Posts Tagged ‘president obama’

Bloodbath In Paris: ISIS Ramps Up Its Global War

November 15th, 2015 Comments off

By Allah, we will take revenge!

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi



The attack by battle-hardened jihadists in the French capital on Friday, November 13, 2015 was not the first time terrorism directed at the residents of Paris had occurred. Yet, even in a large metropolis that has experienced urban terrorism with North African and Middle East connections many times before, there was an unprecedented ruthless efficiency  in the barbarism unleashed  on undefended soft targets and the resulting mass carnage. In its impact, the attack on Paris will likely be compared to 9/11 in the United States and 7/7 in London.

The Islamic State, aka ISIS, has taken credit for the mass killings in the French capital. Should the claim by ISIS be proven accurate, it marks a grave–but not unpredicted–escalation in the global jihad being waged by the Islamic State against an enemy it has defined as essentially the entire world that lies outside the boundaries of the nascent caliphate. In the summer of 2014, shortly after the armies of the Islamic State had begun their territorial grab in Iraq and conquered Mosul, the second largest city in that war-torn country, the self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivered a sermon in that town’s  Great Al-Nuri Mosque.  The essence of his proclamation was that the formation of the caliphate was not an end in itself, but a means to an end, which he stated without a trace of ambiguity was perpetual jihad–holy war– against the non-Islamic world. His prose was stark and uncompromising, and for those who listened, al-Baghdadi made clear his intention of utilizing the ever-expanding Islamic State as a platform for unleashing vengeance upon the non-Islamic world.  The appalling slaughter in Paris followed by only two weeks the destruction of a Russian Metrojet airliner over the Sinai desert, which ISIS has proudly claimed responsibility for–and a growing body of expert analysis tends to confirm the connection, which killed 224 passengers and crew. The day before the Paris atrocity, suicide bombs detonated in a largely Shiite neighborhood in Beirut killed 43. Again, the Islamic State identified itself as the force behind the attack.

The French president, Francois Hollande, described the jihadist attack on Paris as an act of war committed by ISIS. For the first time, a Western leader appears to understand that the Islamic State is not a traditional non-state actor engaging in terrorism, but an actual state entity conducting warfare, asymmetrical in character, but with a clear strategic focus. Will President Hollande, along  with President Obama, draw the proper conclusions? Unfortunately, the past year and a half since the emergence of the Islamic State as a regional and now global actor does not give rise to optimism. The U.S. president, in particular, has displayed indecisiveness and a lack of clarity in confronting the challenge of the Islamic State.

Obama, however, is not alone. The Russian president, Putin, has been equally lacking in leadership. While boasting that his military intervention in Syria’s civil war is for the purpose of fighting ISIS, Putin has been using the Islamic State threat as cover for supporting the Assad dictatorship and its Iranian Shiite allies, in the process facilitating support for the Islamic State by Sunni Muslims in the Arab world, who increasingly look upon ISIS as the only force that can protect them against their perceived enemies, especially Iran and “infidel” foreigners conducting air raids on their lands.

In contrast with the confusion and strategic incoherence among his enemies stands the caliph of the Islamic State. However barbarically inhumane he may be, al-Baghdadi is not incoherent in relation to his long-term objective and the tactical and operational means required for its attainment. He wants the world outside the caliphate, including moderate Arab countries, to be struck down with massive social, political and economic chaos. Mass casualty attacks on the civil population of his perceived enemies are the method. The likelihood, in the absence of  coherent and strong leadership in the target nations, are future attacks that unfortunately will dwarf the bloodbath in Paris in their murderous impact.




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Sheldon Filger's photo.


Obama Fiscal Management- How To Spend a Half Billion Dollars On Syrian Rebels Without Even Trying

September 16th, 2015 Comments off

Do you recall how the Obama administration refused to support mainstream opponents to the Assad regime in Syria for years, until Islamist extremists came to dominate the forces fighting against the Syrian president? President Obama then said he would counter ISIS influence in Syria with a half billion dollar training program for “moderate” Syrian opponents of Assad. Ever wonder what happened with Washington’s major investment in moderate Syrian fighters? Wonder no more.

