Thursday, October 20, 2016

Andrew Gelman — Polls

More from über-statistician Andrew Gelman on polling methodology. See the links in the short post.

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
Andrew Gelman | professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.

Walker Bragman and Shane Ryan — Did Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Use Threats and Bribery to Silence a Young Journalist?

Bragman and Ryan review what actually happened between Newsweeks' Kurt Eichenwald and Sputnik's Bill Moran. It corroborates Moran's account.

Did Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Use Threats and Bribery to Silence a Young Journalist?
Walker Bragman and Shane Ryan

Scott Horton — Welcome to the Libertarian Institute!

The idea has been percolating around for a while, and now we’re ready. It is a unique moment. The time is ripe for advancing peace and liberty.
Our goal is to unite the libertarian movement and more importantly to realign American politics around our agenda — prioritizing opposition to the worst of state power: the permanent war state, the prison and police states, and the corporate welfare, corrupt contracts, and bank bailouts that rig the economy for the wealthy and politically connected.
The Libertarian Institute’s mission is to stress these issues and work with other groups from across the political spectrum against these greatest of abuses.
I am proud to announce that Managing Editor Will Grigg and Executive Editor Sheldon Richman join me in this ambitious venture. Their heroic legacies of authorship and activism will surely inspire confidence and help solidify the Institute’s place in the libertarian movement and the broader political conversation.
Jared Labell of Taxpayers United of America, deeply inspired by the idea, has taken on the launch of the Libertarian Institute as a personal project, already putting immense effort into making it bigger and better than we even hoped. We welcome his expertise as Executive Director and happily anticipate his fine writing.
We have begun inviting those who today best represent libertarianism in our country to write for our website and blog, and to collaborate on many projects. They come from many places and perspectives. This diversity will set the standard for our group and mission.
The Libertarian Institute
Welcome to the Libertarian Institute!
Scott Horton

David Dayan — Debate Moderators Under the Spell of Deficit-Obsessed Billionaire Pete Peterson

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an organization that is virtually unknown outside of Washington, was nonetheless cited in four different questions during this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates.
Moderators Elaine Quijano and Chris Wallace, seemingly unable to string together an intelligent thought about domestic policy on their own, outsourced their questions to a cabal of self-styled serious grown-ups who believe that advocating for cutting Social Security and Medicare makes them look like paragons of virtue.…
 Sociologists, psychologists and PR people call it cultivating an image — of being VSPs —Very Serious Persons.

HRC is in Peterson's pocket, in addition to that of George Soros, Wall Street, Saudi Arabia and all the rest of Bill and Hillary's patrons and donors.

The Intercept
Debate Moderators Under the Spell of Deficit-Obsessed Billionaire Pete Peterson
David Dayan

Ivan Stamenkovic — It’s Outrageous That I’m Facing 45 Years In Prison For Filming A Climate Protest

Amy Goddman was exonerated for doing her job as a reporter. Not yet Deia Schlosberg.
My name is Deia Schlosberg and I am an independent filmmaker and climate reporter. I was arrested while filming an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in North Dakota and I’m currently facing felony charges that I believe are unjust. I am a climate reporter; my specialty is following the story of how humankind is creating a grave problem for civilization by continuing to flood the atmosphere with greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial processes. I don’t think there is nearly enough reporting on climate change nor the movement of people around the world working to lessen the impacts of climate change.…
When I was arrested, I was doing my job. I was reporting. I was documenting. Freedom of the press, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is absolutely critical to maintaining an informed citizenry, without which, democracy is impossible.
Counter Current News

Sputnik — Newsweek’s Eichenwald Doubles Down on Debunked Conspiracy, Loses It on Twitter

If you're following this, the media battle heats up. Whose disinformation?

Newsweek’s Eichenwald Doubles Down on Debunked Conspiracy, Loses It on Twitter

Robert Parry — Clinton Repackages Her Syrian ‘No-Fly’ Plan

HRC repackages here "no-fly zone" as "safe areas." Robert Parry doesn't see it getting off the ground owing to US history regarding such agreement. The so-called safe areas would be areas from which to regroup, resupply and launch proxies to overthrow the Assad government, which the US has declared to be the overall policy objective. 

HRC's "revision" is just a change in strategy.

Of course, when Syria and Russia reject it as such, the HRC will declare that she did "all she could" and the blame falls on them. US allies and vassals will fall in line, it is safely presumed.

