Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sputnik— Is Trump Trying to Prevent a New Cold War?

The US is fomenting a new cold war not because it is actually wants to fight a war with Russia or China but rather to force new arms race that will disrupt their development by committing massive funds to armaments, while at the same time feeding the US military-intelligence-industrial-financial complex that is the core of the US economy. It is also doing to to justify the continued existence of NATO and its expansion in order to cement post-WWII US occupation and control of Europe. The still believes that it can accomplish its objectives through regime change rather than war.

Should Trump win, he will find not one the deep state but also the US elite aligned against him if he insists on foreign policy realism.

The US media is strongly backing Hillary Clinton and the neoliberals, neoconservatives, and liberal interventionists. Stephen F. Cohen is saying that the media owes the country a debate on the issues instead of picking a winner that agrees with the elitist position and portrays the populist point of view as naïve and un-American.

This is shaping up to be a nasty campaign in which the stakes are not only trillions of dollars but also world domination, bringing the rats out of the sewer.

Is Trump Trying to Prevent a New Cold War?

Reuters — Clinton says Russia behind DNC hacking, draws line to Trump and NSA head James Clapper says to stop hyperventilating

"We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin," Clinton said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."
Clinton says Russia behind DNC hacking, draws line to Trump
Doina Chiacu and Roberta Rampton
The Director of National Intelligence says Washington is still unsure of who might be behind the latest WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, while urging that an end be put to the “reactionary mode” blaming it all on Russia.

“We don’t know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said speaking at Aspen’s Security Forum in Colorado, when asked if the media was getting ahead of themselves in fingering the perpetrator of the hack.…
Speaking on Thursday, Clapper said that Americans need to stop blaming Russia for the hack, telling the crowd that the US has been running in “reactionary mode” when it comes to the numerous cyber-attacks the nation is continuously facing.
“I’m somewhat taken aback by the hyperventilation on this,” Clapper said.…
US intel head calls for end to ‘hyperventilation’ over Russia’s alleged role in DNC hack
Spy chief James Clapper said Thursday that U.S. intelligence services are facing a "version of war" with Russia — but it's too soon to blame the old Cold War rival for hacking the Democratic National Committee's emails.
He said it's also too early to say whether the people who leaked those emails are trying to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump, as Hillary Clinton's campaign has charged.

"I don't think we're quite ready yet to make a call on attribution," Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "There are just a few usual suspects out there." Additionally, he said, "We don't know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been."
The reasons for the administration's reluctance to assign blame are a combination of two factors, Clapper said: uncertainty about whether the Russians are the culprits, and the lack of a decision yet on whether the U.S. should "name and shame" them if indeed they committed the cyberattack.
Spy chief James Clapper said Thursday that U.S. intelligence services are facing a "version of war" with Russia — but it's too soon to blame the old Cold War rival for hacking the Democratic National Committee's emails.
He said it's also too early to say whether the people who leaked those emails are trying to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump, as Hillary Clinton's campaign has charged.

"I don't think we're quite ready yet to make a call on attribution," Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "There are just a few usual suspects out there." Additionally, he said, "We don't know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been."
The reasons for the administration's reluctance to assign blame are a combination of two factors, Clapper said: uncertainty about whether the Russians are the culprits, and the lack of a decision yet on whether the U.S. should "name and shame" them if indeed they committed the cyberattack.
No one should be "hyperventilating" about the hack, though, he said. "I'm shocked somebody did some hacking," he said, sarcastically taking the voice of someone who was surprised. "That's never happened before."
Top spy: Despite intelligence 'war' with Russians, it's too soon to blame them for DNC hack

Is HRC lying? — I mean exaggerating? If James Clapper doesn't know, HRC doesn't "know" either.


Russia Insider
Urgent: Trump's 'Putin Connection' Outed - Part I

Urgent: Trump's 'Putin Connection' Outed -- Part II (The Original Media Story was False)
William Dunkerley

Reuters — 'Give them a bloody nose': Xi pressed for stronger South China Sea response

China's leadership is resisting pressure from elements within the military for a more forceful response to an international court ruling against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, sources said, wary of provoking a clash with the United States.…
So far, Beijing has not shown any sign of wanting to take stronger action. Instead, it has called for a peaceful resolution through talks at the same time as promising to defend Chinese territory.

But some elements within China's increasingly confident military are pushing for a stronger - potentially armed - response aimed at the United States and its regional allies, according to interviews with four sources with close military and leadership ties.…
'Give them a bloody nose': Xi pressed for stronger South China Sea response
Ben Blanchard and Benjamin Kang Lim

The state-run Global Times issued a scathing editorial calling for war between Beijing and Canberra if Australia continues to meddle in the South China Sea dispute.

Chinese state-run media declared Australia "an ideal target for China to warn and strike" if it ventured into the contested South China Sea in a scathing call for war laced with insults against the country.
Chinese Media: Australia an 'Ideal Target to Strike' Over South China Sea

John Helmer Strengthening Russo-Turkish Alliance Stokes US-Russian Cold War

A very informative interview about a possible geopolitical realignment in the making.

Strengthening Russo-Turkish Alliance Stokes US-Russian Cold War
Sharmini Peries interviews John Helmer

Harper on the 28 pages

Timing is everything, and the timing of George Bush's decision to classify the 28 page chapter is a perfect case in point. In December 2002, when the President banned the publication of the chapter, the Administration was in the final phases of planning the invasion of Iraq. The two "reasons" given for the plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein were: He was amassing weapons of mass destruction, and he had been behind 9/11.

Had the chapter been published, it would have been near impossible for Bush and Tony Blair to get away with the Iraq invasion. It would have been like FDR announcing he was declaring war against China, not Japan after Pearl Harbor.

The issues behind the evidence of Saudi involvement in 9/11--whether at the very top of the regime and the Monarchy, as former Joint Inquiry co-chairman Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) insists, or at some mid-level where Al Qaeda sympathizers had resources to pour into the 9/11 plot--are still with us, and will not be laid to rest by the release of the 28 pages.
Sic Semper Tyrannis
Harper on the 28 pages
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

An Israeli Soldier's Story - Eran Efrati

When I watched this video I got that feeling again that this was the Devil, this is how the Devil works, this is pure evil. Eran Efrati, an ex IDF soldier, describes the Israeli military-industrial-banking complex. It is chilling and this is probably one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen. There's certainly an evil streak in mankind and it is based around money, lots of it.  These stony faced people sit around and know that their weapons could destroy the world many times over, but they want the money, the money comes first. As they have hundreds of $millions already you would think that they couldn't be bothered, but they want another hundred $million, and even more, as much as they can get, they want everything.

John Churchman — Lurching Toward World War III

The fundamental problem in America’s government is an elaborate political structure much resembling democracy but with actual rule by a powerful establishment and a set of special interests – all supported by a monstrous security apparatus and a huge, lumbering military, which wouldn’t even know what to do with itself in peace. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any apparent solution to this horrible political reality, and, while once it affected primarily Americans themselves, today it affects the planet.
There is an intense new element that has been added to America’s governing establishment: the drive of the neocons for American supremacy everywhere, for complete global dominance, and it is something which is frighteningly similar to past drives by fascist governments which brought only human misery on a vast scale.…
Unfortunately, America is resembling more and more past empires that rose and fell and are now only memories. The principal question about WWIII and the American Empire is whether there will be anyone left to remember it.

