Daley: What does the Obama White House stand for? (6)

Members of the Islam State of Iraq and Shaam (Isis) with senior commander Abu Waheeb

Barack Obama is discovering – rather belatedly – precisely what is involved in being president of the United States. How he has managed to avoid this for his first term and a half in office is a historical peculiarity. But we are where we are. He now has a full-blown, world-threatening foreign crisis in which the decisions that he makes from one minute to the next might result in immediate mass slaughter, a prolonged war or a gradual de-escalation of the conflict – or possibly all three in progressive stages. At the same moment, bizarrely, he is facing a domestic upheaval of staggering proportions: the return of riots and racially based violence in the urban streets of a kind which his very election as president was supposed to have made a thing of the past.

Mr Obama has roughly 20 minutes in which to decide whether the hideous slaughter of an American journalist being broadcast to the world can possibly be regarded as anything but a fatal provocation. His “limited air strikes” with the permanent get-out-quick clause will no longer be plausible: this has gone beyond offering tactical assistance to beleaguered victims. There is now a triumphalist challenge to the United States itself: come and get us if you dare. And if the Obama White House does not dare, then the West will be seen to have folded in the most ignominious possible way. It is not just America’s influence that is at stake but that of the entire democratic world.

It was not supposed to have come to this. Obama was going to be the anti-Bush: the president who would pull America back from liberal interventionism with all its supposed arrogance. This was the key message of his foreign policy from the start. The US was finished with global policing. It would turn inwards now and devote itself to developing the democratic socialist welfare programmes (such as Obamacare) which most other developed countries had evolved long before: swords into ploughshares, and all that. The world would have to go away and take care of itself. But when you are the one remaining superpower on the earth, the world does not go away. The US still embodies, more than any other nation state, the values which Isis pits itself against. Isolationism is not an option.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Fed Up with Cupcake Cops (good read)

#2 — Contempt

#3 — Will Obama Do What it Takes to Defeat ISIS?

#4 — Holder: Justice Launches Criminal Probe Into Foley’s Death

#5 — Cheney: Deal With ISIS or Face Attack Far Worse Than 9/11


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Afternoon Update August 22nd, 2014 (10)


#1 — CNews | Winnipeg hit with flash flooding

It rained, it poured on Thursday afternoon in Winnipeg, when about an entire month’s worth of rain — 50-70 mm — fell in a short period of time.


#2 — CTV | New beef labelling rules now in effect

From now on, you should be able to see if the beef you’re buying has been mechanically tenderized.

The new beef labelling rules, announced earlier his summer, came into effect Thursday.


#3 — Globe | Ontario’s Wynne, Quebec’s Couillard forge central Canadian alliance

Ontario and Quebec are forging a central Canadian alliance to co-operate on issues, including potentially expanding electricity trade, hoping their combined clout will bring back prosperity to both provinces.


#4 — Postmedia | Canadian police forces bulking up with armoured vehicles

Growing numbers of Canadian police agencies in recent years have added armoured vehicles to their crime-fighting arsenals — beasts on wheels that go by such names as Thunder 1, BearCat and Grizzly.


#5 — Sun | Cop costs out of control

TORONTO – Runaway policing costs are forcing municipalities to hike property taxes and cast around for different ways to deliver programs to small towns.



#6 — BBC | Argentina debt plan ruled ‘illegal’ in US court

Argentina’s plan to exit its debt default by asking investors holding defaulted bonds to swap them for new locally issued debt has been ruled “illegal” by a US court.


#7 — CNN | ‘Miraculous day’ as American Ebola patients released

(CNN) — Dr. Kent Brantly walked around the room at Emory University Hospital on Thursday, hugging staff members and shaking hands.


#8 — Fox | Pentagon broke law with Bergdahl prisoner swap, government watchdog says

A nonpartisan government watchdog agency said Thursday that the Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl earlier this year.


