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This pretty much sums up the sad state of the US Constitution

This pretty much sums up the sad state of the US Constitution.

US Constitution

March 14, 2014
Ambergris Caye, Belize

My research team recently passed along a piece of legislation they were looking at called the “ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014.”

It immediately piqued my interest… because anytime you see all CAPS in government documents, it signifies some absurd acronym. And the ‘ENFORCE the Law Act’ did not disappoint.

ENFORCE stands for “Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments”.

And the stated objective of the legislation is “to protect the separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States by ensuring that the President takes care that the laws be faithfully executed. . .”

The bill goes on with specific language to authorize Congress bringing civil legal action against the President of the United States, or any cabinet secretary, for implementing some rule or executive order that does not conform with Article II of the Constitution.

This pretty much sums up the sad state of affairs in the Land of the Free.

When Congress has to pass a new law just to get the President of the United States to, you know, follow the Constitution that he swore to ‘support and defend’, you can be certain that the system has become broken beyond all repair.

This isn’t a commentary on the current POTUS; the disturbing trend of rapidly expanding executive abuse has been increasing for years.

It has nothing to do with Mr. Obama, or Mr. Bush before him, or future Presidents that will continue to expand their offices.

It’s the system itself that is fundamentally flawed. The model is simply no longer valid. Having an election and voting in a new commander-in-chief won’t fix the problem. All you’re doing is changing the players. It’s time to change the game.

Activist Post: Judge Napolitano: NSA Spies On All Members Of Congress

Activist Post: Judge Napolitano: NSA Spies On All Members Of Congress.

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Most-Accurate Oil Forecasters See Second Year of Losses – Bloomberg

Most-Accurate Oil Forecasters See Second Year of Losses – Bloomberg.

Brent crude prices, the benchmark for half the world’s oil, will weaken for a second year in 2014 as U.S. output expands and threats to Middle East and North African supply ease, the most-accurate forecasters said.

Prices will average $105 a barrel in 2014, from $108.71 in 2013, according to the median of estimates from the seven analysts who most accurately predicted this year’s level in a survey last December. Brent averaged $111.68 in 2012.

Global supply is expanding as the U.S. pumps oil trapped in shale-rock formations, driving domestic output to the highest in a quarter century and curbing demand for the crude priced off Brent. IranIraq and Libya will also produce more in 2014, the forecasters said. While a second annual drop for Brent would be the first consecutive retreat since 1998, prices are still about 39 percent higher than the average over the past decade.

“We’re expecting a surplus,” said David Bouckhout, the senior commodity strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank in Calgary who was jointly the most accurate forecaster. North American “supply growth is going to remain robust and cover the expected increase in demand. The biggest concern for 2014 on the supply side is going to be Iran, while Iraq is another producer that certainly wants to see its production grow.”

Brent Decline

Brent for February settlement lost 97 cents to $111.21 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe today, leaving prices little changed compared with the start of the year. Hedge funds and other speculators boosted net-long positions in the grade by 41 percent in the week to Dec. 24, restoring bullish bets from their second-smallest level this year, bourse data show.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, slipped $1.03 today to $99.29 after settling at $100.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Dec. 27. The grade is poised for an annual gain of 8.1 percent. The spread between WTI and Brent averaged $10.63 this year, compared with $3.94 over the past decade. The widening gap reflects an abundance of U.S. supply at a time of disrupted exports from Iran, Iraq and Libya.

The three most-accurate forecasters from last year’s survey were Christin Tuxen, a senior analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AG in Oslo, and Toronto-Dominion’s Bouckhout.

Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York, ranked fourth. Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Corp. in New York, Jeff Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, and Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich, were joint fifth.

Exporting Countries

Expansions in supply from producers outside the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will more than cover the gain in global demand in 2014, according to the International Energy Agency. Daily non-OPEC output will rise by 1.7 million barrels as worldwide consumption adds 1.2 million barrels, the Paris-based adviser to oil-consuming nations says.

