Saturday, July 30, 2016

Today's Links

1--Americans' Satisfaction With U.S. Drops Sharply, Gallup

Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped 12 percentage points in the past month, amid high-profile police killings of black men and mass shootings of police. Currently, 17% of Americans are satisfied with the state of affairs in the U.S.....

Bottom Line

Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. has generally been low in the past decade, even before the July downturn. In an era increasingly defined by wars in the Middle East, a Great Recession, ongoing economic uncertainty and heightened and polarized political rhetoric, it is not surprising that more than half of Americans have said they are not satisfied with the way things are going in the country for more than a decade.

2--Americans overwhelmingly pessimistic about country’s path, poll finds

More than two-thirds of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction, the highest in nearly four and a half years, a new McClatchy-Marist Poll found.
Fully 68 percent of adults think the country is on the wrong track, while just 27 percent think things are moving in the right direction.

3--Gundlach: "Sell Everything, Nothing Here Looks Good"

4--How low can she go??? Fake Unity at the DNC - Reserved seats for actors

5--US economy 'close to stagnant for almost a year' as growth shudders

The  US economy grew by just 0.3pc in the three month period to the end of June, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Economists had anticipated that the US economy would expand at more than twice this pace. On an annualised basis, growth was 1.2pc, which was also well below forecasts.

Growth was held back by a third straight quarter of falls in business investment, and a $8.1bn (£6.1bn) drop in inventories in the second quarter, as firms chose to decrease their stocks. The BEA also revised down its estimate for first quarter growth, from just under 0.3pc to 0.2pc.
Paul Ashworth, of Capital Economics, said that the data showed the US economy had been “close to stagnant for almost a year”, with growth of only 1.2pc over the last 12 months.

6--   The Obama Recovery?  Spring slump: U.S. economy only grows 1.2%

7--US in weakest recovery since '49---Economic growth was well below expectations; cautious business investment offset robust consumer spending

Declining business investment is hobbling an already sluggish U.S. expansion, raising concerns about the economy’s durability as the presidential campaign heads into its final stretch.....

On the downside, the third straight quarter of reduced business investment, a large paring back of inventories and declining government spending cut into those gains.

“Consumer spending growth was the sole element of good news” in the latest GDP figures, said Gregory Daco, an economist at Oxford Economics. “Weakness in business investment is an important and lingering growth constraint.”...

Companies also spent less on buildings and equipment this spring. Nonresidential fixed investment, a measure of business spending, declined at a 2.2% pace.

That’s a concern because capital expenditures are an important ingredient in improving employee productivity, which has grown at an anemic pace in recent years, but is critical to workers’ wages and corporate profits....

In some cases businesses may be substituting labor for capital, given depressed wage growth around the globe....

She noted that companies are also increasing dividends and buying back stock rather than investing in capital.     (Free trade has pushed down wages as planned. Now companies wonder why there is no demand. )

8--Obama says economy doing "pretty darn great right now". Got that?

America's pretty darn great right now," Obama told reporters Friday as he celebrated a strong jobs report that he said proved Republicans' "doomsday rhetoric" is little more than "fantasy."  (Time for a reality check)

9--Kuroda Leads BOJ to a Policy Crossroads as Pressures Intensify

After more than three years of pumping out wave after wave of cheap money that’s failed to secure its inflation target, the Bank of Japan has signaled a rethink.

Instead of buying yet more government bonds, cutting interest rates or pushing further into uncharted territory, the BOJ disappointed some Friday when its policy meeting concluded with only a modest adjustment..

We are at a turning point" for the BOJ, because "it can no longer assume that stepping harder on the gas pedal would make this car go faster," said Stephen Jen, co-founder of hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners LLP and a former International Monetary Fund economist. "Arrow 2 will take the lead now," he said, in a reference to the three arrows of Abenomics -- monetary, fiscal and structural-reform policies.    (time to throw in the towel on monetary policy)

10--U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Five-Decade Low

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in more than 50 years in the second quarter of 2016, a reflection of the lingering effects of the housing bust, financial hurdles to buying and shifting demographics across the country.


The homeownership rate, the proportion of households that are owner-occupied, fell to 62.9%, half a percentage point lower than the second quarter of 2015 and 0.6 percentage point lower than the first quarter 2016, the Census Bureau said on Thursday. That was the lowest figure since 1965

11--Global trade is not growing slower – it's not growing at all, finds a new report

12--GDP: Breaking down the bad news ---Mosler

Worse than expected, Q1 revised lower, and note the year over year deceleration in the chart. The inventory correction previously discussed looks to be well underway and has much further to go to bring inventories into balance with sales.

Problem is, sales growth is declining, and the downward spiral will continue until ‘borrowing to spend’ steps up to support the negative effects of what I call unspent income, aka savings desires. And the historical drivers of private sector deficit spending- housing, cars, and business investment- are all going the wrong way.

And note that the much touted increase in consumer spending was in energy purchases, as prices went up, which tends to reduce other consumer purchases over time

13--The noose tightens in Aleppo

With the SAA and YPG teaming up on the jihadists in Aleppo, it now seems almost impossible for rebel forces to avoid a full-blown defeat in the battle for Syria’s largest city, often dubbed ‘the mother of all battles’...

At the same time, if the Syrian Arab Army takes control of the city of Aleppo, the Idlib province will be its next target. The Jaish al-Fatah leadership is well aware of this threat of the existential survival of the Islamist coalition....

The decision on the part of the rebels to strip their western Latakia front is IMO indicative of rebel and/or Turkish belief that the outcome at Aleppo will be politically decisive in the outcome of the war especially in the context of the desperate internal situation now faced by Turkey. 

    Read more here:

    Vladimir Putin might have a point. Hillary Clinton is the most dangerous person on the planet because she is a neoliberal militarist who is absolutely immune from the consequences of the crises she creates. Armed with nuclear weapons freshly ‘upgraded’ by Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton and the neocon cabal she hopes to lead have destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, have surrounded Russia with NATO troops and weapons, staged a neo-fascist coup in Ukraine, supported a right-wing coup in Honduras and have indicated their intentions to proceed apace turning entire regions of the planet into chaotic rubble with body-counts already in the millions.

    This isn’t speculation about some future state of affairs. Hillary Clinton sold U.S. sanctions against Iraq in which one-half million of Iraq’s most vulnerable citizens were starved and denied life-saving medicines to ‘teach Saddam Hussein a lesson.’ And the Clinton-Bush war against Iraq cost one million more innocent lives and created chaos across the Middle East. ISIS is a direct result of Clinton-Bush policies. The liberal pretense that the U.S. War of Aggression against Iraq was ‘Bush’s war’ requires overlooking the eight years of liberal bombing and sanctions that preceded it and that Bill Clinton gave Mr. Bush political cover for the war as his wife voted for it. The U.S. war against Iraq— catastrophe that it was / is, was as bi-partisan as they come.

