Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

EU-US Summit:The Official Statements

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy, Views, commentaries and opinions on 21.11.10 at 02:39

Here are the official statements following Saturday’s top meeting in Lisbon between the leaders of the European Union and the US leaders president Barack Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In addition to president Obama, president of the EU Council Herman Van Rompuy and EU president Jose Manuel Barosso made their “preliminary remarks”.

“As regards the EU’s own economic situation, I underline here, as I did earlier to President Obama, that the fundamentals of our economy are sound.”

Herman Van Rompuy

Obama, Barosso and Van Rompuy – perhaps the three most influential people in the world right now. The president of the EU council started the press briefing by stating the “fundamentals” of the European economy is “sound”. Well, here are the reassuring remarks by the world leaders. However, note that the statements are all labeled “preliminary”.

First: the so.called “preliminary remarks” by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council following the EU-US Summit 2010 in Lisbon, Saturday afternoon.

Besides from the uplifting statement about the fundamentals of the European economy, Mr. Van Rompuy informed about the following issue:

Cyber security – as also stated earlier at the NATO summit – is a threat with an immense impact. EU-US cooperation in this field can contribute to protect ourselves against it. I am therefore happy to announce that the EU and the US will enhance their cooperation, by creating a EU-US Working Group on Cyber security. The Working Group will report progress within a year.”
“Furthermore, speedy compromise on a comprehensive EU-US data protection agreement will significantly facilitate all negotiations between the EU and US on Passenger Name Records, cyber security, fight against terrorism and transnational organised crime.”

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Here’s a transcript of Mr. Van Rompuy’s speech.


Then, the “preliminary remarks” by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission following the EU-US Summit:

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And last, but not least,  Barack Obama, President of the United States. Here’s Mr. Obama’s “preliminary remarks”:

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(Source: The Council of The European Union)

Just gotta love the expression “preliminary remarks” – what it really means is that if what they’re saying turns out to be wrong, they can retract the statements as they’re only preliminary. On the other hand; if they get it right, they can hold up the transcripts and say: “See, I told you so!”

I think it’s even better than the recent change in banking terminology – from “too-big-to-fail” to “systemically important”.

Related by The Swapper:


EU-US Summit; November 20. Now In Session

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy on 20.11.10 at 13:40

The EU-US Summit taking place on 20 November in Lisbon, Portugal. This is the first EU-US summit since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

The EU will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, assisted by High Representative Catherine Ashton.

The United States will be represented by President Barack Obama assisted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On top of the agenda is the signing of a new NATO agreement.

Here’s the first live pictures from the Summit, provided by the EU Council:

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Rally To Restore Sanity: Watch It LIVE From Washington

In Health and Environment, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy, Views, commentaries and opinions on 30.10.10 at 17:45

Jon Stewart‘s “Rally To Restore Sanity” is starting in Washington in under half an hour. It will be interesting to see how many people the famous comedian are able to gather in a “respectful disagreement” to discuss the issues that truly impact our lives (minus the political discord).

“We will send a message to our leaders! We are here! – but only until six…”

Jon Stewart

The Comedy Central have provided a link to the US capital where the rally is supposed to start in about 20 minutes. Click at the picture below, and follow this extraordinary event LIVE!


(If that link doesn’t work, try this one.)

I anyone should find themself a bit puzzled over Mr. Colbert’s slogan “March To Keep Fear Alive,” here’s a little musical hint for you…

(Thanks to the very talented people at

Related by The Swapper:

Jon Stewart’s Crusade To Restore Sanity

Jon Stewart Takes On Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor

Daily Show: Jon Stewart Finds Humor In The Foreclosure Crisis

Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer

Please, Give This Man An Award!


Jon Stewart Takes On Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy, Views, commentaries and opinions on 26.10.10 at 21:39

Once again Jon Stewart takes on a task that primary should have been performed by the top news media. You know, like Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC and the other major opinion makers, simply by asking US President Barack Obama’s chief economic advisor what he’s actually advising the president to do about the economic mess.

Austan Dean Goolsbee (born 1969) is an American economist, currently serving under President Barack Obama as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Goolsbee is on leave from the University of Chicago where he is the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the Booth School of Business.

Okay, here it is; Jon Stewart’s exclusive interview with Austan Dean Goolsbee.

Enjoy !

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Credits: The Price of Accountability

In Financial Engeneering, Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 24.10.10 at 00:21

Remember President Barack Obama’s pompous “BP-Will-Be-Held-Accountable”-speech? The president’s remarks on the oil spill dragged BP’s  share price right to the bottom and pushed the CDS’ straight through the roof. However, when The White House this week announced that US banks will be held accountable for any foreclosure violations, there was hardly any reaction in the financial markets at all.

