Friday, July 29, 2016

Today's links

Today's Quote:  "This political evolution of the Democratic Party is not merely the matter of machinations within the party leadership and the state apparatus. It has a social base within a privileged social layer that has moved sharply to the right, providing a new constituency for war and imperialism. The systematic fixation on the issues of race, gender and sexual orientation—deliberately opposed to that of class—has provided a key ideological foundation for this reactionary turn.....The convention in Philadelphia has exposed a party that is moving in direct opposition to, and preparing for a confrontation with, a growing radicalization of the American working class". WSWS



1--GDP Shocker: US Economy Grew Only 1.2% In Second Quarter; Q1 Revised To 0.8%

The Obama economy gripped by inertia


2--Yen, bond yields rise as Bank of Japan action underwhelms


The BOJ modestly increased purchases of ETFs, but maintained its base money target at 80 trillion yen ($775 billion) and the pace of purchases of other assets, including Japanese government bonds. The central bank also held at 0.1 percent the interest it charges to a portion of excess reserves that financial institutions leave with the central bank. The dollar fell 1.8 percent to 103.35 yen JPY=, its biggest one-day decline since June 24 - the day after the UK's decision to leave the European Union - having earlier fallen below 103.00.


3--The "Forever" Depression-- The Atlanta Fed just slashed its GDP outlook


The Atlanta Fed, in its closely watched GDPNow indicator, on Thursday cut its forecast to 1.8 percent, a sharp reduction from the 2.3 percent expectation just a day earlier. Wall Street economists project the number to come in around 2.6 percent, according to FactSet.

If the Fed number is correct, that would put average growth for the first half of 2016 at just 1.45 percent, and just shy of 1.6 percent over the past four quarters.
As recently as May 31, the Fed tracker was looking for a growth rate of 2.9 percent, but that's been on a steady decline since


4-- Homeownership rate drops to lowest point on record


Rising home prices in an economy of stagnant wages (for the lower 80%) have pushed entry-level homes out of reach for many people....

The Census Bureau, which has been tracking homeownership rates in its data series going back to 1965 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, just reported that in the second quarter 2016, the homeownership rate dropped to 62.9%, the lowest point on record.

It matches the low point in Q1 and Q2 of 1965 when the data series began. At no time in between did it ever fall this low. And it was down half a percentage point from 63.4% a year ago.

The relentless slide has lasted for 12 years, from its peak of 69.2% in Q4 2004, which was when the Greenspan Fed’s low interest rates were boosting speculation in the housing sector, and prices were going haywire. At the time, the concept of “home” had already become an asset class that can never lose money, financialized and later shorted by Wall Street, subsidized by government agencies, and backstopped by the Fed....

The fact that Housing Bubble 2 in most urban areas is now even more magnificent than the prior housing bubble that blew up with such fanfare, even while real incomes have stagnated for all but the top earners, is a sign that the Fed has succeeded elegantly in pumping up nearly all asset prices to achieve its “wealth effect,” come heck or high water. In this ingenious manner, it has “healed” the housing market.

5--IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece


(policies driven by ideology not economics)
The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.

“Before the launch of the euro, the IMF’s public statements tended to emphasise the advantages of the common currency," it said. Some staff members warned that the design of the euro was fundamentally flawed but they were overruled.
“After a heated internal debate, the view supportive of what was perceived to be Europe’s political project ultimately prevailed,” it said.

This pro-EMU bias continued to corrupt their thinking for years. “The IMF remained upbeat about the soundness of the European banking system and the quality of banking supervision in euro-area countries until after the start of the global financial crisis in mid-2007. This lapse was largely due to the IMF’s readiness to take the reassurances of national and euro area authorities at face value,” it said....

At root was a failure to grasp the elemental point that currency unions with no treasury or political union to back them up are inherently vulnerable to debt crises. States facing a shock no longer have sovereign tools to defend themselves. Devaluation risk is switched into bankruptcy risk.

“In a monetary union, the basics of debt dynamics change as countries forgo monetary policy and exchange rate adjustment tools,” said the report. This would be amplified by a “vicious feedback between banks and sovereigns”, each taking the other down. That the IMF failed to anticipate any of this was a serious scientific and professional failure. (A ridiculous lie. Numerous essays and articles were written about these issues as the crisis unfolded. This is an obvious coverup to conceal the IMF's role is bailing out the French and German banks that benefited from the bailouts.)

6--Philadelphia vs. Cleveland: Divided We Stand


Do Americans share Philadelphia’s belief in Clinton’s greatness and in the magisterial achievements of the Obama presidency?
Let us see. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe Clinton should have been indicted; 67 percent believe she is neither trustworthy nor honest. And 75 percent of Americans think that, under Obama, the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

After Cleveland, Trump took a 62-23 lead among white high school graduates, those who constitute a disproportionate share of our cops, firemen, soldiers and Marines — and those interred in Arlington National Cemetery

7--The "lost war" drags on--US-trained Afghan forces keep losing territory to Taliban – US govt report


8--Lesson in US foreign policy?--Coup D'Etat: Untold Story of Washington Leaving Its Friends in the Lurch


...no matter how hard US allies try to abide by the rules set by Washington, they may eventually find themselves abandoned by their US patrons.

9--'Battle of Aleppo Would Have Been Long Over if Not for the US'


...government troops are moving ever closer to imposing a military blockade on rebel suburbs in eastern Aleppo.

Formerly, the Castello road served as the last supply line to thousands of Islamist insurgents in Aleppo.

Vzglyad notes that the balance of military forces on the ground and the configuration of the front line show that neither al-Nusra nor any other jihadist units trapped in Aleppo are able to break out of the trap as their supply routes with other militants in the Anadan Valley or in Idlib have been fully cut off....

In reality, the outlet says, al-Nusra and Fatah Halab are coordinating their operations in Aleppo and it’s simply impossible to identify which particular group is operating at a certain time.

The US is either intentionally “playing games” with the local units, or really does not understand that it is being manipulated, the website says, adding that the latter is quite possible as the CIA and its army intelligence may really be unable to figure out what is happening on the ground.

10--The al Qaida name-change fiasco


the Middle East Eye revealed that al-Nusra Front would change its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, citing sources within the terrorist organization.
Interestingly enough, the sources also added that al-Nusra Front would lose its access to al-Qaeda's funds. However, the claim has been immediately thrown into question by experts.

The media outlet cited Mohamed Okda, an expert who has been involved in negotiating with Syrian rebel groups. Okda pointed to the fact that al-Nusra Front is mostly funded by private Gulf donors. He also stressed that the separation is not ideological but "organizational."

"They might be severing relations with al-Qaeda as an organization. [But] they are not breaking up with the ideology of al-Qaeda," he underscored, adding that the re-branding is aimed at attracting groups like Ahrar ash-Sham under its wing....

al-Nusra Front's announcement is de facto a pretext to "save" part of the jihadist group from the Russian Aerospace Forces' airstrikes.