In stunning testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Pentagon officials informed shocked senators that the $500 million investment from the coffers of American taxpayers led to “4 or 5” Syrian fighters being trained and deployed in the fight against ISIS. And they are uncertain if the number was either four or five? The answer is fiscally important, for in a best case scenario America spent a mere one hundred million dollars per moderate freedom-fighter; worst case, the tab rises to $125 million per fighter.

The statement on the paltry results achieved from such a major investment by the Obama administration drew gasps of horror and stunned laughter from the senators. This is more than a failure of President Obama’s Syria policy; it is a manifestation of total incapacity to manage and steward the funds provided to the government by the nation’s taxpayers. But don’t expect any resignations over this dismal “return on investment.” As shocking as this episode is, many American citizens will not be surprised. In fact, the training program for moderate Syrian fighters can serve as a metaphor for so many fiscal aberrations that far too often are the rule rather than the exception when it comes to the fiscal probity of the federal government.

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Obama, Iran and the late William Buckley

February 16th, 2015 Comments off

There are growing indications that the Obama administration will sign a nuclear agreement with Iran that will allow Tehran to become a nuclear-threshold state. It seems the only issue being contested at present is the extent of the cosmetic and temporary concessions the Iranians will grant so that Iran does not fully emerge as a nuclear weapons state until after the expiration of the Obama presidency.  The disarming body language and genuine warmth that characterizes the public interaction between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Minster of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif seems to point in that direction, belying the fact that these two nations have not had diplomatic relations for 35 years because the government of one of those states ordered its armed thugs to attack and seize the embassy of the other nation, in the most flagrant violation of international law, holding its diplomats hostage for 444 days.

Of course, Barack Obama has promised on more than one occasion that he would never permit Iran to become a nuclear armed state. Then again, this is the same President Obama who warned Syria’s president not to use poison gas on his own people, or there would be consequences for crossing that red line. And let us not forget the President’s assurances that the war in Iraq was over and it was safe to withdraw all U.S. forces, or that the emerging Islamic State was nothing more than a “jayvee team” or that Yemen was a great success story for America’s anti-terrorism strategy–the same Yemen where Washington was recently forced to close its embassy after a coup in that country staged by anti-American rebels loyal to Iran.

The consequences involved in permitting Iran to become a nuclear weapons state are, obviously, far more consequential. Barack Obama is not the first president confronting a rogue regime about to acquire nuclear weapons capability. In the early 1990s, evidence mounted that North Korea was embarking on a nuclear weapons program. As with President Obama, then President Clinton pledged to the American people that the North Korean regime would never be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons. Then former President Jimmy Carter came to the rescue. He flew to North Korea, met with the reigning dictator and laid the groundwork for what became the 1994 Agreed Framework treaty, which supposedly froze North Korea’s attempt to develop atomic weapons through plutonium production in exchange for U.S. economic aid. However, the treaty collapsed after Clinton left office when U.S. intelligence learned that North Korea had cheated on the agreement by secretly developing a uranium enrichment program as an alternative path towards developing nuclear bombs. In 2006, North Korea conducted its first test detonation of a nuclear bomb.

It appears that the Obama administration is following in the path originally set by President Clinton. In addition to tolerating a vast nuclear enrichment facility, much of it underground, that can only have been established for the eventual mass production of nuclear bombs to mate with Tehran’s increasingly powerful and longer-range ballistic missiles, the current administration has been passive in the face of Iran’s growing hegemony in the Middle East, as witnessed by Tehran’s virtual  occupation of Lebanon through its proxy militia, its massive intervention in the Syrian civil war on the side of Bashar al-Assad, and increasing military involvement and control in Iraq and the recent pro-Iranian coup in Yemen. This passivity is inexplicable, considering the potential  and dire strategic and economic consequences for the United States.

What about the character of the regime that President Obama and his national security team seem about to trust with the most destructive weapons on earth? Amid  the long list of Iranian terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its interests aboard  unleashed by Tehran since 1979, there is one which, more than any other, defines the essence of the regime of the Ayatollahs and its contempt for the United States.

