Monday, July 18, 2016

Today's Links

1--New report calls for ‘justice for millennials’


The Millennial generation, or those aged between 16 and 35, are earning less than previous generations - the first time this have ever happened - and are less likely to own a home, according to a new report.
The report, "Stagnation Generation", calls for the social contract between young and old generations to be renewed, as millennials are at risk of becoming the first generation to earn less over their lifetime than earlier generations.

2--Kerry threatens Turkey with NATO expulsion


European Union foreign ministers. It was unclear how that "requirement" fits with Turkey - one of the world's largest, US-supplied military forces - housing the all-important Incirlik airbase which provides the US (and NATO) with a convenient staging point for air missions across the entire middle east.
“My hope is that Turkey is going to move in ways that do respect what they have said to me many times is the bedrock of their country,” he says.  Kerry adds: “I spoke with the foreign minister three times in the last days and he assured me that they fully intended to respect the democratic process and the law; now obviously a lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly” and “the level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead."
the tensions between Turkey and US appear to have spilled over this morning, when moments ago John Kerry threatened Turkey that it could lose its NATO membership "if it fails to uphold the principles of democracy in the wake of an attempted coup" the US has warned....

European Union foreign ministers. It was unclear how that "requirement" fits with Turkey - one of the world's largest, US-supplied military forces - housing the all-important Incirlik airbase which provides the US (and NATO) with a convenient staging point for air missions across the entire middle east.
“My hope is that Turkey is going to move in ways that do respect what they have said to me many times is the bedrock of their country,” he says.  Kerry adds: “I spoke with the foreign minister three times in the last days and he assured me that they fully intended to respect the democratic process and the law; now obviously a lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly” and “the level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead."


3--Tehran gets first batch of missiles for S-300 complex


4--The Turkish coup: A warning to the international working class


Only after it became apparent that the coup was failing did the White House issue a statement indicating support for “the democratically elected government of Turkey.”...


Erdoğan last month issued an apology to Russia over Turkey’s November 2015 ambush and downing of a Russian warplane. The attempted rapprochement with Russia reportedly involves discussions on a political settlement in Syria outside the control of the US government.There have even been reports that Erdoğan has threatened to give Russian warplanes, instead of those of the US, access to the strategic Incirlik airbase, where the US keeps its largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in Europe.


The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has responded to the coup attempt with a dictatorial crackdown, arresting some 6,000 people in addition to detaining thousands of officers and soldiers. The scale of the roundup is indicated by the use of a sports stadium to hold some of the prisoners, a disturbing echo of the bloody events in Chile in 1973.

Arrest orders have been issued against thousands of judges and prosecutors, who are now branded as participants in an “armed terrorist movement.” In addition to its vow to “cleanse” the state institutions of all possible opponents, the Erdoğan government has indicated that it will push for the restoration of the death penalty to use against them...


The implications are far-reaching for the entire capitalist world. Turkey is by no means a political or economic backwater. A country of 75 million at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is a key member of the US-led NATO imperialist alliance, boasting its second-largest military after the US itself. It constitutes the sixth-largest economy in Europe. While not a member of the European Union, Turkey is closely integrated into the EU’s economic and political structures.

Turkish history is replete with coups and coup attempts, but there had not been such an event in the country in two decades. In 1960, 1971 and 1980, the military seized power in Turkey, as it did throughout much of Latin America and in Greece, Indonesia and elsewhere during the same period, with the close backing of the Pentagon and the CIA


5--Turkish soldiers deny involvement in coup plot, told it was a ‘drill’ – report


6--As Rates Sink, Housing Bubbles Rise-- Canada, Australia and Sweden are among central banks caught between supporting their economies and addressing financial threats



In Canada’s hottest market, Vancouver, British Columbia, the benchmark home price rose 32% over the 12 months ended in June, with a typical detached home now costing 1.56 million Canadian dollars (US$1.2 million), according to a Canadian Real Estate Association index. In Toronto, home prices were up 16% during the same period.



7--Corporate Profits Set to Shrink for Fourth Consecutive Quarter    ...S&P 500 companies expected to report earnings decline of 4.7%  Stocks rise while profits fall. Go figure?



More than 90 of the biggest U.S. companies will report results this week, giving a clearer picture of what is expected to be the fourth straight quarter of declining profits.

Based on analysts’ forecasts for companies in the S&P 500 index, Thomson Reuters predicted that adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter were down 4.7% from a year earlier. That follows a 5% drop in the first quarter and would be the fourth straight period of declines.

Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to slip 0.8%, marking the sixth straight quarter of declines, according to Thomson Reuters.

“We are in a slow weak-growth environment,” said Jonathan Golub, senior equity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, who recently cut his earnings forecast for the S&P 500, saying profits will be slightly lower for the year. “What investors are looking for is confirmation that we are not stuck in negative territory.”...


The expected profit decline comes despite a wave of corporate share buybacks, which rose to their second-highest level ever in the first quarter, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. By reducing the number of shares outstanding, buybacks tend to increase earnings per share. ...

The quarterly results come as stock markets are hitting records, reflecting poor returns from bonds and other markets, as well as an improved earnings outlook for the rest of the year. Thomson Reuters forecasts 1.5% growth in profits for the third quarter and 9.1% for the year’s final quarter.
The combination of rising stock prices and declining earnings has boosted the overall valuation of stocks to the highest level since 2010, according to FactSet’s analysis. ..

Meanwhile, there are signs that the U.S. economy, which is growing at around a 2% clip, is improving. Job growth strengthened in June and monthly manufacturing activity, as gauged by the Institute for Supply Management, rose to its highest level in 16 months. Last month, retail sales growth improved after a sluggish May, the Commerce Department said, helped by a 3.9% increase in sales at building-supply stores.

8--Pat Lang on Erdogan:


we should begin to think of the ultimate limits of Tayyip's ambitions.  Thus far he has successfully bullied and blackmailed the EU into paying him 6 BILLION Euros to stop sending migrants across the Aegean Sea.  He has embarked on a campaign of suppression of civic liberties in Turkey.  He has actively supported ALL the jihadi movements in Syria.  Only recently has he desisted from supporting IS but he continues to be the biggest supporter of the non-IS jihadi groups.  The only reason he abandoned IS was that they began to threaten him.  Without his Turkey's help the Nusra Front and the rest of the menagerie of jihadi groups would be carrion by now.  What are the limits of his ambition?...


From what  I am hearing from sources in Turkey, this may have been a pre-emptive "false flag" operation in which a group of members of the armed forces were sent into the fraudulent "coup" by Erdogan loyalists among senior officers.  He has appointed many.  IOW the people in the "coup" may have been deliberately sacrificed as "props" so that Erdogan could whip up his followers and consolidate power before he changes the constitution to make himself an absolute ruler.  pl 



9--Wide Purges After Stage-Managed Coup Will Cripple Turkey


As fake evidence now gets sorted out from the real stuff considerable evidence emerges that the coup in Turkey was either completely staged or at least a controlled provocation as a prelude to large, well planned purges.

While some junior officers involved in the coup may have believe that it was for real, Erdogan and his power apparatus knew that the coup was coming and had everything under control. One wonders how those juniors were deceived and what provoked them into their amateurish, hapless attempt.

Erdogan admitted today an TV that he knew the coup was coming:

7:47 PM - 17 Jul 2016 Mahir Zeynalov @MahirZeynalov
Erdogan acknowledges they knew about a "military activity" at least 7-10 hours before the coup vid
9:34am 18 Jul 2016 Borzou Daragahi @borzou
Turkey official: "Gulenists in military under investigation for some time. Group acted out of emergency when realized under investigation"

These "Gülenist" were more likely those nationalist Kemalist seculars which the New York Times now labels "extreme"....

Colonel Pat Lang, who for years worked as U.S. military intelligence official in Turkey, contacted old acquaintances:

I am assured by Turkish sources that Erdogan and senior officers he had appointed manipulated low level plotting to create a "coup" that could be defeated easily leading to his consolidation of power



Within hours after the coup against Erdogan 2,750 judges were relieved. Hundreds of judges, including supreme court judges selected by Erdogan's AKP predecessor Gul, were imprisoned. Last night 7,899 police and 631 gendarme officers were relieved of duty and their weapons confiscated. 30 governors and 47 local governors have been suspended. The Higher Education Board announced an upcoming "cleaning" at schools and universities. Twenty independent Turkish news sites have been closed.  The lists used for these wide purges must have been prepared well ahead of the coup.


One might argue that this coup and Erdogan's purges, will give him independence in foreign policy and will allow him to move out of the U.S./NATO realm towards Russia, China and Iran. Erodgan's people accuse the U.S. of being behind the coup. The threat of blocking Incirlik air base, the center of U.S. operations in Syria, against Russia's southern flank and the main storage area for U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East, will cower Washington and prevent any outright "western" measures against him.

10--Winners, losers in Turkey’s coup bid


To be sure, against the backdrop of the abortive coup, Gulen’s role will cast a shadow on the Turkey-US relations, which have already suffered setbacks on various counts in the most recent years during Erdogan’s rule.

The big question is how far the coup attempt would have been motivated by Erodgan’s foreign policies. That there could be such a dimension cannot be easily overlooked.

Gulen has voiced strong disapproval of many controversial aspects of Erdogan’s regional policies such as the decline in Turkey’s relations with Israel and his handling of the Kurdish problem or the Turkish intervention in Syria.

Curiously, the coup attempt coincides with the nascent trends of a shift in the Turkish foreign policies – in particular, in the direction of a rapprochement with Russia and a possible rollback of Ankara’s interventionist policies in Syria.

The coup, had it succeeded, would have scuttled a possible meeting between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming weeks that holds the potential to be a defining moment in the Syrian conflict.

Moscow factors in that the normalization with Turkey could have positive fall-outs on the situation in Syria. Ankara has also hinted at a readiness to re-establish ties with Syria. (Significantly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif has used exceptionally strong language to condemn the coup attempt in Turkey – even before it was decisively crushed.)

All things taken into consideration, therefore, Turkey’s possible change of course is being anticipated in Moscow and Tehran as a geopolitical event of momentous consequence to the realignment in Middle East politics and the overall balance of forces.

Meanwhile, Turkey, a major NATO power, is a regional partner that the West also cannot do without for pursuing an effective Middle East strategy. Of course, Erdogan has not been an easy partner to deal with – and on his part, he also remains suspicious of the western intentions

Conceivably, the newfound proximity between Turkey and Russia will necessitate a reset of the entire calculus of Western strategies as well. In fact, a reset becomes necessary as regards a host of issues – ranging from the regime change agenda in Syria and the fight against terrorism to the competing agendas of gas pipelines to feed the European market.

The bottom line is that if it is proved – rather, once it is proved beyond doubt – that ‘Gulenists’ have staged the abortive coup attempt, Erdogan may only see a hidden hand of western intelligence to send him packing from Turkish politics.



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