Thursday, July 2, 2015

Today's links

1---US military strategy for world domination targets Russia and China

The Pentagon equates peace, democracy, human rights, etc. with what it calls “a rules-based international order advanced by US leadership.” This is a euphemism for US imperialist hegemony over the entire planet, where Washington makes the rules and everyone follows, or else.
The American ruling class is acutely aware that its power is declining relative to rival powers, particularly China, and that US military superiority is itself threatened by the decline in the world economic position of US capitalism and growth of internal social antagonisms, which make it more difficult to sustain overseas military interventions.

The document declares, “We support China’s rise and encourage it to become a partner for greater international security,” and then proceeds to outline the US strategy to economically and militarily encircle the country. It states: “[W]e will press forward with the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater. We will strengthen our alliances with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand. We also will deepen our security relationship with India and build upon our partnerships with New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh

2--Global parasitism creates conditions for a new financial meltdown

3--"When People Jump In Even Though It's Overpriced, That's A Bubble" Shiller Warns

4---Mortgage applications drop as interest rates rise to 9-month high
The spring selling season is over
Mortgage applications decreased 4.7% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 26, 2015.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5% from the previous week to its lowest level since December 2014

Russ Wetherill 01-07-2015, 12:26
Recovery from what exactly?
A typical recession results from disconnects between supply and demand as companies overproduce to meet consumer spending. This contraction is hardly ordinary, so the recovery won’t be either. It’s not just a difference in degree, but a difference in kind as well.
Three decades of falling rates buoyed consumer spending allowing corporations to cut benefits and hold down salaries. As stock prices rose and yields fell, financial products evolved to capture above market yields via riskier products.
The net result was large amounts of debt at historically low yields weighing on consumer, corporate, and sovereign spending. Rates have fallen dramatically since the housing crash, but debt levels are largely the same.
Taking into account the loss of pensions, high debt levels, and a lost decade of saving, rising wages won’t result in rising prices as in prior recoveries. If the Fed raises interest rates in this recovery like normal recessions, then they will soon see how weak the recovery is.
Wage growth needs to cover a lot more now than in recessions past: underfunded self-funded pensions, rising healthcare costs, existing debts, savings shortfalls, and normalizing rates. If the Fed’s approach is to raise rates once inflation is at 2%, then they are missing the real issues

5---US has long wanted to bring Ukraine to West new Assange revelations
The United States has spent “a lot of time trying to bring Ukraine to the West," the WikiLeaks founder said in an interview to Pagina/12, Argentinian newspaper on Monday.
“If it cannot be with a NATO membership, at least it becomes independent from Moscow's sphere of influence, to reduce Russian industrial-military complex and its naval bases in Crimea.” -

6---The Pentagon has released a new National Military Strategy listing of the greatest threats to the US hegemony

The Pentagon’s new military strategy proposes that Russia is a major US adversary, that there might be a war between the two countries, and that the US is losing its military technology supremacy, says Brian Becker from the anti-war Answer Coalition.
The Pentagon has released a new National Military Strategy listing of the greatest threats to the US. It includes states such as Russia, Iran and North Korea, and groups, particularly ‘violent extremist organizations’ (VEO) such as Islamic State and the Taliban

The US realizes that its dream of a unipolar world, the dream that started to become an operational doctrine for the US following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, that that dream has turned into an impossible goal, that in fact Russia is back on its feet, it’s asserting its own interests. China is growing, it’s trying to grow peacefully and rise peacefully and become a medium range power. But the US sees that Russia, China, Iran and other countries in the world including South Africa, Brazil and India are unwilling to be just victims of the US hegemony, that they are asserting the wrong national interests, and so I think the US sees that now as a threat to its fantasy of unipolar domination following the collapse of the USSR.

