Thursday, October 20, 2016

Today's links

1--The siege of Mosul and the crimes of US imperialism

No doubt the Pentagon also sees the assault on Mosul as an important exercise in testing out its doctrine for urban military operations in what are seen as coming major wars. These bloodthirsty theories were spelled out in a report titled “The Future of the Army” issued last month by the influential US think tank the Atlantic Council.

Drafted by a retired major general who served as the commander of US forces in Afghanistan and a military adviser to several US administrations, the report projects a coming world of intense social inequality and class conflict in which “urban operations will increasingly dominate land warfare,” and US armies will operate “in densely packed metropolitan areas where civilian populations are a part of the battlefield.”

The people of Mosul, including an estimated 600,000 children, will be treated as human guinea pigs in this operation, which could drag on for months, entailing not only relentless US air strikes and artillery bombardment, but also the systematic starvation of the population. All of this will unfold under the watchful eyes of the US military command.

2--The war on cash

The war on cash is being waged for the exclusive benefit of those who already wield an inordinate amount of power and control over the economy and the people that are struggling in it. And they want more. By slowly, quietly killing cash, they seek to seize the last remaining thing that offers people a small semblance of privacy, anonymity, and personal freedom in their increasingly controlled and surveyed lives. And the way things are going, they’ll get it.

3--Official US Gov’t Documentation Confirms That Saudi Gov’t. Funds Al Qaeda

On 11 February 2015, I headlined "Al Qaeda’s Bookkeeper Spills The Beans” and reported, with links to the US courtroom documentation, that:
Zacarias Moussaoui was the bookkeeper and bagman (money-collector) for Al Qaeda, but the US intelligence services have been keeping this fact secret as much as they can, because what he knows about the crucial financial backers of Al Qaeda can be very damaging to the US aristocracy, which is heavily oil-based and closely allied with the Saudi royal family, which created Al Qaeda in order to please the Saudi clerics, who are Wahhabist Muslims who constantly threaten the royals with exposure of their economic and sexual corruption unless the royals finance the spread of the Wahhabist sect (such as by Al Qaeda), and thereby finance the spread of those clerics’ own international influence and power.

Or, so says the former bookkeeper of Al Qaeda, who was selected by Al Qaeda’s military chief, Abu Hafs (also known as “Mohammed Atef”), to serve Osama bin Laden in that capacity: Zacarias Moussaoui. This is his testimony, in brief.

Moussaoui swore in court, that he collected multimillion-dollar cash donations to Al Qaeda from “Waleed — Waleed bin Talal, Prince — Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Prince — Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Prince Mohammed Al Faisal Al Saud” and other Saudi royals. He was asked how important this was to Al Qaeda, and he replied: “It was crucial. I mean, without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing.” This courtroom testimony remains suppressed to the present day, virtually entirely ignored in the press — and without the 9/11 families having pushed the legal issue, this testimony never would even have occurred at all.

On 10 September 2016, I reported on ‘the missing 28 pages’, which were actually 29 pages, which till recently were kept secret, expurgated actually, from the congressional study on the origin of the 9/11 attacks, and noted that:

what that document actually showed, and proved (and cited FBI investigators who could then have testified in public, if requested), was the opposite of unimportant: that the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (who was known in Washington as “Bandar Bush,” because of his closeness to the Bush family), had secretly been paying the Saudi handlers of at least two of the 15 Saudis among the 19 9/11 hijackers, and that Bandar’s wife and other relatives were also paying those hijackers-to-be, and their families — thus enabling the future hijackers to obtain the necessary pilot-training etc., for the 9/11 attacks.

4--The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle

Mosul’s historic parallels could not but have a special flavor. That 11th/12th century medieval state happened to have roughly the same borders of Daesh’s phony “Caliphate” – incorporating both Aleppo and Mosul. In 2004, Mosul was de facto ruled by disgraced, failed “presidential material” Gen. David Petraeus. Ten years later, after Petraeus’s phony “surge”, Mosul was ruled by a phony Caliphate born in a US prison near the Kuwaiti border...

If Damascus controls, apart from the capital, Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Latakia, it controls the Syria that matters; 70% of the population and all the important industrial/business centers. It’s practically game over. The rest is a rural, nearly empty back of beyond....

The heart of the matter is that the former “Free Syrian Army”, absorbed by al-Qaeda in Syria and other Salafi-jihadis, is about to lose East Aleppo. Regime change and/or “Assad must go” – the military way – in Damascus is now impossible. Thus the utter desperation exhibited by the Pentagon’s Ash “Empire of Whining” Carter, neocon cells implanted all across lame duck Team Obama, and their hordes of media shills.
Enter Plan B; the Battle of Mosul.
Fallujah remixed?
The Pentagon plan is deceptively simple; erase any signs of Damascus and the SAA east of Palmyra. And this is where the Battle of Mosul converges with the recent Pentagon attack on Deir Ezzor. Even if we have an offensive in the next few months against Raqqa – by the YPG Kurds or even by Turkish forces - we still have a “Salafist principality” from eastern Syria to western Iraq all mapped up, exactly as the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was planning (dreaming?) in 2012.

London-based Syrian historian Nizar Nayouf, as well as unnamed diplomatic sources, have confirmed that Washington and Riyadh closed a deal to let thousands of phony Caliphate jihadis escape Mosul from the west, as long as they head straight to Syria. A look at the battle map tells us that Mosul is encircled from all directions, except west....

As far as the US Plan B is concerned, Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah has clearly seen through the whole scheme; “The Americans intend to repeat the Fallujah plot when they opened a way for ISIL to escape towards eastern Syria before the Iraqi warplanes targeted the terrorists’ convoy.” He added that “the Iraqi army and popular forces” must defeat ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Mosul; otherwise, they will have to chase them out across eastern Syria.

It's also no wonder that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also clearly seen The Big Picture: “As far as I know, the city is not fully encircled. I hope it’s because they simply couldn’t do it, not because they wouldn’t do it. But this corridor poses a risk that Islamic State fighters could flee from Mosul and go to Syria.”
It’s clear Moscow won’t sit idly by if that’s the case;“I hope the US-led coalition, which is actively engaged in the operation to take Mosul, will take it into account.”

5--Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote

The country was converted into a testing ground for the latest in counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare techniques and equipment from the United States. The blood spilled on its soil feeds the global war machine, to such an extent that Colombia has been groomed as an exporter of counterinsurgency and “security” training, despite its reputation as a gross violator of human rights and the disastrous humanitarian impact of its prolonged war. So very powerful interests saw the peace agreement as a threat. In addition to Uribe followers who viewed it as soft on the FARC, the war economy of the nation and its ally, the United States, was at stake.

6--Mosul braces itself for next bloody chapter having been ravaged by 13 years of war

7--What Obama’s record deportations look like

Obama has deported more people than any modern president. Reuters illustrates this

8--Fed risks repeating Lehman blunder as US recession storm gathers

Liquidity is suddenly drying up. Early warning indicators from US 'flow of funds' data point to an incipent squeeze, the long-feared capitulation after five successive quarters of declining corporate profits.
Yet the Fed is methodically draining money through 'reverse repos' regardless. It has set the course for a rise in interest rates in December and seems to be on automatic pilot.

9--Strategic Convergence? the USA is active in strategic deterrence and encirclement of China and the coming-to-power Clinton “will expand and deepen” this policy

In one of the documents, as early as 2013, Clinton, discussing North Korea’s nuclear programme, said: “We intend to surround China with a hoop of AMS [anti-missile systems]. We intend to deploy more of our ships in the area. So, Chinese, you have to decide: either you get them North Koreans under control or we will have to think of a defense strategy against North Korea.” ...

The US has not yet fully realised all the consequences of the policy of a blockade of Russia. But at some point they will realise with horror that the main result of their attempt to isolate Moscow is the accelerated strategic convergence between China and Russia. The US has yet to experience it.

