The national debt has surged more than half a trillion dollars in the last three weeks, as the suspension of the debt ceiling in late October has allowed the government to borrow as much as it wants.
Before the debt ceiling was suspended, the national debt stood at $18.15 trillion. But over the last 22 days, it soared $578 billion.
As of Friday, total national debt stood at $18.72 trillion.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., marked the spike in debt late last week, when he warned that the debt has jumped by more than $8 trillion under President Obama’s watch.
“This is over $8 trillion in debt our nation, our economy, and our children could have avoided with a balanced budget amendment,” Coffman said last week.
The surge also appears to have members of the public increasingly worried. On Sunday, it was reported that the Treasury Department received a check for $2.2 million from an anonymous donor to pay down the national debt.
The national debt is made up of two big piles of government IOUs. One of these piles is debt held by the public, which has grown by about $430 billion in the last three weeks.
The other pile is intragovernmental holdings, which is money the government borrows from other government accounts to make ends meet. Those IOUs have grown by about $140 billion over the last three weeks.
With just about a year left in office, Obama is on pace to leave the next president with between $19 and $20 trillion in debt.
BY CHARLIE SPIERING
President Obama insists his plan to defeat Islamic State terrorists is working, he’s warning Americans that fear would only help the terrorists.
“We will not give in to fear, or start turning on each other, or treating some people differently because of religion or race or background,” he said during a press conference in Malaysia. “That wouldn’t just be a betrayal of our values, it would also feed ISIL’s propaganda.”
Obama spent all of last week traveling through Asian countries to promote his Trans-Pacific Trade deal and a campaign against climate change, but was repeatedly forced to discuss his strategy against ISIS in multiple press conferences with world leaders.
His first press conference in response to the attacks in Paris was widely considered to be disastrous, as he appeared annoyed by reporters who repeatedly questioned his dispassionate demeanor.
On Synday, however, Obama emphasized the strength of the international coalition committed to fighting ISIS and tried to restore confidence in his ability to destroy the network through a carefully executed air campaign. He argued that ISIS was not winning, although it is spreading fear across the world.
“That’s the very nature of terrorism –they can’t beat us on the battlefield, so they try to terrorize us into being afraid, into changing our patterns of behavior, into panicking, into abandoning our allies and partners, into retreating from the world,” he said. “And as President, I will not let that happen.”
But Obama’s rhetoric only goes so far.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 83 percent of registered voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack in the United States is likely. Sixty percent back more ground forces against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Fifty-seven percent in the poll signaled disapproval of Obama’s response to ISIS.
During his press conference, Obama repeatedly urged Americans not to be afraid of the terrorist threat posed by ISIS, calling them “a bunch of killers with good social media.”
“We cannot respond from fear,” he said. “And the American people, in the past, have confronted some very real, enormous threats, and we beat them. We vanquished them. This will be no different.”
Obama recalled the attacks on 9/11, pointing out that America overcame the terror that terrorists tried to inflict on the country, even as he suggested that political leaders made mistakes in response to the attacks.
“I think we made some bad decisions subsequent to that attack in part based on fear, and that’s why we have to be cautious about it,” he warned. “We have to think things through.”
The president has come under fire for refusing to escalate military operations in response to the the terrorist attacks in Paris, choosing instead the highlight the plight of Syria refugees.
Obama is expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the military campaign against ISIS.
President Obama on Tuesday, condemned ISIS and its “murderous ideology.”
Obama: This barbaric terrorist group, ISIL, or Daesh, and its murderous ideology, pose a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed, and we must do it together. It is a scourge that threatens all of us.
His condemnation comes after he downplayed ISIS as “contained” and only “killers with social media.”
Obama: Well I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that, from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq.
Sadly, it turns out that if you’re willing to die you can kill a lot of people. They’re a bunch of killers with good social media.
After he labeled ISIS a threat, Obama shared what he believes will rebuke ISIS.
Obama: Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.
Do you think Obama is committed to stopping ISIS? Share and comment below.
During the regular press briefing, Mark Toner said the Syrian government did not have such a right, though.