    15 --Nader on Hillary

    It is true, as numerous speakers repeated, Clinton is “most qualified and experienced,” but her record shows those qualities have led to belligerent, unlawful military actions that are now boomeranging against U.S. interests. The intervention she insistently called for in Libya, with Obama’s foolish consent, over-rode the wiser counsel of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (and his generals), who warned of the chaos that would follow. He was proven right, with chaotic  violence now all over Libya spilling into other African countries. This is but one example of what Bernie Sanders meant during the debates when he referenced her “poor judgement

    16--US-Turkey relations deteriorate fast

    On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made headlines by accusing the head of US Central Command of, "siding with the coup plotters," and demanding that the four-star general should, "know your place...

    The Turkish President implied that the United States played a direct role in the failed coup by insinuating, "My people know who is behind this scheme… they know who the superior intelligence behind it is, and with these statements you are revealing yourselves, you are giving yourselves away."

    US National Intelligence Director James Clapper acknowledged that the post-coup purge in Turkey impairs NATO’s mission in Syria, as a disproportionate number of Turkish forces working with the United States in the fight against Daesh have been caught up in the arrests and firings.
    "Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested,” said Clapper. “There’s no question this is going to set back and make more difficult cooperation with the Turks

    Accusations that the United States is protecting Erdogan’s arch-nemesis Fethullah Gulen, and that American forces and intelligence personnel played a direct role in the attempted overthrow, date to a July 16 comment by the Turkish Labor Minister, during a live interview with HaberTurk, in which he stated, "the United States is behind the coup."...

    remarks by high-ranking Turkish officials have now been converted into a call to action for Turkish nationalists, after the pro-Erdogan Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak published a picture of NATO International Security Assistance Force Commander and three-star US Army General John F. Campbell on the front page, under the unambiguous headline, "The man behind the failed coup in Turkey." 
    Hours after the pro-AKP newspaper published their accusations, a large fire erupted near the Izmir Air Station, a US Air Force base in western Turkey. T24 News reported that officials believed the fire was the result of "anti-American sabotage."...

    The situation deteriorated further on Friday following a filing by a Turkish prosecutor alleging that the FBI and the CIA trained and equipped members of the so-called Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO), leading to an explosion of activity on social media among Turkish speakers calling for the execution of 'American traitors' and for the immediate closure of NATO’s Incirlik Air Base.

    Many have predicted that US-Turkey and NATO-Turkey relations cannot withstand a growing domestic unrest against the American military presence in the country. Some ask whether Erdogan has opened a Pandora’s Box by placing Washington’s nuclear weapons and allied forces in the line of fire from a well-supported mob of nationalists

    17--US media celebrates Democratic Party warmongering (The Trump-Putin connection indicates the desperation of the Clinton campaign)

    These commentaries, published within hours of the close of the Democratic convention, demonstrate the real constituency of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. Far from representing the interests of working people, as Clinton claimed in her convention speech, the former secretary of state seeks to be the consensus choice of the military-intelligence apparatus, and has tailored her campaign explicitly to its dictates

    18--Meet the big-name Republicans supporting Hillary Clinton

    Richard Armitage, Henry Paulson, Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and adviser to GOP presidential candidates, Larry Pressler, former three-term Republican senator from South Dakota, Arne Carlson, a former two-term Republican governor of Minnesota and Robert Smith, former New York state Supreme Court justice — "This year, I’m going to vote for a Democrat for president  —  the first time I’ve done it in 36 years  —  and I think the decision is easy. Hillary Clinton is the only responsible choice, and I don’t understand why so few of my fellow conservatives see it that way

    19--Chris Hedges on capitalism, neoliberalism and the election charade

    CHRIS HEDGES: Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We’ve lost our privacy. We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. I speak of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they’ve both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over....

    I didn’t back Bernie Sanders because—and Kshama Sawant and I had had a discussion with him before—because he said that he would work within the Democratic structures and support the nominee. And I think we have now watched Bernie Sanders walk away from his political moment. You know, he—I think he will come to deeply regret what he has done. He has betrayed these people who believed in this political revolution. We heard this same kind of rhetoric, by the way, in 2008 around Obama....

    CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I think we have to acknowledge two facts. We do not live in a functioning democracy, and we have to stop pretending that we do. You can’t talk about—when you eviscerate privacy, you can’t use the word "liberty." That is the relationship between a master and a slave. The fact is, this is capitalism run amok. This whole discussion should be about capitalism. Capitalism does what it’s designed to do, when it’s unfettered or unregulated—as it is—and that is to increase profit and reduce the cost of labor. And it has done that by deindustrializing the country, and the Clinton administration, you know, massively enabled this....

    We live in a system where, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, the executive branch can put the soldiers in the streets, in clear violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, to see—carry out extraordinary rendition of American citizens who are deemed to be, quote-unquote, "terrorists," strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities, including in our black sites. We are a country that engages in torture...

    I covered the war in Yugoslavia, and I find many parallels between what’s happening in the United States and what happened with the breakdown of Yugoslavia. What is it that caused this country to disintegrate? It wasn’t ancient ethnic hatreds. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia and a bankrupt liberal establishment that, after the death of Tito, until 1989 or 1990, spoke in the language of democracy, but proved ineffectual in terms of dealing with the plight of working men and women who were cast out of state factories, huge unemployment and, finally, hyperinflation.

    And the fact is that these neoliberal policies, which the Democratic Party is one of the engines for, have created this right-wing fascialism. You can go back—this proto-fascism. You can go back and look at the Weimar, and it—Republic—was very much the same. So it’s completely counterintuitive. Of course I find Trump a vile and disturbing and disgusting figure, but I don’t believe that voting for the Democratic establishment—and remember that this—the two insurgencies, both within the Republican Party and the—were against figures like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel-your-pain language of liberalism, while assiduously serving corporate power and selling out working men and women. And they see through the con, they see through the game..... When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us...

    CHRIS HEDGES: I don’t think it makes any difference. The TPP is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth. The fact is

    Friday, July 29, 2016

    Today's links

    Today's Quote:  "This political evolution of the Democratic Party is not merely the matter of machinations within the party leadership and the state apparatus. It has a social base within a privileged social layer that has moved sharply to the right, providing a new constituency for war and imperialism. The systematic fixation on the issues of race, gender and sexual orientation—deliberately opposed to that of class—has provided a key ideological foundation for this reactionary turn.....The convention in Philadelphia has exposed a party that is moving in direct opposition to, and preparing for a confrontation with, a growing radicalization of the American working class". WSWS

    1--GDP Shocker: US Economy Grew Only 1.2% In Second Quarter; Q1 Revised To 0.8%

    The Obama economy gripped by inertia

    2--Yen, bond yields rise as Bank of Japan action underwhelms

    The BOJ modestly increased purchases of ETFs, but maintained its base money target at 80 trillion yen ($775 billion) and the pace of purchases of other assets, including Japanese government bonds. The central bank also held at 0.1 percent the interest it charges to a portion of excess reserves that financial institutions leave with the central bank. The dollar fell 1.8 percent to 103.35 yen JPY=, its biggest one-day decline since June 24 - the day after the UK's decision to leave the European Union - having earlier fallen below 103.00.

