Month: November, 2015
Putin: Russia has evidence Su-24 shot down to protect Daesh oil deliveries
| November 30, 2015 | 9:32 pm | political struggle, Russia, Syria | No comments
Russian President V. Putin held meeting in the Kremlin

Putin: Russia Has Evidence Su-24 Shot Down to Protect Daesh Oil Deliveries

© Sputnik/ Alexey Nikolsky
 

Discussing the matter with world leaders during the Paris climate talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow has evidence that the Su-24 was shot down by Turkey to protect oil deliveries of the ISIL terrorist group, also known as Daesh, and that oil from IS-controlled fields is being exported to Turkey on an industrial scale.

“We have every reason to believe that the decision to shoot down our aircraft was dictated by the desire to ensure the safety of supply routes of oil to Turkey, to the ports where they are shipped in tankers,” Putin said.

Discussing the matter with world leaders during the Paris climate talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that most colleagues agree there was no need to attack the Su-24 bomber, as it was not threatening Turkey.

Putin also stressed that whether or not the order to shoot down the aircraft came directly from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was still a “huge mistake.”

“We have heard from the Turkish side that this decision was not made by the president, it was made by other people. For us, it does not matter much, the important thing is that two of our servicemen died as a result of this criminal move,” he told reporters.

In response, Erdogan denied that his country buys oil from Daesh, and called Putin’s comments “slander.”

“We buy from Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Qatar, and Nigeria. We won’t accept such slanders,” he told reporters in Paris.

He also added that he will resign from office if the allegations can be proven.

“The accusation that Turkey allegedly buys crude oil from the Islamic State is unacceptable, and to say it is amoral. You can’t just say things, you need to present evidence,” he said. “If documents exist — let’s see them. If this fact is proven, I will not stay in my position.”

Putin also said that the Syria conflict was to be a main topic of bilateral meetings during the summit, with hopes  that anti-terror cooperation with France, in particular, will “go further” than with other countries.

He said that despite the downing of the Su-24 by Ankara, Moscow will continue to strive for a broad, international coalition to combat the terrorist group, adding that he regrets the deterioration of relations between Russia and Turkey.

“I think that this is regrettable for all of us,” Putin said. “And for me personally it’s a real pity, because I myself did much to build up relations with Turkey over the course of a long period of time.”

Speaking with US President Barack Obama, Putin stressed that there is a general agreement on Syria’s future, and that new elections are necessary.

As the climate talks continue through the week, the White House has confirmed that Obama will meet with President Erdogan on Tuesday.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/russia/20151130/1031011936/putin-wide-su-24-agreement.html#ixzz3t2JTjJVu

Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years; Who’s Next?
| November 29, 2015 | 7:39 pm | Analysis, Economy, political struggle | No comments

Jack Rasmus

Predicting the Global Economic Crisis

http://jackrasmus.com/2015/11/29/japans-5th-recession-in-7-years-whos-next/ 

Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years; Who’s Next?

This past week it was officially announced that Japan slipped into recession yet again—its 5th since the global crisis of 2008-09.

What does this mean—not only for Japan but for emerging market economies from Latin America to Asia; for the economic ‘hard landing’ apparently underway now in China; and even for Europe and the US?

The latest economic collapse in Japan—the third largest economy after the US and China— comes despite Japan’s massive ‘quantitative easing’ (QE) money injection program introduced by its central bank, the Bank of Japan, in the spring of 2013. That initial program provided more than $650 billion a year in Bank of Japan buying of corporate bonds and stocks—i.e. money that went directly into the pockets of bankers and investors in Japan and globally.

When the initial $650 billion was quickly followed by Japan’s 4th recession less than a year later, in the spring of 2014, it was raised to an estimated total of $1.7 trillion. That was followed once again within months by yet another 5th recession in 2015: Japan’s GDP fell by -0.7 percent this past March-June and another -0.8 percent July-September.

The continued failure of QE and free money to resurrect Japan’s real economy has nevertheless resulted in recent months in calls for the Bank of Japan to buy even more corporate bonds, stocks, and other private securities—illustrating the strange logic that, ‘if a multi-trillion dollar free money (QE) program fails, the solution is to provide even more of the same failed policies’.

But has QE and free money for banks, corporations and investors really failed? The real question is ‘failed for whom’?

Whose Recession?

