As the finances of Venezuela continue to deteriorate under the collapse of crude oil prices, the government of President Nicolas Maduro is becoming more paranoid and vindictive. However, the utter bust in oil markets pulled the rug out from beneath the Venezuelan economy. Maduro is cracking down on political opponents as the country deals with the economic crisis, and his pronouncements have become more paranoid as the economy has worsened. The economic situation may only grow worse. The government’s budget breaks even with oil prices at an estimated $117.50 per barrel. With no imminent rebound in sight for oil prices, Maduro is resorting to state-sponsored repression to quell growing opposition.
Ukraine 'Peace' Talks In Tatters: Defiant Putin "Won't Tolerate Unipolar World"; Hollande Proposes "Strong Autonomy" For Rebel RegionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/07/2015 14:00 -0500
Just as the existing 'truce' in Ukraine has been made a total farce as 1000s of military and civilians have been killed, so any 'hope' that this weekend's "peace efforts" will result in anything but more talk is rapidly diminishing... Germany's Merkel exclaimed honestly that it's "uncertain whether this will be successful," seemingly resigned to the fact as she added, "but it's at least worth making an attempt." French President Hollande admitted that Ukraine's eastern regions likely need "strong autonomy." Ukraine's Poroshenko blustered that he "trusts" Merkel, that the economy is collapsing (more money please), that the country does not need peacekeepers and a lack of arms is fueling conflict (so send us weapons) while pushing for a Russian withdrawal and quick cease-fire. Finally Vladimir Putin blasted that Russia is unwilling to tolerate a post-Cold War global system dominated by one absolute leader, to which US VP Joe Biden remarked simply "get out of Ukraine." But apart from that, talks are going great...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey has, according to Politico, asked The National Defense University to establish an essay and research competition focused on the Middle East in honor of Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah. How very generous for America's top uniformed military leader to recognize such a leader of another nation... Though no details of the prize are available, we thought we would take a stab (figuratively) at an essay...
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.
Yesterday, to much shock and dismay, Obama revealed his latest "noble" grand vision: provide a free community college education to millions of folks. Apparently now, far too late, even the community organizer-in-chief realized that with $1.2 trillion in student loans the Millennials will never be able to take their rightful place as the dynamo of US economic growth. What is Obama's solution? Another free lunch. Socialist unicorns and Marxist rainbows aside, what will Obama's "free" plan cost taxpayers? The answer: $60 billion over 10 years, according to a White House official.
It is with great regret we inform our readers that, following 14 consecutive days of updates (by the Associated Press no less) and others regarding Barack Obama's daily activities during his Hawaiian vacation including his exercise, swimming, executive order and golfing regiment, today is the last such day of can't miss headlines surrounding the Glorious Free World Leader's time away from reading from the TOTUS. So what to expect next? Here is the answer.
The fact that these guys were shot dead doesn't make them heroes. Period.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
When no lesser establishmentarian than Obama's former chief economist Jared Bernstein called for an end to the US Dollar's reserve status, it raised a few eyebrows, but as the WSJ recently noted, the voices discussing how the burden of being the world's reserve currency harms America, more than just Vladimir Putin is paying attention. While some argue that “no other global currency is ready to replace the U.S. dollar.” That is true of other paper and credit currencies, but the world’s monetary authorities still hold nearly 900 million ounces of gold, which is enough to restore, at the appropriate parity, the classical gold standard: the least imperfect monetary system of history.
The ink on Barack Obama's Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn't dried yet but already the US president's new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.
Since 2006,MRAPs, helicopters, machine guns, and night-vision-goggle have been increasingly evident across America as the good ol' yankee copper morphs into a full-metal-jacket-looking killer (even as the FBI admits the threats to police have not escalated as much as the media would like). So it isjust 'lucky' that Ferguson has reignited a narrative that enables President Obama "to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to the state and local enforcement agencies," in a series of meetings today at The White House. We suspect funding will increase (for your own protection) and a new SWATification Tzar will be unveiled.
It has been half a year since it was first revealed that the US has been sending non-lethal aid to the Ukraine: recall that it was in early June when Obama announced he had approved $5 million in body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment for the Ukrainian military. However, as lately has been a recurrent theme, the Obama administration may not have been exactly forthright with the public or the facts. At least that is the conclusion based on hacked documents released earlier today by the Ukrainian hackers group CyberBerkut, which reveal that despite assurances to the contrary, the US has in fact been providing substantial lethal aid to Ukraine's armed forces. As Sputniknews reports, "according to the hackers, the information was obtained during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine last week, when they were able to access confidential State Department documents via a mobile device of a US delegation member."
Based on the ridiculous, seasonally-adjusted data released day after day by the various US "Departments of Truth", also known as the BLS, the Census, the Dept of Commerce, UMichigan, ADP, the Conference Board and so on, the US economy is so strong and consumer confidence is so resurgent, America is on the verge of a second golden age. Sadly, for Obama, and last night's epic rout for Democrats, it was all a lie - a lie perpetuated by a manipulated S&P500 which hit daily record highs on unprecedented central bank liquidity injections which have now terminally disconnected the "markets" from the economy, and the welfare of the vast majority of the common "folk" - and said "folk" saw right through it.
What’s He Going To Do … Lobby To Convince Us that Ebola Is Not That Big A Risk?
This should fix it and calm the panic:
*OBAMA SAID TO APPOINT RON KLAIN AS EBOLA CZAR, CNN TWEETS
Forget medical experience, what the USA needs to combat the worst Ebola pandemic ever is "an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents - Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011)" Gotta wonder how Tom Frieden feels about this...