Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Today's links

1--Will Erdoğan postpone election?

Public support for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is rapidly dwindling. It now appears clear that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will pick up fewer votes in the Nov. 1 election than it did in the June 7 general election.
As for the economy, it is now in a rapid downward slide; this is clearly reflected in the lira's standing against foreign currencies. In the meantime, violence has increased in the Southeast and with it, funerals for soldiers and policemen. The government does not currently possess the tools to stop these trends. All of which is why worries have started to increase about the possibility that Erdoğan will try to postpone the election. But can he do so...

 Erdoğan knows that even if negative reactions to the atmosphere of violence and the PKK wind up reducing the number of AKP votes, they will also bring about his much-desired Parliamentary majority.

2--Turkey gets scarier by the day

Still, the government does not appear to be fighting, for example, against the radical terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to a desired extent either in Syria or at home, even after it opened Incirlik Air Base in the south to coalition forces. Instead, Ankara has focused its attacks on PKK targets in northern Iraq, as well as at home. Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif
At the end of the day, I no longer feel safe in my country and fear that a social explosion leading to a civil war may be in the offing.

3---In whose interest is this nightmare?

The speedy developments that happen in convergence stem from a visible clash of two interests: one being the whole of Turkey and its people, and the other, which only encompasses President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle in power.

As the latter raises the stakes on the gamble for a shift to a presidential system, we now see the very foundations of the state crumble, and the glue that keeps together the diverse segments of the society is melting.

On the very night when the country was shocked to hear the news that an attack by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had caused deaths of -- so far -- unspecified number of soldiers, what illustrates the mindset of the leader who wishes to be supreme was his very words during a TV interview:

''There is no need to seek the culprit elsewhere. This is all a result of the terrorism menace put on the stage in our country. They are generating interest from terrorism. This is what they do,'' President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday night during a live interview on a pro-government news TV station.

And he spilled the beans:

''If a political party had been able to secure 400 deputies to make a new Constitution, the situation would be very different today.”

The viewers were left with no doubt that the party he referred to was the very party he still leads with an iron fist: the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

4--Russia Is Not Fighting in Syria: There Is a Disinformation Campaign Underway

5--US Seeks Occupation as US Fighters Flood Syria

6--Stiglitz warns on capital flows from QE


7---A Russian buildup in Syria? The propaganda machine strikes again

8--The real cause of the refugee problem

9---the MIG-31s, possibly with a Russian crew aboard, are interceptors. They are designed to track, identify and destroy hostile aircraft. The fact they were stationed in Mezze airbase, with a large Russian security and logistics detail, implies the Russians meant business. What aircraft could these planes be possibly intercepting though ? Obviously, not the Coalition jets flying missions against the Islamic State.  The Russians aren't that mad … or dumb....

If you take Libya as the example of what the Russians want to avoid at all cost, it's fairly easy to guess what their interceptors would be looking for. ... The key component in both a "no fly zone" and in monitoring moves on and off the ground, all over Syrian territory, are AWACS warning and control aircraft..... the goal of the coalition was to extend "interdiction areas" or to create "safe areas" deep inside Syria, there would be only one way of doing this: AWACS planes would need to fly over Syrian territory...

That is where the MIG-31s come in. Sending in these planes, their crews, as well as all the necessary logistics into Syria, could be a clear message intended at disrupting any idea the Coalition might have of establishing "safe zones", "security perimeters" or "no fly zones", whatever you want to call them, without actual backing from international law.
Based on current Syrian-Russian defence agreements, Russian – or Syrian – MIG31s would be fully justified in shooting down any aircraft deemed hostile over Syrian territory. The MIG-31s are well equipped for that kind of mission: they can take off and reach a flight altitude of over 30 000 feet in under three minutes, making them immune from any MANPADs the rebels might be armed with....

once they are in the air, the MIG-31s could fire their missiles and, at that point, nothing could stop them from reaching their target, whether that is an AWACS or possibly even a fighter jet preparing for close support mission of anti-government forces.
Now, of course, if an AWACS was shut down by a Russian jet, that could be the starting point to something like WW3. The Russians don't want that, and neither do we. So what this means, is that their troop deployment is signalling us something: they know what we are up to and they are not willing to let go of it.
Unless, of course, they decide to shoot down some of GCC aircraft that are flying over Syria already. If they do so while GCC planes are implementing an illegal "no fly zone" over a sovereign country, that might put the Coalition into a tight spot.
Again, speculating about numbers would be futile at this point, but if the Russians intended to send a message together with these planes and military advisers, that message should be heard loud and clear.

10--A stock ploy undermining the US economy
Companies repurchase their own stock, inflating paper profits without producing anything of tangible value—such as investing in R&D, wages or plants and equipment. Since 2004 more than $6.9 trillion went into them, according to data compiled by Mustafa Erdem Sakinç of The Academic-Industry Research Network.
According to Goldman Sachs, stock buybacks will surge by 18 percent in 2015, exceeding $600 billion and accounting for nearly 30 percent of total cash spending.

A further deep dive into the trend reveals some startling facts. Excluding recession years 2001 and 2008, dividends and stock buybacks have represented on average 85 percent of corporate earnings since 1998, according to analysts at S&P. And stock repurchases worth almost $2 trillion have helped buoy the bull market since March 2009, according to FactSet data compiled for CNBC

Paper profits on repurchased stock prices has fooled the market. Productivity lags. Corporate investment in fixed assets is at its lowest level in 60 years

11--Forex reserves unwind could reverse bond supercycle

12--Why higher market volatility is the new norm

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