When asked by RT’s Gayane Chichakyan if the State Department considered the rebels who reportedly killed the Russian pilots “moderates,” Toner replied:
“We’ve seen conflicting reports. One pilot may not have been killed. If these ‘Turkomen’ were actually being attacked by Russian strikes, they have every right to defend themselves.”
AP’s diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee asked a follow up question.
“Doesn’t that apply to everyone, not just rebels backed by West? Including the Assad regime?”
What the Assad regime was doing “is not self-defense,” Toner countered, arguing that the government in Damascus responded to “peaceful protests with four years of terror.”
When other reporters questioned his description of the Syrian conflict as a “peaceful protest,” Toner brushed them off by saying that “everyone in this room knows what happened.”
Toner repeated several times that Washington stood by Turkey as a NATO ally, and its “right to protect its sovereign airspace”, while refusing to comment on the specifics of this morning’s downing of a Russian jet because, by his admission, he had no details yet.
The State Department spokesman confirmed the US was supplying TOW missiles – seen in a video purportedly showing the rebels destroying a Russian search-and-rescue helicopter – to the “moderates” in northern Syria who were supposedly battling Islamic State forces.
Another revelation at the briefing on Tuesday was that the “de-confliction” mechanism established between the US and Russia last month to avoid clashes in the skies over Syria did not apply to any other members of the US-led coalition.
Asked by Chichakyan if the State Department would condemn the rebels’ use of US-supplied missiles against a Russian rescue helicopter, Toner replied that Syria was a “very complex environment.”
Repeating that Russia was supporting Assad and directing airstrikes against the “moderate Syrian opposition,” he said that this only increased the urgency to speed up the political transition, so that everyone could focus on fighting Islamic State.
Three steps as announced by top brass:
- Each and every strike groups’ operation is to be carried out under the guise of fighter jets
- Air defense to be boosted with the deployment of Moskva guided missile cruiser off Latakia coast with an aim to destroy any target that may pose danger
- Military contacts with Turkey to be suspended
Sergey Rudskoy, a top official with the Russian General Staff, condemned the attack on the Russian bomber in Syrian airspace by a Turkish fighter jet as “a severe violation of international law”. He stressed that the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory. The crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, he said.
Rudskoy said the Russian warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber.
The Turkish fighter jet made no attempts to contact Russian pilots before attacking the bomber, Rudskoy added.
“We assume the strike was carried out with a close range missile with an infra-red seeker,” Rudskoy said. “The Turkish jet made no attempts to communicate or establish visual contact with our crew that our equipment would have registered. The Su-24 was hit by a missile over Syria’s territory.”
Russia now plans to implement new measures aimed at strengthening the security of the country’s air base in Syria and in particular to bolster air defense.
Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the ‘Fort’ air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province’s coast.
“We warn that every target posing a potential threat will be destroyed,” lieutenant general Sergey Rudskoy said during the briefing.
The Moskva (‘Moscow’) missile cruise is a flagship vessel of the Russian Black Sea fleet and is one of the fleet’s two biggest ships. The cruiser was stationed in Sevastopol but left in summer 2015 after being deployed to the Mediterranean Sea where it joined Russia’s standing naval force in the Mediterranean.
Since September 30, the Moskva cruiser acts as a covering force for the Russian air forces in Syria while deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.
“All military contacts with Turkey will be suspended,” Rudskoy added.
Turkey claims that it downed the Russian bomber in Turkish airspace after the plane was given 10 warnings in the space of five minutes as it approached the country’s territory.
“Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
“The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close,” another senior Turkish official told Reuters.
“Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly.”
US President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande urged Russia and Turkey away from further escalation during a meeting in Washington, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg voiced the alliance’s support for Turkey.
A US military spokesman also said that the incident involves only Turkey and Russia and does not affect the US-led campaign in Syria, which will continue “as planned”.
Reports in Syria surfaced on Tuesday evening indicating that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted strikes on a base belonging to the Iran terror proxy Hezbollah.
The base that was targeted was located in the mountainous Qalamoun border region between Lebanon and Syria, according to the reports cited by Walla.
Qalamoun has long been a key point for transferring weapons, both for rebels fighting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah fighting to prop up Assad.