Monday, August 18, 2014

Today's links

"The US Air Force’s Defense Support Program utilizes satellites with infrared sensors to detect missile launches anywhere on the planet, and US radar posts in Europe would have tracked the missile as it shot through the sky. These satellite and radar data have not been released, because whatever they show does not fit the storyline concocted by the US government and media." WSWS

1---Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17?, wsws

The deafening silence of the US media and government about the investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 one month ago reeks of a cover-up.

In the hours and days immediately after the crash, without a single shred of evidence, US officials alleged that the passenger jet was shot down by an SA-11 ground-to-air missile fired from pro-Russian separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. They launched a political campaign to obtain harsh economic sanctions against Russia and strengthen NATO’s military posture in Eastern Europe.

Picking up on the scent, the CIA attack dogs in the US and European media blamed the crash squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The cover of the July 28 print edition of German news magazine Der Spiegel showed the images of MH17 victims surrounding bold red text reading “Stoppt Putin Jetzt!” (Stop Putin Now!). A July 26 editorial in the Economist declared Putin to be the author of MH17’s destruction, while the magazine ghoulishly superimposed Putin’s face over a spider web on its front cover, denouncing Putin’s “web of lies.”...

Having built up the crash into a casus belli against Russia, however, the US media suddenly dropped the matter completely. The New York Times has not found it fit to print a word on the MH17 crash since August 7.
There is no innocent explanation for the sudden disappearance of MH17 from the media and political spotlight. The plane’s black box has been held in Britain for examination for weeks, and US and Russian spy satellites and military radar were intensively scanning east Ukraine at the time of the crash. The claim that Washington does not have detailed knowledge of the circumstances of the crash and the various forces involved is not credible.

The sole evidence he presented were a few, dubious “social media records” posted to the Internet. He presented unauthenticated audio recordings of separatists speaking of a plane crash, edited and released by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence agency, which works closely with the CIA; YouTube video clips showing a truck moving unidentified military equipment along a road; and a retracted social media statement claiming responsibility for shooting down a plane attributed to separatist leader Igor Strelkov.
Very quickly, the US government’s story line on MH17 began to collapse

2---Lavrov explains phantom convoy, RT

Lavrov said Russia is working with the OSCE on giving more transparency in the border region, which is important, considering how often Kiev voices false reports on alleged violation of the border from the Russian side. He cited the latest claim by Kiev on Friday, when the Ukrainian military said it had destroyed a column of Russian armor after an incursion into Ukraine.

“What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the rout of a potential humanitarian aid delivery. That column was destroyed by the militia,” he said. “If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don’t accuse us of anything.”

3---We know with 99% certainty who shot down MH17, Vineyard saker
must see video

4---Foreigners Dump Record Amount of US Securities, But Who the Heck Is Still Buying? , wolf street

Treasury International Capital (TIC) report. And this time, the report for June – released on Friday when everyone was on vacation or getting ready to head out of town for the weekend, and when no one was supposed to pay attention – was a zinger: US net capital outflows soared to $153.5 billion, the largest ever recorded....

Foreigners added $418 billion in Treasuries to their holdings over that period – so nearly half of the new debt. Who bought the remaining $446 billion?
The Fed. During that period, it piled an additional $464 billion in Treasuries on its balance sheet.
So the two remaining net buyers, the only two forces left standing to buy US government debt, were foreign countries and the Fed. Their combined holdings of Treasuries soared by $882 billion – $18 billion more than the Treasury issued. The rest of the world, that is US and global investors, were net sellers of US Treasuries.

5---The events in Ferguson must be taken as a warning. The preparations for dictatorship are far advanced., wsws

At the same time, a new aristocracy, whose immense fortunes are based largely on financial speculation of a parasitic and quasi-criminal character, grabs an ever-bigger share of the national income and wealth. This ruling elite is terrified by the specter of social opposition from the working class. It has been preparing accordingly, over a protracted period.

Over the past several decades, the ruling class, under Democratic no less than Republican administrations, has built up a vast and unaccountable military-police-intelligence apparatus that serves as the defender of its economic and social interests. Over the past fifteen years, in particular, it has systematically transformed police departments all across the country into paramilitary forces, barely distinguishable from the military itself.

The Pentagon and other state agencies have distributed billions of dollars worth of military hardware to local police, from attack helicopters, tanks, planes and drones to assault rifles, grenade launchers, body armor and night goggles. They have trained local police to consider the working class populations in their cities to be the enemy, to be bloodily suppressed using the tactics of urban warfare....