In 1984 the CIA station chief in Beirut, William Buckley, was kidnapped by the Iranian controlled Hezbollah  militia. The fate of William Buckley was disclosed by Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson in an article published the following year (,8626261). According to Anderson, who based his account on confidential sources within the U.S. intelligence community, Buckley was smuggled into Iran, and subjected to numerous bouts of brutal interrogation under barbaric torture in the basement of the Iranian foreign ministry, the same building being presided over today by John Kerry’s Iranian counterpart, Zarif.  The barbarous torture eventually induced a heart attack, leading to the death of Buckley. As Jack Anderson stated in his article, Iran was responsible for the horrific murder under torture of an American patriot.

President Obama seems determined to move forward on a nuclear agreement with the regime that tortured and murdered William Buckley. He should reflect on how this dedicated CIA agent must have felt, abandoned by his government and alone with his Iranian torturers, enduring a hellish nightmare in the basement of the Iranian foreign ministry.  Is the nation William Buckley died for now about to be abandoned, for the sake of a presidential legacy?

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude

Islamic State–aka ISIS–Message To The World: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Takes No Prisoners

February 7th, 2015 Comments off


“The medium is the message”

Marshall McLuhan



In declaring himself caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is following in the footsteps of an ancient role model, Abu al-Abbas, founder of the Abbasid Caliphate. Historians regard the Abbasid dynasty as the most successful Arab Caliphate. Under their rule, Arab-speaking Islamic civilization reached its zenith, and at its peak it exceeded European civilization in its economic and scientific advancement. Its founder, however, did not rise to power on a bed of roses by conforming to what present-day international law experts would label the “rules of war.” Abu al-Abbas marched to the beat of a different drummer, whose echoes resonate with the present-day leader of the Islamic State.

Abu al-Abbas appointed himself caliph in a manner replicated by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He initiated a civil war against the then-existing Omayyad Caliphate, raising the black flag  that would be copied nearly thirteen centuries later by al-Baghdadi. The founder of the Abbasid dynasty had a very simple military strategy; slaughter every supporter, servant and blood-related operatives of the Omayyad Caliphate, without mercy and always justified on the basis of Islamic texts, suitably interpreted. Then, after the capture of Damascus by his forces in 750 A.D. , the new caliph seemed to relent in his blood lust, inviting eighty surviving officials of the deposed Omayyad Caliphate to a reconciliation dinner. While the unsuspecting dinner guests were gorging on food and drink, they were suddenly attacked by soldiers of the caliph, and hacked to pieces. As described in various Islamic histories, the caliph insisted that the dinner continue, including musical entertainment, without the corpses of the slaughtered victims being removed. Shortly afterwards, Abu al-Abbas delivered his first public address as caliph, in which he proudly referred to himself as “al Saffah,” Arabic for “The Bloodshedder.” That is how the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate has become known in history, and he is the role model for the man who appointed himself caliph of the nascent Islamic State.

The horrifically barbaric ritual murders being propagated via the Internet by the Islamic State would, in a different context, be classified as snuff pornography. However, in the second decade of the 21st century they amount to weapons of war. The Islamic State may not have an air force to compete with American dominance in the skies over Syria and Iraq, but it does have equal access to the  Internet, which in effect serves as the tactical air support for the Islamic State. In an era of asymmetrical warfare, it is the means utilized by al-Baghdadi to create what amounts to a level playing field, enabling him to confront the United States with some degree of success.

Cyberspace has evolved into the most effective operational realm for the Islamic State, and is integrated into all of its activities; military, ideological and psychological. The caliph of the Islamic State has created an image akin to that of the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate; “the Bloodshedder.” In one of the video execution spectacles released by the Islamic State, al-Baghdadi declared : “Know that we have armies in Iraq and an army in Sham [Syria] of hungry lions whose drink is blood and play is carnage.”

With the Islamic State and its elaborate Internet propaganda arm, it is clear that the medium is indeed the message. It provides the war effort of the new caliphate with a pervasiveness that is truly global in its impact. It conveys the clear message that the armies of al-Baghdadi take no prisoners, and display not the slightest compassion or mercy towards those it deems as the “unbelievers.” It also sends another message to that special breed of men it seeks to recruit as fighters;  a theologically-sanctified collective psycho-pathology that provides those on our planet with such inclinations an environment to practice barbaric cruelty on human beings without limits of conscience or the restraint of a Western-imposed Geneva Convention.

