Showing posts from March 2, 2015

Noam Chomsky on How the Iraq War Birthed ISIS & Why U.S. Policy Undermines the Fight Against It

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["So, the main state that’s opposed to ISIS is Iran.... But Iran is, you know, on our enemies list. Probably the main ground forces fighting ISIS are the PKK and its allies, which are on the U.S. terrorist list.... Saudi Arabia, our major ally, along with Israel, is both traditionally, for a long time, the main funder of ISIS and similar groups.... not only the funder, but they’re the ideological source." *RON*]
By Amy Goodman, Aaron Maté & Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now!, 2 March 2015

As Iraq launches a new military operation to retake the city of Tikrit from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, thousands of Iraqi forces and militia fighters have converged in the city Samarra to strike nearby ISIS strongholds. The United States is expected to provide air support as part of its continued bombing campaign. The offensive comes as the Iraqi military prepares for a major U.S.-backed operation to retake Mosul from ISIS in the coming weeks. ISI…

Corporate Borrowing Now Flows To Shareholders, Not Productive Investment: Study

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[Well, Duh! But it's good to see this confirmed. Stocks having been going through the roof because corporations have been borrowing money that the government has ensured is virtually free, using it to buy back their own stocks, thereby automatically raising the value of each share while doing absolutely nothing productive. It's incidental that shareholders have benefited, however. The real reason this has been happening is that CEO compensation is tied to share value. *RON*]
By Owen Davis, International Business Times, 26 February 2015

Why do companies take on debt? The conventional answer is that they need to invest: to hire more workers, upgrade facilities or invent new widgets. But fresh research shows that in the past three decades corporations increasingly borrow simply to reward shareholders.

“Something is really operating differently in the world of corporate finance now,” says J.W. Mason, an economist and fellow at the left-leanin…

Ukraine unofficially has 272 percent inflation

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[Ukraine's currency has fallen 70 percent since the start of 2014, and that's pushed it into hyperinflation. *RON*]

By Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 1 March 2015
Hyperinflation is always and everywhere a political phenomenon.

It happens after wars or revolutions, when governments have to print the money they need because there's not much of an economy left to tax—which brings us to Ukraine. It had a revolution, it has a war now, and it's all but broke. Inflation is officially 28.5 percent, but, according to Johns Hopkins professor Steve Hanke, it's really more like 272 percent. And that's only going to get worse as long as Ukraine's currency does.

It's hard to overstate how challenged Ukraine is. Its economy has actuallyshrunk since communism ended in 1991. Or since 1992. Or even 1993. That's because communism never really did end. Ukraine just traded party bosses for oligarchs. Sure, it privatized companies…

Meet the Big Wallets Pushing Obama Towards a New Cold War

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[The Death R Us branch of the corporatocracy. The military-industrial complex, deploying their army of K Street elite lobbyists, stands to make huge gains by hyping the Russian threat and urging Uncle Sam to confront the Russian bear. *RON*]
By Christian Stork, AlterNet, 25 February 2015

There’s a familiar ring to the U.S. calls to arm Ukraine’s post-coup government. That’s because the same big-money players who stand to benefit from belligerent relations with Russia haven’t forgotten a favorite Cold War tune.

President Obama has said that he won’t rule out arming Ukraine if a recent truce, which has all but evaporated, fails like its predecessor. His comments echoed the advice of a report issued a week prior by three prominent U.S. think tanks: the Brookings Institute, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Atlantic Council. The report advocated sending $1 billion worth of “defensive” military assistance to Kiev’s pro-Western government.

If …

Bargain Hunt For Tech Amid The Wreck Of Russia’s Economy

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[Thus proving there is no national disaster so great but that a few vultures can't make a buck off it. See Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism*RON*]
By Jeni Mayorskaya, Kirill Belov, Tech Crunch, 1 March 2015

Editor’s Note: Jeni Mayorskaya is an entrepreneur working in product management and business development with tech companies in the USA, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Russia and Europe;Kirill Belov is an angel investor, mentor and managing partner in Impulse VC based in Moscow.

Over the last 6 months, Russia’s image as a lucrative investment target has been wrecked along with all of its economic markers.

If you, like a lot of international companies, had been planning to expand in Russia and hunt for Russian users to build proper business relationships here yesterday, as of today you’d barely think twice about removing all the news of war and the collapse of the ruble from your feed. Perhaps you’re r…