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 on: Today at 08:37:23 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
"When asked whether it was wrong for the United States to intervene in WWI? In WWII? Johnson's entire answer was, "I don't know"!"

Well I was thinking just today how the US bailed Europe out twice last century.  And thinking maybe Trump IS on to something.  Europe sure as hell better be carrying their weight with NATO.  Maybe a fresh look at NATO is not such a bad idea.

"Herb Brooks told his gold medal hockey team after they beat the Soviet Union and were facing Finland in the finals, "Lose this one and you will take it to your grave".  Complain about Trump all you want, but sit this one, help Hillary win, and ... ditto ... you will take the consequences of that to your grave."

Yup.  Exactly right Doug.  Our friends at the Conservative and National Reviews better wake the hell up.  And Cruz made a huge blunder.  I don't know what his point was or who he was trying to impress.
He sure  wasn't going to win anybody any new friends with his stunt.  He should have just stayed home.  At least the Bush's know when to be silent.  And Cruz simply does not know how to broaden his appeal.  He is tone deaf from the right like Rhinos are tone deaf from near the center.

We ain't got till 2020.

What do you think Hillary and crew are going to do by pardoning all the illegals.  Millions upon millions more will flood in here and vote for socialism.  Do NOT think many will NOT be voting.  Certainly millions of their natural born children sure will.

Trump may well be able to reach some groups that the Rhinos can or will not reach out to.

We all better hope so.

 on: Today at 05:25:24 PM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by Crafty_Dog

Syria's Rebels Lose Support When They Need It Most
July 25, 2016 | 09:30 GMT Print
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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)

    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.


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.

 on: Today at 05:20:46 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: Today at 05:02:21 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: Today at 04:36:49 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Well said!

 on: Today at 04:34:39 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
 Dawn for the Dead Companies of China
July 25, 2016 | 09:00 GMT Print
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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)

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.

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.

 on: Today at 04:28:59 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
 shocked shocked shocked angry angry angry

 on: Today at 04:28:33 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Not sure how these numbers were derived but if accurate , , ,

 on: Today at 04:26:53 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
A German friend says this report calls pants on fire about the assertion of a major weapons cache.

 on: Today at 04:23:33 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by Crafty_Dog

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