Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Trump did not crawl out of the Manhattan sewers or a Munich beer hall. He emerged from the well-heeled, corrupt circle of real estate speculators in New York City, where he had the closest ties with the Democratic Party machine. He was molded and promoted for decades by the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment. He and the Clintons are old friends: he invited them to one of his weddings; they asked for his money for their political campaigns and bogus charities.


If Trump is suddenly branded as a monster who must be kept out of the White House, it is only because the US financial aristocracy and the military-intelligence apparatus have a different monster in mind, one they consider more dependable: Hillary Clinton. She’s the monster who is on message—on Ukraine, Russia, NATO and the anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia.” She knows which generals to salute and which billionaires to flatter. She’s a “safe pair of hands,” which means she can be relied on to kill the right people.


That is the meaning of Clinton’s endorsement by the CIA’s Michael Morell and, more generally, the wave of support for her campaign from billionaires, Republicans, generals and the media." Patrick Martin, WSWS



1--The Crimes of the Rich will remain hidden: Stiglitz quits Panama Papers probe, cites lack of transparency


"We can only infer that the government is facing pressure from those who are making profits from the current non-transparent financial system in Panama," Stiglitz said.

Commission member Alberto Aleman, former administrator of the Panama Canal, rejected assertions that the committee lacked transparency, and said the five remaining members, four of which are Panamanian, would continue their work.

"The report has to be delivered to the president of Panama, and then the president of Panama will decide when and how it will be made public," he said.

 

The Panama Papers cover a period of almost 40 years, from 1977 until December 2015, and show that some companies set up in tax havens with the help of Mossack Fonseca may have been used for money laundering, arms and drug deals as well as tax evasion.

In addition to embarrassing leaders worldwide who had interests tied to secretive business concerns, the leak heaped pressure on Panama, well-known for its lax financial laws, to clean up its act.

"I have had a close look at the so called Panama Papers, and I must admit that even as an expert on economic and organized crime, I was amazed to see so much of what we talk about in theory was confirmed in practice," Pieth said in a telephone interview.

In the papers he said he found evidence of crimes such as money laundering for child prostitution rings.

"We're being asked to do this as a courtesy for them and we're paraded in front of the world media first, and then we're told to shut up when they don't like it," Pieth, a criminal law professor at Basel University, said.


2--Jack Rasmus on Russia-EU economic integration (archive)


Behind the sanctions is the USA objective of driving Russia out of the European economy. Europe was becoming too integrated and dependent on Russia. Not only its gas and raw materials, but trade relations and money capital flows were deepening on many fronts between Russia and Europe in general prior to the Ukraine crisis that has provided the cover for the introduction of the sanctions.

Russia’s growing economic integration with Europe threatened the long term economic interests of US capitalists. Strategically, the US precipitated coup in the Ukraine can be viewed, therefore as a means by which to provoke Russian military intervention, i.e. a necessary event in order to deepen and expand economic sanctions that would ultimately sever the growing economic ties between Europe and Russia long term. That severance in turn would not only ensure US economic interests remain dominant in Europe, but would also open up new opportunities for profit making for US interests in Europe and Ukraine as well…

When the rules of the competition game between capitalists break down altogether, the result is war—i.e. the ultimate form of inter-capitalist competition.”



3--Clinton death count rises


(This could all be baloney, but it's worth a look)

4--BofA: "45% Of The Global Bond Market Is Now Compromised By Central Bank Buying"


(So much for the free market)

5--Putin issues warning on US nukes upgrade


The Russian president also highlighted the fact that although the United States missile system is referred to as an “anti-missile defense system,” the systems are just as offensive as they are defensive:
“They say [the missile systems] are part of their defense capability, and are not offensive, that these systems are aimed at protecting them from aggression. It’s not true…the strategic ballistic missile defense is part of an offensive strategic capability, [and] functions in conjunction with an aggressive missile strike system.”
This missile system has been launched throughout Europe, and despite American promises at the end of the Cold War that NATO’s expansion would not move “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East,” the missile system has been implemented in many of Russia’s neighboring countries, most recently in Romania.
Russia views this as a direct attack on their security.
“How do we know what’s inside those launchers? All one needs to do is reprogram [the system], which is an absolutely inconspicuous task,” Putin stated.
Putin further explained the implications of this missile defense system’s implementation without any response from Russia. The ability of the missile defense system to render Russia’s nuclear capabilities useless would cause an upset in what Putin refers to as the “strategic balance” of the world. Without this balance of power, the U.S. would be free to pursue their policies throughout the world without any tangible threat from Russia. Therefore, this “strategic balance,” according to Putin, is what has kept the world safe from large-scale wars and military conflicts.

6--Stocks rise on Central bank liquidity-- Nasdaq and S&P 500 Climb to Records---Renewed confidence in U.S. economy and continued help from central banks around the world have sent investors back into riskier assets


Stocks rallied Friday, pushing the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index and the broader S&P 500 to records, as renewed confidence in the U.S. economy and continued help from central banks around the world have sent investors back into riskier assets.