The U.S. will lead the gains as it taps shale reserves in North Dakota and Texas, the IEA said in a Dec. 11 report. Iraq plans more exports next year as part of its long-term strategy to triple production, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said Dec. 3. Iran will increase output if international sanctions are eased, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the same day. Libya will reopen export terminals closed by protests, Oil Minister Abdulbari al-Arusi said Dec. 21.

Expanding supply from Libya, Iran and Iraq is a “tail risk” rather than a probable outcome, said Societe Generale’sWittner, the most bullish of the top seven analysts. Libya will remain “an unreliable source of supply,” higher output from Iran won’t materialize until later in the year and Iraq has repeatedly missed its expansion targets, he said. Wittner anticipates an average price of $108.

Nuclear Program

U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking in Washington on Dec. 7, assessed the chances of a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program as no better than 50-50. The nation, once OPEC’s second-biggest member, is producing about 930,000 barrels a day less than at the start of 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Libyan production is close to the lowest level since the uprising that unseated Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 as armed groups blockade eastern ports, oil ministry data showed Dec. 23. Iraq’s production of 3.1 million barrels a day in November was 7 percent lower than a year earlier amid attacks on pipelines and a dispute with leaders in the country’s Kurdish region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A supply glut will be averted because Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of OPEC, will curb output if needed, Societe Generale’s Wittner said. The kingdom’s daily production swung from 8.75 million to 10.25 million barrels over the past several years, he said.

Beat Expectations

Oil demand may exceed analysts’ expectations next year as the U.S. economy strengthens, said Bjarne Schieldrop, the chief commodities analyst at SEB AB in Oslo. The global economy will expand 3.6 percent in 2014, from 2.9 percent in 2013, the International Monetary Fund said in a report in October.

“Demand has clear upside potential,” SEB’s Schieldrop said. “Oil prices should be set to stay around the $108 to $109 level seen this year, rather than set for a really bearish development.”

U.S. crude production surged to a 25-year high of 8.11 million barrels a day in the week ended Dec. 20, government data show. That’s the highest level since September 1988.

Iraq Ambitions

Iraq plans to export an average of 3.4 million barrels daily in 2014, Oil Minister al-Luaibi said Dec. 3. Shipments were 2.38 million barrels a day in November, the ministry said this month. The country has said it wants to produce 9 million barrels a day by the end of the decade.

Libya will consider armed force to reopen eastern ports closed by a blockade, Ajwa Leblad News cited Oil Minister Al-Arusi as saying Dec. 16. Production in the holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves has dwindled to 210,000 barrels a day, as of November, from this year’s peak of 1.4 million barrels in March, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Iran may be able to boost oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day following an agreement on Nov. 24 that eased some sanctions in exchange for a pause in the country’s nuclear program, Toronto Dominion’s Bouckhout said. That might expand should Iran reach a wider deal with world powers, he said. The country shipped 850,000 barrels a day in November, according to the IEA.

Iran’s improved relations with western governments may make Saudi Arabia, its regional rival, more reluctant to act as the swing producer, said Danske Bank’s Tuxen. OPEC may then be divided over who should cut to restore the balance between supply and demand, driving prices lower, she said.

“The Saudis will continue to add to an oversupplied market,” Tuxen said. “We see them cutting supplies slightly, but not enough to make up for the production increases we see elsewhere, especially in light of the Iranian-U.S. deal. They can actually deal with an oil price that falls somewhat below $100 and still be fairly well-off.”

 

Obama Says Surveillance Program Changes Coming in January – Bloomberg

Obama Says Surveillance Program Changes Coming in January – Bloomberg.

President Barack Obama said he will act in January on the recommendations of an advisory panel suggesting changes to government surveillance programs.

“What we’re doing now is evaluating all of the recommendations that have been made,” Obama said at a news conference today. “I’m going to make a pretty definitive statement about all of this in January.”