“Whether investors chalked it up to part of mid-term election campaigning or simply could not discern the market impact is debatable.”

Otis Casey

Earlier this week, market price action seemed to suggest that investors were struggling to properly define the extent and impact of the potential foreclosure violations case. By the end of the week, however, I think they’ve started to see a more clear – not pretty – picture.

Bank of America, who had halted foreclosures in all 50 states, signalled on Tuesday that is was time to resume the foreclosure process. As for their process, CEO Brian Moynihan simply said; “Without question we’re doing it right.”

The day before Citigroup stated that their process was “sound”.

“While no one expected that the uncertainty in litigation risk could just disappear overnight, it at least appeared to be moderating a bit,” credit analyst Otis Casey writes in the weekly credit wrap from Markit Financial Information.

“There seemed to be a perception that the majority of the headlines would be read in the rear-view mirror – at least,” Otis Casey writes, but point out: “That sentiment was short-lived.”


Reminiscent of President Barack Obama’s “BP Will Be Held Accountable” speech, the White House announced this week that banks would be held accountable for any foreclosure violations.

This was not surprising, considering that a key part of the President’s communication strategy has been to side with “Main Street” against “Wall Street.”

“Whether investors chalked it up to part of mid-term election campaigning or simply could not discern the market impact is debatable, in any case the announcement did not have anywhere near the same market moving impact on CDS spreads the way that the BP speech did last spring on BP’s CDS spreads,” Casey notes.


“Then some of the biggest investors in the world decided to react like it was “Wall Street vs Wall Street” (nevermind
that PIMCO headquarters is in Newport Beach),” Casey goes on.

Reports surfaced that indicated PIMCO, BlackRock and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are looking for a way to force  Bank of America to repurchase bad mortgages that is a part of some $47 billion in bonds, packaged by its Countrywide Financial unit.

Other investors are expected to join this group.

“Furthermore, the tactic is expected to be repeated in other cases where investors believe that the quality of mortgages may have been misrepresented,” Casey adds.

CDS spreads on the major mortgage lending banks widened significantly on the news and set a negative tone for the corporate credit markets generally.

However, by the week’s end, the CDS spreads for the major US banks were tighter than where they were a week ago.

Wells Fargo reported record earnings despite lower revenues.

While Bank of America reported a third quarter loss, adjusted results beat analysts’ estimates.

Earnings results in general have given support in the last two sessions, which has helped improve sentiment and again shifted focus away from the foreclosure issues – at least in the news headlines.


On the European side,  a bit more clarity emerged on the subordinated debt of Anglo Irish Bank.

The bank announced on Thursday that it was offering to exchange up to approximately 1.6 billion euro principal amount outstanding subordinated debt for new euro-denominated floating rate notes, due 2011, at an effective price of 20% of face value.

A separate offer for 300 million GBP, callable, subordinated notes at 5% of face value was also made.

“The exchange offers are “voluntary” but if holders choose not to participate, they could receive as little as 0.01 euro per 1,000 euro of principal amount,” Otis Casey writes.

The latest quotes are 10 points and 68 points upfront, for senior and subordinated protection, respectively.

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Peace Prize: China Furious, Hectic Diplomacy, Wife Disappears

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics on 09.10.10 at 14:11

The Norwegian ambassador to Chine was – as expected – called in on the carpet of Chinese authorities yesterday, after the Norwegian Peace Prize Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2010 to the Chinese imprisoned freedom fighter, Liu Xiaobo.

“If a Norwegian free-trade agreement with China collapses, the Norwegian fishing industry could lose about NOK 380 million a year.”

Verden Gang

What exactly was said during the meeting is not clear, but on Monday the Norwegian minster of fishery get on the plain to China. Presumably to try to save the Norwegian/Chinese trade agreement on seafood that has a value of NOK 380 million per year.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed strong displeasure over the choice of Liu Xiaobo as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu issued a statement about one hour after the announcement by the Nobel committee in Norway.

According to Free Tibet, Ma Zhaoxu says the prize should be awarded to people who contribute to world peace through such acts as promoting ethnic reconciliation and friendship among countries.

Zhaoxu reiterated that Liu is serving a prison term for violating Chinese laws, adding that making him a Nobel laureate damages the prize’s prestige.

He warned the decision to award Liu the prize will damage relations between China and Norway.

Trade Agreement In Jeopardy

Several experts believes that the far advanced negotiations on a free trade agreement between Norway and China can come to a halt because of the award, the Norwegian newspaper VG reports.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement applies to all Norwegian products, including fish.

China is expected  to pass Japan as the most important market for Norwegian fish in Asia during this year.

If a Norwegian free-trade agreement with China collapses, the Norwegian fishing industry could lose about NOK 380 million a year, according to the newspaper.

Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, travels to Beijing for political talks already Monday.

She says there are no grounds for sanctions against Norway from the Chinese side.

Prize Winner’s Wife Disappear

Meanwhile, news agencies report Saturday that Mr. Xiaobo’s wife, who made comments to the press yesterday, seem to have have  disappeared.


Shang Baojun


According to Fox News, the mobile phone of, Liu Xia, was turned off Saturday as she was expected to be visiting the prison to meet her husband.

“She’s disappeared. We’re all worried about them,” Liu‘s lawyer, Shang Baojun, told The Associated Press on Saturday.


He says even Liu Xia’s mother had been unable to reach her.


Liu’s wife’s freedom of movement had been shrinking since the eve of the Nobel announcement, when she said police tried to get her out of Beijing, offering her a prison visit with Liu.

She instead planned to hold a news conference with reporters Friday night, but police would not let her leave her apartment.


Liu Xia


She was negotiating terms to visit Liu on Saturday and tell him the news.

Police often force political critics, religious dissenters and sometimes their family members to leave Beijing ahead of sensitive anniversaries, often putting them up in guesthouses and keeping them out-of-the-way for days and weeks.

Beth Schwanke with the Washington-based Freedom Now, an organization that serves as Liu’s international counsel, says, “We’re very concerned that the government might use this as a pretext for detaining her.”

“I think by the end of today if she has not reappeared, there will be a big brouhaha,” Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, says.


News Being Sencored

Chinese authorities appear to have jammed foreign news reports that Liu Xiaobo is the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Free Tibet reports.

Broadcasts of international TV programs across China were blacked out during reports about the prize, apparently in a bid to block the news from Chinese citizens.

A news program on NHK World Premium was blacked out on Friday afternoon while a report on Liu was being aired, and returned to normal when the story ended.

Other news organizations including CNN and BBC World were also blacked out during peace prize stories.

In China, the state-run Xinhua news agency and China Central Television have yet to report Liu has won the Nobel Peace Prize.



EU-US Top Leaders Agree To Meet In Lisboa On November 19th

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 19.08.10 at 16:47

The White House has confirms that US President Barack Obama will meet with EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso in Lisbon on November 19. and 20.  The summit agenda remains to be agreed, but the US statement indicates the talks will focus on the financial crisis, foreign policy and security.

“We are united in our effort to protect our people and promote global security by combating terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The White House

I guess the “weapons of mass destruction” is not referring to financial derivatives. However, the White House statement, released Tuesday also says: “Our economic relationship is vital to global prosperity and we are committed to co-operating to promote strong and sustained growth in our economies.”

“The US has no stronger partner than Europe in advancing security and prosperity around the world. The US and the European Union are currently working together to advance a broad agenda based on a common history, shared values and enduring ties,” the communique says.

“Our economic relationship is vital to global prosperity and we are committed to co-operating to promote strong and sustained growth in our economies,” it adds.

“We are united in our effort to protect our people and promote global security by combating terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

Crisis And Destabilization

The EU-Obama encounter comes after the White House embarrassed the then Spanish EU presidency earlier this year by canceling a summit in Madrid, the EUobserver writes.

It is not a reward for Portugal or the EU’s new Portuguese-born ambassador to Washington, however. “It’s purely a matter of convenience as the NATO event was already being held there,” an EU diplomatic source says.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the Belgian Prime Minister, Yves Leterme, will not take part in the meeting on behalf of the Belgian EU presidency, because EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy is the new face of the EU abroad.

Constance Stelzenmuller, a Berlin-based analyst with the German Marshall Fund think-tank, said the economic agenda should take in banking regulation, the balance between economic stimulus and austerity after the financial crisis and the stability of the euro zone.

“The US has a continuing interest in Europe’s political stability and future integration. These are a function of its economic health and of the euro’s health,” she says.

The International Crisis Group‘s Brussels-based expert, Alain Deletroz, urged the two sides to look at Kyrgyzstan alongside the top-line security concerns of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

“What we are seeing is that Kyrgyzstan is destabilizing the whole region and there is no political will from anybody to engage,” he says.

“The US are very frustrated with Europe because of its lack of will, lack of capabilities to position itself in the world. They don’t want to be alone out there, but whenever something happens, the EU looks divided.”

Russia Not Invited (Yet)

The larger NATO event, bringing together 28 leaders and, potentially, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, will take place over two days on November 19. and 20., and will focus on NATO’s internal reform.

The main item on the to-do list is the formal adoption of a new “Strategic Concept” – a 10-year plan for NATO  development described by one NATO official as “a sort of Bible” and currently being drafted by the office of NATO  secretary general Anders-Fogh Rasmussen.

