Obama Administration

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Seth Klarman: "We Are Recreating The Markets Of 2007"





"It’s not hard to reach the conclusion that so many investors feel good not because things are good but because investors have been seduced into feeling good - otherwise known as “the wealth effect.” We really are far along in re-creating the markets of 2007, which felt great but were deeply unstable when shocks started to pile up. Even Janet Yellen sees “pockets of increasing risk-taking” in the markets, yet she has made clear that she won’t raise rates to fight incipient bubbles. For all of our sakes, we really wish she would."

 
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Guest Post: The US-EU-Russia Sanctions Puzzle





Whatever Russia does, doubt does not even enter the equation. The answer is sanctions. So here we go again. No one ever lost money betting on the stupidity of the usual, unknown “senior US officials” – who are now spinning the latest sanction package is to force Moscow to “respect international law and state sovereignty.” A cursory examination of the historical record allows this paragraph to be accompanied by roaring laughter. As for Russia’s "isolation", companies are barred from, in Washington-Wall Street newspeak, "important dollar-denominated funding sources." Or, euphemistically, "Western capital." This means the US dollar and the euro. Anyone following superimposed moves towards a multipolar world knows Russia does not need more US dollars and euro.

 
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Why King Coal Will Keep Its Crown





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.

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





The idea that the Obama administration has the budget deficit under control is a complete and total lie.  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.

 
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U.S. Targets Islamic State's Lucrative Oil Smuggling Operations





Smuggled oil could be a pivotal issue for the U.S. as it seeks to destroy IS. The militant group sells oil at a reduced price – perhaps around $25 per barrel. At first, it sold the oil to middlemen, who moved the oil to Iran, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. But as IS’ operations grew, they forced out the middlemen, beat back other militant groups, and are now providing security to their own convoys of oil tanker trucks heading out of their territory to market. Air strikes may succeed in destroying vehicles and other military equipment under IS control, but cutting off the flow of money – specifically from oil smuggling – will likely go further in weakening the Islamic State.

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





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.

 
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Former BP CEO Warns "Sanctions Will Bite West" As US Gives Majors 14 Days To Wind Down Russian Activities





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.  And yet Russia may once again have the last laugh: enter Tony Hayward, the infamous former CEO of BP (and current Chairman of Glencore) who may have been disgraced by his handling of the Macondo spill but his comments on how the Russian sanctions will play out, are spot on. As the FT reported moments ago, "US and EU sanctions against Moscow are in danger of turning round and biting the west by constraining global oil supply and pushing up prices in coming years, the former chief executive of BP has warned."

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





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

 
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Trust In US Government On Domestic, International Issues At Record Lows





Just a few hours ahead of President Obama's strategy oration, we thought worth noting that Americans' trust in the federal government to handle international problems has fallen to a record-low 43%. According to Gallup, confidence in the government to handle international problems slid 17 percentage points last year, when the Obama administration was planning military action against Syria. Unsurprisingly, Democrats remain the most confident in the government as Republicans' faith has collapsed. But it's not just international, only 40% of Americans have any confidence that government can handle domestic problems - also a record low.

 
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Islamic State's Ultimate Goal: Saudi Arabia's Oil Wells





For the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq were a good place to start their campaign, but in order to survive and prosper it knew from the outset that it had no choice but to set its sights on the ultimate prize: the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

 
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Obama Outperformed Reagan? Hardly!





Last week, Adam Hartung qualified for the "Mark Twain Award" if there was such a thing. In his article, "Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth & Investing," Adam goes to some length to try and show that unemployment rate, the S&P 500 and economic growth are currently better under the current administration than they were during the Reagan administration. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When considering that President Obama has been able to achieve real economic growth of just 2.04% annually despite historically low levels of inflation and interest rates combined with massive government interventions and balance sheet expansions; it makes his overall performance even more disappointing.

 
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Small Business Ownership In America Is At An All-Time Low





In a report that was just released entitled "Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2010 to 2013: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances", the Federal Reserve revealed that small business ownership in America "fell substantially" between 2010 and 2013.  Even in the midst of this so-called "economic recovery", small business ownership in America has now fallen to an all-time low.

 
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Frontrunning: September 5





  • Euro left reeling after ECB's liquidity splurge (Reuters)
  • Coalition Emerges to Battle Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Gas Chief Takes on Gazprom in Race With Winter (BBG)
  • Nato leaders fail to agree spending targets (FT)
  • JPMorgan Had Exodus of Tech Talent Before Hacker Breach (BBG)
  • Mercedes-Benz Sales Rise Despite Weak German Demand (WSJ)
  • Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans (BBG)
  • ICE looks to crack financial data market (FT)
 
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Angelo Mozilo Responds To Charges:: “No, No, No, We Didn’t Do Anything Wrong”





Here are some of the choice excerpts from the man who is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism: “You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?’” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.”  Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that a real estate collapse was the root of the crisis. “Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that.” Yes, the Moz talks about himself in the third person.

 
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