Aug 17

Today’s News 17th August 2016

  • Turkish Turmoil: Let The Politics Begin

    Submitted by Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk via Bawerk.net,

    A month on from Turkey’s failed coup attempt, and you’ll find endless op-eds opining the supposed strategic implications of Erdogan’s rear-guard offensives. In a nutshell, it breaks down into four key arguments

    • The first is that Erdogan will oversee a ‘brutal crackdown’ to consolidate power wherever and whenever possible out to 2019 against any form of political opposition (Gulenist or not). The net result supposedly secures Erdogan’s tenure towards 2023 ‘Ataturk’ landmarks, and beyond.
    • The second facet is that Mr. Erdogan will continue to inflict collateral Kurdish damage to secure internal gains along the way. PKK-Ankara relations basically go back to square one, while the slightly more politically savvy HDP gets caught in Erdogan’s crossfire, undermining consistent Kurdish supplies through Turkey.
    • The third factor is Ankara turning towards Russia as a new ‘strategic’ axis against NATO interests, and indeed Turkey’s vexed relations with the transatlantic military body. A relationship that’s likely to go from bad to worse given Mr. Erdogan’s underlying belief that ISIS gains remain the lesser of two evils compared to Kurdish consolidation on his Southern border. Not to mention the minor fact that most AKP members think the US was all in on the ‘Gulenist’ plot to oust the sitting President.
    • Beyond other blindingly obvious points that Turkey’s now subject to far more terror attacks by failing to ride two competing ‘ISIS / Kurdish camels’, that doesn’t really leave us much beyond point four: The failed Turkish mutiny still supposedly portends a major trigger point for another ‘Arab Autumn’, where MENA states are susceptible to enhanced political risk on the back of depressed benchmark prices. While all these arguments have elements of truth, our position is they don’t constitute a serious discussion of the Turkish question, at least without significant caveats raised across all four points. Those same caveats also happen to have sharp resonance for how tangible any KSA-Turkish relations are in future.

    But enough with all the pre-amble stuff, what about the political facts here? The first point to raise on ‘internal political consolidation’, is although Erdogan will continue to wield heavy sticks – probably with fresh elections in 2017 to ram through a two-thirds AKP parliamentary majority to pave the way for a strong arm executive branch on the back of Constitutional reforms – Mr. Erdogan’s not in a credible position to oversee ‘total crackdowns’ across the board. This is still a political game he has to play in a politically sensitive manner to get the consolidation he wants. Part of that’s to prevent another ‘coup 2.0 scenario’ that remains a real concern in Turkey. Hence, while the AKP has locked up vast numbers of military staff and public servants (50,000 and counting), the President wasn’t allowed to resurrect military barracks in Gezi park despite declaring ‘emergency rule’ to do so. Erdogan’s also been forced to play nicer with opposition MHP and CHP factions to present a united ‘anti-Gulenist’ front. The longer Erdogan keeps opposition consent in play, the further anti-Gulenist purges can go, in what’s basically going to be a long term cycle of ‘part of reconciliation, part crackdown’ for secular (long term) consolidation. Ultimately Mr. Erdogan will get his way, creating a strong executive to dominate all branches of government into 2017-18. But that’s not driven by crude ‘crackdowns’, but far more politically intricate games the President will play. Presidential apotheosis yes, but secured through politically nuanced means.

    Unsurprisingly, the same nuances play into Kurdish questions, and especially with the PKK. Recent attacks in the South East were probably inspired by Ocalan to highlight just how weak a post-purge Turkish army has become. Yet that’s not necessarily with a ‘hard-baked’ view of returning to violence for violence sake, but purely to start playing the political game with Erdogan instead. Although very poorly understood by Western analysts, the PKK remains sharply opposed to Gulenist nationalist trappings, and actually holds them responsible for some of the blunter military tactics deployed in South East Turkey last year. To be clear, we’re not saying that anti-Gulenist positions are anywhere enough to consistently bring Ankara and Ocalan to the table for long term accommodation, but it’s probably still sufficient for both sides to play the political game of tactical ‘on-off’ discussions to secure proximate political aims. The PKK wants to remain the ‘go to’ Kurdish group to eclipse growing HDP influence, and more importantly, keep one step ahead of intra-Kurdish contests between the KRG (KDP, Goran and PUK), and YPG / PYD (Rojava) in Syria for regional leadership. Speaking to Erdogan helps secure that status on ‘diplomatic paper’, with ongoing attacks on the Iraq-Turkey (Kirkuk-Ceyhan) the parallel ‘physical insurance policy’ to remind Ankara’s who’s ultimately calling the transit shots, not to mention keeping the KDP in a very difficult spot trying to monetise Kurdish crude. Exactly like our internal crackdown commentary, expect Ankara-PKK relations to keep shifting between ‘jaw-jaw’ and ‘war-war’ calculations on this, purely depending on where the political points can be scored.  Even though the long term ‘Presidential’ prognosis is anything but good for the PKK.