Standing in opposition to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is President Barack Obama, America’s Commander-in-Chief and leader of the Free World, whose latest pronouncement on this conflict, made at the National Prayer Breakfast, was advice to Christians not to get on their “high horse” because of the violence being committed by the Islamic State.  “People committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” proffered the President, in connection with the Crusades that occurred a millennium ago (

While Obama engages in an esoteric verbal exercise  in deflecting any reference to radical Islamic extremism, his opponent, free of any intellectual ambiguity, ruthlessly but effectively pursues his war against those he deems the unbelievers. If anything, the most recent comments by the president display  growing disarray and confusion within the Obama administration on how to wage war against the Islamic State.



If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude



Barack Obama, Missing In Action

January 13th, 2015 Comments off

“Showing up is 80 percent of life.”

-Woody Allen


It was the non-presence that reverberated around the world. The largest demonstration to be held in the history of Paris, drawing 1.5 million participants in response to the Jihadist attacks in the French capital, was led by a phalanx of world leaders. Standing alongside French President Francois Hollande was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and a host of other prominent heads of state and government, representative of America’s closest and most engaged allies in the global struggle that has come to define the opening decades of the 21st century.  But not the head of state of the United States.

Neither Present Obama, nor Vice President Biden, nor Secretary of State Kerry saw fit to be present in this symbolically iconic march of unity. True, the lame duck Attorney General, Eric Holder was in Paris, ostensibly for meetings related to the recent terror attacks in the capital of America’s oldest ally. Yet, even he chose to be absent at the rally that so galvanized the rest of the world. In contrast, even Russia, at the nadir of its relationship with the European Union over the crisis in Ukraine, dispatched Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to participate in the rally.

The absence of Barack Obama or any other senior official from his administration on January 11 in Paris is so inexplicable, even the president’s most steadfast defenders are aghast. What rationale can possibly be proffered in defense of so counter-intuitive a non-action?

Undoubtedly, President Obama was acting on the “advice” of his senior national security team, the same clique of sages that counseled Obama to deny the Syrian opposition military assistance on the premise that they were only “pharmacists and doctors” (, thus opening the way for Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to fill the vacuum. The same gang of consigliere that suggested a swift withdrawal of American forces from Iraq simultaneous with a declaration that the war was over, ignoring the voices of those that warned of impending disaster, such as departing U.S. ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker ( The geniuses that devised a provocative approach towards Russia in Ukraine guaranteed to relaunch the Cold War, on the theory that the United States did not have enough adversaries  to confront in the world.

The President of the United States is not only the chief manager of the Federal government bureaucracy. He is also, since World War II, the leading world statesman. His physical presence, even symbolic, has immense impact on the global stage. When President Kennedy flew to the Western zone in Berlin in June 1963 at a time of growing Cold War tension over the future of that beleaguered outpost of freedom, he intuitively understood that importance in a manner that President Obama apparently does not. Addressing a mass rally in that city, Kennedy proclaimed “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (I am a Berliner!) Kennedy’s presence and words energized and inspired millions, and was a watershed moment during the Cold War.

How magnificent an opportunity it would have been if President Barack Obama had joined with his peers he is supposedly in alliance with in the confrontation with radical Islam, and proclaimed to the citizens of the French capital, “Je suis un Parisien! ”

Sadly, the man who was elected as the 44th President of the United States largely on the promise that he would inspire the world with his words, offered only the unseen echo of silence.



