Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Today's Links

Obama emphasized the role of the Pentagon in preparing plans to reverse the gains made by ISIS, declaring that, “when a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people.” This presents, perhaps more bluntly than Obama intended, the real relationship: the military will decide the policy, and then Obama will serve as its political front., WSWS

1---Did the War in Syria Just Become a Regional War, eric draitser, cp

2--The PetroYuan Is Born: Gazprom Now Settling All Crude Sales To China In Renminbi
Russia and China intend to increase the amount of trade settled in the yuan, President Vladimir Putin said in remarks that would be welcomed by Chinese authorities who want the currency to be used more widely around the world.

Spurred on by their often testy relations with the United States, Russia and China have long advocated reducing the role of the dollar in international trade.

Curtailing the dollar's influence fits well with China's ambitions to increase the influence of the yuan and eventually turn it into a global reserve currency. With 32 percent of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves invested in U.S. government debt, China wants to curb investment risks in dollar

To summarize: Western economic sanctions on Russia have pushed domestic oil producers to settle crude exports to China in yuan just as Russian oil is rising as a percentage of total Chinese crude imports. Meanwhile, the collapse in crude prices led to the first net outflow of petrodollars from financial markets in 18 years, and if Goldman's projections prove correct, the net supply of petrodollars could fall by nearly $900 billion over the next three years. All of this comes as China is making a concerted push to settle loans from its newly-created infrastructure funds in renminbi.
Putting it all together, the PetroYuan represents the intersection of a dying petrodollar and an ascendant renminbi.

3---Iran sends 15,000 fighters to Syria, Daily Star
4--The US arming of ISIS, WSWS

5--Obama hints at escalation of Iraq-Syria war

Obama emphasized the role of the Pentagon in preparing plans to reverse the gains made by ISIS, declaring that, “when a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people.” This presents, perhaps more bluntly than Obama intended, the real relationship: the military will decide the policy, and then Obama will serve as its political front.

Given the evident inability of the Baghdad regime to counter ISIS, there is little doubt that the US military brass is pushing for a drastic increase both in the number of American troops and in the scope of their deployment, including combat roles such as spotting for air strikes.

As McClatchy News Service noted in an article on the anniversary of the fall of Mosul, which took place June 10, 2014, “The number of people living under Islamic State rule has grown since the U.S. bombing began. Virtually the entire population of the mostly Sunni province of Anbar, Iraq’s largest, is under the group’s control, with the addition in May of Ramadi, the provincial capital, a city of nearly 900,000. In Syria, the city of Palmyra, a famed tourist destination, also fell to the Islamic State in May, and most of the province of Deir el Zour, an important oil producing area, has come under Islamic State control since the onset of the U.S. bombing campaign.”
While US officials claim the bombing campaign has killed 10,000 ISIS fighters since it began, these losses have been more than replaced by an influx of new recruits to the Islamist group. A recent UN report estimated that the number of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria had risen 70 percent over the past year...

The attempt to court Putin’s support in Syria, while threatening Russia with military exercises on air, sea and land, all along the Russian border with Europe, is another demonstration of the incoherent and contradictory character of imperialist policy in the Middle East. There is only one consistent thread—the imperialist powers are determined to maintain their domination of the oil wealth of the region, and will kill as many people as necessary to do so.

6---Government Bond Yields Hit 2015 Highs Across Globe, wsj

Money managers and analysts say the abrupt turn of the bond markets suggests investors are adjusting their investments amid improving sentiment toward growth in the U.S. and the eurozone, receding fears over deflation risks and a shift by the Federal Reserve into tightening monetary policy later this year.

7---"Ukrainians Have Been Dispossessed" Paul Craig Roberts Warns "Americans Are Next"

Over the last 15 months Ukrainians have paid for Washington’s overthrow of their elected government in deaths, dismemberment of their country, and broken economic and political relationships with Russia that cost Ukraine its subsidized energy. Now Ukrainians are losing their pensions and traditional support payments. The Ukrainian population is headed for the graveyard

On June 1 the TASS news agency reported that Ukraine has stopped payments to pensioners, World War II veterans, people with disabilities, and victims of Chernobyl. According to the report, Kiev has also “eliminated transport, healthcare, utilities and financial benefits for former prisoners of Nazi concentration camps and recipients of some Soviet-era orders and titles. Compensations to families with children living in the areas contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident will be no longer paid either. Ukraine’s parliamentary opposition believes that the Prosecutor General’s Office should launch an investigation against Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who actively promoted the law on the abolition of privileges.”
Notice that this is a yank of the blanket from under the elderly in Ukraine. “Useless eaters,” they are assigned to the trash can. How do the deceived Maiden student protesters feel now that they are culpable in the destruction of their grandparents’ support systems? Do these gullible fools still believe in the Washington-orchestrated Maiden Revolution? The crimes in which these stupid students are complicit are horrific.