    Turn to Russia and that’s where the entire ‘Turkish thesis’ becomes far more tenuous. Despite the clear political aesthetics of Erdogan’s first ‘post-coup’ trip to St Petersburg, this is ultimately a relationship that both Presidents’ want to dominate on key strategic issues, not share. Don’t forget, from President Putin’s perspective, Turkey was always ear marked as a ‘Eurasian Union’ state that basically relegates Ankara to a Russian satellite interest, while Mr. Erdogan clearly thinks Turkey has far more regional clout in the Levant when it comes to shaping Middle East results. With that said, both sides understand that Russia is increasingly well placed to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state in Norther Syria, given Washington doesn’t have any other anti-Assad cards to play. But whether Russia and Turkey ever truly see eye to eye on Damascus is a less certain prospect. Erdogan won’t like it, but if he genuinely wants Russia on-board as a consistent ‘partner’, that probably means toning down the anti-Assad rhetoric in Syria; it certainly means being more ‘flexible’ over Russian naval presence in the Black Sea. It means scaling down residual support for Crimean Tatars; but most of all, it means increasing Turkish import dependence on Russian energy supplies, where gas is the most politically tradable commodity in play. Putting Turk Stream back on the table with Ankara (as a footnote for our readers, it’s basically a modest version of previous South Stream designs) tries to kill two birds with one pipeline for President Putin.

    a) It regains the political initiative over Ukraine, where Mr. Putin’s long lost the Donetsk war, but could still win the political peace ahead of 2018 Presidential polls in Russia, provided he can cut Kiev out of Wester European transit routes.

     

    b) It makes life far harder for President Aliyev to bring competing Azeri gas to European markets, reducing Baku to its historical status of a Russian outpost. BP merely raises the ‘red flag’ over SOCAR HQ on a daily basis by Caspian / Rosneft proxy.

    Pipelines Turkey

    But unfortunately for Ankara, that rather reinforces the fundamental problem they have with Russia here. This is all one-way political traffic for President Putin to gain the upper hand over Mr. Erdogan, where Moscow rightly sees that a post-coup Turkey is absolutely prime for ‘political plucking’. Whether Erdogan is willing to be stripped to the ‘bare bones’ remains highly unlikely. At best, Turkey and Russia make for politically promiscuous ‘frenemies’. At worst, they’re at strategic cross-purposes on all points of the map, with mismatching vectors inexorably starting to show. In a truly worst case scenario, Mr. Erdogan might even find himself caught in collateral NATO-Russia crossfire, where everyone decides if Turkey can’t be part of a regional ‘solution’, it’s much easier to make them part of the ‘problem’.

    On that final note, nobody’s quite said it yet, but that’s precisely what’s already on Erdogan’s mind. Behind all the ‘CIA’ coup bluster, the President’s real concern is how many regional players might have played a part in the coup antics. GCC states are undoubtedly on his ‘list’ of suspects, where Turkish realignment hasn’t exactly played through the way major Sunni states hoped over the past few months. Whatever your particular take on that one, the fourth (and final) analytical point to register over any supposed ‘Arab Autumn’ ideas here, isn’t so much that military leaders start getting nervous to make internal MENA moves in a low price environment, but whether regional power grabs start destabilising internal political interests as a new trend. Admittedly, that’s normally the stuff off Iranian intrigues, but in the current political environment, any wrong moves – or perceived wrong moves – will assuredly come with very high political costs.

    Bottom line, Mr. Erdogan will be around for a long time to come in Turkey. But his interim answers don’t look particularly convincing right now. If anything, they’re merely laying the ground for more costly mistakes in future. Probably circa 2023, when Turkey celebrates 100 years from its modern incarnation, but before Erdogan gets ‘quite that far’, he has the minor issue of growing external debt problem to deal with.

    As everyone knows, Turkey has relied on FX denominated debt, a large tranche of which happens to be short term to fund its persistent current account deficit.

    Turkey External Debt

    While the debt load may seem sustainable in ‘boom times’, calculations from the IMF shows that a 30 per cent depreciation of the lira would push Turkey’s external debt stock to more than 80 per cent of GDP by 2020. In 2016 Turkey’s gross financing need is likely to exceed 25 per cent of GDP and could quickly spiral out of control if the FX mismatch carried by Turkey’s banks becomes acute. Right on cue, with tanks rolling down the streets of Istanbul, who in their right mind would willingly fund Mr. Erdogan’s adventure toward more red ink and inexorable Turkish turmoil.

  • Obama Wants A Third Term And This Is How He Could Make It Happen

    Submitted by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFPlan.com,

    Yes, we are all well aware the Constitution limits the Presidency to two consecutive four-year terms of office.  Then again, if you weigh the track record of the Obama administration, the Constitution is nothing more than a challenge that he bypasses and circumvents with every given opportunity.  Small wonder that he may very well do the same thing with the upcoming presidential elections.  Already a sham, the presidential elections are actually a vehicle he can use to grab that “Third Term” for himself.