If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude


President Obama Wages War on the Islamic State, aka ISIS and ISIL: Anatomy of a Disaster in the Making

October 5th, 2014 Comments off

A  full-blooded war in its early stages is now underway, involving two antagonists, the Islamic State led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim, and the United States of America, led by President Barack Obama. The former, creator of the world’s first Islamic caliphate in nearly a century, is strong-willed, determined, persistent and utterly ruthless. The latter, by contrast, is a reluctant warrior, tentative, incoherent in his understanding and articulation of the threat posed by his nemesis, and prone to missteps. It is the distinction in the capacities of these two leaders far more than the relative military potential of the two opposing actors that will determine the outcome of this potentially epochal struggle. The present trajectory revealed in the leadership style and substance of the President leads me to a pessimistic assessment of this evolving military conflict . The following comprises my diagnosis of why President Obama is leading the United States towards a potentially cataclysmic outcome for his nation:

1. President Obama has consistently underestimated–and misunderstood– his opponent. Hubris is one of the most fatal afflictions that can undermine a national leader engaged in a great struggle. Unfortunately, Obama has time and again demonstrated an inability to accurately gauge his opponent’s capacity.  The intelligence failures and abject unwillingness to comprehend the emerging threat posed by al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State by the President  are already well recognized, such as his reference in January 2014 to the Islamic State as a “JV team.” Recent formulations by the President display continued misconceptions regarding the leader of the Islamic State.

In a nationally televised statement made by President Obama on September 10, 2014 he said, “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents.” ( Considering that neither the President nor his principal national security advisors are practicing Muslims, while Abu Bakr a-Baghdadi holds two advanced degrees in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad, including a PhD, it is an astonishing display of naiveté for America’s Commander-in-Chief to engage in a contest on the relative expertise of the two leaders in the field of Islamic jurisprudence and Koranic exegesis. The brutal truth is that the Caliph of the Islamic State has the credentials and expert knowledge to base all of his military decisions on Islamic principles, and that is a defining strength of al-Baghdadi that enables him to inspire his followers to a fanatical religious devotion. The President’s ill-founded characterizations reveals a lack of ability to comprehend the glue that binds together the military prowess that defines the Islamic State. Furthermore, history repeatedly reveals that religion (and rigid secular ideologies)–not only Islam, but all three monotheistic faith traditions–have scriptures and theological precepts that can and have been used to justify the slaying of non-combatants.

By attempting to turn the conflict  that has been initiated by the Islamic State into a contest in defining the true nature of Islam, President Obama arouses contempt and ridicule from the enemy while achieving nothing on the battlefield.


2. The Commander-in-Chief is attempting to wage war on the cheap. One gets the impression that President Obama believes he can determine the course of a military conflict by edict. For example, he can decide to withdraw troops from one operational theatre, and declare no ground forces will be deployed to another arena, as though politically-determined polices are a substitute for careful, long-term strategic and operational decision-making. Clearly, Obama hopes to contain the Islamic State through airpower and drones, primarily American but supposedly involving a large coalition of allies.

If massive aerial bombing and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops could not defeat the Vietcong during the Vietnam war, what historical parallels is the President turning towards to instill confidence that airpower alone will bring the forces of the caliphate to their knees? As for the military contribution by several NATO and Arab allies, the miniscule number of combat aircraft being offered by these nations is irrelevance in the broader context of the struggle. The farcical nature of this contribution was illustrated by the British Ministry of Defense highlighting the deployment of a mere two aircraft and their subsequent destruction of a single Islamic State Toyota pickup truck as a major “triumph” on the battlefield.

To date, America’s leader and his key allies are thinking small and short-term, while the looming struggle will be massive and enduring. Conducting this warfare through minimalist means will only guarantee a far lengthier and costly struggle with the forces of the Islamic State.

3. President Obama lacks a grand strategic vision for confronting the Islamic State. The President’s external priorities have been all over the map, diluting the ability of the U.S. to comprehensively and effectively confront the challenge being posed by the Islamic State.  While al-Baghdadi was building up strength, training his cadres and formulating his strategy, America’s  foreign policy and national security agenda has been globally dispersed. Obama and his key advisors, in particular John Kerry, were simultaneously retreating from the Middle East while seeking to have the other anti-American Islamic theocracy in the region, Iran, serve as a substitute for protecting U.S. regional interest through concessions on the nuclear issue; devoting massive allocations of time and effort towards “resolving” the Palestinian-Israeli issue when  all the known facts indicated that this was at present a fool’s errand that was also a marginal factor in the continuing disarray  in the region; pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific region in  a manner that signaled that China, America’s principal financial creditor, was being viewed as a future threat; and restarting the Cold War with Russia through miscalculations and ill-advised intervention in the political turmoil in Ukraine.

