Friday, June 30, 2017

Today's Linkis

“Life makes some changes for you. But on the whole, everywhere, especially in the United States, the bureaucracy is very strong. And bureaucracy is the one that rules the world.” V Putin

Stone: “So why did you bother to hack the election then?”

Putin: “We did not hack the election at all. It would be hard to imagine any other country – even a country such as Russia would be capable of seriously influencing the electoral campaign or the outcome of an election. … any talk about our influencing the outcome of the U.S. election is all lies. They are doing it for a number of reasons.

“First, they are trying to undermine the legitimacy of President Trump, create conditions that must preclude us from normalizing our relations, and they want to create additional instruments to wage an internal political war. And Russia-U.S. relations in this context are just a mere instrument in the internal political fight in the U.S. … We know all their tricks.”

1--Fed approves dividend, buyback plans of all 34 biggest banks

Fed ignites another feeding frenzy

2--Trump‘s Red Line, Sy Hersh

3--International Monetary Fund revises down US growth predictions

In the short term the IMF decided to remove the increase in growth from any stimulus package contained in its assessment of the US economy made in April. It lowered the expected growth rate for 2017 from 2.3 percent to 2.1 percent and for 2018 from 2.5 percent to 2.1 percent as well. It also predicted a lower rate in the medium term, forecasting that it would subsequently converge to the underlying potential rate of 1.8 percent by around 2020....

“[H]ousehold incomes are stagnating for a large share of the population (in inflation-adjusted terms, more than half of US households has a lower income today than they did in 2000); job opportunities are deteriorating with many workers too discouraged to remain in the labour force (since 2007, the labour force participation rate has fallen from 66 to below 63 percent…); prospects for upward mobility are waning; and the poverty rate (at 13.5 percent) is one of the highest among advanced economies.”

4--After Passing Stress Tests, Wall Street Banks to Spend Like a Drunken Sailor – on their Own Stock Buybacks The ripoff continues unabated

In the September 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review, William Lazonick wrote the following:

“Five years after the official end of the Great Recession, corporate profits are high, and the stock market is booming. Yet most Americans are not sharing in the recovery. While the top 0.1% of income recipients—which include most of the highest-ranking corporate executives—reap almost all the income gains, good jobs keep disappearing, and new employment opportunities tend to be insecure and underpaid. Corporate profitability is not translating into widespread economic prosperity.

“The allocation of corporate profits to stock buybacks deserves much of the blame. Consider the 449 companies in the S&P 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 through 2012. During that period those companies used 54% of their earnings—a total of $2.4 trillion—to buy back their own stock, almost all through purchases on the open market. Dividends absorbed an additional 37% of their earnings. That left very little for investments in productive capabilities or higher incomes for employees.”

Last year U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Jeff Merkley, together with co-sponsors Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, introduced legislation in the Senate that seeks to rein in the short term focus on quarterly profits that can be pumped up by share buybacks. In introducing the bill, known as the Brokaw Act, Senator Merkley said:

“Hollowing out longstanding companies so that a small group of the wealthy and well-connected can reap a short-term profit is not the path to a strong and sustainable economy for our nation. It’s time to take on this rigged system and stop the short-term game playing that sells our workers, businesses and economy short.”...

Last year Rana Foroohar, then the Assistant Managing Editor at Time magazine, now a Global Economic Analyst at CNN and Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor at the Financial Times, authored the insightful book “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business. In one case study, Foroohar looks at the technology company, Apple, and its exorbitant use of share buybacks using borrowed money. Foroohar writes:
“…Apple’s behavior is no aberration. Stock buybacks and dividend payments of the kind being made by Apple – moves that enrich mainly a firm’s top management and its largest shareholders but often stifle its capacity for innovation, depress job creation, and erode its competitive position over the longer haul – have become commonplace. The S&P 500 companies as a whole have spent more than $6 trillion on such payments between 2005 and 2014, bolstering share prices and the markets even as they were cutting jobs and investment.”

6--Goldman: U.S. Wages Catching Up With Productivity Is a 'Sobering' Prospect

Wages rise and Goldman panics

7--Ralph Nader: The Democrats Are Unable to Defend the U.S. from the “Most Vicious” Republican Party in History

RALPH NADER: Do you want me to go through the history of the decline and decadence of the Democratic Party? I’m going to give you millstones around the Democratic Party neck that are milestones.

The first big one was in 1979. Tony Coelho, who was a congressman from California, and who ran the House Democratic Campaign treasure chest, convinced the Democrats that they should bid for corporate money, corporate PACs, that they could raise a lot of money. Why leave it up to Republicans and simply rely on the dwindling labor union base for money, when you had a huge honeypot in the corporate area?

And they did. And I could see the difference almost immediately. First of all, they lost the election to Reagan. And then they started getting weaker in the Congress. At that time, 1980, some of our big allies were defeated in the so-called Reagan landslide against Carter, we lost Senator [Gaylord] Nelson, Senator [Warren] Magnuson, Senator [Frank] Church. We had more trouble getting congressional hearings investigating corporate malfeasance by the Democrat [congressional committee] chairs. When the Democrats regained the White House [in 1992] you could see the difference in appointments to regulatory agencies, the difficulty in getting them to upgrade health and safety regulations.