RT: The US apparently wants to "support China's rise" but also resist Beijing's efforts to expand its regional control. Aren't these two goals incompatible?
BB: They are not compatible. In fact if you look at what the US is doing, not what it says in this sort of carefully worded military doctrine, the pivot towards Asia is a pivot of containment. The new military strategy which is to take all the non-Chinese republics and nations of the Asia-Pacific region and forge them into a US-led military alliance can’t be perceived in China as anything but a great threat to Chinese national interest in China’s own backyard, in its own territory, in the East China Sea and South China Sea and right up to the Chinese border. So deeds here say a great deal more than words. I think it’s carefully worded, but clearly the Chinese know that the pivot towards Asia is a pivot against China and not with China

7--Americans Not In The Labor Force Soar By 640,000 To Record 93.6 Million; Participation Rate Drops To 1977 Levels

The devastation of the US labor force continues.
In what was an "unambiguously" unpleasant June jobs payrolls report, with both April and May jobs revised lower, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force soared once again, this time by a whopping 640,000 or the most since April 2014 to a record 93.6 million, with the result being a participation rate of 62.6 or where itt was in September 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called "market" which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus - the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.

8---Grantham on stock buybacks

Grantham argues that capitalism is failing for now. He blames the rise of “stock option culture” and a complicit U.S. fed for the problem. Up to 80% of executive compensation now flows from stock options, which are tied to short-term performance of a company’s stock rather than long-term performance of the company. People respond to the incentives they’re given, so managers tend toward those actions which increase the value of their stock options. Investing in the company is slow, uncertain and risky, and so capital expenditures (“capex”) by publicly-traded firms is falling. Buying back stock (overpriced or not) and issuing dividends is quick, clean and safe, and so that sort of financial engineering expands. Interest rates at or near zero even encourage the issuance of debt to fund buybacks (“Peter, meet Paul”). It would be possible to constrain the exercise of options, but we choose not to. And so firms are not moving capital into new ventures or into improving existing capabilities which, in the short run, continues to underwrite record profit margins.

9--US Military of high alert for 4th of july

The Defense Department joined the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Wednesday in warning of the threat of an ISIS attack in the U.S. over the 4th of July holiday weekend.
"Those who seek to harm this nation take no holiday," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a Pentagon press briefing with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Dempsey said U.S. bases nationwide were on higher alert, and Carter said that "some of our service members will be hard at work" over the weekend to deter the threat, without specifying what would be involved.

The bulletin to local law enforcement came after “intelligence was picked up in various ways indicating something could be happening over the Fourth of July that was initiated by ISIS supporters,” Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said during an interview on CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports.”

“There was enough intelligence out there indicating that something could well be planned for the Fourth of July. Now, this is more than just the usual Fourth of July or Memorial Day warning that goes out to stay alert, to keep your eyes and ears open,” according to King, a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security panels.
“I mean, going back to dealing with the FBI and Homeland Security over the last two or three weeks, I would say this is the most intense level of concern I've seen, maybe since 9/11,” he added.

10--Arm Ukraine? Carter says yes

While both the United States and Russia should step back from the brink, many Obama administration officials are pushing for a dangerous escalatory step: the shipment of billions of dollars of lethal weapons to the post-Maidan government in Ukraine.
The lobbying to arm Ukraine began in February when three of the nation’s leading think tanks released a widely-read report arguing for the United States to provide Ukraine with $3 billion of lethal arms. Since then both the Senate and House passed legislation calling for the United States to arm Ukraine, while Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and U.S. Air Force General and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Philip Breedlove publicly advocated this policy. In fact, the only senior official not pushing this agenda is President Barack Obama — though the pressure on him to do so is growing.

11--New military strategy or old wine in new bottles?
12--US means Russia harm

"Russia's military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces," it added, naming Russia among "revisionist-minded" states.
13--Factory Orders Scream Recession: Annual Drop Biggest Since 2008

14--Here Is What’s Fraying Nerves Among the Financial Stability Folks at Treasury

15--Russia Stops Gas Supplies to Ukraine

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