    First we’re going to quote straight out of the Huffington Post, an article from August 9, 2016, entitled Does He Deserve a Third Term?  Obama is S.T.U.P.I.D!  The acronym “STUPID” is supposed to stand for Super Human, Tough, Unequalled, Proactive, Ingenious, and Demi-god.

    No, your eyes did not deceive you: that last was “Demi-god,” this article from a “Contributor” to the Huffington Post.  The last paragraph is very alarming, and here it is:

    D         –           Demi-god

     

    What more can qualify a man as god?  A loving father to his children, best friend to his wife, a friend to his subordinates, a mentor to growing young men, hope to the hopeless, a victor in his challenges, the most powerful man on earth, yet a simple man in all his ways.  You will forever live in hearts of all as a god among men.”

    A “god” among men, eh?

    Akin to a professional boxing match, the slow and careful buildup in words by the media has begun.  Those sentiments are not a trumpet call, however; they are an echo of the mind of a narcissistic, soft-dictator that has systematically destroyed the United States over the past 7 years.  If you want the source of the reverberations, feast your eyes on this.  David Feherty of the Golf Channel conducted an interview with Obama and asked him some questions about his golf game.  Obama replied to the questions, and added:

    “But I’m not quitting my day job.”

    Feherty’s response: “Actually you are quitting your day job fairly shortly,” referring to Obama leaving the White House in January.  Obama’s next reply gives it all away.  In the first part, he suggests his golf game might improve.  Then he talks about the presidency (the underlined portion), leaving no guesswork about his true feelings on the matter.

    “Then I may get good. I’m being forced out, I didn’t quit,” Obama said.

    How do you like that one?  So how could this potentially happen?  Firstly, the states are the ones with either state-enacted provision to suspend elections or emergency powers to do so.  We saw an example of this with the September 11, 2001 attacks where a New York judge suspended primary elections.  We also saw it with “Superstorm Sandy,” where several states either postponed elections or re-stationed polling locations.

    Barring such actions or state constitutional provisions, a governor can use emergency powers to postpone an election.  Feasibly under some “extraordinary” circumstance, Obama could direct the 18 Democratic state governors to jump on board and postpone the election.  This is secondary, however, and probably wouldn’t be needed.  Why?

    Because Obama has the power to declare Martial Law, reinforced by the NDAA that declares the U.S. in a perpetual state of war against terror.

    A false flag is the stimulus that Obama would use in order to suspend the elections and the Constitutional rights.  Make no mistake: there is no “love” for Hillary from Obama, and the election is a sham.  It either comes down to Hillary or Obama, and the entire decision is based upon what the globalists want.

    The Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385) was effectively nullified by the Warner Defense Act of 2006, and then it was further shredded and burned with the NDAA and this, out of United States Code 332 (10 U.S. Code § 332) as such:

    10 USC 331. When a state is unable to control domestic violence and they have requested federal assistance, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

     

    10 USC 332. When ordinary enforcement means are unworkable due to unlawful obstructions or rebellion against the authority of the United States, use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

     

    10 USC 333. When a state cannot or will not protect the constitutional rights of the citizens, due to domestic violence or conspiracy to hinder execution of State or Federal law, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

    And this is augmented as such, here:

    House Joint Resolution 1292. This resolution directs all departments of the U.S. government, upon request of the Secret Service, to assist in carrying out its statutory duties to protect government officials and major political candidates from physical harm.

    Looking at the situation in the U.S. and the turmoil in the world it will be astonishing if we even make it to the “elections” this November.  Obama does not want to leave the office.  He has not completed his “fundamental transformation” and there are several avenues available to him that have not yet been pursued.  All of them involve a dramatic event that will enable him to suspend elections and remain in office until the end of the emergency (therefore indefinitely).

  • Bank Of Japan Buying Sends Nikkei 225 To Richest Since Dot-Com Crash

    Having noted the farcical share ownership of The Bank of Japan (biggest shareholder in 55 companies) as Kuroda's ETF-buying goes to '11', we thought it interesting that the distortion caused by these "pick a winner" purchases has sent Japan's Nikkei 225 to its richest relative to Japan's Topix index in 17 years.

    As Bloomberg notes, Japan’s two major equity benchmarks have moved mostly together over the years. That changed this month following the latest meeting by the Bank of Japan, which boosted its purchases of exchange-traded funds as part of its easing program.

    The BOJ’s heavier allocation to ETFs tracking the Nikkei 225 has helped push the gauge to its highest level versus the Topix index in 18 years.

     

    Which – as we noted previously – leaves one big question… just how will the BOJ ever unwind its unprecedented holdings of not only bonds, which are now roughly 100% of Japan's GDP, but also of stocks, without crashing both the bond and the stock market. And then we remember, that the BOJ will simply never unwind any of its "emergency" opertions just because nobody actually thought that far, plus the whole point of the exercise is hyperinflation or bust, as the sheer lunacy of Japan's authorities is exposed for the entire world to see, leading to the terminal collapse of faith in the local currency. With every passing day, we get that much closer to said terminal moment.

