The Obama Administration:
All Your Privacy And All Your Stuff Belong To Us
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Did you know that the federal government claims that it can take away your constitutional rights any time that it wants to? Over the past several decades, there have been an endless parade of laws and executive orders that have been slowly and methodically carving up our rights under the U.S. Constitution. Most Americans are not even aware of the "creeping totalitarianism" that is happening. Most Americans just trust the "authorities" when they tell us that certain things "must be done" in order to keep us all safe. But even if we gave up all of our privacy, even if we gave up all of our liberties and our freedoms, and even if we gave the government all of our stuff they still would not be able to keep us safe. It is inevitable that evil people are going to do evil things, and if you are counting on the Obama administration to keep you safe then you are being delusional. Obama is not going to save us from anything. But Obama will gladly take away our rights and our freedoms if the American people allow him to. The Obama administration seems to have an endless lust for more power. Sadly, if we do give away our rights it will have some very serious consequences. If we freely give away all of the rights that we have been given under the U.S. Constitution it will be incredibly difficult to ever get them back. Giving up liberty for security never works, and if we want to be worthy of being called Americans then we need to start standing up for the republic that our forefathers worked so hard to build.
OPEC Recycles Dollars Into Debt 50% Faster Than Foreigner
By Cordell Eddings and Austen Sherman - Bloomberg.com
OPEC nations are plowing cash into U.S. Treasuries at a more than 50 percent faster rate than all other foreign investors, an unintended benefit of oil prices above $100 a barrel.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country members increased their net purchases of government debt by $43.3 billion, or 20 percent, in the 12 months ended Jan. 31, compared with a 13 percent rise for non-OPEC foreign holdings, Treasury Department data showed last week. With prices up $26 a barrel since Sept. 30, producers have an additional $780 million in profits every day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Ugly Politics of Higher Gasoline Prices
By Gary Hunt - OilPrice.com
The impacts of higher oil and gasoline prices are beginning to ripple across the economy. Wells Fargo Economics reported today that higher energy prices increased the producer price index (PPI) by 0.4 percent in February 2012 which was the highest monthly gain in the PPI in five months. Wholesale gasoline prices were up for the second-straight month, increasing 4.3 percent, home heating oil was up 5.3 percent and residential electric power prices increased 0.6 percent.
Gasoline prices rise for 9th straight day
By Deborah Levine, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Gasoline prices in the U.S. rose on Sunday for a ninth straight day, continuing a climb back toward the record highs set in 2008.
The national average price for a gallon of gas rose to $3.838, according to motorist group AAA’s fuel gauge report.
That’s up from about $3.53 a month ago.
Average prices are above or near $4 a gallon in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New York, and six other states, according to CNN.
Gas prices up 18 percent in past month
Dayton Business Journal by DBJ Staff
Gas prices are up double-digit percentages in Dayton and the rest of Ohio in the past month, as consumers across the country are increasingly facing the likely challenge of having to pay record price at the pump, according to a AAA report.
Gas prices in Dayton top the $3.80 per gallon mark at some fuel stations, and the AAA Fuel Gauge report shows the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.77 locally. The Dayton average gas price is up 18 percent from $3.18 per gallon one month ago.
The U.S. Economy: Soul Crushing Total System Failure
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomiccollapseBlog.com
No matter how often the pretty people on television tell us that the U.S. economy is getting better, it isn't going to change the soul crushing agony that millions of American families are going through right now. The stock market may have gotten back to where it was in 2008, but the job market sure hasn't. As I wrote about a few days ago, the percentage of working age Americans that are actually employed has stayed very flat since late 2009, and the average duration of unemployment is hovering near an all-time high. Sadly, this is not just a temporary downturn. The U.S. economy has been slowly declining for several decades and is nearing total system failure. Right now, manypoverty statistics are higher than they have ever been since the Great Depression. Many measurements of government dependence are the highest that we have ever seen in all of U.S. history. The emerging one world economic system (otherwise known as "free trade") has cost the U.S. economy tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth. The federal government is going into unprecedented amounts of debt in order to try to maintain our current standard of living, but there is no way that they will be able to sustain this kind of borrowing for too much longer. So enjoy this bubble of false prosperity while you can, because things will soon get significantly worse.
