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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Should FOX have covered this speech? on: Today at 08:40:59 PM
http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/khizr-khan-speech-democratic-national-convention-fox-news-cuts-away-1201826532/
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Federal Appeals court strikes down voter ID law in NC on: Today at 12:57:29 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/us/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-provision.html?emc=edit_na_20160729&nlid=49641193&ref=cta&_r=0
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: Today at 12:45:54 PM
But I posted it for its reference to various pro-Putin/Russia comments from Trump over the years.
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary the Hawk on: Today at 12:44:22 PM
Of course I get the logic here, but a candidate asking a foreign power to intervene in our elections sets a REALLY bad precedent.  It would appear that Trump flapped his gums here AGAIN, without really thinking.  There are still plenty of seriously patriotic people still seriously pissed off over his calls for water boarding and more and killing the families of the enemy.   Remember the letter signed by many serious military people saying they would be forced to disobey and his comment in the debate "They'll do it because I said so?".   The four star Marine general who endorsed Hillary at the convention last night does , , ,

===============================

https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/27/hillary-the-hawk-a-history-clinton-2016-military-intervention-libya-iraq-syria/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=Flashpoints
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick: Time to walk away from US aid on: Today at 12:23:17 PM
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-one-Time-to-walk-away-from-US-aid-462677
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump and Putin/Russia on: Today at 09:22:32 AM
Trump has an extended history of making favorable comments about Putin and better relations with Russia.

How far is he willing to go down this road?

Are we willing to go there with him?

For example:

If Russia takes his out loud ruminations about maybe not defending Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as a permission slip to start fg with and/or invading them, what then?

If we ally with Putin against ISIS, does not Iran become the regional hegemon?

What implications for Israel?

What implications for conflict with Turkey?  NATO Article 5 issues?

Deep waters here and it is not clear to me that Donald fully realizes this.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The USS Harvey Milk on: Today at 08:59:40 AM
https://news.usni.org/2016/07/28/navy-name-ship-gay-rights-activist-harvey-milk
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump and Putin/Russia on: Today at 08:41:32 AM
There does seem to be a pattern with huuuge implications here.  Are we willing to go down this road with Donald?

This, from a lefty source, does list some things to keep in mind:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/26/1552616/-Russian-Hackers-Altered-Emails-Before-Release-to-Wikileaks
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More on Russian Meddling on: Today at 08:39:45 AM
second post

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/26/1552616/-Russian-Hackers-Altered-Emails-Before-Release-to-Wikileaks
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interpol calls for open carry! 2.0 on: Today at 08:26:37 AM
http://10news.dk/?p=760

Just noticed, this is from from last year , , ,
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Global Guerillas: Russian Interference in our election on: Today at 08:22:43 AM
The American Autumn
Posted: 28 Jul 2016 03:49 PM PDT

Some thinking you might find useful.  It might sound wild and remote, but we are in a wild and out of control year.  ANYTHING can happen.
A treasure trove of e-mail and voicemail messages from the Democratic National Committee has been leaked.  Here's what happened.

   The first installment of the leaked e-mails was released by Wikileaks at the start of the DNC convention.  More leaks have and will follow.

   The contents of the leak show a brazen attempt by the DNC to help Hillary win the primary.  It also shows Dem campaign staffers to have acted inappropriately and in a prejudiced manner.

   Based on forensic analysis of the leak, it appears that the Russian government is involved
The effects of the leak have been immediate and intense.

   The leak provided the confirmation to Sanders supporters that the primary was rigged against them.  This has led to intense protests both within and outside the convention.  This suggests that the Clinton campaign lost a large number of Bernie supporters forever.

   The media and the US government reaction to the leak has been aggressive.  They claim that the release is a brazen attempt by Putin to influence the US election by helping Trump win. There have been attempts by the media to tie Trump to Putin but those lack evidence of any connection.

   Further, now that the Russian have interfered in our election, it's possible that they will do again.  This could be done through more leaks or as Bruce Schneier has pointed out: a hack of poorly secured voting machines on election day. 
Where could this end up?  This is the interesting part.  This election isn't a normal election.  It is also a good demonstration of something the great scholar of warfare, Martin van Creveld said ~ if you fight barbarians long enough, you become a barbarian too.