If the Islamic State was an insignificant threat, perhaps the United States would have the luxury of engaging in multilateral policy endeavors that would add to Washington’s list of adversaries and estranged allies. However, in the kind of contest of wills that the Caliph has unleashed, I don’t think a wise policymaker would characterize the threat being posed as insubstantial. That being the case, a more coherent presidency would be focused on defeating the threat, and building the alliances that would maximize the ability to crush the Islamic State. Russia and China are both viewed as enemies by the Islamic State, along with the United States. Obama should be reaching out to Moscow and Beijing as potential and powerful allies in the war against the Islamic State, rather than engaging in policies that create tension in the relationship with these two counties, while diverting attention and resources away from the confrontation with the Islamic State.

4. Thus far, the President does not appear to fully recognize the nature and scope of the threat being posed to America by al-Baghdadi and his army. In essence, everything that President Obama has said and every decision he has made in connection with the Islamic State reveals that Obama views it as a phenomenon in continuity with the general “War on Terror,” which actually began prior to September 11, 2001. The very conceptualization labeled as the “War on Terror” betrays the strategic disconnect and intellectual vacuum within the decision-making apparatus in Washington. Terror, per se, is a tactical means employed by a hostile entity, and not the entity itself. Obama apparently sees the conflict as one involving a  confrontation with “terrorists” as opposed to a structured entity, the Islamic State, with an army, battlefield commanders, an effective military staff and strong leadership. Furthermore, this structured entity is clearly at war with the United States, and there is no ambiguity or lack of clarity by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his leadership regarding their intentions towards the United States. This is made clear in a propaganda film released by the Islamic State, “Flames of War,” which concludes with a message from the Caliph aimed directly at the American people:

“Finally, this is a message we direct to America. Know, O defender of the cross, that a  proxy war won’t help you  in Sham [Syria] just as it didn’t help you in Iraq. As for the near future, you will be forced into a direct confrontation, with Allah’s permission, despite your reluctance. And the sons of Islam have prepared for this day, so wait and see, for we too are also going to wait and see.” (

The Islamic State wants the United States to once again deploy a large field army in the heart of the Arab world, and will seek to provoke President Obama to undertake what his enemy knows he is reluctant to do. How will they achieve their objective? In all probability, by launching a massive attack on American soil, at the level of September 11, 2001, at a minimum. And why do they seek the return of large ground forces from the U.S. to the Middle East? In the short term, this will aid in their recruitment. Long term, the leadership of IS are convinced that they can wear down the U.S. Army in grinding battles of attrition in urban combat, in the process crippling America militarily and economically.

A President who truly understood the threat facing the nation would not be expending time on the golf course or fundraising expeditions; he would be devoting every waking moment he has available in defending the United States from perhaps its most dangerous enemy since the Second World War.


If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude





Sequestration: Economic Russian Roulette Comes To America

March 7th, 2013 Comments off

Russian roulette is the macabre  game of death, in which a revolver with a single bullet is passed around, each player pointing a gun at his head and pressing the trigger. There is, mathematically speaking, a one in six chance of blowing one’s brains to smithereens. This morbid game of chance, strangely enough, has now been adopted as the primary fiscal model by that once-august body known as the United States Congress.

As numerous commentators have observed, the two-party political oligarchy that dominates American politics has becomes hopelessly polarized. That polarization in turn has morphed into  political paralysis, leading to an inability by policymakers to craft rational economic directives in the midst of an ongoing global economic crisis. The result is tepid economic growth at best, fueled by massive, trillion dollar per annum deficits that require staggering amounts of borrowing by the U.S. Treasury to stave off national insolvency. Therein lies the problem. The Obama administration must periodically come to Congress for authorization to raise the national debt limit; without such congressional approval, the government loses its authority to borrow money.  In a situation where Congress is politically divided, with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and venting unrestrained hostility towards President Obama,  the entire economy of the United States is held hostage to this political version of sausage-making. 

