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An Autumn Abyss?
By Joschka Fischer - Project-Syndicate.org
BERLIN – In the coming months, several serious regional economic and political crises could combine into one mega-watershed, fueling an intense global upheaval. In the course of the summer, the prospect of a perilous fall has become only more likely.
The drums of war are being banged ever more loudly in the Middle East. No one can predict the direction in which Egypt's Sunni Islamist president and parliamentary majority will lead the country. But one thing is clear: the Sunni Islamists are decisively altering the region's politics. This regional re-alignment need not be necessarily anti-Western, but it surely will be if Israel and/or the United States attack Iran militarily.
Don't get Your Hopes up for Jackson Hole
By TJ Kim - PragCap.com
The Federal Reserve's annual symposium at Jackson Hole is only a few days away. Despite some investors' expectation on new stimulus that might be hinted at the meeting, the situation now seems more likely that Chairman Ben Bernanke may not signal or announce any definitive plan. Especially with some signs of a rebound in the economy and thus reducing the urgency of another round of Quantitative Easing, the Fed may take more time to reassess the economy before drawing up any stimulus package.
While it is hard to figure out what will be announced at the symposium, it will be helpful to understand what the focus of discussion was at last month's FOMC meeting.
No surprises likely from Bernanke
Bernanke should show some humility
Markets await hints on policy moves
from Federal Reserve chairman
By Bob Corker - FT.com
You don't have to watch the morning financial news or read the newspapers for long before realising that the day's market activities will once again be driven by a "will they or won't they" debate over the US Federal Reserve. Almost every day begins and ends with extensive debate on the same questions: what will the Fed do next? Will there be another round of quantitative easing?
This week is yet another example, with global equity and bond markets now not debating macroeconomic fundamentals but instead placing bets on what Ben Bernanke will or won't say in Jackson Hole on Friday. We are getting to the point where this question, and Mr Bernanke's Fed itself, are becoming unhealthy distractions from improving our free market system and engaging in fundamental policy debates.
Gross Says QE3 Likely Even If Bernanke Doesn't Provide Hint
By Cordell Eddings and Trish Regan - Bloomberg.com
Pacific Investment Management Co.'s Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve will add to monetary stimulus even if Chairman Ben S. Bernanke fails to indicate additional measures during a speech in two days.
Policy makers will announce more so-called quantitative easing "relatively soon," Gross, who runs the world's biggest bond fund, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart" with Trish Regan.
QE3 and the looming currency war
Commentary: An unstable situation could worsen
By Michael Casey
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — First, let's get this straight: The U.S. Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is composed of some very smart, sensible people.
But...for all the unreasonable accusations that are sometimes leveled at Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues, there is one good reason to complain about the FOMC's detachment from the world. It stems from the fact that the Fed's mandate extends no further than U.S. borders. The committee members are under no legal obligation to consider the impact of their actions on foreign countries. And yet their decisions inevitably have a sweeping, disruptive influence on global money markets and, by extension, on the world economy.
Firestorms & Currency Twisters
BY JIM WILLIE - FinancialSense.com
Begin with a preface of a meaningful event that could change the entire US landscape, a redux of what happened four years ago. Consider the next Wall Street financial firm failure. It is in progress. It is not avoidable. It will have numerous ramifications. It will open the door to account thefts, burial of documents, ransack of undesired leveraged positions, the concealment of wrecked derivatives, and a path toward the merger of surviving (selected core) firms. It will urge an extreme defensive posture. Back in 2008, both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fell. The former because they had too much gold exposure with anti-US$ hedges. The latter because they led in mortgage exposure. Both failures were greatly exploited.
Even talk of a gold standard would boost the price
Commentary: Current monetary system is breaking down
By Matthew Lynn
LONDON (MarketWatch) — What would it take to break the gold price out of the $1,600 to $1,700 an ounce range in which it has been trading for the past year? Another massive blast of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve? A final breakdown of the euro? A war between Israel and Iran?