8--Rising Wages Scare the Fed: “We Need to Get on with This

We need to get on with this,” said Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, a voting member of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee. He was talking about the Fed’s plan, detailed at the last meeting, to unwind QE. A possible moment to begin the process, he said, is the meeting in September.

His reasons: Complaints by his business contacts about rising wages.

Rising wages – regardless of what Fed Chair Yellen says publicly to soothe the nerves of the many underpaid workers – set off alarm bells at the Fed and push it into action. Not that all wages are rising. But average wages are rising faster than inflation, and in a number of sectors there are significant wage pressures. Businesses gripe. The Fed listens.

Harker told the Financial Times there was “very little slack” left in the labor market. “There is a rate [of unemployment] below which you are going to start to see a significant acceleration of wages.”
“You look at this labor market and you do have to question when we are going to start to see some increases in inflation,” he said. “We know from history that when that happens it happens pretty quickly.”
Hence, unwinding QE is on the table.

9--Poll: Voters grow weary of Russia probes

A majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs.
Those are the findings of the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, which paints a complicated picture of voters’ opinions about the numerous probes that have engulfed the White House.

Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.

But other surveys have found strong support for the special counsel investigating the Russia probe. A Harvard-Harris survey released last month found 75 percent support for former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation.

10-- Craig Murray reveals more info on Clinton email leaks: “This is a Washington insider, it is not Russia

11--Majority of Democrats and Republicans say media has partisan agendas: poll

Seventy percent of the general public agrees that news organizations "are subject to partisan agendas," with 85 percent of Republicans believing the news media is influenced by funding, according to a Wednesday YouGov poll.

"The rise of fake news, a growing multitude of media sources, and an increasingly polarized nation have Americans learning to take their headlines with a grain of salt," says the YouGov study.
The research also shows that seven in 10 Americans agree that news organizations report stories in a way that's favorable to their owners

12--Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist?

13--Gas Wars: Why US Gamble to Push Russia Out of the European Gas Market Can't Work

Gabriel and Kern, Ardaev recalled, were particularly incensed by the draft bill for its "surprisingly candid" admission about what was really at stake, "namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market." The German and Austrian officials stressed that Washington's threats to impose penalties against European companies doing business with Russia serve to impact "European-American relations in a new and very negative way."

At the same time, the US's perceived to make a power play in gas was obvious, according to the analyst.

14--Complete List of the Many Questions Surrounding Seth Rich’s Unsolved Murder

15--ALTERNATE REALITY: 58 Percent Of Dems Think Russia Rigged Vote Count To Get Trump Elected

16--Donald Trump not under investigation by FBI over Russia ties, James Comey's testimony to reveal

17--Every American who is concerned about the future political use of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ powerful surveillance tools should have shuddered a bit over what was done to Flynn. But many on the Left so desperately want Trump removed from office that they have joined the Russia-gate stampede as the best way to trample Trump.....amid the mainstream media’s increasingly frenzied talk about Trump’s potential impeachment, this other remarkable story – how the U.S. Intelligence Community is moving to reverse the outcome of a presidential election – is getting ignored in plain sight.

18--On the Eurasian integration front, President Putin stressed that “in a week, we will formalize India’s full-fledged accession to the SCO.” Russia has always supported India’s entry to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

And there’s more to come. China has declared its full support to Iran’s membership of the SCO – to be discussed in detail at the pact’s summit this week in Astana, Kazakhstan, with President Xi Jinping in attendance. And China is also ready to consider any application from NATO member Turkey, whose president, Tayyip Erdogan, has said he’s all for it.

Putin also sent a clear, subtle message on BRICS: “This organization was actually born here in St. Petersburg. At first, there were the three of us – Russia, China and India – but then Brazil and South Africa joined in. We believe that this is a very important platform to harmonize our positions.”
Crucially, the President of the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB), K. V. Kamath, added: “There is consensus between BRICS countries that we should increase the use of local currencies.”

19--Banks Boost Payouts After Passing Tests -- WSJ

20--Signals on Stimulus Roil Global Markets


"At the end of 1929, as they celebrated New Year's Eve, all that lay in the future. Nobody knew that the Great Depression was coming -- unemployment, bread lines, bank failures -- this was unimaginable. But the bubble had burst. Gone was that innocent optimism, the confidence, the illusion of wealth without work. One era had ended. They toasted the coming of the 30s, but somewhere, deep down, they knew the party was over."

22--IMF Report: U.S. Corporate Debt Could Be Trump’s Waterloo

23--The Fed is in a deep hole of its own making

24--Media Focus on Trump Blindsides the Public from Rising Wall Street Risks

25--OECD: World Is Still Locked in a “Low-Growth Trap” with Rising Inequality

26--Trump’s Justice Department Goes Easy on Citigroup Unit for Criminal Money Laundering


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