Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today's Links

Today's quote:  "The Syrian war, which is now more than five years old and has claimed the lives of close to half a million Syrians, was fomented by Washington and its allies, including by directly supporting Islamist extremists, to topple the Assad regime and install a pro-Western puppet in Damascus. This was part of the US’ broader agenda of securing its unchallenged geopolitical dominance over the energy-rich Middle East and Central Asia against its principal rivals, Russia and China—an agenda which has seen Washington wage one war after another for the past quarter century." Jordan Shilton, WSWS



'Do You Realize What You've Done?' Vladimir Putin




..1--Grocery prices are plunging


2--IMF warns central banks could lose deflation fight (Maybe they should have mentioned that inflation targets have not been achieved anywhere where central bank easing policies have been implemented)


The IMF called that "a reason for concern if the undershooting of inflation targets persists."
Still optimistic, the IMF report said the "most likely outcome" of central bank policies is a gradual uptick in inflation.

Eventually, 'persistent' disinflation can lead to costly deflationary cycles -— as we have seen in Japan –- where weak demand and deflation reinforce each other, and end up increasing debt burdens and hindering economic activity and job creation."

Part of the problem is about perceptions -- if people expect that inflation is going to slow whatever the central banks do, it further undermines the effectiveness of monetary policy.
The IMF said there are some signs of that problem: central banks in advanced countries are now "increasingly perceived" to lack much policy scope to reverse disinflation.

3--The Man who sold Greece-- Greece approves plan to transfer state utilities to new asset fund


State assets, including water and electricity utilities, are to be transferred to a new asset fund created by international creditors. The plans have sparked demonstrations and public sector strikes across the country

4---Disturbing Facts About The Fed's Phony Housing "Recovery"


If monetary policy were helping the housing market, the rate of homeownership should be at least stable. Instead, as mortgage rates have been consistently suppressed since 2007, homeownership has fallen concurrently.

The problem is that as the Fed and its cohort central banks have been busy pushing down long term interest rates, that has pushed house prices up so fast that there has been no increase in affordability.....

The argument that the Fed policy of ZIRP and suppression of long term interest rates through QE bond purchases has stimulated housing simply does not hold water. It has stimulated house price inflation, and that price inflation has fully offset the cost-reduction effect of the interest subsidy to home borrowers. At the same time Fed policy has cost millions of savers trillions in interest income that could have boosted not only consumption,  but also cash available for down payments on home purchases. The idea that low interest rates stimulate the economy by stimulating housing is The Big Lie.

The Fed has created a situation where the housing industry is so dependant on the massive interest rate subsidy that any uptick in rates is likely to cause a cataclysm. The Fed and its cohorts are responsible for this mess. They have left themselves, and us, with no way out.

5--Desperate Central Bankers


The Fed hasn’t fared much better. Real GDP growth in the US has averaged only 2.1% in the 28 quarters since the Great Recession ended in the third quarter of 2009 – barely half the 4% average pace in comparable periods of earlier upturns.
As in Japan, America’s subpar recovery has been largely unresponsive to the Fed’s aggressive strain of unconventional stimulus – zero interest rates, three doses of balance-sheet expansion (QE1, QE2, and QE3), and a yield curve twist operation that seems to be the antecedent of the BOJ’s latest move...

While financial markets love any form of monetary accommodation, there can be no mistaking its dark side. Asset prices are being manipulated across the board – stocks and bonds, long- and short-duration assets, as well as currencies. As a result, savers are being punished, the cost of capital is repressed, and reckless risk taking is being encouraged in an income-constrained climate. This is especially treacherous terrain for economies desperately in need of productivity-enhancing investment. And it is not dissimilar to the environment of asset-based excess that incubated the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

Moreover, frothy asset markets in an era of extreme monetary accommodation take the pressure off fiscal authorities to act. Failing to heed one of the most powerful (yes, Keynesian) lessons of the 1930s – that fiscal policy is the only way out of a liquidity trap – could be the greatest tragedy of all. Central bankers desperately want the public to believe that they know what they are doing. Nothing could be further from the truth

6--Russia warns US over recent threats


Russia is ready to continue a dialogue with the US on joint action in Syria, but even hints at threats must be ruled out, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
"We once again state that we are fully ready for continuing a dialogue with the American side and for continuing work on joint measures in fight against terrorists in Syria," he said.