They are all possibilities, of course. But the most likely candidate is a serious debate about a return to some form of the gold standard.
In the U.S., the Republican Party has already pledged to study restoring the link between the dollar and gold if it wins the upcoming election. In Switzerland there have been parliamentary debates about restoring the link between the Swiss franc and gold.
Profit taking, buying on dips occurring in Gold
ahead of Jackson Hole meet: UBS
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): A mix of profit taking and dip buying are occurring in gold ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's highly anticipated speech at a Jackson Hole, Wyo., symposium Friday, said Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) in a commodity research note.
Comex December gold ran up to a four-month high of $1,679.30 at the start of the week amid hopes Bernanke will signal more easing, but has consolidated since, trading at $1,665.60—down $4.10 for the day—as of 7:33 a.m. EDT.
Gold ends lower on caution before Bernanke speech
By Claudia Assis and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures ended lower Wednesday as the dollar gained ground and traders seemed to be waiting for a gathering of central bankers to get under way before making any significant moves.
Gold for December delivery fell $6.70, or 0.4%, to $1,663 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
At pivotal moment, Bernanke low on economic ammo
By Zachary A. Goldfarb - WashingtonPost.com
This is not the situation Ben S. Bernanke wanted to be in.
When he took the stage for his annual address in Jackson Hole, Wyo., four years ago, the Federal Reserve chairman had a broad arsenal of weapons that he would soon use to rescue the U.S. financial system from collapse.
On Friday, he returns to the yearly economic conference still facing huge economic challenges, but now he's far more constrained by both politics and limitations on what the Fed can do to help the economy.
Treasuries Snap Loss As Gross Says Fed To Implement QE3
By Wes Goodman - Bloomberg.com
Treasuries snapped a loss from yesterday after Pacific Investment Management Co.'s Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve will add to monetary stimulus even if Chairman Ben S. Bernanke doesn't say so in a speech tomorrow.
Bernanke is scheduled to speak as central bank policy makers debate whether to add to their bond purchases under the program of so-called quantitative easing, or QE, to support expansion. Growth is slowing in the U.S., while Europe's economy is contracting. The U.S. is scheduled to sell seven-year debt today, the last of three note sales this week totaling $99 billion.
Is Inflation Returning?
By Martin Feldstein - Project-Syndicate.org
CAMBRIDGE – Inflation is now low in every industrial country, and the combination of high unemployment and slow GDP growth removes the usual sources of upward pressure on prices. Nevertheless, financial investors are increasingly worried that inflation will eventually begin to rise, owing to the large expansion of commercial bank reserves engineered by the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB). Some investors, at least, remember that rising inflation typically follows monetary expansion, and they fear that this time will be no different.
Is Morgan Stanley on the chopping block?
MORGAN STANLEY FACES IMMINENT FAILURE & RUIN,
MAY SEE 1ST PRIVATE STOCK ACCOUNT THEFTS
Willie states that Morgan Stanley faces IMMINENT FAILURE & RUIN, that The older employees are selling all of their stock, and that Many workers are making contingency plans for their next positions in another firm.
By Jim Willie - SilverDoctors.com
Begin with a preface to a meaningful event that could change the entire US landscape, a redux of what happened four years ago. Consider the next Wall Street financial firm failure. It is in progress. It is not avoidable. It will have numerous ramifications. It will open the door to account thefts, the burial of documents, the ransack of undesired leveraged positions, the concealment of wrecked derivatives, and a path toward the merger of surviving (selected core) firms. It will urge an extreme defensive posture. Back in 2008, both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fell. The former because they had too much gold exposure with anti-US$ hedges. The latter because they led in mortgage exposure. Both failures were greatly exploited.
