Central Banks Buying 100% of Sovereign Debt
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
With as many lies and distortions that proceed from this scandal-plagued administration, one might think that mainstream reporters would turn a skeptical eye toward another one of President Obama’s carefully crafted narratives. Each narrative is designed to push “progressive” policies or to cover up administration mismanagement. But our corrupt media reflexively cheer whenever the leftist agendas for amnesty, Obamacare, climate change, and economic regulation are mentioned. Add to the list of official narratives the hyped state of the economy, the successes of which cannot fail to be championed because they reflect on the viability of the current President’s policies.
Yet President Obama’s claims about how his administration’s efforts have boosted the economy, or that the economy is actually improving, are based on cherry-picked data.
“At this moment when our economy is growing and creating jobs, we’ve got to work twice as hard, especially in Washington, to build on our momentum,” claimed President Obama in his recent economic report, according to The New York Times. He continued, “And I will not let politics or partisanship roll back the progress we’ve achieved on so many fronts.”
Back in January, the labor force participation rate was the lowest since 1978. It has since increased by a mere 0.2%. And while hiring may be up, wages remain stagnant.
What type of progress, exactly, is the President citing? His entitlement and regulatory policies, such as Obamacare and proposed EPA regulations, shackle American economic ingenuity with an ever-increasing burden.
“Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed,” wrote Gallup President Jim Clifton in, “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment.” “Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.”
“Our concern with our analysts is that [the unemployment statistic is] very, very misleading because what America really wants are full-time jobs. … The percent of full-time jobs in this country, to the population, is the worst it’s been in thirty years,” Clifton said on CNBC. He connected this to the middle class crisis.
Mortimer Zuckerman, of The Wall Street Journal has argued that the President’s signature health care legislation depresses full-time hiring. “Many employers cut workers’ hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 hours a week or more,” wrote Zuckerman last July. “The unintended consequence of President Obama’s ‘signature legislation?’ Fewer full-time workers.”
But President Obama, his administration, and the media are on a full-blown public relations campaign to promote “middle class economics,” with more government as the answer.
“In a letter to Congress with the report, Mr. Obama called on lawmakers to approve his economic agenda of expanded tax breaks for the middle class and increased spending on initiatives such as early childhood education,” reported The Washington Times. “The president also wants to raise several hundred billion dollars through tax increases on mostly wealthier families.”
“The [recent economic] report…also contained a fair dollop of wishful thinking—or what some might call the administration’s own ‘dynamic scoring,’” observed Neil King Jr. for The Wall Street Journal.
President Obama has tied his favorite policies to theoretical economic gains which may, or may not occur. “So various measures to provide free preschool or expand the Earned Income Tax Credit would bring more adults into the workforce, thus expanding the tax base,” writes King. “A revamped immigration system would in turn lure more foreign-born workers to counteract what the president’s report calls ‘the effects of an aging native-born population.’”
“Although annual budget deficits have fallen from the trillion-dollar-plus levels early in Mr. Obama’s presidency, the national debt has continued to soar and topped $18 trillion late last year,” notes The Washington Times.
With the current controversy over comments by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani questioning whether or not President Obama loves this country, we are reminded of President Obama’s comments when criticizing then-President George W. Bush for running up $4 trillion of new debt during his eight years in office. Obama said it was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” President Obama has so far added over $8 trillion in new debt, and he still has two more years in office. So how would he rate himself?
Both The Wall Street Journal and New York Times ran articles which summarized the economic report without questioning its assumptions, effectively offering the administration additional platforms from which to spout its economic spin.
I reported last November that President Obama unsuccessfully attempted to sell the “illusion of economic success” to the public in order to “salvage what most polls indicate is about to be a dismal election for Democrats.” This effort continued with the President’s State of the Union, where he argued that “we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”
Obama’s tired rhetoric of hope and change resonated with the media back in January, and it still does. Meanwhile, many in America struggle to put bread on the table.
“Not only have the ‘benefits’ of the Obama recovery not been ‘fully shared,’ but many Americans are still worse off today than when Obama became president,” reports Townhall. The 2013 median family income, “the most recent year available,” is more than $2,000 less than what it was in 2009 when Obama became President, it reports.
