Wednesday, July 18, 2018

John Atcheson - Let's Just Admit It: Capitalism Doesn't Work

"In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy."—Fran Lebowitz

In almost every way you examine it, capitalism – at least the relatively unconstrained, free- market variety practiced here in the US and supported by both parties -- has been an abysmal failure. Let’s take a close look some of its worst failings.  But first, it must be admitted that when it comes to exploiting people and the planet for the purpose of generating apparent wealth for the few, it has been a smashing success.  More about that notion of “apparent wealth” in a moment, but now, the specifics.

The logical end-point of a competitive system is an oligarchic monopoly

A recent report  by UBS reveals that the global march of economic inequality is accelerating.  The report found that the billionaire’s share of wealth grew by nearly 20 percent last year, reaching a level of disparity not seen since 1905, the gilded age.  Interestingly, the first gilded age followed decades of uber-free market laissez-faire policies, just as today’s gilded age has.

Not surprising, really. Empirical evidence shows that without constraint, markets will proceed toward a winner-take-all status. In short, monopolies and oligopolies. For example, the United States has had three periods of prolonged laissez-faire economic policies, and each was followed by extreme wealth inequality and the three biggest economic crises in US history, such inequality causes.

Oh, but the magic of competition makes companies compete for our dollar, so they can’t afford to exploit us, right? Not so much.

The magic elixir of competition doesn’t work—for the simple reason that there isn’t much competition anymore. Having convinced folks that regulation is bad, the Oligarchy is in the midst of a frenzy of mergers that is giving a few large conglomerates control of many of the major market sectors.

Derrick Thompson, in a recent article in the Atlantic, lays out some of the grim statistics that illustrate the trend. As Thompson writes,

To comprehend the scope of corporate consolidation, imagine a day in the life of a typical American and ask: How long does it take for her to interact with a market that isn’t nearly monopolized? She wakes up to browse the Internet, access to which is sold through a local monopoly. She stocks up on food at a superstore such as Walmart, which owns a quarter of the grocery market. If she gets indigestion, she might go to a         pharmacy, likely owned by one of three companies controlling 99 percent of that market. If she’s stressed and wants to relax outside the shadow of an oligopoly, she’ll have to stay away from ebooks, music, and beer; two companies control more than half     of all sales in each of these markets. There is no escape—literally. She can try boarding an airplane, but four corporations control 80 percent of the seats on domestic flights.

The consolidation of the media is yet another example; just six corporations now control 90 percent of the market. And of course, there’s the inconvenient fact that the “too-big-to-fail” banks that were a major cause of the 2008 Great Recession are now bigger and fewer.

This concentration of market power translates into lower wages, fewer jobs, and higher prices – exactly the opposite of what the neoclassical economic theory embraced by capitalists tells us will happen when we remove regulatory constraints – and exactly the opposite of what the Republicans’ trickle-down myth says will happen. Or what the neoliberal Democrats tell us, for that matter.

But it also gives the wealthy control over our political system, and the people have gotten wise to it.  That’s why a little over a quarter of the eligible voters were able to put Trump in power – most of the rest of us are completely turned off by a political system that’s clearly for sale and so, increasingly, many do not show up to vote.

That control has expressed itself in policies that result in extreme income disparities between the increasingly few haves and the expanding have-nots. Today, just five people have as much wealth as the 3.8 billion people comprising the least wealthy half of the world’s population, and nowhere in the developed world is the problem as acute as it is in America.  The system is rigged, and our belief in capitalism and the power of the magic markets is what allowed that.

Now, about that “apparent wealth”

We measure our wealth in currency.  But currency is simply a surrogate for real wealth, which is based on natural capital and labor.  The problem with this is that natural capital is limited, while the amount of currency is limitless.  For example, the value of the derivatives has been estimated to be as high as $1.2 trillion, or nearly 20 times the size of the global GDP.  So what?  Well, since:

currency is merely a claim made against real wealth, not wealth itself; and
currency has the capacity to grow infinitely; but
natural capital, the source of real wealth is finite …
That means we are creating claims on natural capital that exceeds the planet’s capacity to provide it.  In short, we are essentially creating debt for future generations and calling it wealth creation.

More here on externalities - 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sputnik — Coming Coup Against Trump

But since the West has been fighting World War III against itself, its victory will also be its defeat. Indeed, not only is it losing, but it is also being invaded—by mobs of migrants from the various countries it has destroyed, having used them as surrogate enemies in its notional battle against Russia. Give it a few more decades, and at this rate the West will be no more, its slow-breeding population replaced by the much more fecund newcomers. The countries that make it up will dissolve in a sea of migrants and will come to resemble the more crowded parts of the third world.
This will no doubt make the Russians a little bit sad; after all, they couldn’t have asked for a nicer enemy.
The ongoing soft coup that has been unsuccessful so far turning hardening into something more sinister?
The American political class are agog to get rid of Trump, but they are apprehensive to make a decisive move just yet, because such a gambit to depose the president may engender a wider social revolt against the elites. There is a strong sense that US society is seething from numerous grievances. Poverty and abysmal social inequality as well as popular alienation from the Washington establishment are all too rife for a potential civil war or revolution if stoked too much.
One can anticipate that the media campaign to pillory Trump as a traitor will go into overdrive in the coming days, with the calculation by his powerful enemies within the deep state that public opinion can be turned decisively against him for "betraying America" to a "hostile enemy". If that manipulation of public opinion is achieved, then Trump is a goner.…
As soon as the meeting was over in Helsinki, all hell has broken lose in the deep state-controlled US media and politicians, condemning Trump....
When the interests of the ruling elite in the US are threatened anything is possible. Assassinations and coups are par for the course for these plutocrats and their agents.
The livid reaction to Trump's eminently reasonable engagement with Putin this week — a reaction that is vicious and coordinated — is an ominous sign that powerful forces are moving against this president.
Sputnik International
Coming Coup Against Trump