He’ll decide which recommendations “make sense” and which need further work, Obama said at a White House news conference, his final planned for 2013.

The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, a five-member panel, offered 46 policy changes this week that would allow U.S. surveillance programs to continue while limiting worldwide collection of communications by the National Security Agency.

The proposals, which Obama isn’t obligated to adopt, aim to alter spy programs in response to a domestic and international backlash over the extent of U.S. surveillance exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Before the report was released, Obama rejected the panel’s recommendation that the NSA be given a civilian leader and separated from the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.

“I have confidence in the fact the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around”, he said, while “we may have to refine this further to give people more confidence” because of evolving technology.

“Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we necessarily should,” he added.

Possible Legislation

Lawmakers may consider legislation early next year to rein in the NSA.

In its report, made public on Dec. 18 and submitted to the president on Dec. 13, the panel recommended satisfying a demand of Internet companies such as Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) andFacebook Inc. (FB) Internet companies should be permitted to make public “general information” about government orders compelling them to turn over data, including how many users are affected.

The panel also would put new burdens on telecommunications providers to retain data for future snooping.

It recommended the NSA retain access to bulk phone-calling records, with two changes: Phone companies, not the spy agency, should keep the records, and the NSA should have to obtain court orders for specific customer data.

Surveillance of foreign leaders could continue if more consideration is given on a case-by-case basis to national security, economic and diplomatic implications, the panel said.

The panel also recommended that the U.S. not undermine or weaken encryption standards, and establish international norms to prevent a splintering of the Internet.

The so-called “metadata” bulk collection of phone data “has probably got the most attention,” Obama said today. The NSA, based on its experiences following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, thought that “it was necessary for us to track” calls coming into the U.S. and store the data.

Any changes must be made with the agency’s goal of protecting the U.S. public in mind, he said.

 

Podesta’s Push for Executive Power Raises Stakes on Obama Agenda – Bloomberg

Podesta’s Push for Executive Power Raises Stakes on Obama Agenda – Bloomberg.

When the Republican victory in the 2010 midterm election raised the prospect of political gridlock, John Podesta was ready with an answer: The president should bypass Congress and wield the executive powers of his office.

Less than two weeks after the returns came in, Podesta had compiled 47 pages of proposals for unilateral action on issues from immigration to solar energy. PresidentBarack Obama’s ability to “accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated,” he wrote.

Now, Podesta’s appointment as counselor to Obama adds a strong promoter of that strategy to the president’s inner circle as Republicans stand in the way of the White House agenda.

The activist vision of the 64-year-old former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton could play out across the economy, encompassing matters such as greenhouse gas emission standards forpower plants, food safety and border enforcement.

“John will be an advocate for forceful executive action, either for its own sake or to force congressional action,” said Jake Siewert, a former Clinton White House press secretary who is now a managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Among the proposals Podesta forwarded to Obama three years ago as head of the Center for American Progress, a research group with close ties to the administration, were a $2-per-barrel fee on imported oil to finance clean-energy projects, solar panels for Air Force hangars and curbs on detention of undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

Forcing Confrontation

Greater use of executive power would raise the stakes in Washington, provoking a clash with Republicans that could lead to a wave of congressional hearings, lawsuits from aggrieved parties and more tense negotiations over spending and taxes. It would also add to Republican bitterness already fueled by Senate Democrats’ move to limit filibusters of Obama appointees.

Podesta may find a receptive audience in the White House.

“He’ll be preaching to the choir in this administration,” said Bruce Reed, who worked with Podesta as Clinton’s chief domestic policy adviser and until recently was Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff.

Under the theme “We Can’t Wait,” the White House started a series of executive actions before the 2012 election, including an order to stop deporting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, if they have no criminal record. Unable to win passage of a gun-control bill, Obama announced moves on firearms using his presidential authority earlier this year.