   The Trumpification of the Establishment >>  Trump isn't running a campaign, he's running an open source insurgency (see my earlier article on this) that makes him nearly immune to personal attack, and it is working.  He has secured a whopping 7 points (47 to 40) lead over Clinton in a recent national poll by the LA Times/USC -- despite the fact that nearly EVERYONE in the media, academic, government, and political establishment is working against him.  This loss of control has infuriated the establishment, leading to increasing levels of paranoia, hyperbole, and anger (particularly in the media).  In short, the establishment is starting to act increasingly like Trump does -- exaggerating and amplifying everything.

   Intentional Electoral Disruption.   The potential threat of Russian hacking (voting machines, etc.) fits the scenario I outlined in my freakishly popular US Civil War article from earlier this year.  With the tension between the divisions in the country increasing rapidly as both sides amplify and exaggerate every event, any overt attempt to rig (through disruption or hacking) the outcome of the election could result in widespread violence and/or a national fracture.

   The Administrative 'Coup'.  Here's something that I didn't think possible until this week.  The Trumpified establishment might have found an avenue for disqualifying Trump as President:  Trump's rhetorical suggestion that Russian hackers should find Hillary's deleted e-mails.  This has led many people in the establishment to contend that Trump committed 'treason and is now a clear and present danger to the security of the US.'  This national security angle -- the overt interference by Russia in US governance -- could make it possible to block Trump as a candidate on national security grounds.
 
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Global Guerillas: The American Autumn-- Russian Meddling on: Today at 08:22:09 AM
The American Autumn
Posted: 28 Jul 2016 03:49 PM PDT

Some thinking you might find useful.  It might sound wild and remote, but we are in a wild and out of control year.  ANYTHING can happen.
A treasure trove of e-mail and voicemail messages from the Democratic National Committee has been leaked.  Here's what happened.

   The first installment of the leaked e-mails was released by Wikileaks at the start of the DNC convention.  More leaks have and will follow.

   The contents of the leak show a brazen attempt by the DNC to help Hillary win the primary.  It also shows Dem campaign staffers to have acted inappropriately and in a prejudiced manner.

   Based on forensic analysis of the leak, it appears that the Russian government is involved
The effects of the leak have been immediate and intense.

   The leak provided the confirmation to Sanders supporters that the primary was rigged against them.  This has led to intense protests both within and outside the convention.  This suggests that the Clinton campaign lost a large number of Bernie supporters forever.

   The media and the US government reaction to the leak has been aggressive.  They claim that the release is a brazen attempt by Putin to influence the US election by helping Trump win. There have been attempts by the media to tie Trump to Putin but those lack evidence of any connection.

   Further, now that the Russian have interfered in our election, it's possible that they will do again.  This could be done through more leaks or as Bruce Schneier has pointed out: a hack of poorly secured voting machines on election day.  
Where could this end up?  This is the interesting part.  This election isn't a normal election.  It is also a good demonstration of something the great scholar of warfare, Martin van Creveld said ~ if you fight barbarians long enough, you become a barbarian too.

   The Trumpification of the Establishment >>  Trump isn't running a campaign, he's running an open source insurgency (see my earlier article on this) that makes him nearly immune to personal attack, and it is working.  He has secured a whopping 7 points (47 to 40) lead over Clinton in a recent national poll by the LA Times/USC -- despite the fact that nearly EVERYONE in the media, academic, government, and political establishment is working against him.  This loss of control has infuriated the establishment, leading to increasing levels of paranoia, hyperbole, and anger (particularly in the media).  In short, the establishment is starting to act increasingly like Trump does -- exaggerating and amplifying everything.

   Intentional Electoral Disruption.   The potential threat of Russian hacking (voting machines, etc.) fits the scenario I outlined in my freakishly popular US Civil War article from earlier this year.  With the tension between the divisions in the country increasing rapidly as both sides amplify and exaggerate every event, any overt attempt to rig (through disruption or hacking) the outcome of the election could result in widespread violence and/or a national fracture.

   The Administrative 'Coup'.  Here's something that I didn't think possible until this week.  The Trumpified establishment might have found an avenue for disqualifying Trump as President:  Trump's rhetorical suggestion that Russian hackers should find Hillary's deleted e-mails.  This has led many people in the establishment to contend that Trump committed 'treason and is now a clear and present danger to the security of the US.'  This national security angle -- the overt interference by Russia in US governance -- could make it possible to block Trump as a candidate on national security grounds.
 