Gasoline Prices Fast Approaching New All-Time Highs
By CULLEN ROCHE - PragCap.com
The US consumer just can't catch a break. Despite a stagnant economy gasoline prices continue to approach new highs. The latest national gas price reading of $3.77 is just 8% below the all-time high of $4.11 set in 2008. It seems like every time things start to look better than expected we get the usual suspects coming into play the role of party pooper. And as gas prices approach all-time highs you can be certain that this drain from consumer spending isn't helping. Here's more details from AAA:
The Real Reason Behind Oil Price Rises -
An Interview with James Hamilton
By James Stafford - OilPrice.com
Nowadays the energy picture is confusing at best as the more information we are shown the more blurred our vision seems to become. Mixed messages, poor reporting and a media hungry to sensationalize anything it thinks can grab a headline have led to many wondering what the true energy situation is. We hear numerous reports on how the shale revolution will transform the energy sector, why alternatives are just around the corner, why advances in oilfield extraction techniques and new finds will help to lower oil prices. Yet no sooner have we read these rosy reports than we are bombarded with negative news on the Middle East, on why alternatives will never compete, on peak oil and declining oil production.
Should we run government as a business?
Commentary: When it comes to debt, everyone is guilty
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — We often hear that government would be best run the same way as a business, especially in terms of managing money.
Texas businessman Ross Perot made this notion the central theme of his 1992 bid to be U.S. president. He frequently said that America can't keep spending more than it makes, that business doesn't do this. (And he could have possibly won the White House had he not temporarily dropped out of the race without fully explaining why.)
Federal Reserve To Crash Markets Before Launching QE3?
Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul: Desperate to print Wiemar-style to fight off the most viscous Kondratiev Winter on record, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may not satisfy 'inflation trade' onlookers at the close of his Jackson Hole speech scheduled Friday. He may, instead, merely allow months of anticipatory front-running of stocks do the work of propping up asset prices for him.
And if investors don't get the 'all-systems go' at Jackson Hole, there's always the FOMC meeting of Sept. 12 & 13 to get the good news. That's when market volatility could move off the charts, maybe extreme volatility to the downside, according some Wall Street analysts.
Europe's Necessary Union
By José Manuel Barroso - Project-Syndicate.org
BRUSSELS – The consequences of Europe's debt crisis are all too present throughout much of the European Union, as distressed economies attempt to stabilize and grow at the same time. Notwithstanding the important decisions taken over the last couple of years, the reality is that we need to do more to tackle the challenges facing the eurozone.
Reform and consolidation measures are being implemented across the EU. Joint financial backstops have been put in place. And the European Central Bank has consistently shown that it will stand by the euro. Yet experts and partners often underestimate our determination.
Did China Cause the Financial Crisis?
By CULLEN ROCHE - PragCap.com
Interesting new paper here by Heleen Mees of ERIM. She theorizes that China actually caused the entire financial crisis. It's essentially the global savings glut story which I am not entirely sold on. China accumulates reserves because the USA likes to buy cheaper goods and services. It's not just a desire to save in dollars. It's a demand function as well. China just so happens to be the primary place of cheap production. So they end up with the dollars as a matter of necessity. Anyhow, it's an interesting perspective and I'd be interested in readers views here:
China is Okay
By Stephen S. Roach - Project-Syndicate.org
NEW HAVEN – Concern is growing that China's economy could be headed for a hard landing. The Chinese stock market has fallen 20% over the past year, to levels last seen in 2009. Continued softness in recent data – from purchasing managers' sentiment and industrial output to retail sales and exports – has heightened the anxiety. Long the global economy's most powerful engine, China, many now fear, is running out of fuel.
These worries are overblown. Yes, China's economy has slowed. But the slowdown has been contained, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. The case for a soft landing remains solid.
Chinese banks step up lending in the US
By Kandy Wong in New York - FT.com
China's top banks are stepping up their lending activities in the US as large US companies diversify their funding sources and seek to penetrate more deeply into the world's second-largest economy.
Chinese banks' share of US syndicated lending has risen to 6.1 per cent of the total market so far in 2012, up from 5.1 per cent last year, according to data from Dealogic. So far this year, the total value of syndicated loans from Chinese banks into the US has reached $51bn.