#9 — DM | Neanderthals and modern humans ‘overlapped’ in Europe for up to 5,400 years

Neanderthals and modern humans both lived in Europe at the same time for up 5,400 years – and may have interbred.


#10 — WT | Monuments to Obama raise some hackles

Everything from streets to a parasitic hairworm have been named in honor of President Obama, but the effort to immortalize him is causing a backlash in one New Jersey town, whose elected leaders are reconsidering their vote to place the president’s name on a recreation center.


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Evans-Pritchard: Nobel guru fears it may be nigh impossible to stop deflation (10)

A quick word from Lindau, where half the world’s Nobel economists are gathered on a beautiful island with cobbled streets on Lake Constance, looking out across the Alps.

It is a Wittlesbach jewel.

Christopher Sims – a monetary expert, who now thinks money indicators have been rendered “essentially obsolete” by modern finance – says it may be impossible to reverse deflation in the Western economies by any normal means, in which case we are in trouble.

He argues that the public (including investors) are convinced that there will have to be some sort of payback for all the debts accumulated during the great era of leverage and excess. They have “internalised” the prospect of future tax rises and spending that will make them feel poorer.

“Some 60pc of people in the US say they doubt there will be any government benefits for them when they retire, and 60pc of those already retired think their benefits will be reduced,” he said.

This has powerful implications. Many of these people are retrenching pre-emptively, en masse, in most of the mature industrial economies. They are discounting a “future stream of primary surpluses”.


See Also:

#1 — President warns party leaders of dire consequences if foreclosures bill not passed

#2 — Customs checks begin on Russian aid trucks

#3 — A pleasant surprise for Washington

#4 — Self-destructing political system

#5 — Eurozone economy holds onto timid recovery

Afternoon Update:

#6 — Eruption of Islandic volcano could shut down European airspace

#7 — Billion dollar settlement for Bank of America

#8 — Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach

#9 — Avramopoulos in US for talks with Hagel on possible Greek role in peace missions

#10 — Newcomer Lithuania to get first euros from Germany

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Murray: Britain’s anti-Semitic whiff of Weimar

There is a whiff of Weimar in the air in Britain. Barely a week now passes without some further denigration caused by anti-Semitic, sorry, pro-Palestine demonstrators targeting businesses run by Jews/stores selling products produced by the Jewish state. You know, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Starbucks and so on. Most of this fairly random targeting of whatever business sounds a bit Jewish goes unnoticed. Sometimes protestors manage to get the business closed – as with the Ahava store in liberal, enlightened Brighton. Generally they just succeed in intimidating shoppers and making it easier for people to shop elsewhere in some non-Semitic store.

Sometimes the protestors, like this young man in Manchester, are open about their feelings and taunt any nearby Jews by telling them, for instance, how highly they think of Hitler (‘I love Hitler. I’m big on my boy Hitler’ says this nicely integrated young man):

But mainly they just try to persuade people that the Jews are in fact the Nazis, rather than the Nazis being the people who are, once again, trying to boycott Jewish businesses (including businesses which aren’t Jewish but are suspected of being, in some way sort of Jew-y).

I know, I know, they’re meant to only be objecting to goods produced in the West Bank. But somehow it always ends up with being any product at all from Israel and then – surprise, surprise – any product made for or by Jews. Take just one recent case.


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Almanac predicts colder winter, hotter summer

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the familiar, 223-year-old chronicler of climate, folksy advice and fun facts, is predicting a colder winter and warmer summer for much of the nation.

Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a “super-cold” winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal.

“Colder is just almost too familiar a term,” Editor Janice Stillman said. “Think of it as a refriger-nation.”

More bad news for those who can’t stand snow: Most of the Northeast is expected to get more snowfall than normal, though it will be below normal in New England.

Before unpacking the parka, however, remember that “colder than average” is still only about 2 to 5 degrees difference.