Money Supply booming, seeds of the next Greater Recession
By Michael Pollaro, Contributor - Forbes.com
The next Great Recession is in the making. The money supply trends say so. And it is looking more and more like this nextGreater Recession is going to be one for the ages…
The money supply, as measured by THE CONTRAIAN TAKE‘s broad (and preferred) TMS2 metric (TMS for True "Austrian" Money Supply), posted a 14.6% year-over-year increase in February, making this the 39th consecutive month of double digit year-over-year rates of monetary inflation. All told, TMS2 is up a huge 50% over those 39 months. Even more interesting is what those TMS2 metrics were leading up to the housing boom turn credit bust turn Great Recession – 37 consecutive months for a cumulative increase of 50%.
Iran Central Bank Says Rial Can Be Traded at Market Rates
By Ladane Nasseri - Bloomberg.com
Iran’s central bank allowed trading in its currency at market levels after fixing the exchange rate in January as the threat of sanctions over the country’s nuclear program and economic risks spurred Iranians to buy up dollars.
"Licensed exchange houses are given permission to buy and sell foreign currencies and answer customers’ needs based on the mechanism of the market’s supply and demand," the Iranian central bank said in a statement posted on its website.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde fears oil spike
poses serious threat to global recovery The International Monetary Fund has warned that surging oil costs pose a serious risk to the global economy, threatening to smother expansion before a fresh cycle of growth is safely under way.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
"The world is not yet out of the danger zone," said Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, speaking in Beijing. "The rising price of oil is a new threat that could derail the recovery. I think it is a major threat.
"Optimism must not lull us into a false sense of security. The global economy may be on a path to recovery, but there is not a great deal of room for manoeuvre and no room for policy mistakes." The warning came after Brent crude reached $126 a barrel last week, hitting all-time highs in euros and sterling. The US and Britain have agreed in principle to release supplies from their strategic reserves if necessary, but so far no decision has been taken on this.
Monti to Meet Labor Unions
Amid Warning of Continued Euro Crisis
By Patrick Donahue - Bloomberg.com
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti will press ahead with efforts to revise labor laws this week, amid fresh warnings that the three-year-old European debt crisis is far from over.
Monti will lead talks with unions and employers in a final round of negotiations beginning tomorrow. Decision makers meanwhile warned against complacency after delivery of the final element of Greece’s 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout package and the completion of the world’s largest sovereign-debt restructuring last week.
Keiser Report: Rip out eyes, tear off head (E263)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss ripping out client eyeballs and losing millions for a free breakfast; maggots of risk and plastic financial apartheid. In the second half of the show Max talks to filmmakers William Gagan and Geoff Shively about their crowd funded journey to Syria and 'fake' activists and, with the introduction of anti-free speech laws in Chicago, the filmmakers discuss the small drone helicopters they have acquired for reporting on the NATO summit.
The "sound" banker, alas! is not one who sees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows so that no one can really blame him. - John Maynard Keynes
In the twelve hapless years of the present millennium, we have looked on as three great bubbles of consensus vanity have inflated and burst, each with consequences more dire than the last.
First there was the "New Economy," a mil- lennial fever dream predicated on the twin ideas of a people’s stock market and an eternal silicon prosperity; it collapsed eventually under the weight of its own fatuousness.
Second was the war in Iraq, an endeavor whose launch depended for its success on the turpitude of virtually every class of elite in Washington, particularly the tough-minded men of the media; an enterprise that destroyed the country it aimed to save and that helped to bankrupt our nation as well.
Damning the Demimonde:
Thomas Frank Versus the Oligarchs' Enablers
JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
The defense being offered for Goldman Sachs, and Wall Street, is that since they are serial cheaters and everyone knows it, the victims should only blame themselves for thinking otherwise, and doing business with them, and being cheated.
I have heard this one quite a bit lately. When someone from the Street offers this defense it is a bit ironic and almost funny.
If you are a member of fraternity of self-confessed cheaters and liars, your explanations may not be credible and compelling as you think. Unless you are talking to muppets of course. 'Trust me, this time I am NOT lying. But if it goes wrong, I was and you should have known better.'
Goldman Sachs: Making Money by Stealing It
by Stephen Lendman - GlobalResearch.ca
Money power in private hands and democracy can't co-exist. Wall Street crooks transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket.
Goldman symbolizes master of the universe of financial manipulation (Reuters April 16, 2011) It's been involved in nearly all financial scandals since the 19th century.
It makes money the old-fashioned way, through market manipulation, the scamming of investors, bribing political Washington, having its executives in top administration posts, and getting open-ended low or no interest rate bailouts when needed.