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump and Hillary on Erdogan on: Today at 07:55:10 AM
http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/trump%E2%80%99s-unsettling-response-turkey%E2%80%99s-islamist-tyranny
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ul Fukra Islamist running for office in Alaska on: Today at 07:50:25 AM
https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/exclusive-sanders-delegate-member-fuqra-terror-cult  

Many Muslim groups say Ul Fukra is a jihadi organization

http://www.clarionproject.org/news/muslims-join-clarion-call-ul-fuqra-be-foreign-terrorist-org
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Bernie Sanders had Islamist delegate on: Today at 07:49:37 AM
https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/exclusive-sanders-delegate-member-fuqra-terror-cult
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Libertarian and Green candidates on: Today at 12:05:42 AM
http://usuncut.com/politics/hillary-clinton-foreign-policy-record/
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: July 28, 2016, 11:46:09 PM
 shocked shocked shocked

That said, the point of Open vs. Closed is quite correct as are the comments about the costs of Closed.  What is utterly missing however is any kind of realistic assessment of the costs of Open in the current context.

The vapidity of the analysis is staggering.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Bernie Sanders on: July 28, 2016, 03:50:31 PM
How about having it for both the Green and the Libertarian?
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: July 28, 2016, 03:49:18 PM
1) I'm NOT pleased with how he phrased this  angry angry angry

2) and WTF with making those comments about Crimea?
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / So, it would appear DNC death is still mysterious despite overblown claims? on: July 28, 2016, 03:44:27 PM
Second post

http://www.snopes.com/seth-conrad-rich/
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: July 28, 2016, 03:43:34 PM
Simply outstanding Doug!  Thank you!!!
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Delta Force scores on: July 28, 2016, 03:04:24 PM
http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/02/u-s-snags-key-isis-leader-as-fight-for-mosul-gets-underway/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=*Situation%20Report
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This man spoke at the Dem Convention on: July 28, 2016, 09:14:53 AM
http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/26/islamic-radical-homosexuality-rejecting-convention/
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 1100 Secret donors tied to Clinton Slush Fund remain secret on: July 27, 2016, 09:37:36 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/1100-donors-to-a-canadian-charity-tied-to-clinton-foundation-remain-secret/2015/04/28/c3c0f374-edbc-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 1100 Secret donors tied to Clinton Slush Fund remain secret on: July 27, 2016, 09:37:13 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/1100-donors-to-a-canadian-charity-tied-to-clinton-foundation-remain-secret/2015/04/28/c3c0f374-edbc-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bernie does business after all on: July 27, 2016, 09:36:09 PM
http://conservativetribune.com/hillary-bought-off-bernie-sanders/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=PostUp&utm_campaign=ConservativeBrief&utm_content=2016-07-28
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cultural contrast on: July 27, 2016, 01:26:45 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CoTD3bHWYAA-gTt?format=jpg&name=large
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dick Morris fills in the background on Bill's speech on: July 27, 2016, 01:12:12 PM


http://www.dickmorris.com/hillary-bill-left-dick-morris-tv-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economist on Turkey in 1924 on: July 27, 2016, 01:11:10 PM
http://www.economist.com/node/11829711

30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kaine kissing up to Muslim Brotherhood on: July 27, 2016, 11:24:12 AM
http://counterjihad.com/tim-kaine-promoted-group-federal-prosecutors-call-overt-arm-muslim-brotherhood
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prediction: This will be an immunization by the IRS for Hillary on: July 27, 2016, 10:54:26 AM


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-27/irs-launches-investigation-clinton-foundation
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump goes for $10 minimum wage on: July 27, 2016, 10:52:45 AM
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/289361-trump-backs-10-federal-minimum-wage
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Knife Rights on: July 26, 2016, 07:47:34 PM
http://dailysignal.com/2016/07/25/knife-rights-the-unseen-side-of-the-second-amendment/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tds-fb
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Tim Kaine's Islamist ties on: July 26, 2016, 07:37:15 PM
https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/clinton-vp-pick-tim-kaines-islamist-ties
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dems violate Sectionb 8 USC 1324 on: July 26, 2016, 07:31:36 PM
http://dennismichaellynch.com/dnc-breaks-federal-law-at-convention-violation-of-section-8-u-s-code-%C2%A7-1324/
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: July 26, 2016, 07:26:11 PM
Currently Trump has 23% of the Latino vote.  Romney had 27%.