11--Obama's legacy


Obama, who was swept into office on a wave of popular antiwar sentiment, will enjoy the dubious distinction of being the first president to keep the US at war throughout two full terms in office.
He has continued the wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq, while launching a new one that toppled the government and decimated the society of Libya; engineering a proxy war for regime change that now includes US troops deployed in Syria; and carrying out attacks in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and beyond.

With its “pivot to Asia” and steady buildup of US-NATO forces in Eastern Europe, Washington’s military might has been increasingly directed against Russia and China, in a relentless quest for global hegemony that poses the growing danger of a third world war.

Obama’s administration will also be remembered for its vast expansion of drone warfare, targeted assassinations and kill lists, along with vicious attacks on civil liberties and the militarization of America’s police....

This formula was on full display at the Philadelphia convention, where identity politics—the promotion of race, gender and sexual orientation as the defining features of political and social life—was woven directly into an unabashed celebration of American militarism.
This found carefully crafted expressions in Obama’s speech, including his declaration that “our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service,” a claim that could be made on behalf of another “all volunteer” imperialist fighting force, the French Foreign Legion.

He went on to state, “When we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just… ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.”
The US military had long been a bastion of fanatical homophobia, with over 114,000 service members forced out, with dishonorable discharges, over the issue between World War II and the scrapping of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. That allowing gays into the military would erode discipline had been an article of faith for the US command.

Central to support for changing this policy was the recognition, within both the ruling political establishment and decisive layers of the military brass, that it would prove politically useful in winning support for the military among a privileged upper middle class layer that had identified with the politics of American liberalism.

The message at the convention was explicit: “These are your troops. These are your wars. They are being fought in your interests

12--Syrian War Report – July 28, 2016: Major Gains of Pro-Government Forces in Aleppo


13--Russian minister: Turkish Stream pipeline becoming more attractive


14--US general is on side of coup plotters: Erdoğan


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed comments by the head of U.S. national intelligence for suggesting that crackdowns in the Turkish military after the failed July 15 coup had harmed the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying the statements showed that he was “on the side of the plotters.”

“The U.S. general [Joseph Votel] stands on the coup plotters’ side with his words. He disclosed himself via his statements,” Erdoğan said during a visit to the Gölbaşı Special Operations Department in Ankara, where bombing by coup plotting soldiers killed scores of police officers.

“Is it up to you to decide on this? Who are you? Instead of thanking the state for repelling the coup attempt, you stand with the coup plotters. The coup plotter is in your country. You are nurturing him there; it’s out in the open,” he said, referring to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania and who is believed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to have masterminded the failed coup attempt

15--Coup suspects confess Gülen links to the attempt



17--NBC false reporting on coup??


On July 15, 2016, as an attempted coup unfolded in Turkey, NBC began to report and then circulate widely that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had fled the country by air and was requesting asylum in Germany.  NBC attributed the false report to its senior US military official- MSNBC Producer Kyle Griffin’s tweet stated, “senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany.” The story has been deleted from NBC and related sites since being debunked. Newsbud sources have identified General Campbell as the likely NBC News’ Senior Military Official source in this strategically broadcasted false story.

On Monday, July 25, the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. sent its official request for public retraction and apology to the relevant divisions at NBC News. A few hours after that, Newsbud’s founder and Editor Sibel Edmonds received direct e-mail communication from the MSNBC Producer involved … Watch the video for related developments and updates in Newsbud’s Campaign #ConfrontNBC.

18--Turkey coup, Brookings


Turkey—literally the bridge between Europe and Asia—sometimes seems of two minds on governance issues. On the one hand, its leaders express a commitment to a Western form of governance based on the rule of law, liberal democracy, transparency, and accountability. On the other—and more in the vein of governance styles in Russia, Iran, and China—they sometimes reject what they see as outside interference, restrict civil liberties and government transparency, and promote a heavy state role in the economy. ....

if Turkey seems to be moving away from Western norms, is it also moving away from the West? Possibly. In November 2013—after years of stop-and-go accession talks with the EU—Erdoğan sought Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for accepting Turkey into Eurasian organizations like the Shanghai Five. That could be a big geostrategic gain for Russia, something not lost on the Russian press.

Western Europe and the United States would be the biggest losers if Turkey moved closer to Russia’s camp. Losing their partnership with Turkey would deliver a serious blow to the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, for one thing. But it would also further dim prospects that Turkey might really embrace Western-style democracy any time soon. As Ted Piccone has written, Turkey has the potential to be a linchpin of the liberal international order—and a long-term downturn in the country could have wide detrimental effects in regional and global governance. 

19--America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)  Hillary's gameplan, the forever war


“As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region…

Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia…

The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia…and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Today's Links

Today's Quote: “The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly ‘socialist’ campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.” (“Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?”, July 16, 2015), Tom Hall, WSWS


"Being a woman, or for that matter a gay or transgender person, does not alter the objective class role one plays as the chief executive of the American imperialist state, presiding over brutal wars abroad and grinding poverty and inequality at home." WSWS


Citi has forecast a "gradual shift towards helicopter money" by advanced economies, as countries struggle to boost growth and inflation in uncertain geopolitical climes.
The bank's report came as the Bank of Japan started a two-day meeting on Thursday, after which it is widely expected to launch another major stimulus program. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen announcing a fiscal stimulus package as well, which a report by news agency Jiji put at 28 trillion yen ($267 billion).

That could be viewed as a move towards helicopter money, defined by Citi as a "temporary fiscal stimulus financed by a permanent monetary expansion." Others define it simply as central banks injecting cash directly into the real economy.

Amid large uncertainties, the policy outlook is once again of major importance. In our view, there is a gradual shift in policy orientation towards helicopter money," Citi analysts including Chief Economist Willem Buiter said in a report on Wednesday.
Citi forecasts "moderate further easing" by the Bank of Japan this week and a new round of a quantitative easing from the Bank of England (BoE) next month.

2--Who's first with the helicopters


3--If Everything Is So Great, Then Why Do Two-Thirds Of Americans Say The Country Is On The Wrong Track?

4--Sanders post mortem: The end of the Sanders campaign: The political lessons


With his support for the nomination of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, the campaign of Bernie Sanders has come to an ignominious end. What could be added that would be a more devastating political exposure of his role than Sanders’ own statements and actions over the past week in Philadelphia?

On Monday, Sanders berated his own delegates, who booed him at an event outside the convention hall, defending his endorsement by declaring, “This is the real world we live in.” By this he meant a “real world” that excludes any opposition to the two candidates put forward by the Democratic and Republican parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Sanders’ “political revolution” against the “billionaire class” has turned out to be a defense of the status quo and the two-party system.

In his speech to the convention later that night, Sanders heaped praise upon his former opponent in the primary campaign, portraying the candidate, whom he had criticized for her intimate ties to Wall Street, as a progressive ally of working people. He also praised the Obama administration, which has overseen the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in American history.
Sanders continued his political striptease on Tuesday night during the nominating process, when he rose from the floor to call for suspending the roll call vote, in favor of declaring Clinton the nominee by acclamation.