    "probably nothing"

  • Soros Hack Reveals Plot Behind Europe's Refugee Crisis; Media Manipulation; Cash For "Social Justice"

    In the two days since the Soros Open Society Foundation hack by the DCLeaks collective, several notable revelations have emerged among the data dump of over 2,500 documents exposing the internal strategy of the organization, which expose some of Soros’ tactics to influence and benefit from Europe’s refugee crisis, the opportunistic funding and influence of media organizations, providing cash for assorted “pro-democracy” groups including the infamous La Raza, Soros’ funding of various “social justice” organizations while paying to track unfavorable media coverage including that of Pamela Geller.

    One particular leaked memo, profiled earlier by the Daily Caller, argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale. OSF program officer Anna Crowley and program specialist Katin Rosin co-authored the May 12 memo, titled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review.”

    The nine-page review makes three key points: OSF has been successful at influencing global immigration policy; Europe’s refugee crisis presents “new opportunities” for the organization to influence global immigration policy; and the refugee crisis is the “new normal.”

    As the authors write in the introduction, one of the purposes of the review “consider the effectiveness of the approaches we have used to achieve change at the international level.” A section of the review titled “Our Work” describes how America’s least transparent think tank has worked with “leaders in the field” to “shape migration policymaking and influence regional and global processes affecting the way migration is governed and enforced.

    This may be of particular interest to Germans, the majority of whom are displeased with Merkel’s “open door” policies in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks on German soil.

    In a section titled, “Our Ambitions,” the authors explain: “Our premise for engaging in work related to governance was that, in addition to mitigating the negative effects of enforcement, we should also be supporting actors in the field proactively seeking to change the policies, rules, and regulations that govern migration.”

    They write that “we also believed that advances at the regional or international levels could create impetus for policy change or implementation of existing norms at the national level. We deliberately avoided the term ‘global governance’ because there is no single system at the global level for managing migration.”

    The same section later states that IMI “has had to be selective and opportunistic, particularly at the global level, in supporting leaders in the field to push thinking on migration and better coordinate advocacy and reform efforts. We have supported initiatives, organizations, and networks whose work ties directly to our aims in the corridors.”

    “Early on, IMI identified a handful of organizations able to engage on migration globally and transnationally, elevating IMI’s corridor work beyond the national level,” reads another section of the memo, entitled “Our Place.”

    “These included key think tanks such as the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and advocacy networks such as the International Detention Coalition (IDC).” (The authors later note that MPI, a strong advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants in America, “is sometimes criticized for its closeness to governments, [but] flexible funding from OSF has allowed it to maintain some independence from the governments it advises.”)

    The memo also notes that “IMI played a central role in establishing and influencing the goals of two new [European Programme for Integration and Migration] sub-funds on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and immigration detention.

    More importantly, the memo explains how Europe’s refugee crisis is opening doors for Soros’ organization to further influence global immigration policy.

    The authors note that “the current refugee crisis is creating space to reconsider the governance of migration and the international refugee regime.” One reason for this is that the developing countries that make up the Group of 77 at the United Nations were motivated by the refugee crisis to keep immigration issues on the “global agenda,” the memo states. “The refugee crisis and the fear that the interests of migrants fleeing poverty, climate change, generalized violence, or natural disaster would be overlooked at these fora have generated a push from G77 countries to ensure other migration issues remain on the global agenda.

    They also explain that the current crisis provides “new opportunities” for influencing immigration policy on a global scale.

    “The current climate presents new opportunities for reforming migration governance at the global level, whether through the existing multi-lateral system, or by bringing together a range of actors to think more innovatively. Our long-standing interest and investment in global work means we have many of the right partners and are positioned to help others navigate this space.”

    The review states, “The refugee crisis is opening new opportunities” for “coordination and collaboration” with other wealthy donors.

    It is almost as if Europe’s refugee crisis was planned and prepared, not just by the Soros organization, but others who would benefit from a shift in the change of regional “migration governance”, i.e., the reimposition of sovereignty terms, as Greece found out the hard way several months ago when its sovereignty was relegated to the country’s willingness to participate in Europe’s refugee scheme.

    It will hardly come as a surprise that according to the review, immigration policy-makers need to accept the refugee crisis as a “new normal.” One of the conclusions listed in the memo is, “Accepting the current crisis as the new normal and moving beyond the need to react.

    “Observing our partners as they respond and adjust to the new reality in light of the crisis in Europe and the Mediterranean, we see little attention given to long-term planning or fundamentally new approaches to advocacy.”

    The conclusion also stresses the need to fight back against “growing intolerance toward migrants.” It is unclear just how Soros plans on “fighting back.”