The Crazy Things That One Whistleblower Says
Are Happening At JP Morgan Will Blow Your Mind
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Rampant silver manipulation? Rampant gold manipulation? Rampant LIBOR manipulation? Hiding MF Global client assets? These are all happening at JP Morgan according to an open letter reportedly written by an anonymous employee of the firm. The whistleblower also warns of a "cascading credit event being triggered" by derivatives related to Greek government debt. UnlikeGreg Smith at Goldman Sachs, this whistleblower has chosen to remain anonymous for now. According to the letter, the whistleblower is still an employee of JP Morgan and has not resigned. But that does make it much more difficult to confirm what he is saying. With Greg Smith, we know exactly who he is and what he was doing at Goldman. As far as this anonymous whistleblower is concerned, all we have is this letter. So we must take it with a grain of salt. However, the information in this letter does agree with what whistleblowerssuch as Andrew Maguire have said in the past about silver manipulation by JP Morgan. And this letter does mention Greg Smith's resignation from Goldman, so we know that it must have been written in the past few days. Hopefully this letter will cause authorities to take a much closer look at the crazy things that are going on over at JP Morgan and the other big Wall Street banks.
PIMCO chief Mohamed El-Erian
expects 'second Greece' in Portugal The giant bond fund PIMCO said Europe has not yet tamed its debt crisis and will soon face a "second Greece" in Portugal as the country's economy spirals downwards.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO’s chief executive, said Portugal will need a second rescue as the original package of €78bn (£65bn) falls short, setting off a political storm over EU rescue costs.
"Unfortunately, that is how it will be. It will make the financial markets nervous because they are worried about a participation of the private sector," he told Der Spiegel over the weekend.
Far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon
calls for a 'civic insurrection' in France Leader of Leftist Front makes gains in French presidential race but François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy still likely to top polls
by Angelique Chrisafis in Paris - Guardian.co.uk
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the charismatic far-left firebrand whose anti-capitalist stance has seen him rise sharply in the French presidential polls, on Sunday told a vast Paris street rally that France should rise up in a "civic insurrection".
Mélenchon's symbolic open-air rally at the Place de la Bastille, emblem of the French revolution, attracted tens of thousands in an important show of force for France's "Left of the Left", buoyed by the financial crisis and disillusionment with the main political parties.
Wall St braced for hit to soaring markets S&P 500 earnings set for first decline in more than two years
By Ajay Makan in New York - FT.com
US corporations’ quarterly earnings are set to register their first decline in more than two years, in what will be a challenge to the stock market’s stellar start to 2012.
The S&P 500 last week rose above 1,400 – a level not seen since June 2008. It has gained more than 11 per cent this year.
That run has coincided with solid earnings reports for the last quarter of 2011. But rising commodity prices, notably oil, are compressing profit margins for many companies, including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Carnival Corporation.
Did Obama Resuscitate a Corrupt Banking System?
By Steve Clemons - TheAtlantic.com
The New York Times editors nail it today in a pieceridiculing the settlement between too-big-to-fail banks and states designed to assist anti-foreclosure efforts and underwater home mortgage victims.
Although the Obama administration did get some financial sector reforms through, like Dodd-Frank, the result seems to have been not a rewiring of the system to change the balance of power between economic stakeholders, particularly consumers and workers, but rather a resuscitation of the old system with some fig leafs (like this $26 billion foreclosure settlement) designed to cover up the corruption.
Progressives Accuse AARP of Double-Dealing
Following reports that AARP — the influential senior citizens lobby — will convene a closed-door meeting with higher-ups who advocate slashing essential welfare programs, progressive groups are launching campaigns to pressure the organization to stand firm against any cuts in Social Security benefits and Medicare.
Criticism of AARP from such groups is strong. Isaiah Poole with Campaign for America’s Future condemned the organization for taking seriously the proposals of those who want to slash and privatize Social Security:
Untouchable Pensions May Be Tested in California
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH - NYTimes.com
When the city manager of troubled Stockton, Calif., had to tell city council members why it was on track to become the biggest American city yet to go bankrupt, it took hours to get through the list.
There was the free health care for retirees, the unpaid parking tickets, the revenue bonds without enough revenue to pay them. On it went, a grim drumbeat of practically every fiscal malady imaginable, except an obvious one: municipal pensions. Stockton is spending some $30 million a year to pay for them, but it has less than 70 cents set aside for every dollar of benefits its workers expect.