Nothing remains of the Sanders campaign except hollow slogans and deceitful phrases...

To cite only some of the most important statements produced over the past year, the WSWS wrote:
  • “The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly ‘socialist’ campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.” (“Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?”, July 16, 2015)....

From the “populist” campaign of William Jennings Bryan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, through the campaigns of Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich in the 1980s and 1990s, the Democrats have used “outsider” campaigns to provide themselves with political credibility and contain opposition. This is to say nothing of the fact that Sanders himself pledged at the start of his campaign to back the eventual Democratic Party nominee.

From the beginning, the Sanders campaign has been backed by a whole host of political enablers in the pseudo-left, who sought to promote illusions, either by actively campaigning for him or by criticizing him on tactical grounds, while solidarizing with his politics. Like Sanders, the groups that operate around the Democratic Party and the trade unions are opposed to the emergence of an independent movement of the working class and direct all of their efforts to prevent it.

Groups like Socialist Alternative, Solidarity, the International Socialist Organization, the Young Democratic Socialists and the Green Party are meeting in Philadelphia at the Socialist Convergence conference at the same time as the Democratic convention. Without giving any political accounting for what they themselves wrote yesterday, they are moving on to build the next political trap for the working class, in the Green Party campaign of Jill Stein, who scarcely a month ago offered Sanders her spot on the Green Party ticket

5--Democratic convention: Obama piles on more lies


Needless to say, words such as “drone assassination,” “Guantanamo,” “indefinite detention,” “NSA spying” and “Wall Street bailout” were not to be heard.

In its sheer cynicism and dishonesty, Obama’s speech was entirely in line with the convention as a whole. It has been a nonstop exercise in deception, with the central lie being the pretense that the Democratic Party—a capitalist party of war and reaction, controlled from top to bottom by the corporate-financial elite in alliance with the military and the CIA—is somehow a vehicle of human progress devoted to the interests of the people...

Vice President Joe Biden...concluded with the declaration: “The 21st Century is going to be the American Century. We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line. May God protect our troops.”

This appeal to chauvinism and militarism was combined with endless evocations of race, gender and sexual orientation, the political axis of the Democratic Party and the basis for lining up privileged middle-class layers behind American imperialism's savage wars of aggression, in return for the promise of a bigger share of the spoils from neocolonial plunder and the impoverishment of workers within the US....

Being a woman, or for that matter a gay or transgender person, does not alter the objective class role one plays as the chief executive of the American imperialist state, presiding over brutal wars abroad and grinding poverty and inequality at home

6--The political bankruptcy of filmmaker Michael Moore and his “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win”   Excellent


7--Buying Longer Bonds Holds Danger


8--Japanese ‘Helicopter Money’ Prospect Has Yen Traders On Edge 

 

The possibility of fresh stimulus from Japan is intensifying investor scrutiny of one of the most eventful relationships in financial markets this year, the yen-dollar exchange rate...

The Bank of Japan 8301 -1.66 % is expected at its meeting on Friday to spell out its latest aggressive effort to revive inflation and economic growth. Investors say any letdown could roil markets dominated by investments that would benefit from yen depreciation.

The yen has surged more than 14% against the dollar in 2016, making it the best-performing major currency and frustrating Japanese efforts to restart growth. Trading has been whipsawed this week by conflicting reports about Japan’s plans, including talk that Japan is considering an arrangement viewed by many analysts as akin to “helicopter money," an unprecedented stimulus in which the central bank buys long-term debt directly from the government to fund expanded fiscal spending.

“There’s huge scope for disappointment,” said Steven Englander, head of G-10 foreign-exchange strategy at Citigroup Inc. C -0.11 % “If they lowball the market, the market would say they’re trying to make a gracious exit out of the stimulus business


9--Japan Considers Issuing 50-Year Debt for First Time


Japan is considering issuing 50-year bonds for the first time, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign that ultralow interest rates around the globe are encouraging superlong debt.

Such bonds could bolster the argument that Tokyo’s growth-revival plan is becoming similar to “helicopter money.” Strictly speaking, helicopter money is the direct underwriting of government bonds by a central bank, which then holds them in perpetuity—a measure Japanese officials say they aren’t considering. But Japan’s central bank indirectly buys much of the government’s new bond issuance, and from an investor’s perspective a 50-year term is near perpetuity.

The consideration of longer-term bonds comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to jolt Japan’s economy to steady growth. He said Wednesday that next week he will unveil an economic-stimulus package with a total value topping ¥28 trillion ($268 billion), much bigger than expected.

The Bank of Japan, which holds a policy meeting this week, has been forced to try more extreme stimulus measures, including the introduction of negative interest rates earlier this year. Some Abe advisers have said the central bank and government should team up by combining further monetary easing with more public spending. The central bank holds a little over a third of outstanding government debt.

10--The Economy Is Again Under the Sway of Asset Prices  


As valuations of stocks and property swell, a sudden shift in sentiment could destabilize growth...

The past two recessions were ushered in by a collapse in asset prices. The risk of a repeat is growing.

After plunging in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, U.S. stocks have hit fresh highs. Real estate is quietly doing the same: home prices are just 2% below the peak hit in 2007, while commercial property values have hit records.

The result is that net wealth in the U.S. now tops 500% of national income. Ominously, net wealth has reached that level only twice before: from 1999 to 2000 during the Nasdaq bubble, and 2004 to 2008 during the housing boom....

The mere fact that asset prices are high doesn’t mean they are overvalued, or about to crash. But it is a sign of an economy structurally more vulnerable to sudden shifts of sentiment in the financial markets. Central banks have compounded that vulnerability by pumping up growth with low and even negative interest rates that have kept asset markets inflated....


it takes only a small shift in the appetite for risk, expectations of profits, or interest rates to trigger a major downdraft. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research noted this week that stocks have reached today’s valuations “only ahead of the three largest equity market declines in the last century.”

Ms. Fosler has found that in the past, instability emerges when wealth growth slows to below that of income.That has already happened: despite their recent record, stocks aren’t much higher than a year ago. Profits are also down.

It doesn’t mean a recession is coming; but it’s a vulnerability the Fed should keep top of mind.


11--Gülen planned to return to Turkey like Khomeini: Turkish justice minister


12--Local Turkish prosecutor includes CIA, FBI allegations in Gülen indictment


The CIA and the FBI provided training for followers of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, according to an indictment prepared by a local Turkish prosecutor regarding the failed coup attempt of July 15.

“The CIA and FBI provided training in several subjects to the cadre raised in the culture centers belonging to the Gülen movement. The operations carried out by prosecutors and security officials during the Dec. 17 process can be taken as a good example of this,” read the indictment, prepared by the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and accepted by the Second Heavy Penal Court.