    3--The "Forever" Depression-- The Atlanta Fed just slashed its GDP outlook

    The Atlanta Fed, in its closely watched GDPNow indicator, on Thursday cut its forecast to 1.8 percent, a sharp reduction from the 2.3 percent expectation just a day earlier. Wall Street economists project the number to come in around 2.6 percent, according to FactSet.

    If the Fed number is correct, that would put average growth for the first half of 2016 at just 1.45 percent, and just shy of 1.6 percent over the past four quarters.
    As recently as May 31, the Fed tracker was looking for a growth rate of 2.9 percent, but that's been on a steady decline since

    4-- Homeownership rate drops to lowest point on record

    Rising home prices in an economy of stagnant wages (for the lower 80%) have pushed entry-level homes out of reach for many people....

    The Census Bureau, which has been tracking homeownership rates in its data series going back to 1965 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, just reported that in the second quarter 2016, the homeownership rate dropped to 62.9%, the lowest point on record.

    It matches the low point in Q1 and Q2 of 1965 when the data series began. At no time in between did it ever fall this low. And it was down half a percentage point from 63.4% a year ago.

    The relentless slide has lasted for 12 years, from its peak of 69.2% in Q4 2004, which was when the Greenspan Fed’s low interest rates were boosting speculation in the housing sector, and prices were going haywire. At the time, the concept of “home” had already become an asset class that can never lose money, financialized and later shorted by Wall Street, subsidized by government agencies, and backstopped by the Fed....

    The fact that Housing Bubble 2 in most urban areas is now even more magnificent than the prior housing bubble that blew up with such fanfare, even while real incomes have stagnated for all but the top earners, is a sign that the Fed has succeeded elegantly in pumping up nearly all asset prices to achieve its “wealth effect,” come heck or high water. In this ingenious manner, it has “healed” the housing market.

    5--IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece

    (policies driven by ideology not economics)
    The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.

    “Before the launch of the euro, the IMF’s public statements tended to emphasise the advantages of the common currency," it said. Some staff members warned that the design of the euro was fundamentally flawed but they were overruled.
    “After a heated internal debate, the view supportive of what was perceived to be Europe’s political project ultimately prevailed,” it said.

    This pro-EMU bias continued to corrupt their thinking for years. “The IMF remained upbeat about the soundness of the European banking system and the quality of banking supervision in euro-area countries until after the start of the global financial crisis in mid-2007. This lapse was largely due to the IMF’s readiness to take the reassurances of national and euro area authorities at face value,” it said....

    At root was a failure to grasp the elemental point that currency unions with no treasury or political union to back them up are inherently vulnerable to debt crises. States facing a shock no longer have sovereign tools to defend themselves. Devaluation risk is switched into bankruptcy risk.

    “In a monetary union, the basics of debt dynamics change as countries forgo monetary policy and exchange rate adjustment tools,” said the report. This would be amplified by a “vicious feedback between banks and sovereigns”, each taking the other down. That the IMF failed to anticipate any of this was a serious scientific and professional failure. (A ridiculous lie. Numerous essays and articles were written about these issues as the crisis unfolded. This is an obvious coverup to conceal the IMF's role is bailing out the French and German banks that benefited from the bailouts.)

    6--Philadelphia vs. Cleveland: Divided We Stand

    Do Americans share Philadelphia’s belief in Clinton’s greatness and in the magisterial achievements of the Obama presidency?
    Let us see. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe Clinton should have been indicted; 67 percent believe she is neither trustworthy nor honest. And 75 percent of Americans think that, under Obama, the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

    After Cleveland, Trump took a 62-23 lead among white high school graduates, those who constitute a disproportionate share of our cops, firemen, soldiers and Marines — and those interred in Arlington National Cemetery

    7--The "lost war" drags on--US-trained Afghan forces keep losing territory to Taliban – US govt report

    8--Lesson in US foreign policy?--Coup D'Etat: Untold Story of Washington Leaving Its Friends in the Lurch matter how hard US allies try to abide by the rules set by Washington, they may eventually find themselves abandoned by their US patrons.

    9--'Battle of Aleppo Would Have Been Long Over if Not for the US'

    ...government troops are moving ever closer to imposing a military blockade on rebel suburbs in eastern Aleppo.

    Formerly, the Castello road served as the last supply line to thousands of Islamist insurgents in Aleppo.

    Vzglyad notes that the balance of military forces on the ground and the configuration of the front line show that neither al-Nusra nor any other jihadist units trapped in Aleppo are able to break out of the trap as their supply routes with other militants in the Anadan Valley or in Idlib have been fully cut off....

    In reality, the outlet says, al-Nusra and Fatah Halab are coordinating their operations in Aleppo and it’s simply impossible to identify which particular group is operating at a certain time.

    The US is either intentionally “playing games” with the local units, or really does not understand that it is being manipulated, the website says, adding that the latter is quite possible as the CIA and its army intelligence may really be unable to figure out what is happening on the ground.

    10--The al Qaida name-change fiasco

    the Middle East Eye revealed that al-Nusra Front would change its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, citing sources within the terrorist organization.
    Interestingly enough, the sources also added that al-Nusra Front would lose its access to al-Qaeda's funds. However, the claim has been immediately thrown into question by experts.

    The media outlet cited Mohamed Okda, an expert who has been involved in negotiating with Syrian rebel groups. Okda pointed to the fact that al-Nusra Front is mostly funded by private Gulf donors. He also stressed that the separation is not ideological but "organizational."

    "They might be severing relations with al-Qaeda as an organization. [But] they are not breaking up with the ideology of al-Qaeda," he underscored, adding that the re-branding is aimed at attracting groups like Ahrar ash-Sham under its wing....

    al-Nusra Front's announcement is de facto a pretext to "save" part of the jihadist group from the Russian Aerospace Forces' airstrikes.

    11--Obama's legacy

    Obama, who was swept into office on a wave of popular antiwar sentiment, will enjoy the dubious distinction of being the first president to keep the US at war throughout two full terms in office.
    He has continued the wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq, while launching a new one that toppled the government and decimated the society of Libya; engineering a proxy war for regime change that now includes US troops deployed in Syria; and carrying out attacks in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and beyond.