10--Five Years Since the Fall of Libya and Murder of Muammar Gaddafi

Gaddafi's crime in the eyes of the West was revealed in a tranche of classified Clinton emails, released by Wikileaks in January of this year (2016), was his intention of establishing a gold-backed currency to compete with the euro and the dollar as an international reserve currency in Africa. In this regard the then-French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and then-US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, were key actors in pushing for NATO intervention. Libyan oil was also a factor.

The classified emails prove beyond any doubt that what took place in Libya was a monstrous crime for which those responsible have yet to be held accountable

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Today's links

Today's quote: "A bloviating bunko artist vs. a grifting crypto neocon is not a 'choice', it's a suicide squad lootfest." Comments line MoA

1--Mosul offensive threatens to inflame sectarian conflicts in Iraq and Syria

These conflicts are being exacerbated by the Mosul offensive. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Syrian army sources charged the US-led coalition with planning to enable thousands of ISIS fighters based in Mosul to flee across the border into Syria. Noting that the west of the city remained unguarded, Lavrov warned that Russia would be forced to adopt “political and military” measures if this eventuality came to pass. “As far as I know, the city is not fully encircled,” Lavrov said. “I hope it’s because they simply couldn’t do it, not because they wouldn’t do it. But this corridor poses a risk that Islamic State fighters could flee from Mosul and go to Syria.”

While other sources have reported that Shia militias kept out of the offensive due to the fear of sectarian reprisals have been deployed to the west of Mosul to cut off the escape route, it can by no means be excluded that the US has reached such an arrangement. Washington worked closely with Islamist extremists in 2011 to topple the Gaddafi regime in Libya, and many of these elements were later transported to Syria with the help of the CIA before going on to form ISIS. Moreover, the Obama administration has shown its readiness to collaborate with Jihadi forces in the five-year civil war to oust the Assad regime in Damascus....

Alongside approximately 5,000 US special forces involved in the onslaught on Mosul, troops from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy are also deployed to Iraq. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been at the forefront in charging Russia with war crimes over its involvement in Aleppo over the past month, announced a planned meeting jointly hosted with the Iraqi government October 20 to discuss plans for Mosul’s future.

2--Hillary Clinton: A creature of the banks

The transcripts of Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and other top banks and employers’ groups, for which she was paid on average $200,000 per appearance, are the most incriminating. They expose the workings of the oligarchy that rules America and the thinking and actions of a politician prepared to do anything to advance the interests of this ruling stratum, while simultaneously accruing ever greater riches and power for herself.

While on the campaign trail, Clinton has postured as a “progressive,” determined to hold Wall Street’s feet to the fire. But in her speeches to Goldman Sachs, she made clear her unconditional defense of the banks and financial houses. Under conditions of popular outrage against the bankers and their role in dragging millions into crisis in the financial meltdown of 2008, Clinton gave speeches praising the Wall Street financiers and insisting that they were best equipped to regulate themselves. She apologized to them for supporting the toothless Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law, saying that it had to be enacted for “political reasons.”...

The principal vehicle for this campaign of persecution had been fabricated allegations of sexual misconduct pursued by Swedish authorities acting in league with the US and British governments. Earlier this year, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued findings that Assange had been “deprived of his liberty in an arbitrary manner,” meaning the body had reached the conclusion that the Swedish case constituted a politically motivated frame-up

3--Guantánamo Diary author released after 14 years in illegal detention

Slahi was tortured under the “special interrogation plan” that was personally approved by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Slahi’s torture included violent beatings, sleep deprivation, sexual assault, mock executions and threats against his family’s safety, especially against that of his mother, whom he was close to. Slahi’s mother died on March 27, 2013, unable to see her son for over a decade.

“We are thrilled that our client’s nightmare is finally ending,” said Nancy Hollander, one of Slahi’s pro bono attorneys. “After all these years, he wants nothing more than to be with his family and rebuild his life. We’re so grateful to everyone who helped make this day a reality.”
Sixty other detainees remain in the camp, 31 of whom have not been charged with a
crime and have not been cleared for release. Of the 779 people who have been detained at Guantánamo Bay, at least 675 detainees have been released without ever being charged with a crime, according to Human Rights Watch. Nine people have died.

4--Hillary Clinton Linked To Mysterious Front Associated with Julian Assange Pedophile Smear

5--Satellite imagery reveals reconstructed Russian airfield in eastern Syria

6--US Building Force to Retake Syria's Raqqa From Daesh - Reports

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will visit Turkey on Friday to discuss operations against Daesh terror group with local officials.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Monday the Pentagon expects to see success in Mosul and Raqqa "in the coming months

7--Putin move to block Obama's plan to establish caliphate in E Syria called Sunnistan

The intensification of air raids in eastern Syria came amid reports that ISIS terrorists are massively fleeing from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Syria. Sources in the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) say The US-led coalition’s warplanes avoid to bomb military convoys of the terrorist group moving from Iraqi to Syria.
We recall, over dozen of villages have been liberated in the Mosul countryside since the start of the battle for this strategic city by the Iraqi forces, supported by the US-led coalition. 5,000 soldiers of the Special Forces, mainly American, support the Iraqi Security Forces, the PMU and the Kurdish Peshmerga in the ongoing operation on the ground.

The modern course of events shows that ISIS is not going to conduct massive counter-attacks until the Iraqi forces have not reached Mosul. The main clashes will likely take place during the storm of the city itself.
Experts argue Washington is using this time to allow ISIS terrorists redeploy from Iraq to Syria where the terrorists would use fresh reinforcements to intensify operations against the Syrian government in the provinces Deir Ezzor and Homs.

Moscow has reportedly responded to this threat, reconstructing the T-4 Military Airport in eastern Homs. The Russian military had already used the airport as a forward staging post for its helicopter gunships during the operation in Palmyra and the nearby areas. However, the airfield was damaged with ISIS attacks later.
If the reconstruction is confirmed, the T-4 will become an important outpost that will allow the Syrian army and the Russian Aerospace Forces to counter the growing ISIS threat in eastern Syria

8--Summers Urges U.S. to Spend 1% of GDP Annually on Infrastructure

Keep the economy on life support while the looting continues.

9--Hillary Clinton And Wall Street: Financial Industry May Control Retirement Savings In A Clinton Administration

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Today's Links

Today's Quote: "No attempt is being made in the pro-imperialist media to assess how ISIS came to take control of Iraq’s second largest city in the first place. It is the direct outcome of the brutal repression of the Sunni minority in the country, first at the hands of the US military occupation forces and then by the forces of the Shiite-dominated government that rules in Baghdad. ISIS, which gained its initial strength in Syria from the CIA-sponsored campaign to arm Islamist militias to fight the Russian-backed Assad regime, was able to cross into Iraq in 2014 and portray itself as the liberator of Sunni communities....

The contrast between the portrayal of the siege of Aleppo and the assault on Mosul has entered into the annals of imperialist hypocrisy and deceit. One of final legacies of the eight-year Obama administration—elected in November 2008 in large part due to the anti-war sentiment among the American people but which has presided over continuous war since taking office—is shaping up to be a bloodbath in northern Iraq." US-backed Iraqi forces tighten noose around Mosul, WSWS

1--Saudis, China Dump Treasuries; Foreign Central Banks Liquidate A Record $346 Billion In US Paper

2--Central Bank Tools Are Losing Their Edge       --Central banks have shown the will to hit their growth and inflation targets. But do they have the way? (sept 21)

3--The Atlanta Fed lowered their q3 estimates further on today’s news: Drops to 1.9%  --OUCH

4--The Amazing Down Spiral of Atlanta Fed’s Q3 GDPNow Forecast

5--Goldman Says U.S. Bondholders Risk a $1.1 Trillion Hit if Rates Spike

A 1 percent increase in interest rates could inflict a $1.1 trillion loss to the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index, analysts at Goldman calculate, representing a larger loss for bondholders than at any other point in history. With the bank predicting the selloff in bonds has further to run, that remains "far from a tail scenario," its analysts write. ...

