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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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McCaul: Put Russian boots on the ground in Syria

Rep. Michael McCaul says he hopes Russian troops will take the lead on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria.

Praising the U.S-Russia accord on Syria, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Russia has the most leverage to successfully disarm Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "is in a unique position, rather than the president, to get this done.” McCaul told said on "Fox New Sunday." “He’s now come forward as a leader and he owns this.”

McCaul, a Texas Republican and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) agreed that while the U.S. should be involved in verifying that the chemical weapons had been eliminated, no U.S. troops should be deployed in Syria.


Sounds good to me

NHK: Rising Kamo River in Kyoto prompts extended evac order now affecting 268,000+ people.

@W7VOA: NHK: Rising Kamo River in Kyoto prompts extended evac order now affecting 268,000+ people. Officials request JSDF dispatch. #ManYi

In Japanese

@WSJ: Breaking: Geithner remains firm that he will not be considered for Fed chairmanship

@WSJ: Breaking: Geithner remains firm that he will not be considered for Fed chairmanship http://t.co/tYCeELTJqc

This is really the guy that Obama wants.

Some CA insurance exchanges keep rates low by offering 1/3rd of doctors available to employer plans

To see the challenges awaiting some consumers, consider Woodland Hills-based insurer Health Net Inc.

Across Southern California the company has the lowest rates, with monthly premiums as much as $100 cheaper than the closest competitor in some cases. That will make it a popular choice among some of the 1.4 million Californians expected to purchase coverage in the state exchange next year.

But Health Net also has the fewest doctors, less than half what some other companies are offering in Southern California, according to a Times analysis of insurance data.

In Los Angeles County, for instance, Health Net customers in the state exchange would be limited to 2,316 primary-care doctors and specialists. That's less than a third of the doctors Health Net offers to workers on employer plans. In San Diego, there are only 204 primary-care doctors to serve Health Net patients.


Fed candidates now include Janet Yellen, Donald Kohn, and Roger Ferguson

@ezraklein: Fed candidates now include Janet Yellen, Donald Kohn, and Roger Ferguson, and should include Stan Fischer: http://t.co/siubtd344M

The $4 trillion question now (that is roughly the size of the Fed balance sheet the next chairman will inherit) is what the president does now.

He could appoint Janet Yellen, the current vice-chair, who is respected in markets and academia and has a resume that seems tailor-made for the Fed job. She would also be the first female Fed chair in the 100-year history of the institution. Here is more on Yellen, and why the White House has been less than enthusiastic about making her arguably the most powerful economic policymaker on earth. And while appointing her would in many ways be the safest move, it also would amount to a bit of an embarrassment for the White House. It would have a clear appearance of going for their second choice candidate.

Another option would be the third name that President Obama has mentioned for the Fed chairmanship in meetings with Congressional allies: Donald L. Kohn. Kohn was the No. 2 official at the Fed until 2010 and a key lieutenant of current chairman Ben Bernanke during the financial crisis. Here are the eight things you should know about Kohn.

If, with Summers out of the picture, the president decides he doesn't want to appoint either Yellen or Kohn, who does that leave? Tim Geithner has long been a favored White House choice, but has also sent clear-as-day signals that he does not want the job.

That leaves dark horse candidates: Roger Ferguson. Stan Fischer. Jeremy Stein. Other players to be named later.


Click on link to get more into on candidates.

Meet The Syrian Group Behind The Case For War

“We’re really acting as an extension of the United States Government.” A look inside the Syrian Emergency Task Force, the advocacy group working behind the scenes to shape U.S. Syria policy.
posted on September 14, 2013 at 10:35am EDT

Elizabeth O’Bagy, the controversial young researcher formerly with the Institute for the Study of War, was thrust into the media spotlight when her work was cited in congressional testimony and her previously undisclosed ties to an advocacy organization emerged. By the next week she had lost her job. Citing a misrepresentation of her credentials, ISW terminated her employment by close of business Tuesday.