    With its “pivot to Asia” and steady buildup of US-NATO forces in Eastern Europe, Washington’s military might has been increasingly directed against Russia and China, in a relentless quest for global hegemony that poses the growing danger of a third world war.

    Obama’s administration will also be remembered for its vast expansion of drone warfare, targeted assassinations and kill lists, along with vicious attacks on civil liberties and the militarization of America’s police....

    This formula was on full display at the Philadelphia convention, where identity politics—the promotion of race, gender and sexual orientation as the defining features of political and social life—was woven directly into an unabashed celebration of American militarism.
    This found carefully crafted expressions in Obama’s speech, including his declaration that “our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service,” a claim that could be made on behalf of another “all volunteer” imperialist fighting force, the French Foreign Legion.

    He went on to state, “When we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just… ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.”
    The US military had long been a bastion of fanatical homophobia, with over 114,000 service members forced out, with dishonorable discharges, over the issue between World War II and the scrapping of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011. That allowing gays into the military would erode discipline had been an article of faith for the US command.

    Central to support for changing this policy was the recognition, within both the ruling political establishment and decisive layers of the military brass, that it would prove politically useful in winning support for the military among a privileged upper middle class layer that had identified with the politics of American liberalism.

    The message at the convention was explicit: “These are your troops. These are your wars. They are being fought in your interests

    12--Syrian War Report – July 28, 2016: Major Gains of Pro-Government Forces in Aleppo

    13--Russian minister: Turkish Stream pipeline becoming more attractive

    14--US general is on side of coup plotters: Erdoğan

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed comments by the head of U.S. national intelligence for suggesting that crackdowns in the Turkish military after the failed July 15 coup had harmed the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying the statements showed that he was “on the side of the plotters.”

    “The U.S. general [Joseph Votel] stands on the coup plotters’ side with his words. He disclosed himself via his statements,” Erdoğan said during a visit to the Gölbaşı Special Operations Department in Ankara, where bombing by coup plotting soldiers killed scores of police officers.

    “Is it up to you to decide on this? Who are you? Instead of thanking the state for repelling the coup attempt, you stand with the coup plotters. The coup plotter is in your country. You are nurturing him there; it’s out in the open,” he said, referring to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania and who is believed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to have masterminded the failed coup attempt

    15--Coup suspects confess Gülen links to the attempt

    17--NBC false reporting on coup??

    On July 15, 2016, as an attempted coup unfolded in Turkey, NBC began to report and then circulate widely that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had fled the country by air and was requesting asylum in Germany.  NBC attributed the false report to its senior US military official- MSNBC Producer Kyle Griffin’s tweet stated, “senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany.” The story has been deleted from NBC and related sites since being debunked. Newsbud sources have identified General Campbell as the likely NBC News’ Senior Military Official source in this strategically broadcasted false story.

    On Monday, July 25, the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. sent its official request for public retraction and apology to the relevant divisions at NBC News. A few hours after that, Newsbud’s founder and Editor Sibel Edmonds received direct e-mail communication from the MSNBC Producer involved … Watch the video for related developments and updates in Newsbud’s Campaign #ConfrontNBC.

    18--Turkey coup, Brookings

    Turkey—literally the bridge between Europe and Asia—sometimes seems of two minds on governance issues. On the one hand, its leaders express a commitment to a Western form of governance based on the rule of law, liberal democracy, transparency, and accountability. On the other—and more in the vein of governance styles in Russia, Iran, and China—they sometimes reject what they see as outside interference, restrict civil liberties and government transparency, and promote a heavy state role in the economy. ....

    if Turkey seems to be moving away from Western norms, is it also moving away from the West? Possibly. In November 2013—after years of stop-and-go accession talks with the EU—Erdoğan sought Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for accepting Turkey into Eurasian organizations like the Shanghai Five. That could be a big geostrategic gain for Russia, something not lost on the Russian press.

    Western Europe and the United States would be the biggest losers if Turkey moved closer to Russia’s camp. Losing their partnership with Turkey would deliver a serious blow to the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, for one thing. But it would also further dim prospects that Turkey might really embrace Western-style democracy any time soon. As Ted Piccone has written, Turkey has the potential to be a linchpin of the liberal international order—and a long-term downturn in the country could have wide detrimental effects in regional and global governance. 

    19--America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)  Hillary's gameplan, the forever war

    “As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region…

    Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia…

    The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia…and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

    Today's Links

    Today's Quote: “The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly ‘socialist’ campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.” (“Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?”, July 16, 2015), Tom Hall, WSWS

    "Being a woman, or for that matter a gay or transgender person, does not alter the objective class role one plays as the chief executive of the American imperialist state, presiding over brutal wars abroad and grinding poverty and inequality at home." WSWS

    Citi has forecast a "gradual shift towards helicopter money" by advanced economies, as countries struggle to boost growth and inflation in uncertain geopolitical climes.
    The bank's report came as the Bank of Japan started a two-day meeting on Thursday, after which it is widely expected to launch another major stimulus program. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen announcing a fiscal stimulus package as well, which a report by news agency Jiji put at 28 trillion yen ($267 billion).

    That could be viewed as a move towards helicopter money, defined by Citi as a "temporary fiscal stimulus financed by a permanent monetary expansion." Others define it simply as central banks injecting cash directly into the real economy.

    Amid large uncertainties, the policy outlook is once again of major importance. In our view, there is a gradual shift in policy orientation towards helicopter money," Citi analysts including Chief Economist Willem Buiter said in a report on Wednesday.
    Citi forecasts "moderate further easing" by the Bank of Japan this week and a new round of a quantitative easing from the Bank of England (BoE) next month.

    2--Who's first with the helicopters

    3--If Everything Is So Great, Then Why Do Two-Thirds Of Americans Say The Country Is On The Wrong Track?

    4--Sanders post mortem: The end of the Sanders campaign: The political lessons

    With his support for the nomination of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, the campaign of Bernie Sanders has come to an ignominious end. What could be added that would be a more devastating political exposure of his role than Sanders’ own statements and actions over the past week in Philadelphia?

    On Monday, Sanders berated his own delegates, who booed him at an event outside the convention hall, defending his endorsement by declaring, “This is the real world we live in.” By this he meant a “real world” that excludes any opposition to the two candidates put forward by the Democratic and Republican parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Sanders’ “political revolution” against the “billionaire class” has turned out to be a defense of the status quo and the two-party system.

    In his speech to the convention later that night, Sanders heaped praise upon his former opponent in the primary campaign, portraying the candidate, whom he had criticized for her intimate ties to Wall Street, as a progressive ally of working people. He also praised the Obama administration, which has overseen the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in American history.
    Sanders continued his political striptease on Tuesday night during the nominating process, when he rose from the floor to call for suspending the roll call vote, in favor of declaring Clinton the nominee by acclamation.