Consortium News
Clinton Repackages Her Syrian ‘No-Fly’ Plan
Robert Parry

Ellis Winningham — Introductory Series: The Monetary System – US Currency Part 3

We will continue where we left off with a look at budget deficits, surpluses and the national debt. Previously, we’ve discussed US Dollars, what they are, where they come from, how they enter and leave the US economy, and US paper currency. In case you’ve been linked to this particular article, here is the series so far:

Introductory Series: The Monetary System – US Currency Part 1

Introductory Series: The Monetary System – US Currency Part 2

Introductory Series: The Monetary System – US Paper Currency

Also, let me restate the purpose of this series. The purpose of this introductory series is two-fold: Firstly, for those students considering economics as a major, the series will give you a solid understanding of the basics from which macroeconomic reality flows. In other words, from the get go, you won’t fall for mainstream fantasy, and then one day, obtain an influential position in government where you will create recessions and high unemployment for a living and then deny responsibility. Secondly, for the general public and interested laypersons who do not wish to be economists, but rather, who do wish to obtain a firm grasp on the basics of how federal spending and the monetary system actually works. Following today’s discussion, we will then take a look at other aspects of the monetary system, including banking operation and central bank operations, as well as a look at how the monetary system applies to Social Security. Let’s get started.…
Ellis Winningham — MMT and Modern Macroeconomics
Introductory Series: The Monetary System – US Currency Part 3
Ellis Winningham

Gordon Adams and Lawrence Wilkerson on Clinton and Trump on foreign policy

Adams and Wilkerson assess Clinton and Trump on temperament and judgment. The find Trump unqualified on temperament and judgment, and Clinton qualified in temperament but not on judgment.

I think that they may be giving HRC too much credit on temperament, based on her public performance and manufactured image. She is reported to be extremely temperamental in private to the point of being unstable, as well as extremely vindictive and domineering.

Since foreign policy is the unique prerogative of the president in an age in which declaration of war, which is the prerogative of Congress, has fallen into disuse and the power effectively delegated to the president's discretion.

Experts seem to agree that war with Russia, which could easily go nuclear, is closer than anytime since the Cuban missile crisis was defused without incident through diplomacy and compromise.

The National Interest
No, Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Judgement Isn't As Good As Everyone Says
Gordon Adams, distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, professor emeritus at American University, and former senior White House budget official for national security in the Clinton administration, and Lawrence Wilkerson, visiting professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary. and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell

Foreign affairs neorealist John Mearsheimer analyzes Us-Russian relations and the effect of Trump.

Russia & India Report
US professor: Trump can’t fix Russia-U.S. ties
Nikolay Shevchenko

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Robert Parry — The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment

Playing with explosives to create distraction from misdeeds.

Consortium News
The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment
Robert Parry

rousseau1214 — Neoconservatism

Backgrounder based on the recently published, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, by Andrew J. Bacevich.

Take away. "American leadership" implies US global hegemony that is based on power, which is in the final analysis military power.
AJB: On the Right they hoped to find the opportunity to create that alternative perception of reality necessary for fulfilling their radical aspirations. The essence of those aspirations was simplicity itself: to fuse American power to American principles, ensuring the survival of those principles and subsequently their propagation to the benefit of all humankind.
"Doing good" while also "doing well."

For those who may not understand American colloquialisms, "doing good" is synonymous with "do-gooder," which means "a well-meaning but unrealistic or interfering reformer." "Doing well" signifies achieving material success.

"Doing good" while also "doing well" is play on the current management maxim, "Doing well by doing good," meaning the management strategy of creating an image of a firm as one that helps people in order to increase the bottom line of the firm.

Gedanken zur Geschichte


Grocery deflation reaches 10-month mark

Rather "the oil monopoly rent was just too damn high!"

Still current evidence of monopoly rent removal working its way thru the US food chain at the retail level.

Bearish interest rates (to them) short term...

Andrew Jackson — Is “Postcapitalism” On the Horizon?

Review of Paul Mason's Post Capitalism.
Paul Mason is a leading British economic journalist, currently a columnist for The Guardian. He is also a long time left political activist. His new book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. New York, 2015) is a challenging, sometimes obscure, sometimes brilliant, eminently worthwhile read, and an optimistic take that the left might, once again, be marching in tune with the forces of history.…
The Bullet
Is “Postcapitalism” On the Horizon?
Andrew Jackson

Noah Smith — Do economists have physics envy? (Part 2)

The making of another interesting argument that is interesting from my perspective as involving the philosophy of science.

One thing that seldom gets mentioned in this argument, outside of Post Keynesian circles, is Paul Samuelson's MIT approach to economics in which he realized that to write the kind of formal models that he wanted, he needed to assume ergodicity. Paul Davidson criticized this assumption.