Consortium News

The Economist — Minsky’s moment

Having grown up during the Depression, Minsky was minded to dwell on disaster. Over the years he came back to the same fundamental problem again and again. He wanted to understand why financial crises occurred. It was an unpopular focus. The dominant belief in the latter half of the 20th century was that markets were efficient. The prospect of a full-blown calamity in developed economies sounded far-fetched. There might be the occasional stockmarket bust or currency crash, but modern economies had, it seemed, vanquished their worst demons.
Against those certitudes, Minsky, an owlish man with a shock of grey hair, developed his “financial-instability hypothesis”. It is an examination of how long stretches of prosperity sow the seeds of the next crisis, an important lens for understanding the tumult of the past decade. But the history of the hypothesis itself is just as important. Its trajectory from the margins of academia to a subject of mainstream debate shows how the study of economics is adapting to a much-changed reality since the global financial crisis.
The Economist
Minsky’s moment

Branko Milanovic — The forthcoming changes in capitalism? and Time to ditch Rawls?

Two from Branko.

Global Inequality
The forthcoming changes in capitalism?

Time to ditch Rawls?
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Ramanan — IEO On The Euro Area’s Balance Of Payments Problems

Wynne Godley antipicated.

The Case for Concerted Action
IEO On The Euro Area’s Balance Of Payments Problems
V. Ramanan

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools, by Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder is half Canadian and half American. When I read this I thought she can't say that, but I think she speaks for billions of people around the globe. Her Counterpunch essay is reprinted in full.

There is something I am going to try and explain here after watching the Democratic National Convention this evening that will invite the scorn of many of my friends. But the words are gagging my throat and my stomach is twisted and sick and I have to vomit this out. The anti-americanism in me is about to explode and land god knows where as my rage is well beyond reason. And I, by heritage, half American in a way that makes me “more” American than almost anyone else in this country except for the true Americans, the American Indians, am in utter denial tonight that I am, as you are, American as well.

I am half Canadian, I was brought up there, with very different values than you Americans hold, and tonight — after the endless spit ups and boasts and rants about the greatness of American militarism, and praise for American military strength, and boasts about wiping out ISIS, and America being the strongest country on earth, and an utterly inane story from a woman whose son died in Obama’s war, about how she got to cry in gratitude on Obama’s shoulder — tonight I feel deeply Canadian. Every subtle lesson I was ever subliminally given about the bullies across the border and their rudeness and their lack of education and their self-given right to bomb whoever they wanted in the world for no reason other than that they wanted something the people in the other country had, and their greed, came oozing to the surface of my psyche.

I just got back from a rather fierce walk beside the Yellowstone River here in Montana, trying to let the mountains in the distance reconnect me to some place of goodness in my soul, but I couldn’t find it. The scenery was as exquisite as ever, but it just couldn’t touch the rage in my heart. The visions of all the dead children in Syria that Hillary Clinton helped to kill; the children bombed to bits in Afghanistan and Pakistan from Obama’s drones, the grisly chaos of Libya, the utter wasteland of Iraq, the death and destruction everywhere caused by American military intervention. The Ukraine, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, you name it — your country has bombed it or destroyed its civilian life in some basic way.

When I heard all the Americans cheering for the military and the pronouncements of might coming from the speakers in the Wells Fargo Centre, I loathed you. I loathed every single one of you. I knew in my gut that what I was taught as a child was true, which is that YOU are the enemy. YOU are the country to be feared. YOU are the country to be disgusted by. YOU are ignorant. And your greed and self-satisfaction and unearned pride knows no bounds.

I am not an American tonight. I reject my Puritan ancestors who landed in this country in 1648. I reject the words I voiced at my citizenship ceremony. I reject every moment of thrilling discovery I ever had in this country.

You people have no idea what it is like for people from other countries to hear you boast and cheer for your guns and your bombs and your soldiers and your murderous military leaders and your war criminals and your murdering and conscienceless Commander in Chief. All those soaring words are received by the rest of us, by us non-Americans, by all the cells in our body, as absolutely repugnant and obscene.

And there you all are tonight, glued to your TVs and your computers, your hearts swelled with pride because you belong to the strongest country on Earth, cheering on your Murderer President. Ignorant of the entire world’s repulsion. You kill and you kill and you kill, and still you remain proud.
We are fools.

PUTIN SENDS DIRE WARNING TO HUMANITY - Just a Matter of Time & The Sheeple Are Asleep

Alex Jones is right on the ball with this one. He may be on the populist right but the main issue today is to stop WW3 with Russia. Putin has tried to warn us and he appealed to the Western press which he knew would alter the story to suite their mega rich owners, or not report it it at all. Alex Jones appeals to all people whatever their political persuasion to unite to stop WW3. Why isn't this front page news in our media, Alex Jones asks? Why is our mainstream media blanking this out? The MSM is totally owned by a only few corporations, they are all part of the Western banking ruling elite establishment.

Putin and the Western media propaganda machine

In this video below, Putin tries to cut through Western media propaganda and appeal to us.

Putin crushes CNN smartass Fareed Zakaria on Donald Trump and US elections.
Fareed Zakaria, as a host on CNN, is known to misquote Putin as well as misrepresent Russia's intentions to the world. At the St Petersburg Economic Forum 2016, Zakaria wasn't going to get away with that very easily...

Marc-William Palen — Trump and the Return of American Economic Nationalism

Not about Trump. It's a historical backgrounder of free-trade vs. protectionism in the US.

The Globalist
Trump and the Return of American Economic Nationalism
Marc-William Palen | Lecturer of Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter

John Keane — Capitalism and Democracy [part 2]

Part one of this series on capitalism and democracy probed the famous remark of the American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen that there are historical moments when ‘democratic sovereignty’ is converted into ‘a cloak to cover the nakedness of a government that does business for the kept classes’. Part 2 extends this formulation, to ask what happens when democracy is overpowered by capitalist markets.
The Conversation
Capitalism and Democracy [part 2]
John Keane, Professor of Politics, University of Sydney

Reuters — Russia says spyware found in state computer networks

Russia's intelligence service said on Saturday that the computer networks of 20 organizations, including state agencies and defense companies, have been infected with spyware in what it described as a targeted and coordinated attack.
The Federal Security Service, the FSB, said the malware and the way the networks were infected were similar to those used in previous cases of cyber espionage found in Russia and other countries. The agency did not say who it suspected of being behind the attacks…
Russia says spyware found in state computer networks

The agency did not specify which party it suspects to be behind the reported cyber espionage or whether it was sponsored by any foreign government.
Kaspersky Lab, a Russian computer security company, said that it is investigating the activities of a “powerful cyber gang” that has targeted Russian organizations.

“We need some time to confirm the data in our possession. After that we’ll be ready to share the results of our inquiry,”Kaspersky Lab’s press-service said.
20 Russian high-profile organizations attacked by spy malware in coordinated op – FSB

Paul R. Pillar — The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ StrategiesThe Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

“Regime change” or destabilizing sanctions are Official Washington’s policy options of choice in dealing with disfavored nations, but these aggressive strategies have proved harmful and counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Consortium News
The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ StrategiesThe Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies
Paul R. Pillar, 28 year veteran CIA analyst

Dani Rodrik — Is the U.S. behind Fethullah Gulen?