With average bond maturities worldwide now more than double the inflation-adjusted level of 2009, and three times that of 1994, Goldman says there's an elevated risk of losses if rates spike higher.
"We see potential for the rates market to continue to sell off, and the notional amount of duration dollars at risk is unprecedentedly large," Goldman fixed-income analysts, led by Marty Young, wrote in the report on Monday

6--At  the low end, homeowners are even more leveraged than they were during the bubble  What could go wrong?

In fact, owners of entry-level homes, those in the $150,000 to $300,000 range — have more debt and less equity now than they did in 2005, at the height of mortgage mania.

7--More Than One Worry Is Hitting Bond Markets -- Reduced global risk, changing central-bank tactics and higher inflation will all keep pushing up Treasury yields

But perhaps biggest reason investors should worry about higher Treasury yields is an old one: inflation. The inflation expectations embedded in Treasury inflation-protected securities imply that inflation will average 1.52% over the next five years—more than 1.24% implied at the start of September, but still very low

8--ISIS Moves To Syria Where Erdogan Still Aims For Aleppo

9--Is the US election rigged?

Trump’s statements are a mixture of half-truths and lies. While there is no doubt that the media establishment has lined up behind Clinton, Trump is using the “rigged election” claim to lay the basis for declaring the election to have been stolen. He is preparing to use the “stolen election” as the rallying cry for the development of an extra-parliamentary, far-right movement after November 8...

The question, however, goes far beyond vote-rigging. Even by the standards of other major capitalist countries, the electoral system in the United States is among the least democratic. The two-party system is institutionalized, enforcing a political monopoly of two right-wing parties entirely beholden to the financial aristocracy—this in a vast and diverse country of 320 million people!

State ballot access and election laws impose prohibitive requirements, including the collection of tens of thousands of signatures, making it virtually impossible for “third party” and independent candidates to mount an effective campaign.
This political duopoly is reinforced by the unrestricted role of corporate money in US elections, corrupting the entire process to a degree, and with a brazenness, unmatched by any other major industrialized country. It is estimated that campaign spending by presidential and congressional candidates this year will hit a new record of more than $7.3 billion

10--EU foreign ministers adopt statement denouncing Russia and Syria

As US-backed Islamist militias in Aleppo face imminent defeat at the hands of the Syrian army and the Russian air force, the US media are denouncing Moscow. Top US military officers have publicly advocated imposing no-fly zones over Syria to ground Russian warplanes, acknowledging that this would require a war with Syria and Russia, a nuclear-armed power.

The EU statement echoes this mendacious war propaganda. It calls for the ending of all flights over Aleppo and denounces Moscow for possible “war crimes,” while covering up NATO's arming of Al Qaeda-linked militias, like the Al Nusra Front (now also known as Fateh al-Sham), in Syria.

It writes, “The Syrian regime has the primary responsibility for the protection of the Syrian population. The EU therefore strongly condemns the excessive and disproportionate attacks by the regime and its allies, both deliberate and indiscriminate, against civilian populations, humanitarian and health care personnel, and civilian and humanitarian infrastructures and calls on them to cease indiscriminate aerial bombardment. The EU condemns the continued systematic, widespread, and gross violations and abuses of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law by all parties, particularly the Syrian regime and its allies.”...

Yet they denounce the Assad regime's attempts to defend itself from a far larger military threat—the direct intervention of the CIA and the European intelligence agencies, funded by the Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms, to back Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias—as a war crime....

These issues emerged in a recent paper, titled “America's Russia policy and the European security order,” by the German think-tank Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). “US-Russian relations remain central to the European security order,” the SWP complained, adding: “Strong social and economic interests in a stable cooperative relationship have not succeeded in developing.”
This has resulted in a situation, the SWP added, where “Washington increasingly faces the alternatives of either accepting a [Russian] sphere of influence in the interest of global cooperation and the avoidance of war risks, or of power rivalries with a high potential for escalation.”

11--US-backed Iraqi forces tighten noose around Mosul

For weeks the Obama administration, its European allies and virtually the entire western media have accused Russia and the Syrian government of war crimes for the desperate conditions that face civilians in Aleppo, due to the offensive being waged against Islamist rebels who control the east of the city.

What has begun in Mosul is a war crime of even greater dimensions. The US-directed Iraqi government assaults on the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi left them in ruins by the time they were recaptured from ISIS. Mosul, a far larger city, whose history goes back over 3,500 years to the Assyrian Empire, now faces the same fate. The United Nations and aid agencies are continuing to make alarmed warnings about the plight of civilians trapped in the city and for greater action to prepare for the predicted exodus of hundreds of thousands of starving and sick people.

No attempt is being made in the pro-imperialist media to assess how ISIS came to take control of Iraq’s second largest city in the first place. It is the direct outcome of the brutal repression of the Sunni minority in the country, first at the hands of the US military occupation forces and then by the forces of the Shiite-dominated government that rules in Baghdad. ISIS, which gained its initial strength in Syria from the CIA-sponsored campaign to arm Islamist militias to fight the Russian-backed Assad regime, was able to cross into Iraq in 2014 and portray itself as the liberator of Sunni communities....

ISIS—until then a de-facto US proxy in Syria—only came to be viewed as an obstacle to American strategic interests because of the threat it posed to both the Iraqi government and the pro-US Kurdish region. In June 2014, barely 1,000 ISIS fighters were able to rout as many as 30,000 Iraqi government troops, take over Mosul and capture vast quantities of vehicles, weapons and ammunition, as well as some $500 million in cash and gold....

12--ISIS Moves To Syria Where Erdogan Still Aims For Aleppo

The attack on Mosul proceeds on three axes. From the north Kurdish Peshmerga under U.S. special force advisors lead the fighting. Iraqi forces attack from the east and south. The way to the west, towards Syria, is open. The intend of the U.S. is to let ISIS fighters, several thousand of them, flee to Deir Ezzor and Raqqa in Syria. They are needed there to further destroy the Syrian state.

We pointed out here that this move will create the "Salafist principality" the U.S. and its allies have striven to install in east-Syria since 2012. The "mistake" of the U.S. bombing of Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor was in support of that plan. Other commentators finally catch up with that conclusion...

It was the Saudi proxy al-Nujaifi who practically handed Anbar over to ISIS by ordering his troops to flee when ISIS attacked. He and his Saudi and Turkish sponsors want to create an independent Sunni statelet in west Iraq just like the Kurds created their own entity within north Iraq.
The U.S. hopes that the influx of ISIS fighters into Syria will keep the Russians and Iranians trapped in the "quagmire" Obama prescribed and finally destroy the Syrian state. It seems to have mostly given up on other plans. The U.S. military now acknowledges that fighting the Russian air defense in Syria would be a real challenge:
"It’s not like we’ve had any shoot at an F-35,” the official said of the next-generation U.S. fighter jet. “We’re not sure if any of our aircraft can defeat the S-300.”
There is a "no-fly zone" over west-Syria and it is the Russians who control it. All U.S. and Turkish talk about such a zone is moot. The Obama administration has for now also given up on other plans. The recent National Security Council meeting deferred on further decisions:
Consideration of other alternatives, including the shipment of arms to U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria, and an increase in the quantity and quality of weapons supplied to opposition fighters in Aleppo and elsewhere, were deferred until later, officials said. U.S. military action to stop Syrian and Russian bombing of civilians was even further down the list of possibilities....

For Thursday the Russian command announced a unilateral temporary ceasefire in east-Aleppo to let the Jihadis move out. British and other special forces, said to be embedded with al-Qaeda, will be happy for the chance to leave.
In Iraq some Shia militia are moving towards Tal Afar to cut of the ISIS path to the west. Russia promised to take political and military measures should it detect an ISIS move. In east-Syria the Russian and Syrian air-forces, Hizbullah and more Shia militia from Iraq are now preparing surprises for the expected ISIS influx from Mosul. How much can they risk when the U.S. provides further air-support for the ISIS move

Monday, October 17, 2016

Extra links

1--The Ultimate Ebitda Fighting Championship-- Sale of UFC and other buyout deals are raising concerns among regulators that banks and clients are being too liberal with adjustments to earnings to justify more borrowing for transactions

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship put itself up for sale this year, the mixed-martial-arts organization showed one measure of earnings of about $170 million, according to people familiar with the deal.
But with a few tweaks, the figure presented to debt investors helping finance the sale climbed to $300 million, the people said.
The higher number allowed the buyer, talent agency William Morris Endeavor, to borrow $1.8 billion for the deal without exceeding a regulatory “leverage” guideline. That discourages banks from lending more than six times a company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda...