Shares rose after the Labor Department reported strong U.S. job growth in July, with financial shares in the S&P 500 erasing losses for the year. The gains left all of the S&P 500’s main sectors in the black for the first time this year, extending an improbable rally for a market that tumbled the first six weeks of 2016.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 54.87 points, or 1.1%, to 5221.12, topping its previous record close of 5218.86 set July 20, 2015. The S&P 500 gained 18.62 points, or 0.9%, to 2182.87, surpassing its high of 2175.03 on July 22....

Stocks are getting a lift from central banks, whose aggressive efforts to stimulate their economies have pushed yields on government bonds near zero or into negative territory. This, in turn, has driven investors looking for bigger returns out of those safe harbors....

Stocks also have had to shake off a bear market in oil, several consecutive quarters of declining profits for America’s biggest companies and sluggish global growth....

“We’re in somewhat of a conundrum,” Mr. Ablin said. “If growth does advance, interest rates will go up, and low interest rates are one element keeping investors in the market.”
Some investors are also concerned that stocks are getting pricey. Shares of Amazon are trading at 191 times the past 12 months of earnings, and Facebook’s stock is trading at about 60 times earnings, according to FactSet. The Nasdaq Composite is trading closer to 23 times earnings, slightly above its 10-year average...

And despite strong signs of economic health from the July jobs report, there have been hiccups in recent months. Economic expansion in the U.S. remains shaky, underscored by a weak reading of second-quarter gross domestic product last month. Analysts also expect another quarter of contraction for corporate earnings, according to FactSet.

“For every good data point we’ve been getting a mediocre one to offset it, so we’re bumping along,” said Matthew Peron, head of global equity at Northern Trust Asset Management. “The market is looking ahead and pricing in profit growth in the next six months. But anything could derail that.”
Still, stocks are benefiting from the best of both worlds. Friday’s jobs report provided reassurance that the U.S. economy remains healthy, which bodes well for corporate earnings. But it wasn’t strong enough to kindle fears of an imminent interest-rate rise by the Fed...

Investors have been betting on continued support from central banks since the U.K. referendum to leave the European Union in June

7--Want to avoid recession? Then shower UK households with cash


The plea from 35 economists published in the Guardian this week for “unconventional measures” made only one mistake. It suggested more spending on state infrastructure, which is just spending delayed. Where the economists were right was in suggesting “an immediate increase in household disposable incomes”. They joined the growing chorus calling for “helicopter money”. In the present climate, there is not the slightest risk of inflation – the traditional hazard of monetary expansion: £1,000 “printed” and moved from the Bank into every household account would still cost less (at £30bn) than Hinkley Point or HS2. There could be a “spending Olympics”. There could be vouchers, scrappage schemes, Christmas bonuses and, horror of horrors, cash for the undeserving poor. Why not try it? All else has failed.

8--Economists call for helicopter money


Instead of policies designed to fuel asset price bubbles and increase household debt, the Treasury and the Bank should co-operate to directly stimulate aggregate demand in the real economy. A fiscal stimulus financed by central bank money creation could be used to fund essential investment in infrastructure projects – boosting the incomes of businesses and households, and increasing the public sector’s productive assets in the process. Alternatively, the money could be used to fund either a tax cut or direct cash transfers to households, resulting in an immediate increase of household disposable incomes.

In any of these policy scenarios, new money will be directly introduced into the real economy, stimulating aggregate demand and boosting employment, investment and spending. While it is a job for the Treasury to set up the framework for these policies to be deployed, it would remain a decision for the monetary policy committee as to the timing and size of any future stimulus

After seven years of ineffective unorthodox monetary policy – which has created risks and adverse side-effects – we urge the new government to consider alternative policy approaches that will directly increase spending and investment in the real economy without burdening households with more debt.

9--Why this Job Market is Still Terrible: The Politically Incorrect Numbers Everyone is Hushing up


10--Consumer credit, Mosler


Less then expected, last month revised down. No sign of the acceleration in credit we need to support growth here. And the mix between revolving and non revolving not encouraging either:


11--War against Isis: US-led coalition accused of killing civilians using 'scorched earth policy' in Syria

Members of the US-led coalition have been accused of deploying a “scorched earth policy” in Syria by activists who claim to have documented scores of civilian deaths.
One group of anti-Isis activists, called Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, has said air strikes supporting a key offensive in Manbij are killing innocent families.

The international coalition is using a scorched earth policy in the city and supporting the Syrian Democratic forces that have been surrounding the city for two months,” the group said.

The attacking militias and the international coalition have dealt with Manbij civilians, who are estimated to be around 3,000 in number, as if they were terrorists or Isis supporters," it added.

