Saturday, August 20, 2016

"The left is again caught by the dynamic that the Clintons have so successfully exploited: the “they have nowhere to go” myth. Until the left is willing to inflict a cost by withholding its support, no matter how awful the alternative looks, the mainstream parties will be able to ride roughshod over it and the policy positions it represents." Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism


1--The wealthy have nearly healed from recession. The poor haven’t even started


The Great Recession and the subsequent recovery from it have deepened the wedge between the very wealthy and everyone else in America, plunging the poor deeper into debt and wiping out two-fifths of the wealth held by families in the heart of the middle class. The wealthiest Americans, meanwhile, appear close to regaining all their losses over the same period, according to a new analysis released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office.

The analysis shows the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now hold three-quarters of the nation's wealth, up from two-thirds in 1989, and a three percentage-point increase from the start of the recession. Most Americans found themselves with less wealth in 2013 than Americans of a similar age had in 1989; the only age group doing better than its counterparts from a quarter-century ago was senior citizens....

(Getting worse) In 2007, the report notes, 8 percent of American families were in debt, at an average debt level of $20,000 each. By 2013, 12 percent of families were in debt — and the average level had grown to $32,000


2--Plan B now operational--US defends creation of defacto Kurdish state on Turkey's border)Pentagon Warns Assad Regime to Avoid Action Near U.S. and Allied Forces   --U.S. scrambled fighter jets after Syrian warplanes target area used by U.S. military personnel


The Pentagon warned the Syrian government Friday not to strike U.S. and coalition personnel in Syria, a day after the regime carried out airstrikes in an area near American special operations forces, prompting the U.S. to scramble jets to protect them.
The U.S. jets arrived just as the two Syrian government Su-24 bombers were departing, according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis, who said none of the U.S. forces on the ground were harmed.
The Syrian government bombers had been striking Kurdish positions near the city of Hasakah, where the U.S. has been backing Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State.

(Hillary's defacto no-fly zone) Thursday’s close call prompted the U.S.-led coalition to begin patrolling the airspace over Hasakah, and led to another incident Friday, in which two Syrian Su-24 bombers attempted to fly through the area but were met by coalition fighter jets, a U.S. defense official said. According to the official, the Syrian bombers departed without further incident. The official said the U.S. is closely monitoring airspace over areas with American forces.

(Making the case for war) We view instances that place coalition personnel at risk with the utmost seriousness, and we do have the inherent right of self-defense,” Capt. Davis said. He said the Syrian military would be “well-advised” not to interfere with U.S. forces or their coalition partners fighting Islamic State in the country.

A direct clash between U.S. forces and Syria’s military would have led to unpredictable consequences, given Mr. Assad’s alliance with Iran and Russia. The U.S. is pinning its hopes for reducing violence on talks about a political agreement with Russia, Syria and international powers.

After learning of Thursday’s airstrikes, the Pentagon immediately contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense through its established “de-confliction” channel and said the U.S. would take any action necessary to protect its forces.
“We did make clear that U.S. aircraft would defend troops on the ground if threatened,” Capt. Davis said. The U.S. didn’t contact the Syrian military or government directly or declare a no-fly area over the northeast Syrian city, he said.

In Syria’s north, the U.S. has sent a few hundred special operations forces onto the battlefield to assist Kurdish and Arab fighters in their campaign to retake territory from Islamic State. They recently notched a victory by wresting control of the city of Manbij.(US seizing eastern Syrian pipeline routes for future plans to connect Qatar with EU)

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, the regime mostly has avoided clashing with the country’s Kurdish minority and has gradually withdrawn from majority-Kurdish areas in the northeast, enabling Kurds backed by the U.S. to carve out a semiautonomous region there. (WSJ speaks openly of Washington's goal of "confederal" Syria, Partition)

But in recent months, Syrian regime forces and the Kurds have clashed more frequently, as Mr. Assad fights to maintain a foothold throughout Syria and growing Kurdish power poses a threat to his regime. Still, Syrian airstrikes against the Kurds are almost unheard of. If the Syrian government continues to strike the Kurds, it would deliver a blow to the U.S.’s strongest partner in the fight against Islamic State in the country.(Assad is the acknowledged leader of a sovereign state that is being balkanized by the US-Kurdish alliance)

...In a statement released to Syrian state news agency SANA, the Syrian army accused the Kurdish police in Hasakah of targeting its positions with artillery and committing a range of crimes. The army said the Kurdish police’s actions required Syrian government forces to respond by targeting the sources of gunfire and those responsible for the criminal acts.

3--Turkey will take a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria



Turkey will take a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria in the next six months to prevent the war-torn country being divided along ethnic lines, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 20.

Yıldırım also told a group of reporters in Istanbul that while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could have a role in the interim leadership, he must play no part in its future.

"Turkey we will be more active in the Syria issue in the coming six months as a regional player. This means to not allow Syria to be divided on any ethnic base, for Turkey this is crucial," Yıldırım said, adding that Russia and the U.S. “sees that Assad can’t have a role in Syria’s future.”

“Whether we want it or not, Assad is an actor there. His counterparts are the opposition groups in Syria. It’s not possible for us to talk to Assad,” he added.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-take-more-active-role-on-syria-in-next-six-months-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=103056&NewsCatID=510

4-- The ruling class and the spectre of Leon Trotsky


5-- American jets scramble against Syrian aircraft bombing Kurdish rebels


Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis warned of military action against any threat to US forces.Washington, he said, would “take whatever action is necessary” to protect US Special Forces in Syria. “We will ensure their safety, and the Syrian regime would be well-advised not to do things that place them at risk. … We view instances that place the coalition at risk with utmost seriousness, and we do have the inherent right of self defense.”