One technique for companies looking to lower their debt metrics is known as “pulling forward,” that is, earnings that haven’t happened yet but are expected from merger-related cost savings or recent business shifts, said James Fitzpatrick, a portfolio manager at investment firm CQS, which has increased its loan investments over the past year.
“Deals have gotten more aggressive in pretty much every respect,” said Alex Jackson, a portfolio manager at Insight Investments Ltd., which owns about $2 billion of leveraged loans. Borrowers are offering fewer protections to investors, while lowering interest rates and raising leverage, he said.

But they don’t have to be. Leveraged loans aren’t subject to SEC oversight.

The use of tailored financial metrics was commonplace in the leveraged buyout boom of the middle part of the last decade. It faded after the financial crisis as lenders raised standards.
Today’s comeback is occurring as superlow interest rates send investors in search of yield...

Concerns about companies massaging their financial figures in the debt markets echo worries in stock markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission has criticized companies’ increasing use of measures that don’t comply with standard accounting rules.
The adjustments often exclude charges for things like stock-based compensation or restructuring expenses. In and of themselves, the adjustments aren’t improper. Companies have said that the tweaks provide a truer picture of their business. The fear is that they also provide an overly rosy view of profits....

Under SEC rules, companies must show, step by step, how they arrive at the altered earnings figure. Such adjustments also are typically spelled out in marketing materials for buyout debt, investors and bankers said.
Seizing on investor demand, companies issued $278 billion of leveraged loans in the third quarter, the highest July-to-September volume on record, according to data provider Dealogic.
Leveraged loans have been a bright spot for Wall Street banks, which pocket fees when they sell loans to investors. Plus, robust demand means banks run little risk of having to park unsold loans on their books.

...William Morris Endeavor bought closely held UFC in August, a $4 billion deal backed by private-equity firms Silver Lake and KKR KKR -0.80 % & Co. The firm posted $170 million in Ebitda for the year ended June 30, people familiar with the matter said.

2--Obama Re-imposes Neoliberalism in Latin America

In her memoir, Hard ChoicesClinton admitted that she aided the new leadership by short-circuiting any efforts to restore Zelaya to power. “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot,” she wrote.

Ecuador in the Crosshairs

After the coup against Zelaya, Ecuador’s popularly elected president, Rafael Correa, said, “We have intelligence reports that say that after Zelaya, I’m next.” He may have been right. The year after the Honduran coup, there was an attempted coup against Correa. Although the action failed, Latin American expert Mark Weisbrot said it was clearly an attempted coup to overthrow Correa’s government.

Correa had renegotiated oil contracts and demanded a larger share of the big oil companies’ revenue for the people of Ecuador. He also opposed a free trade agreement with the U.S. and closed the U.S. military base in Ecuador. And, he joined Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and successfully defaulted on over $3 billion of foreign debt that was illegitimately contracted by Ecuadorian leaders who Correa said were CIA-supported dictators...

Haiti’s largest and most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas has won every election that it has been allowed to participate in. But in this U.S.-sponsored election, Fanmi Lavalas was not allowed to compete. In other words, the Obama administration financed the election that specifically excluded the party the people wanted to elect.

The next indicator of Obama’s failing grade came in Paraguay, where in June 2012, Fernando Lugo, the democratically elected leader of Paraguay was removed in a coup. The right-wing opposition opportunistically capitalized on a skirmish over disputed land that left at least 11 people dead to unfairly blame the deaths on President Lugo. It then impeached him after giving him only 24 hours to prepare his defense and only two hours to deliver it. ...

Perhaps the sharpest blow to Latin America’s attempts to reduce poverty and structure economies more for the benefit of average people, not the wealthy, came just this year in Brazil when another “soft coup” was organized to remove Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff from office and replace her with a right-wing regime.

Again the evidence of a coup was obvious with opposition parties seizing on a budgetary dispute to overturn the voters’ will in South America’s largest country and biggest economy. The evidence included the publication of a transcript of the call between Romero Jucá, who was a senator at the time of the call, and former oil executive Sergio Machado, discussing “a national pact” to remove Rousseff and install Michel Temer as president. Jucá revealed that not only opposition politicians but members of the military and Supreme Court were in on the conspiracy....

The cumulative impact of Obama’s presidency on Latin America has been the steady rollback of the Pink Tide as socially progressive governments around the hemisphere were either removed via “soft coups” or placed under enormous economic pressure, reversing many of the social gains that occurred in the previous decade.

3--Who Owns America: The Most Shocking Interview that “Never Happened”

Brzezinski wrote, four years before birthing the TC with his godfather, David Rockefeller:
[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”
Any doubt on the question of TC goals is answered by David Rockefeller himself, the founder of the TC, in his Memoirs (2003):
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

4--Gingrich: "The election is rigged"

    Today's quote:  "The response to the publication of these (Hillary's speeches to Goldman Sachs)  by so-called “socialist” Bernie Sanders exposes the utterly fraudulent character of his entire presidential bid. While he postured during the Democratic Party primaries as a proponent of a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class,” Sanders now functions shamelessly as a sideshow for the Clinton campaign, browbeating his (now much smaller) audiences with admonitions to vote for the preferred candidate of the “billionaire class” he claimed to oppose.

    During his run for the Democratic nomination, Sanders repeatedly called on Clinton to release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches, which she refused to do. He charged that the speeches would show her subservience to the bankers. Now, transcripts have been leaked to the public, completely substantiating his accusations. His silence only underscores the depth of his political treachery and dishonesty....." WSWS

    1--WikiLeaks Reveals Hillary Clinton Vowed to 'Ring China With Missile Defense'

    2--US considers airstrikes against the Syrian Army

    U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the possibility of striking Syrian Arab Army installations on Friday during a meeting with his National Security Council (NSC) in Washington D.C.

    According to a report from Reuters, the Obama regime is considering the increase in U.S. involvement in Syria, using different methods to attack the Syrian government, including airstrikes on military, radar, anti-aircraft bases, as well as arms deports

    3--Obama meets with national security team on Syria, Islamic State

    President Barack Obama met on Friday with his national security team to discuss the fight against Islamic State and the war in Syria, the White House said.

    Reuters had reported that in the meeting Obama and his advisers would consider military and other options in Syria as Syrian and Russian aircraft continue to pummel the city of Aleppo and other targets, U.S. officials said.

    U.S. officials said they considered it unlikely that Obama would order U.S. air strikes on Syrian government targets, and they stressed that he might not make any decisions at the National Security Council meeting

    4--In secret Goldman Sachs speeches, Clinton explains why the rich should rule

    Forty percent of the 639-page report, or some 240 pages, were devoted to the fraudulent and deceptive practices of Goldman Sachs. The report presented documents, emails, internal communications and other evidence showing that the largest US investment bank had sold billions of dollars in subprime mortgage-backed securities to investors, vouching for their value, even as it was betting that the investments would fail. Goldman made billions and CEO Blankfein and other top executives pocketed millions in bonuses by accelerating the collapse of the financial system.

    Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee, famously described how the investigation had uncovered “a financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest and wrongdoing.”

    “Using their own words in documents subpoenaed by the subcommittee,” Levin said, “the report discloses how financial firms deliberately took advantage of their clients and investors, how credit rating agencies assigned AAA ratings to high-risk securities, and how regulators sat on their hands instead of reining in the unsafe and unsound practices all around them. Rampant conflicts of interest are the threads that run through every chapter of this sordid story.”

