shift the blame on someone else. They make it look like a rival football team vandalized the car, decorating it in the rival team’s colors and slogans. The plan works—the big brother is tricked into thinking that a rival football team trashed his car instead of the little brother.

This is the essence of a false flag, and the same tactic is used by the world’s militaries and intelligence services to nefarious effect. Many believe the Reichstag fire incident that allowed Hitler to drastically expand his power was a false flag operation. Read more »

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