Sunday, May 11, 2014

Today's Links

1--TPP Is Another Upward Transfer of Wealth, naked capitalism

The TPP would provide transnational corporations with easier access to cheap labor in Pacific Rim nations and new power to trump public-interest protections—on labor, food safety, drug prices, financial regulation, domestic procurement laws, and a host of others—established over the last century by democratic governments. The nations currently negotiating the TPP—which together comprise nearly 40%of the world economy—include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Among them, Malaysia, Brunei, Mexico, Singapore, and Vietnam, are all notorious violators of labor rights The TPP’s labor provisions are far too weak to begin uplifting wages, conditions, and rights for workers in these nations.

As with NAFTA, the TPP will benefit U.S. companies relocating jobs to low-wage, high-repression nations, argues economist Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). This would also exert strong downward pressures on the pay of U.S. workers, “Most U.S. workers are likely to lose out from the TPP,” Weisbrot says. “This may come as no surprise after 20 years of NAFTA and an even-longer period of trade policy designed to put lower- and middle-class workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world

2---In Gallup Poll, The Biggest Threat To World Peace Is ... America?,  IBT

Is the most dangerous country in the world the United States of America? According to a new poll from WIN and Gallup International, the U.S. represents the largest threat to world peace today.

In their annual End of Year poll, researchers for WIN and Gallup International surveyed more than 66,000 people across 65 nations and found that 24 percent of all respondents answered that the United States “is the greatest threat to peace in the world today.” Pakistan and China fell significantly behind the United States on the poll, with 8 and 6 percent, respectively. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea all tied for fourth place with 4 percent.

3---Our People Massacre Civilians in Odessa, and Politico Blames Putin, W blog

Max Blumenthal at Alternet, headlined on February 24th, “Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?” and he provided evidence that the answer is yes....

“On the night of April 12, the city of Odessa in Ukraine celebrated the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi Germany. That same night, as reported by Interfax, John Brennan [Director of our CIA] had a meeting with the Kiev junta and advised it, as a first act of suppression, to put down a demonstration by protesters in Slovyansk who were pushing for a referendum on federalization that would establish its autonomy. That action was to begin on April 13. Under-Secretary of Defense Dimitri Yarosh announced a full mobilization of Pravy Sektor, the ultra-nationalist paramilitary collective, to squelch the protesters. Troops had been mobilized to Donbass by train and military vehicles, including tanks and armored troop carriers, and seven of the latter were stationed on the outskirts of Slovyansk.” Nonetheless, when “Kiev ordered Berkut units–the Special Security forces, including the Special Forces Alpha unit that stood down during Euro Maidan–and various police units to squelch the protests, all refused. None would fire on his own people.” Obama’s coup in Ukraine was running into trouble from the local troops, who didn’t want to mass-murder Ukrainians whose sole sin was to seek to remain as Ukrainians who were also speakers of Russian.

Russian-speaking Ukrainians are being terrorized and massacred by people that Obama placed in power, and Americans are deceived to blame the victims, and to blame Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as the source of the problem

Raul Illargi headlined at The Automatic Earth, “Debt Rattle Mar 9 2014: Big Oil and Gas Wars,” and linked to recent news reports about international oil companies’ efforts to push Russia’s state oil company Gazprom out of Ukraine and replace Russian with Western oil companies’ production. Headlines included: “EU leaders draw up plans to send gas to Ukraine if Russia cuts off supply,” “Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry,” “Ukraine Plans to Cut Russian Gas Imports, Raise EU Supply,” and “Ukraine’s Naftogaz slashes Russian gas imports in February.” The machinations by rightist politicians to shove aside Gazprom were already at a fever-pitch throughout the weeks leading up to the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Victor Yanukovych, especially the last week of February in 2014, when he was replaced by Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

4---Thailand’s judicial coup, wsws

The ousting of Thailand’s elected prime minister on a trumped-up charge has not been opposed by the Obama administration or any of its allies in the region. Just as Washington is prosecuting its interests in Ukraine via openly fascist organisations, so in Thailand it is tacitly lining up with the military, monarchists and the extreme right wing.

