Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today's links

1--These Debt & Rent Slaves Get Blamed for the Lousy Economy

2--Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings No mun, no fun

Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don't have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.

3--How do you have capitalism without any cost of capital? And therein lies the problem.”

Goldman’s Gary Cohn calls central banks ‘ineffective cartel’

Mary Callahan Erdoes, one of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s most senior executives, summed up her industry’s mood like this: “There is no excitement,” she told throngs of bankers gathered in Washington. “There is a lot of handwringing.”

4--Bank of America's recession warning: This market is scary

5--Strange Deaths of JPMorgan Workers Continue

6---Hillary's war on Syria

7---Witch hunt or traitor purge? Turkey fires NATO military envoys after failed coup: Report

In total, about 400 military envoys have been fired so far, the Turkish military official said. Two non-Turkish NATO staff familiar with the situation confirmed that Turkish personnel are being recalled but did not have more details.

Turkish officials say the scale of the crackdown is justified by the gravity of events on July 15, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, fighter jets and helicopters, bombing parliament and government buildings in their attempt to seize power. More than 240 people, many of them civilians, were killed. 

8--Over 600 Militants Handing Over Heavy Weaponry to Syrian Army in Damascus Countryside

9---The EU attacks RT

10--Putin and Erdogan call for end to violence in Syria

11--Buck-passing Hillary blames Trump, WikiLeaks and Putin for troubles 

12--Why the New Silk Roads Terrify Washington

Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’
This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.”
In a nutshell: Eurasia integration.

Washington panicked. The record shows how Putin’s vision – although extremely seductive to German industrialists – was eventually derailed by Washington’s controlled demolition of Ukraine....

In a nutshell: an even more ambitious version of Eurasia integration, benefiting two-thirds of the world population, economy and trade. The difference is that it now comes with immense financial muscle backing it up, via a Silk Road Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB), and an all-out commercial offensive all across Eurasia, and the official entry of the yuan in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights; that is, the christening of the yuan as a key currency worth holding by every single emerging market central bank....

All these roads lead to total connectivity. Take for instance cargo trains that are now regularly linking Guangzhou, the key hub in southeast China, to the logistics center in Vorsino industrial park near Kaluga. The trip now takes just two weeks – saving no less than a full month if compared with shipping, and around 80 percent of the cost if compared with air cargo.
That’s yet another New Silk Road-style connection between China and Europe via Russia. Still another, vastly more ambitious, will be the high-speed rail expansion of the Transiberian; the Siberian Silk Road


13-- Putin: Russia Knows Who's Responsible for Attack on UN Aid Convoy Near Aleppo

14--Al Qaida blinks first-- Surrender of Aleppo underway

ALEPPO, SYRIA (4:10 P.M.) - Negotiations to surrender the rebel-held east Aleppo pocket have begun between the Syrian Arab Army's High Command and Islamist groups, a local source told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday afternoon.
The two parties are currently negotiating the possible exit of all Islamist groups from east Aleppo, via the contested Bustan Al-Qasir District.
If the Islamist groups agree to the terms offered in today's negotiations, the Syrian Armed Forces will be in full-control of some east Aleppo neighborhoods

15--Russia warns US strikes against Syria may lead to war

16--Erdogan blasts Clinton's support for Kurds

17--Turkey and Russia seal pipeline deal

The demonstrative confirmation that Turkish Stream is to be built points in this direction. The pipeline is vehemently opposed by the US and its European allies. In tandem with the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea, it would enable Russia to supply large parts of Europe with gas while bypassing Ukraine, Poland and other transit countries....

It is also revealing that Erdogan, who previously portrayed himself as a protector of the rebel-held sections of the city of Aleppo, now no longer protests against the retaking of the city by the Syrian government and its allies. Instead, he has sought to secure Russian backing for a “no-fly” zone. Unlike the “no-fly” zone proposed by the US and its allies, this would not cover all of the cities in which fighting is taking place but only the border area between Syria and Turkey, where hundreds of thousands of refugees would then be settled

18--Britain and France prepare military escalation in Syria

The UK parliamentary debate was initiated jointly by Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour’s Alison McGovern, who co-chairs the Friends of Syria group and is chair of the main Blairite think-tank, Progress. The initiative was supported by former US commander in Iraq and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus....