While central bank subsidy programs everywhere—i.e. QE, zero rates, etc.—have clearly failed to generate much real economic recovery, they certainly have benefitted banks, corporations, and wealthy investors. In the case of just Japan, since spring 2013 its stock markets have risen by 70 percent. Corporate profits have doubled. And Japan corporations now sit on a cash hoard of more than $3 trillion, which they refuse to invest in Japan, in decent paying jobs, or to raise wages.

In contrast to rising stock prices, profits and corporate cash piles, median real wages continue to fall at a rate of 2 percent or more a year, as they have since 2009. Most of the jobs created in Japan in the past few years—as in the US and Europe— have been part time and temporary and therefore low paid. Japan’s ‘contingent’ (part time/temp) labor force is estimated today at about 38 percent of all employed. Many of Japan’s better paid manufacturing jobs have been offshored to China. Facing these dismal prospects, not surprisingly Japan workers have been leaving the labor force. The fixed incomes of retirees are also declining. Further exacerbating all the above is the sharp rise in inflation from imports for Japan households and consumers. A secondary effect of Japan’s QE and monetary policies has been to dramatically reduce the value of Japan’s currency. The Yen in recent years has fallen almost 30 percent against the US dollar; and up to 50 percent against other Asian and emerging market currencies, including China’s. That means Japan prices for imports have risen sharply, further reducing real wages and incomes for workers, retirees, and average consumer households.

Prime minister, Shinzu Abe’s, answer in 2013 was QE and free money for banks and investors and then austerity and taxes on consumers in 2014. And when the 4th recession hit in spring 2014, his answer was not only to expand QE but to introduce tax cuts for corporations within months after he just raised taxes on consumers. To offset wage and income decline Abe’s answer was to plead with Japanese corporations to raise wages voluntarily—a plea which they quickly and arrogantly dismissed publicly as ‘unrealistic’.

Now that another recession has just occurred, last week Abe desperately announced a token adjustment to Japan’s policy of fiscal austerity, by calling for an increase in subsidies to the tens of millions of retired Japanese on fixed incomes who have had no income gains for years and in some cases for decades. He also announced a plan to raise minimum wages. But whether this in fact occurs remains to be seen. If it does, it will represent a reversal of a 25 year history of fiscal austerity for most of the population.

Who’s Next?

What Abe’s monetary policies have accomplished is to set in motion, and then intensify, global currency wars that are devastating emerging market economies in particular.

Japan’s initial 2013 QE policy pushed emerging markets’ currencies lower, as the latter tried to compete with Japan for global exports share. But Japan QE came just as deflation in global commodities prices also began depressing emerging markets in 2013-14 also causing their currencies to decline; and just as the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, announced it’s a long term policy to allow US rates to drift up. This ‘triple impact’ of Japan QE, US interest rate shift, and global commodity deflation accelerated the collapse of emerging markets’ currencies.

Then Europe launched its own QE early in 2015, thus adding a fourth factor intensifying currency collapse. Japan’s QE no doubt had a role in the Eurozone’s decision to devalue the Euro by means of QE. Emerging market economies now faced ‘competition by dueling QEs’ from Europe as well as Japan. Meanwhile, as all parties intensify their fight over a total global trade pie that continues to contract in growth rate terms, the volume of world trade has slowed for the third year in a row in 2015 and by some estimates is now even flat.

For emerging markets, collapsing currencies mean capital flight, and a subsequent decline in their real investment and real growth. Foreign investment into their economies has been shrinking as well. To stem the outward flow and attract new capital, interest rates have been raised by some emerging markets, further slowing their economies. Unemployment has followed, further compressing wages and consumption. Meanwhile, falling currencies have meant rising inflation for imports, and thus even further declines in real wages, income and consumption, and therefore economic growth.

Overlaid on all this is China, which recent data shows is clearly heading for a hard landing. According to a growing number of independent estimates, its economy is not growing at the official 6.8 to 6.9 percent GDP rate but at a much lower 4 to 5 percent rate. New data out of China last week show China’s industrial production and profits have entered a period of major contraction. Its stock markets in November are now begun reflecting this, as China stock prices once again—as during last August—have begun another major contraction phase.

Japan will inevitably introduce yet another QE, likely sometime in 2016, after it waits for the US to raise rates in December 2015. Europe undoubtedly will follow Japan with more QE, maybe even before. And with its own economy slowing faster, China will be forced to devalue its currency further at some point as well.