    So when Clinton was hobnobbing with Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein in 2013, while investigations of wrongdoing by Goldman and the other Wall Street banks were still ongoing, she was consorting with a man who belonged in prison. In 2011, Levin had recommended that the Justice Department criminally prosecute Blankfein for his fraudulent and deceptive conduct, and the Senate subcommittee charged that he had perjured himself in testimony in 2010 regarding his bank’s role in the financial crash. Nevertheless, no charges were brought, and in 2013 Clinton was accepting upwards of $225,000 per speech from Blankfein’s firm...

    Hillary and Bill Clinton have accumulated a total of $153 million in speaking fees since Bill Clinton left the White House. Only the very naive could believe that these vast sums were paid for the speeches themselves. They were payment for services rendered to the American financial aristocracy over a protracted period....

    The response to the publication of these speeches by so-called “socialist” Bernie Sanders exposes the utterly fraudulent character of his entire presidential bid. While he postured during the Democratic Party primaries as a proponent of a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class,” Sanders now functions shamelessly as a sideshow for the Clinton campaign, browbeating his (now much smaller) audiences with admonitions to vote for the preferred candidate of the “billionaire class” he claimed to oppose.

    During his run for the Democratic nomination, Sanders repeatedly called on Clinton to release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches, which she refused to do. He charged that the speeches would show her subservience to the bankers. Now, transcripts have been leaked to the public, completely substantiating his accusations. His silence only underscores the depth of his political treachery and dishonesty.....

    The cynicism of Clinton’s campaign knows no bounds. Her staff actually worked to help Donald Trump secure the Republican nomination, believing that Clinton would have a better chance of defeating Trump in the election than a more conventional Republican candidate. The media was encouraged to “take him seriously,” and Clinton was urged to single Trump out for criticism in order to “help him cement his front runner status” among the Republican primary candidates.

    5--US steps up anti-Russian rhetoric over Syria as EU foreign ministers meet

    Kerry described the situation in Syria as “the largest of humanitarian disasters” since World War Two and said, “We are considering additional sanctions [against Assad] and we are also making clear that President [Barack] Obama has not taken any options off the table.” He warned that Syria risked not only “lighting a fire” under a larger Middle Eastern war, but risked a confrontation “between superpowers.”

    Kerry pledged the US would continue to oppose Assad and Russia, even in the event of Aleppo falling to government forces, resulting in its control over the second largest city and the capital, Damascus. “The Russians should understand, and Assad needs to understand, that that does not end the war,” he said....

    On Friday, Obama met with his foreign policy advisers at the National Security Council to discuss the US stepping up its military efforts in Syria. According to a Reuters report, “One set of options includes direct US military action such as air strikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases, said one official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.”...

    the goal of the US is to assert its control over the entire Eurasian land mass. It is determined to press ahead with confronting and defeating Russia militarily in order to achieve this, with humanity confronted with the prospect of a devastating war between two nuclear-armed powers

    6--The US-directed assault on Mosul and imperialist hypocrisy

    The New York Times nevertheless welcomed “The Coming Battle for Mosul” in its October 14 editorial. It declared that the city must be “liberated” from “terrorists’ rule”—regardless of the human cost. Barely two weeks ago, its editorial labelled Russia an “outlaw state” because it was behind an assault in Aleppo that “threatens the lives of 250,000 more people...

    Every atrocity that the Russian regime and its Syrian client-state are responsible for in Aleppo will be more than matched, and most likely exceeded, by the US-backed forces in Iraq. Past experiences, including the assault earlier this year on the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, leave little doubt as to the outcome of the attack on Mosul. Entire suburbs will be reduced to rubble from both the air and the ground, regardless of how many desperate civilians are hiding in their homes. The city’s electricity, water and sewerage systems will be destroyed. Medical services and transport networks will be rendered dysfunctional.

    The potential destruction of Mosul and large-scale civilian casualties is being justified in advance as unavoidable, due to fanatical ISIS resistance. The estimates on the number of ISIS militants still in the city range from just a few thousand to over 10,000....

    The assault on Mosul will join the long list of horrors and crimes that have been inflicted on the Iraqi people by US imperialism and its military machine for over 25 years, in its quest for hegemony over one of the most resource-rich and strategically-significant regions of the world.

    The thousands who die will join those who lost their lives as a result of the 1991 Gulf War; the subsequent sanctions imposed on Iraq; the legacy of depleted uranium weapons’ contamination; the 2003 invasion; the murderous Sunni-Shiite sectarian warfare that was deliberately provoked by the US occupation; and the operations of the US-backed Iraqi government forces after most American troops were withdrawn in 2010-2011.

    Credible estimates place the cumulative death toll over a 25-year period at well over 1.5 million and as high as two million. Since 2003 alone, at least four million Iraqis have been internally displaced or fled the country as refugees

    7--Fed Chair Yellen speaks in Boston: An admission of perplexity and impotence

    In her opening remarks, Yellen noted: “Extreme economic events have often challenged existing views of how the economy works and exposed shortcomings in the collective knowledge of economists.” She said this had led to “new ways of thinking.”

    She cited as two examples the Great Depression of the 1930s and the stagflation, marked by high unemployment and high inflation, at the end of the 1970s. “More recently, the financial crisis and its aftermath might well prove to be a similar sort of turning point,” she said.

    “Today,” she continued, “I would like to reflect on some ways in which the events of the past few years have revealed the limits in economists’ understanding of the economy and suggest important questions I hope the profession will try to answer...

    Yellen’s focus on falling demand and its undoubted impact on the supply side of the economy, however, explained nothing. The key question is why investment demand—expenditure on new capital equipment and the increased hiring of workers—which plays the central role in fostering economic growth in the economy as a whole, has remained persistently below its pre-crisis level. Yellen pointed to this tendency, noting “the unusual low pace of capital accumulation,” resulting in a “marked slowdown” in the growth trend of labour productivity, but she offered no explanation...

    Under private ownership, the development of the productive forces, which takes place through new investment, is not determined by efforts to lift economic growth as such, much less to meet social needs, but by the drive for profit. If the rate of profit falls and remains low, new investment will not be undertaken and economic growth will stagnate or even decline...

    It is the downward pressure on profit rates that explains, in the final analysis, the fall in investment and the consequent economic stagnation. This is why, despite the setting of interest rates at historic lows, investment has failed to respond, and the trillions of dollars made available through the monetary policies of the Fed and other central banks have not been used for productive purposes, but devoted almost entirely to speculation in financial markets....

    the paper went on to state that its findings “suggest that real GDP growth and interest rates will remain low in the coming decades, consistent with the US economy having reached a ‘new normal.’”....

    The response to the stagflation of the late 1970s was not “new ways of thinking” that somehow overcame the contradictions of the capitalist profit system. Rather, it resulted in a restructuring of the economy in which the globalisation of production—an inherently progressive development—was used as a battering ram against wages and conditions in the drive for profit.

    8--US Allies Are Funding Isis – and Hillary Clinton Knew All Along

    in the leaked memo, which says that it draws on “western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region” there is no ambivalence about who is backing Isis, which at the time of writing was butchering and raping Yazidi villagers and slaughtering captured Iraqi and Syrian soldiers.

    The memo says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” This was evidently received wisdom in the upper ranks of the US government, but never openly admitted because to it was held that to antagonise Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Pakistan would fatally undermine US power in the Middle East and South Asia.

    9--(sept 2016) China's US Treasuries holdings hit lowest since 2013

    10--73% Of Republicans Say Election Could Be "Stolen" As Trump Slams "Rigged Elections

    11--Abenomics; The failed experiment

    Effect of quantitative expansion

    Under the BoJ’s QQE, asset prices rose strongly starting in 2013. Normally stock and JGB prices have a negative correlation with one another, but at that time they had a positive correlation and rose together (Chart 5).

