Friday, August 22, 2014

Today's Links

1--30 Facts That Prove The American Middle-Class Is Being Destroyed, zero hedge

According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the "typical American household" is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.
... One out of every seven Americans rely on food banks at this point.
... One out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is "in collections".
... Only 48 percent of all Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.
 The overall homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.

Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.

 Amazingly, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.
One recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job.

36 percent of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement.
According to one survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Median household income in the United States is about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.

....According to one study, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.
... the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

2---QE won't stop slide to recession in EU, Japan or US, counterpunch

On the policy front the Eurozone still appears committed, nevertheless, to a monetary policy that has not only failed in Europe, but in the USA and Japan as well:  i.e. still more liquidity injections by the European Central Bank (ECB) into the private banking system, accompanied by a policy of austerity on the fiscal side that has been modified only slightly less severe in recent years.

The ECB’s monetary policy to date has been to inject more than $1.5 trillion of liquidity into Euro banks, primarily by means of its LTRO program—a program in some ways similar to quantitative easing (QE) by central banks in the UK, USA, and Japan. This primary reliance on monetary policy as the road to recovery thus echoes the USA Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan’s similar policies since 2009. All the central banks of the advanced economies (AEs) have introduced near zero interest rates, while implementing additional ‘quantitative easing’ (QE) direct central bank purchases of investors’ bad assets at subsidized prices.

But in all cases, none of the AE central bank monetary injections have had much positive effect on AE real economies. The banks have mostly hoarded the injections, not lent investment capital in any substantial amounts to businesses that would produce jobs, and instead have redirected the liquidity to financial speculation that has fed new financial asset bubbles worldwide.  In other words, whether QE-LTRO or zero rates, the effect has been the same: financial asset inflation on the one hand, and, on the other, tepid or stagnant real growth, a drift toward deflation in real goods and services, little or no job creation, and repeated bouts of real economic stagnation and/or recessions .
More liquidity injections by the ECB in whatever form, including a Euro-QE, will therefore not halt the Eurozone’s slide toward its third recession, nor its steady drift toward price deflation in the real economy.....

Like the Eurozone, data last week suggest Japan may have also entered another recession in the 2nd quarter 2014. Last week economic data revealed Japan’s roughly $6 trillion annual GDP  contracted by a huge -6.8% in the 2nd quarter 2014.  Should Japan also now slip into recession, it would represent its 4th such economic contraction since 2008.  After collapsing by more than 15% in 2008-09, Japan experienced a second recession in 2010-11, followed by a third in 2012. 2014-15 may represent its fourth.

Like Europe, Japan has attempted to recover from its three prior recessions since 2008 by means of a massive money injection by its central bank, the Bank of Japan.  In early 2013 its central bank began injecting $530 billion a year into its private banking system—a policy nearly identical to that followed by the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, which since 2009 has provided more than $4 trillion of QE and another $10 trillion in near zero rate loans to US banks and shadow banks.  Also like the US Federal Reserve, Japan’s massive money injection has also been driven primarily by a direct bond buying QE program.

Today a year after introducing its version of QE, the economic effects have been no different from similar monetary policies followed by the European Central Bank’s $1.5 trillion LTRO and the US Federal Reserve’s $4 trillion QE:  Japan’s QE has stimulated financial asset markets but has done little for the real economy

3---“Makhno” Anarchist partizans attacked today Ukrainian National Guard positions, web guerilla

Ukrainian anarchist partizans attacked today several positions of the maidanite army in the Zaporozhye region //// Reporting that an army of Ukrainian anarchists partisans, inspired by the legendary local partisan movement of Makhno (check the wikipedia if you don’t know who was Makhno) attacked today the Poroshenko army in the Zaporozhye region. This is a major event since this is a new movement out of Donbass region and not linked to the so-called “pro-russians separatists”. The objective of the movement is to liberate Ukraine from he maidan criminal regime.

4---War in east Ukraine to leave economy in ashes, RT

5---Vladimir Putin has allowed the emergence of a multipolar world, National Front of France and Putin, Pravda

...Aymeric Chauprade (National Front):  One of the real divisions of the contemporary world is now made ​​between Pro-Putin and Anti-Putin.
The National Front in France is the rising alternative force aimed to resist imposed European austerity and integration and NATO-run lunatic diplomacy. More Frenchmen are also sensitized by the sound of boots and Russophobia that grows here following  American commandments. And the same ones who have supported the war effort by Islamist terrorists also promote the last war against Russia in Europe.
The bellicose, bourgeois and Pan-American newspaper Le Figaro denounced last August 16 a collusion between the National Front, the European Rights in general and Vladimir Putin.
Aymeric Chauprade, scholar and counselor of Marine Le Pen in international issues, has agreed to state his preferences in diplomatic matters.

The fall of the airplane has still not been explained. How do you explain the burst of russophobia against president Putin?