The media are doing their part to validate Obama’s claims about the economy. It is all about their political agenda and double standard.
“Among Democrats, there are divisions over the degree to which Hillary Rodham Clinton, considered their leading contender, should praise the recovery and run on Mr. Obama’s stewardship of the economy,” wrote Jonathan Martin for The New York Times on February 22. “And Republicans—assessing falling unemployment and soaring job creation under a president with still-mediocre approval ratings—are grasping for the right way to frame their 2016 campaign message.”
Martin, like so many other reporters, operates under the premise that the economy has actually recovered. But to the extent it has, there may be other factors at work besides Obama’s initiatives. How much credit for the nation’s economic growth belongs to the Republican-led states, such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and especially Texas; states which are doing far better at adding jobs and balancing their budgets than the federal government? And how much is attributable to the powerful capitalist economy in this country, which chugs along despite the burdensome taxation, regulatory and bureaucratic demands that have been imposed on it by this administration?
The Betrayal Papers will trace the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama administration’s foreign and domestic policies. The five-part series will present a picture of a conspiracy that is manipulating the American government to the benefit of a totalitarian, genocidal movement that seeks to establish a global Islamic State.
In America, we have a weak and struggling economy, growing public and private debt and millions are un- and underemployed. While a weaponized IRS targets Tea Party groups and other voices of liberty, and military veterans are labeled as “domestic terrorists” by the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government refuses to secure the southern border. Educational policy now includes the teaching Arabic and visits to mosques for schoolchildren.
Internationally, America is in retreat. The Middle East is in ashes, and in the midst of an ongoing genocide replete with daily horrors, the likes which have not been seen for centuries. Former allies have been abandoned and are embittered. Under the present leadership in the White House and State Department, Israel is considered the aggressor and Hamas the oppressed.
In sum, the world is at its most volatile point since the outbreak of World War II.
If you think that this is a result of something other than an “incompetent,” “stupid,” or “clueless” President, words regularly used by those who sense something is wrong but, can’t quite bring themselves to own up to the ugly truth, you’re not alone.
Millions of Americans are realizing that the Obama administration is not merely “misguided.” It is actually and consciously anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and broadly anti-Western. Yet , the American public does not yet fully appreciate why and how the administration always finds itself square against everything this country is based on – religious freedom, capitalism, and justice under law.
This series of articles will explain the force and mechanics behind Obama’s anti-American global agenda: the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon: The Root of Today’s Islamic Evil
Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (aka, the Society of Muslim Brothers, or Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon in Arabic) is an international movement (some would argue an international conspiracy) that seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic State (or Caliphate). When it was created in the late 1920s, the Brotherhood was a contemporary of the Nazi Party of Germany. Indeed, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Amin al-Husseini, is considered by some as the man who catalyzed the Holocaust; for it was only after Husseini visited Hitler in Berlin in 1941 that the systematic extermination of Jews and other minorities began with industrial efficiency.
After the war, despite the insistence by many wartime leaders (Churchill included) that he be brought to justice, Husseini escaped to the Middle East. He lived there until his death in the 1970s, serving as a mentor to a young Yasser Arafat. Husseini and the Nazi Party are the connection points between the Holocaust and today’s Middle Eastern genocide.
The Allies conscious failure to arrest and prosecute Husseini haunts us today.
A Terror Hedge against Stalin and Soviet Russia
At the beginning of the Cold War, working with former Nazis, the American CIA began to court the Muslim Brotherhood as an ally against Soviet Russia. This calculus may have made sense when facing down Josef Stalin, a totalitarian tyrant hell-bent on world domination, but it has proved a costly strategy in the long run.
In the years and decades that followed World War II, the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved into a modern day Nazi International, not unlike the old Comintern (Communist International). It has a vast network of financial and business interests across the world; it has agents, supporters, and apologists within western governments; and it has a support network of “civic” organizations in the West.
These all serve as a cover for its darker and insatiably violent ambitions.