8--The Legend Of The Almighty American Consumer

And so we must ask, are we to assume that the Almighty American Consumer is the same fighter they were before eating the, still recent, economic haymaker?  Time will tell, it always does, but can we see any signs of wavering?  Well let’s go right at it, what do honest consumption figures tell us?  By honest, I mean let’s look at personal consumption growth but let’s filter out growth in auto loans, student loans and increases in government welfare to consumers.
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What we find is that despite the ‘incredible improvement’ to unemployment statistics, earned  rather than borrowed or government sponsored personal consumption expenditure has been trending down for 5 years and has now gone negative.  And this doesn’t filter out revolving credit or it would be even uglier.  Now when was the last time we saw this go negative?  You got it Pontiac!  2008.
Well the entire monetary system is set up to inflate.  In fact, we’ve been told now for 100 fabulously devaluing years that if we are to get any kind of growth it is essential that we see inflation.  And if there’s one thing nobody can fault the Fed for is not doing one helluva job printing the sh!t out of USD over the past 6 years ($13T).  So, we should see ‘official’ inflation just humming along like a song.  Let’s have a look.
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D’oh!  So official YoY CPI has been trending downward since 2010 despite the ridiculous increases to M2 money stock and it actually just went negative.  And don’t look now but yes, the last time it went negative was in 2008.  Now sure we all know there are games played with CPI but the fact that it just crossed into negative territory is definitely a signal that discretionary demand is dead.

9---US Must Challenge China in South China Sea

The U.S. should accept China’s challenge, the sooner the better. If China truly seeks to dominate the Western Pacific, then the United States should contest Beijing’s claims now while China is quite weak in terms of naval power and while the United States still has the relative advantage. The United States should employ a variant of the “Maritime Strategy” used against the Soviet Union in the eighties against China today. Then, the U.S. Navy sailed into so-called Soviet naval redoubts off Murmansk and the Sea of Okhotsk to deny the Soviet navy sanctuary in any conflict. That is what the U.S. Navy must do today against China. It must be made clear that China’s sea bases offer no advantage at all in time of conflict. Perhaps a gunnery demonstration against an uninhabited and unclaimed atoll would be useful. Perhaps a demonstration of the efficacy of fleet ABM capability should be mounted. The objective would be to make public the weaknesses China seeks to hide by its noisy propaganda.

10--Is This Why U.S. Treasuries Are Diving?

But there was one market that folks thought was somehow above this endless sea of manipulation, and so they have confidently placed their bets, including foreign governments, thinking – nay, deluding themselves into thinking – that this market was one of the last ones to be fair: the US Treasury market.
It’s the most liquid bond market in the world. It’s huge, thanks to the debt the US government has piled up over the years: of the $18.2 trillion in outstanding Treasury debt, $5.1 trillion is held by other US government agencies, and $13.1 trillion is “held by the public.” In 2014, the Treasury Department rolled over old debt and issued new debt totaling about $7 trillion
But here is the thing: If manipulation had the effect of raising the price of Treasuries, and thus lowering the yield even by a little each time, investors, pension funds, and everyone else out there looking for a “safe” investment would have overpaid. The amounts might have been small, but over the years, given the sheer dollar volume involved, if would have made some bankers very, very rich.

11---Economic Policy Turned Inside Out Stephen roach

Consider the US – the poster child of the new prescription for recovery. Although the Fed expanded its balance sheet from less than $1 trillion in late 2008 to $4.5 trillion by the fall of 2014, nominal GDP increased by only $2.7 trillion. The remaining $900 billion spilled over into financial markets, helping to spur a trebling of the US equity market. Meanwhile, the real economy eked out a decidedly subpar recovery, with real GDP growth holding to a 2.3% trajectory – fully two percentage points below the 4.3% norm of past cycles.

