The earlier 'under pressure' resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel means President Obama has to make a personnel announcement... explaining exactly what characteristics he is looking for as he prepares to invade the middle east? One wonders if he will assume the duty of SecDef?
It appears some folks might be scapegoated... As NY Times reports, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down, under presssure. President Obama made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel has, and that his team has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.
"In a tense confrontation with President Obama’s closest adviser on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency."
With President Obama proclaiming this morning "it's too early to tell" if a nuclear-deal with Iran is still possible; and apparent confirmation this afternoon that differences are "still significant," the US is said to be discussing extending the nuclear-deal deadline. Yet again no consequences (for a newfound 'ally') and yet again John Kerry finds himself purposeless... and now we hear Vladimir Putin will be calling Iran's Rouhani tomorrow (one can only imagine the topic of conversation).
“When I came to this country 11 years ago, it was in the hope that one day, if I worked hard enough, I could be granted a temporary, tenuous reprieve from the threat of being forcefully removed,”
It appears Lazard's investment banker Antonio Weiss' "help" in tax inversions is not 'unpatriotic' enough to scare President Obama off - as we suspect Weiss' bundling and donating help more than offset any ethical challenges. However, in a somewhat eye-opening financial disclosure, Bloomberg reports that Obama's nominee for undersecretary of Treasury for domestic finance, has between $54 million and $203 million in assets spread across various family trusts and his anticipated compensation in 2014 is between $5 million and $25 million. It's good to know the 'people' are well-represented once again in Washington...
As Hilary Clinton starts to ponder the curtains she wants to hang in the Oval Office, there is only one person who can realistically stand in her way: Rand Paul.
It appears John Kerry is at it again. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the US Secretary of State called on him to "pay no mind" to a statement by President Obama, in which Russia was included to a list of top global threats. Seeking Russia's cooperation in Iran and on the Korean Peninsula, Kerry told Lavrov to "forget about" what Obama said. As US foreign policy credibility dissolves, we leave it to Lavrov to conclude, "it is flippant," he jabs, "it’s not appropriate for a powerful country to have such a consumer attitude to its partners - where you’re needed, help us; where you’re not, obey us."
18 months ago President Obama warned a graduating class to "reject" those that "warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner." It appears he went full Keyser Soze...
While what normally happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas; President Obama's decision to dictate his Immigration Executive Order from sin city will likely have repurcussions across the entire nation. As NY Times reports, Obama is preparing to use his executive authority to provide work permits for up to five million people who are in the US illegally, and to shield them from deportation. But these new arrivals will not receive one key benefit: government subsidies for health care available under Obamacare. The immigrants would also be unlikely to receive benefits like food stamps, Medicaid coverage or other need-based federal programs offered to citizens and to some legal residents. "The costs of extending these programs to millions of low-wage illegal immigrants would be enormous," said Senator Jeff Sessions "this is yet another danger posed to Americans by the president’s unconstitutional action."
Confused at just what Jonathan Gruber, friend (or not friend) of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, said (and didn't say)? Here is the two-minute idiot's guide to the Obamacare architect (or not Obamacare architect)'s controversial comments (and just who did and did not know him)...
If you like your Jon Gruber "brightest minds from academia, that I have stolen ideas from liberally", you can keep your Jon Gruber...
“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” The famous quote by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is inscribed above the entrance to the headquarters of the IRS. Most people don’t have a clue what he meant, or in what context the statement was made. They simply parrot it around to justify the state’s racketeering behavior. The logic is as twisted as saying “war is the price we pay for peace” or “debt is the price we pay for recovery.” They’re all logical fallacies, and assertions backed by zero objective evidence. This is not how a ‘civilized society’ conducts itself.
- "The hate us for our..." Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program (WSJ)
- Ukraine and Russia take center stage as leaders gather for G20 (Reuters)
- Moscow and Kiev trade accusations; U.S. warns Russia against escalation (Reuters)
- Heartland Central Banker Calls Asset Bubbles Top Concern (BBG)
- U.S. Said to Give Banks December Deadline in FX Probe (BBG)
- Series of Failures Enabled White House Breach, Report Finds (WSJ)
- Yen plumbs seven-year trough on likely Japan sales tax delay (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Chase Bankers Said to Lead Moscow Departure (BBG)
Having told the world that it will not be undertaking system-wide rate cuts or stimulus - focusing more on idiosyncratic safety nets - last night's data from China is likely to have the PBOC frowning. Fixed Asset Investment (lowest growth since Dec 2001) and Retail Sales (lowest growth since Feb 2006) missed expectations, but it was the re-slump in Industrial Production (after a small 'huge-credit-injection-driven' bounce in September) that is most worrisome as China's 2014 output is growing at its slowest since at least 2005. As Michael Pettis previously noted "China will be no different... growth miracles have always been the relatively easy part; it is the subsequent adjustment that has been the tough part." Of course, this is not the 'soft-landing' so many bulls have expected, which, if enabled by moar credit, as Pettis warned "will inevitably lead to a very brutal hard landing."