Monday, June 2, 2014

Today's Links

1---QE, Bailouts, And Families Struggling to Buy Food , Testosterone Pit


In 2013, as the S&P 500 index, including dividends, shot up 32.4% – after an already blistering 16% in 2012 – and as the Fed’s trillions inflated just about every asset class, from modernist paintings to farmland, well just then, 23% of the families with kids and 19% of the families without kids in America reported difficulties buying food....


The country with the fourth largest increase over the past seven years? The USA, with a 12-point jump for families with children. The Fed has chosen the winners. It printed nearly $4 trillion and repressed interest rates to near zero, allowing Wall Street to borrow short-term for free to wager this newly created money by buying up all sorts of assets, inflating their prices in the process, and enriching those who own them. And the Fed has designated the losers. This too is the “wealth effect” in all its untarnished glory.


2---Ilargi: The Illusionary Economy Revives Helocs, the Home ATM, naked capitalism


3--The drive to privatize US veterans’ health care, wsws


There is a largely hidden and deeply reactionary political agenda behind the current furor over the crisis in the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system. On Friday, President Barack Obama responded to mounting demands from Democratic as well as Republican lawmakers and announced the resignation of VA Director Gen. Eric Shinseki (retired), promising “reform” of the system.


The so-called “reform” being prepared, however, represents a further attack on veterans and a precedent for laying siege to other government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.


4--The 35 economic charts from May you really should see, quartz


5--US defense secretary menaces China at Singapore forum, wsws


6--Bombing orphanage in E Ukraine, RT


7---VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care, wsws


8--With Stocks at Record Highs, What Could Go Wrong? WSJ
We Assign 'Worry Rankings' to Investor Concerns


9--Why there is no Russian military intervention in the Ukraine, vineyard saker


Against this background, the Americans easily force the signing of their version of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade pact, which turns the EU into an appendage of the U.S. economy. Negotiations about the treaty are going on right now and, for the Americans, the entry of Russian troops in Ukraine would be a huge gift. Sanctions against Russia would destroy European business and trade barriers with the U.S. would finish it. What we have at the end: EU in a state as if after a war; the United States, all in white, joyfully absorbing European markets on which they have not and will not have competitors; the Russian Federation - not in the best shape. Does it seem to anyone that someone in this situation is the fool (лох), and that that someone is clearly not the U.S.? By the way, it is not necessary to take into account the arguments to the effect that European politicians would not allow economic suicide. Euro-bureaucrats are not capable even of this, as practice shows.


10--US imperialism and Nigerian schoolgirls, Info clearinghouse


Even worse, in Somalia, Libya, and Mali, U.S. actions have created the terrorism threat or exacerbated an existing one. In Somalia, U.S. support for corrupt warlords led to the rise of the Islamist group Shabab, which touted keeping order and clean government. In Libya, the West overthrew the only man capable of keeping together a country fractured along tribal lines--Muammar Gaddafi--thus creating the current situation of battling militias in what may shortly become an all-out civil war. Those militias are well armed from Gaddafi's large weapon stockpiles, as were Islamist fighters that took over the northern part of Mali last year and required a French military intervention to only temporarily scatter them.
Thus, Western efforts to fight terrorism in Africa have generally been incompetent and counterproductive.


11--The climate wars are here, Guardian


While that oil-soaked, blood-drenched geopolitical gamble appears to have failed, the US and regional partner Israel have accommodated themselves to what the New York Times described as a "horrific" status quo that is nevertheless "preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad's government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis." The west, adds America's newspaper of record, "needs more time to prop up opposition forces it finds more palatable."
And this, indeed, is the problem: Viewed through the narrow, self-serving, systematically abused lens of 'national security' (which of course is the noble title of the American intelligence agency responsible for mass surveillance of entire populations), climate change becomes not a springboard for much-need social transformation to save the planet; instead it becomes the beaten-to-death horse justifying innovative new ways to save the profits of the few who run the planet.


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