The “Dec. 17 process” refers to the corruption probe launched on Dec. 17, 2013, which targeted senior government officials.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) says Gülen masterminded the July 15 failed coup attempt and is due to file an extradition request to the U.S. authorities.

“This [failed coup] attempt aimed to weaken the state with all its institutions by getting rid of the government completely. Those in the Gülen movement who work in the judicial and security institutions and who received the aforementioned training, took on this task and moved into action,” the indictment also read, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

13--End game in Aleppo


"The Syrian army is advancing inside the Handarat Refugee Camp south of the Mallah Farms area near Aleppo city.
The operation followed the liberation of the Bani Zeid neighborhood of Aleppo city that allowed the Syrian army and the Kurdish YPG to unite the front against jihadi groups in Syria."  South Front
------------
Rebel held Aleppo is approaching its end.   the government has announced three paths out of the rebel held area for the movement of civilians into government controlled territory where the government says it will "accommodate" them temporarily.  The government has also announced a three month amnesty for rebels.  I presume there will be some triage of those surrendering.  pl 
https://southfront.org/syrian-army-advancing-inside-handarat-refugee-camp-near-aleppo-city/
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-july-28-2016-major-gains-of-pro-government-forces-in-aleppo/

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's links

Today's Quote:  "The Nuland plots have all failed. The US can no longer talk to the Turks. Losing Turkey to Erdogan and his Islamists also means the US can dictate no longer in the region. You can’t expect the Americans will take it lying down. There’s no government in Washington right now. But if Clinton wins, there will be a US fight-back. It will be too late." John Helmer



1--I'm voting for Hillary Clinton—and I think most CEOs will, too (It's not just Wall Street. The entire corporatocracy is behind Hillary)



2--PM Abe's plan for $265 billion stimulus puts pressure on BOJ to ease



The size of  the package, at more than 28 trillion yen ($265.30 billion), exceeds initial estimates of around 20 trillion yen and is nearly 6 percent the size of Japan's economy. It will consist of 13 trillion yen in "fiscal measures," which likely includes spending by national and local governments, as well as loan program...

Sources told Reuters the package would have a headline figure of at least 20 trillion yen. Only about 9 trillion yen was to come from a combination of direct spending from both national and local governments and loan programs


Such "fiscal" spending" appeared to have increased to 13 trillion yen. But the rest is likely to come from state subsidies to private firms and lending from quasi-government entities, which does not involve direct government spending and thus may not give an immediate boost to growth, analysts say (another corporate giveaway)

Abe's administration has also offered few hints on how it will finance the package, casting doubts on Japan's ability to fix its tattered finances (stimulus without funding=helicopter money)


The government is considering issuing construction bonds but remains cautious about resorting to large-scale debt issuance. (no funding source. The stimulus is a designed to conceal monetization)


3--The mainstream media alleges that Russia was behind the hack of the DNC’s emails (Desperate Clinton campaign creates fictitious connection between Putin and trump)


Edward Snowden says the NSA could easily determine who hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails:


4--Pivot to Asia Scorecard: Matchpoint goes to Putin


On August 9, in St. Petersburg, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The moment is revolutionary. There has not been a comparable political turning-point in the 67 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); not in the century since the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Russia in World War I; nor in the two centuries since Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and the Russian Tsar Alexander I aligned against Napoleon and the British.


Russian sources say they are sure the Russian secret services did not warn Erdogan or help his forces prevail in the July 15-16 coup against him. After Erdogan began his counter-coup, and in the fight still continuing between Erdogan’s Islamic forces and the regular Turkish military, the sources add, there has been, and there will be, Russian help. It is more for the future, they explain, than for last week’s outcome that Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek told his counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Tuesday: “I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government.”


The Russian sources say it is already agreed the two sides will pay a soon-to-be settled price in two-way trade; gas, nuclear and other energy projects; plus tourism. Much more is at stake, though, one of the sources adds. “Putin and his advisors believe Erdogan is still in danger. They support him now for the opportunity to reorganize the relationship with Turkey. They mean to secure Russia from encirclement on the southern frontier and the Black Sea, dismemberment of the Caucasus, and attack on the Kremlin by its enemies. Right now, as Europe collapses, the enemy is the US with NATO in support. If Turkey breaks with the US, NATO is a paraplegic. We shall see how Putin and Erdogan choose to portray the new Rome*, the new Byzantium* next Tuesday.”...


Russian sources are non-committal on what role US military and intelligence agencies played during the July 15 events at the Incirlik airbase and elsewhere to encourage, or not to discourage, the attempt at overthrowing Erdogan. What is certain now, as Erdogan tries to mop up, according to Greek and Cypriot analysts, is that Turkey has turned against the US and the NATO alliance. “Turkey is now moving away from western dependence,” says a well-informed region source who asks not to be identified. “This makes sense geopolitically because the west has lost control in the Middle East. Other close western allies in the region, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, are becoming autonomous, in the sense that they don’t obey the US. This is because the US can no longer act as a hegemon. Washington can’t dictate, or even recommend solutions to conflicts or rivalries, like Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Palestine. Now, with or without direct US involvement in the Turkish coup, Erdogan sees his chance to make Turkey more autonomous, so he is taking it.”...


The Nuland plots have all failed. The US can no longer talk to the Turks. Losing Turkey to Erdogan and his Islamists also means the US can dictate no longer in the region. You can’t expect the Americans will take it lying down. There’s no government in Washington right now. But if Clinton wins, there will be a US fight-back. It will be too late."...


Military sources believe Erdogan’s position is still far from assured. “The numbers and the spread of the purges tell you this is a continuous coup, which could turn into ethnic or communal revolts at any time, or civil war. Russia is positioning itself, as it did in the past, in favour of the stability of the Turkish state – right now this means Erdogan. The Kremlin is against breakup. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a weak Turkey meant to Moscow that Russia’s enemies gained control of the vital Russian interests of the time, such as the Straits.”


Greek, Cypriot and Russian sources questioned about the current course of events say the principal Russian objectives are obvious. Erdogan should stop the export of jihadis, ISIS, and sedition towards the Russian Caucasus in the form of the Chechens. He must also stop his regime-changing tactics in Syria, and not less in the Balkans and in Central Asia. The sources believe that in his current predicament Erogan is a better bet for the Kremlin than the Turkish military, or the so-called Kemalist or Gulenist political groups, encouraged by the US. If the pro-American or NATO elements can be uprooted and destroyed, Russia is bound to feel more secure — so long as Erdogan’s Sunni Islamic orientation will make its peace with Russia, as the Shiites of Iran and Iraq are doing.


5--Trouble brewing: Italian bank on the brink


From the Financial Times:
Italy was last night racing to secure a privately backed bailout of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the most exposed of the country’s troubled lenders, including a plan to raise €5bn of fresh capital so as to avert nationalisation, according to bankers and European officials….

