STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
DB Briefs: Is Obama on the Way Out? / Yemen's Tricky Ali Saleh / EU Crisis Is Real
By Staff News & Analysis - September 29, 2011

Is Obama on the Way Out? … A depressed president hooked on Google "vanity searches" … The mirror is disgusting … WMR has learned from government sources with close contacts inside the White House that media reports that The New York Times is developing a story on President Obama suffering from clinical depression are correct and that Obama is fixated on how the media, including certain web sites, view his presidency. WMR has previously reported on Obama's narcissistic personality and how it has adversely affected his leadership capabilities as president. – Wayne Madsen

Yemen's Tricky Ali Saleh … Yemen president accused of tricking Saudis …Yemen's president appears to have tricked his Saudi hosts when he unexpectedly returned home last week, exacerbating the stand-off between his regime and the country's pro-democracy protest movement. According to a senior US official, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, "bolted the kingdom under the pretence of going to the airport for something else". Neither the US nor the Saudis were aware of his planned departure, said the official, calling it a "clever, canny" trick by the president. – Financial Times

EU Crisis Is Real … Frau Merkel, it really is a euro crisis … Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, told German industry today that we are not facing "a euro crisis, but a debt crisis." She is wrong. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard/UK Telegraph

Is Obama on the Way Out?

A depressed president hooked on Google "vanity searches" … The mirror is disgusting … WMR has learned from government sources with close contacts inside the White House that media reports that The New York Times is developing a story on President Obama suffering from clinical depression are correct and that Obama is fixated on how the media, including certain web sites, view his presidency. WMR has previously reported on Obama's narcissistic personality and how it has adversely affected his leadership capabilities as president. – Wayne Madsen

Dominant Social Theme: Barack Obama is depressed and unsettled. Perhaps he ought to be a one-term president.

Free-Market Analysis: Wayne Madsen is an alternative news reporter and a former member of the US intelligence community. We sometimes have mixed feelings about his reports, but there is no doubting his aggressiveness and his "alternative" perspective.

When it comes to President Barack Obama, Madsen is starting to show signs of a fixation, albeit an understandable one. He believes that Obama has targeted him for death; upset over his reporting, Obama has perhaps given the go ahead for the CIA to reach out to Madsen to either intimidate or kill him. This has concentrated Madsen's mind and made him very angry. Obama is catching the brunt of his reportorial fury.

In this article Madsen takes it up a notch. He virtually accuses Obama of being mentally incompetent. "Obama's day usually begins by his conducting vanity searches on Google to see how he is being treated by both the mainstream media and political blogs," Madsen writes. "When he encounters negative articles, Obama flies off the handle in a rage punctuated by the use of foul language, according to sources close to the White House. Obama is reportedly totally obsessed with how the media is covering him."

What's the result? "[His handlers] have concluded the best current course of action is to keep Obama in the environment he handles best: the campaign trail where he is the focus of adulation by swooning crowds … Privately, some White House officials have expressed fear to Democratic Party officials and elected Democratic office holders around the nation that Obama is on the verge of a mental breakdown. The White House officials believe that only by putting Obama in front of adoring crowds in a carefully-orchestrated campaign mode can they buy time for the administration."

We have no idea whether Madsen's reporting is accurate or not. We have, however, noticed the beginnings of what we believe to be a subdominant social theme – that Obama is not an effective president and that he will lose the upcoming election.

We have noticed this meme percolating in the mainstream media, and Madsen is resolutely not a mainstream reporter. However, this article, with its negative tone and serious accusations, fits in with the larger thematic. The Anglosphere elite has a nasty habit of throwing overboard people who haven't performed up to expectation. Could it happen to Obama?


Yemen's Tricky Ali Saleh

Yemen president accused of tricking Saudis …Yemen's president appears to have tricked his Saudi hosts when he unexpectedly returned home last week, exacerbating the stand-off between his regime and the country's pro-democracy protest movement. According to a senior US official, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, "bolted the kingdom under the pretence of going to the airport for something else." Neither the US nor the Saudis were aware of his planned departure, said the official, calling it a "clever, canny" trick by the president. – Financial Times

Dominant Social Theme: Yemen has suffered under Saleh, but the US and Saudi Arabia are determined to make it right. They will help Yemen prosper.