Backgrounder on Gullenism, and analysis of the Turkish coup and US involvement. Important if you are following this.

Dani Rodrik's Weblog
Is the U.S. behind Fethullah Gulen?
Dani Rodrik | Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The Devil: Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism, by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

When I read this article I kept thinking of the Devil, that this is how the Devil works. A Military-Industrial-Banking complex that is nothing but pure evil. It's hard to know what to copy and paste so I have put only a small excerpt here. It's a powerful article. Very disturbing.

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh believes that the workers of the world should unite against capitalism because the ruling elite use globalization to force their wages into the floor.  It's unfair competition: The tables are tilted, the game is rigged (George Carlin).  

The purpose of this essay is to show that as capitalism has evolved from the early stages of small-scale manufacturing to the current stage of the dominance of finance capital, its arena of expropriation has, accordingly, expanded from the early colonial/imperial conquests abroad to today’s universal dispossession worldwide, both at home and abroad. Specifically, it aims to expose the class nature of imperialism independent of nationality and/or geography, and to indicate how this profit-driven characteristic of capitalism is at the root of today’s global austerity economics; an ominous development that dispossesses not only defenseless peoples abroad, but also the overwhelming majority of the people at home—a socio-economic plague that can be called the “new imperialism,” or “imperialism by dispossession” [1].

War profiteering is, of course, not new. Nor are bureaucratic tendencies in the ranks of military hierarchies to build parasitic, ceremonial military empires. By themselves, such characteristics are not what make the U.S. military-industrial-security-intelligence complex more dangerous than the military powers of the past. What makes it more dangerous is the “industrial” part of the complex: the extent to which war has become big business. In contrast to the United States’ arms industry, arms industries of the past empires were often owned and operated by imperial governments, not by profit-driven private corporations. Consequently, as a rule, arms production was dictated by war requirements, not by market or profit imperatives of arms manufacturers. As far as arms industry is concerned, instigation of international conflicts, or invention of external “threats to national security,” is a lucrative proposition that would increase both its profits by expanding its sales markets abroad and its share of national budget at home,

...... the U.S. military-industrial-security-intelligence empire: the interests of this empire are nurtured through “war dividends.” Peace, imposed or otherwise, would mean that the powerful beneficiaries of war dividends would find it difficult to either expand the sale of their armaments abroad or justify their inordinately large share of national tax dollars at home.

Alexander Mercouris — On arms to Ukraine, Donald Trump simply follows Obama’s lead and Why the ‘Trump is a Russian agent’ theme won’t work

I am reminded of Aesop's fable about the boy who cried wolf. "Putin did it" is becoming a trope and soon a cliché.

The Duran
Alexander Mercouris: On arms to Ukraine, Donald Trump simply follows Obama’s lead

Why the ‘Trump is a Russian agent’ theme won’t work

Silencing America As It Prepares For War, By John Pilger

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.
In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. 
Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.

The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on the New York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels. Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.

Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order

A superb debate between Robert Reich and Chris Hedges. Robert Reich makes a very good and passionate argument for voting for Hilary but in the end I agreed with Chris Hedges. Robert Reich say's that Trump is so bad you have to vote for Hilary, and this will progressives four years to build up an independent Green movement to take on both the main parties. Is he right? I like both Robert Reich and Chris hedges but when Democrats get voted in they always do pretty much the same as the Republicans would do, so what's the point? I would vote Green if I was an American.

Charles Darwin Was Right

Chimpanzees Prove That Elites Don’t Understand Darwin’s Message About Cooperation, The evolutionary roots of our social contract

Humans are the most successful species on the planet mainly because of the way we intensely cooperate with each other. Where chimpanzees and other apes bond by grooming, picking the flees off each other, we bond by talking to each other instead which leaves our hands free to do work, an evolutionary advantage. And boy, do people love talking, it makes the World go around.

An interesting Evonomics article:


 The American financial tycoon Andrew Carnegie certainly thought so and today’s economic elite have followed his example. In 1889 he used a perverted form of Darwinism to argue for a “law of competition” that became the cornerstone of his economic vision. His was a world in which might made right and where being too big to fail wasn’t a liability, it was the key to success. In his “Gospel of Wealth”, Carnegie wrote that this natural law might be hard for the least among us but “it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.”
We accept and welcome therefore, as conditions to which we must accommodate ourselves, great inequality of environment, the concentration of business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few, and the law of competition between these, as being not only beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race.
In other words, his answer was yes. Life is unfair and we’d better get used to it, social contract or no social contract.

While this perspective may be common among those primates who live in the concrete jungle of Wall Street, it doesn’t hold true for the natural world more generally. Darwin understood that competition was an important factor in evolution, but it wasn’t the only factor. Cooperation, sympathy, and fairness were equally important features in his vision for the evolution of life. In The Descent of Man he wrote

“Those communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring.”

By working cooperatively, by sharing resources fairly, and by ensuring that all members of society benefited, Darwin argued that early human societies would be more “fit” than those societies where members only cared about themselves. The Russian naturalist Peter Kropotkin championed this aspect of Darwin’s work and argued that mutual aid was essential for understanding the evolution of social mammals as a whole. In the time of Darwin and Kropotkin the research needed to verify these claims was in its infancy, but recent work has supported this vision of the natural world. However, one study in particular has added an additional plank to this growing edifice of knowledge, and the view from on top suggests that life, in contrast to what Carnegie believed, may not be so unfair after all.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sputnik — Economic Sanctions are Wall Street's 'Instruments of Destabilization

Big business in the US is manipulating world politics to make more profit, financial expert Ernst Wolff told Sputnik German. 
Economic sanctions are a political tool which benefits US big business, financial expert Ernst Wolff told Sputnik German. 
Following the 2008 financial crisis, the volume of trade between Germany and Russia increased to a record 80.5 billion euros ($89.2 billion) in 2012. However, since then, the amount of goods traded by the two countries has almost halved due to the imposition of sanctions in 2014; last year Germany exported 21.7 billion euros worth of goods to Russia, and Russia exported 29.7 billion euros worth to Germany.
Wolff, the author of "Pillaging the World: The History and Politics of the IMF," said that this situation affects, above all, small- and medium-size businesses, which face financial difficulties and are easily pushed out of the market by big business.…
Sanctions and counter-sanctions have resulted in a decrease in trade between Russia and other Eastern European countries, to the advantage of US firms seeking to weaken the EU, and institute the controversial TTIP trade agreements.…

"TTIP will be of tremendous benefit to US big business. If US employment law suddenly starts to dominate European companies, that is another step towards the world domination of the US. On the other hand, the Americans are in serious difficulties are the moment. They have the largest economy in the world, but this economy is in crisis."
Wolff said that US policy aims to weaken the relationship between the EU and Russia.
"The US is really worried that the EU will team up with Russia or possibly China. That is an apocalyptic scenario for the US, so it is always trying to isolate Russia and China as much as possible on the world market. Don't forget that Europe is dependent on Russian oil and gas to a large extent, and the US financial system doesn't like that."
"That's why they use instruments of destabilization, to weaken competitors on the world market. You have to look at sanctions in this context," Wolff concluded.