    That relation seems to have broken down since the start of this year, but for at least three years asset prices rose in a way not normally seen. The problem is that rising asset prices were not reflected in general prices. This was likely resulting from the fact that the BoJ expanded the monetary base at a rapid rate, but the expansion of money stock was limited

    To put it another way, even though the monetary base expanded, bank lending increased only slightly. Since 2000, Japan’s monetary environment has been accommodative, and bank deposits have continually increased, but bank lending has not. To cover the deposit-loan gap, domestic banks increased investment in JGBs 

    Therefore, even when the banks’ JGB holdings were exchanged for cash under QQE, the lending situation of banks did not greatly change. The asset composition of domestic banks shows that in the three years after QQE started, the share of bank assets in JGBs declined, while the share in cash increased by a similar percentage. Other asset classes did not change much 

    Although the absolute amount of lending did increase, it mainly went into real estate-related projects. Lending growth to manufacturers for capital goods was limited. Even though the monetary base expanded, the amount of funds circulating in the real economy (money stock) did not change much, so the kinds of price increases seen in assets were not seen in general prices ...

    With the April 2013 introduction of QQE, called a monetary “bazooka” at the time, the BoJ tried to work on people’s expectations and raise CPI inflation to 2% within two years, but the attempt failed (Looking back at three years of QQE). In the absence of any clear reason why expansion of the monetary base should lead to a higher inflation rate, the BoJ’s action was even called a social experiment. Monetary policy is a crucial means of stabilizing prices and the financial system. When the economy overheats, for example, it can be treated with a rate hike, and when liquidity dries up in a financial crisis, the central bank can supply liquidity. Although there were a number of different factors that make it difficult to blame the failure solely on the BoJ, it has proven very difficult to raise prices by monetary policy alone in normal times...

    Balance sheets are out of sync with the economy While much of the performance of US equities has been driven to a large extent by multiple expansion thanks to buybacks funded by cheap credit, it is worth noting that eventually, what matters in a credit cycle at a late stage is the level of leverage in the system from a Wicksellian perspective

    12--Say what? Economic policymakers reject all responsibility for condition of the economy

    13--Break the Silence: Hillary Clinton’s Role in the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras

    On June 28, 2009, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown by a military coup. Under US law, all military aid to Honduras should have ceased immediately. Sec. Clinton was directly involved in continuing military aid to Honduras and in maneuvering behind the scenes to support the coup and thus the already beleaguered country’s downward spiral into greater poverty and violence, including rape and femicide, which it precipitated in Honduras...

    Israel supported the coup; the United States backed it...

    The military coup which displaced Manuel Zelaya catapulted already impoverished and violent Honduras into a downward spiral into greater poverty and more violence.

    14--Higher deficits reflect weaker labor contribution (Didn't the Fed say we were near full employment, but tax receipts are down??)

    Spending exceeded revenue by $587.4 billion in the 12 months to Sept. 30, compared with a $439.1 billion deficit in fiscal 2015, the Treasury Department said Friday in a report released in Washington. That was in line with a Congressional Budget Office estimate on Oct. 7 for a shortfall of $588 billion. As a share of gross domestic product, the shortfall rose to 3.2 percent from 2.5 percent a year earlier, the first such increase since 2009, government figures show.
    “The slowdown in tax collections suggests some cooling in labor market activity,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities LLC in New York. He sees the higher budget deficits implying more borrowing needs by Treasury.

    15--Big Central Bank Assets Jump Fastest in 5 Years to $21 Trillion

    The world’s biggest central banks are bulking up their balance sheets this year at the fastest pace since 2011’s European debt crisis to boost lackluster economic recoveries with asset purchases that are supporting stock and bond prices.
    The 10 largest lenders now own assets totaling $21.4 trillion, a 10 percent increase from the end of last year, data collected by Bloomberg show. Their combined holdings grew by 3 percent or less in both 2015 and 2014....

    The growth of central-bank holdings has coincided with the mostly upward trend of stock and bond prices. As the top 10 expanded their balance sheets by 265 percent since mid-October 2006, the MSCI All Country World Index of equities gained 19 percent and the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index of bonds advanced 50 percent...

    The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank together have expanded their assets by $2.1 trillion since Dec. 31, more than accounting for all of the top 10’s combined increase. The balance sheets of the People’s Bank of China and the U.S. Federal Reserve fell 2 percent or less as the Swiss and the Central Bank of Brazil boosted their holdings 15 percent or more.
    How much is $21.4 trillion?
    It’s 29 percent of the size of the world economy as of the end of 2015, double what it was in mid-September 2008, when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse sparked the global financial crisis. It’s a third of the combined market capitalization of every stock in the world and almost half the value of all debt in Bloomberg’s global bond index

    Almost 75 percent percent of the world’s central-bank assets are controlled by policy makers in four places: China, the U.S., Japan and the euro zone. The next six -- the central banks of Brazil, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., India and Russia -- each account for an average of 2.5 percent. The remaining 107 central banks tracked by Bloomberg, mostly with International Monetary Fund data, hold less than 13 percent


    Obama and the establishment, in an all out effort to stop Trump, have decided to turn the spending up to 11. It seems rather odd the Federal government added $191 billion to the national debt over the last Three Months of the fiscal year, but has decided it was prudent to add $147 billion in the first Thirteen Days of October. That is an increase in the daily rate of debt accumulation from $2.1 billion per day to $11.3 billion per day. Only a 538% increase. Sounds legit. Right?
    DateTotal Public Debt Outstanding
    Let’s face the facts. The establishment is terrified of Trump and his deplorables

    17--The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. US State Dept 11--30--15

    18--Buck passing Fed tries to denies accountability for economy-- Extreme economic events have often challenged existing views of how the economy works and exposed shortcomings in the collective knowledge of economists. Yellen admits Fed doesn't know what it's doing

    (A thoroughly infuriating speech by the gnomish meatpuppet  and serial liar Janet freaking Yellen)

    ...Today I would like to reflect on some ways in which the events of the past few years have revealed limits in economists' understanding of the economy  ...

    The latter likely reflects an unusually slow pace of business capital accumulation since the crisis and, more conjecturally, the sharp decline in spending on research and development and the very slow pace of new firm formation in recent years.6 
    If we assume that hysteresis is in fact present to some degree after deep recessions, the natural next question is to ask whether it might be possible to reverse these adverse supply-side effects by temporarily running a "high-pressure economy," with robust aggregate demand and a tight labor market. One can certainly identify plausible ways in which this might occur. Increased business sales would almost certainly raise the productive capacity of the economy by encouraging additional capital spending, especially if accompanied by reduced uncertainty about future prospects. In addition, a tight labor market might draw in potential workers who would otherwise sit on the sidelines and encourage job-to-job transitions that could also lead to more-efficient--and, hence, more-productive--job matches.7 Finally, albeit more speculatively, strong demand could potentially yield significant productivity gains by, among other things, prompting higher levels of research and development spending and increasing the incentives to start new, innovative businesses...

    hysteresis would seem to make it even more important for policymakers to act quickly and aggressively in response to a recession, because doing so would help to reduce the depth and persistence of the downturn, thereby limiting the supply-side damage that might otherwise ensue. In addition, if strong economic conditions can partially reverse supply-side damage after it has occurred, then policymakers may want to aim at being more accommodative during recoveries than would be called for under the traditional view that supply is largely independent of demand. (setting the groundwork for more QE)..

    More generally, if larger firms seeking to expand have better access to credit than smaller ones, overall growth in investment and employment could depend in part on the distribution of sales across different types of businesses. Modeling any of these issues quantitatively will likely require the use of a heterogeneous-agent framework.(set up for buying corporate bonds)

    In light of the housing bubble and subsequent events, policymakers clearly need to better understand what kinds of developments contribute to financial crises. What is the relationship between the buildup of excessive leverage and the value of real estate and other types of collateral, and what factors impede or facilitate the deleveraging process that follows? Does the economic fallout from a financial crisis depend on the particulars of the crisis, such as whether it involves widespread damage to household balance sheets? How does the nature and degree of the interconnections between financial firms affect the propagation and amplification of stress through the financial system and overall economy? Finally--and most importantly--what can monetary policy and financial oversight do to reduce the frequency and severity of future crises? (Unbelievable! The Fed wants to know how  bubbles (massive leverage) effect the economy

    Inflation Dynamics My fourth question goes to the heart of monetary policy: What determines inflation?(beyond ridiculous. Why would you appoint someone to head the central bank if they didn't know the causes of inflation)

    Theory and evidence suggest that this trend is strongly influenced by inflation expectations that, in turn, depend on monetary policy....the influence of labor market conditions on inflation in recent years seems to be weaker than had been commonly thought prior to the financial crisis. Although inflation fell during the recession, the decline was quite modest given how high unemployment rose; likewise, wages and prices rose comparatively little as the labor market gradually recovered. Whether this reduction in sensitivity was somehow caused by the recession or instead pre-dated it and was merely revealed under extreme conditions is unclear.18 Either way, the underlying cause is unknown...