Sinking Polls

Podesta joins a White House at a low ebb in public standing after Obama’s inability to win passage of a revamp of immigration policy, a 16-day government shutdown and the botched rollout of the federal online insurance exchanges at the core of his signature health-care law.

After starting his second term with an inaugural address calling for a more activist government — he vowed to come up with executive moves to fight climate change “if Congress won’t act soon” — Obama has little to show for it.

His 42 percent job approval in the Gallup Poll for the week ended Dec. 15 is down 10 percentage points from the same week a year earlier and comparable to the 41 percent approval at this point in the administration of George W. Bush, who left office as one of the most unpopular presidents in recent history.

At the end of the fifth year of an administration, when attention shifts to the next election, a president has “a sense that the sand is running out of the hourglass,” said Stephen Hess, a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Your time is short and you want to do as much as you can,” said Hess, who has studied the presidency since serving in Dwight Eisenhower’s administration. “You then want to do things by executive orders and executive regulations.”

Crucial Year

Because government regulations take so much time to complete if they are to withstand legal challenges, the coming year will be crucial in setting the administration’s final initiatives, said Carol Browner, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency under Clinton.

“It takes you a minimum two years to get a rule done, start to finish,” said Browner, who’s also a former Obama White House aide. “They’ve got to have a clear agenda now. What are the 10 or 20 things that are most important that they want to get done before he leaves office using existing authority?”

While Podesta recused himself from involvement in the administration’s consideration of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline because of his public opposition to the project, his portfolio will include environmental and energy issues.

Reassuring Presence

His presence in the White House will reassure environmentalists that administration regulations on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will be as “effective as possible,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where Podesta has been on the board of the group’s political arm.

“Beyond that, he’ll be looking at all the tools that he can use to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change,” Goldston said.

Podesta didn’t respond to a request to be interviewed for this story.

As chief of staff during the final years of Clinton’s presidency, he oversaw a frenzy of rule-making, executive orders and land-preservation edicts. He was so closely identified with the burst of activity that some aides dubbed it “Project Podesta,” according to a National Journal report at the time.

The regulations in the administration’s final months included protection of 59 million acres of forest from roads and logging; work-safety rules on repetitive stress injuries that required millions of offices and factories to be redesigned; and more stringent standards for arsenic in drinking water.

Clearing Way

Clinton designated more land protected in the lower 48 U.S. states than any president sinceTheodore Roosevelt. He made five of the national monument designations on Jan. 17, 2001, with only three days left in his term.

Podesta “cleared the way” for conservation regulations, particularly a rule prohibiting virtually all road-building, logging, or coal, gas, oil and other mineral leasing in designated roadless areas of national forests, said Bruce Babbitt, who served as Clinton’s Interior secretary.

That rule, issued eight days before Clinton left office, survived legal challenges that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.

“The roadless rule was a huge achievement and a bureaucratic nightmare,” said Babbitt.

Thwarting Rule

During Clinton’s last year in office, Republican lawmakers tried to thwart an EPA regulation in the final stages of review. They tacked a rider onto a bill funding military construction and disaster assistance that would have barred the use of government money to complete the rule which set stricter pollution standards for watersheds.

The president couldn’t afford to veto the legislation, and after a series of meetings led by Podesta, his aides came up with their own gambit: stall on signing the legislation while they rushed the rule through the review, said Chuck Fox, then the EPA’s assistant administrator for water.

That culminated in a 90-minute meeting in Podesta’s office in which Browner and then budget director Jack Lew personally negotiated the rule’s final wording line by line, Fox said.

Once Browner signed the regulation, Fox jumped in a taxi to get the document to the printers to beat an end-of-day deadline to publish the regulation in the Federal Register, as required.

Though Republicans were furious over the end run, the rule survived, said Fox, now program director at Oceans 5, a conservation group.

Podesta “was very bold on it,” Fox said.

 

Obama review panel: strip NSA of power to collect phone data records | World news | The Guardian

Obama review panel: strip NSA of power to collect phone data records | World news | The Guardian.