I'm guessing the Latino vote will have a stronger than usual turnout.

Trump needs to start paying attention to this right now.
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jonah Goldberg: The Media who cried wolf on: July 26, 2016, 07:24:17 PM
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-trump-msm-cry-wolf-20160726-snap-story.html
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We were not without some successes on: July 26, 2016, 11:07:20 AM
https://www.firearmspolicy.org/alerts/ca-gun-rights-update-dont-believe-the-media/?mc_cid=ff91aa66cf&mc_eid=c42be3e26b
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Amidst the gun defeats, a few successes in CA on: July 26, 2016, 11:06:17 AM
https://www.firearmspolicy.org/alerts/ca-gun-rights-update-dont-believe-the-media/?mc_cid=ff91aa66cf&mc_eid=c42be3e26b
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / working "with" the Russkis in ME on: July 26, 2016, 10:30:31 AM
By Paul McLeary with Adam Rawnsley

Trust, but verify? How much do Pentagon leaders trust Russia to keep its word when it comes to the proposed new intel sharing agreement being negotiated over operations in Syria? Not a whole lot. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters Monday that “we’re not entering into a transaction that’s founded on trust. There will be specific procedures and processes in any transaction we might have with the Russians that would account for protecting our operational security.”

The plan, which Secretary of State John Kerry recently pitched to the Kremlin, would involve sharing some intelligence on the Islamic State and Nusra Front fighters, in return for grounding much of the Syrian air force to keep them from bombing moderate forces there. Speaking after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, Kerry said that if all goes well, he hopes to unveil the plan in August. The talks come on the heels of two incidents where Russian aircraft bombed a secret U.S. and British special operations base in southeast Syria, followed by another strike on a CIA-backed site that housed U.S.-backed rebels.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Debbie wasseerman Schultz on: July 26, 2016, 08:37:19 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438322/debbie-wasserman-schultz-democratic-national-committee-disaster
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jordan on: July 26, 2016, 08:32:42 AM
https://www.facebook.com/memri.org/videos/10154334589464717/
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary aligned with OIC against Free Speech on: July 26, 2016, 07:10:16 AM
https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=n3t4NlpxcMc
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Syrian Rebels lose support when they need it the most on: July 25, 2016, 05:25:24 PM
Stratfor

Syria's Rebels Lose Support When They Need It Most
Analysis
July 25, 2016 | 09:30 GMT Print
Text Size
Locals survey the damage in an area of Aleppo city held by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Al Assad's backers continue to receive substantial aid from their foreign allies, while rebel forces are losing support from theirs. (GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Forecast

    The aftermath of the coup in Turkey will distract Ankara from its efforts in Syria.
    The United States, seeking greater cooperation with Russia, is unlikely to follow through on an increase in aid to the Syrian rebels.
    As loyalist offensives mount and outside support falters, the rebels will be forced to go on the defensive in the months ahead.

Analysis

Shifts in momentum have marked the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011. At different times, the rebels and the loyalists have each held the upper hand on the battlefield. But lately, the most decisive element determining who maintains the advantage has been the degree of outside assistance each side receives. Consequently, flagging support for the rebellion at a time of unwavering aid for the Syrian government bodes ill for the rebels' prospects in the months ahead.
Diverted Allies

For the Syrian rebels, Turkey has been a major benefactor, if not their most important. The chaos in Turkey, however, in the aftermath of its failed coup is likely to distract the government in Ankara from the conflict in Syria. From the rebels' perspective, the timing could not be worse: At the moment, they are both heavily dependent on Turkish aid and under extreme pressure from their foes.

Nowhere is this clearer than in and around the city of Aleppo, where a decisive battle is taking place. Loyalist forces have effectively besieged opposition-held parts of the city, and rebel efforts to relieve units there are underway. Most of these units receive weapons, ammunition and supplies from nearby Turkey. As Turkey reorganizes itself, these flows could be disrupted, hampering rebel operations throughout northern Syria. Already there are unconfirmed reports that Turkish logistics officers coordinating supplies in Syria have been summoned home as Ankara attempts to gauge the loyalty of its troops and weed out dissenters.