Sputnik — Russian Central Bank Maintains 10.5% Annual Interest Rate

Russian Central Bank has kept its annual interest rate unchanged at 10.5 percent, the financial regulator said in the press release Friday.
"The Bank of Russia's Board of Directors has decided on July 29, 2016 to keep the annual interest rate unchanged at 10.50%. The Board of Directors notes that the dynamics of inflation, and the outlined revival of economic activity mostly correspond to the baseline forecast of the Bank of Russia. However, the decline in inflation expectations has been halted. The decision and further maintenance of moderately tight monetary policy will contribute to achieving the inflation target," the statement reads.
In addition, the regulator said that the annual inflation slowed down to the 7.2 percent as of July 25.
Russian Central Bank Maintains 10.5% Annual Interest Rate

Middle East Eye — Turkish fury after top US general voices concerns over post-coup relations

Turkish president says US Centcom chief is 'taking side of coup plotters' after raising concerns about future of US-Turkey military cooperation.
The view of the pundits is that Erdogan is conducting a purge to seize near dictatorial power. Another read is that Erdogan is convinced that the coup was a US-based attempt to topple him and he is protecting himself by purging all even remotely connected.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused a top US general of being on the side of Turkey's coup plotters after commenting that the country's turmoil could downgrade military cooperation with Washington.
"You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt," Erdogan said in angry remarks at a military centre in Golbasi outside Ankara, where air strikes left dozens dead during the failed putsch on 15 July.
"You reveal yourself with your remarks. We will not play your game!" he said.…
Middle East Eye
Turkish fury after top US general voices concerns over post-coup relations


If so, they sure bungled the job.
A Turkish prosecutor has claimed that the CIA and FBI provided training for the followers of powerful US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the coup attempt earlier this month.

The indictment, prepared by the Edirne Public Prosecutor’s office and accepted by the local Second Heavy Penal Court, seeks the harshest possible punishment for 43 suspects that have allegedly been linked to the failed coup attempt on July 15, including the coup’s supposed mastermind, Fethullah Gulen, the arch-nemesis of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The prosecutor said on Thursday that members of what it describes as “the Fethullah Terrorist Organization” were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The CIA and FBI provided training in several subjects to the cadre raised in the culture centers belonging to the Gulen movement. The operations carried out by prosecutors and security officials during the Dec. 17 process can be taken as a good example of this,” the document says, referring to a high profile corruption probe that targeted senior government officials between December 17 and December 25 of 2013, as reported by the Turkish Hurriyet daily.
The investigation affected many officials linked to the Turkish Cabinet, which was headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan at that time. Erdogan, who is now Turkey’s president, called it “a judicial coup” attempt, while accusing Gulen and his movement of orchestrating it with the help of some “foreign forces.”
The indictment states that Gulen loyalists received US training and infiltrated judicial and security institutions.
Turkish prosecutor claims CIA, FBI trained coup plotters

 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, is rushing to Turkey on an unexpected visit, after President Erdogan’s allies directly accused the US of being behind the failed coup attempt in the country and have begun purging members of the Turkish military with ties to the United States.
Top US General Rushes to Turkey Amid Accusations US Plotted Coup

The Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Joseph Votel denied claims on involvement in the recent unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey.
US Central Command Chief Denies Any Role in Turkey Coup Attempt

German former CDU politician and Vice-President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Willy Wimmer told Sputnik Deutschland that he fears NATO involvement in the downing of Russia's Su-24 bomber over Syria last November.…
The downing had been interpreted as a unilateral decision by Turkey, but Willy Wimmer contends that in fact, NATO and Saudi forces were involved in the incident.
"According to my information, Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft from the US and Saudi Arabia were involved," Wimmer said.
"Aircraft like that Russian Su-24 bomber are not that easy to just shoot out of the sky. You need to take aim, and you can only do that with AWACS aircraft."

US & Saudi Arabia 'Involved in Turkey's Downing of Russian Su-24' in Syria

Christina Lin — US war hawks’ Eurasia goal: Prevent Russo-German coalition, China’s OBOR project

According to STRATFOR chairman George Friedman who advises the US security and intelligence community, while the US sees Russia as a threat, it sees Germany as a potential threat.
In his February speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Friedman stated the primordial interest for US is to stop a coalition between Germany and Russia, because the combination of German capital and technology with Russian natural resources and manpower is the only one that can counter US dominance.
Given NATO’s goal is “to keep the Russians out, the US in, and the Germans down,” US is now beefing up NATO and focused on establishing a “cordon sanitaire” or buffer zone (see map below) from the Baltics to the Black Sea in Central and Eastern Europe, and separate Germany from Russia.[8]….
Since US lacks the resources to occupy all of Eurasia, [Stratfor's George Friedman] assessed the best policy is to support various contending powers (e.g., India, Pakistan) so they concentrate on themselves with political, economic, and military support, or conduct “spoiling attacks” such as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to “throw them off balance like we did with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.”
However, al-Qaeda is stronger than before in Afghanistan and now Syria, and US support for Syrian jihadists have spawned IS that now threatens the three continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia.[9] US strategy of throwing countries “off balance” to maintain dominance in the Mideast is actually what has helped fuel the global jihadi movement.
Moreover, destabilizing and throwing countries “off balance” in Eurasia threatens China’s “One Belt, One Road” project (see map below) that would help Eurasian economic integration and reduce ungoverned space for terrorist organizations to thrive.…
…one ponders if it is prudent for US interventionists from both the neoconservative and neoliberal camps to still focus on a geopolitical chessboard of Cold War “great games” to throw more countries ‘off balance” to create more ungoverned spaces.
Unfortunately, as Amb Chas Freeman from Brown University’s Watson Institute observed in his article “The end of the American Empire”, the US is in a habit of using military power to supplant rather than support diplomacy, and has not yet cultivated the habit of asking “and then what?” before beginning military campaigns.[11]
Pretty much the same Cold War plan that has been unfolding since Zbig convinced Jimmy Carter to send Osama Bin Laden "freedom fighters" into Afghanistan to destabilize the region and make mischief for the USSR.

On a side note, it seems that Bill Clinton decided to expand NATO eastward chiefly for domestic reasons. Faded with WWII veteran Bob Dole, Clinton decided he needed more macho credentials and announced the NATO expansion shortly before the election as an "October surprise," much to the approval and satisfaction of neoconservatives. but opposed by foreign policy realists like George Kennan.

Asia Times
US war hawks’ Eurasia goal: Prevent Russo-German coalition, China’s OBOR project
Christina Lin | Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University where she specializes in China-Middle East/Mediterranean relations, and a research consultant for Jane’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Intelligence Centre at IHS Jane’s

Anti-Media — Why the DNC Leak Is Much Bigger Than Just Bernie Sanders

What the US media are ignoring while they push the "Putin did it" trope.
  1. The first theme: that the DNC worked with the Clinton campaign to create narratives that would harm Sanders with certain voting blocks.…
  2. The second theme of those emails is that the DNC colluded with major media organizations to control the narrative around their primary.…
  3. And then there was the narrative that was pushed that the DNC had nothing to do with Sanders not winning the nomination and instead it was the fault of his campaign’s disorganization. This is the third major theme.…

Gareth Porter — Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks

Looks like HRC is obsessed with turning Syria into another Libya.
It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for figures known to be close to a presidential candidate to make public recommendations for new and broader war abroad.
Consortium News
Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks
Gareth Porter

Whatever the problems with the Democrat’s foreign policy planks, the Republican platform is far worse.
Counter Current
“Most Progressive Dem Platform in History” Disturbingly Hawkish on Foreign Policy
Ben Richards

Rick McGahey — Why Does Economics Reject New Thinking?