    * * *

    Needless to say, in order to promote its European refugee agenda, the Soros organization needs close European allies. Conveniently, it has a memo prepared just for that titled “Reliable allies in the European Parliament (2014 – 2019)” in which it notes the importance of building “lasting and trustworthy” relationships with European MEPs “likely to support Open Society’s work.

    This mapping provides the Open Society European Policy Institute and the Open Society network intelligence on Members of the 8th European Parliament likely to support Open Society values during the 2014–2019 legislature.

     

    It spans 11 committees and 26 delegations, as well as the European Parliament’s highest decisionmaking bodies: 226 MEPs who are proven or likely Open Society allies.

     

    The presence of an MEP in this mapping indicates that they are likely to support Open Society’s work. They should be approached with an open mind: although they will most likely want to work on areas they’re already interested in, they could also welcome hearing about new issues.

     

    Beyond discussing individual topics, Open Society should seek to build lasting and trustworthy relationships with these European lawmakers.

    Much more in the full 177 page memo.

    * * *

    Aside from Europe’s refugee crisis, the data leak provides other important glimpses in Soros’ influence of global affairs.

    One memo, which is an overview of the “Ukraine Media Project”  exposes how Soros influences media coverage of events in Ukraine, something previously touched upon in a June 2015 post titled “Hacked Emails Expose George Soros As Ukraine Puppet-Master.”

    In the memo which reveals how Soros hopes to “cover” events in Ukraine, the authors admit that “this isn’t proper independent journalism and we may damage our credibility with journalists”  and admit that “journalists may produce stories that have no relevance for the narrative we seek to inform or stories that are counterproductive (enforcing narratives of fascism etc.)

    Investigative Journalism:Select journalists from the 5 target countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece) and

     

    offer them long stay reporting trips in Ukraine. Rather than specify what they should write about they should make suggestions for articles; we retain a veto on stories we think are counterproductive. Suggestion that we liaise directly with journalists to determine interest.

     

    Pros:

     

    Similar approach to what we have done for other press trips
    Opportunity to build relationships with journalists and news outlets
    Opportunity to diversify reporting on Ukraine into longer form content examining non-breaking news angles

     

    Cons:

     

    Credibility: the “veto” approach means this isn’t proper independent journalism and we may damage our credibility with journalists
    Control: Journalists may produce stories that have no relevance for the narrative we seek to inform or stories that are counterproductive (enforcing narratives of fascism etc.)
    Interference: however nuanced this is packaged, we may enforce the narrative of GS/OSF manipulation
    Placement: publication of the articles is not guaranteed and presents a significant barrier to success

    * * *

    We then turn our attention to the US, where we we find a memo that “provides a brief overview of state/local funding by U.S. Programs in the last three years.”

    Throughout its 15-year history, U.S. Programs has complemented its national work with state and local grantmaking. The Emma Lazarus Fund, the Southern Initiative, the Program on Reproductive Health and Rights, and the Youth Initiative all had a strong presence in states like Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, New York, and California. In this way, U.S. Programs has not only advanced core priority issues at the national level, but it has also worked to enable local and state actors to play a more critical role in shaping discussions around criminal justice, drug policy, immigrants’ rights, government security, and other key issues at the state level.

    The memo indirectly hints at Soros funding for BLM:

    To provide support to the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, including for the creation of an executive director position/$196,000/OSI-Baltimore/2009

    To support the American Journalism Review’s series of articles on the crisis in American journalism with a focus on, among other things, coverage of federal agencies and state governments, including Maryland /$200,000/Strategic Opportunities Fund/2009

    Furthermore, here is confirmation of Soros’ funding and support for Social Justice organizations, taken from a memo revealing the Democracy and Power Fund“, which explains its desire for building “state-based power”

    Advance social justice in critical states through state-based issue advocacy and organizing where the opportunities to advance (or the threats to) open society are particularly significant.

    It is almost surprising how cheap control over SWJ causes is.

    * * *

    Another memo provides further details on the funding of an additional five organizations, including the infamous La Raza.

    * * *

    Among the leaks we also find a document on the Center for American Progress, or CAP, whose purpose is “To support the Examining Anti-Muslim Bigotry Project.” We are confident various conservative organization will be curious about this because as part of its activities the CAP is expected to “research and track the activities of the most prominent drivers of Islamophobia” including Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, David Howoritz, Robert Spencer, Cliff May, Liz Cheney and so forth:

    1. Outreach to Subject Experts

     

    CAP’s first step will be to interview and engage in the Project the journalists, researchers, academics, and leaders in the anti-hate movement who are researching and writing on Islamophobia, and to develop a roster of knowledgeable and credible experts to whom journalists and policymakers can turn for information. As part of this process, CAP will reach out to Media Matters for America, FAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Muslim Advocates, the Interfaith Center of New York, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the cohort of emerging Muslim leaders in CAP’s Young Muslim American Voices Project that is run by CAP’s Faith and Progressive Policy Institute.