    Nothing remains of the Sanders campaign except hollow slogans and deceitful phrases...

    To cite only some of the most important statements produced over the past year, the WSWS wrote:
    • “The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly ‘socialist’ campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.” (“Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?”, July 16, 2015)....

    From the “populist” campaign of William Jennings Bryan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, through the campaigns of Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich in the 1980s and 1990s, the Democrats have used “outsider” campaigns to provide themselves with political credibility and contain opposition. This is to say nothing of the fact that Sanders himself pledged at the start of his campaign to back the eventual Democratic Party nominee.

    From the beginning, the Sanders campaign has been backed by a whole host of political enablers in the pseudo-left, who sought to promote illusions, either by actively campaigning for him or by criticizing him on tactical grounds, while solidarizing with his politics. Like Sanders, the groups that operate around the Democratic Party and the trade unions are opposed to the emergence of an independent movement of the working class and direct all of their efforts to prevent it.

    Groups like Socialist Alternative, Solidarity, the International Socialist Organization, the Young Democratic Socialists and the Green Party are meeting in Philadelphia at the Socialist Convergence conference at the same time as the Democratic convention. Without giving any political accounting for what they themselves wrote yesterday, they are moving on to build the next political trap for the working class, in the Green Party campaign of Jill Stein, who scarcely a month ago offered Sanders her spot on the Green Party ticket

    5--Democratic convention: Obama piles on more lies

    Needless to say, words such as “drone assassination,” “Guantanamo,” “indefinite detention,” “NSA spying” and “Wall Street bailout” were not to be heard.

    In its sheer cynicism and dishonesty, Obama’s speech was entirely in line with the convention as a whole. It has been a nonstop exercise in deception, with the central lie being the pretense that the Democratic Party—a capitalist party of war and reaction, controlled from top to bottom by the corporate-financial elite in alliance with the military and the CIA—is somehow a vehicle of human progress devoted to the interests of the people...

    Vice President Joe Biden...concluded with the declaration: “The 21st Century is going to be the American Century. We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line. May God protect our troops.”

    This appeal to chauvinism and militarism was combined with endless evocations of race, gender and sexual orientation, the political axis of the Democratic Party and the basis for lining up privileged middle-class layers behind American imperialism's savage wars of aggression, in return for the promise of a bigger share of the spoils from neocolonial plunder and the impoverishment of workers within the US....

    Being a woman, or for that matter a gay or transgender person, does not alter the objective class role one plays as the chief executive of the American imperialist state, presiding over brutal wars abroad and grinding poverty and inequality at home

    6--The political bankruptcy of filmmaker Michael Moore and his “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win”   Excellent

    7--Buying Longer Bonds Holds Danger

    8--Japanese ‘Helicopter Money’ Prospect Has Yen Traders On Edge 


    The possibility of fresh stimulus from Japan is intensifying investor scrutiny of one of the most eventful relationships in financial markets this year, the yen-dollar exchange rate...

    The Bank of Japan 8301 -1.66 % is expected at its meeting on Friday to spell out its latest aggressive effort to revive inflation and economic growth. Investors say any letdown could roil markets dominated by investments that would benefit from yen depreciation.

    The yen has surged more than 14% against the dollar in 2016, making it the best-performing major currency and frustrating Japanese efforts to restart growth. Trading has been whipsawed this week by conflicting reports about Japan’s plans, including talk that Japan is considering an arrangement viewed by many analysts as akin to “helicopter money," an unprecedented stimulus in which the central bank buys long-term debt directly from the government to fund expanded fiscal spending.

    “There’s huge scope for disappointment,” said Steven Englander, head of G-10 foreign-exchange strategy at Citigroup Inc. C -0.11 % “If they lowball the market, the market would say they’re trying to make a gracious exit out of the stimulus business

    9--Japan Considers Issuing 50-Year Debt for First Time

    Japan is considering issuing 50-year bonds for the first time, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign that ultralow interest rates around the globe are encouraging superlong debt.

    Such bonds could bolster the argument that Tokyo’s growth-revival plan is becoming similar to “helicopter money.” Strictly speaking, helicopter money is the direct underwriting of government bonds by a central bank, which then holds them in perpetuity—a measure Japanese officials say they aren’t considering. But Japan’s central bank indirectly buys much of the government’s new bond issuance, and from an investor’s perspective a 50-year term is near perpetuity.

    The consideration of longer-term bonds comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to jolt Japan’s economy to steady growth. He said Wednesday that next week he will unveil an economic-stimulus package with a total value topping ¥28 trillion ($268 billion), much bigger than expected.

    The Bank of Japan, which holds a policy meeting this week, has been forced to try more extreme stimulus measures, including the introduction of negative interest rates earlier this year. Some Abe advisers have said the central bank and government should team up by combining further monetary easing with more public spending. The central bank holds a little over a third of outstanding government debt.

    10--The Economy Is Again Under the Sway of Asset Prices  

    As valuations of stocks and property swell, a sudden shift in sentiment could destabilize growth...

    The past two recessions were ushered in by a collapse in asset prices. The risk of a repeat is growing.

    After plunging in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, U.S. stocks have hit fresh highs. Real estate is quietly doing the same: home prices are just 2% below the peak hit in 2007, while commercial property values have hit records.

    The result is that net wealth in the U.S. now tops 500% of national income. Ominously, net wealth has reached that level only twice before: from 1999 to 2000 during the Nasdaq bubble, and 2004 to 2008 during the housing boom....

    The mere fact that asset prices are high doesn’t mean they are overvalued, or about to crash. But it is a sign of an economy structurally more vulnerable to sudden shifts of sentiment in the financial markets. Central banks have compounded that vulnerability by pumping up growth with low and even negative interest rates that have kept asset markets inflated....

    it takes only a small shift in the appetite for risk, expectations of profits, or interest rates to trigger a major downdraft. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research noted this week that stocks have reached today’s valuations “only ahead of the three largest equity market declines in the last century.”

    Ms. Fosler has found that in the past, instability emerges when wealth growth slows to below that of income.That has already happened: despite their recent record, stocks aren’t much higher than a year ago. Profits are also down.

    It doesn’t mean a recession is coming; but it’s a vulnerability the Fed should keep top of mind.

    11--Gülen planned to return to Turkey like Khomeini: Turkish justice minister

    12--Local Turkish prosecutor includes CIA, FBI allegations in Gülen indictment

    The CIA and the FBI provided training for followers of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, according to an indictment prepared by a local Turkish prosecutor regarding the failed coup attempt of July 15.

    “The CIA and FBI provided training in several subjects to the cadre raised in the culture centers belonging to the Gülen movement. The operations carried out by prosecutors and security officials during the Dec. 17 process can be taken as a good example of this,” read the indictment, prepared by the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and accepted by the Second Heavy Penal Court.