"However, even signs of threats to our military and Russian nationals must be ruled out in this dialogue. There will be no bargaining in the issues of ensuring the safety of Russian nationals no matter where they stay. This is our main and overriding priority," Konashenkov said.

7--US arming Nusra in Syria: Lavrov


8--'Aleppo must not fall': US allies to flood city with anti-aircraft missiles


The Reuters news agency this week reported anonymous US officials as saying that the recent intense bombardment of Syria's second city had "heightened" the possibility of the Obama administration lifting a long-held ban by allowing Qatar and Saudi Arabia to arm rebels with man-portable missiles.
A source on Tuesday told Middle East Eye that the US had confirmed it would allow the two Gulf states to begin shipments.

"The US confirmed the green light to begin sending them to rebels through supply routes still open through Jordan and Turkey," the source said. "Rebels are being told only to target Syrian helicopters, not Russian - but it's not clear they will abide by this.
"The US won't let Aleppo fall. We can expect to see Syrian helicopters falling from the sky within weeks."...

US reportedly reverses policy to allow shipments of man-portable systems to Syria, in response to intense bombardment of city...

On Wednesday, the US state department warned Russia it was considering the suspension of "bilateral engagement" in Syria, "unless Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo and restore the cessation of hostilities


9--US threatens Russia with end to cooperation in Syria as fighting rages in Aleppo


The Syrian civil war, which is now more than five years old and has claimed the lives of close to half a million Syrians, was fomented by Washington and its allies, including by directly supporting Islamist extremists, to topple the Assad regime and install a pro-Western puppet in Damascus. This was part of the US’ broader agenda of securing its unchallenged geopolitical dominance over the energy-rich Middle East and Central Asia against its principal rivals, Russia and China—an agenda which has seen Washington wage one war after another for the past quarter century....

Significant sections of the political and military establishment in the US are prepared to risk all-out war with Russia in pursuit of their reckless plans for global hegemony, as indicated by the comments last week of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. Dunford told Congress that controlling air space over Syria would require war with Russia....


Kirby added menacingly, “Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send people home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft.”
This comment, together with a statement by the State Department that “non-diplomatic” options had been considered to end the fighting in Aleppo, has very ominous implications. US imperialism has a long record of collaboration with Islamist terrorists stretching back to the 1980s in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion.
The US attempt to pose as a defender of the human rights of Syrians against Russian aggression and the September 9 ceasefire agreement is utterly cynical. The Obama administration used the peace deal to give the beleaguered opposition forces some respite and prepare a major escalation of the conflict. On September 17, the US air force targeted a Syrian army outpost near Deir ez-Zor, killing at least 60 soldiers, injuring more than 100 and enabling Islamic State fighters to seize the position. There are also widespread reports that the opposition forces, including the al-Nusra Front, were rearmed during the truce...

Over recent days, more information has come to light about the close relations between the US and its allies, and al-Nusra. German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer conducted an interview in Aleppo with an al-Nusra commander, Abu Al Ezz, who stated that his organization was receiving US weapons through third countries. The commander went on to allege that “experts” from a number of countries, including the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Qatar, had been present in Syria to train al-Nusra fighters in the use of weaponry such as missile launchers.

10-- US Warns Moscow from Further Operation in Syria: “More Russian Aircraft Will Be Shot Down”  (US threatens Putin. Putin yawns)


11--Syrian War Report – September 29, 2016: US Deploys Troops near Aleppo City


US troops have entered the Syrian towns of Marea and Azaz located north of Aleppo city, Lebanese Al Mayadeen channel reported. The US servicemen are embedded with ‘moderate rebels’ from the FSA and are going to prepare the US-backed advance on ISIS in the area.

