President Obama

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World Awaits Russian Response As Obama Makes "Lethal Aid" To Ukraine Legal





As we explained previously, quietly hidden within the humanitarian-sounding "The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014", under the premise of enabling further sanctions on Russia, is the provision of "lethal aid" to Ukraine. Today, President Obama signed it into law...

*OBAMA SIGNED RUSSIAN SANCTIONS BILL TODAY, but SAYS HE DOESN'T PLAN TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS UNDER NEW LAW

Because he knows full well that is not the important part. The "lethal-aid" aspect is a direct provocation to Russia.. and he knows exactly how Putin will respond.

 
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Frontrunning: December 18





  • Swiss National Bank Starts Negative Interest Rate of 0.25% to Stave Off Inflows (BBG)
  • Putin Strikes Uncompromising Stance Over Crisis Gripping Russia (BBG)
  • Sony cancels North Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers (Reuters)
  • U.S. Said Set to Blame North Korea for Sony Cyber Attack (BBG)
  • China’s Short-Term Borrowing Costs Surge as Demand for Money Grows (WSJ)
  • Russia Currency Market Bends But Doesn’t Break (BBG)
  • Jeb Bush Puts Pressure on Chris Christie for 2016 (WSJ)
  • From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy (Reuters)
  • Russians Quit London Luxury Homes as Only Super-Rich Stay (BBG)
 
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The Fracturing Energy Bubble Is the New Housing Crash





Let’s see. Between July 2007 and January 2009, the median US residential housing price plunged from $230k to $165k or by 30%. That must have been some kind of super “tax cut”.

The global oil price collapse now unfolding is not putting a single dime into the pockets of American households - the CNBC talking heads to the contrary notwithstanding.  What is happening is the vast flood of mispriced debt and capital, which flowed into the energy sector owning to the Fed’s lunatic ZIRP and QE policies, is now rapidly deflating. That will reduce bubble spending and investment, not add to economic growth. It’s the housing bust all over again.

 
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59% Of Americans Support Post-9/11 Torture – Propaganda, Cultural Sickness, Or Both?





"By an almost 2-1 margin, or 59-to-31 percent, those interviewed support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying they produced valuable intelligence." Does this confirm the total degeneration of American culture into a collective of chicken-hawk, unthinking, statist war-mongering automatons? Alternatively, does it merely reflect the effectiveness of corporate-government propaganda? Is it a combination of both?

 
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President Obama "Normalizes" Relations With Cuba, Opens Diplomatic Channels; USAID Chief Resigns - Live Feed





“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba,” White House says in statement. So sanctions don't work?

Rajiv Shah, the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, oversaw secret US programs aimed at regime change in Cuba, abruptly resigned on Wednesday after US and Cuba announced plans to normalize relations and exchange prisoners.

 
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"Oil May Drop To $25 On Chinese Demand Plunge, Supply Glut, Ageing Boomers"





Most commentators remain in a state of denial about the enormity of the price fall underway. Some, failing to understand the powerful forces now unleashed, even believe prices may quickly recover. Our view is that oil prices are likely to continue falling to $50/bbl and probably lower in H1 2015, in the absence of OPEC cutbacks or other supply disruption. Critically, China’s slowdown under President Xi’s New Normal economic policy means its demand growth will be a fraction of that seen in the past. This will create a demand shock equivalent to the supply shock seen in 1973 during the Arab oil boycott. Today's ageing Boomers mean that demand is weakening at a time when the world faces an energy supply glut. This will effectively reverse the 1973 position and lead to the arrival of a deflationary mindset.... Prices have so far fallen $40/bbl from $105/bbl since we first argued in mid-August that a Great Unwinding was now underway. And there have been no production cutbacks around the world in response, or sudden jumps in demand. So prices may well need to fall the same amount again.

 
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Crude Continues Slide, Ruble Stabilizes, US Futures Rebound As Global Stocks Slump: All Eyes On Yellen





Previewing today's market: near record low liquidity, with chance of ridiculous volatility in the Ruble, energy and equity markets. While no doubt today's main event will be the "considerable" FOMC announcement and the Fed's downward-revised economic projections followed by Yellen's press conference, what traders will be most excited by is that, finally, Jim Bullard will no longer be bound by the blackout period surround FOMC decisions, and as such can hint of QE4 again at his leisure during key market inflection (i.e., selling) points.

 
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Futures Rebound, Crude "Flash Smashes" Higher As Dollar Strengthens





After the worst week for stocks in years, and following a significantly oversold condition, it will hardly come as a surprise that the mean reversion algos (if only to the upside), as well as the markets themselves (derivative trading on the NYSE Euronext decided to break early this morning just to give some more comfort that excessive selling would not be tolerated)  are doing all they can to ramp equities around the globe, and futures in the US as high as possible on as little as possible volume. And sure enough, having traded with a modestly bullish bias overnight and rising back over 2000, the E-Mini has seen the now traditional low volume spike in the last few minutes, pushing it up over 15 points with the expectation being that the generic algo ramp in USDJPY ahead of the US open should allow futures to begin today's regular session solidly in the green, even if it is unclear if the modest rebound in the dollar and crude will sustain, or - like on every day in the past week - roll over quickly after the open. Also, we hope someone at Liberty 33 tells the 10Y that futures are soaring: at 2.13% the 10Y is pricing in nothing but bad economic news as far as the eye can see.

 
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"The Most Egregious Sections Of Law I've Encountered During My Time As A Representative"





While most Americans are busy Christmas shopping and making preparations for trips to see family, Congress remains hard at work doing what it does best. Giving gifts to Wall Street and trampling on citizens’ civil liberties.

 
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Defeat Is Victory





On the wall of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984 there were three slogans: "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" It occurred to us that these apply just a little bit too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates. But there is a fourth slogan they need to add to the wall of Washington's Ministry of Truth. It is this: DEFEAT IS VICTORY!

 
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President Obama Praises "Patriotic" Torturers, Says USA "Greatest Force For Human Dignity The World Has Ever Seen"





The White House just released President Obama's response to the CIA Torture Report...

 
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"We Tortured Some Folks": CIA Lied To Congress, Senate Torture Report Reveals





In what we are confident everyone will find to be absolutely shocking news, moments ago the Senate Torture report was released. The key finding, hold on to your hats, is that the CIA "misled" Congress. As for the timing of the release, which takes place at the same time as Jonathan Gruber (Ph.D) is being grilled in the House, it is hardly a coincidence that Obama does everything in his power to deflect attention to what took place under the Bush administration, commenting that "torture techniques did significant damage to America’s standing” in the world. So what did the droning of thousands of innocent civilians do to the same "standing"?

 
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Obamacare Architect Gruber Testifies Before "Stupid America" - Live Webcast





Today at 9:30am Eastern, the two key people behind Obamacare will testify under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. One of them is Marilyn Tavenner, the CMS Administrator and the person who was tasked with managing the implementation of Obamacare: a process that was a complete disaster as those who tried to sign up on the healthcare.gov website in late 2013 will recall (and whose overhaul cost over $2 billion).  On the other hand, Jonathan Gruber has recently gained notoriety after a series of videos with him were leaked, in which he bragged that deception and “the stupidity of the American voter” allowed Obama to ram his pet healthcare program into law.

 
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Even Obama's Personal Chef Is Leaving Him





One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama's controversial "school lunch program", one who also happens to be "Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family." He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.

 
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