“We haven’t decided yet whether to invite Russia. But the approval of the Strategic Concept will be of interest to them. We have also pressed the reset button with Russia and there are many issues to discuss,” the NATO contact says.

NATO members will also talk about cutbacks in the military alliance.

The NATO command structure and agencies currently employ 15,500 people.

The alliance costs €207.5 million a year to run, with a military budget of €1.2 billion for 2010 and an extra bill, this year, of €1.2 billion for a new headquarters in Brussels.

“All our members are looking at reducing their defense budgets after the financial crisis. This will have some repercussions on NATO,” the source adds.

However,  if the EU politicians manage to agree on the agenda for the summit, that would be a success in itself…

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Norway’s al-Queda: A Chinese Muslim, Some Baking Soda and Puff! There Goes Privacy…


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President Obama, Please Release Me, Let Me Go!

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 19.08.10 at 02:42

The US/Italian writer Anthony St. John is having some problems with the US/Italian bureaucracy. In fact, the problem has remained unsolved for 16 years. So, now he have written an open letter to the US President Barack Obama, asking for help. He’s really not asking for much, just to be released from his US citizenship:

“I ask you, President Obama, to instruct your muddleheaded dependents in the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze to cease lying to me and quit hiding behind bullet-proof glass.”

Anthony St. John

Some time ago I stumbled over some of Mr. St.John’s writing. I really don’t know much about him, but I have found his work quite fascinating, especially his essays on the Vietnam war.  But recently I discovered a letter addressed to the US president. A letter that tells the real life story of the 64 year old Anthony St. John,

Here’s the first part of the 15 pages letter:

“President Obama, Please Release Me, Let Me Go!”

“For I Do Not Love the DisUnited States of America Anymore!”


Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


United States


I hope this communication finds you, your wife and your children well.

On 27 March 1994 I reduced to ashes my United States’ passport and mailed a letter renouncing my DisUnited States’ citizenship. The passport had expired that day, and I had set it to flames so that no one could find it—stolen DisUnited States’ passports can fetch a handsome sum on the black market; the possibility—although remote—that mine might wind up in a terrorist’s hand, was not to my liking. It was also my intention, at that time, to make a dramatic gesture that would mirror my antipathy and help myself realize more the seriousness of my action.

At that point in time, I thought erroneously that my connection to the United States—which I had considered breaking for many years before—had become a fait accompli, at least in one authentic mode: I had dealt my own hand. It was not until years later that I would have come to realise that my abnegation was not in any sense “legitimate.” Since 27 March 1994 my swan song to the DisUnited States of America has been true-to-life only for me! When I dwelt at first on the newly-discovered realization, I was genuinely flabbergasted! I guessed then I would have to visit the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze (Florence, Italy) and submit to bureaucratic rigmarole! I was verily disgusted. I did not even have the democratic right to give up claim to my own citizenship! Worse, now that repudiation depended on dull, foggy-bottomed office workers set, in an aura of an institutionalized paranoia, behind bulletproof glass. I do not like to go to these sterile places. But I had to.

On 30 October 1997, I strolled to the consulate in Firenze and signed first an original of three papers and, after, two copied sets of them documenting my official request to cut the cord which binds me to my DisUnited States’ citizenship.

Your subordinates, true to form, did not disappoint me by not acting pettily. When I asked them for photocopies for me of the official papers, they refused to oblige. Very unkind. When I asked them if I was then now “officially” a non- DisUnited States’ citizen, the consul himself replied curtly: “99%.” Very not nice. When I asked him to explain, he told me it depended on whether or not the DisUnited States’

Department of State would be inclined to approve my solicitation; yet, he saw no reason to believe that Washington would not approve the pleading. I was informed that I would “probably” receive Washington’s official sanction in two weeks and it, then, would be dispatched to me by post.

Anthony St. John


On 16 May 2000, I called the consulate (055-239.82.76) to check on the status of my petition. Maria (“…the one handling your case…”) suggested I should re-submit my beseechment. I propounded that she make a photocopy of the original and send that to Washington: “No.” I must come into the consulate and sign again all the forms! I asked her to look further into the matter. She said “O.K.”; and , on her own, she promised she would call me back with her findings. Still today, no word from Maria.


Why all this delay? Why the false information? False promises? Why am I not allowed to renounce my own citizenship?

I ask you, President Obama, to instruct your muddleheaded dependents in the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze to cease lying to me and quit hiding behind bullet-proof glass.

If we must meet again, I will be happy to return to the consulate and sign “new” renunciation documents provided someone promises me that those official papers will be sent to me within thirty (30) days of my signing them.


Thank you.


Anthony St. John

Here’s a copy of the full 15 pages letter to Mr. Obama.



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