Johnson at this stage ruled out support for a no-fly zone, stating it would be impossible to enforce “unless we are prepared to shoot down warplanes.” However, the military options being considered by the imperialist powers were outlined by retired British General Sir Richard Shirreff in an interview in the Daily Telegraph. The former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of NATO said that British troops should “play a major role” in training professional armed forces in Syria to oppose Assad. “To train properly you’ve got to be able to commit troops, because the whole principle of training other armies is that you live alongside them and if necessary you’ve got to be prepared to fight alongside them, or at least advise them.”
He warned, “[B]e under no illusions about how difficult imposing a no fly zone is. The Syrians have very effective Russian supplied air defence systems and that will require a major effort to suppress it.”

19--Trump escalates conflict with congressional Republicans

Trump’s strident attacks on his own party as well as the Democrats make clear that his perspective is no longer to win the presidential election on November 8. His orientation is rather toward the building of an extra-parliamentary far-right movement for the period of social and political upheaval that will follow the elections.
Trump has said that a collapse of the world financial system on an even greater scale than in 2008 is likely, and he is positioning himself to offer an ultra-right alternative to a Democratic administration that will become deeply unpopular as it imposes policies of economic austerity and imperialist war. Whether this approach costs the Republicans legislative seats on November 8 is irrelevant to Trump, because he anticipates that in the next period in American history, political issues are going to be decided in the streets, not in the halls of Congress...

“The typical household, amazingly, has a net worth 14 percent lower than the typical one did in 1984, according to a forthcoming Russell Sage Foundation publication. The life-expectancy gap between the affluent and everyone else is growing. The number of children living with only one parent or none has doubled since the 1970s (to 30 percent). The obesity rate has nearly tripled (to 38 percent). About eight million people have spent time behind bars at some point in their life, up from 1.5 million 40 years ago. While college enrollment has grown, the norm for middle-class and poor students is to leave without a four-year degree.”

20--Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, lets loose on a Western journalist after she is asked "Why is Russia supporting Assad, who is killing civilians?"

Notes--OFF TOPIC:  A lot of ink has been wasted on Washington's strategic objectives in Syria. Most analysts seem to agree that the US still wants to remove Assad, install a puppet, balkanize the country,  secure pipeline corridors, and prevent the reemergence of another strong, secular government (in Damascus) that challenges either US or Israeli dominance in the region.

In contrast, there has been very little discussion about Russia's strategic objectives in Syria except, of course, for the absurd claim that Putin wants to reconstruct the Soviet empire or some other such nonsense. This juvenile propaganda isn't even worth considering. What is worth considering, however, is that Putin's aims in Syria may not jibe with those of his most ardent admirers.

Let me explain: While Russia has definite national security interests in Syria-- that is, defeating terrorists that could eventually threaten Moscow as well as defending the principle of national sovereignty that should protect governments from foreign meddling and regime change-- that doesn't mean that Putin's goals in Syria match up perfectly with Assad's.

Why would that matter?

It matters because Putin may eventually agree to a negotiated settlement that disappoints his supporters.  It's not in Russia's interests to hang around Syria until the last dog is hung, in other words, once the main population centers in the west have been liberated and Damascus is secure, then Putin will likely reduce his military commitment and call it quits. It is highly improbable that Putin will make any attempt to either remove the US from its outposts in East Syria or push Turkish troops out of Northern Syria.  Putin will probably settle for a half-loaf solution that, in effect, redraws Syria's existing borders to accommodate its enemies and end the hostilities.

I believe that Putin already presented this "end-game" scenario to Assad in December when he announced a limited withdrawal of Russian forces deployed to Syria. The Russian FM announced that Russia had achieved its main objectives, but that was clearly not the case. The real reason for the announcement was to put pressure on Assad to seek a political solution in which he will certainly NOT get everything he wants. There will be a compromise, Assad will be required to make sacrifices, and Russia will eventually leave.  That is Putin's exit plan.

Putin does not believe that a decisive victory in Aleppo will end the war. He's smart enough to know that the war will drag on indefinitely until there is a political solution. Moscow wants that solution which is why they have kept the door open for negotiations, compromise and another ceasefire. Washington should pursue a similar strategy, find common ground, and end the hostilities as soon as possible. There's been enough bloodshed

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