    The “Dec. 17 process” refers to the corruption probe launched on Dec. 17, 2013, which targeted senior government officials.

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) says Gülen masterminded the July 15 failed coup attempt and is due to file an extradition request to the U.S. authorities.

    “This [failed coup] attempt aimed to weaken the state with all its institutions by getting rid of the government completely. Those in the Gülen movement who work in the judicial and security institutions and who received the aforementioned training, took on this task and moved into action,” the indictment also read, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

    13--End game in Aleppo

    "The Syrian army is advancing inside the Handarat Refugee Camp south of the Mallah Farms area near Aleppo city.
    The operation followed the liberation of the Bani Zeid neighborhood of Aleppo city that allowed the Syrian army and the Kurdish YPG to unite the front against jihadi groups in Syria."  South Front
    Rebel held Aleppo is approaching its end.   the government has announced three paths out of the rebel held area for the movement of civilians into government controlled territory where the government says it will "accommodate" them temporarily.  The government has also announced a three month amnesty for rebels.  I presume there will be some triage of those surrendering.  pl

    Wednesday, July 27, 2016

    Today's links

    Today's Quote:  "The Nuland plots have all failed. The US can no longer talk to the Turks. Losing Turkey to Erdogan and his Islamists also means the US can dictate no longer in the region. You can’t expect the Americans will take it lying down. There’s no government in Washington right now. But if Clinton wins, there will be a US fight-back. It will be too late." John Helmer

    1--I'm voting for Hillary Clinton—and I think most CEOs will, too (It's not just Wall Street. The entire corporatocracy is behind Hillary)

    2--PM Abe's plan for $265 billion stimulus puts pressure on BOJ to ease

    The size of  the package, at more than 28 trillion yen ($265.30 billion), exceeds initial estimates of around 20 trillion yen and is nearly 6 percent the size of Japan's economy. It will consist of 13 trillion yen in "fiscal measures," which likely includes spending by national and local governments, as well as loan program...

    Sources told Reuters the package would have a headline figure of at least 20 trillion yen. Only about 9 trillion yen was to come from a combination of direct spending from both national and local governments and loan programs

    Such "fiscal" spending" appeared to have increased to 13 trillion yen. But the rest is likely to come from state subsidies to private firms and lending from quasi-government entities, which does not involve direct government spending and thus may not give an immediate boost to growth, analysts say (another corporate giveaway)

    Abe's administration has also offered few hints on how it will finance the package, casting doubts on Japan's ability to fix its tattered finances (stimulus without funding=helicopter money)

    The government is considering issuing construction bonds but remains cautious about resorting to large-scale debt issuance. (no funding source. The stimulus is a designed to conceal monetization)

    3--The mainstream media alleges that Russia was behind the hack of the DNC’s emails (Desperate Clinton campaign creates fictitious connection between Putin and trump)

    Edward Snowden says the NSA could easily determine who hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails:

    4--Pivot to Asia Scorecard: Matchpoint goes to Putin

    On August 9, in St. Petersburg, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The moment is revolutionary. There has not been a comparable political turning-point in the 67 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); not in the century since the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Russia in World War I; nor in the two centuries since Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and the Russian Tsar Alexander I aligned against Napoleon and the British.

    Russian sources say they are sure the Russian secret services did not warn Erdogan or help his forces prevail in the July 15-16 coup against him. After Erdogan began his counter-coup, and in the fight still continuing between Erdogan’s Islamic forces and the regular Turkish military, the sources add, there has been, and there will be, Russian help. It is more for the future, they explain, than for last week’s outcome that Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek told his counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Tuesday: “I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government.”

    The Russian sources say it is already agreed the two sides will pay a soon-to-be settled price in two-way trade; gas, nuclear and other energy projects; plus tourism. Much more is at stake, though, one of the sources adds. “Putin and his advisors believe Erdogan is still in danger. They support him now for the opportunity to reorganize the relationship with Turkey. They mean to secure Russia from encirclement on the southern frontier and the Black Sea, dismemberment of the Caucasus, and attack on the Kremlin by its enemies. Right now, as Europe collapses, the enemy is the US with NATO in support. If Turkey breaks with the US, NATO is a paraplegic. We shall see how Putin and Erdogan choose to portray the new Rome*, the new Byzantium* next Tuesday.”...

    Russian sources are non-committal on what role US military and intelligence agencies played during the July 15 events at the Incirlik airbase and elsewhere to encourage, or not to discourage, the attempt at overthrowing Erdogan. What is certain now, as Erdogan tries to mop up, according to Greek and Cypriot analysts, is that Turkey has turned against the US and the NATO alliance. “Turkey is now moving away from western dependence,” says a well-informed region source who asks not to be identified. “This makes sense geopolitically because the west has lost control in the Middle East. Other close western allies in the region, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, are becoming autonomous, in the sense that they don’t obey the US. This is because the US can no longer act as a hegemon. Washington can’t dictate, or even recommend solutions to conflicts or rivalries, like Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Palestine. Now, with or without direct US involvement in the Turkish coup, Erdogan sees his chance to make Turkey more autonomous, so he is taking it.”...

    The Nuland plots have all failed. The US can no longer talk to the Turks. Losing Turkey to Erdogan and his Islamists also means the US can dictate no longer in the region. You can’t expect the Americans will take it lying down. There’s no government in Washington right now. But if Clinton wins, there will be a US fight-back. It will be too late."...

    Military sources believe Erdogan’s position is still far from assured. “The numbers and the spread of the purges tell you this is a continuous coup, which could turn into ethnic or communal revolts at any time, or civil war. Russia is positioning itself, as it did in the past, in favour of the stability of the Turkish state – right now this means Erdogan. The Kremlin is against breakup. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a weak Turkey meant to Moscow that Russia’s enemies gained control of the vital Russian interests of the time, such as the Straits.”

    Greek, Cypriot and Russian sources questioned about the current course of events say the principal Russian objectives are obvious. Erdogan should stop the export of jihadis, ISIS, and sedition towards the Russian Caucasus in the form of the Chechens. He must also stop his regime-changing tactics in Syria, and not less in the Balkans and in Central Asia. The sources believe that in his current predicament Erogan is a better bet for the Kremlin than the Turkish military, or the so-called Kemalist or Gulenist political groups, encouraged by the US. If the pro-American or NATO elements can be uprooted and destroyed, Russia is bound to feel more secure — so long as Erdogan’s Sunni Islamic orientation will make its peace with Russia, as the Shiites of Iran and Iraq are doing.