Countering the Cutting Frenzy
Tax the Rich or Privatize the State?
by SHAMUS COOKE - CounterPunch.org
The Great Recession and its possible continuance has brought the issue of privatization to the forefront of American politics. But most Americans aren't even aware that this debate is happening, because the media and politicians aren't using the word "privatization;" instead less threatening substitutes are used to ram through a corporate agenda that aims to massively transform public resources into corporate profit.
The mass privatization frenzy is the corporate solution to the budget crises occurring on the city, state, and national level — crises caused by the recession that the banks and corporations created themselves, and are now positioning themselves to benefit from again, beyond the infamous bailouts.
U.S. Firms Move Abroad to Cut Taxes
Despite '04 Law, Companies Reincorporate Overseas,
Saving Big Sums on Taxes
By JOHN D. MCKINNON And SCOTT THURM - WSJ.com
More big U.S. companies are reincorporating abroad despite a 2004 federal law that sought to curb the practice. One big reason: Taxes.
Companies cite various reasons for moving, including expanding their operations and their geographic reach. But tax bills remain a primary concern. A few cite worries that U.S. taxes will rise in the future, especially if Washington revamps the tax code next year to shrink the federal budget deficit.
SunTrust updates smartphone app to accept mobile deposits
Baltimore Business Journal by Ed Arnold
In keeping step with banking giants Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.,SunTrust Banks Inc. has released an update to its mobile banking smartphone app to include mobile deposits.
Using their smartphone's camera, SunTrust customers can now take a picture of the front and back of their checks to submit them for deposit.
Banks labeled 'slumlords' over foreclosure neglect
By James O'Toole - Money.CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. Bank is the country's fifth-largest commercial bank, with 3,000 branches in 25 states. It's also "one of the largest slumlords in the City of Los Angeles," according to the L.A. city attorney's office.
In a complaint filed last month, the office accused U.S. Bank of failing to maintain more than 170 foreclosed properties, blighting neighborhoods, decreasing property values and increasing crime rates.
Citigroup agrees to $590 million subprime settlement
By Danielle Douglas - WashingtonPost.com
Citigroup on Wednesday agreed to pay $590 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by investors alleging that the New York bank failed to disclose its exposure to toxic subprime mortgage debt.
In the run-up to the financial crisis, the bank, like many other big financial institutions, either held or sold securities that were essentially giant pools of shoddy mortgages. When waves of struggling homeowners stopped making their monthly payments, these securities exacerbated the mortgage defaults, caused massive losses at big banks and brought on one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.
Houston Community Newspapers sold to Nevada company
Houston Business Journal by Olivia Pulsinelli
Houston Community Newspapers has been sold to Nevada-based 1013 Star Communications, an operator of suburban newspapers.
The sale is the final divestiture for ASP Westward, which had owned the Houston group since 2002, HCN reports. Earlier this year, ASP Westward sold newspaper operations in east Texas and suburban Denver.
California Is Suddenly Adding Jobs Faster Than Texas—Why?
By Jordan Weissmann - TheAtlantic.com
After the Great Recession, it became something of a sport among policy nerds to compare the relative merits of Texas' and California's economies. Think Goofus and Gallant, with high-unemployment, big government-loving California as the former, and low-regulation, job-creating Texas as the latter.
But as I noted earlier this month, and Bloomberg reports today, the Golden State now seems to be getting the upper hand:
Rising home values in the face of stagnant incomes – Home prices are rising at a rate three times faster than the CPI. Lowest available inventory in over 30 years.