Davis also criticized the Assad government for suddenly attacking the YPG, which until recently served as its de facto ally against CIA-backed Islamist militias. “This is very unusual, we have not seen the regime take this type of action against YPG before,” he said.

Davis’ barely veiled threat that the Pentagon could attack Syrian government forces to protect its troops, which are operating in Syria in violation of the country’s sovereignty and without even the fig leaf of a UN mandate, point to the basic war aims of Washington and its European allies. Claims that their intervention is aimed at fighting Islamist terror groups, which evolved out of militias they supported against the Assad regime, are a political fraud. The imperialist powers’ goal was and remains regime change.

As the CIA arms the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front in Aleppo against Assad’s forces, the Pentagon is supporting the offensive of the YPG, which recently renamed itself the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after absorbing a few smaller, ethnic-Arab militias....

As Washington stoked conflict with Russia after toppling a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine in 2014, and with China over the South China Sea and North Korea, Moscow and Beijing manifestly concluded that they cannot sanction yet another violent, US-led regime change in Syria. US threats have not succeeded in whipping Russia and China into line. Instead, Russia and China are escalating their involvement in Syria.
The near-confrontation between US and Syrian jets points to the danger that this situation will trigger a military clash—either with an accidental collision between US, Russian, or allied forces in Syria, or a deliberate attack aimed as a signal to the opposing side—that could escalate into all-out war.

6 --Obama plays golf while Louisiana drowns; Government indifference in the midst of historic Louisiana flooding


Entire parishes have been almost wiped out by the floods. A spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s office estimated that three quarters of the parish’s homes were a “total loss.” Livingston Parish, comprising eastern suburbs of Baton Rouge, the state capital and second largest city in the state, is home to 138,000 people. More than 15,000 people were rescued in this one parish alone, which received more than 31 inches of rain in 15 hours on Friday. In nearby Ascension Parish, to the south of Baton Rouge, which is home to 114,000 people, more than 30 percent of the homes in the parish were flooded...

the most callous response so far has come from President Barack Obama, who has refused calls to end his two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard early to travel to Louisiana. Only on Friday afternoon did the administration finally announce that Obama would visit the state next Tuesday, after he ends his vacation and returns to the White House Sunday night.

While large portions of Louisiana remained under water, Obama spent his days “letting loose, staying out til 1 at night with friends and hitting the golf course by day at the beautiful island destination,” Time magazine reported, adding that vacation cottages in the area carry a rental charge from $2,900 to $20,000 a week. Obama did, however, take an afternoon off from his vacation to attend a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, also held in Martha’s Vineyard, where a well-heeled group of 60 people paid $10,000 to $33,400 apiece.

Obama’s decision recalls the actions of George W. Bush during Hurricane Katrina. Bush initially refused to cut short his vacation at his ranch in Texas, later engaging in the infamous “fly-over” of Air Force One over New Orleans on his way back to Washington DC.

The comparison was not lost on the local media in Louisiana, where the Baton Rouge-based Advocate, concerned by the poor “optics” of this repeat performance, wrote an editorial criticizing Obama for passing his time in “a playground for the posh and well-connected,” while “Louisiana residents [languish] in flood waters.”


7--'US apoplectic as Turkey pivots eastward'


8--Turkey’s Change of Heart Toward Syria Crucial Step to End War


9--Now is 'Right Time for China' to Play More Active Role in Syrian Crisis


10-- New China-Russia Route Paves Way for Global Transit


11--Regarding Gülen's extradition…

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey's PM : We sent an extradition request to the United States, providing all the necessary documents and papers. We have all the documents and evidence linked to the attempted coup at the moment. Turkey's justice minister is currently working on the case. We will share all the information with a delegation from the United States that will visit Turkey on August 23-24.

12--Assad could be part of transition period in Syria – Turkish PM

Dramatic turnaround


13--Killer Saudis; Pentagon withdraws assets from Riyadh amid mounting death toll in Saudi-led Yemen war


14--Why is a US ambassador conspiring against the president of the US with George Soros??


Ambassador: Asked GS for a critique of US policy and his thoughts on what USG should be doing.

GS: Will send Ambassador Pyatt copies of correspondences he previously sent to others and his article in NY Review of Books. Obama has been too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impost potent smart sanctions. He noted the need for a division of labor between the US and the EU with the US playing the bad cop role. The USG should impose sanctions on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections. He noted that he is most concerned about transitional justice and lustration.

Ambassador: USG will organize conference with the British at the end of April on financial crimes that will bring together senior level government officials and representatives of the international community to discuss where money went. He noted his worries about the complete implosion of the Party of Regions and will be speaking to IRI and NDI about offering assistance to reconstruct the party for the post-Yanukovych era....

Ambassador: Asked GS for a critique of US policy and his thoughts on what USG should be doing.

GS: Will send Ambassador Pyatt copies of correspondences he previously sent to others and his article in NY Review of Books. Obama has been too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impost potent smart sanctions. He noted the need for a division of labor between the US and the EU with the US playing the bad cop role. The USG should impose sanctions on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections. He noted that he is most concerned about transitional justice and lustration.

Ambassador: USG will organize conference with the British at the end of April on financial crimes that will bring together senior level government officials and representatives of the international community to discuss where money went. He noted his worries about the complete implosion of the Party of Regions and will be speaking to IRI and NDI about offering assistance to reconstruct the party for the post-Yanukovych era.
US Ambassador Pyatt decides to take







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