    Perhaps most importantly, we need to know more about the manner in which inflation expectations are formed and how monetary policy influences them. Ultimately, both actual and expected inflation are tied to the central bank's inflation target, whether that target is explicit or implicit.22 But how does this anchoring process occur? Does a central bank have to keep actual inflation near the target rate for many years before inflation expectations completely conform? Can policymakers instead materially influence inflation expectations directly and quickly by simply announcing their intention to pursue a particular inflation goal in the future (The job is to control inflation, not expectations. We don't want a shrink running the central bank, just someone who can do the fucking job)

    International Linkages Before closing, let me mention one additional area where more study is needed--the effects of changes in U.S. monetary policy on financial and economic conditions in the rest of the world and the ways in which those foreign effects can feed back to influence conditions here at home ...

    Broadly speaking, monetary policy actions in one country spill over to other economies through three main channels: changes in exchange rates; changes in domestic demand, which alter the economy's imports; and changes in domestic financial conditions--such as interest rates and asset prices--that, through portfolio balance and other channels, affect financial conditions abroad. Research by Federal Reserve staff suggests that, all told, U.S. monetary policy spillovers to other economies are positive--that is, policies designed to provide stimulus to the U.S. economy also boost activity abroad, as negative effects of dollar depreciation are offset by positive effects of higher U.S. imports and easier foreign financial conditions.26 However, this issue is far from settled, as are a host of other related questions, including the following: Do U.S. monetary policy actions affect advanced and emerging market countries differently? Do conventional and unconventional monetary policies spill over to other countries differently? And to what extent are U.S. interest rates and financial conditions influenced by easing measures abroad

    19--Roaming Charges: a Wikileak is a Terrible Thing to Waste

    Significantly, the email dump also proves what many of us have long suspected: that there are no walls separating the Clinton campaign, its foundation and Super Pacs and the DNC itself. Those supposedly distinct entities are, in fact, all part of one vast, interconnected organization–a syndicate, if you will, that has deftly evaded campaign finance laws (created by Democrats) and rigged its own primary process to ensure a pre-ordained winner.

    + The key thing to remember about the DNC is that it has been under the complete control of the Clintons and their operatives since the 1990s. Obama never cleaned house and installed his own people, a lapse that proved fatal to his own political and legislative agenda. The Clintons’ loyalty to Obama was always paper-thin and conditioned on whether it would advance their own interests: Hillary’s pursuit of the presidency and Bill’s maniacal quest for lucrative speaking fees

    Mark Siegel, the former executive director of the DNC, emailed Podesta on the eve of the Convention outlining strategies to entice the “self-righteous (Bernie) ideologues” to “work their asses off for Hillary.”
    + “Let’s throw Bernie a bone,” Siegel recommends, in the form of reducing the number of super delegates in 2020 primary campaign. Perhaps “Bernie Bones” could be come a new treat at Ben & Jerry’s?..

    One email to Podesta from Hillary’s account in August of 2014 provides confirmation for what we’ve long suspected: Clinton was well aware that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the principle funders of ISIS in Iraq and Syria:
    “While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region...

    Here’s an excerpt from the Clinton campaing’s press policy, cautioning against allowing coverage of the anemic turnouts at Hillary rallies: “‘Less than a 100 people at a rally? No cell phones! No press!”
    + The emails in 2015 show increasing fear that Elizabeth Warren’s freelance attacks on the big banks and investment houses will alienate the tycoons and moguls who fund the DNC. Nancy Pelosi (Net Worth: $58 million) & Co. scurry to reassure Wall Street: “Elizabeth Warren doesn’t speak for Dem Party!”

    + HRC HQ knew she needed to run against a candidate like Trump. It was her only hope of winning the election & they went to work to make it so. It unnerved some her allies, one of whom wrote Podesta: “Right now I am petrified that Hillary is almost totally dependent on Republicans nominating Trump...

    ... Twelve Bush officials sign letter denouncing Trump. Get ready for the Fourth Bush Term!


    Still, people see through her. Latest WSJ/NBC poll from Ohio, taken after the Trump sex tape and the St. Louis debate, shows HRC still below 50%…with WOMEN voters!

    despite appearances to the contrary, there is a unified oligarchic Establishment that straddles both the Republican and Democrat parties. This has not been so obvious in previous elections, when Republicans and Democrats were apparently quite different on some issues. However, the rise of Donald Trump has shown that the Establishment is entirely united. For example, billionaires are supporting Hillary Clinton 20–1, whereas in previous elections, they were much more split between the two parties. Not one Fortune 100 CEO is supporting Trump.

    The other pillar of the Ruling Class is the media which reflects academic culture and political culture generally. The media, along with academia, and the bureaucracy, have been prime drivers of this top-down revolution, in which the moral and intellectual high ground has been seized by people hostile to the traditional peoples and cultures of the West. This new Ruling Class is completely out of touch with the interests of a majority of its citizens—particularly White Americans. Thus the print media is almost completely in the anti-Trump camp:

    Today's quote: "“We trust their [Russia’s] politics, politics based on morals before interests. We trust them because we know that they wanted to support us because they wanted to get rid of the terrorists, not because they want to ask us anything in return, and they never did. Until this moment, they never asked us for anything in return.”
    “Russia wanted to fight terrorism ... not only for Syria, not only for Russia, for the rest of the region, for Europe, for the rest of the world." Bashar al Assad, Syrian president

    Patrick Martin, WSWS:  "It would be wrong to conclude that masses of people are attending Trump’s rallies and supporting his campaign because they want a fascist solution to their problems. He is drawing support because, from the rotten miasma of official politics, including the self-absorbed identity politics of the Democratic Party, layers of the middle class and working class find nothing that appeals to them.

    Trump’s appeal is that he is seen as shaking a collective fist at the political elites.
    However, there is a real danger. If Clinton wins the election, the policies that she will pursue will only increase the anger and social discontent among broad masses of the population. Clinton would come to power as one of the most despised candidates in American history." 

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Today's Links

    1---Russia’s First Year of Operations in Syria

    ...the goal of the operation is a modest one–the denial of victory to the West-backed jihadist coalition. Once that objective is achieved, once every major anti-Syrian actor acknowledges that Syria’s legitimate government or Russia’s military presence in Syria cannot be dislodged by any combination of political and military measures, they will be forced to negotiate a peace settlement that will preserve both the territorial and political integrity of the Syrian state....

    the jihadists and wild geeze aren’t the most dangerous foes faced by Syria. The Russian military had to minimize the prospect of a direct NATO military operation against the Syrian military and government that, as in the case of Libya, would have been spearheaded by US airpower. The goal of conventional deterrence against both air and land NATO incursions was achieved, though only after the loss of one Su-24 bomber, treacherously shot down over Syria by Turkish fighters, by the deployment of advanced S-400 air defense systems, Su-35 fighters, and Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles, and the demonstration of the power of Russia’s air- and sea-launched cruise missiles which would have struck US air bases throughout the Middle East in the event of any escalation.....

    The effect, however, has been nothing short of spectacular. Rebel forces are in retreat on nearly every important sector of the front, and even the crucial struggle for Aleppo, which has reached the scale of a general battle that will decide the future of Syria, has decisively swung in Syria’s favor. Outside Syria, both friend and foe have taken note. Russia’s engagement has served as a veritable “seed capital” that drew larger contingents of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iraq’s Shia militias, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, into the fray. Turkey has opted for what amounts to a negotiated “separate peace” with Russia and Syria in exchange for a free hand to focus on the Kurdish threat to its own sovereignty. Even the US, whose leaders are perennially invoking “Plan Bs” in an effort to intimidate Russia, is finding itself without viable policy options. While the war is still far from over, after one year of intervention all the political and military trends in Syria are now in a positive direction.