For the first time since September of 2010, nearly two years ago, has the Case Shiller 20 City Index realized a year-over-year gain. Does this signify a sustainable turning point for the market? At this point it is too hard to tell for a couple of reasons. The first has to do with the composition of homes being sold but also, at a more profound level,household income has fallen for well over a decade. Much of the sustained gains have come from astoundingly low interest rates offering buyers more leverage, low available inventory for sale, and a continuation of low down payment mortgages. You will notice that none of these reasons include household incomes rising to meet current prices. It really is unsustainable unless incomes can follow in conjunction. This year, according to the Case Shiller Index home values are now up 3.86 percent. Household incomes are not up. So what justifies this significant move? The CPI is up 1.3 percent so why are overall home values moving up at a rate 3 times higher than the overall index? You also see Millennials taking the brunt of the negative equity situation.
Obama Has Stolen $5.3 Trillion From Our Children In Order To Make Himself Look Good
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Barack Obama has destroyed the future of America in order to improve his chances of winning the next election. Under Obama, 5.3 trillion dollars has been ruthlessly stolen from our children and our grandchildren. That money has been used to pump up the debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been experiencing. When the U.S. government borrows money that it does not have from someone else (such as China) and spends that money into the economy it is going to make our economic numbers look better. Even if the government spends that money on incredibly stupid things, it still gets into the hands of average Americans who in turn spend that money on food, gas, clothes, etc. If we were to go back and take that extra 5.3 trillion dollars out of the U.S. economy, I guarantee you that we would be in a rip-roaring depression right now. We would look a lot like Greece at this point. For several years Greece has been raising taxes and cutting government spending in an attempt to balance the budget and these austerity measures have resulted in an unemployment rate of over 23 percent and an economy that has contracted by close to 25 percent. Most Americans don't want to go through pain like that so they are okay with continuing to financially rape our children and our grandchildren.
A Grand Old Growth Party
Above all, voters want to hear how Republicans will restore prosperity.
Inside the GOP's Tampa convention hall this week, one prominent feature is a debt clock ticking toward $16 trillion. With due respect to that horrifying number, it's the wrong figure to watch. What Mitt Romney and the GOP need above all is a growth clock and a persuasive case for economic revival.
Most Americans have concluded that Obamanomics is a failure, but polls also show that independent voters remain skeptical that either party has an answer to the malaise of the Obama and latter Bush years. This cynicism plays into the hands of President Obama, who is trying to convince Americans that 1.5% growth and 42 months of more than 8% unemployment is the best we could have expected.
The Last Gasps of the Ron Paul Movement
And how the GOP's new rules are meant to make sure
no one rises to replace him.
By David Weigel - Slate.com
TAMPA – Sen. Rand Paul was trapped in a corner. It'd been like this all afternoon. He'd been walking the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, hounded by reporters, having the same conversation with every delegate loyal to his father's campaign as bulky cameras nosed in. They were diehards, angry that a quick vote on the Republican National Convention platform had affirmed a rule that blocked some of their fellow delegates. David Jaques, an Oregon "Ron Paul follower for 20-plus years" told the senator that he still wanted to put the candidate's name into nomination. The senator kept telling him not to.
"It does break my heart," he said. "But we fight on. We won't stop. We've just got to follow the rules."
On Mitt Romney, Bain Capital and Private Equity
By Matt Taibbi - RollingStone.com
So our new magazine piece, Greed and Debt, about Mitt Romney's past with Bain and the use of debt to finance takeovers, is online, and already I'm getting some questions that I am anxious to answer. There's a subtle point about the private equity business that I may not have made clear enough in the piece.
One emailer writes: "You've completely misunderstood what private equity does and ignored the many success stories in the industry. There is a reason why many of PE's biggest investors are unions and pension funds . . . who have benefitted more than once from private equity deals."
'Whole damn' healthcare law is 'still unconstitutional'
By Ramsey Cox - TheHill.com
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) declared President Obama's healthcare law "still unconstitutional" in a red-hot address Wednesday night at the Republican National Committee.
The Tea Party favorite told the convention crowd the Supreme Court was wrong when it ruled this summer that "ObamaCare" is permissible under Congress's taxing powers.
"I think if James Madison, himself — the father of the Constitution — were here today he would agree with me: the whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!