The last stand-off over the debt limit led to The Budget Control Act of 2011. The GOP acquiesced to raising the debt limit on condition that the Obama administration concurred with over 900 billion dollars in spending cuts over the next decade. And herein lay the minefield.  Since the Democrats and Republicans could not reach consensus on  those precise deficit reduction measures, they did agree  to creating a poison pill for themselves, which has since become known by the non-pharmaceutical name of sequestration. If Congress could not agree on which spending cuts to implement, arbitrary reductions in federal spending outlays would occur automatically, with 85 billion dollars in budget cuts coming into effect in the current fiscal year.

That wasn’t supposed to happen, for this was playing Russian roulette with fiscal policy and management of the overall national economy. Who in their right mind among the two political parties controlling Congress would want the entire globe to witness American legislators playing a game of Russian roulette as their methodology of economic management?  Yet that is exactly what has now happened.

There are arguments currently underway as to how much of an impact 85 billion dollars in arbitrary spending reductions will have on a still fragile economy. These concerns miss the essential point.  The fact that America’s political establishment has allowed such a spectacle to occur presents a discordant image to the global bond market that is essential for lending the credit that keeps the United States solvent. And increasingly, those critical lenders are seeing the fiscal decision-making of the United States being transformed into a farcical display of political expediency. There will come a time when  the bond vigilantes will simply have had enough of an increasingly dysfunctional political system still acting as though it presides over an unassailable superpower. When that time has come, the mother of all sequestrations will have arrived.

Controversy Over U.S. Unemployment Rate Masks The Real Issue Underlying America’s Economic Crisis

October 7th, 2012 Comments off

The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest jobs report suggested  114,000 non-farm jobs were added in September, while the national unemployment rate dropped from  8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. With the U.S. presidential election only one month away, the Republicans naturally claimed that something was fishy about the jobs report. Just as naturally, the Obama administrations maintained that the BLS statistics are compiled by non-partisan professional bureaucrats. So, what’s the answer?

They are both right. The BLS numbers may be honestly compiled, but they are based on abstractions and sampling assumptions, and are frequently corrected long after their original release. Furthermore, the numbers being argued about are the U3 data, which is an incomplete measure of unemployment in the U.S. economy. The more reliable U6 data, which includes part-time workers unable to find fulltime employment, is still well into double digit figures.

The more interesting aspect of the latest LBS data is this; even if the 114,000 new jobs figure is correct, it is below the level required to match new entries into the labor force. In other words, the U3 (and U6) rate should have risen instead of declined. Why didn’t it? Simple explanation: the long-term unemployed are being “removed” from the statistical  measurement of the labor force. If the BLS considers you a “discouraged” worker, you are no longer compiled under the data for unemployed workers. This may look more positive for the upcoming presidential election if you are President Barack Obama, but it does nothing to facilitate economic growth.

There is another dimension to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data which demonstrates its utter irrelevancy to the overall health of the economy. The numbers in the BLS report, or the claims by the Obama campaign regarding total jobs creation since the president took office, not to mention GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s boast that as president, he would somehow “create” 12 million new jobs, miss what is most relevant to a comprehensive economic recovery in the United States.  The real issue is the decline in purchasing power by the U.S. labor force, concomitant with a parallel increase in economic power of a very small financial oligarchy. As is well know by labor statisticians, frequently the new jobs created (or promised) are actually lower paying fulltime jobs, or part-time positions with significantly reduced levels of compensation. The cumulative impact  of this phenomenon has been the erosion in the  size and collective purchasing power of America’s middle-income  labor force, leading to weaker consumer demand and a collapse in housing values.  Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney has on offer a realistic and cogent plan to address the real core issue underlying the factors that have left the U.S. labor force diminished not only in its employee count, but more importantly, in its financial capacity. Until the latter issue is addressed, all the promises made by American politicians for a future economic recovery are political rhetoric and nothing more.







