President Obama, speaking at The Clinton Global Initiative, will explain how the administration and its partners are deepening their commitment to defend and strengthen civil society globally... (apart from the bombings and sanctions and FATCA and bank penalties and Fed intervention).
On the surface, earning $174,000 per year, while putting one solidly in the top 10% of all US earners, does not sound like much. This happens to be the 2014 allocated wage of America's elected political representatives, the members of the House of Representatives. And indeed, in the grand scheme of things it isn't much... until one considers that in the 102-day period between August 1 and November 12, this wage will be "earned" for just working a paltry 8 days, which, presuming 10 hour workdays, amounts to a whopping $608 per hour, on par with what some of America's most prominent lawyers earn. It is also several times the hourly compensation of anesthesiologists, one of the highest-earning professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at $113 an hour on average.
Last night's airstrikes on ISIS in Syria came as a surprise to some (though apparently not ISIS who local reporters note had time to move weapons and personnel) as President Obama - and his local arab nation allies (acting in support), though notably no Western nations - unleashed hell on Assad's sovereign territory. The first stirrings of responses from Russia have been creeping out and now Israel is involved in the anti-ISIS coalition. The State Department has just confirmed that they did not give advance warning to the Syrian regime. If you are playing along at home, key words include "broad coalition", "Assad still a bad guy", "Vladimir who?", and "not Muslim."
President Obama’s neo-Cold War is not about ideology or respect for borders. It is about money and global power. The current battle over control of gateway nations - strategic locations in which private firms can establish the equivalent of financial boots-on-the-ground - is being waged in the Middle East and Ukraine under the auspices of freedom and western capitalism (er, “democracy”). In these global gateways, private banks can infiltrate resource-rich locales fortified by political will, public aid and military support to garner lucrative market advantages. ISIS poses a threat to global gateway control that transcends any human casualties. That’s why Congress decided to authorize funds to fight ISIS despite the risk. The common thread of today’s global gateway nations appears to be oil.
In yet another rather embarrassing event for The White House, just days after President Obama praised the French for helping in the fight against ISIS, and General martin Dempsey noted "the French were our very first ally and they're with us again now," French officials have, according to Reuters, ruled out participation in airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria. With the fall of France (and Germany already saying "nein"), it appears the broad coalition is now a "coalition of none," as Obama has stated the US would not go it alone...
If we want to stop radical terrorists from operating in Syria and Iraq, how about telling our ally Saudi Arabia to stop funding and training them? For that matter, how about the US government stops arming and training the various rebel groups in Syria and finally ends its 24 year US war on Iraq. Remember, they come over here because we are over there. So let’s not be over there any longer.
Having released the Turkish hostages, because "Turkey refused to agree to the US demand for 'active support of the coalition'," ISIS have come out swinging (in its first 'official' statement since President Obama unveiled his 'strategy' for "degrading and destroying" them), with a call for all followers of Allah to make the coalition campaign the "last crusader campaign," and calls Obama "vile", more foolish than Bush, and a "mule of the Jews." Warning Americans and Europeans that "you will pay a great price, when your economies collapse," ISIS blasts Kerry, "the uncircumcised old geezer," for his "false arguments." The statement concludes by telling ISIS followers, "if you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be."
A day after US ambassador to The UN Samantha Powers stated, "we will not do the airstrikes alone if the president decides to do the airstrikes," and Russia warned, "bombing Syria without the cooperation of Damascus can have destructive practical consequences on the humanitarian situation in Syria," it appears President Obama's grand strategy to combat IS via a 'broad coalition' of allies is flailing. While the WSJ reports, The Pentagon is preparing war plans in Syria that would include an intensive initial wave of strikes against Islamic State targets, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained today that providing air support or sending ground troops to fight Islamic State is "out of the question for us." For now, it appears, the only nation involved in the 'broad coalition' is France. Why? Because as we said yesterday, this is merely over fears of more BNPs. "A key component of this would be allied participation," said a U.S. official; does '1' ally count?
Since it is almost impossible to win against guerrillas by only attacking from the air, "boots on the ground", as The Pentagon and military have advised, are needed to effectively fight IS. Obama and the American people - as a result of the Afghanistan and Iraq debacles — vehemently veto that idea. However, inserting U.S. military personnel for fighting or training locals likely would be also be counterproductive and would once again paint a big, red bulls-eye on the United States. The best option is for the U.S. government to do nothing.
"We have put in place the toughest ethics and transparency laws of any administration in history," President Obama proclaimed four short years ago... However, as AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee said recently, the fight for access to public information has never been harder, and in fact, the problem extends across the entire federal government and is now trickling down to state and local governments. Here is Buzbee’s list of eight ways Obama's "most transparent" administration is making it hard for journalists to find information and cover the news...
It has been quite an eventful week between Scotland's battle over independence, the Federal Reserve's FOMC announcement and the markets making new all time highs. The FOMC announcement was more comedy than anything else as the continued facade of the Fed's forecasting capabilities was revealed, it appears the biggest factor in the world of investing and for this weekend's list of "Things To Ponder" we have accumulated a few reads relating to the Fed.
The President pledges "no combat troops" in Iraq. The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, says he may recommend combat ground troops in the battle against ISIS. The President, in a speech, reiterates "no ground troops," and "no combat troops." In short, when it comes to the making of American foreign policy what we have in Washington is what appears to be the functional definition of anarchy!
"When are actual boots-on-the-ground, not Presidential promise-breaking boots-on-the-ground?" ... when, as The Washington Post reports, those 'boots' are protected by 'legal alchemy' called Title 50... simply put, as Ignatius concludes, "U.S. boots are already on the ground, and more are coming. The question is whether Obama will decide to say so publicly, or remain in his preferred role as covert commander in chief."
When a former Goldman executive and the prior head of its housing research team comes out with a shocking analysis so contrary to what the same individual would do in his "former life" when he would be extolling the "inevitable" rise of home prices from here to eternity and beyond, and also throw in an open letter to none other than president Obama, predicting at least a 15% crash in home prices in the next three years, a move which would without debt catalyze the next US recession, it is time to pay attention. Meet Joshua Pollard, who in February 2009 took over coverage of US Housing at Goldman Sachs. His point, in short: "House prices are 12% overvalued today. They have already started to decline. Today’s misvaluation matches the excess of 2006-07, just before the Great Recession... 5 of the last 7 US recessions were led by a weakening housing market... I am lamentably confident that home prices will fall by 15% within three years." Or, as some may call it, crash.
*HOUSE HAS VOTES FOR U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS; VOTE CONTINUING
Those sneaky politicians... The House has just begun voting on whether to amend the US Spending Bill to enable funding for Obama's grand strategy of training "moderate Syrian rebels.
- *SYRIAN REBEL AID IS PROPOSED AS AMENDMENT TO U.S. SPENDING BILL
- *HOUSE BEGINS VOTE ON U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS SOUGHT BY OBAMA
However, what few have also noticed is that the bill also includes an extension for funding the Export-Import bank.