People directly involved in the Monte Paschi discussions say they are aiming for a private rescue of the bank to be announced before the stress test results are published after US markets close on Friday.
But they admit that the negotiations could go down to the wire or run into or beyond the weekend. This raises the prospect of shares in Monte Paschi and other Italian banks coming under renewed pressure when markets reopen on Monday, which many fear could prove lethal.

Any such rescue would be under EU rules, which would mean a so-called bail-in, where junior Monte Paschi bonds would be converted to shares, and compensation given to retail investors…
The privately backed plan, which is still under discussion and could change, would involve a multi-layered deal to rid Monte Paschi of €10bn of net non-performing loans and recapitalisation worth up to €5bn, say people involved in the talks….
Instead, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit have agreed to put an additional €160m into Atlante, a privately backed fund, alongside pension funds and CDP, the state bank, to put a total of about €3bn into Monte Paschi bad loans.

To clean up the lender, at least €10bn of its NPLs would be spun off into a special purpose vehicle. This would then be securitised, with shareholders taking the more risky junior tranche of debt and Atlante taking the mezzanine tranche.
The least-risky senior tranche would be backed up to €7bn of bridge loans from a pool of banks likely to include JPMorgan of the US and Mediobanca, the Italian investment bank. The longer term aim would be for the senior tranche to be guaranteed by a government-backed scheme, known by the acronym GACS.

To boost its capital, Monte Paschi would launch a rights issue of up to €5bn, its third in three years and worth more than five times its current market value. However, analysts believe this fund raising would be difficult given the bank’s reputation for scorching investors capital.

6--Leaks show DNC asked White House to reward donors with slots on boards and commissions  (More influence peddling by the corrupt Dem leadership)


Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House.
The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash

7--Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Are Now Equally Unpopular


it’s not clear which candidate is more disliked by Americans overall. The RealClearPolitics average has Clinton with a 38 percent favorable rating overall compared to Trump’s 36 percent. Gallup has them both at 37 percent, with Clinton falling from 40 percent earlier this month (possibly because of criticism by the FBI over her handling of her State Department emails) and Trump rising from 31 percent. This equal popularity (or unpopularity) is reflected in the horserace polls, which now show a near-tie

8---Deutsche Bank's second-quarter net income plunges nearly 100% year-on-year


9--The neocons are backing Hillary  (Four more wars!)


“Nothing that [Clinton] did was more clear than the NATO coalition that she built to defend civilians in Libya,” said Sloat, referencing the Obama administration’s overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. That policy, spearheaded by Clinton, has transformed a once-stable state into a lawless haven for extremist groups from across the region, including ISIS.

Kagan has advocated for muscular American intervention in Syria; Clinton’s likely pick for Pentagon chief, Michelle Flournoy, has similarly agitated for redirecting U.S. airstrikes in Syria toward ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ...

The Clinton-neocon partnership was solidified by Trump becoming the Republican nominee. But their affinity for each other has grown steadily over time.
The neoconservative Weekly Standard celebrated Clinton’s 2008 appointment as secretary of state as a victory for the right, hailing her transformation from “First Feminist” to “Warrior Queen,

10--When Erdogan meets Putin: What to expect?


Russian and Turkish political experts expect that negotiations will span an array of topics, from politics and economics to regional security. However, according to experts speaking to the independent Russian news and analysis website Svobodnaya Pressa, Turkey's support for terrorists in Syria is expected to be at the top of the agenda....

This is also evidenced by Turkish Economic Minister Nihat Zeybakchi's statement that 'political decisions have been made' on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant projects, with the Russian and Turkish leaders' meetings expected to give the projects their 'final momentum' toward being realized."

Commenting on the very public talk of warming relations, Mikhail Alexandrov, a senior expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explained that "Erdogan's behavior is only logical."

"He is in a difficult situation. Western countries organized a coup attempt against him which, fortunately, ended up failing. Now Erdogan has factually become isolated. He needs to destroy the pro-Western fifth column in the country; hence the large-scale purges in the army and among the civil service. The West, naturally, will not tolerate this, and pressure on Erdogan is growing…The Turkish president understands that he must look for some other point of support. Turkey may be a strong regional power, but it will be very difficult for it to survive on its own in today's world."...

Russia has a serious score to settle with this terrorist group…The Turkish border must be closed to Daesh if Erdogan wants to be friends with Russia. Of course, it's entirely possible that such an agreement is concluded only in oral form. Erdogan will probably reluctantly agree to such a step," the expert suggested

The question," according to Alexandrov, "is how Ankara would work to fulfill this agreement, given the fact that in practice, the implementation of such an agreement would almost certainly lead to a conflict with the United States…Only in practice will it be possible to check if Erdogan will dare to take such a step."


In exchange, the analyst noted, Russia could rescind its sanctions on Turkish agricultural projects, and agree to participate in some joint economic projects, including within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. "We could promise Turkey support for entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which would allow it to enter the Silk Road economic zone."...

In short, much is riding on the Putin-Erdogan meeting, and the corresponding 'comparison of notes' between the two leaders; hopefully, the meeting will play a role in resolving the Syrian crisis, which has not only left the country in ruins, but has helped to destabilize the Middle East and even Europe, which continues to suffer from the consequences of the refugee crisis and radical Islamist terrorism

11--Turkish intel informed top generals hours before coup attempt, says army


Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed the country’s top generals hours before the coup attempt was initiated by a group of soldiers within the army on July 15, while Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar evaluated the information and issued all necessary warnings and orders against “this despicable and miserable attempt,” according to a statement published on the General Staff’s official website on July 19.

Beginning the statement by announcing that the attempts of the “terrorist traitors who are members of an illegal gang [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization - FETÖ] and who have nestled into the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]” had been suppressed as of July 17 at 4:00 p.m. throughout the country, the General Staff continued by denouncing any relation between this group and the “flag-loving, overwhelming majority” within the army.

“The information given by the National Intelligence Organization on July 15, 2016, at around 4:00 p.m. was evaluated at the General Staff headquarters with the attendance of Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Army General Salih Zeki Çolak and Deputy Chief of Staff  General Yaşar Güler,” said the statement, elaborating on the precaution orders given regarding the end of mobility of all military vehicles including tanks, planes, helicopters and concerning the return of the ones currently mobilized to posts. 


12--Gülen issue raises questions over US involvement in coup plot: Turkish PM 


13--One third of the (Turkish) generals and admirals were directly involved in the coup attempt and the rest of the top command echelon did not lift a finger to fight (high-ranking enemies in the army means that Erdogan could still be toppled)


an intensive media propaganda campaign is underway aimed at whitewashing the highest level of the Turkish military and declaring it innocent and clean. In an effort to cover up the fact that one third of the generals and admirals were directly involved in the coup attempt and the rest of the top command echelon did not lift a finger to fight back, all of the media outlets are promoting narratives about how the commanders-in-chief and the general chief of staff himself supposedly resisted the coup...



As it turned out, they were informed of the looming coup attempt as early as 4 pm on Friday, July 15, but launched their operations against the putschists only hours later, in the early morning hours of July 16, and only after the coup’s failure in the face of mass resistance had become clear...