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U.S. Unemployment Rate Continues To Fall-As Discouraged Workers “Disappear”

May 5th, 2012 Comments off

he latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the United States supposedly “created” 115,00 jobs in April. Not even President Obama’s supporters are cheering loudly over this figure, as it indicates a slowing down of job creation-and that is if the number is accurate. As many know, BLS jobs numbers are usually a mathematical abstraction based  on assumptions and inferences, not hard numbers. In any event, if there were 115,000 jobs created in April, that is below the approximately 200,000 new jobs that must be created in the U.S each month in order to keep up with population growth. In other words, 115,000 new jobs in April would mean that the American unemployment rate would increase.

But in April, again according to the BLS, the U.S. unemployment rate did not increase; in fact it “declined” to 8.1 percent. If job creation is lagging behind the expected entry of new workers into the U.S. labor market, how did the magicians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics construct a reduction in unemployment?  Very simple. There are so many discouraged unemployed workers in the United States, they are simply giving up and “leaving” the labor force. In many cases, actually, the BLS is exercising initiative and assuming that a certain proportion of the unemployed simply drop out of the workforce each month.

The real meaning of the April jobs number is that the participation of age-eligible Americans in the labor force -both working and unemployed-is at a 30 year low. How is that synonymous with an economic recovery?

In point of fact, a staggeringly high rate of unemployment, made artificially lower by not counting those long-term unemployed workers as being part of the active labor force, is by no means characteristic of a post-recessionary economic recovery. What has recovered since the onset of the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 are equity prices, which have regained almost all of their losses. However, that recovery is not due to increased consumer demand stemming from the reentry into the workforce of formerly unemployed workers. Rather, stock prices regained most of their losses and have enjoyed a recovery due almost entirely to the loose monetary policies of the Federal Reserve under the tutelage of its chairman, Ben Bernanke.

In contrast with the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt during America’s Great Depression of the 1930s, which focused on facilitating job creation, the policymakers in the U.S. have focused their efforts on reinflating equity prices through quantitative easing (money printing) and offering banks (including investment banks) historically low interest rates, in effect free money. Perhaps sooner than we can imagine, history will render its verdict on this policy of neglecting a recovery in the labor market in favor of reinflating the stock market.



Afghanistan War and the U.S. Economic Crisis

July 19th, 2010 Comments off

In a previous post on this website and the Huffington Post, I warned that the current Obama strategy for conducting the war in Afghanistan is doomed to failure (see…/can-the-us-win-the-war-in_b_212831.html ). Of course, President Barack Obama did not consult me when he decided to vastly increase the U.S. investment in lives and treasure in pursuit of achieving what the Soviet Union and British Empire had failed at; subduing Afghanistan.

With all this focus on U.S. options for Afghanistan, little has been said about Al-Qaeda’s goal. Even official U.S. sources admit that Washington is spending over $5 billion a month to support 100,000 U.S. troops confronting as few as fifty (yes, 50) Al-Qaeda members presently situated in Afghanistan. Perhaps Al-Qaeda’s goal is to achieve a maximum return on investment; 50 of its members stationed in Afghanistan, in the process further eroding the U.S. fiscal imbalance at a time of acute economic crisis in America. The leadership of Al-Qaeda has stated on several occasions that they seek to draw the United States into an Afghan quagmire, inflicting upon it the same empire-shattering blow incurred by the once powerful but no longer existing Soviet Union.

The leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, has stated that his objective is to drain the U.S. financially, bringing about its fiscal collapse and ultimate insolvency. If that is in fact Al-Qaeda’s objective, it appears that not only Obama, but almost the entire political leadership in the United States which currently supports the war, both Democrats and Republicans, have become unwitting allies of Osama bin Laden. This is a policy that is bankrupt both figuratively and literally, especially with America currently gripped by a ruinous economic crisis.

How long will Washington be able to borrow vast sums of money in the global bond market, solely to pursue 50 followers of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan? Perhaps only as long as the Federal Reserve can hold off the next stage of the American banking crisis and real estate meltdown. Once the United States is engulfed by a full-fledged sovereign debt crisis, it will be exceptionally difficult, to say the least, for a financially bankrupt U.S. government to justify throwing away nearly $100 billion a year on a war that has become increasingly devoid of rational purpose.