Allegations that two separate bombing raids killed at least 100 civilians in nearby villages in little over a week are already under investigation, but there was concern over continuing strikes supporting the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces ...

The High Commissioner urged forces advancing on Manbij and other parts of Syria to protect trapped civilians in what he said was becoming a “gigantic, devastated graveyard.”
“The number of war crimes already committed surpasses the worst nightmares,” he added. “But it is in the power of both attacking and defending forces – and their foreign backers – to minimise further civilian casualties and avoid further crimes and atrocities. They must do so.“

12---International Socialist Organization calls for Greens to support US-backed “revolution” in Syria; Fake leftist organization fuels war machine


The ISO finds itself capable of writing about the “revolutionary opposition” in Syria following more than five years of the devastating proxy war organized and carried out by the United States in cooperation with its right-wing regional allies.

With the support of the CIA, reactionary monarchical regimes such as Saudi Arabia have armed and funded the opposition to Assad, which are overwhelmingly Islamist militias, such as the former Al Nusra Front (now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure and one of the worst refugee crisis in modern history.

This is not the result of confusion on the part of the ISO. From the beginning, they have presented the Syrian war as a popular “revolution” in an attempt to legitimize and develop popular support for the US-led regime change operation...

The promotion within the Green Party by the ISO of an explicitly pro-war orientation comes in the midst of a rapid escalation of US military intervention. Airstrikes by US warplanes in the past few weeks have killed hundreds of civilians in Syria, and a new open-ended bombing campaign against Libya was launched by Obama Monday—about both of which the ISO has said nothing.
The US media has also leveled renewed allegations of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime this week, which in 2013 nearly served as the pretext for bombing Syria.


13---Why the CIA is for Hillary Clinton


The former CIA official declares Clinton “highly qualified to be commander in chief,” praises “her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world,” and notes that in the internal discussions over US intervention in the Syrian civil war, “she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach.”....

The crimes with which Morell is associated are legion. He was a top official throughout the period of CIA kidnappings (renditions) of victims who were then held in secret prisons and tortured. He helped lead the CIA when it was carrying out drone missile assassinations and other forms of covert state terrorism. Throughout his tenure in Langley, Virginia, the CIA was engaged in war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria and many other countries.

After Morell left the agency, Obama appointed him to the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which prepared a whitewash of National Security Agency spying following the revelations by Edward Snowden. He then moved seamlessly to a position as a well-paid media commentator for CBS News, while joining the campaign of former CIA officials to block the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

That such an individual comes out publicly in support of Hillary Clinton says a great deal about the nature of the Democratic presidential campaign and the type of administration Clinton will head in the event that she wins the November election
...

The Democratic Party is appealing, not to the mass opposition and disgust with Trump on the part of working people, but to the opposition to Trump within the US ruling elite, whose main concern is that the Republican candidate’s friendly gestures towards Putin, his open questioning of the value of NATO, and his expressed reservations about US wars in the Middle East are cutting across the bipartisan foreign policy consensus in Washington.

This poses immense dangers to the working class. The logic of the Democrats’ anti-Trump campaign is to channel mass opposition to Trump behind preparations for war with Russia, a nuclear-armed power. In the event of a Democratic victory—increasingly likely according to polling this week—Clinton will claim a mandate for war policies that can be carried out only through a frontal assault on the living standards and democratic rights of American workers. This demonstrates that the differences between Clinton and Trump are purely tactical: how best to subordinate the working class to the war drive of American imperialism...

As the World Socialist Web Site has previously pointed out, Trump did not crawl out of the Manhattan sewers or a Munich beer hall. He emerged from the well-heeled, corrupt circle of real estate speculators in New York City, where he had the closest ties with the Democratic Party machine. He was molded and promoted for decades by the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment. He and the Clintons are old friends: he invited them to one of his weddings; they asked for his money for their political campaigns and bogus charities.

If Trump is suddenly branded as a monster who must be kept out of the White House, it is only because the US financial aristocracy and the military-intelligence apparatus have a different monster in mind, one they consider more dependable: Hillary Clinton. She’s the monster who is on message—on Ukraine, Russia, NATO and the anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia.” She knows which generals to salute and which billionaires to flatter. She’s a “safe pair of hands,” which means she can be relied on to kill the right people.

That is the meaning of Clinton’s endorsement by the CIA’s Michael Morell and, more generally, the wave of support for her campaign from billionaires, Republicans, generals and the media.


14-- Syria gains in Aleppo ‘turning point’ in resolving crisis

“The Iranian government and nation will keep up their support for the Syrian government and people,” the senior Iranian lawmaker said, adding, “This support will continue in all fields until a [final] victory in the battle against Takfiri terrorism and restoring security and stability throughout Syria.” 
The Syrian foreign minister, for his part, said resistance is the only option for the Syrian government and nation in their fight against terrorists, and that signs of an imminent victory for the Syrian people are emerging.

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