Free-Market Analysis: We were very surprised when Saleh returned to Yemen, having understood that this was not at all what the US and Saudi Arabia – which were trying unsuccessfully to run Yemen on their own – had in mind regarding the truculent president.

Saleh is nothing but a "strongman," and his presence back in Yemen is likely bound to end in tears. There are few if any reprises for dictators, especially elderly ones. There are 35 tribes of some power in Yemen but only a handful are joyful at Saleh's return which likely presages a form of civil war.

Now apparently we learn that Saleh "tricked" his Saudi Arabian hosts, and that is how he ended up back in Yemen. The Financial Times article indicates that either he told the Saudis he had decided to move to Ethiopia, or that he went to the airport on the pretence of seeing off other Yemeni officials. Either way he ended up in Yemen – and his own people are denying any subterfuge.

Saleh's comeback, however, is inconvenient both for the US and Saudi Arabia. He is a polarizing force that will likely remind Yemen's tribes that both the US and Saudi Arabia backed him for three decades – a seeming eternity that has left Yemen something of an economic basket case.

With Saleh out of the country, there was perhaps a chance that the US and Saudi Arabia could participate in setting up a power sharing situation that would have allowed both countries a say in how Yemen is governed going forward. But with Saleh back in town, positions will harden considerably and likely there is far more chance for violence. Saleh has already promised violence and he is adept at delivering it.

Ultimately, Saleh will not likely help his chances or his family's chances for continued rule, as his presence in Yemen will actually exacerbate the situation. He might have had a better chance of perpetuating some of his reign from outside of the country, but he is a stubborn man and he is said to be furious with both America and Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately, Saleh's presence will likely be a negative factor not only for his own hopes for a continuation of power but also as regards his erstwhile sponsors. With Saleh back in town, Yemen's future just became a whole lot more unpredictable. And as we have pointed out before, if Yemen is destabilized, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia become much more vulnerable. Saleh's return to Yemen is a very big deal, even if its not being reported that way.


EU Crisis Is Real

Frau Merkel, it really is a euro crisis … Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, told German industry today that we are not facing "a euro crisis, but a debt crisis." She is wrong. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard/UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: The euro and the EU are symptomatic of something else, but we can still save both if we work hard enough.

Free-Market Analysis: The point that the UK Telegraph's business editor is making in this article is that excuses about the Eurozone are just that – excuses. The euro especially is fundamentally flawed and its presence has turned what would otherwise have been a minor problem into a major one.

Evans-Pritchard makes this point quite clear in his blog article (editorial, actually), as follows: "Total levels of private and sovereign debt in the eurozone are lower than in the UK, the US, and far lower than in Japan," he writes. "Greece's debt levels are around 250pc of GDP, at the lower end of the developed world. Spain's sovereign debt is admirably modest at around 65pc. Italy's household debt level is the envy of the rich world. It has a primary budget surplus. Italy has many problems, but the budget deficit is not one of them. So why is there such a destructive and long-festering crisis in the eurozone?"

The answer of course is that countries cannot administer their own monetary policies anymore. The problems of the PIGS, which began in 2008, would be ancient history by now if not for the euro and EU. Spain, Greece, et. al would have done what done such countries always do when they get into trouble – they would have devalued their currency.

Currency devaluation is the only way out of the fiat money, paper-printing trap. It spreads the loss of buying power across all people and institutions equally. No one can complain because there are no negotiations. Everybody takes a whacking equally.

But not anymore. Because of the European Central Bank, the PIGS can't make a move. They can't inflate further, can't devalue – they can't do anything but negotiate endlessly with other power players in the EU – none of whom have much more latitude than the PIGS.

No one has the necessary clout to move the situation forward – no matter what excuses Angela Merkel makes. It wasn't supposed to be that way, of course. The European masses, panicked by a monetary crisis, were to have proven cooperative when it came to handing over more power to the EU – political power, that is. But instead, informed and angered by the Internet, the Europeans have been protesting vigorously. Nothing is going smoothly.

It could be of course that the powers that be are looking for a total unraveling of the EU at this point – a financial catastrophe that will be deep enough to allow for an extensive fiscal, monetary and political restructuring. On the other hand, it could be that the current blossoming of what we call the Internet Reformation has taken the powers-that-be by surprise. Perhaps there was no Plan B. Evans-Pritchard seems to think so.

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