Cognitive bias, and maybe economic bias also. Careers at stake, along with huge intellectual investment in old thinking.

Why Does Economics Reject New Thinking?
Rick McGahey
ht Mark Thoma at Economist's View

Amran Feroz — Munich Shooter Considered Himself Aryan, Admired Hitler and Breivik: No Wonder the Media Has Moved On

Sonboly considered himself as an “Aryan” and was proud of his supposed heritage, especially because of his Iranian and German background. The narrative of Aryans being a “master race” (“Herrenrasse”) is not just widespread in Europe or the United States, but also in parts of Central Asian countries. When Persia changed its name to Iran (“Land of the Aryans”) in 1935, Afghanistan and Tajikistan protested against it. Like Iran, both countries still consider themselves the cradle of the Aryan people. From a scientific perspective, while the historical Aryans lived 3000-4000 year ago in several parts of Asia, they had little connection to those who popularized the racist Aryanist ideology in the 20th century.…
The date of the shooting, July 22, appeared to have been deliberately chosen. Exactly five years to this date, in 2011, the right-wing extremist and self-styled “counter-jihadist” Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people at a youth camp in Norway. Sonboly selected the date to honor Breivik, his personal hero. According to the Bavarian investigators, Sonboly was gripped with an obsessive hatred of Turks and Arabs. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's leading dailies, reported that Sonboly also admired Adolf Hitler and considered it an “honor" to share a birthday with the Führer.
Turns out he wan't shouting "Allah Hu Akbar" as initially reported.

Munich Shooter Considered Himself Aryan, Admired Hitler and Breivik: No Wonder the Media Has Moved On
Emran Feroz

Rob Urie — Long Live the Queen of Chaos

If Mrs. Clinton brings with her a Democratic Congress (or not) she will use it to pass the TPP and TTIP ‘trade’ agreements, to launch ‘liberal’ wars across the Middle East and rattle sabers against Russia, she will re-launch the ‘Grand Bargain’ to cut Social Security and Medicare under the pretext of a fiscal crisis and should Wall Street falter, she will ‘hold her nose’ and once again bail out her benefactors. This is the program her supporters are voting for.…
The flak from the left is getting thick.

Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Rob Urie

David Rovics — The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places

Very simply: all of the changes to the DNC platform are meaningless words until they become laws. And most of them can’t become laws because implementing them would run right up against the goals of the TPP/TTIP — “barriers to trade” in neoliberal speak — which the current president and his party leadership actively support. These politicians — whatever gender or color — are bought and sold. (Yes, I agree that both Barack and Michelle give great speeches. Speeches, however, are not policy.) The proof is in their voting records. For them to support secretive, corporate-driven trade negotiations and pretend to be progressive is to render the term “progressive” completely meaningless. WTF is a “pragmatic progressive”?
What I seem to be witnessing is the two parties completing a 100-year process of mutual inversion, or whatever the term may be. For a century, the Democrats were the party of white supremacy and white labor — the party of the white working class. That’s how they sold themselves, essentially, for a century. The Republicans were the party of capitalism and freedom.

If that seems like a strange mix of values to you, well, it is, but I didn’t make it up. And now look at the party leadership today. Of course what they do and what they say are two different things, but how are they positioning themselves in terms of rhetoric?….
Trump is now the Democrat, and Clinton the Republican. 
Rovers makes a historical case for his assertion.

You knew this was going to happen eventually as the Democratic Establishment triangulated and left their flank not only open but drove away the defenders of it.

The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
David Rovics

Vladislav Inozemtsev — Russia’s Flirtation With Fascism

This is interesting as more than a rant because it is by a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies. The Higher School of Economics is known as a hotbed of neoliberalism and Westernization.

That such as institution exists and that he is able to write such an article without fear of immediate consequences are testimony enough to the fact that it is a rant rather than an objective assessment of Russia's political system, which is traditionalist and happens to fit the mindset of most Russians who are traditionalist and abhor liberalism as the work of the devil. This is especially the case outside of Moscow and St. Petersberg.

Read it as part of the Western neoliberal attack on Vladimir Putin in an attempt to demonize him and the Russian government.

The obvious connection, although not mentioned in this piece, is that Donald Trump is also a fascist, which is why the Trump-Putin bromance.

Project Syndicate
Vladislav Inozemtsev | Professor of Economics at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies

Dan Phillips — Sanders’ Supporters Should Consider Darcy Richardson

An alternative to Jill Stein and the Greens.

Economic Populist

Zaid Milani — In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention

By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008.
Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.”
Dropping all pretext, government is now for sale again.

Scott Adams — Experience is Overrated

Most educated people could make informed decisions about most political questions if they had the benefit of world-class advisors. That’s my claim.
But how about international trade agreements, tax policy, and healthcare? Those are complicated, right? Yes. Indeed, no president understands those topics in sufficient detail to be trusted with a solo decision. So in those cases, you need advisors. That brings us to the question of how you can find the right advisors.
If it’s a military question, you ask the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to get you the right advisors for the topic.

If you have a law-and-order question, ask someone like Rudy Giuliani to come up with some suggested advisors. Giuliani could give you ten names from both parties.
If you need experts in economics, ask your Chief of Staff to round up a few top economists (Nobel winners, for example) from both parties and see if they all say the same thing. They won’t. So in that field, there is no such thing as useful expert advice.
And so on. The point is that it is easy for a President of the United States to assign people to find the best advisors. The President isn’t making phone calls and interviewing experts all day. The President sees the experts who have already been vetted by several other experts.
Technocracy as democracy.

Scott Adams' Blog
Experience is Overrated
Scott Adams

Patrick Lawrence — Shades of the Cold War: How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal

Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections — on behalf of Donald Trump, no less?

Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Is nothing beneath your dignity? Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? My answers to these, in order: yes, but the kind one cannot laugh at; no, we’re not kidding; no, we will do anything, and yes, we have no regard whatsoever for Americans so long as we can connive them out of their votes every four years.

Clowns. Subversives. Do you know who you remind me of? I will tell you: Nixon, in his famously red-baiting campaign — a disgusting episode — against the right-thinking Helen Gahagan Douglas during his first run for the Senate, in 1950. Your political tricks are as transparent and anti-democratic as his, it is perfectly fair to say. 

I confess to a heated reaction to events since last Friday among the Democrats, specifically in the Democratic National Committee. I should briefly explain these for the benefit of readers who have better things to do than watch the ever more insulting farce foisted upon us as legitimate political procedure.
Note that the criticism I have been linking to on this is from the left. The establishment "left" has become a hollow caricature erected as a façade for a neoliberal cohort bent on US global dominance in the interest of transnational capital.

Shades of the Cold War: How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal
Patrick Lawrence

Tom Hickey — Is Obama going to use the power of the presidency to assist HRC in defeating Trump?