     

    2. Audit of Islamophobic Activities and Strategy Convening

     

    CAP will research and track the activities of the most prominent drivers of Islamophobia, including Stop Islamization of America, led by Pamela Geller; the Center for Security Policy, led by Frank Gaffney; David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, which sponsors Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch; the Middle East Forum, led by Daniel Pipes; the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, led by Cliff May; and Keep America Safe, led by Liz Cheney. In addition, CAP will examine the role played by right-wing media, the Tea Party movement, prominent politicians, pundits, and conservative donors in spreading anti-Muslim hysteria. This research will form the basis of a CAP audit of Islamophobic activities that will inform a strategy convening of around two dozen researchers and advocates, including representatives of progressive organizations and the AMEMSA community. Participants will be asked to formulate strategies for combating anti-Muslim bigotry. The convening is planned for the first quarter of 2011.

    We continue to dig through the filings for further ties, financial or otherwise, between Soros and the various branches of the US government as well as the 4th estate.

  • How Bloomberg Spun Its Own Poll Data To Make Hillary Clinton Seem Inevitable

    Submitted by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

    2014 Time Magazine Cover

    A couple of days ago, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson published a very interesting article which examined how Bloomberg News egregiously spun the results of its recent presidential poll.

    She notes:

    Is Hillary Clinton squashing Donald Trump into oblivion in the polls? Or is her lead over him perilously shrinking? One thing we know is: there are countless ways to spin a poll. Consider the case of selective reporting on the most recent Bloomberg national poll.

     

    On Aug. 10, Bloomberg reported “Clinton up 6 on Trump in Two Way Race.” But looking at the actual poll, Trump has moved so close to Clinton, the results are within the margin of error.

     

    In the most recent poll, the spread between Clinton and Trump in a two-person race was down to just 3 percentage points, Clinton at 45% and Trump at 42%. That’s within the margin of error. When Libertarian and Green Party candidates are put in the mix, it’s Clinton 42% and Trump 40% –again within the margin of error.

     

    But this notable trend isn’t reflected in the Bloomberg write-up here. Instead, the reporter chose to use the poll numbers that look better for Clinton: ones that added in “leaners.” What are leaners? Respondents who were first asked who they’d vote for, then answered they didn’t plan to vote or didn’t know who they’d vote for, and then were pressed to pick a candidate they were leaning toward, anyway. This is how Bloomberg got to the 6-point spread cited in its headline…double the actual spread of 3%.

     

    The graphic Bloomberg used in its news story appears somewhat misleading in this context. It depicts the 6-point spread as the result of the question “…for whom would you vote?” It doesn’t disclose that the graphic adds in “leaners” who were asked a followup question.

    It’s simply another reminder that what you read in the news often comes through a filter.

    So here’s the primary thing Sharyl is calling out in the above paragraphs.

    From Bloomberg’s polling data:

    Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 10.24.28 AM

    While I’ll give Bloomberg the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’ve always included the “lean” category in their totals (they did for June, unclear if they did prior to that), is adding this category to the total really justified? Moreover, Bloomberg should make this meaningful choice clear in the text of their article (they don’t), particularly when the tone of the article is unabashedly promoting the idea that Clinton is doing incredibly well.

    All you need to do is take a look at the article’s heading to see how biased it is.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 10.29.29 AM

    Does this seem in any way appropriate considering her lead when not including the “lean” category is a measly 3 points? Moreover, what does Bloomberg’s own polling data tell us about the race when Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are included (as they should be since they will appear on most ballots).

    Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 10.34.57 AM

    So with the four options that appear on most ballots, Clinton is in a pretty tight race with Trump. These are the facts, but as you saw, the article’s headline was incredibly misleading and skewed to make it seem as if a Hillary victory is inevitable.

    But it’s not just the headline. The entire article reads like PR for team Hillary. A few more paragraphs of note:

    Hillary Clinton has retained most of the bounce she received after the Democratic National Convention and now enjoys a 6-point lead over Donald Trump in a two-way contest among likely voters.

     

    The findings suggest damage has been done to one of Trump’s main calling cards, his business expertise, with 61 percent of likely voters saying they’re less impressed with the Republican nominee’s business acumen than when the campaign started.

     

    Clinton’s lead over Trump of 50 percent to 44 percent in a two-way contest is boosted by a greater consolidation of support among Democrats than Republicans have shown for their candidate. She wins 94 percent of the Democratic vote, including 93 percent of Democrats who backed Senator Bernie Sanders in the primary race, while Trump gets 87 percent of the Republican vote.

    Does the above sound like fair coverage of a poll that shows a 2 point spread between Clinton and Trump in a four person race? While Bloomberg does acknowledge that the results are within the margin of error in a four person race, it is mentioned as an aside as opposed to being the focal point of the piece. Instead, the writer chooses to focus his attention on how strong Hillary’s position is relative to Trump. A fact that doesn’t seem to be confirmed by the actual poll results.