The anticipated “reconstruction” of the state apparatus will primarily affect the Turkish Army. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Bloomberg News on July 25 that there was “a serious need for restructuring in [public] institutions, especially the Armed Forces...

It is not clear how the command echelon will react to the ongoing arrests and projected reorganization of the Army. However, one thing is obvious: the ongoing blockade of the barracks by means of heavy machinery and trucks, which implies the possibility of further coup attempts, is a heavy blow on the prestige of the Turkish Army.
While seeking to consolidate the rule of his government through a consensus with opposition parties, Erdogan has arranged an official visit to St. Petersburg for August 9. Announcing the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said yesterday that the scheduled meeting between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin would help normalize bilateral ties between the two countries, which dramatically deteriorated after the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish Air Force last November 24.


14--Democratic convention nominates Hillary Clinton

The central role of racial and gender politics in the fraudulent attempt to palm off the Democratic Party as a vehicle of the people reflects, first of all, the interests of privileged upper-middle class layers, black and white, which have no interest in equality or the needs of working people, but instead are consumed by the drive to increase their own wealth and status.

It is a political means for the ruling class to win broader support for its policies of war and austerity, while dividing and demobilizing the working class. The Democratic Party and its media allies, such as the New York Times, have intensified their promotion of racial politics in the aftermath of Sanders’ withdrawal and endorsement of Clinton. They were shocked by the mass response to Sanders’ denunciations of social inequality. The fact that millions of workers and youth in America oppose the capitalist system and favor socialism, and therefore seek to unite on a class basis, makes all the more critical for the ruling class the insistence that race is the defining issue in America and white racism is pervasive


15--War and the Democratic National Convention-- Warmongering Hillary plans confrontation with China and Russia


The Democratic Party’s 2016 national convention is unfolding as a carefully scripted and staged infomercial in which this right-wing capitalist party, tied at the hip to Wall Street and the Pentagon, postures as some sort of popular representative of the people.

Amidst the humanitarian moralizing and sentimental declarations of universal brotherhood, one thing that is absent is any serious discussion of what kind of foreign policy a Clinton administration would pursue.

Despite fifteen years of the “war on terror,” the convention’s headline speakers made no mention of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the death of Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi or the White House’s drone assassination program. This silence is all the more extraordinary given the fact that the Obama administration is the first in US history that has been at war throughout two full terms in office.

The real decision-makers know, however, that in the background of the 2016 elections are escalating military tensions with Russia and China that raise the danger of world war between nuclear-armed powers.....

As Mark Landler, author of Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, put it earlier this year, “For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.

As Secretary of State, Clinton proved to be a more open advocate of military force than Obama. “On bedrock issues of war and peace,” writes Landler, “Clinton’s more activist philosophy…collided” with Obama’s “instincts toward restraint.”
The fact that Obama, who as the New York Times noted in May, “has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president,” is presented as an example of military restraint is a testament to Clinton’s credentials as a warmonger.

In addition to calling for more aggressive military intervention than Obama in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton “pressed for the United States to funnel arms to the rebels in Syria’s civil war (an idea Obama initially rebuffed before later, halfheartedly, coming around to it).” She privately demanded that Obama set up a no-fly zone in Syria after declarations by the US military/intelligence apparatus in 2013 that Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons, declaring, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.”

Bruce Riedel, a former intelligence analyst who conducted Obama’s initial review on the Afghanistan war, told Landler, “One of the surprises for…the military was...that they have a secretary of state who’s a little bit right of them on [military] issues—a little more eager than they are...

Writing in the National Interest, Yale professor David Bromwich observed the growing convergence between the policies of Clinton, her “left” apologists and the neoconservatives who helped launch the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“The past few weeks have cemented an extraordinary alliance to defeat Trump that joins two foreign-policy sects that were never entirely distinct: the neoconservatives who commandeered the Bush-Cheney foreign policy of 2001-2006, and liberal interventionists who supported the Iraq war, the Libya war, an expanded program of drone killings, and military intervention in Syria beyond what the Obama administration has allowed.”

He notes, “With a spate of recent articles and op-eds, these people are preparing the ground for Hillary Clinton to assert that the Russian government is in league with the Trump campaign, and that Russia has intervened in the election by releasing hacked Democratic National Committee emails to embarrass Clinton.”
This campaign has been led by the New York Times, whose resident Clinton apologist, Paul Krugman, declared Donald Trump to be a “Siberian candidate” and a proxy for Putin, whom Clinton is determined to oppose.

This theme was taken up in the form of abbreviated remarks by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright at the DNC last night. Albright denounced Russia with a ferocity unheard of since the end of the Cold War. Bemoaning that her “native Czechoslovakia had been taken over by Communists,” Albright declared, “Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain, I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light.”

The US ruling class has historically waited to implement long-prepared military escalations until after elections, and the coming year poses enormous danger

16--Putin warns of nuclear war (you tube)


17--Turkey's Foreign Policy Change Is Well Underway


Turkey is convinced that the U.S. had some hand in the coup, or at least knew about it before it happened but did not warn Ankara. That the coup is U.S. related is not just a conspiracy theory without any basis. The tanker airplanes which filled up the F-16 bombers which bombed the parliament during the coup started from the NATO airbase in Incirlik where the U.S. command for the war on Syria is seated. Three of the five regiments involved in the coup in Istanbul are part of NATO's Rapid Deployable Corps. One of the coup commanders is the head of the Turkish second army which is coordinating the war on Syria (and ISIS) with the U.S. military....

The Turkish Sufi cult leader and preacher Fethullah Gülen resides in Pennsylvania from where he controls his world wide charter school empire and network. Gülen is rumored to be under control of the CIA. Two former high ranking CIA officers gave supporting statements for him in the 1990s when he requested residency in the U.S.
Turkey now demands Gülen's extradition. The evidence Turkey is giving for his culpability in the coup consists mostly of confessions of involved officers. These were given under somewhat coerced conditions. They are unlikely to be sufficient to convince the various interest groups in the U.S. to allow Gülen's extradition.
But that would fit Turkey's plans well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Today's quote:  "As has happened so often before, the Democratic Party has become the graveyard of a movement of social protest, with Sanders serving as the undertaker"  Barry Grey, WSWS



1--Yen jumps on falling Japanese stimulus expectations


The market came into yesterday very optimistic both on fiscal and monetary moves,” said Steven Englander, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Citigroup in New York. But, “the headlines coming out have thrown a lot of cold water on the view that they are going to do something aggressive (The US scolds China for currency manipulation but Japan's economy depends entirely on weakening the yen thru stimulus...and Washington never utters a peep. Double standards??)

2--Abenomics Fail: Chart Of The Day: Japan’s Exports Down 9th Straight Month


3--Oil Bulls Headed Over Demand Cliff as Refinery Shutdowns Loom


4--What happens when the bond bubble pops?