What Occupy Wall Street Gets Wrong Corporatism is not the same thing as the free market.
By Sheldon Richman - Reason.com
When the Occupy Wall Street protestors rail against the 1 percent they typically have the banking establishment in mind. Steve Jobs may have been a 1 percenter (as are many popular sports and entertainment figures) but he was not the object of anger. Rather it is Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase that get the brickbats. There is a sense that Wall Street is up to no good. And in light of the last several years, writes Sheldon Richman, this is an entirely justifiable attitude. Big, well-connected players in banking and finance were at the heart of the housing and financial debacle, in partnership with the government, of course. Free-market advocates should hold no brief for any of them.
Here's the article:
"We are the 99 percent!" That’s the battle cry of Occupy Wall Street. What are we to make of it? It’s a worthwhile question with a complex answer.
Infiltration of Political Movements Is the Norm in America
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers - Truthdig.com
FBI’s COINTELPRO Spread a Wide Net
.... In light of the long history of political infiltration, it would be surprising if the Occupy movement were not infiltrated. Almost every such movement in modern history has been infiltrated by police or others using many of the tactics we are now seeing employed against Occupy.
The most famous surveillance program was the FBI’s COINTELPRO, which according to COINTELPRO documentstargeted the women’s rights, civil rights, anti-war and peace movements, the New Left, socialists, communists and the independence for Puerto Rico movement, among others. Among the groups infiltrated were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the Congress for Racial Equality, the American Indian movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. Leaders including Albert Einstein and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were monitored.
* * * * *
Following report is basically the same agenda as the ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainable Development for American cities now being adopted in the US - Check with your City Hall or local government web site and search using key words, like ICLEI, sustainable development. You may be surprised to learn your town or city has already succumbed to the precepts of Agenda 21 right under your noses...
Proposed UN Environmental Constitution
For The World Would Establish
An Incredibly Repressive System Of Global Governance
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Most people have no idea that the United Nations has been drafting an environmental constitution for the world that is intended to supersede all existing national laws. This document has a working title of "Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development" and you can read the entire thing right here.
Work on this proposed world environmental constitution has been going on since 1995, and the fourth edition was issued to UN member states on September 22nd, 2010. This document is intended to become a permanent binding treaty and it would establish an incredibly repressive system of global governance. This "covenant", as it is being called, claims authority over the entire global environment and everything that affects it. Considering the fact that everything that we do affects the environment in some way, that would mean that this document would become the highest form of law for all human activity. This proposed UN environmental constitution for the world is incredibly detailed. The U.S. Constitution only has 7 articles, but the UN document has 79 articles. If the U.S. eventually ratifies this treaty, any national, state or local laws that conflict with this covenant will be null and void. This is potentially one of the greatest threats to our national sovereignty that we have ever seen and we need to warn the American people about it.
Why You Should Be Concerned About ICLEI?
StopICLEI.com ICLEI = International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
Taking care of our environment, developing energy independence, and planning for the future is a responsible approach to living. However, the green/environmental/sustainable movement consistently demonstrates their lack of concern for the people who live on the planet. Many green-labeled practices actually cause more damage to the environment.
Powerful environmental special interest groups prevent research, development and implementation of new technology. Free market solutions to any problem are far superior to government intrusion. There is exciting research and development being conducted by private businesses, but they cannot compete against multibillion dollar foreign nongovernmental organizations.
The science says man-made global warming does not exist, so why is there so much focus on the issue? Money, power and control. This all occurs at the expense of individual freedom.
America's Real War on Women
By Peggy Noonan - PatriotPost.us
Some men think they can get away with vulgarity because they're on the 'correct' side on social issues; others tire of being bullied by the language police.
There is a war against women. It is something comparatively new in our national life, and we have to start noticing it.
It is not a "Republican war on women." It has nothing to do with White House attempts to paint conservative efforts to protect religious liberty as a war against women's rights to contraceptives. That is a mischievous fiction, and the president's polls this week suggest it isn't working. Good.
80 Percent Of Americans Say
That They Are Not Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Are you better off today than you were four years ago? If not, then you are just like most other Americans. According to a CBS News/New York Times pollthat was released a few days ago, 80 percent of Americans say that their financial situation is not "better today" than it was four years ago. But if you turn on the television and listen to what the "pundits" are saying, you would be tempted to think that we were in the midst of a robust economic recovery. You would be tempted to think that the U.S. economy is in great shape and that we are heading for a really bright future. But the fact that the stock market is soaring does not mean much to most Americans. In fact, most Americans couldn't care less that the Dow is well above 13,000 and that the NASDAQ is above 3,000. What most Americans care about is having a job and being able to provide for their families. If you haven't paid the mortgage in three months or if you don't have enough money to take your daughter to go see the doctor it really is not going to matter to you how well the boys and girls over on Wall Street are doing. Right now most American families are doing worse than they were doing four years ago, and no amount of media hype is going to change that fact.