Another dark cloud on the horizon for the rebel cause is the growing coordination of action in Syria between the United States and Russia, which is problematic for the rebellion for two reasons. First, Washington and Moscow's coordination is focused on targeting one of the rebellion's most effective and deadly groups, Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda's branch in Syria. Despite significant differences in outlook and ideology with other rebel outfits, Jabhat al-Nusra cooperates extensively with them against loyalist forces. The weakening of the group without a simultaneous strengthening of other rebel units will ultimately work to the Syrian government's advantage. Second, the United States' increased coordination with Russia means that rebel expectations of more U.S. aid and weapons, which Washington promised to send if talks in Geneva on ending the civil war fail, will likely go unfulfilled. In sending a proposal to Moscow for greater collaboration, Washington showed that it is keen to avoid escalating tension with Russia and with loyalist forces, since doing so could undermine its wider military effort to weaken the Islamic State.

Even worse for the rebels, fractures among them could spread if Jabhat al-Nusra strikes back against U.S.-backed rebels in retaliation for U.S. attacks on its units. There is also a chance that if more U.S. aid does not materialize, members of the Free Syrian Army, seeking the most capable rebel units, will defect to the more extremist wings of the rebellion in an effort to continue the fight against their increasingly advantaged enemies.

Some rebel allies, principally Qatar and Turkey, have been trying to persuade Jabhat al-Nusra to dissociate itself from al Qaeda. These efforts, which can be expected to continue despite Turkey's disarray, have reportedly accelerated as the United States' mobilization against the group has become more apparent. If Qatar and Turkey succeed, Washington might reconsider its agreement with Moscow to target Jabhat al-Nusra. But given the group's ideological makeup and historically close ties to al Qaeda, the chances of success are slim.
A Well-Supported Enemy

Compounding the rebels' problem is the sustained support their loyalist enemies are receiving from their allies. Over the past few months, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia all have maintained their direct aid, and in some places, increased it. In southern Aleppo province, for instance, Iran has all but taken charge of the front lines, while Russian airstrikes have figured prominently in the loyalist effort to besiege the rebel-held parts of Aleppo city. As Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah promised in a speech in late June, his group has also bolstered its presence across Syria, including in the prominent battlefields of Aleppo.

The rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al Assad's rule can keep relying on outside assistance from countries in and outside the region, but as Washington shifts its policy and Ankara remains preoccupied, that help is at serious risk of weakening. If it does, the rebels' momentum in areas of northern Syria (for example, in southern Aleppo province and northern Latakia) would be difficult to sustain, since limited resources would have to be prioritized for the defense of key areas threatened by the loyalist offensives. Faced with uncertain levels of foreign support and heavily backed, advancing loyalists, the Syrian rebels no doubt have several challenging months ahead of them.
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / French police enter a no-go zone on: July 25, 2016, 05:20:46 PM
http://louderwithcrowder.com/french-police-enter-muslim-no-go-zone-get-viciously-attacked/#.V5aQW3rcD2C
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian oligarch money investing in Trump? on: July 25, 2016, 05:02:21 PM
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: July 25, 2016, 04:36:49 PM
Well said!
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Has Stratfor been reading my posts? on: July 25, 2016, 04:34:39 PM
 Dawn for the Dead Companies of China
Analysis
July 25, 2016 | 09:00 GMT Print
Text Size
China is grappling with how to handle unprofitable industries, many of them state-owned, that keep employment numbers up but threaten the nation's macroeconomic stability. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Summary

China is battling a ghastly economic problem. For months, the country's so-called zombie corporations — failing, mostly state-controlled companies — have been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, caught among high and rising levels of debt, ballooning debt-servicing costs and slim or nonexistent profits. In response, China's State Council released a statement July 18 describing a possible pilot program to enable indebted corporations to convert some of their outstanding debts to equities held by Chinese banks. On its own, a corporate debt-to-equity swap would do little to reform these companies into productive and profitable businesses, a key requirement if China is to "rebalance" to a more sustainable growth model. Even so, it would help lower the businesses' debt burden in the short term. For Beijing, bound as it is by the need to maintain employment and, in turn, social stability, that may be enough to stave off a crisis for the time being.
Analysis