Ryan to vow health care repeal fight just beginning
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan will accept Republicans' vice presidential nomination Wednesday night saying this election marks a new battle in the fight to halt President Obama's health care law, according to excerpts of his remarks provided by Mitt Romney's campaign.
"The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare," Mr. Ryan will tell the thousands of delegates awaiting the speech by the author of congressional Republicans' budget plan, whom Mr. Romney elevated to be his running mate.
Two-fifths of all Americans are middle-agers
The Business Journals by G. Scott Thomas
Middle-agers -- people between 35 and 64 years old -- make up nearly 40 percent of the nation's population.
The most recent federal census counted 63.78 million people within the 35-49 age group, accounting for 20.7 percent of all Americans. Another 58.78 million (19.0 percent) were in the 50-64 bracket.
That adds up to 122.56 million middle-agers, constituting 39.7 percent of America's total of 308.75 million residents.
Half of Americans die with almost no money
By Andrea Coombes
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)—Almost half of U.S. retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less, but that grim finding doesn't fully describe the variability and uncertainty that characterize retirement in America, according to a recent study.
While some retirees struggle profoundly, living at or below the poverty line, others enjoy wealth and health—in fact, the two are strongly linked—while still others have little in savings but enjoy a decent income, according to the report, based on a survey that tracked retirees from 1993 through 2008.
The Mega-Rich and the "Useless Eaters"
America's Descent Into Poverty
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS - CounterPunch.org
The United States has collapsed economically, socially, politically, legally, constitutionally, environmentally, and morally. The country that exists today is not even a shell of the country into which I was born. In this article I will deal with America's economic collapse. In subsequent articles, i will deal with other aspects of American collapse.
Economically, America has descended into poverty. As Peter Edelman says, "Low-wage work is pandemic." Today in "freedom and democracy" America, "the world's only superpower," one fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four. Some of these lowly-paid persons are young college graduates, burdened by education loans, who share housing with three or four others in the same desperate situation. Other of these persons are single parents only one medical problem or lost job away from homelessness.
GM Temporarily Halts Volt Production over Low Sales
By Charles Kennedy - OilPrice.com
US automaker General Motors Co. has announced it will halt production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car for four weeks, citing the car's failure to meet targeted sales projections, according to Bloomberg news.
GM sold 10,666 Volts in the US in July. Global sales were targeted at 60,000 units, with 45,000 on the US market. Sales for 2011 were also under target, and even though an investigation into vehicle safety concluded that the Volt did not pose a fire risk, the congressional hearings on the issue led to a slow-down in sales.
Behind the New View of Globalization
By EDWARD ALDEN - NYTimes.com
For decades, economists resisted the conclusion that trade – for all of its many benefits — has also played a significant role in job loss and the stagnation of middle-class incomes in the United States. As recently as 2008, for instance, Robert Lawrence of Harvard, one of the country's most respected trade experts, concluded that trade explained only a small share of growing income inequality and labor market displacement in the United States.
Rather than focusing on trade, economists argued that other factors – especially "skill-biased technical change," technological innovation that puts an added premium on skilled workers – played the biggest role in holding down middle-class wages. But now economists are beginning to change their minds. Responding to The Times's recent survey about the causes of income stagnation, many top economists have cited globalization as a leading cause.
Why Does The U.S. Government
Treat Military Veterans Like Human Garbage?
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
The way that the U.S. government treats military veterans is absolutely disgraceful. Men and women that have given everything for this nation are literally being treated like human garbage by their own government. After watching how vets are treated, it is absolutely amazing that anyone is still volunteering to be a part of the military. We pay those in the military like crap, we keep sending our best soldiers back to Afghanistan and Iraq again and again, we don't equip them properly, military suicides are at a record pace, hundreds of thousands of applications for veteran benefits are hopelessly backlogged, homelessness and unemployment among vets is much higher than for the general population, the condition of most VA hospitals is an absolute disgrace, and to top everything off now the Obama administration has started labeling military veterans as "potential terrorists". What you are about to read should make you very angry. The abuse, neglect and outright disrespect that military vets receive from their own government is absolutely shocking. We owe these men and women a great debt for the service that they have performed for our nation, but instead the federal government kicks them to the curb and treats them with no honor whatsoever. The way a nation treats military vets says a lot about the character of that nation, and right now the way that America treats veterans says that we have the character of a steaming pile of manure.