Some other regional highlights:


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Health-care groups want end to ‘medical tourism’ in Ontario

TORONTO – Hospitals should be ordered to stop pursuing “medical tourists” while Ontarians join wait lists for health-care services, a coalition says in an open letter to Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

Doris Grinspun, of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), said she first learned of the practice when Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) agreed to accept patients sent by the Libyan government, but it has since spread to other hospitals.

“We made a deal with the devil to take care of I don’t even know who,” Grinspun said. “Medical tourism is a whole trend.”

Nurses have told her that women from China come to Toronto and pay a fee to have their second babies, which are frowned upon in their home country, Grinspun said.

These patients are not being brought to Ontario for humanitarian reasons, like children from war-torn or Third World countries, but because the services can generally be provided more cheaply than in the United States, she said.


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Harper attacks ‘liberal elites’; touts Tory record on economy, crime in speech to B.C. supporters

Prime Minister Stephen Harper attacked a new group of liberals on Wednesday, denouncing elites he predicts will try to sell voters questionable political goods in the federal election next year.

The warning came as Mr. Harper spoke to hundreds of supporters gathered for a rally on a farm in this rural community east of Vancouver – a partisan stop ahead of the prime minister heading to Whitehorse to begin his annual tour of the Canadian north.

And in an unusual reference, Mr. Harper also suggested The New York Times was no friend to the federal Conservatives, who are seeking re-election next year and maintaining a run in government that began in 2006.

Mr. Harper said other parties will ask Canadians not to think about the choice between change and the strong economy, safer country and stronger position in the world the Conservatives will tout to win votes.

“You can listen to the liberal elites, and the liberal media pundits and liberal interest groups and you can hear the plan: Tell Canadians there’s something new and exciting,” Mr. Harper said, speaking to an audience of several hundred.

But he suggested there would be no details beyond the plan being “new.”


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‘King of Pot’ Cournoyer gets 27-year sentence in U.S.

MONTREAL — Jimmy Cournoyer, a Laval native who came to notoriety in New York for operating as a prolific drug smuggler while leading a lavish lifestyle, was sentenced to a 27-year prison term in the United States on Wednesday.

The sentence comes at the end of a case that began in 2012 when Cournoyer, dubbed “the King of Pot” by some media, was arrested while trying to enter Mexico. He was later brought to New York, the state where he sold much of the 109,000 kilos of pot he smuggled into the U.S. from Canada. The U.S. attorney had requested Cournoyer serve at least 30 years; his defence lawyer, Gerald McMahon, asked for 20 years, the mandatory minimum for some of the charges Cournoyer pleaded guilty to in 2013.

While the case was before a U.S. federal district court in Brooklyn, details emerged about the life Cournoyer led. A photograph was seen of him with his arm wrapped around Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, and there was a letter of support from UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, who described Cournoyer as being like a brother to him. The letter was filed by Cournoyer’s defence during the sentencing stage. St-Pierre later issued a statement calling the letter “a mistake” after The Gazette published a story with excerpts from it.

“I simply wanted to help repatriate Jimmy to a Canadian prison, closer to his family, if that was possible,” St-Pierre stated regarding his letter.


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Fernandez: Game Over. Play Again?

Liz Peek at the Fiscal Times explains why the Republicans might fail to get voters interested in repealing Obamacare, despite its unpopularity. “What ever happened to Obamacare — the unpopular healthcare bill that was to be the Republicans big weapon as they battled for control of the Senate this fall? For sure, the Affordable Care Act has been pushed to the sidelines by the chaos in Iraq, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the surge in Central American minors across our border, the Veterans Administration scandal, the pestilential virus rampaging across the computers of the federal government, and so much more…”

What happened to it was it got buried by Snowden, ISIS, the IRS, Benghazi, Ebola, Syria, Libya, Ferguson, Bergdahl, etc … who can spare a thought for Obamacare? The Obama administration is living proof that the Dense Pack strategy works. If your problems come fast enough, you start living hour to hour and the newest crisis drives out all thoughts of the last.