Based on quite a bit of background that has been building up, it is looking more and more to me that Obama may try to draw Russia into overt operations in Ukraine to create enough war fever in the US to deliver the election to HRC. The Ukraine appears to be preparing an offensive in Eastern Ukraine with US and NATO assistance to force Russia's hand, either allowing Eastern Ukraine to fall or respond militarily.

At the same time, the US would also ramp up operations in Syria oriented toward entangling Russia further there in order to undermine Patin's domestic support and also get the Saudis to drop the oil price to further squeeze Russia economically to create civil unrest.

The pretext would be Putin's interference in US politics.

Also expect the executive branch to do everything in its power to goose the US economy in the coming quarter prior to the election.

The Democratic Establishment is becoming extremely anxious about the possibility of losing in November, which would be a couple disaster knowing that Trump's fundamental principle is getting even. This is do or die for the Democratic Establishment and they are likely to pull out all the stops.

David Dayen — The DNC Is One Big Corporate Bribe

Campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door on display at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary is going to reign in Wall Street and temper the TPP in favor of labor? She also has a bridge to sell you.
It’s hard to ferret out all the special interests at the DNC, because there’s no full public schedule. Invitations are doled out individually, and people whisper about this or that event. But enter any official hotel where a delegation is staying, or any Philadelphia landmark, and you’re likely to have a complimentary drink thrust into your hand.
As Politico’s Ben White reported on Monday, private equity firm Blackstone has a meet-and-greet on Thursday. Independence Blue Cross, the southeastern Pennsylvania arm of the large insurer, held a host-committee reception Tuesday; their chief executive is the finance chair of that host committee. The same day, Le Meridien hotel had a private event for Bloomberg LP, and the Logan Hotel hosted “Inspiring Women, a Luncheon Discussion.” The sponsors included Johnson & Johnson, Walgreens, AFLAC, the Financial Services Roundtable (the industry trade lobby), and New York Life. (How many people were they serving, given the number of corporations involved?)
None of this is considered money toward the convention, which is being entirely privately funded for the first time. The donors who are actually paying for the festivitities in Philly are anonymous. So God (and Debbie Wasserman Shultz) only knows where it all comes from. And clearly the DNC wants to keep it that way.
The New Republic
The DNC Is One Big Corporate Bribe
David Dayen

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh — Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism

The purpose of this essay is to show that as capitalism has evolved from the early stages of small-scale manufacturing to the current stage of the dominance of finance capital, its arena of expropriation has, accordingly, expanded from the early colonial/imperial conquests abroad to today’s universal dispossession worldwide, both at home and abroad. Specifically, it aims to expose the class nature of imperialism independent of nationality and/or geography, and to indicate how this profit-driven characteristic of capitalism is at the root of today’s global austerity economics; an ominous development that dispossesses not only defenseless peoples abroad, but also the overwhelming majority of the people at home—a socio-economic plague that can be called the “new imperialism,” or “imperialism by dispossession” [1].
The new imperialism differs from the old, classical imperialism in at least four major ways.…
Counterpunch Ismael Hossein-Zadeh | Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University

Jeffrey St. Clair — Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention

Very funny takedown of the Democratic Establishment in the spirit of gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson.

Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Jeffrey St. Clair | Editor of CounterPunch

Michael Hudson — Obama Said Hillary Will Continue his Legacy – and Indeed She Will!

Antidote to fawning pundits.
Obama’s brilliant demagogy left many eyes glazed over in admiration. Nobody is better at false sincerity while misrepresenting reality so shamelessly. Probably few caught the threatening hint he dropped about Hillary’s plan for corporations to share their profits with their workers. This sounds to me like the Pinochet plan to privatize Social Security by turning it into exploitative ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Programs). The idea is that wage withholding would be steered to buy into the company’s stock – bidding it up in the process. Employees then would end up holding an empty bag, as occurred recently with the Chicago Tribune. That seems to be the great “reform” to “save” Social Security that her Wall Street patrons are thinking up.…
The solution is not to save the Democratic Party, but to replace it. The debate reminds me of that about the Soviet Union in the 1950s: Is it a degenerated workers’ state, or a Stalinist bureaucratic mutation going the opposite direction from real socialism?
I wonder how many years it will take for Hillary to end up booed so loudly that she has to leave hotels and other speaking venues via their back alleys, much as Lyndon Johnson had to sneak out to avoid the anti-war booers leading leading up to the 1968 election.
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ran the ship onto the rocks. Now Hillary is campaigning for more of the same, flanked by a "blue dog" VP nominee. Hudson compares Bernie and Hillary to Trotsky and Stalin, and we all know how that turned out.

Naked Capitalism
Michael Hudson: Obama Said Hillary Will Continue his Legacy – and Indeed She Will!
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University


The Real News Network
Trump Policy Will Unravel Traditional Neocons
Sharmini Peries interviews Michael Hudson

Martin Armstrong — Congress Authorized Propaganda Against Americans

Martine Armstrong reminds us that it is now legal for the US government to lie not only to foreigners, as previously, but also to Americans domestically.

That's a curious view of freedom of the press.

Armstrong Economics

Brad DeLong — Must-Read: Michael Kalecki (1943): Political Aspects of Full Employment:

Kudos to Brad for using his bully pulpit to promote Kalecki.

Grasping Reality
Must-Read: Michael Kalecki (1943): Political Aspects of Full Employment:
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Vox — Searches for "Register to vote" briefly surpassed "Kim Kardashian" during the DNC

As Hillary Clinton prepared to take the stage on Thursday night, something remarkable happened, briefly, on the internet: more people were searching for “register to vote” than “Kim Kardashian,” according to Google Trends.…
Searches for "Register to vote" briefly surpassed "Kim Kardashian" during the DNC
Libby Nelson

Mohammed Akoob — The Turkish Coup Wasn't an Inside Job

No definitive conclusion yet, but the outlines are becoming visible,
This seems to be the most plausible explanation. The Gülenist elements in the military—and there are some, to be sure—most probably made common cause with dissatisfied secular officers against their common enemy. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government has been able to find enough Gülenists among the putschists to make the case that Fethullah Gülen was the chief architect of the coup attempt. This does not mean it was a Gülenist coup.…
Although at this stage it is difficult to provide a definite answer as to who plotted the coup, and with what goals in mind, one can reasonably surmise on the basis of fragmentary evidence and the history of earlier coups in Turkey that the hard-core secular officers [Kemalists] were most probably the dominant force in the attempted overthrow of the Erdoğan government, with some (one does not know how many) Gülenist officers acting in a supporting role.
This would account for the widespread purge now underway in Turkey. This is basically the entire opposition. The coup has given Erdogan the pretext to decapitate it.

The National Interest
The Turkish Coup Wasn't an Inside Job
Mohammed Ayoob | Senior Fellow, Center for Global Policy, and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro, apologises for the immolation of Greece

This is the Torygraph, not the Onion.
The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.…
Same story the US with the lead to the 2008 financial crisis. The FBI had warned of massive fraud in the mortgage market in December, 2004.

Impossible to write this off to sheer ignorance. Too much money was made for it to have been completely accidental.

The Telegraph
IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro, apologises for the immolation of Greece
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Zheng Yu — China and Russia: Alliance or No Alliance?