For despite all their intrigue and political gamesmanship, the Muslim Brotherhood is not strictly a political movement, nor a financial cabal. It’s also the mothership of virtually all Islamic terrorist groups operating in the world today, including Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and many more. Such groups, all children of the Muslim Brotherhood’s fanatical Islamic ideology, are today ethnically cleansing countries such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria of all traces of Christianity. No less than the President of Egypt, Muslim Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a devout Muslim, has said as much.
Considering how the Muslim Brotherhood and their terrorist pawns treat fellow Muslims in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iraq, butchering them by the bushel including women and children, it should come as no surprise that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have declared the them a “terrorist” organization.
It should also come as no surprise that the United Arab Emirates has designated Muslim Brotherhood front groups operating in the United States “terrorist” entities. In November, the UAE effectively declared that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim-American Society (MAS) were no different than Al Qaeda. Why? It’s because they share a common origin in the Muslim Brotherhood. One could add to this list of domestic terrorist collaborators and enablers the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
A New HQ in America
Equally alarmingly, all-American institutions such as Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution have accepted so much money from the Muslim Brotherhood government in Qatar, that their political positions are virtually indistinguishable from the Muslim Brotherhood’s domestic front groups!
Yet, the United States government does not see these organizations and their employees as the enemy, as apologists for the worst kinds of barbarity. In fact, the highest profile people from these organizations advise the Obama administration, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the National Security Council. In January, the Department of State actually welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood to a meeting, and shortly thereafter Egypt exploded in jihadi violence. This is no magical coincidence.
To the detriment of our safety and well-being, the domestic Muslim Brotherhood front groups help dictate counterterrorism policies. It is their influence which leads to the farcical idea, recently expressed by Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, that the Crusades have something to do with ISIS and the mass murder of innocents in the Middle East today.
These front groups shape our foreign policy, which since the Arab Spring and continuing to this day is on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood.
So-called “moderate Muslims” employed at these front groups have made the country of Qatar, a totalitarian sharia-based society, and an “ATM for terrorists,” the closest ally of the United States under Obama’s Presidency. With enthusiasm from Obama and Eric Holder, they have us emptying Guantanamo Bay of the most vicious killers and sending them to Qatar, with only the vaguest of security assurances.
The remaining four articles will explore the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on American policy, both foreign and domestic (including in Common Core, Obama’s position on illegal immigration and amnesty, and the hostility of the administration toward police officers). The exposé will also detail the operatives in the government who work to advance the Muslim Brotherhood’s ambitions for a worldwide Caliphate. And it will put into context the mysterious influence that George Soros and Valerie Jarrett have over Barack Hussein Obama, his administration, and the policies that affect every American.
The Betrayal Papers is a collaborative effort by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which includes: Andrea Shea King, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, Benjamin Smith, Brent Parrish, Charles Ortel, William Palumbo, Denise Simon, Dick Manasseri, Gary Kubiak, Gates of Vienna, IQ al Rassooli, Jeff Bayard, Leslie Burt, Marcus Kohan, Mary Fanning, General Paul E. Vallely, Regina Thomson, Scott Smith, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, Colonel Thomas Snodgrass, Trever Loudon, Wallace Bruschweiler, and William Palumbo.
Also see: Restoring Liberty: Joe Miller
In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats.
Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate.
In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country now faces slowing economic growth, a depressed ruble, and runaway inflation estimated to be up to 150 percent on basic foodstuffs.
The Kremlin is counting on austerity cuts to help balance its budget, which has revenues coming in at $45 billion lower than earlier projections. The exception, significantly, is defense. With the military exempted from the austerity plan, it begs the question of whether Putin will “play the nationalist card,” such as he did in Crimea, in an effort to strengthen greater Russia during a period of economic weakness.
Georgia On His Mind
We are already seeing this to be the case. As Oilprice.com reported on Tuesday, Putin is set to absorb South Ossetia – Georgia’s breakaway republic that declared itself independent in 1990. Under an agreement “intended to legalize South Ossetia’s integration with Russia,” Russia would invest 2.8 million rubles (US$50 million) to “fund the socio-economic development of South Ossetia,” according to Agenda.GE, a Tbilisi-based news site.
The situation is analogous to Crimea because, like Crimea, South Ossetia contains a significant Russian-speaking population with ties to the Motherland.