    Here’s some more “analysis” from the article.

    The poll confirms Clinton emerged from the noisy campaign week that followed her convention in a stronger position than Trump. That edge could prove valuable, if she can maintain it, during a period when there are no major events on the political calendar until the first debate on Sept. 26.

     

    “The question following a convention bounce is how much of it will stick, as memory of the event and excitement fades,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, whose Iowa-based firm Selzer & Co. oversaw the survey. “For Clinton, the contest is far from settled, but she is on solid ground.”

     

    Clinton’s voters are more positive about her candidacy than those backing Trump are about his, with 56 percent saying their alignment with her is more an act of support than to stop Trump. His fans, meanwhile, are more motivated by their disdain for her, with 56 percent saying their backing of Trump is more a vote against her than support for him.

    So what’s my point? My point is this race is a lot closer than people think, and media headlines re:polls are probably being spun across the board. Most people just read headlines and never bother to actually read articles, let alone dig into the underlying poll data to see what’s really going on. As such, people are being manipulated by the media into thinking that Clinton is inevitable when she isn’t.

    This explains a lot. I’ve been shocked by the visceral hatred being spewed by pro-Clinton henchmen at Jill Stein and her followers over the past few weeks. Such attacks make no sense unless Clinton people:

    1) Know the election is much closer than the media is claiming.

    2) Recognize Sanders supporters are not backing her to the extent media implies.

    Which brings me to the final point. In its article, Bloomberg claims 93% of Democrats who backed Sanders support Hillary. This is a clever slight of hand because many Sanders supporters are not registered Democrats. A casual reader will come away thinking that 93% of Sanders supporters back Hillary, which is unquestionably untrue. Telling readers what percentage of Democratic Sanders supporters back Clinton tells you absolutely nothing. I’ve said for months that anywhere between 25%-33% of Sanders supporters will either vote Jill Stein or stay home. I stick to that prediction.

    While we’re at it, I just launched a Twitter poll. Here are the very unscientific results so far (don’t forget to vote).

     

     

    For related articles, see:

    How California’s Primary was Rigged Against Independent Voters

    As Expected, New York’s Primary is Already a Pathetic Mess

    Hillary Clinton Will Win New York, Because New York is Running a Banana Republic Primary

    American Democracy – Allegations of Voter Suppression Emerge from the Arizona Primary

    This is how elections are really rigged. Far before people ever get to the voting booths.

  • Michael Moore: "Trump Never Wanted To Be President, I Know This For A Fact"

    Despite proclaiming five reasons why Trump will win just a month ago, Michael Moore has apparently had a change of heart and has posted an op-ed in the Huffington Post today describing, in detail, why he believes Trump is blowing up his own campaign and it's only a matter of time before he exits the race.  In short, Moore points out that he knows "for a fact" that Trump "never actually wanted to be President of the United States."  After all, as Moore points out, being President is "WORK" and you have to live in the "GHETTO" of Washington DC in a small, two-story house…and "a "second floor" is not a penthouse!"

    Instead, Moore says the whole thing was a stunt to get more money out of NBC for his TV show, "The Apprentice."  Why else, Moore asks, would someone launch a Presidential campaign with no major staff commitments or campaign infrastructure in place unless they had no intention of ever winning.

    So, on June 16 of last year, he rode down his golden escalator and opened his mouth. With no campaign staff, no 50-state campaign infrastructure — neither of which he needed because, remember, this wasn’t going to be a real campaign.

    But the plan all blew up when Trump went "off the rails" and NBC responded, not by offering him more money, but by cancelling his shows instead.

    …he went off the rails at his kick-off press conference, calling Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers” and pledging to build a wall to keep them all out. Jaws in the room were agape. His comments were so offensive, NBC, far from offering him a bigger paycheck, immediately fired him with this terse statement: “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.” NBC said it was also canceling the beauty pageants owned by Trump: Miss USA and Miss Universe. BOOM.

    Unfortunately, according to Moore, Trump was forced to stay in the race and actually win the Republican nomination because it just took longer for the electorate to turn on him than he expected.  But soon his "karma caught up with him":

    Calling Mexicans “rapists” should have disqualified him on Day One (or for saying Obama wasn’t born here, as he did in 2011). No, it took 13 months of racist, sexist, stupid comments before he finally undid himself with the trifecta of attacking the family of a slain soldier, ridiculing the Purple Heart and suggesting that the pro-gun crowd assassinate Hillary Clinton.

    And now Moore believes Trump will do whatever necessary to blow up his chances of ever being President because he would rather look like a fool now than to be declared a "LOSER" on election day.

    Because, unless he is just “crazy,” the only explanation for the unusual ramping up, day after day, of one disgustingly reckless statement after another is that he’s doing it consciously (or subconsciously) so that he’ll have to bow out or blame “others” for forcing him out. Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn’t want to do the actual job — and, most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser — LOSER! — on the night of November 8th.