Barack Obama pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
Barack Obama will read the report over the holidays before deciding which recommendations he will choose to accept. Photograph: Zhang Jun/Xinhua/Corbis

The National Security Agency should be banned from attempting to undermine the security of the internet and stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk, a White House review panel recommended on Wednesday.

In a 300-page report prepared for President Obama, the panel made 46 recommendations, including that the authority for spying on foreign leaders should be granted at a higher level than at present.

Though far less sweeping than campaigners have urged, and yet to be ratified by Obama, the report by his Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology comes as the White House faces growing pressure over its so-called “bulk collection” programs from US courts and business interests.

Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that the bulk collection program,first revealed by the Guardian in June through a court order against Verizon, was likely to be in violation of the US constitution, describing it as “almost Orwellian” in scope.

The White House was stung into releasing the report weeks earlier than expected after meeting America’s largest internet companies on Tuesday. The firms warned that failure to rebuild public trust in communications privacy could damage the US economy.

In its report, the review panel, led by former security officials and academics including the husband of one of Obama’s top advisers, said the NSA should be removed of its power to collect the metadata of Americans’ phone calls. Instead, it suggested that private companies such as phone carriers retain their customer records in a format that the NSA can access on demand.

This is likely to anger the intelligence community, which argues for direct access, but also fall foul of telephone companies, who have privately warned those drafting more ambitious reforms in Congress that such a scheme would be impractical and dangerous.

“In our view, the current storage by the government of bulk metadata creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty,” says the report. “The government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about US persons for the purpose of enabling future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes.”

Despite revelations that the NSA tapped the phones of world leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, the report proposes only minimal overseas reforms, merely requiring higher clearance to “identify both the uses and the limits of surveillance on foreign leaders and in foreign nations.”

On the security of the internet, the report says the US government should not “undermine efforts to create encryption standards” and not “subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable” commercial security software.

NSA documents published by the Guardian in September revealed how the agency had used its central role in setting encryption standards to install backdoor flaws to intercept private traffic, causing a storm of protest among internet companies.

But the report does little to address a string other privacy breachesrevealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and several of its recommendations deal with tighter vetting requirements for staff and contractors with access to sensitive information, designed to prevent future leaks.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the privacy advocates suing the Obama administration over the bulk surveillance, expressed disappointment with the review group report. “The review board floats a number of interesting reform proposals, and we’re especially happy to see them condemn the NSA’s attacks on encryption and other security systems people rely upon,” attorney Kurt Opsahl said.

“But we’re disappointed that the recommendations suggest a path to continue untargeted spying. Mass surveillance is still heinous, even if private company servers are holding the data instead of government data centers.”

After meeting the report’s authors on Wednesday, the White House said Obama would be taking a copy with him to read over Christmas and would decide which recommendations to accept before delivering his state of the union address on January 28.

“It’s an extremely dense and substantive exercise, which is why, in response to a 300-plus page report with 46 recommendations, we are not going to come out with an assessment five minutes later,” said spokesman Jay Carney.

Carney acknowledged there was “no question” that the Snowden disclosures had helped lead to the review process and “heightened focus here at the White House and more broadly in the administration, around the United States and the globe.”

For months, the NSA, the phone companies and reform-minded legislators have doubted the viability of having the phone companies store call data on the NSA’s behalf.

The NSA has pointed to cumbersome and varied file formats that prevent analysts from quickly searching through the companies’ data troves, particularly those proprietary to the telecos. They have also fretted that the companies only keep customer data for 18 months, while they argue they need a historical database of every domestic call going back as few as three years and as many as five.

The companies themselves fear expensive legal and technical morasses that mass data storage on behalf of the NSA may portend.

Meanwhile, civil libertarians and reform-minded legislators believe the databases themselves are problematic. Having the phone companies store them, to provide access to the NSA, is insufficient, they believe.