Strategic partnership but no alliance.
…neither the Chinese nor Russian governments have the intention to form a military alliance. President Putin has repeatedly stated that an alliance with China is not on Russia’s agenda. On China’s part, non-alliance has been a cornerstone of its foreign policy since the 1980s and a key component of the concept of “a harmonious world” and the “Shanghai spirit” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Both terms have long been advocated by the Chinese government. In this sense, forming alliance is not an ordinary foreign policy decision, but a major shift in China’s fundamental approach and principles of diplomacy.…
China~US Focus
China and Russia: Alliance or No Alliance?
Zheng Yu | Professor at the Institute of Russian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Libby Nelson — First Democrats borrowed Republicans’ rhetoric. Now they’re clapping for Ronald Reagan.

Democrats have already flipped the script during their convention by borrowing traditional Republican rhetoric on everything from American exceptionalism to family values. Now they’re applauding for Ronald Reagan.

Doug Elmets, a former Reagan speechwriter who said he has never voted for a Democrat and has fought to get a statue of Reagan built, told the cheering convention that he planned to vote for Clinton this year.

“I’m here tonight to say: I knew Ronald Reagan; I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan,” he said, echoing the famous line Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen used against Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice presidential debate.
The current Democratic strategy is to double down on triangulation to bring in disaffected Republicans, while poking progressives in the eye. Hey, it worked for Bill. What could go wrong now?

Someone tell them they have lost the plot.

First Democrats borrowed Republicans’ rhetoric. Now they’re clapping for Ronald Reagan.
Libby Nelson

Spiegel — Dangerous Propaganda: Network Close To NATO Military Leader Fueled Ukraine Conflict

Insubordination and disinformation.
General Breedlove's departure from his NATO post in May has done little to placate anyone in the German government. After all, the man Breedlove regarded as an obstacle, President Obama, is nearing the end of his second term. His possible successor, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, is considered a hardliner vis-a-vis Russia.
What's more: Nuland, a diplomat who shares many of the same views as Breedlove, could move into an even more important role after the November election -- she's considered a potential candidate for secretary of state.
Spiegel Online International
Dangerous Propaganda: Network Close To NATO Military Leader Fueled Ukraine Conflict
Christoph Schult and Klaus Wiegrefe

Wy Cheng — China’s Quest to Attract Foreign Talent

This is just the beginning.
The package include 16 new measures, such as fast-track approvals for skilled foreign nationals, a simplified permanent residence application, subsidies for foreign students’ start-ups, and accelerated visas and residency application processes for overseas Chinese. Set to go into effect on August 1, 2016, the new measures, as the ministry revealed, aim to answer “the free trade zone’s urgent demand for high-caliber foreign talent, overseas Chinese returning to start businesses, young foreign students, and investors to realize innovation-driven development of the zone.”
The new policy is in line with the Chinese government’s plan to set up its first immigration office, which was confirmed by Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun earlier this year in an internal meeting. Specifically, the office will be founded by the end of the year by merging and expanding the ministry’s border control and exit-entry administration bureaus. Although the ministry has not disclosed further information, people with knowledge of the plans have made it known that the office would aim at seeking overseas talents to facilitate the country’s transition into a consumer spending and innovation-driven economy.
The Diplomat
China’s Quest to Attract Foreign Talent
Wy Cheng

Nick Bernabe — Clinton Campaign: Russia Rigging US Election by Exposing How We Rigged Election

Russia is manipulating the 2016 U.S. presidential election by leaking hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers — emails that show the DNC rigged and manipulated the Democratic primary in favor of Hillary Clinton. 
Call it an exercise in hypocrisy, or call it a deflection to detract from the fact that America’s political process is corrupt beyond belief. Either way, this is the narrative prevailing in the media as the Democratic Party, led by Clinton surrogates, attempts to downplay its own internal corruption by pinning the blame on Russia in what can be described as a “neo-Red Scare.”…
Perhaps the energy being funneled into the investigation should be directed elsewhere, like toward the documented facts released in the DNC leaks and how they undermine the entire notion that America is a democratic country. You’d think maybe the media would take that kind of information a little more seriously — instead of re-invoking unproven cold war-era Red Scare propaganda. Maybe.…

Simon Radford — Hillary is running a Remain campaign. She needs to change track – or she’ll lose.

American voters, like many who opted for Leave in the UK's EU referendum, are angry and want change. The Democrats will lose if they offer a message of continuity.
The Democratic Party is apparently tone deaf. 

I have seen some recommending that Hillary with to a more populist message. The problem for Hillary is that she cannot credibly pivot at this point. Her record is too long and too consistent as a neoliberal and liberal interventionist.

The Force is not with her.

Open Democracy
Hillary is running a Remain campaign. She needs to change track – or she’ll lose.
Simon Radford

Moon of Alabama — Will Preemptive Accusations Against Russia Cover Up Voting Fraud?

The Democratic Establishment sure hopes it will. The media and liberal* pundits are carrying out a furious disinformation campaign to distract from the cesspool.
The Clinton campaign and some pseudo experts assert that Russia is somehow guilty of hacking the Democratic National Committee and of revealing DNC emails via Wikileaks. There is zero hard evidence for that. The Clinton campaign also claims that Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton's emails. That is also not the case.
But two "liberal" computer experts, who are taken serious in the security scene, now build on those false assertions to say that Russia might manipulate voting machines in the November 9 elections. It would do so, presumably, to change the vote count in favor of Trump.
A Bruce Schneier op ed in today's Washington Post is headlined: By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines.
That headline alone is already dumb. ANY hacker could target and manipulate the easy to deceive voting machines - should those be connected to the Internet. Local administrators of such machines can manipulate them any time.

* (in the sense of US politics) 

Alexander Mercouris — Why Vladimir Putin Was Not Behind the DNC Email Leak

Cui bono?

The Duran
Why Vladimir Putin Was Not Behind the DNC Email Leak
Alexander Mercouris

Lord Keynes — The Strange Death of American Libertarianism in the GOP

Interesting insights on US politics from abroad as the Big Tent folds.

Social Democracy For The 21St Century: A Post Keynesian Perspective
The Strange Death of American Libertarianism in the GOP
Lord Keynes

Pat Lang — Is Russia our enemy?

Time to get a grip, America. You are losing it.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Is Russia our enemy?
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

William Dunkerley — Urgent: Trump's 'Putin Connection' Outed - Part I and II

In Part I, the Trump-Putin "nexus of evil" was revealed as a concoction of Hillary Clinton and her crowd. It may have been simply a convenient contrivance to craftily divert attention away from her entanglement in the Democrat's primary election-rigging scandal.
Forbes magazine played a key role in orchestrating this scandal at the start.
A July 18 Forbes piece focused on the 2016 Republican platform vis-a-vis Russia. Its headline read, "Trump, Deferring to Putin, Deleted GOP Platform's Call to Supply Ukraine with Lethal Defensive Weapons."
There isn't anything in that headline that is demonstrably true. There's not much truth in the rest of the story, either.
Let's pick off a couple of the clearest points first...
So a Trump-Putin nexus has been trumpeted by many, including Forbes, the New York Times and others. It has been demonstrated, though, that their attempts to out a nefarious link between Trump and Putin are based on lies and innuendo.