5--Turkey thanks Putin for unconditional support over coup attempt


6--Ankara  ready to resume talks on Turkish Stream project


Turkey has confirmed it’s ready to continue negotiations on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as representatives from the energy ministries of the two countries met on Tuesday.


7--No help from NATO--Why Turkey Suspects Washington of Playing a Part in Failed Coup


according to Afshin Rattansi, a London-based author and journalist, it looked rather strange that no NATO member states lent a helping hand to Erdogan when the military coup erupted."It's astonishing that just a couple of years ago, we would have expected the NATO nations to have come to the aid of the Erdogan government which was elected in November. This time? Nothing," he stressed in his interview with RT.


In his article for Consortiumnews.com a Canada-based author John Chuckman suggested that the US could have given a "wink and a nod (and of course, as always, some cash) to Turkish rebel forces" following the recent Russo-Turkish rapprochement


8--Protesters at Democratic Convention denounce nomination of Hillary Clinton


Megan, who was wearing a T-Shirt that read “Stop War,” said, “I feel that with Hillary in power we will be in perpetual warfare. [War] is a real profiteering enterprise for her and her supporters, most of them defense contractors, Wall Street guys, Saudi Arabia – who all like war.”
Megan stated that Hillary “would never be my candidate.”

Asked about the leaked DNC emails showing the campaign against Sanders, Megan said that they “proved that there was a lot of collusion and corruption and absolute disdain for Bernie Sanders.” She continued, “They [the Democratic Party heads] don’t want a change in regime, they want to keep the status quo, keep the rich rich, keep the poor poor. No matter what comes out of their mouth that’s what they are going to continue to do.”

Speaking about the Obama administration she said, “I remember hearing hope and change and all that in 2008, but I didn’t see a whole lot of it! Yeah, we got the ACA [Affordable Care Act] passed, but it actually made a lot of people’s insurance rates go up. And I, as a self-employed person, was able to get health care, but I’m paying an astronomical rate, over 500 dollars a month.”

When our reporter asked her about Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton, Megan said, “I’m really just flabbergasted. I am. I think that he feels that if Hillary isn’t elected we will end up with Trump. But, I’m thinking and wondering at this point, ‘Who is worse? Who is more corrupt? The guy who just spouts off whatever he feels, whatever is in that tiny brain of his just comes out? Or the one who is working behind the scenes to screw us? And not really do what they say they do?’
“Where does it end? The rich are getting richer, the middle class is becoming poor, and the poor are dying.”


9-- As has happened so often before, the Democratic Party has become the graveyard of a movement of social protest, with Sanders serving as the undertaker


The political lessons of the Sanders experience must be learned. As has happened so often before, the Democratic Party has become the graveyard of a movement of social protest, with Sanders serving as the undertaker. The warnings repeatedly issued by the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site, which insisted that Sanders was not the representative of a movement of social revolt, but rather the instrument for containing and dissipating that movement, have been fully borne out.....

Sanders’ exercise in political fraud seemed to be premised on the assumption that the American people suffer from collective amnesia. But facts are facts. The last time the Clintons occupied the White House they presided over a period of unprecedented financial corruption.

The Bill Clinton administration was the period of “irrational exuberance,” when super-low interest rates underwrote a 400 percent rise in the stock market. All of the Clintons’ policies—the dismantling of Glass-Steagall and whatever else remained of banking regulations, the destruction of the federal welfare program—led to a vast enrichment of the corporate-financial elite. It was the period that produced Enron and the explosion in CEO pay. All of the processes that led to the financial collapse and depression of 2008 matured under the Clintons.

For all of Sanders’ denunciations of Trump, the fact remains that the billionaire real estate mogul’s political rise was possible only because of mass disillusionment and frustration with the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy and right-wing policies.

One thing that was particularly striking about Sanders’ speech was the absence of a single reference to foreign policy. He said not a word about Clinton’s role as senator in backing the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq or her role as secretary of state in championing the savage bombing of Libya and murder of its ruler Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the horrific bloodletting in Syria in pursuit of regime change and the increasingly aggressive warmongering toward both China and Russia.

Sanders had the gall to present his full-throated backing for Clinton (“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight”) as the continuation of his “political revolution” against the “billionaire class.” That so-called “revolution” turned out to consist of putting a Democrat back in the White House, accompanied by a Democratic House and Senate....

The day also featured a fawning speech by Clinton to the national convention of the right-wing, pro-war Veterans of Foreign Wars, in which Clinton lavished praised on Republican war hawk John McCain. The day before, President Obama had made clear the Democrats’ orientation to disaffected Republicans by praising a long list of past Republican officeholders in an interview on the “Face the Nation” television program. He topped this off by putting Ronald Reagan in the ranks of “America’s greatest presidents

10--- The blind leading the blind-“Socialist Convergence”: A gathering of political bankrupts in Philadelphia


The Vermont senator, who even as an “Independent” worked closely with the Democrats, understood from the beginning that his task was to exploit the political naïveté of his supporters to direct opposition back into the Democratic Party, a party of war and social reaction. In carrying out this task, Sanders has had the assistance of a network of organizations and groups that operate around and within the gigantic gaseous planet that is the Democratic Party...

While they make references to Marx at various times, their method bears no relationship to Marxism, which evaluates political tendencies not by what they call themselves but by the class content of their program and the historical experiences of the working class movement.

In 2008, they hailed the election of Obama as a “transformative” and “historic” event on the basis of the fact that he was African-American. One writer for Solidarity declared that “Obama’s election is first and foremost an unprecedented victory—a blow against 400 years of Black slavery, legal segregation and institutional racism.”

The actual outcome of eight years of the Obama administration has not lead Solidarity, or any of its co-thinkers, to consider why they got it so wrong. Instead, with the campaign of Bernie Sanders, they saw a new opportunity to inflate illusions in the Democratic Party and bourgeois politics as a whole. With Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton, it is on to the next political maneuver: support for Jill Stein....

The operations of the groups gathered in Philadelphia are not simply the product of stupidity and shortsightedness, though of this there is plenty. All of these organizations are part of the structure of bourgeois politics, representing more privileged sections of the upper middle class.

Whether it is through the Sanders campaign, the Green Party campaign or the creation of some new political outfit, the aim is the same. On the one hand, they hope to create more favorable conditions for upper middle class elements within the state, the trade unions and academia, generally through the promotion of identity politics. On the other hand, they are working desperately to prevent the working class from organizing as an independent political force in opposition to the capitalist system.


11-- Bad news for Hillard--4 brutal poll numbers that greet Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention



1) 68 percent say Clinton isn't honest and trustworthy

That's according to the CNN poll, and it's her worst number on-record. It's also up from 65 percent earlier this month and 59 percent in May. The 30 percent who see Clinton as honest and trustworthy is now well shy of the number who say the same of Trump: 43 percent..