Zombie corporations have been a serious problem for Chinese economic authorities since at least 2011. But when China's real estate sector entered a prolonged slowdown in 2014, the companies became an even greater risk. A large majority of them are state-controlled (or closely affiliated) enterprises engaged in property-related sectors, including residential and commercial development, infrastructure construction, steelmaking, and iron ore and coal production. Over the past two years, steady declines in real estate activity — which by some measures accounts for over a quarter of China's total economic output — have dragged down income and profits across the thousands of businesses in those sectors. As a result, foundering businesses turned to bank loans and shadow financing to cover the costs of maintaining their workforces, sending corporate debt levels soaring. In all but a few cases, the political imperative to prevent unemployment crises that could fuel broader social unrest — a powerful motivator for China's central and local governments alike — overpowered authorities' desire to reform the economy by letting failing companies fail.
A Staggering Problem

Now corporate debt is the greatest structural threat to Chinese macroeconomic stability. China's ratio of corporate debt to gross domestic product reached 165 percent by December 2015, up from 101.7 percent in 2008, the year before Beijing launched its emergency stimulus drive. By comparison, household and government debt equaled 40 and 22 percent of GDP, respectively, at the end of 2015 (though the government debt figure does not include debt held by local government financing vehicles, private companies responsible for raising money for local government investment since 2008-09). Corporate debt was by far the largest component of China's 247 percent total debt-to-GDP ratio, according to Moody's Investors Service.

Perhaps more concerning is the fact that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) account for 55 percent of total outstanding corporate debt, according to the International Monetary Fund, though they produce only 22 percent of China's total economic output. This imbalance helps explain the state's disproportionate representation among China's zombie corporations. On one hand, SOEs enjoy easy access to bank credit long denied to their private-sector counterparts. On the other, they face enormous pressure from their overseers in local, provincial and central governments to maintain stable output and employment. Combined, these factors give SOEs powerful incentive to keep borrowing and producing regardless of the wider economic costs. While China's private sector has steadily improved its efficiency, productivity and profits, the state sector has, by and large, lagged. In the coal and steel industries, dominated by hundreds of local and provincial state-controlled businesses, the contrast is especially pronounced. In many cases, these companies are too small, and their ties to local officials and banks too tight, for Beijing to control.
A Temporary Solution

The debt-to-equity swap proposal reveals Beijing's efforts to reconcile its growing desire for industrial reform and consolidation with local political and economic conditions. China's central government remains committed to reforming and restructuring Chinese industry, and, in particular, the state sector. At the same time, however, it understands that it can go forward with the measures only as long as the workers affected are taken care of, at least well enough to prevent unrest. Given China's weak economy and slowing industrial profits, that objective will entail finding new ways to temporarily offset borrowing and other costs for deeply indebted enterprises.

To be sure, a debt-to-equity swap program could itself be a means to achieve industrial reform and restructuring. Combined with serious corporate governance reforms and forced consolidations of truly moribund enterprises, the swap could help put struggling but fundamentally sound businesses on surer financial footing going forward. Chinese authorities will certainly try to play up this aspect of the program. Nonetheless, the primary purpose and effect of the swap in the short run will be to reduce borrowing costs for corporations, much as the debt-to-bond swap program for local governments has served mainly to offset localities' borrowing costs. Without corporate governance reforms and industrial restructuring — changes that will depend on deeper adjustments to China's political incentive structure — the swap program would not go far in making Chinese SOEs the pillars of productivity that Beijing envisions.

Like the local government bond program before it, the new swap program will probably come into being slowly. In light of the State Council's announcement, some form of pilot program could well be in place by the end of 2016. But in all likelihood, it will be at least six months and probably longer before a program on a scale sufficient to address China's overall corporate debt exists. In the meantime, China's leaders will struggle to manage the country's corporate bankruptcy risks. If the housing sector falters again in the second half of the year, this will prove an even greater challenge.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War on: July 25, 2016, 04:28:59 PM
 shocked shocked shocked angry angry angry
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If these numbers are accurate , , , on: July 25, 2016, 04:28:33 PM
Not sure how these numbers were derived but if accurate , , ,

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jun/13/nigeria-larger-population-us-2050
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