“Bulk collection of personal data should simply end,” said Alan Butler, an attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

It remains to be seen whether the legislators behind the USA Freedom Act, the major legislative vehicle before the House and Senate to end NSA domestic bulk call data collection, will be satisfied with the proposal. But at least one member of the House intelligence committee who has sided with the reformers, California Democrat Adam Schiff, called it a “very positive step” and urged Obama to get out in front of the coming swell of legislation.

“With the strong likelihood of congressional action, as well as a recent adverse decision by a federal district court judge, I believe the president would be well served to take the advice of the board and restructure the program as soon as possible. It would be better to have this undertaken in an orderly and expeditious fashion, than to wait for it to be compelled by the Congress or the courts,” Schiff said on Wednesday.

The White House has said Obama will not decide on which of the panel’s reforms to implement until the new year. But last week, the administration decided against one of its recommendations, that would split the NSA from the US military’s Cyber Command.

The decision was reached, White House officials said, because Cyber Command’s task of protecting US military networks from hostile attack and launching wartime online counter-attacks is too ambitious for Cyber Command, which only became operational in 2010.

Accordingly, the NSA director will remain a military general or admiral, contradicting the review group’s recommendation that a civilian should take the helm of the world’s largest spy agency.

Civil libertarian groups have been skeptical of the report for months, fearing that the White House established the insider panel to give Obama and the NSA cover to implement merely cosmetic changes. Advisers to the panel have told the Guardian since September that the panel was stopping well short of meaningful privacy reforms.

As late as Sunday, White House officials told reporters that the report would not be released until January. But in the days since, the NSA and the Obama administration have been buffeted by criticism, from a widely ridiculed 60 Minutes documentary on the NSA, to Judge Richard Leon’s scathing ruling, to the tech giants’ impatience with the surveillance agency.

The report’s authors were Richard Clarke, a former US cybersecurity adviser; Michael Morell, a former deputy CIA director; Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor; Peter Swire, who served earlier on Obama’s national economic council; and Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law school professor who is married to UN ambassador Samantha Power.

Just before the White House released the review’s report, a different group advising Obama, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which has held public hearings into the NSA for months, announced it will release two studies of its own, one into bulk collection of domestic phone data and the other into bulk foreign communications collection.

The reviews, due around late January and early February 2014, will also assess the operations of the secret Fisa court overseeing surveillance and provide “recommendations for legislative and program changes,” the board announced on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Obama Issues Executive Order To Prepare For Climate War | Zero Hedge

Obama Issues Executive Order To Prepare For Climate War | Zero Hedge. (source)

Two months ago we reported that Obama had officially declared war on the weather, after it was reported that he was ready to use “administrative authority” to fight climate change. While at the time it was not quite clear just what authority he had to unleash centrally-planned weather, today we finally got a glimpse of how Obama’s biggest war yet would look like.

As Washington Times reports, “President Obama issued an executive order Friday directing a government-wide effort to boost preparation in states and local communities for the impact of global warmingThe action orders federal agencies to work with states to build “resilience” against major storms and other weather extremes. For example, the president’s order directs that infrastructure projects like bridges and flood control take into consideration climate conditions of the future, which might require building structures larger or stronger — and likely at a higher price tag.”

In other words, following the epic Syrian fiasco, whose primary intention was to boost the US budget deficit as a result of a localized war, and allow Bernanke more debt issues to monetize, Obama now has decided to unleash a very expensive, and very much debt-funded war against the greatest enemy of all: the weather.

The article goes on:

“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies and public health across the nation,” the presidential order said. “The federal government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the nation’s preparedness and resilience.”

There’s no estimate of how much the additional planning will cost. Natural disasters including Superstorm Sandy cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion in 2012, according to the administration.

Well, the more the merrier. Since interest costs in the New Normal are not an issue as long as the Marriner Eccles politburo is around, debt is wealth, and the more debt the US incurs to comply with Obama’s latest executive order, the better.