In the end, a close examination of the details shows Hillary Clinton as the culprit who is outed. It is she and her people who invented Trump's "Putin connection," likely in order to divert attention away from Clinton's entanglement in a primary election-rigging scandal that seemingly delegitimizes her presidential nomination.
This is not only reflecting badly on HRC but also the liberal Establishment, which is turning out to be not so liberal.

Russia Insider

Eric Zeusse — The Central Issue in the U.S. Presidential Campaign

This central issue is whether or not to continue to move forward with the American government’s plan, ever since the Soviet Union and its military alliance the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991, to extend NATO — the anti-Russia military club — right up to Russia’s borders, surround Russia with NATO nuclear missiles a mere five minutes flight-time to Moscow, and simultaneously build a “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” (BMD or ABM) system to nullify Russia’s retaliatory missiles against an unannounced blitz U.S.-NATO invasion to take over, if not totally eliminate, Russia and its resistance to U.S. power. This operation is an ugly reality, but it is an American-led reality, and the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election will bring it into its final stage, either by ending it, or by culminating it — two drastically different outcomes, but one side or the other will prevail in this political contest, and the present article links to the documentation that America’s voters will need to be aware of that shows not only that they’ve been lied-to, but how and why they’ve been lied-to. The documentation is all-important, especially because the facts that are being documented have been hidden so successfully for so long. This is not a world that Americans want to know, but it is a world that especially the few Americans who are in control, don’t want the American public to know. That’s a toxic combination (public ignorance, which the people in control want to continue), but it is tragically real (as the documentation here will make clear).…
The situation is actually worse than this since the bipartisan Establishment has been demonizing Putin and XI as evil dictators, and the US media elite have been priming the American public psychologically for confrontation with Russia and China.

The Vineyard of the Saker
The Central Issue in the U.S. Presidential Campaign
Eric Zeusse

Nixon and Kissinger cleverly split Russia and China in the previous Cold War. Now in Cold War 2.0 the US is driving them together again in a "brilliant" strategic move.
"This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership," China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference, as cited by Reuters.
Chinese & Russian navies to hold drills in South China Sea in September

The Editors of The Nation— Against Neo-McCarthyism

This neo-McCarthyism now threatens to derail a vital debate over the substance of the 20,000-plus e-mails, made public by WikiLeaks on July 22, that reveal the purportedly neutral Democratic National Committee’s derision and contempt for Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign—as well as several aborted attempts to tip the scales against him. While the FBI has launched an investigation, as of press time, nobody has conclusively proven who hacked into the DNC’s network, much less demonstrated what their motives were. But that didn’t stop Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook from appearing on CNN on July 24 to allege that Russia was behind the hack. “Sources are saying the Russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump,” said Mook. To no one’s great surprise, he neglected to tell CNN who his sources were. Nevertheless, liberal-media elites have joined with the Clinton campaign in promoting the narrative of a devious Russian cyber-attack, which Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s Adam Johnson correctly points out “is being used to outweigh the damning substance of the leak itself.”

Yes, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned over the scandal, but a fuller accounting is required—and so is reforming the rules governing the party’s primary elections. The Nation calls on liberals to focus on these issues, to undertake a serious conversation about US-Russia relations, and to reject the cheap neo-McCarthyism that undermines these efforts. No one wishes to defeat Donald Trump more than The Nation. But to adopt the pernicious language of McCarthyism is to turn our backs on the best traditions of our country in favor of the worst.
The Democratic Establishment descends from the sewer into the cesspool and the US media rushes along with them.

More signs that the wheels are coming off.

The Nation
Against Neo-McCarthyism
The Editors

But liberals in the press have gone beyond simply questioning the source of the email leak. Firmly convinced that Trump’s candidacy is being advanced by the Kremlin, they have also turned against leftists, claiming that they are doing Putin’s bidding. A fellow at the Center for American Progress, for example, accused Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald of being a “Russia troll.” Josh Marshall pondered how many online “Sanders supporters” and “Trump supporters” were actually being run out of a Russian operation, while a writer at The Atlantic confronted a Bernie fan on Twitter about their suspicious interest in Ukraine. And the Democratic Blue Nation Review, run by longtime Clinton operative David Brock, warned that online “Bernie or Bust” supporters could instead be “sophisticated agitators” in the pay of the Russian government.

Jonathan Chait, a liberal writer for New York magazine, suggested that leftists are reflexive defenders and enablers of the Russian state:
Current Affairs
Democrats Are Redbaiting Like It’s 1956
Nathan J. Robinson | Editor of Current Affairs

Russia Insider
Here's Why The DNC Emails Were NOT Hacked by Russia - More Leaks Are Coming
Debka File

Naked Capitalism
Hoisted from Comments: Can We Even Know Who Hacked the DNC Email?
Lambert Strether

Timothy Taylor — Adam Smith on Human Capacity for Self-Deceit

Adam Smith offered a characteristically pungent insight on the subject of the human capacity for self-deceit in his 1759 book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. I quote here from the always-useful 1790 edition available online at the Library of Economics and Liberty website.
Now we call this "cognitive bias."

Convertible Economist
Adam Smith on Human Capacity for Self-Deceit
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Andrés Velasco — The Real Roots of Populism

In the 1930s, thinkers like John Maynard Keynes and political leaders like Franklin Roosevelt, with brave and eloquent words still worth quoting, discarded capitalism’s mindless orthodoxies in order to save the liberal democratic order. One world war and tens of millions of deaths later, they succeeded.
Today, liberal democratic values are once again under siege, and the path paved by Keynes and Roosevelt is still the only way out. We should follow it.
Project Syndicate
The Real Roots of Populism 
Andrés Velasco, | former presidential candidate and finance minister of Chile, is Professor of Professional Practice in International Development at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs

Bill Mitchell — Overt Monetary Financing would flush out the ideological disdain for fiscal policy

There was an article (May 24, 2016) – Helicopter money: The illusion of a free lunch – written by three institutional bank economists (two from the BIS, the other from the central bank of Thailand), which concluded that Overt Monetary Financing (OMF), where the bank provides the monetary capacity to support much larger fiscal deficits with no further debt being issued to the non-government sector, was “too good to be true”, in the sense that it “comes with a heavy price” – summarised as “giving up on monetary policy forever“. The argument they make is very consistent with the work that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) proponents have published for more 20 years now, which is now starting to penetrate the mainstream banking analysis. However, the conclusion they draw is not supported by the original MMT proponents who would characterise OMF as a highly desirable policy development, more closely representative of the intrinsic monetary capacity of the government. The article also raises questions of what we mean by a “free lunch”, a term which was popularised (but not invented) by Monetarist Milton Friedman. Its use in economics is always loaded towards the mainstream view that government interventions are costly. But if we really appraise what the term “no such thing as a free lunch” really means then, once again, we are more closely operating in the MMT realm which stresses real resource constraints and exposes the fallacies of financial constraints that are meant to apply to currency-issuing governments.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Overt Monetary Financing would flush out the ideological disdain for fiscal policy
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

See also
Below we present selected excerpts from Koo's full "cost-benefit analysis" of helicopter money, and specifically the four forms it could take, and why each of them is ultimately doomed.
Zero Hedge
Richard Koo: If Helicopter Money Succeeds, It Will Lead To 1,500% Inflation