So, how Russia let herself accused of this horrible tragedy MH-17 while evidently the Ukrainian-American camp had a real interest in this shoot camera? Of course the Russians deny it, but their arguments are hardly audible because of American ubiquitous superiority in information war (that is to say, misinformation). While the United States State Department accuses Moscow without the ability to produce any serious evidence, Western diplomats, as powerless as they are blind, fall both feet into the trap set by Washington. Sad submission of Europe and its leaders who, once again, betrayed by accepting the agenda of warmongers! The world moves inexorably toward a third world war if European governments do not quickly regain their discernment.

How do you consider Vladimir Putin in terms of European and even global history?

Vladimir Putin has allowed the emergence of a multipolar world. Instead, on September 11 gave the pretext for the Americans to strengthen their unipolar commitment invading several countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya ...). It is thanks to the economic recovery, political, geopolitical a Russia led by Vladimir Putin that the proposed American domination, which accelerated after the fall of the Soviet Union, has been halted. Unfortunately this project is still at work today in Ukraine, the sole purpose of digging the gap between the EU and Russia and to establish the rule of the oligarchy of the Empire on our Europe.

But Putin has a second record: it is now contribute to the recovery of traditional and spiritual values ​​of Christian civilization in Europe. Russia has become, for the patriots committed to the values ​​of Christian civilization, a hope in all the nations of Europe. Faced with French identity challenge the foreign policy choices will prove decisive. The alliance with Russia, the only major European power to openly and firmly take its Christian civilization should be a given for any patriot.

The BRICS are delivering a crushing blow to the Anglo-American condominium and the dollar that took advantage of the world wars. China is increasingly scratched by Obama, but why president Putin is suffering the shock of the confrontation?

One of the real divisions of the contemporary world is now made ​​between Pro-and Anti-Putin Putin. I am one of the first, not fascination or disposition to a country that is not mine, but because the project the best in the interests of France's alliance with Russia. This is a great man and I am confident that it will remain as such in the history of Russia. Beside him, Western leaders, often subject to the United States, appear to be ephemeral dwarfs in the history of their country. "

this amateur documentary presents the unvarnished reality of an actual ethnic cleansing campaign in progress, corpses and parts of corpses are necessarily shown, and also bombed buildings are shown. There also are curse-words that are spoken by the victims. Censoring these things out would be a violation of the most basic requirements of honest journalism, and would be to cover-up the reality of an ethnic-cleansing campaign, merely because this reality is ugly -- that would be a shameful thing to do, a fundamental violation of the journalistic standards of any democracy, and will not be done here, though it is routinely done by our 'journalists.'

Whatever it is, is mass-theft, combined with mass-murder, combined with a super-scandalous cover-up by all but a half-dozen 'news' media in the West (each of which has only a small audience), so that even almost all 'alternative news' sites are part of the cover-up.

Putin to US: "Take your world an shove it!"

9--Unbelievable! Itar Tass

The US decision to block the adoption of a UN Security Council draft resolution on aid to Ukraine leaves no doubt the United States wants to continue the armed confrontation in that country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday, commenting on US decision to block the Russia-proposed draft resolution on relief aid to the population in southeast Ukraine.

On August 21, Russia suggested adopting a UN Security Council Resolution to support the delivery of relief aid to the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine.

“The United States and Lithuania blocked Russia’s constructive initiative. They suggested that calls to end the hostilities and ensure the safe delivery of relief cargo (to the recipients) as well as a reference to the fact that the cargo was sent by the Russian side be excluded from the draft’s text,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Moreover, the opponents considered that it would be justified to include a provision that blames ‘separatists’ for the current situation in southeast Ukraine: no separatists, no humanitarian problems,” the Russian Foreign Ministry explained.

If the United States voted against the absolutely non-confrontational and reconciling draft, it means that its aim is to continue the armed confrontation in Ukraine. Its actions cannot be described otherwise than an attempt to ‘sabotage’ the humanitarian mission,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The duality of this policy is obvious. Cynical disregard for the fates of peaceful civilians and a slapdash attitude to international humanitarian law when geopolitical interests are in question are becoming the core of a policy, which the United States and its European allies are pursuing towards Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

10--Poroshenko says Russian aid convoy movement blatant violation of international law, itar tass

Pillsbury Doughboy has a hissyfit

11--"Unacceptable" Putin says delays to humanitarian aid must end. Itar Tass

“We are acting in full compliance with the norms of the international humanitarian law,” the diplomat said in a statement. “We are not going to put up anymore with the distressful situation of people living in protesting southeastern regions of Ukraine.”

12--Putin takes charge, ria novoski

August 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that Russia had to act decisively in the situation with the aid convoy in order to prevent further delays in the delivery of humanitarian cargo to the crisis-hit eastern Ukraine.

“Putin stressed that considering Kiev's blatant attempts to hinder the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to Ukrainian regions caught in humanitarian crisis the Russian leadership has decided to move the truck convoy [across the Ukrainian border],” the Kremlin press service said.
“Further delays would be inadmissible,” the statement said quoting the Russian president.
“Putin has also expressed serious concern over the ongoing large-scale escalation of Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions leading to new casualties among the civilian population,” the statement said.