Thus Japan’s latest recession promises to continue the global currency wars by precipitating yet another Japan QE, another similar response by Europe, and an eventual further devaluation response by China.

And what will the US do? Raise rates next month, of course—and experience yet another GDP contraction in early 2016, as it has four times already since 2011.

by Jack Rasmus
copyright 2015

Jack Rasmus is author of the just published analysis of the global economy, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, Clarity Press, November 2015, available at: http://www.kyklosproductions.com, at http://www.ClarityPress.com/Rasmus.html, or from Amazon.

Where did you get the Money, Anne?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where Did You Get the Money, Anne?

  – from Zoltan Zigedy is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/
Without a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we may never know to what extent cultural and intellectual life in the US was shaped by schemes and resources associated with powerful US Cold War elites. Thanks to scholars like Francis Stonor Saunders (The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters), Hugh Wilford (The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America), and a handful of resourceful academics, we can piece together a shameful story of knowing and unwitting collaboration with Cold War goals across and deep within the elite academic community; we know of the widespread compromise of key, influential figures in the media to the wishes of the Cold Warriors; and we better understand why some cultural and intellectual trends seemed to flourish while others were left to wither.

At the same time, we have learned more of the repression of dissent from the Cold War consensus. Facts have been uncovered that show that “McCarthyism” was more than a momentary lapse in democratic values. The post-war repression left scars that persist, thought patterns that remain frozen, intellectual and cultural roads that continue to be blocked.
For those who study this history, twentieth century intellectual pillars like Robert Conquest, George Orwell, and Isaiah Berlin are now diminished in stature. Their witting engagement with and sponsorship by secret services and the covert promotion of their ideas shatter any claim to the intellectual integrity of their widely influential work. While this tarnishing of Cold War icons is accepted by most academic specialists, the kept mainstream media continues to herald the “truths” disseminated by similarly kept Cold War intellectuals.
With the Cold War long over, the enduring chant of anti-Soviet demonology continues, but with a new generation of intellectual charlatans conjuring the demons.
The current flock of professional anti-Communists is equally adept at turning from its defamation of the Soviet Union to defaming capitalist Russia. It really comes down to serving up whatever its masters demand.
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands) and Anne Applebaum (Gulag: A History, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956) are two of the new breed of intellectuals who espouse views that uncannily coincide with the ideological needs of our ruling elites. As I wrote in March of last year, the two brought their arsenal of invective to smear the deposed Ukraine president Yanukovych, hail the violent, extreme-right opposition, and plant the evil Russians in their apologies for the Ukrainian coup.
While Snyder’s academic credentials convey “expert” standing on his pronouncements, Anne Applebaum has parlayed a master’s degree in international relations and a career in journalism to a widely celebrated place as the leading “scholar” of Soviet-era repression. It’s fair to see her as heir apparent to Robert Conquest, owning the privilege of making ex cathedra judgments of everything Eastern European.
August publications like The New York Review of Books welcome her every thought on Soviet history or modern Eastern Europe, as does nearly every other Western medium. Curiously, none pauses to weigh– not to mention, to acknowledge—Ms. Applebaum’s marital tie to one of Poland’s more prominent anti-Russian, right-wing, and controversial politicians, Radoslaw Sikorski. Sikorski’s racist outbursts, his extravagant life style, and his virulent anti-Russian screeds cast no shadow over his spouse’s exalted status in the West.
Sikorski’s recent scandals involving corruption and financial mismanagement are widely reported in Poland, but unaddressed in the West. In the US, the Polish power couple (Applebaum has taken Polish citizenship) is viewed as a paragon of liberalism and integrity.
But thanks to the tenacious research of an expatriate US citizen named John Helmer, evidence has emerged that suggests that Applebaum, like her intellectual forbearers, has tasted of the forbidden fruit. Polish law requires that officials and spouses report incomes, reports that are publicly accessible. According to Sikorski’s 2014 report, Ms. Applebaum earned around $800,000 from non-Polish sources in 2013. Generously allowing for income from book royalties, her WaPo and Newsweek columns, and a salary from the Legatum Foundation in London, that leaves several hundred thousand dollars unaccounted for (Helmer estimates $565,000).
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the workings of a hidden hand, a hand grateful for Applebaum’s slavish support and promulgation of US and NATO foreign policy objectives in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.
Wikileaks noted this interesting bump in income (Sikorski reported his wife’s earnings as $20,000 the prior year). Applebaum responded to Wikileaks with out-of-character discomfit and the intensification of her anti-Russia hysterics. She tweeted: “Wow! Assange now using fake/libellous slander from John Helmer, who fled US after being recruited by the KGB in 80s.”
There is nothing like a dose of red-baiting to deflect the question.
Whether Applebaum can explain this sudden bounty is uncertain. But one thing is certain: the Western media will never allow it to derail the war-mongering propaganda blitz targeting Russia.
Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com
Greeks and Bulgarians denounce Turkey & NATO
| November 27, 2015 | 8:19 pm | Greece, political struggle, Russia, Syria | No comments

