Thursday, April 30, 2015

Today's Links

1--Warning of Catastrophe Over Barring Russia From Banking System


"One is a possible collapse of many western banks. But the second, more strategic, and I think more dangerous in the long-term, is that Russia will be much more effective in adopting a different system of payments, maybe in cooperation with China."
2--US Moves to Scupper Russia-Greece Energy Deal




The US is moving quickly to counter moves by Greece to benefit from a huge new gas pipeline proposed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is seeking to drive a new pipeline through Turkey.
Europe is Gazprom's biggest export market and it has been keen for years to drive new supplies deep into Europe. Its previous pipeline project, South Stream — due to run through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and through Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia further to Austria — was abandoned following the Ukraine crisis and EU sanctions against Russia




This week, the Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, ended a five-day trip to Washington, during which he met Secretary of State John Kerry, who promised to send the State Department's energy envoy Amos Hochstein to Athens, "within days", to counteroffer the Russian deal, according to the Associated Press.
Thus, Washington is once again making moves to scupper any chances of Greece benefiting from the latest gas pipeline deal. Insiders say it will also be exercising diplomatic moves on Turkey in an effort to throw its muscle against Gazprom's intentions.

3--Bernanke gets payoff while economy flags,  Cha-ching! WSWS


The continuation of near-zero interest rates will not bring about any meaningful increase in investment and hiring. Rather, it will sustain the massive run-up of stock prices, which have tripled since 2009, further enriching the financial oligarchy at the expense of the working class.
The financial elite has made no effort to hide its appreciation for the Fed’s easy money policies. Earlier this month, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who funneled trillions of dollars in government funds to Wall Street in the post-2008 bank bailout, announced that he had been hired by Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel LLC. On Wednesday, bond trading firm Pimco announced that it had simultaneously hired Bernanke as an adviser.
Bernanke’s multi-million-dollar salary at these posts amount to a payoff for services rendered.


The fall-off in economic activity was led by a collapse in business fixed investment, which fell by 3.4 percent. Exports plunged by 7.2 percent, compared with an increase of 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter. On the whole, government spending shrank, led by a fall of 1.5 percent in state and local spending.
The collapse in investment takes place amid a speculative frenzy whipped up by the trillions of dollars injected into the financial system by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Mergers and acquisitions are occurring at a near-record pace, while US corporations, sitting on a cash hoard of $1.4 trillion, have engaged in share buy-backs and dividend increases to further enrich their wealthy shareholders...


The negative figures follow the announcement by the Labor Department earlier this month that the US economy added only 126,000 jobs in March, the smallest job growth since 2013. The March figure was half the number predicted by economists.
Since the beginning of the economic "recovery" in 2009, the US economy has grown at an average annual rate of only 2.2 percent, compared to an average growth rate of 3.2 percent during the 1990s.


4--The ruling class has nothing to offer to address the social catastrophe created by the capitalist system. The corollary to the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich—massively accelerated since the 2008 economic crisis—is the build-up of the instruments of repression in response to the inevitable eruption of class struggle...


The eruption of mass anger in Baltimore and the subsequent police-military deployment have exposed the fundamental class divide in America—between millions of workers on the one hand, and a corporate and financial aristocracy that controls both big business parties, on the other.
In Baltimore, the Democratic political establishment has starved essential services of funding while handing over large tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy in the name of “improving business climate.” Development has focused on sports, tourist attractions and commercial projects in the downtown and the Inner Harbor areas.


In addition to police violence, angry youth on the streets of Baltimore spoke out against deteriorating schools, impoverished neighborhoods, poverty level jobs and the vast social chasm that has produced “two Baltimores”—one for the rich and powerful, the other for the poor. They complained of the indifference of the political establishment in the city, which has long been dominated by a corrupt layer of African American Democratic Party politicians.
As the immense class tensions that characterize American society are beginning to rise to the surface, the ruling class is responding with violence and repression


5--US Asks Iran to Help With Yemen Peace Talks
       Hopes Iran Can Help Get Houthis to the Table


6--Atlanta Fed’s “GDP Now” Model Totally Nailed Ugly Q1, “Blue-Chip” Economists Ludicrously Optimistic , wolf street


7--Neocons bang the war drums: Here’s how they’ll try to sink the Iran agreement
8--Obama would veto any bill that would undermine Iran nuclear talks -White House
9--69 Killed across Iraq as Sadr Threatens Return to Fight


10--Lifting of sanctions to start within days of deal: Iran's Zarif
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The signing of a nuclear agreement with Iran will prompt the United Nations, European Union and United States to begin lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic within days afterwards, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.
His comments appeared roughly consistent, and offered additional details on, previous statements from Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has said all sanctions must be lifted immediately if an agreement is reached.


"If we have an agreement on June 30, within a few days after that we will have a resolution in the Security Council under Article 41 of chapter 7 (of the U.N. Charter) which will be mandatory for all member states," Zarif told an audience at New York University.
He said that resolution would endorse the deal, terminate previous U.N. sanctions resolutions and "set in place the termination of EU sanctions and cessation of application of U.S. sanctions."
A new resolution would also reimpose some U.N. restrictions, diplomats have said, including an arms embargo and some curbs on trafficking of sensitive nuclear- and missile-related items.


In an earlier interview with the Public Broadcasting Service, Zarif indicated flexibility, saying sanctions would be lifted "as soon as Iran implements its agreed part." U.S. and European officials have said sanctions would be lifted in phases based on confirmation of Iranian compliance from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
U.S. officials have said such confirmation could take months. Zarif said the entire process should last "only a few weeks" for sanctions to be lifted....


Iran's top diplomat said the negotiators would begin drafting a final nuclear agreement, which is aimed at lifting sanctions in exchange for curbs on sensitive atomic work.
Such a deal would end a 12-year nuclear standoff between Iran and the West


11--Iran reportedly still actively buying nuclear materials
US Senate rejects bid to link terrorism to the lifting of US sanctions on Iran


Britain has informed a United Nations sanctions panel that Iran is still actively purchasing nuclear materials via a network linked to two blacklisted firms, according to a confidential report by the panel seen by Reuters.
Under a preliminary agreement on April 2, Iran committed to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and other long-term nuclear limitations. However the West is concerned Tehran will ultimately not adhere to the terms of a final nuclear deal, due by June 30, forcing it to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
Tehran denies allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is amassing the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.
"The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it 'is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)'," the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran's compliance with the UN sanctions regime.




12---Ignore the 'whiff of panic' as US economy stalls  AEP
The economy contracted in the first quarter once inventories are stripped out. 'It is hard to put lipstick on that pig,' said UniCredit.


13--Biography of Ho Chi Minh - North Vietnamese Revolutionary Leader | Vietnam War Documentary


14--Russia Outplays the West, alexander mercouris


15--Kiev Is Waging a War Nobody Wants to Pay For
The west is happy to see Ukraine wage war on its pro-Russian east, but not happy about the prospect of paying for it  







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