    5--Trouble brewing: Italian bank on the brink

    From the Financial Times:
    Italy was last night racing to secure a privately backed bailout of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the most exposed of the country’s troubled lenders, including a plan to raise €5bn of fresh capital so as to avert nationalisation, according to bankers and European officials….

    People directly involved in the Monte Paschi discussions say they are aiming for a private rescue of the bank to be announced before the stress test results are published after US markets close on Friday.
    But they admit that the negotiations could go down to the wire or run into or beyond the weekend. This raises the prospect of shares in Monte Paschi and other Italian banks coming under renewed pressure when markets reopen on Monday, which many fear could prove lethal.

    Any such rescue would be under EU rules, which would mean a so-called bail-in, where junior Monte Paschi bonds would be converted to shares, and compensation given to retail investors…
    The privately backed plan, which is still under discussion and could change, would involve a multi-layered deal to rid Monte Paschi of €10bn of net non-performing loans and recapitalisation worth up to €5bn, say people involved in the talks….
    Instead, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit have agreed to put an additional €160m into Atlante, a privately backed fund, alongside pension funds and CDP, the state bank, to put a total of about €3bn into Monte Paschi bad loans.

    To clean up the lender, at least €10bn of its NPLs would be spun off into a special purpose vehicle. This would then be securitised, with shareholders taking the more risky junior tranche of debt and Atlante taking the mezzanine tranche.
    The least-risky senior tranche would be backed up to €7bn of bridge loans from a pool of banks likely to include JPMorgan of the US and Mediobanca, the Italian investment bank. The longer term aim would be for the senior tranche to be guaranteed by a government-backed scheme, known by the acronym GACS.

    To boost its capital, Monte Paschi would launch a rights issue of up to €5bn, its third in three years and worth more than five times its current market value. However, analysts believe this fund raising would be difficult given the bank’s reputation for scorching investors capital.

    6--Leaks show DNC asked White House to reward donors with slots on boards and commissions  (More influence peddling by the corrupt Dem leadership)

    Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House.
    The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash

    7--Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Are Now Equally Unpopular

    it’s not clear which candidate is more disliked by Americans overall. The RealClearPolitics average has Clinton with a 38 percent favorable rating overall compared to Trump’s 36 percent. Gallup has them both at 37 percent, with Clinton falling from 40 percent earlier this month (possibly because of criticism by the FBI over her handling of her State Department emails) and Trump rising from 31 percent. This equal popularity (or unpopularity) is reflected in the horserace polls, which now show a near-tie

    8---Deutsche Bank's second-quarter net income plunges nearly 100% year-on-year

    9--The neocons are backing Hillary  (Four more wars!)

    “Nothing that [Clinton] did was more clear than the NATO coalition that she built to defend civilians in Libya,” said Sloat, referencing the Obama administration’s overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. That policy, spearheaded by Clinton, has transformed a once-stable state into a lawless haven for extremist groups from across the region, including ISIS.

    Kagan has advocated for muscular American intervention in Syria; Clinton’s likely pick for Pentagon chief, Michelle Flournoy, has similarly agitated for redirecting U.S. airstrikes in Syria toward ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ...

    The Clinton-neocon partnership was solidified by Trump becoming the Republican nominee. But their affinity for each other has grown steadily over time.
    The neoconservative Weekly Standard celebrated Clinton’s 2008 appointment as secretary of state as a victory for the right, hailing her transformation from “First Feminist” to “Warrior Queen,

    10--When Erdogan meets Putin: What to expect?

    Russian and Turkish political experts expect that negotiations will span an array of topics, from politics and economics to regional security. However, according to experts speaking to the independent Russian news and analysis website Svobodnaya Pressa, Turkey's support for terrorists in Syria is expected to be at the top of the agenda....

    This is also evidenced by Turkish Economic Minister Nihat Zeybakchi's statement that 'political decisions have been made' on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant projects, with the Russian and Turkish leaders' meetings expected to give the projects their 'final momentum' toward being realized."

    Commenting on the very public talk of warming relations, Mikhail Alexandrov, a senior expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explained that "Erdogan's behavior is only logical."

    "He is in a difficult situation. Western countries organized a coup attempt against him which, fortunately, ended up failing. Now Erdogan has factually become isolated. He needs to destroy the pro-Western fifth column in the country; hence the large-scale purges in the army and among the civil service. The West, naturally, will not tolerate this, and pressure on Erdogan is growing…The Turkish president understands that he must look for some other point of support. Turkey may be a strong regional power, but it will be very difficult for it to survive on its own in today's world."...

    Russia has a serious score to settle with this terrorist group…The Turkish border must be closed to Daesh if Erdogan wants to be friends with Russia. Of course, it's entirely possible that such an agreement is concluded only in oral form. Erdogan will probably reluctantly agree to such a step," the expert suggested

    The question," according to Alexandrov, "is how Ankara would work to fulfill this agreement, given the fact that in practice, the implementation of such an agreement would almost certainly lead to a conflict with the United States…Only in practice will it be possible to check if Erdogan will dare to take such a step."

    In exchange, the analyst noted, Russia could rescind its sanctions on Turkish agricultural projects, and agree to participate in some joint economic projects, including within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. "We could promise Turkey support for entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which would allow it to enter the Silk Road economic zone."...

    In short, much is riding on the Putin-Erdogan meeting, and the corresponding 'comparison of notes' between the two leaders; hopefully, the meeting will play a role in resolving the Syrian crisis, which has not only left the country in ruins, but has helped to destabilize the Middle East and even Europe, which continues to suffer from the consequences of the refugee crisis and radical Islamist terrorism

    11--Turkish intel informed top generals hours before coup attempt, says army

    Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed the country’s top generals hours before the coup attempt was initiated by a group of soldiers within the army on July 15, while Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar evaluated the information and issued all necessary warnings and orders against “this despicable and miserable attempt,” according to a statement published on the General Staff’s official website on July 19.

    Beginning the statement by announcing that the attempts of the “terrorist traitors who are members of an illegal gang [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization - FETÖ] and who have nestled into the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]” had been suppressed as of July 17 at 4:00 p.m. throughout the country, the General Staff continued by denouncing any relation between this group and the “flag-loving, overwhelming majority” within the army.

    “The information given by the National Intelligence Organization on July 15, 2016, at around 4:00 p.m. was evaluated at the General Staff headquarters with the attendance of Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Army General Salih Zeki Çolak and Deputy Chief of Staff  General Yaşar Güler,” said the statement, elaborating on the precaution orders given regarding the end of mobility of all military vehicles including tanks, planes, helicopters and concerning the return of the ones currently mobilized to posts. 