The militarization of the police is only one facet of the buildup of the state apparatus of repression. Under the pretext of the “war on terror,” every basic democratic right has been gutted. The Patriot Act set the course for pervasive spying by the National Security Agency, FBI and CIA, in conjunction with state and local police, on every American. The Homeland Security Department established a huge source of funds and a clearinghouse for the buildup of domestic police forces. The Northern Command established, for the first time in US history, a military command covering the United States.

All of these agencies have been expanded under Obama, who asserts the right to detain and even assassinate American citizens without due process, and admits having done so.
The militarization of America and establishment of the framework of a police state go hand in hand with endless military aggression and war. There is no iron wall between foreign and domestic policy. Militarism and criminality abroad inevitably breed the destruction of democracy at home. Even as it wages war abroad, the American ruling class looks upon the United States itself as a battleground, and the working class as the enemy
Countless studies by military and intelligence agencies and academics have been produced on the techniques for mass repression within the United States. One recent Pentagon strategy paper on domestic urban warfare cited “radical income disparity” as the principal “driver of instability.”

6---Fears of Renewed Instability as Fed Ends Stimulus, NYT

After a nearly uninterrupted five-year rally in stocks and bonds, some investors seem to be getting nervous. On July 31, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 317 points, wiping out the year’s gains. Last week, junk bond funds experienced record withdrawals and junk bond interest rates spiked....

In April, in his last speech as a Fed board member, Mr. Stein warned that monetary policy should be “less aggressive” when credit risk premiums were extremely low, as they were then, and they’ve gotten even lower since.
“To be clear, we are not necessarily talking about once-in-a-generation financial crises here, with major financial institutions teetering on the brink of failure,” he said in a speech to the International Monetary Fund. “Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that even more modest capital market disruptions may have consequences that are large enough to warrant consideration when formulating monetary policy.”

Sunni tribal leaders offer to battle Islamic State if Baghdad makes concessions, McClatchy

Leaders of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim tribes threatened Friday to rebel against the Islamic State, the first indication that a change of government in Baghdad might allow a new prime minister to rally the country’s divided ethnic and religious groups against the Islamist extremists.
But the Sunni offer to battle the militants came with strings _ possible autonomy and the withdrawal of Iraqi military forces from Sunni areas _

Read more here:

8---Autonomy? Sunni tribal leaders have announced a tentative offer to back the incoming PM-designate Hayder Abadi, saying they want to ensure that the Abadi government will respect the rights of the nation’s Sunni Arab minority., antiwar

9--Paul Krugman: The Forever Slump

10--Tepid wage growth and rising house costs prices out low-income households , oc housing

11---Why Half Of America Thinks We're Still In A Recession, mark gongloff

12---The Percentage Of Americans Who Can't Afford Food Hasn't Budged Since The Recession Peaked,

13---Unlocking the Mystery; Why US 10 Year Treasury Yields are Down at 2.4%, Ten Things You Need to Know, Forbes

How could Wall Street economists have been so wrong?  On January 1st the consensus forecast of the 66 most senior economists for the year end 10-year US Treasury yield was 3.44%. At the time, 10 year Treasury yields were hovering around 3%, their highest level in almost three years. Since then the benchmark interest rate has declined as low at 2.34% last week,  Treasury bonds have outperformed practically all major asset classes in 2014.....

Stalling Global Economy:  While the 4% Q2 US GDP growth appeared promising, the rate of growth was measured over the dismal Q1, in which the economy declined by over 2%. Measured over the same period in 2013, the US economy grew by a mild 2.4% and is expected to grow this year by 1.7%, which is the lowest GDP growth outside of a recessions year since measurements started in 1930.  It’s not just slow growth but how much expectations have come down.  Last month, the IMF cut their Global Growth forecast down to 3.4%, back in January they were calling for 3.7% growth, thanks China.
The underlying causes for the stalling US economy are the stagnating US labor force, which is structurally suppressing the potential growth rate of the US. In the financial markets, the sputtering US economy manifests itself through the oil price, which even fails to rally in the face of serious risks to about 15ml barrels of daily output (Russia, Iraq and Libya).  Equally important, the S&P Retail Index peaked in November of 2013 against the S&P and has underperformed the benchmark index by nearly 10% ever since. The last time this happened was in 2006, one year before the start of the great recession.

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