2) Her image has never been worse

CBS showed just 31 percent have favorable views of Clinton and 56 percent have unfavorable ones. Even in Trump's worst days on the campaign trail, he has rarely dipped below a 31 percent favorable rating. Clinton has hit that number a few times, but her negative-25 net favorable rating here is tied for the worst of her campaign, according to Huffington Post Pollster.
In the CNN poll, the 39 percent who say they have a favorable view of Clinton is lower than at any point in CNN's regular polling since April 1992 — when she wasn't even first lady yet...

3) Just 38 percent would be "proud" to have her as president...

4) Nearly half of Democratic primary voters still want Bernie Sanders


12-- CNN poll shows Trump winning


13-- Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center?


14-- Girardi on Erdogan; The coup was a false flag


Given the immediate and devastating government response to the coup, I feel confident in my belief that the uprising was basically a set-up. Erdogan and his government have been warning for months about the possibility of a coup, so the event itself should surprise no one. It is now certain that there was a military intervention in fact being plotted, apparently supported mostly by Kemalists in the military who advocate a secular state and are alarmed by aspects of Erdogan foreign policy, to include the collaboration with terrorist groups and the hostility towards Russia and Syria...


Erdogan is frog marching his country down a road where there is only darkness at the other end.

15-- Erdogan teams up with Russia, Iran and Syria


it is the failed coup in Turkey that becomes a god-sent opportunity for Russia to connect the dots and accelerate the endgame in Syria....

On the eve of the capture of Manjib by Kurds (with the support of US Special Forces and airpower), Erdogan told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone conversation,

  • Today, we are determined more than ever before to contribute to the solution of regional problems hand in hand with Iran and Russia and in cooperation with them....

Lavrov--the situation in Syria has changed over the past few months, and conditions are being created for defeating terrorists and launching a genuine intra-Syrian dialogue.


16-- Erdogan tries to escape Washington's grip?


What is also clear is that Erdogan, who ‘survived' a military coup, is intentionally hoping to be put in the same basket as Syrian President Bashar al Assad in at least proving that resistance to western pressure is possible. In this regard, Erdogan has managed to do what European leaders can only dream of - freeing himself from Washington's grip.


Regardless of whether this was - as some have suggested - another one of Erdogan's false flag operations, the implications are most certainly going to be very real. What the coup attempt does expose is Erdogan's conscious effort to divorce the Euro-Atlantic system.
"There is a revolution going on here. And this revolution is at least regional, if not global. Turkey is slowly leaving the Atlantic system. That is the reason behind this coup. That is the reason why NATO is panicking. This is much broader and much bigger than Erdogan. This is a tectonic movement. This will affect Turkish-Syrian relations, Turkish-Chinese relations, Turkish-Russian relations and Turkish-Iranian relations. This will change the world," explains Soner.

Fethullah Gulen himself is a darling of US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as a major contributor to her many political campaigns over the years and family business - the Clinton Foundation. Just last month, documents surfaced linking Clinton's lobbying efforts in the US Senate with organizations close to Gulen.



Shielded under the umbrella of American intelligence agencies for decades, Gulen rejected all accusations that he was behind the coup attempt in a rare interview with a small group of journalists at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

US Secretary of State John Kerry echoed the sentiment, demanding proof of Gulen's involvement while cautioning Ankara against making statements "harmful" to US-Turkey relations.

But in Ankara, the gloves have come off.


Gulen's chummy relationship with Washington did not just fail to prevent Ankara from blaming the cleric for the attempted coup and demanding his extradition, but also led to direct accusations of US involvement in the armed rebellion.

According to Soner, "it is not so much an internal conflict going on in Turkey as an open conflict with the US."

In the immediate aftermath of the upheaval, the Turkish government zeroed in on the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, which also happens to store the largest NATO nuclear arsenal that is guarded by tens of thousands of American and Turkish soldiers.


Turkey's Incirlik commander, whose job consisted of daily consultations with the US military establishment, was arrested for allowing the base to be used for refueling planes deployed during the foiled coup attempt.

What happens next?

Whether we believe that the Americans are behind the coup, or that Erdogan orchestrated the whole affair himself before rounding up the perpetrators and executing them, is surprisingly irrelevant when looking ahead.


17-- --Lavrov Discusses Implementation of Syrian Agreements With Kerry



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that he had discussed measures that could be taken to implement Russia-US agreements on Syria with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Sputnik reported.

"Today, we discussed what needs to be done for this agreement to start working in practice in the form of actions taken by our Aerospace Forces, the US Air Force and the coalition headed by them," Lavrov told reporters.

According to the minister, if agreements reached between him and Kerry in Moscow are implemented, "it will be possible to guarantee the separation of normal opposition members from Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorists."

18--Walkout??


Delegates have been organizing for just such a walkout action, and there is the potential for several hundred delegates to collectively walk out....

With Kaine, Clinton has chosen her neoliberal political twin, and earned Wall Street’s emphatic seal of approval. As if to underscore the political meaning of her VP choice, and perhaps as a signal to Corporate America, in the days before the announcement Kaine made clear his full commitment to both the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to further bank deregulation. And now Donald Trump is set to use both Clinton’s and Kaine’s pro-corporate, “free trade,” anti-worker policies against them in the general election – and in this the Democratic ticket has provided him a near perfect target

19--Helicopter Money--Closer than you think


The alternative is to do what governments arguably should have been doing all along: issue the money directly to fund their budgets. Having exhausted other options, some central bankers are now calling for this form of “helicopter money,” which may finally be raining on Japan if not the US..

The Japanese Trial Balloon
Following a sweeping election win announced on July 10th, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he may proceed with a JPY10 trillion ($100 billion) stimulus funded by Japan’s first new major debt issuance in four years. The stimulus would include establishing 21st century infrastructure, faster construction of high-speed rail lines, and measures to support domestic demand.
According to Gavyn Davies in the July 17th Financial Times:
Whether or not they choose to admit it – which they will probably resist very hard – the Abe government is on the verge of becoming the first government of a major developed economy to monetise its government debt on a permanent basis since 1945.
. . . The direct financing of a government deficit by the Bank of Japan is illegal, under Article 5 of the Public Finance Act. But it seems that the government may be considering manoeuvres to get round these roadblocks.

Recently, the markets have become excited about the possible issuance of zero coupon perpetual bonds that would be directly purchased by the BoJ, a charade which basically involves the central bank printing money and giving it to the government to spend as it chooses. There would be no buyers of this debt in the open market, but it could presumably sit on the BoJ balance sheet forever at face value.
Bernanke’s role in this maneuver was suggested in a July 14th Bloomberg article, which said:
Ben S. Bernanke, who met Japanese leaders in Tokyo this week, had floated the idea of perpetual bonds during earlier discussions in Washington with one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s key advisers. . . .

He noted that helicopter money — in which the government issues non-marketable perpetual bonds with no maturity date and the Bank of Japan directly buys them — could work as the strongest tool to overcome deflation . . . .
Key is that the bonds can’t be sold and never come due.