    12--Gülen issue raises questions over US involvement in coup plot: Turkish PM 

    13--One third of the (Turkish) generals and admirals were directly involved in the coup attempt and the rest of the top command echelon did not lift a finger to fight (high-ranking enemies in the army means that Erdogan could still be toppled)

    an intensive media propaganda campaign is underway aimed at whitewashing the highest level of the Turkish military and declaring it innocent and clean. In an effort to cover up the fact that one third of the generals and admirals were directly involved in the coup attempt and the rest of the top command echelon did not lift a finger to fight back, all of the media outlets are promoting narratives about how the commanders-in-chief and the general chief of staff himself supposedly resisted the coup...

    As it turned out, they were informed of the looming coup attempt as early as 4 pm on Friday, July 15, but launched their operations against the putschists only hours later, in the early morning hours of July 16, and only after the coup’s failure in the face of mass resistance had become clear...

    The anticipated “reconstruction” of the state apparatus will primarily affect the Turkish Army. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Bloomberg News on July 25 that there was “a serious need for restructuring in [public] institutions, especially the Armed Forces...

    It is not clear how the command echelon will react to the ongoing arrests and projected reorganization of the Army. However, one thing is obvious: the ongoing blockade of the barracks by means of heavy machinery and trucks, which implies the possibility of further coup attempts, is a heavy blow on the prestige of the Turkish Army.
    While seeking to consolidate the rule of his government through a consensus with opposition parties, Erdogan has arranged an official visit to St. Petersburg for August 9. Announcing the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said yesterday that the scheduled meeting between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin would help normalize bilateral ties between the two countries, which dramatically deteriorated after the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish Air Force last November 24.

    14--Democratic convention nominates Hillary Clinton

    The central role of racial and gender politics in the fraudulent attempt to palm off the Democratic Party as a vehicle of the people reflects, first of all, the interests of privileged upper-middle class layers, black and white, which have no interest in equality or the needs of working people, but instead are consumed by the drive to increase their own wealth and status.

    It is a political means for the ruling class to win broader support for its policies of war and austerity, while dividing and demobilizing the working class. The Democratic Party and its media allies, such as the New York Times, have intensified their promotion of racial politics in the aftermath of Sanders’ withdrawal and endorsement of Clinton. They were shocked by the mass response to Sanders’ denunciations of social inequality. The fact that millions of workers and youth in America oppose the capitalist system and favor socialism, and therefore seek to unite on a class basis, makes all the more critical for the ruling class the insistence that race is the defining issue in America and white racism is pervasive

    15--War and the Democratic National Convention-- Warmongering Hillary plans confrontation with China and Russia

    The Democratic Party’s 2016 national convention is unfolding as a carefully scripted and staged infomercial in which this right-wing capitalist party, tied at the hip to Wall Street and the Pentagon, postures as some sort of popular representative of the people.

    Amidst the humanitarian moralizing and sentimental declarations of universal brotherhood, one thing that is absent is any serious discussion of what kind of foreign policy a Clinton administration would pursue.

    Despite fifteen years of the “war on terror,” the convention’s headline speakers made no mention of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the death of Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi or the White House’s drone assassination program. This silence is all the more extraordinary given the fact that the Obama administration is the first in US history that has been at war throughout two full terms in office.

    The real decision-makers know, however, that in the background of the 2016 elections are escalating military tensions with Russia and China that raise the danger of world war between nuclear-armed powers.....

    As Mark Landler, author of Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, put it earlier this year, “For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.

    As Secretary of State, Clinton proved to be a more open advocate of military force than Obama. “On bedrock issues of war and peace,” writes Landler, “Clinton’s more activist philosophy…collided” with Obama’s “instincts toward restraint.”
    The fact that Obama, who as the New York Times noted in May, “has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president,” is presented as an example of military restraint is a testament to Clinton’s credentials as a warmonger.

    In addition to calling for more aggressive military intervention than Obama in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton “pressed for the United States to funnel arms to the rebels in Syria’s civil war (an idea Obama initially rebuffed before later, halfheartedly, coming around to it).” She privately demanded that Obama set up a no-fly zone in Syria after declarations by the US military/intelligence apparatus in 2013 that Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons, declaring, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.”

    Bruce Riedel, a former intelligence analyst who conducted Obama’s initial review on the Afghanistan war, told Landler, “One of the surprises for…the military was...that they have a secretary of state who’s a little bit right of them on [military] issues—a little more eager than they are...

    Writing in the National Interest, Yale professor David Bromwich observed the growing convergence between the policies of Clinton, her “left” apologists and the neoconservatives who helped launch the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
    “The past few weeks have cemented an extraordinary alliance to defeat Trump that joins two foreign-policy sects that were never entirely distinct: the neoconservatives who commandeered the Bush-Cheney foreign policy of 2001-2006, and liberal interventionists who supported the Iraq war, the Libya war, an expanded program of drone killings, and military intervention in Syria beyond what the Obama administration has allowed.”

    He notes, “With a spate of recent articles and op-eds, these people are preparing the ground for Hillary Clinton to assert that the Russian government is in league with the Trump campaign, and that Russia has intervened in the election by releasing hacked Democratic National Committee emails to embarrass Clinton.”
    This campaign has been led by the New York Times, whose resident Clinton apologist, Paul Krugman, declared Donald Trump to be a “Siberian candidate” and a proxy for Putin, whom Clinton is determined to oppose.

    This theme was taken up in the form of abbreviated remarks by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright at the DNC last night. Albright denounced Russia with a ferocity unheard of since the end of the Cold War. Bemoaning that her “native Czechoslovakia had been taken over by Communists,” Albright declared, “Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain, I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light.”

    The US ruling class has historically waited to implement long-prepared military escalations until after elections, and the coming year poses enormous danger

    16--Putin warns of nuclear war (you tube)

    17--Turkey's Foreign Policy Change Is Well Underway

    Turkey is convinced that the U.S. had some hand in the coup, or at least knew about it before it happened but did not warn Ankara. That the coup is U.S. related is not just a conspiracy theory without any basis. The tanker airplanes which filled up the F-16 bombers which bombed the parliament during the coup started from the NATO airbase in Incirlik where the U.S. command for the war on Syria is seated. Three of the five regiments involved in the coup in Istanbul are part of NATO's Rapid Deployable Corps. One of the coup commanders is the head of the Turkish second army which is coordinating the war on Syria (and ISIS) with the U.S. military....

    The Turkish Sufi cult leader and preacher Fethullah Gülen resides in Pennsylvania from where he controls his world wide charter school empire and network. Gülen is rumored to be under control of the CIA. Two former high ranking CIA officers gave supporting statements for him in the 1990s when he requested residency in the U.S.
    Turkey now demands Gülen's extradition. The evidence Turkey is giving for his culpability in the coup consists mostly of confessions of involved officers. These were given under somewhat coerced conditions. They are unlikely to be sufficient to convince the various interest groups in the U.S. to allow Gülen's extradition.
    But that would fit Turkey's plans well.