The appearance of US servicemen caused tensions between Jabhat Fatah al- and the FSA. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants called for “a fight with the Americans” and burnt several FSA flags. Some pro-government experts believe that the deployment of US servicemen in Marea and Azaz are not linked with the fight against ISIS and is likely the move in order to strengthen the US influence in the area of strategic Aleppo city where the Syrian government forces have recently launched a full-scale advance against terrorists


12--Notes and Links

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday that the US statements on the suspension of cooperation with Russia on Syria amount to blackmail.
“It’s a policy of threats and blackmail, aimed at imposing solutions favorable to US and its clients,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti. “It’s impossible to reach a settlement and stabilization on such basis. But there’s no winning love by force. We have our own approach and principles,” he added.
https://www.rt.com/news/361032-zakharova-kirby-syria-body-bags-attacks/

"However, even signs of threats to our military and Russian nationals must be ruled out in this dialogue. There will be no bargaining in the issues of ensuring the safety of Russian nationals no matter where they stay. This is our main and overriding priority," Konashenkov said.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said one of the consequences of the war in Syria could be extremists’ "attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities." "And Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags," he said.

According to Konashenkov, US Department of State spokesman John Kirby’s statement is tantamount to recognition the Syrian opposition is in fact a US-controlled international terrorist alliance.
"Rear admiral turned Department of State spokesman John Kirby, I am certain, is well aware of the after-effects of his statement. His words are the most frank confession by the US side so far the whole ‘opposition’ ostensibly fighting a civil war in Syria is a US-controlled international terrorist alliance," Konashenkov said.
"What makes Kirby’s statement particularly shocking is that the scale of direct US influence on terrorists’ activity is global. That it reaches as far as Russia. The mask comes off, doesn’t it, sirs?" Konashenkov asked.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russia-warns-us-recent-threats/


US troops have entered the Syrian towns of Marea and Azaz located north of Aleppo city, Lebanese Al Mayadeen channel reported. The US servicemen are embedded with ‘moderate rebels’ from the FSA and are going to prepare the US-backed advance on ISIS in the area.
The appearance of US servicemen caused tensions between Jabhat Fatah al- and the FSA. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants called for “a fight with the Americans” and burnt several FSA flags. Some pro-government experts believe that the deployment of US servicemen in Marea and Azaz are not linked with the fight against ISIS and is likely the move in order to strengthen the US influence in the area of strategic Aleppo city where the Syrian government forces have recently launched a full-scale advance against terrorists
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-september-29-2016-us-deploy-troops-near-aleppo-city/

John Kirby, the State Department's spokesperson: “...more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.." "https://www.rt.com/usa/360992-us-warns-russia-violence/
"Foreign Minister Lavrov told Kerry that many US-backed groups are working side by side with the Al-Qaeda affiliate, and brought up media reports that Nusra was receiving weapons from the US. During the press briefing, Kirby said the US had “influence over some of the [rebel] groups but not all."

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160928/1045778782/us-weapons-syria-terrorists.html

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2016-09-27-US--Carter-Nukes/id-d72346ca631149129a3a327663ca4cd8
servicemen dropping acid at nuclear weapons facility.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/09/28/nuke-s28.html

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/09/why-a-banking-crisis-in-china-seems-unavoidable.html

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/27/trumps-attack-on-yellen-fed-could-backfire.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R409ul1wQEU

”. Already the ancient Romans knew that “si vis pacem, para bellum”–if you wish peace, prepare for war....

