Following Congress, The Republican-led Senate just passed The Keystone XL Pipeline Bill - as expected:
*SENATE PASSES BY 62-36 BILL TO APPROVE KEYSTONE, DEFYING OBAMA
Nine Democrats joined all of the Republicans who were present in supporting the legislationNow, it is time for President Obama to unleash The Veto Pen...
Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.
Over the past few days someone figured out that while there is an extensive barrier surrounding the White House, it only stretches about 8 feet above the ground. Everything above that is open air, or, as it is better known in this day and age of pervasive drone overflights: "a direct path."
- Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
- Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
- Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
- East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
- Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
- Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
- For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
- Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)
Israel indicated earlier today that it has finally had it with Obama, with the above sequence of events culminated in what Haaretz described was a reciprocal snub of the "leader of the free world" by Israel's president Reuven Rivlin, who declined a White House invitation to meet with Obama during his upcoming US trip: After consultations, Rivlin finally declined the American suggestion. His advisers explained to the Americans that the two leaders’ schedules do not overlap, because Rivlin is expected to return to Israel before Obama gets back to Washington. “At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date,” the statement said.
"King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations. He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region. At home, King Abdullah's vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world."
If speeches like the State of The Union this week, and the reactions to it, make anything clear, it’s that the PR guys won the fight against critical thinking. All you need to do is get people to believe whatever it is you got for sale. And 99.9% of people are easily fooled. That’s how you define democracy in 2015: how many people can you fool? Which is the most convincing sleight of hand?
Remember how well JPMorgan's innovative social media experiment #AskJPM went? Well, taking a lesson from the Einsteinian insanity instruction manual, John Kerry and The White House have unleased #AskTheWH ... enjoy...
The timidness with which mainstream media in the U.S. approaches news has been well documented. In fact, the inability of traditional media to do a reasonable job of holding powerful interests accountable has been one of the primary drivers behind the ascendency of alternative news. Despite this reality, one thing we know less about is specifically how the power structure goes about suppressing news it doesn’t want reaching the plebs. Until now...
- Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
- Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
- Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
- Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
- Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
- Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
- Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
- Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
- Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)
UPDATE: Full SOTU Speech released - "THE SHADOW OF CRISIS HAS PASSED"
By now it is well known that The State of The Union tonight will be about President Obama's Robin-Hood Agenda. Furthermore, it is entirely clear that his proposals have no chance of becoming law. As WaPo's Marc Thiessen notes, Obama is not delusional, his move is completely and transparently political... And just as Eric Cantor suggests will merely serve to inflame the GOP. From taxes to cyber security and from community college to housing... in 50-65 minutes, all will be clear...
During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class. The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama’s State of the Union speech. They don’t fit the “narrative” that Obama is trying to sell to the American people. But all of these statistics are accurate. They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying.
The “war on terror” is the best thing to happen to power hungry politicians since a fire of questionable origin destroyed the Reichstag building in Berlin on February 27, 1933. Not only does the “war on terror” represent big business for shady crony capitalists; it gives politicians, i.e., professional authoritarians, an excuse to destroy civil liberties and implement a total surveillance system to ensure the plebs don’t get out of line. This is not just an unfortunate trend that has developed organically due to a dangerous world, these are the goals of the oligarch class and they will do whatever it takes to achieve them.
Friends of freedom often become despondent when it seems that every day brings another growth and intrusion of government over people’s lives. But there is no reason to be disheartened, because there are lessons for winning liberty – from the opponents of freedom. If we keep the classical liberal ideal of individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism before us, we can and will win liberty in our time – for our children and ourselves.
Like her or hate her, Elizabeth Warren this week unequivocally told Fortune's Sheila Bair "No," she would not run for President, reflecting that for a Democratic nominee to win, "they need to speak to America’s families about the economic crisis in this country. It starts with the recognition that Washington works for the rich and powerful and not for America’s families." We bring this up, since, as OpenSecrets reports, despite her reputation as an anti-Wall Street populist, Warren would have been the wealthiest of the potential 2016 presidential candidates currently serving in Congress.