Do economists have physics envy? (Part 2)
Noah Smith | Bloomberg View columnist

Alan Rusbridger — Panama: The Hidden Trillions

In a seminar room in Oxford, one of the reporters who worked on the Panama Papers is describing the main conclusion he drew from his months of delving into millions of leaked documents about tax evasion. “Basically, we’re the dupes in this story,” he says. “Previously, we thought that the offshore world was a shadowy, but minor, part of our economic system. What we learned from the Panama Papers is that it is the economic system.” 
Luke Harding, a former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian, was in Oxford to talk about his work as one of four hundred–odd journalists around the world who had access to the 2.6 terabytes of information about tax havens—the so-called Panama Papers—that were revealed to the world in simultaneous publication in eighty countries this spring. “The economic system is, basically, that the rich and the powerful exited long ago from the messy business of paying tax,” Harding told an audience of academics and research students. “They don’t pay tax anymore, and they haven’t paid tax for quite a long time. We pay tax, but they don’t pay tax. The burden of taxation has moved inexorably away from multinational companies and rich people to ordinary people.”
One of the chief objectives of neoliberalism is to remove taxes from capital and put them on labor, while simultaneously increasing capital share over labor share through other institutional arrangements in collusion with politicians on the make and take. The result is populist revolt that the establishment has pulled out all stops to confront.

New York Review of Books
Panama: The Hidden Trillions
Alan Rusbridger
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

Yves Smith — Blackstone’s Tony James Touting What Looks Like Hillary’s Scheme to Gut Social Security

Hillary's mandatory retirement savings accounts are a twofer: a way to replace Social Security over time and enrich private equity and hedgies.
Now that it is clear that HRC say one thing publicly and another behind closed doors.
Readers may recall that Bill Clinton planned to privatize Social Security in the second term of his Presidency. The Monica Lewinsky scandal derailed his plan.
As the Clintons knew, only a Democrat can dismantle Social Security. Hillary looks to be picking up where Bill left off.
One can only imagine what is in this financially for Bill and Hillary Clinton. They have already pulled in 111 million, 80 reported by Bill and 31 by Hillary. There's no quid pro quo though. Hey, they gave speeches.

Naked Capitalism
Blackstone’s Tony James Touting What Looks Like Hillary’s Scheme to Gut Social Security
Yves Smith

Katehon — Eurasian Development Bank to expand

The Eurasian Development Bank Chairman Dmitry Pankin told about the plans of global expansion. According to him, the candidates for accession are 12 countries, among them - the traditional allies of Washington.
Eurasian Development Bank to expand

Paul Robinson — Drifting towards authoritarianism, or not

Russian liberals manufacture fake news, and it reverbs through the echo chamber in the West.

Drifting towards authoritarianism, or not
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Noah Smith — An Econ Test Question We Shouldn't Get Wrong

Transaction costs. 

This is a big one to miss. Econometric models generally ignore it for tractability even though Ronald Coase receive the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for pointing it out in his work on the firm.

Bloomberg View
An Econ Test Question We Shouldn't Get Wrong
Noah Smith | Bloomberg View columnist

Dani Rodrik — It’s a war of ideas, not of interests

Note that what is required here is not one more well-designed program. It is a narrative, a marketing device – a bumper sticker.
Must-read. Short.

Dani Rodrik is correct but changing minds, let alone a cultural mindset, is easier said than done. But without doing it, progressivism is wandering in a swamp of identity issues.

It's about building a vision and articulating it persuasively through a narrative that Joe and Jane Sixpack can relate to and identify themselves and their cohort with.

Here again I come back to the enduring question, "What does it mean to live a good life as an individual in a good society."

Dani Rodrik's weblog
It’s a war of ideas, not of interests
Dani Rodrik

Jack Peat — Rough Sleepers Could Face Fines of up to £1,000 in Affluent Borough

I have talked to some homeless people, and one of the biggest problems they report is not lack of a home or money, but lack of space. They are not allowed to occupy space and must keep moving, even at night.

And I was just reading in the local paper that proposals to build affordable housing are running to the problem of NIMBY (not in my backyard). 

The mark of an immature society is the wish that problems just go away.

William K. Black — Prosecutors for the Petrocrats Try to Imprison the Media

Sheriff Bill is on North Dakota's case.