Pepe Escobar — A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station

Pepe catches us up on the Trump-Putin summit and fallout.

Asia Times
A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station
Pepe Escobar

See also
Unbeknownst to most, World War III has been raging for very close to four decades now—ever since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It was preceded by the Cold War, which ended when Mikhail Gorbachev capitulated to the West, causing the Warsaw Pact to dissolve in confusion.
In spite of his capitulation, the West never abandoned its plan to destroy the Warsaw Pact along with parts of the former USSR, then conquer and dismember Russia itself. In absence of any military threat from the east, NATO, along with its parasitic twin, the European Union, has relentlessly expanded eastward, gobbling up country after country. It has by now conquered the entire Warsaw Pact plus Moldova and the three tiny Baltic statelets, and is now going after other loose bits of the former USSR: the Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia.
The reason almost nobody in the West realizes that World War III has been happening all along is that the West has suffered a mental collapse as profound as the USSR’s physical collapse. Russia has recovered from its collapse; the West probably never will....
But since the West has been fighting World War III against itself, its victory will also be its defeat. Indeed, not only is it losing, but it is also being invaded—by mobs of migrants from the various countries it has destroyed, having used them as surrogate enemies in its notional battle against Russia. Give it a few more decades, and at this rate the West will be no more, its slow-breeding population replaced by the much more fecund newcomers.
The countries that make it up will dissolve in a sea of migrants and will come to resemble the more crowded parts of the third world.
This will no doubt make the Russians a little bit sad; after all, they couldn’t have asked for a nicer enemy.
Russia Insider
NEWSFLASH! World War III Finally Over!
Dimitry Orlov

See also
The poll found that 55 percent of registered voters disapproved while 37 percent approved of his handling of relations with Russia.
Among Republicans, 71 percent approved of his handling of Russia compared to 14 percent of Democrats.…
The poll found that 55 percent of registered voters disapproved while 37 percent approved of his handling of relations with Russia.
Among Republicans, 71 percent approved of his handling of Russia compared to 14 percent of Democrats…. 
Damon Darlin, Chris Kahn

See also

The Maven
Mass Hysteria
Mike Mish Shedlock

Sputnik — ‘Russian Agent’ Arrested in US Was Endorsed by Anti-Putin Opposition

The curious case of Mariia Butina, a Russian national arrested in Washington, takes a truly astonishing turn. Despite being portrayed as an agent of the Russian government, in reality she seems to be tied with the politicians opposing President Putin, and even actively participated in anti-government protests in Moscow.

Butina was arrested Sunday on the charge of conspiring to act as a foreign agent of Russia, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) statement and indictment released Monday. Tuesday, yet another charge was filed against Butina, this time accusing her of not just conspiring to work as an agent of Russia, but of actually having done so.…
Butina has long advocated for gun rights in Russia and was endorsedby none other than opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Navalny receives considerable coverage from the Western press hailing him as Putin's primary opponent despite the fact he consistently polls in the single digits. In the US, he is promoted as a liberal reformer, notwithstanding his deeply racist views.…
One of Russia's main opposition news outlets, Medusa, spoke with a source who personally knew Butina through work. They said she holds views in line with the opposition and even demonstrated in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in 2011 amid protests against the result of elections to the Duma, Russia's parliament. The New York Times notes that the protesters were against "Putin's party" and that Navalny, who was arrested during the demonstrations, later addressed the crowds from prison....
Sputnik International
‘Russian Agent’ Arrested in US Was Endorsed by Anti-Putin Opposition

Paul Antonopoulos — BEYOND THE NOISE: What ELSE did Trump and Putin discuss at Helsinki?

Putin's view of what transpired as he has stated it publicly.

Fort Russ
BEYOND THE NOISE: What ELSE did Trump and Putin discuss at Helsinki?