This week’s judicial coup follows eight years of political infighting within Thai ruling circles that began with the military’s ousting of Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, as prime minister in 2006. Bangkok’s traditional elites—the monarchy, the army and state bureaucracy including the courts—helped install Thaksin, a telecom billionaire, in 2001, but turned against him when his economic policies and populist concessions to the urban and rural poor cut across their interests...

What is taking place confirms one of the essential propositions of Leon Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution: the organic inability of any section of the bourgeoisie in countries of a belated capitalist development such as Thailand to meet the democratic aspirations and pressing social needs of the masses....

What is taking place in Thailand is just the sharpest expression of political processes that are underway throughout the region. The so-called Asian democracies that emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s in countries such as South Korea and Indonesia were little more than window dressing for what had been US-backed dictatorships. US imperialism cut its erstwhile political allies loose because their crony capitalism had become an obstacle to American corporate interests.

Now the democratic mask is being stripped off. In South Korea, President Park Geun-hye, daughter of US-backed dictator Park Chung-hee, is reviving her father’s methods of the anti-communist witch-hunt to suppress political opponents and striking workers. In Indonesia, the upcoming presidential elections will be dominated by Suharto-era generals and political parties. As the ruling classes line up with the US war drive against China and prepare for class war against working people at home, they are dispensing with the trappings of democracy.
As Trotsky explained in his Theory of Permanent Revolution, the working class is the only social force capable of defending basic democratic rights as part of the political fight for its own independent class interests.

5---How the revival of German militarism was prepared, wsws

The paper leaves no doubt about what the ruling class understands as “judicious.” As a “trading and export nation,” Germany “benefits from globalisation like few other countries” and relies on “demand from other markets, as well as on access to international trade routes and raw materials.” Therefore, the “overriding strategic goal” has to be “the preservation, protection and adaptation of the liberal world order.”

The openness with which the document asserts German spheres of influence and calls for these to be secured militarily is remarkable. “A pragmatic German security policy, particularly concerning costly and longer-term military deployments” must “concentrate primarily on the increasingly unstable European vicinity from Northern Africa and the Middle East to Central Asia,” the paper declares....

The incorporation of the Left Party is of particular significance. The party gives up its pacifist phrases at a point when German imperialism returns once again to the world stage. Liebich is a member of several foundations and think tanks, including the Atlantic Bridge and the DGAP.

6---A Brief History of the Housing Bubble , oc housing

7-- Cash is king, Dr housing bubble

So you still want to make the argument that cash buying is a small portion of the market? The latest sales data shows that cash buyers made up a record 42.7 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2014. The latest National Association of Realtors report shows all cash purchases at 33 percent for the last month of data. RealtyTrac also follows auction sales that many times, do not show up on the MLS and as we all know institutional investors at times are buying blocks of homes directly from banks...

(1) traditional buyers are being priced out even with low mortgage rates (2) cash buying although high as a percentage, is dropping in actual purchases (3) foreign buying is focused like a hawk on certain areas.
Let us look at the cash buyer data:
all cash buyers
8---The economic recovery creates low-paying jobs that fail to stimulate housing, oc housing

9---Already in the Lowflation Trap, Krugman

10--Inflation targeting vs price-level targeting: A new survey of theory and empirics , VOX
(another argument for maintaining the status quo)

Price-level targeting is found in modern macro models to be a good mechanism for helping the economy to recover from deflationary shocks driving monetary policy to the zero bound. It does this because when such shocks occur price-level targeting implies that future inflation will be boosted and so real interest rates are lowered. Moreover, this mechanism would make it feasible for trend inflation to be lowered, which would bring additional benefits. These beneficial effects hang importantly on the structure of New Keynesian models and rational expectations. The empirical literature we have surveyed does not reject these assumptions and favours rational expectations over behavioural ones. We, therefore, conclude that policymakers should continue to pay attention to price-level targeting in the future.

11---Pot shops to get banking system of their own in Colorado, RT
cannabis credit co-ops

12--400 US commandos help Kiev in its military offensive in east Ukraine - reports, VOR

Not so long ago, during a meeting with Turchinov, a plan to stop the protest movements in the eastern regions was discussed. Kolomoysky noted: "why reinvent the wheel if there are real people who understand how and how much to pay," said the source."

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