New Economic Perspectives
Prosecutors for the Petrocrats Try to Imprison the Media
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC
See also
Doug Krejci’s effort to use the University of Iowa’s 2008 flood footage for an upcoming documentary is being blocked by state officials who say copyright overrides public records.
The rare argument, if successful, could not only impede Krejci’s effort to raise public awareness of the disaster but also dismantle the state’s public records law, government transparency experts claim.
“It’s just bizarre,” said Adam Marshall, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a First Amendment advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “It can’t be the case that copyright law enables every state entity to withhold every single record they generate. That would totally eviscerate the public records laws.”
DesMoines Register
University of Iowa claims copyright law to block use of flood video
Jason Claywort

Edward Lambert — Yellen wants to understand effective demand

Janet Yellen is really asking for research into effective demand. She sees a weakness in aggregate demand affecting aggregate supply… or potential output. That is effective demand, but she cannot even use the term effective demand because economists do not understand it.
I have been researching effective demand for 4 years. I have seen really a complete lack of understanding of what effective demand is among economists. It surprises me that Janet Yellen would be calling for research on its dynamics....
Janet Yellen just might understand more about Keynes and Post Keynesianism that she wants to let on publicly. She was excoriated as a "Keynesian" by economists on the right at the time of her appointment to the Fed chair. Maybe she is nudging without rocking the boat too much.

Has anyone read Yellen, Janet L, 1980. "On Keynesian Economics and the Economics of the Post-Keynesians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 15-25, May. (Link is to JSTOR. Registration required.)

She may be considered a New Keynesian, but this paper shows that she is at least familiar with some Post Keynesian thinking.

Angry Bear
Yellen wants to understand effective demand
Edward Lambert

So whilst Janet gets empirically what is wrong with modern macro research she misses the fundamental reasons this matters.
  1. Economics must be rebuilt around balance sheets and fundamental accounting identities
  2. Hence state – balance sheets- must be the basis of all models. If the model is not a state machine it cannot describe the state of anything economic.
  3. Hence credit and debt, and money matters
  4. As debt issues are fundamentally non linear and complex models which require linearisation, such as DGSE, must be discarded, they are too broken to be fixed.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Yellen Almost, but not Quite, Gets Whats wrong with Modern MacroAndrew Lainton

A big MMT name disappoints

Loren B. Thompson — The Hidden Defect In U.S. Nuclear Strategy That Could Spell America's Doom

Russia currently has over a thousand nuclear warheads aimed at America. Just one of those warheads could kill more Americans than died in the Vietnam War. A dozen could collapse the nation's power grid and other vital networks.
So any kind of nuclear exchange, even a "small" one, would be a catastrophe without precedent in American history. Unfortunately, the strategy that Washington has fashioned to avert such a catastrophe is so focused on preventing a cold, calculated act of aggression that it largely ignores other ways nuclear war could unfold -- and maximizes losses the nation would suffer no matter what form the conflict took....
The National Interest
The Hidden Defect In U.S. Nuclear Strategy That Could Spell America's Doom
Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy, formerly Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Kia Kokalitcheva — Here's Why China Is So Important to Universal Pictures

According to Langley, Universal takes the Chinese market into consideration quite early in the movie-making process—in fact, as soon as a project is green-lit. Questions range from whether any potential controversial content in a movie could be seen as problematic to Chinese authorities or sensibilities to whether there are any local partners it should contact....
Here's Why China Is So Important to Universal Pictures 
Kia Kokalitcheva

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jonathan Cohn — A Bunch Of Influential Progressives Just Gave Hillary Clinton Their Stamp Of Approval

Informed progressive observers will recognize many of the letter’s signatories, starting with Stephanie Kelton, a University of Missouri-Kansas City economist who has been a top adviser to Sanders.
The Huffington Post
A Bunch Of Influential Progressives Just Gave Hillary Clinton Their Stamp Of Approval
Jonathan Cohn

Bill Mitchell — Australian national broadcaster gives ignorance the national stage

There’s no such thing as Government money. There’s your money and my money. And that’s where the money comes from – it comes out of our pockets…
This is on a news program, not from a comedy show. Beyond Moronism.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Australian national broadcaster gives ignorance the national stage
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Xinhua — China's Weibo overtakes Twitter in market cap

Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo overtook its U.S. counterpart Twitter in market capitalization for the first time ever during trading on Monday.
Nasdaq-listed Sina Weibo saw its market value rise to about 11.32 billion U.S. dollars at one point during trading on Monday, while that for Twitter, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, stood at about 11.22 billion U.S. dollars at the same time. It is the first time the Chinese microblog service has outperformed its U.S. counterpart in market cap,
China's Weibo overtakes Twitter in market cap

Joseph Jankowski — Did We Just See the Beginnings of a False Flag Attempt to Silence WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange?

Looks like the information war is in full swing with the shut down of RT's bank accounts in the UK, the shoe off of Assange's internet connection, and now this from Hillary-promoting Democrat site Daily Kos.

Russia News Now
Did We Just See the Beginnings of a False Flag Attempt to Silence WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange?
Joseph Jankowski