The dust up began last week when both Senator John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry cited O’Bagy’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by name as they laid out their arguments for intervention in Syria during hearings on Capitol Hill. Both lawmakers and the WSJ referred to O’Bagy as simply a researcher with ISW. What they did not mention were O’Bagy’s ties to another organization: The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a small pro-opposition advocacy group based in Washington, lobbying the U.S. government to intervene in Syria.

Throughout the original controversy surrounding O’Bagy’s political ties, she said her research and her work with SETF were “completely separate.” However she admitted that she and SETF sometimes held joint meetings with lawmakers and that occasionally her work with SETF benefited her in the field with greater access inside Syria.


But Allam also said she detected a gradual change in O’Bagy’s statements over time: “Her initial findings were extremely informative to me and many other journalists.” As the crisis in Syria wore on, however, Allam said O’Bagy began to display more overt support and sympathy for the Syrian opposition, while acknowledging problems among the rebel ranks.

When Allam saw O’Bagy’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, she was shocked: “It not only contradicted what virtually every other astute observer of the conflict said, but also was at odds with some of her own assessments that she’d provided to McClatchy in interviews.”


Less than one third of the opposition forces are "palatable" to Britain...less for US.

Opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria now number around 100,000 fighters, but after more than two years of fighting they are fragmented into as many as 1,000 bands.

The new study by IHS Jane's, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists - who would include foreign fighters - fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda.

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

The stark assessment, to be published later this week, accords with the view of Western diplomats estimate that less than one third of the opposition forces are "palatable" to Britain, while American envoys put the figure even lower.


US Dollar Instantly Weakens On News Of Larry Summers Withdrawing From Fed Chair Consideration

The big news right now is that Larry Summers is withdrawing his name from candidacy for Fed Chair.

Summers withdrew from consideration in a letter to President Obama citing the likely acrimonious nature of any Senate nominating process.

Of the candidates to replace Bernanke, Summers was seen as the most "hawkish", meaning not inclined to use monetary stimulus to boost the economy.

With Summers out, the likely next chief (perhaps Yellen) would be relatively more dovish, and as such the US dollar is weakening on the news.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dollar-instantly-weakens-on-news-of-larry-summers-fed-chair-withdrawal-2013-9#ixzz2ezukMa5K

BIS veteran says global credit excess worse than pre-Lehman

Extreme forms of credit excess across the world have reached or surpassed levels seen shortly before the Lehman crisis five years ago, the Bank for International Settlements has warned.

The Swiss-based `bank of central banks’ said a hunt for yield was luring investors en masse into high-risk instruments, “a phenomenon reminiscent of exuberance prior to the global financial crisis”.

This is happening just as the US Federal Reserve prepares to wind down stimulus and starts to drain dollar liquidity from global markets, an inflexion point that is fraught with danger and could go badly wrong.

“This looks like to me like 2007 all over again, but even worse,” said William White, the BIS’s former chief economist, famous for flagging the wild behaviour in the debt markets before the global storm hit in 2008.

“All the previous imbalances are still there. Total public and private debt levels are 30pc higher as a share of GDP in the advanced economies than they were then, and we have added a whole new problem with bubbles in emerging markets that are ending in a boom-bust cycle,” said Mr White, now chairman of the OECD’s Economic Development and Review Committee.


Mike Morell: Syrian chaos to be feared

“I fear the breakup of the state of Syria,” Morell told John Miller, saying that collapse of the Middle Eastern nation could provide “an opportunity for Al Qaeda to have a safe haven” comparable to the one it once enjoyed in Afghanistan.

Because of concern about the potential for the area to become a hotbed of radical Islam, Morell said the best resolution would be a negotiated settlement to the civil war raging there.

“It’s gonna take the institution of the Syrian military and the institutions of the Syrian security services to defeat Al Qaeda when this is done. And every day that goes by, every day that goes by, those institutions are eroded,” he told Miller.

He said the best way to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table would be to provide just enough support to the opposition that they could pose a credible threat to Bashar Assad’s regime.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/mike-morell-syria-96815.html#ixzz2ezWRSxQU
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