Syrian Conflict Not Just Battle Against Assad
By Steve Clemons - TheAtlantic.com
The New Yorker has just published a gripping, must read piece for those following the horrible convulsions inside Syria titled "The War Within" by Jon Lee Anderson on the diverse array of bosses, ideologues, thugs and strategists animating the Syrian opposition today.
I highly recommend it -- and think that his characterization of the conflict as now indisputably a civil war is sobering, particularly for those advocating deep intervention by the US and Europe:
Syria: The Kurdish Wild Card
By Reese Erlich - Truthdig.com
The apartment reminds me of a '60s-era crash pad. Syrian Kurds in their 20s sprawl on every available bed, couch and sleeping mat. Posters line the walls extolling Kurdish martyrs who fought Bashar al-Assad.
Fighters, smugglers, medics and demonstration organizers who have fled Syria stay here in Antakya, near the Syrian border. They reflect different political viewpoints but are united in opposition to the Syrian regime.
Dinesh D'Souza Obama 2016 YouTube
A CounterPunch Special Report on
How Democrats Have Distorted
the True History FDR's Signature Program
The New Deal Illusion
by GABRIEL KOLKO - CounterPunch.org
What was the New Deal of the 1930s? There are so many myths surrounding it, and to a large extent the Democratic Party's credibility today is based on the assumption they were fundamental social innovators, progressive if you will, during the New Deal.
But the 1920s and 1930 was a very complex period and are best treated as one unified era because the administration of Herbert Hoover, the much-reviled president during the Great Depression that began in 1929 and lasted well into the 1930s, was also a part of the American "Progressive" tradition. As I have argued elsewhere, American "progressivism" was a part of a big business effort to attain protection from the unpredictability of too much competition.
Romney pledges he will return US military resolve
in speech to veterans
By Justin Sink - TheHill.com
On the evening of the biggest day in his political career, Mitt Romney previewed GOP convention speeches focused on the Republican plans for defense and foreign policy.
Romney pledged to return "confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, [and] resolve in our might" to the American military in a Wednesday address to the American Legion in Indianapolis.
Romney vows to reverse defense cuts, improve VA
By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times
INDIANAPOLIS — Mitt Romney, speaking at the American Legion's nation convention, vowed to get veterans out of the unemployment lines and to reverse the defense cuts triggered by the ongoing spending standoff on Capitol Hill.
The pledge came with just a day to go before Mr. Romney accepts the Republican nominate for president and is part of the GOPs effort to blame Mr. Obama for the nation's slow economic recovery and the trillion dollars in defense cuts that came out of Congress last year.
Ryan to Pledge 'Responsibility' in Convention Speech
By COREY BOLES - WSJ.com
TAMPA, Fla.—Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan will pledge to the gathered Republican faithful here that an administration led by Mitt Romney and himself will solve the nation's economic problems, warning that the country doesn't have much time to act to tackle its fiscal challenges, according to excerpts released by the Romney campaign.
"So here is our pledge," he will say according to the excerpts. "We will not duck the tough issues—we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others—we will take responsibility."
Ryan's speech: After four years of 'runaround,'
US needs turnaround
By Russell Berman - TheHill.com
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will cast Mitt Romney as the man who can turn around the country after four years of a "run-around" by President Obama in his Wednesday night speech acceptance speech.
In an address that his advisers say will be heavy on optimism, Ryan will present the nation's challenge as a choice between an Obama administration that has avoided hard choices and a Romney ticket that will meet them head on.
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