     

    Trust me, I’ve met the guy. Spent an afternoon with him. He would rather invite the Clintons AND the Obamas to his next wedding than have that scarlet letter (“L”) branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls have closed on that night, the evening of the final episode of the permanently cancelled Donald Trump Shit-Show.

    And finally, not one to forego taking one last shot at the Republican Party, Moore offers some comfort to Trump explaining that none of this is actually his fault but rather he is just the "logical conclusion to a party that has lived off the currency of racism and bigotry and fellating the 1 percent for decades."

  • Global Economic Bellwether Cisco Reportedly Fires 20% Of Workforce

    It's easy to shrug off the sharpest productivity decline in 40 years and the worst non-recessionary industrial production contraction in US history because… well it's the new economy, stupid and you just don't get it. But when 'new economy' networking giant Cisco is reportedly set to announce it is laying off a record number of employees – 14,000 representing 20% of its global workforce – surely it is time to question the "everything is awesome" narrative.

    As CRN reports,

    Cisco Systems is laying off upward of 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20 percent of the networking giant’s global workforce, according to multiple sources close to the company.

     

    San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks, as many early retirement package plans have already been offered to employees, said sources.

    The excuse for the heavy cuts, which sources said will range between 9,000 and 14,000 employees worldwide, is that they stem from Cisco’s transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization…

    "They need different skill sets for the software-defined future than they used to have," said one source familiar with the situation, who declined to be identified.

     

    "In theory the addressable market could be higher and margins richer, but it will take some time to make this transition."

    Cisco declined to comment, and is set to announce its fourth fiscal quarter results after the market closes tomorrow. 

    The networking leader has a history of announcing layoffs at the end of its fiscal year each summer. In August 2014, Cisco revealed plans to cut 6,000 jobs, roughly 8 percent of its total workforce at the time. In August 2013, the company cut 4,000 employees, about 5 percent of its global workforce at the time. Cisco also cut 1,300 positions in July 2012. One of Cisco’s largest layoffs came in July 2011, when the company cut 6,500 employees, representing about 9 percent its global workforce. Cisco had no layoffs in the summer of 2015, coinciding with Chuck Robbins' ascension to CEO that July.

    But this massive layoff is the company's largest ever…

     

    And, as everyone who has traded markets and followed global economic trends knows, Cisco is among the clearest global economic recession indicators (combining the real economy and imaginary-tech economy) there is… and this is the biggest collapse in Cisco's headcount… ever.

    Cisco is trading back at its highest since Nov 2007…

    Charts: Bloomberg

  • This Week In 1971: President Nixon Closes the Gold Window

    Submitted by Paul-Martin Foss via The Mises Institute,

    45 years ago this week, on August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon officially closed the gold window.

    While US citizens had been forbidden from owning gold or from redeeming their gold certificates for gold coins since the early 1930s, foreign governments still had the privilege of redeeming their dollars for gold.

    Due to the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policy during the 1960s, foreign governments began to redeem more and more dollars for gold. Attempts to encourage other governments (especially France) not to redeem their dollar holdings were unsuccessful, and there was a very real threat that US gold holdings might eventually be exhausted.

    So President Nixon decided to close the gold window, thus severing the final link between the US dollar and gold.

     

    The removal of the restraint of gold redemption freed the Federal Reserve to engage in more inflationary monetary policy than ever. The effects of that on money supply and official price inflation figures are readily apparent.

    The demonetization of silver in the Coinage Act of 1873 was widely assailed by its critics as the “Crime of ’73.”

    Isn’t it about time that Nixon’s closing of the gold window be known as the Crime of ’71?

    *  *  *

    Bonus Video… sound familiar?

  • Is Trump's "Extreme Vetting" That Far Off Existing US Policies

    While the MSM has gone out of its way to question every plausible unintended consequence(s) of Donald Trump’s new "extreme" vetting for immigrants, perhaps it is worth looking at some of the current questions the US Immigration Services asks and compare those to Trump’s proposals. They may not be that far off.

    To recap, Trump proposed an ideological test of “Islamic sympathizers” to be admitted, focusing on issues including religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.

    And while some have questioned the validity of a test, and whether a presumed terrorist would even be honest in said test, the experts and political pundits should take a look at what the US currently asks individuals.

    • Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in, money laundering?
    • Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?
    • Have you ever committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States?
    • Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?
    • Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?
    • Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?
    • Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in torture?
    • Have you, while serving as a government official, been responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom?
    • Have you ever been directly involved in the coercive transplantation of human organs or bodily tissue?

    Evidently, if any of the US allies (e.g. Saudi Arabia) answered these questions honestly, they would not be admitted to the US. But, perhaps the best question still being asked to all immigrants is as follows:

    • Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?

    If the US government currently engages in these and other questionings, is it that far off to ask  if you are anti gay rights, anti Semitic or pro sharia law?

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