Dozens in Greece, Bulgaria denounce Turkey & NATO in solidarity marches with Russia (VIDEOS)

https://www.rt.com/news/323605-greece-bulgaria-turkey-protests/
© Ruptly
Turkey’s two neighbors and historical adversaries Greece and Bulgaria have witnessed sporadic protests denouncing Ankara’s remorseless in the shooting down of the Russian Su-24 plane, as well as NATO warmongering in general.

Several dozen activists protested in Athens’ Syntagma square and marched to the Turkish embassy, where they staged a symbolic burning of American and Turkish flags. Additional police were deployed to guard the embassy as protesters voiced anger over the Sukhoi Su-24 jet downing by Ankara’s F-16 for allegedly entering Turkish airspace.

This action of Turkey was totally unacceptable, a clear act of war, no unjustified action, an action which causes wider dangers in the area,” said Panagiotis Lafazanis, leader of fringe left-wing party Popular Unity.

We want peace in the region, both in Greece and in Turkey, also in Kurdistan, in Syria and in Ukraine. [We want] peace and also the right to the peoples to determine their fate, without interventions from outside,” said Andreas Zafiris, representing the ‘Save Syria from NATO’ and ‘Save Donbass’ organizations.

Marching further with a banner reading “Turkey and NATO are the same, when helping ISIS”, activists made a stop in front of the Greek Parliament, as well as at EU offices on Amalia Avenue.

They ignore that the Russian airplane has dropped its bombs on the terrorists of the nearby Islamic State which threatens the whole world with terrorist attacks,” said Dr. Panagiotis Xanthopoulos, from the Panhellenic Union of Pontian Scientists.

In the Bulgarian of capital Sofia, a crowd shared the same sentiment as in Greece. Activists from the opposition nationalist Ataka party rallied outside the Turkish embassy in solidarity with Russia over tensions with Ankara.

One protester carried a banner bearing a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the slogan “We have not forgotten, we will revenge,” apparently referencing to Russia’s role in helping Bulgaria achieve independence from Turkey following the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878).

Banners reading “Friends of Russia and Orthodox world” and “Occupiers NATO and USA, out of Bulgaria!” were also seen among the crowd.

During the protest Ataka party leader Volen Siderov praised the Russian operation in Syrian skies and accused the US of being incapable of dealing with Islamic State effectively.

We are under a situation in which Russia is fighting against terrorism. And effectively. For two months, the Russian army has done everything that the Americans, French and German people and others couldn’t do for a year and a half,” Siderov stated. “And what does it mean? It means that Russia became a geopolitical player and Americans can’t cope with that.”

Planned parenthood massacre in Colorado
| November 27, 2015 | 8:09 pm | political struggle | No comments
Police line at night

UPDATE: Police Have Detained CO Planned Parenthood Shooter, Evacuated Area

© Flickr/ Tony Webster
 

Police responded to a call about an active shooter at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. After a shootout that injured four officers and an unknown number of civilians, police appear to have taken the perpetrator into custody.

The mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, announced on his Twitter account that police have detained the suspected gunman accused of opening fire inside a Planned Parenthood facility there. Police also said.

A shooting was reported at women’s health clinic Planned Parenthood. Four police officers who were responding to the calls were shot and injured, reports say, along with an unknown number of civilians.
The assailants were believed to have shot clinic personnel and possibly have taken hostages in the building. Witnesses saw the the attackers carry large bags into the clinic which has made police more cautious, saying that the operation could take several hours.