Sure enough, as a result of this idiotic development, it is best to have very lofty aspirations, of the variety that come in 9 or more digits: after all, since nobody can quantify “climate change” may as well unleash the most ridiculous numbers conceivable.

The White House is also setting up a task force of state and local leaders to offer advice to the federal government, with several Democratic governors having agreed to serve and at least one Republican governor, from the U.S. territory of Guam.

Mr. Obama has a goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, and the Environmental Protection Agency is working on rules that would impose tougher regulations on coal-burning power plants. But much of the president’s climate-change agenda has stalled in Congress, and the administration says the new order recognizes that global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, making further damage from global warming inevitable.

Actually no:

But since when did an autocrat, whose only concern is pandering to his populist, Obamaphone-equipped electorate, while spying on the middle class and doing the bidding of Wall Street, care about the facts?

Finally:

“The question is not whether we need to act,” Mr. Obama said at the time. “The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.”

Damn right: however the “action in question has nothing to do with spending trillions to prepare for a crisis that may come long after the Federal Reserve has destroyed western civilization, but rather to overthrow a corrupt, oligarchic, self-serving system, in which the middle-class, once the backbone of a great nation, is being forced into extinction by its “elected” representatives through the most subversive form of wealth transfer in the Fed’s 100 years of existence.

 

22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season | Zero Hedge

22 Reasons To Be Concerned About The U.S. Economy As We Head Into The Holiday Season | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

Are we on the verge of another major economic downturn?  In recent weeks, most of the focus has been on our politicians in Washington, but there are lots of other reasons to be deeply alarmed about the economy as well.  Economic confidence is down, retail sales figures are disappointing, job cuts are up, and American consumers are deeply struggling. Even if our politicians do everything right, there would still be a significant chance that we could be heading into tough economic times in the coming months. 

Our economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline appears to be accelerating.  There aren’t enough jobs, the quality of our jobs continues to decline, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty has been absolutely exploding.  Things have gotten so bad that former President Jimmy Carter says that the middle class of today resembles those that were living in poverty when he was in the White House.  But this process has been happening so gradually that most Americans don’t even realize what has happened.  Our economy is being fundamentally transformed, and the pace of our decline is picking up speed.  The following are 22 reasons to be concerned about the U.S. economy as we head into the holiday season……

 

Protesting Veterans Tear Down DC Barricades, Chant “Shut Down The White House” | Zero Hedge

Protesting Veterans Tear Down DC Barricades, Chant “Shut Down The White House” | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

The “Million Vet March” in Washington D.C. appears to be escalating as reports of barricades being torn down, police in riot gear and snipers being deployed, and a growing crowd at The White House chanting for its shut-down suggest the people are growing restless.

 

Via Epoch Times,

Protesters have gathered in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, according to reports.

 

 

Park police in riot gear were deployed in front of the building.

 

“US Park Police have arrived in front of WH. Some in riot gear! Tea party/veteran protesters start booing,” wrote CNN’s Jim Acosta on Twitter….

 

US House defies Obama on funding bill – Americas – Al Jazeera English

US House defies Obama on funding bill – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

The US House of Representatives has brought the federal government closer to a shutdown as it voted to delay President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law for a year as part of an emergency spending bill.

There is now less than 48 hours to avert a shutdown, which will begin on Tuesday if no spending bill is passed.

The Senate is not due to meet again until Monday afternoon.

In a statement issued on Sunday, US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said that “after weeks of futile political games from Republicans, we are still at square one”.

He added that Republican efforts to change the bill – that would delay the healthcare law for a year and repeal a tax on medical devices – were pointless.

At 11:59pm local time on Monday (03:59 GMT on Tuesday), the US government technically runs out of money to fund many of its programmes in the new fiscal year that starts on Tuesday, unless Congress can agree on a funding bill.

If Congress cannot come to a compromise by midnight on Monday, as many as 800,000 federal workers would be furloughed as part of a partial government shutdown.

 

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