    2--Leviathan Israeli-Turkish Gas Deal Unlikely, Due to Technical, Political Reasons

    3--UN Staff Arrive in Aleppo to Begin de Mistura Proposed Militants' Evacuation

    4--'Obama cyber saber-rattling against Russia possible ploy to boost Clinton camp'

    5--Hillary publicly supported TPP 45 times

    6--Citigroup chose Obama’s 2008 cabinet, WikiLeaks document reveals

    Rigged from the very beginning

    Those communications, such as the Frohman email, which expose who really rules America, have been virtually ignored by the media. The pro-Democratic Party New Republic called attention to it in an article published Friday, but the story has received little if any further coverage.The media has instead focused on salacious details of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s sexual activities, designed, in part, to divert attention from the substance of the Clinton campaign-related emails being released by WikiLeaks and other sources.

    One month before the presidential election of 2008, the giant Wall Street bank Citigroup submitted to the Obama campaign a list of its preferred candidates for cabinet positions in an Obama administration. This list corresponds almost exactly to the eventual composition of Barack Obama’s cabinet.

    The memorandum, revealed by WikiLeaks in a recent document release from the email account of John Podesta, who currently serves as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, was written by Michael Froman, who was then an executive with Citigroup and currently serves as US trade representative. The email is dated Oct. 6, 2008 and bears the subject line “Lists.” It went to Podesta a month before he was named chairman of President-Elect Obama’s transition team.

    The email was sent at the height of the financial meltdown that erupted after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15. Even as Citigroup and its Wall Street counterparts were dragging the US and world economy into its deepest crisis since the 1930s, they remained, as the email shows, the real power behind the façade of American democracy and its electoral process.

    Froman’s list proved remarkably prescient. As it proposed, Robert Gates, a Bush holdover, became secretary of Defense; Eric Holder became attorney general; Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security; Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff; Susan Rice, United Nations ambassador; Arne Duncan, secretary of Education; Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services; Peter Orszag, head of the Office of Management and Budget; Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Melody Barnes, chief of the Domestic Policy Council.

    For the highly sensitive position of secretary of the Treasury, three possibilities were presented: Robert Rubin and Rubin’s close disciples Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner. Obama chose Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Geithner, along with Bush Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs CEO) Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, had played the leading role in organizing the Wall Street bailout.

    Rubin had served as Treasury secretary in the Bill Clinton administration from 1995 until 1999, when he was succeeded by Summers. In that capacity, Rubin and Summers oversaw the dismantling of the Glass-Steagall Act (1933), which had imposed a legal wall separating commercial banking from investment banking. Immediately after leaving Treasury, Rubin became a top executive at Citigroup, remaining there until 2009....

    Citigroup’s recommendations came just three days after then-President George W. Bush signed into law the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which allocated $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue the largest Wall Street banks. The single biggest beneficiary was Citigroup, which was given $45 billion in cash in the form of a government stock purchase, plus a $306 billion government guarantee to back up its worthless mortgage-related assets.

    7--Pseudo left makes case for escalation in Syria

    In response to one question from Clwyd, Johnson said that Assad, Russia and Iran were perpetrating a “gross crime against humanity,” in Aleppo. Asked by Clwyd which “policy options” were open to the UK in Syria, Johnson invoked the “humanitarian” crisis in Aleppo, saying it was necessary to “intensify actions on some of the key players in the Assad regime and on the Russian as well.”...

    It is under these conditions that a broad swath of the pseudo-left has moved to demand that Corbyn reverse his opposition to stepped up military action. Around 180 members of the Corbyn-supporting Momentum activist network, other Labour members, trade union officials and the Alliance for Workers Liberty group issued an open letter demanding that the Labour leader “say clearly and unequivocally that the actions of Assad and Russia in Syria are barbaric war crimes, and that you will seek to end them, and to hold their perpetrators to account.”

    8---Democrats focus on sex scandal as conflict with Russia escalates

    Behind a nearly total media blackout, the White House National Security Council held a closed-door meeting Friday to review the US military’s campaign in Iraq and Syria. The only major media advance report on the meeting, carried by Reuters on Thursday and then quickly dropped, noted that US officials were weighing “air strikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases.” Asked about the meeting at a press conference Friday afternoon, deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz refused to even acknowledge that it was taking place....

    Russian officials, for their part, threatened retaliation against any US strikes against Syrian government targets. “Any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said last week.
    He added, “Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality.” Konashenkov’s reference to ‘invisible’’ jets was a warning that the advanced Russian S-400 air defense systems are capable of downing fifth-generation fighters with stealth capabilities, such as the American F-22 and F-35.

    Should US air strikes against Syrian targets lead to the downing of American fighters by Russian forces, the White House will come under immense pressure to retaliate, potentially setting off a chain reaction that could result in the first use of nuclear weapons since World War II.
    In evident preparation for such an eventuality, Moscow sent nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to the Russian Baltic city of Kaliningrad on October 8. From Kaliningrad, the missiles can strike targets, including NATO bases, across Poland and the Baltic republics...

    The war in Syria is just one flashpoint in what military strategists are increasingly warning will be an “inevitable” conflict with major military powers. Last month, the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, published a report titled The Future of the Army, which made clear that the US military’s primary concern is preparing to fight “major and deadly” wars between “great powers,” entailing “heavy casualties” and “high levels of death and destruction.”

    At an October 4 meeting of the Association of the US Army in Washington, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said war between the US and global powers such as Russia and China was “almost guaranteed.” At the same conference, Gen. William Hix, a top Army strategist, declared that a conflict “in the near future” with a country like Russia or China would entail a level of violence “that our armies have not seen on a scale probably since Korea, if not in World War II

    9--Obama NSC Meeting To Plot Next Syria Move

    Oct. 14, 2016 (EIRNS)—Washington sources have confirmed news reports that President Obama convened a meeting of the National Security Council to hear policy options for Syria, in light of the Syrian-Russian military operations to wipe out the last rebel stronghold in Aleppo. Broadly, four options have been prepared: A no-fly zone, a safe zone, a bombing campaign to wipe out the Syrian Air Force, and an expanded arming of the “vetted” Syrian rebel groups. According to one source, there is heavy opposition to the proposal to bomb the Syrian Air Force, because it would almost certainly escalate into a direct conflict with Russia. Among the options of arming the Syrian rebels, there is a range of possibilities, from highly restrictive arming, focused on the Kurdish fighters in the Syrian Democratic Force (YPG for the most part), to a much broader arming of rebel forces integrated into some of the hardcore Salafist groups.

    A second source, who in the past participated in the process of developing and presenting such military options, anticipates that Obama will make a specific decision, based on the three or four options presented to him, and he will make a formal decision, and later issue an execute order.
    One source emphasized that the situation on the ground has gotten far more dangerous, citing the movement of Turkish military units into areas very close to where Syrian Army units are operating, as well as the intensity of Russian and Syrian military operations in and around Aleppo. The “threat of a direct conflict with Russia” has increased, the source admitted.

    10--Fed's Yellen says 'high-pressure' policy may be only way back from crisis

    Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, said he read Yellen as saying, "'You don't have to tighten policy just because inflation goes to over 2 percent.'
    "Inflation can go to 3 percent, if the Fed thinks this is temporary," said Gundlach, who agreed Yellen was striking a chord similar to Summer's "secular stagnation" thesis. "Yellen is thinking independently and willing to act on what she thinks."

    While investors by and large think the Fed is likely to raise interest rates in December this year, in a nod to the country's 5.0 percent unemployment rate and expectations that inflation will rise, they do not see the Fed moving aggressively thereafter.
    "This is a clear rebuttal of the hawkish arguments," to raise rates soon, a line of argument pitched by some of the Fed's regional bank presidents, said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial