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

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