According to the Dense Pack strategy, a series of ten to twelve hardened silos would be grouped closely together in a line. This line of silos would generally run north-to-south, as the primary flight path for Soviet inbound nuclear missiles would be expected to come from the north over the North Pole. The rationale for this thinking went like this: As the first inbound warhead detonates over its target silo, it would throw a large cloud of debris over the entire missile field. Every other warhead targeted on that missile field would have to travel through that debris cloud to reach its target, and it was theorized that the act of traveling through that debris cloud would “trash” the warhead before it could detonate. Every successful explosion over the missile field would throw more debris up into the air, increasing the chances that each successive warhead would be destroyed before it could trigger.

A suit shows up raindrops only when some of it is dry. But a soaking wet suit is uniformly changed in color.


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Sowell: The Media and the Mob

Those of us who admit that we were not there, and do not know what happened when Michael Brown was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, seem to be in the minority.

We all know what has happened since then — and it has been a complete disgrace by politicians, the media and mobs of rioters and looters. Despite all the people who act as if they know exactly what happened, nevertheless when the full facts come out, that can change everything.

This is why we have courts of law, instead of relying on the media or mobs. But politics is undermining law.

On the eve of a grand jury being convened to go through the facts and decide whether there should be a prosecution of the policeman in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has gone on television to say that there should be a “vigorous prosecution.”

There was a time when elected officials avoided commenting on pending legal processes, so as not to bias those processes. But Governor Nixon apparently has no fear of poisoning the jury pool.

The only alternative explanation is that this is exactly what he intends to do. It is a disgrace either way.


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Morning Update August 22nd, 2014 (10)


#1 — CNews | Feds to Ontario: Clean up your fiscal house

TORONTO – Ontario needs to pull up its socks and get its foundering fiscal house in order or risk dragging down the rest of the country, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says.

And it’s morally wrong to pile up debt for another generation to pay off, he said.


#2 — CTV | Kraft Dinner donations are ‘reality,’ Ontario food bank boss says

An Ottawa neighbourhood food bank’s request that donors stop contributing unhealthy foods is just not realistic, the head of the Ontario Association of Food Banks says.


#3 — Globe | Construction of Squamish subdivision will require landslide barriers

The risk of a large landslide roaring down Mount Garibaldi towards the Sea-to-Sky Highway and the northern reaches of Squamish is “unacceptable,” according to a series of engineering reports prepared for the Squamish Nation.


#4 — Postmedia | John Baird’s tweets under investigation after language complaint

Canadian cabinet ministers could soon be asking Twitter to waive its 140-character limit so they can ensure every tweet they send is in French and English.


#5 — Sun | OPP warn motorcycle deaths headed for seven-year high

Ontario police are reminding drivers to be aware of motorcyclists as concerns grow the number of bike-related deaths will reach a seven-year high this summer.



#6 — BBC | Ukraine: 19 troops killed fighting rebels near Donetsk

Nineteen Ukrainian troops have died battling rebels in a strategic town east of Donetsk, the government says.


#7 — CNS | Holder Tells Young Blacks He’s Had Trouble With Police, Too

ST. LOUIS (AP) — To reassure the people of Ferguson, Attorney General Eric Holder reached into his own past, recalling the times he had been stopped by police officers who seemed to target him because of his race.


#8 — Fox | UN spends millions on security programs for terror-afflicted Somalia without overseeing results, study says

The United Nations Development Program, the U.N.’s flagship anti-poverty agency, spent tens of millions to make terrorism-battered Somalia safer, but never verified that the work was done, or even that its government partners had the capacity to do their jobs, according to a scathing internal auditors’ report.


#9 — DM | The future of tanks

The US Army has revealed plans to replace tanks with small, ‘off road’ vehicles covered in smart armour.

Military bosses says the current tanks are hindering soldier’s ability to get into battle.


#10 — WT | State Department asks for more troops in Iraq

The State Department wants the Pentagon to send additional troops to Iraq — an indication that the battle to defeat the Islamic State group is steadily growing.


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