A shadow inflation hits shoppers through economic sleight of hand: Inflation and the hidden side of finances.
Anyone that shops realizes that the price of goods has only gone up. Yet by how much is deceiving by economic chicanery. TheFederal Reserve has taken a baseball bat to the US dollar and the purchasing power of what Americans carry in their wallet. Yet many Americans have been duped into thinking inflation has only been occurring at a moderate pace. Those that already know about the insidious side of a crushing dollar arecollege students and those having to pay medical bills. However shoppers at grocery stores are seeing the hidden cost of inflation through innovative ways of repacking items and giving you less while trying to convince you psychologically that you are still getting the same. The cost of high fuel is being passed on through the supply chain channels and a lower dollar simply means you have less purchasing power. How much less is a matter of how carefully you look at the label.
Liberals Are Wrong: Free Market Health Care Is Possible
by Avik Roy - TheAtlantic.com
One of the big divides between liberals and conservatives, of course, is on the value and utility of the free market. Most Americans appreciate that market-based economies, broadly speaking, outperform state-based ones. But most, if not all, progressives make the argument that health care is different: that markets may work for computers and soda pop, but they don't work in health care.
The most famous exponent of the theory that markets can't work in health care comes from Stanford economist Ken Arrow. In 1963, the Ford Foundation approached Arrow--an up-and-coming economist, albeit one without prior health care experience--about applying his theories to the practical problems of health, education, and welfare. With Ford's support, in December of that year, Arrow published a paper in the American Economic Review entitled "Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care."
Costs for ObamaCare Skyrocket
By Arnold Ahlert - patriotPost.us
A devastating new report from the Congressional Budge Office.
A funny thing has happened on the way to the implementation of Obamacare, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): it's become much less affordable. When the law was passed in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated it would cost $940 billion over a ten year period. The new estimate? $1.76 trillion.
Wealthy Families Skip Waiting Rooms
With Concierge Medical Plans
By Elizabeth Ody - Bloomberg.com
Doctors on-call day or night. Medical care while traveling outside the U.S. Emergency-room grade equipment, modeled on gear used in the White House, installed in the client’s home.
Well-heeled executives and their families increasingly are paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for high-end medical services that aren’t covered by insurance.
"Wealthy people want to have a little exclusivity and want better service than they can get at their normal health-care facility, and they’re willing to pay for it," said Rick Flynn, principal and head of the Family Office Group with Rothstein Kass, a Roseland, New Jersey-based accounting and consulting firm.
When Americans Made Toys by Hand:
Inside a 1915 Teddy Bear Factory
By Alexis Madrigal - TheAtlantic.com
If there is one thing I enjoy about the web, it's the way that primary historical materials are as close to hand as a Gawker blog post or a Amazon.com. Getting your hands on real, printed photographs from the 1910s takes work, even if you happen to have a university affiliation.
Online, as part of our daily labor here on The Atlantic, I often find myself at the Library of Congress searching through hundreds of thousands of photographs of all kinds of things. At a time when algorithms are supposed to be reducing serendipity to the opposite of a chance encounter, I find the blunt search tools at the LOC constantly spit out wonderfully unexpected things.
Chevy's version...the real commercial Chevy Volt Owner Testimonials | Kory Levoy
He's spent $38 in gas - in two months! See how, and see what Kory thinks of his new Volt, the first GM car he's owned since 1975. 2011 Volt shown. For more information, go to Chevrolet.com/Volt.
Boeing in $300 million C-17 deal with Britain
Dayton Business Journal
The Boeing Co. will provide the United Kingdom with $300 million in equipment, services and maintenance that support its fleet of eight cargo transport aircraft, under an arms sales agreement with the United Kingdom and the U.S. Air Force.
Boeing will provide 20 engines, engine exchange kits, global positioning systems, communications and support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, technical documents, and engineering, technical and logistics support services to support the UK fleet of Globemaster II aircraft.
Nothing much new here; see next article Did Obama sign Executive Order
for Peace time Martial Law or are we over reacting?