The current predatory model of capitalism that the West is pursuing means the West’s priorities at the moment are quite incompatible with that of Russia. . Western regime change policies are driven by economic imperialism, pure and simple, though nicely disguised as “globalization”. It is simply colonialism through indirect, local rule, whose aim is to yield economic benefits to the Western powers at the expense of the “neo-colonies”. It means that, fortunately, Western powers are leery of another prolonged “cold war” because of the sheer expense that would be associated with it. Therefore if Russia is to persuade the West that “armed neutrality” is actually desirable, it has to show the ability to engage in a prolonged “cold war” and even a “shooting war” if need be, while at the same time demonstrating its resilience against “color revolutions....
. For that reason, one should not expect anything better than Russia-NATO “armed neutrality” for many years to come, until the West adopts a more sustainable economic model that is not dependent on constant aggression.

https://southfront.org/russias-responses-to-nato-expansionism/

On September 28, the Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Hezbollah and Liwaa Al-Quds (a Paletsinian pro-government militia), supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Arab Air Force, officially launched a full-scale military operation in order to liberate the militant-controlled eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city....
Amid clashes in Aleppo, Moscow confirmed that it will continue to support efforts of the Syrian government against terrorists despite the displeasure of the United States by these actions. In turn, Washington de-facto announced that some MANPADs may be supplied to the so-called “Syrian opposition” (Jabhat al-Nusra & co
https://southfront.org/overvew-of-military-situation-in-aleppo-city-on-september-28


Read more: https://sputniknews.com/politics/20160924/1045667838/us-russia-syria-ceasefire-pentagon.html
"We've come to a point in this craziness, in this New Cold War with Russia where DOD is openly saying it may or may not obey President Obama. If DOD will say that publicly you can imagine the opposition in Washington against the Syrian deal, [US Secretary of State John] Kerry brokered with Russian Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov," Professor Cohen highlighted

No accident": Lavrov

Speaking about the US airstrike on Syrian armed forces near Deir ez-Zor, that left 62 troops dead and over 100 injured, Lavrov cast doubt on Washington’s assurance that the Syrian government positions were targeted purely by mistake.
It is “very hard to believe that reconnaissance officers of the US-founded coalition that is fighting Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS] on the whole Syrian territory could forget about who is located where,” he said.

https://www.rt.com/business/360402-un-global-financial-crisis-defaults/
UN warns next global financial crisis may include huge debt defaults

If the global economy enters a new economic crisis it may lead to epic debt defaults, according to trade economists at the United Nations.
“As capital begins to flow out, there is now a real danger of entering a third phase of the financial crisis which began in the United States housing market in late 2007 before spreading to the European sovereign bond market,” the annual report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Alarm bells have been ringing over the explosion of corporate debt levels in emerging economies, which now exceed $25 trillion. Damaging deflationary spirals cannot be ruled out,” the report says. Under the conditions of slowing global GDP the debt is likely not to be redeemed.
At the same time, many corporations in emerging countries started the process of rewarding shareholders with stock buybacks and dividend payouts instead of investing into production capacity, according to the analysts..

No-fly zone would ‘require war with Syria and Russia’ – top US general
https://www.rt.com/usa/360317-carter-dunford-syria-russia-senate/
The latest proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry involves grounding only Syrian and Russian airplanes, Carter told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire).
“There can be no question of grounding US aircraft” over Syria, he said, adding that US jets conduct their strikes “with exceptional precision… that no other country can match.”
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) asked about what it would take for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, using the phrase “control the airspace.”
Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied, drawing a rebuke from committee chairman John McCain (R-Arizona), who argued a no-fly zone was possible without war.



The Obama administration has been supporting "moderate" terrorists in Syria five years which has led to 400,000 deaths, 7 million internally-displaced or refugees, and the utter destruction of the civilian infrastructure. Now, all of a sudden, the administration is pushing hard for humanitarian relief for struggling civilians still living in Aleppo. Now, all of a sudden, Washington cares about the little people who are the unwitting victims of its perfidious regime change operation.

Why? Why this sudden change of heart. Why this sudden interest for the people living in a country the US has already largely destroyed?



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