Police tweeted that the shooting took place on Centennial Boulevard which was “not secure.” They asked media not to stage in the area and told shoppers in the area to stay in the stores.

“Right now we don’t know if there are any hostages,” police Sgt. Kevin Miyakusu told CNN. “It is a very fluid situation.”

A witness told CNN that at least five officers were behind a building with their guns draw. Media has also reported several SWAT vehicles and more than a half-dozen police cars.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151127/1030891875/police-responding-to-active-shooter-situation-in-colorado.html#ixzz3skQuZK4N

ISIL oil is going to Turkey
| November 27, 2015 | 8:04 pm | Imperialism, political struggle, Russia, Syria | No comments
Turkey is complicit in funding the Islamic State militant group through purchase on the territory of Turkey of crude oil stolen from fields captured by ISIL

Turns Out, Russia Was Right: ISIL Oil is Going to Turkey – German Media

© AP Photo/ Kevin Frayer
 

Russian airstrikes on jihadists’ oil infrastructure caused natural dissatisfaction of Turkey that appears to be the main consumer of ISIL’s oil, according to the German media.

In the wake of downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber jet by Turkish Air Force president  Putin claimed that Ankara appears to be an accomplice of terrorists, as it is purchasing oil in regions of Syria captured by extremists, and he is on solid ground in saying so, the German newspaper Bild reported.Turkey has turned into a major consumer of oil from the so-called Islamic State extremist group, the author of the article continued. Turkish businessmen sign deals on oil purchases with jihadists, allowing them to get revenues of $10 million weekly.

The Kremlin long time ago obtained information that oil from ISIL-seized territories in Syria is being transferred to Turkey. And the fact that Russian Aerospace Forces started to conduct more attacks against ISIL infrastructure couldn’t be overlooked by Ankara.

According to Bild, Turkish policies regarding jihadists are not quite transparent: although Ankara provided Americans with opportunities to use the country’s airbase for launching attacks against ISIL positions, Erdogan allows terrorists sneaking into Syria to go through Turkey without hindrance.At the same time, Bild notes, Turkey is not the only state that is making dirty oil deals with Islamic State militants for its own profit. Smugglers supply Jordan and Kurdistan, in which black market trade is flourishing, with ISIL oil, Eckart Woertz, the senior analyst for Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, claimed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, after a press-conference with the French President François Hollande, said that significant amounts of oil from ISIL-controlled areas in Syria is being transported to Turkey:

“We are speaking about industrial-scale supplies of oil from Syrian territories seized by terrorists — from these exact areas and not from any others. And we can observe from the air where those cars are heading to,” the president announced. “They are moving to Turkey day and night.”

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151128/1030895284/Russia-Right-ISIL-OilI-Going-Turkey.html#ixzz3skPk8ONW

Donald Trump: Ugly American
| November 26, 2015 | 6:48 pm | political struggle | No comments

 

 

By James Thompson

 

GOP Presidential front-runner Donald Trump has now succeeded in catapulting himself into the position of the epitome of the ugly American. No other candidate for the office of the president of the United States, a highly esteemed office recognized around the world, has ever sunk so low as this degenerate reactionary.

 

His most recent atrocity was a juvenile, bullying, mocking of a person with a disability. Donald Trump, multibillionaire, is now engaged in a desperate struggle for the support of the lowest common denominator in the US bourgeoisie. He has clearly trumped his most despicable rival, Ben Carson.

 

Trump’s current antics follow his previous attacks on women, minorities and immigrants.

 

His most recent antics are despicable and should be roundly condemned by workers in this country and around the world. We must pose the question as to what former president George HW Bush would say about his hateful theater. Former president Bush worked hard to pass the Americans with Disability Act. Would he support a class-action suit against Donald Trump for his vicious attack on an innocent person with a disability?

 

Donald Trump, who is clearly hair challenged, may have any manner of disabilities. Certainly it is clear to any rational person that he has some sort of major personality disorder, most likely narcissistic and sociopathic. His oratorical skills are second only to Adolf Hitler. We must wonder if the demagogic Trump ingests some combination of chemicals to enhance his oratorical abilities as many great orators through the history of US politics have. If he does, this might qualify him for services based on disability as well.

 

Do the people in the US really want to elect such a scumbag to the high office of the President of the United States? If so, the US people deserve what they get.