Is there anyone in the world who is not mocking John Kerry? As AP reports, Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations - "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything." The White House is not happy - in unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line. Another red line crossed?
A week after Russia revealed photos of Ukraine deploying Buk missiles in the east as well as radar proof of Ukraine warplanes in the vicinity of MH-17, the US has yet to present any of the incontrovertible evidence supposedly in its possession that proves it was the separatists who shot down the plane, a narrative which has already propagated through western media. Instead, several hours ago the US. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released satellite images taken by the private civilian company Digital Globe (and thus not government sourced), which US officials say offer proof that Russian forces have been shelling eastern Ukraine in a campaign to assist rebel groups fighting Ukraine’s government in Kiev.
It is not an exaggeration to say Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. Despite having been the main foreign instigator pushing for conflict in Syria, as well as its increasingly disturbing ties to the attacks on 9/11, it remains one of the U.S. government’s closest allies. Thanks to revelations from Edward Snowden, we now know that our taxpayer money is directly funding the ability of this autocratic regime to brutalize its citizenry.
The middle east is burning again: first it was the fascinating ascent of the brutal Al-Qaeda spinoff ISIS, creating its own Caliphate in northern Iraq and in the process taking over a third of Syrian territory as well as all of its oil infrastructure. Then, the latest iteration of the Israel vs Gaza conflict has now claimed over 1000 lives and is dragging virtually all neighboring countries into it as well. And the cherry on top is that the Libyan "liberation" by the US has just gone full circle, as the country is is now witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gadhafi’s ouster. End result: nearly two years after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, moments ago the US once again shuttered its embassy in Libya, this time in Tripoli, evacuating more than 150 Americans to Tunisia. This is happening just 24 hours after the US Secretary of State was literally next door in Egypt, assuring the region that peace and stability are just around the corner.
Well the hits just keep on coming. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), recently conducted a study in which investigators attempted to use fake identities to sign up for subsidized healthcare under ObamaCare. The results are frightening. All but one phony applicant was successful. Moreover, the GAO more broadly notes that “about 2.6 million ‘inconsistencies’ existed among applicants who had chosen a health plan.”... The GAO’s account of fictitious applicants obtaining subsidized coverage goes beyond a related problem that surfaced this spring and that the investigators also cited: The government may be paying incorrect insurance subsidies to a significant share of the 5.4 million Americans who signed up for health plans for this year through the federal marketplace.
The Obama Administration’s Orwellian government employee snitch network, dubbed the “Insider Threat Program,” first made headlines about a year ago. Fast forward a year, and it appears that several members of Congress are also becoming increasingly concerned. Some are starting to ask questions, but as usual, the “most transparent administration in history” is entirely nontransparent. What is clear since the Edward Snowden revelations is that the government has zero interest in reining in these programs. It merely wants to make sure the public can never learn about government criminality in the future. Hence the aggressive “war on whistleblowers.”
America The Divided: Everyone Knows We Have Problems But There Is Very Little Agreement On SolutionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/24/2014 21:21 -0400
A house divided against itself will surely fall. America is more divided today than it has been in decades, and the deep divisions that are tearing us apart continue to get even worse. In fact, a newly released Rasmussen Reports national survey discovered that 67 percent of voters believe that America is even more divided now than it was four years ago. What most Americans can agree on is that we are facing tremendous problems as a nation. Unfortunately, there is very little agreement on what the solutions to our problems are.
Russia Accuses US Of Fabricating MH17 Evidence As US Reveals More "Evidence" Of Russian Military InvolvementSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/24/2014 16:47 -0400
The farce of facts continues to grow as Ukraine's national security council head says US is wrong and claims to have proof MH17 was shot down by Russians... and then the US State Department unleashes another statement of alleged 'proof' that Russia is sending rockets to separatists and firing on Ukraine's military from within Russia. And then Russia hit back, blasting Washington's claims that pro-Russian rebels fired a missile that hit the plane on July 17 "mostly cited social networks" and did not correspond to reality.
Ten dark suited men entered the premises of FBME bank in Cyprus on Friday afternoon and took it hostage. The men were from the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC). And they commandeered FBME because an obscure agency within the US government recently issued a report accusing the bank of laundering money. It just so happens that FBME... and Cyprus in general... is where a lot of wealthy Russians hold their vast fortunes. Bear in mind, there has been no proof that any crime was committed.
With America's attention, diverted for the past week to events in the middle east and Ukraine, once again returning to domestic issues, Obama is coming under renewed pressure to address the immigration issues that has gripped the southern states as this will certainly be a hot topic issue during the midterm elections. Which is probably why the president has sent a team to Texas to assess whether a National Guard deployment would help to handle an immigration crisis at the Mexican border having so far resisted Republican calls for such a move, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, the underlying problem is getting from bad to worse, and as Bloomberg reported overnight, the flood of children at the border is now overwhelming the US, and as a result "President Obama and congressional Republicans have begun to offer the same simple-sounding solution for dealing with the flood of children crossing the U.S. border alone: Send the kids home."
- EU to weigh extensive sanctions on Russia (FT)
- U.S. lifts flight ban to Israel (Reuters)
- Russia says will cooperate with MH17 probe led by Netherlands (Reuters)
- Norway faces ‘concrete and credible’ terrorist threat (FT)
- Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading (BBG)
- But... but... PMI: Unilever Sales Growth Misses Estimates on Asian Slowdown (BBG)
- World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Reviews $8 Billion Russian Stake (BBG)
- Qualcomm latest US tech company to reverse in China (FT)
- Hamptons Home Sales Rise as Buyers Find More Inventory (BBG)
From Alexander the Great to British rule, history, if it has a lesson, teaches us that no group of men can conquer the world. It’s simply too big, too vast, and too complex. Humanity is far too restless to sit and take orders from dictators halfway across the globe. The mindset that wishes one country to have an iron-grip on world affairs is horribly naïve. Empires are not free. Washington’s credit card can’t be charged to infinity. The need for prudence is growing larger by the day. For the sake of average Americans, and peaceful citizens across the world, let’s hope it gets here sooner than later.
With almost metronomic frequency, and perhaps related to Putin's emergency meeting of the State Duma, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama administration is prepared to expand a new set of economic sanctions against Russia if the country doesn't take steps to end Ukraine's conflict with pro-Russia separatist fighters. No details were exposed by the senior administration official, but as WSJ notes, current sanctions don't prevent U.S. entities from doing business with the Russian firms or freeze their assets. We await the new boomerang.
- Here come the gates which we predicted in 2010: SEC Is Set to Approve Money-Fund Rules (WSJ)
- Dick's cuts 400 jobs as golf now less popular (MW)
- Kerry arrives in Israel, pushes for peace (Reuters)
- Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads as U.S. Economy Mends (BBG)
- Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health-Law Subsidies (WSJ)
- Rebel Stronghold Donetsk Holds Breath as Shellfire Mounts (BBG)
- Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race (Reuters)
- Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food (Reuters)
- Jobs Hold Sway Over Yellen-Carney as Central Banks Splinter (BBG)
“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.