Indeed, notwithstanding the Fed’s massive liquidity injection, the American consumer – who suffered the most during the wrenching balance-sheet recession of 2008-2009 – has not recovered. Real personal consumption expenditures have grown at just 1.4% annually over the last seven years. Unsurprisingly, the wealth effects of monetary easing worked largely for the wealthy, among whom the bulk of equity holdings are concentrated. For the beleaguered middle class, the benefits were negligible.

12--Iran, China, Indonesia finalize refinery deal
13--Iran, Russia step up trans-Caspian trade

Iran has prepared three ports in the Caspian Sea and added six ships to its fleet for cargo trade with Russia as the two countries are forging stepped-up commercial relationship to counter Western sanctions on both countries. 
The new shipping route is unprecedented in the chequered history of the two countries’ relations and follows a trade agreement signed in March.
It allows Russia to sell Iran’s crude oil abroad and deposit the money in a fund which Tehran would use to buy goods from Moscow.   
A separate deal allows Iran to import increased quantities of Russian grain in exchange for Iranian foodstuff, including fish from the Caspian Sea, the Sputnik news agency reported.

14---Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in building power plants

The Turkish opposition group, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), has called for an immediate end to Ankara’s support for terrorists in Syria.
On Tuesday, Selahattin Demirtas, HDP’s co-leader, said the demand was a pre-condition to join a coalition government with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

On June 5, the opposition daily Cumhuriyet accused Turkey’s authorities and intelligence agency of helping smuggle ISIL and other Takfiri terrorists into Syria from Turkish soil.
The Turkish daily further revealed in its report that the extremists had been brought to the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in a secret operation in January last year.
According to the newspaper, the Takfiris were smuggled into Tal Abyad, a border town used by the ISIL as a gateway from Turkey, via two buses rented by the country’s National Intelligence Organization, known by its Turkish acronym MIT.

Also on May 29, the newspaper published an online story with images allegedly showing MIT trucks carrying weapons and ammunition to foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
The paper has accused the administration of Erdogan of covering up arms shipments to militants fighting the Syrian government, a claim the president vehemently denies.
Erdogan has filed a complaint against the newspaper for publishing the report and images.
Since March 2011, foreign-backed militant groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria, making efforts to topple the government of the country.

16--Gazprom Adamant About Stopping Gas Transit via Ukraine After 2019

17--Now It's Official: Western Support is Essential for Regime Change

The success of protest movements often hinges on four key factors. The first is society's perception of the protest movement's grievances… The second important element is organizational capability… The third key factor is the strength of the government and its ability to rely on security forces to crack down on protesters… Finally, external support from foreign governments — whether direct support such as funding and training or indirect support such as encouragement — can strengthen protest movements," Stratfor's analysts underscored.

18--"It’s obvious that what is currently happening in Libya is the direct consequence of a social and economic catastrophe and endless sorties of radical groups. We are convinced that what is occurring before our eyes is the factual collapse of the Libyan state, which is the result of the foreign military intervention in 2011," Putin said...

Putin added that Russia and the G7 have no relations as the group decided that it no longer needs Russia's point of view on international issues.
"It seemed to me that there was some sort of reason in it because we showed a somewhat alternative point of view. But our partners decided that they didn’t need such an alternative point of view. That’s their decision. But this isn’t an organization, it’s a hobby group. We wish them success in this format," Putin added.

19--.Former French prime minister Francois Fillon has said that Europe is now fully dependent on the US, which is dragging it into a ‘crusade’ against Russia and is pursuing a policy which is absolutely contradictory to European interests.
“Europe nowadays has lost its independence. The US is dragging it into a ‘crusade’ against Russia, which absolutely contradicts European interests,” former French prime minister Francois Fillon said in an interview with the French news channel BFMTV

The US is also pressuring Germany to yield to the demands of Greece in order to find a compromise. German intelligence is spying on France, but not in its own interests, but those of the US,” he said.

20--Obama Supporters Sign Petition to NUKE RUSSIA so America will Stay World’s Superpower
21--War and Peace in Donbass: The Reversal of Kerry’s Ukraine Statement Came from Obama, Not Nuland

22--German Banker: Obama Is Destroying Europe
23--Redbook retail sales, small business index, QE comment, wholesale trade, jolts, Mosler
Getting worse, not better

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