Earlier in the day, at least 60 trucks from the Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to violence-torn Luhansk and Donetsk regions crossed the border with Ukraine allegedly without clearance by Ukrainian customs officials and without escort provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

13---War and social attacks spread throughout Ukraine, wsws
Poroshenko sends Ukraine economy into freefall

According to the city council in Luhansk, conditions for ordinary people remain catastrophic. The city’s residents have been living without electricity and water for more than 16 days. Landline and mobile telephones are not working, and the provision of foodstuffs is rudimentary.
There have also been large-scale assaults on the civilian population in Donetsk. The city centre was targeted, among other areas. The Reuters news agency spoke with residents. “The Ukrainian army or whoever they are, are bombing us again,” said Nina, 52, whose apartment was destroyed. “I’ve lived in this apartment building my entire life and now they want to take everything I have.”

Another Donetsk resident told Reuters how her workplace was fired upon. “I hid behind the counter and closed my eyes. When I opened them again everything was dark, full of dust and smoke,” she said. “How can we live like this being bombed by the leaders of our own country?”....

The Kiev government’s aggression is directed not only against the separatist fighters, but against the country’s entire population. On Thursday, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed a law according to which people in the east of Ukraine could be taken into preventative custody for 30 days without judicial oversight. The government is still trying to ban the Communist Party, which is critical of the war against the separatists.
The intensification of the war against the separatists and the attacks on democratic rights are closely connected with the Kiev regime’s brutal austerity measures, which are to be continued without let-up. On Thursday, Economy Minister Pavlo Sheremeta announced his resignation. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatzenyuk had sharply criticised the minister the previous day. “I am not satisfied with the speed and extent of reforms,” said the prime minister.

The IMF’s demands include an increase in gas prices, which will hit the impoverished population particularly hard. In addition, Ukraine is also to stop backing the course of the country’s currency, Hryvnya. A halt to intervening on the currency markets would likely result in a major rise in inflation.
Ukraine’s economy is already in free fall, due to the previous social attacks and the war in the east. ....

The situation in the energy sector is particularly critical. Ukraine obtains 50 percent of its gas from Russia. Russian state company Gazprom is no longer supplying, because Ukraine is $5 billion in debt to the company and abandoned price negotiations in February following the coup.

14---Who is responsible for the murder of James Foley?, wsws

The politics of ISIS and other Al Qaeda-linked groups reflect not the strivings of the oppressed masses for liberation from imperialist oppression, but rather the interests of disaffected bourgeois layers in the Arab and Muslim world, which seek to manipulate sectarian divisions as a means of advancing their own class agenda.
In this sense, their outlook is not all that different from that of predominant layers within the US ruling oligarchy, which are determined to exploit the horror over Foley’s death as a lever in shifting the broad-based hostility of the American population to the drive toward a new war in the Middle East...

Similarly, a Washington Post editorial stated: “For three years the United States stood aside as the Islamist extremists built up their strength inside Syria. Washington was surprised in June when they burst into Iraq… They proudly proclaim their enmity to America. America needs a genuine strategy in response.”

This editorial was complemented by a crude entry on the paper’s “PostPartisan” blog written by Republican strategist Ed Rogers advising Obama on how to reverse his “sagging ratings.”
“Unleash hell on those connected to Foley’s killing. It doesn’t have to be just about vengeance. It’s more about showing the world what is in store for the United States’ enemies… In this case, vicious payback is good policy,” wrote Rogers.

These briefs for a new US war of aggression in the Middle East are founded on grotesque lies aimed at concealing the real roots of Foley’s murder.
The rise of ISIS was fueled not by US imperialism “refusing to intervene” or “standing aside” in Syria. On the contrary, abandoning the former “war on terrorism” pretext for US intervention, the Obama administration armed and supported Islamist-led militias in wars for “regime change” first in Libya and then in Syria. The secular head of state in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was toppled nearly three years ago, and today the country is in a state of collapse, awash in violence between rival militias, its economy paralyzed and upwards of a million forced to flee for their lives.

In an attempt to bring about a similar downfall of another secular head of state in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, the US and its principal allies in the region—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait—have promoted a sectarian civil war in which ISIS emerged as the predominant armed opponent of the Assad regime, at the cost of well over 100,000 lives. As ISIS rampaged through Syria, beheading captured conscripts, state employees, members of religious minorities and anyone else in its way, the Obama maintained a discreet silence.

Now this same ISIS has swept into Iraq, whose entire social fabric was shattered by decades of sanctions, the “shock and awe” of the US invasion of 2003 and eight years of occupation in which sectarian divisions were fueled by Washington’s divide-and-rule policy.
The hope within ruling circles that Foley’s savage killing can be exploited for purposes of another war found their most grotesque expression in the resurfacing on the television news of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who demanded that Obama “deal with the crisis in Iraq.” Acknowledging that Foley’s murder was a “terrible development,” Cheney warned of another 9/11. “But magnify that a million times over because that is what’s in store for the rest of the world if we don’t deal with this crisis,” he said.


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