Posted by Darla Dawald, National Director - Patriot Action Network
From:The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 16, 2012
Executive Order -- National Defense Resources Preparedness EXECUTIVE ORDER NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Update: Obama Executive Order Peacetime Martial Law
Posted by Darla Dawald, National Director
on March 18, 2012 - Patriot Action Network
Last night I provided you with the EO from the White House regarding the National Defense Resources Preparedness signed by Barack Obama. The thread is full of every opinion imaginable.
Since that time several have done what I asked... they read the Executive Order and researched it also. I too have pulled up the EO and compared it with the 2 other EOs this current order refers to as revoking and or replacing content. I would like to point out that other than one section of the November 18,1988 version signed into Law BY Ronald Reagan... and the entire 1994 eo I don't see any other changes.
Praetorian Progressives and Their Imperial Dreams
By Dr. Robert R. Owens - PatriotPost.us
Under President Obama we doubled-down in Afghanistan? We sent more of our fellow citizens to a long hard slog in a country whose synonym is Quagmire while announcing the eventual date of their withdrawal at the same time. In an unprecedented action Mr. Obama announced our attack as he heralded our retreat in a calculated political decision that has cost lives, squandered treasure and told the Taliban to wait in the wings for the second act.
By Oliver North - PatriotPost.us
WASHINGTON -- Four years ago, when then-Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he said of Afghanistan: This is "a war that we have to win." He also claimed, "The Afghan people must know that our commitment to their future is enduring because the security of Afghanistan and the United States is shared." But after three years of Obama's being commander in chief, it ought to be clear that he never really believed his own campaign rhetoric. Now, in the aftermath of recent setbacks, his words are further evidence of presidential ambivalence and uncertainty. None of this bodes well for those who hope for a positive outcome in the shadows of the Hindu Kush.
Power Struggles at the Persian Gulf -
is Another Gulf War Imminent?
By Ronald Stoeferle - OilPrice.com
Iran is currently the fifth-largest oil producer in the world, the second-largest producer in the OPEC, and the third-largest oil exporter worldwide. Of the total production of almost 3.5mn barrels/day, 2.285mn barrels/day were exported last year. 0.8mn barrels/day are shipped to the OECD countries in Europe, 0.6mn barrels/day of those to the EU and 200,000 barrels/day to Turkey (50% of the Turkish demand). But Asia is the most important export market at 1.5mn barrels/day, with China alone accounting for 550,000 barrels. Japan, India, and South Korea are also important trading partners.
Hawks Steering Debate on How to Take on Iran
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and MARK LANDLER - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — Even before President Obama declared this month that "I have Israel’s back" in its escalating confrontation with Iran, pro-Israel figures like the evangelical Christian leader Gary L. Bauer and the conservative commentator William Kristol were pushing for more.
In a slickly produced, 30-minute video, the group that the two men lead, the Emergency Committee for Israel, mocked Mr. Obama’s "unshakable commitment to Israel’s security" and attacked his record on Iran as weak. "I'll be brutally honest: I don’t trust the president on Israel," Mr. Bauer, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, said in an interview. "I think his record on Israel is abysmal."
Shutting Off Iran's Finances
By Arnold Ahlert - PatriotPost.us
The EU puts a lockdown on the Mullahs' economic transactions -- but it will only buy time.
On Thursday, the European Union (EU) ordered the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to block Iranian banks currently subjected to EU sanctions from using their service. SWIFT is a financial transaction company used by almost every bank around the world to send payment messages to each other. Since global financial transactions are virtually impossible to implement without SWIFT, the move represents the EU's most determined effort to date to convince Iran that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable. SWIFT announced it would comply with the order by Saturday. The decision is no doubt being met with high anxiety from diplomacy advocates. International sanctions have so far been woefully unsuccessful, and options are dwindling. Economic isolation, coupled with upcoming talks with the Iranian regime, have opponents of military intervention scraping the bottom of the diplomatic barrel.
China Buys Fewer Weapons as Local Industry Expands, Sipri Says
By Daniel Ten Kate - Bloomberg.com
China, the world’s top weapons importer for much of the past decade, fell to fourth from second on an annual list from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as it produces more arms at home.
China received 5 percent of the volume of international transfers of "major conventional weapons" from 2007 to 2011, Sipri said in a report released today. The total was half that of India, which last year overtook China as the world’s largest recipient of arms, and less thanSouth Korea and Pakistan.