If Putin succeeds in annexing the tiny province, it will be a real poke in the eye to the United States, which provoked Russia in the early 1990s by promoting construction of a pipeline between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The BTC pipeline moves oil from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
BTC started operating in 2006. Then, two years later, Putin built his own pipeline to cut out Georgia. The South Ossetia pipeline run by Gazprom stretches 75 kilometers from South Ossetia to Russia.
The current move on South Ossetia is a way for Russia to assert its energy independence in the face of Western sanctions and low oil prices.
It comes as Russia announced plans to divert all of its natural gas crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey. As Bloomberg reported last week, Gazprom will send 63 billion cubic meters through a proposed link under the Black Sea to Turkey – after the earlier South Stream pipeline, a $45-billion project that would have crossed Bulgaria, was scrapped by Russia amid opposition from the European Union. By sending the gas to Turkey and on to Europe via Greece, Gazprom is in effect sending Europe an ultimatum: build pipelines to European markets, or we will sell the gas to other customers.
According to one observer, the proposed land grab in South Ossetia combined with the snub to Europe by shifting its gas to Turkey and bypassing Ukraine, is a classic Putin power play:
“Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies,” Steve LeVine writes in Quartz. “Putin has argued that the west is simply intent on ousting him and weakening Russia… Faced with these perceived attempts to undercut him and his country, Putin suggests that he has no choice but to pull around the wagons and stick it out. This could go on a long time.”
Iran: Falling Oil Prices Spur Peace Dividend
Some have speculated that the oil price crash was orchestrated by the Saudis, possibly in collusion with the United States and other Gulf states, to punish Iran, its main political and religious rival in the Middle East.
Whether or not that is true, there is no denying the effects of a low oil price on Iran’s economy. “Iran is already missing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue due to Western sanctions and years of economic mismanagement under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bloomberg reported on Jan. 7. Like Russia, Iran is looking at spending cuts in next year’s budget, which is based on an overly-optimistic $72 a barrel crude oil price.
However, unlike Russia, which is “circling the wagons” and pulling further away from the West currently, the oil price drop could actually lead to more of a détente between Iran and Western countries. In a speech on Jan. 4, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s economy “cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world,” while at the same time, Iran’s foreign minister was negotiating a nuclear deal that could see the lifting of UN sanctions, the Washington Post observed.
Then there is the cooperation between the West and Iran over the terrorist group ISIS. The National Post’s J.L. Granatsein wrote in a column on Tuesday that Iran has deployed substantial numbers of its Revolutionary Guard elite Al Qods brigade into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, along with Western allies including the US, Britain, France and Canada. This is despite Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria’s president Assad.
“Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, but not much can be stranger than this. Led by the Americans, hitherto the Great Satan to the Iranian leaders, the ties between the West and Iran are becoming tighter, each side reacting to the horrors of Islamist fundamentalism throughout the region,” Granatsein writes. “The Iranians have been hurt by sanctions, and they are being wracked even more by the falling price of oil. Easing curbs on trade and Iranian banks may mitigate the effects of the oil price collapse.”
Venezuela Bracing For The Worst
The other major loser in the oil price collapse, Venezuela, may not see such a positive outcome. Wracked by decades of economic mismanagement by Hugo Chávez, the South American oil producer was already struggling to pay its debts when new president Nicolás Maduro came to power.
Now, with inflation running at 60 percent and lines forming outside state grocery stores for food and other basic supplies, Maduro faces the specter of serious social unrest if conditions do not improve. The country has some of the world’s cheapest gasoline prices, but Maduro has refused to end fuel subsidies, fearing, no doubt, a repeat of widespread riots in 1989 that left hundreds dead after gasoline prices were allowed to rise.
Venezuela is even more dependent than Russia on the price of oil, earning some 96 percent of its foreign currency from oil sales, putting Maduro in the untenable position of either borrowing more, despite crushing debts, or slashing spending:
“With only $20 billion left in its reserves, and $50 billion in debt to China alone, Venezuela appears headed toward a choice between abandoning its oil giveaways and defaulting on its debts, or starving its own population to the point of revolt,” according to the Washington Post.
By Andrew Topf for Oilprice.com
Hat Tip: BB
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Hat Tip: BB