See also at Fort Russ

In contrast to US MSM, German foreign minister calls for more US-RF rapprochement as a necessity
Maria Kormbaki reporting via

John Helmer — Dmitry Peskov Coaches Vladimir Putin at Helsinki Game

Prepped by Peskov, Putin Began at Minute 31 to “Suggest That Your Relevant Commission Led by US Special Counsel – What Is His Name, Mr Mueller or Meller? – Should Send Us, in Compliance With This Treaty, an Official Request for Interrogating the People That He Believes to Be Guilty of Committing a Crime. Our Prosecutor-General’s Office and Investigative Agencies Can Interrogate These People and Forward the Relevant Materials to the United States.
“Moreover, We Can Take Another Step to Meet You Halfway. We Can Allow US Official Representatives, Including Those From the Mueller-Led Commission, to Be Present at the Interrogation. Certainly, in This Case, We Will Be Seeking Reciprocal Steps From the United States. We’ll Expect the American Party to Interrogate the Officials, Including the US Intelligence Officers, Who Are Suspected of Committing Illegal Acts in Russia, in the Presence of Our Investigation Officers.
“I Mean the High-Profile Case, Involving [Bill] Browder’s Hermitage Capital Company. According to Our Investigative Officers, a Group of People – Mr Browder’s Business Partners – Who Illegally Made Over $1.5 Billion in Russia Did Not Pay Taxes Either in Russia or the United States but Transferred This Money to the United States. They Contributed $400 Million to Ms Clinton’s Election Campaign. This Is Official Information Included in Their Reports – $400 Million. Well, It Was Up to Them, They Might Have Done This Legally, but the Gains Were Ill-Gotten….
“The Company I Mentioned, Concord, and One of Our Restaurateurs Are Being Accused of Interference. However, They Do Not Represent the Russian State. Even if That Is the Case, I Can Imagine. So What? I Have Given You Examples. You Have Many People, Including Those With Major Billion-Dollar Fortunes, Such as Mr Soros. He Interferes Everywhere He Can, but What Is This? Is It the Position of the American State? No. This Is the Position of a Private Person. So It Is in This Case.”
Dances with Bears
Dmitry Peskov Coaches Vladimir Putin at Helsinki Game
John Helmer

Tucker Carlson Tonight — Russian Studies Prof: Criticisms of Trump Over Putin Presser Are 'Like Mob Violence'

Tucker Carlson of Fox News hosts US Russian expert and Professor Emeritus Stephen F. Cohen, who is a contributor to The Nation. He is married to The Nation's publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel.

We are unlikely to see him on the Rachel Maddow Show at MSNBC, where one would expect a liberal.

It's turning into a topsy-turvy world.

Fox News Insider
Russian Studies Prof: Criticisms of Trump Over Putin Presser Are 'Like Mob Violence'

Tucker Carlson Tonight

DiEM25 - High-level talks to evict Assange

17 Jul 2018 — The Times writes that Ecuador and the UK are in high-level talks to evict Assange. In times of dissent and with the most conservative Supreme Court of Justice ever, the expulsion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy and subsequent prosecution will reverse the rights of those who dare to challenge power and tell the truth, in the US and all over the World. His crime is to expose war crimes and government conspiracies against the rights of the many. 

Prosecuting Julian Assange will officially open an era of rapid regression of civil liberties and the rise of automated totalitarianism. There will be no place for western dissidents, no courage to resist. The defence of Assange is a critical issue for all supporters of democratic rights.

Today we demand that the US ends the prosecution of a journalist. We also demand that Ecuador respects its obligations with dignity, rather than illegally ignoring them and with that ignoring the word of a Head of State. Petition

DiEM25 - High-level talks to evict Assange

British and Ecuadorian authorities in talks to evict Julian Assange from London embassy

Lars P. Syll — Using economics as a propaganda device

Paul Diesing: "The most serious deficiency of implicit formal theories is that the verbal language disguises the abstractness of the theory … The consequence of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness is that the theory looks too convincing to its proponents​ … He becomes​ the prisoner of his own logical model and is rendered incapable​ of seeing reality from any other standpoint …"
Mistaking a map for the territory. 

Classic error. 

Virtually everyone makes it by mistaking their map (worldview) for the territory (reality). Even so-called experts in cognitive disciplines often make it.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Using economics as a propaganda device
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Psychological Warfare Expert & Shell Game Whistle Blower Scott Bennett Analyzes Trump Putin Summit

Live right now. I know this show can be like watching paint dry but it's quite good at the moment. It's all about Russiagate,

President Trump's refusal to accept U.S. Intelligence agencies assessments regarding Russian election interference is being heralded by mainstream as "defiant" a "blunder" and all manner of negative descriptors. Are these not the same intel agencies that insisted Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, hurling the world into 17 years of deadly, costly, useless war? Should these agencies and individuals not be questioned and challenged to provide unequivocal, documented evidence in such matters of importance? Is Donald Trump engaged in an epic battle with Military/Industrial/Technocratic enemies of the people of the United States? Psychological warfare expert, Shell Game author and Deep State whistleblower Scott Bennett joins me to analyze yesterday's historic Presidential summit.

Craig Murray — Detente Bad, Cold War Good

The entire “liberal” media and political establishment of the Western world reveals its militarist, authoritarian soul today with the screaming and hysterical attacks on the very prospect of detente with Russia. Peace apparently is a terrible thing; a renewed arms race, with quite literally trillions of dollars pumped into the military industrial complex and hundreds of thousands dying in proxy wars, is apparently the “liberal” stance.
Political memories are short, but just 15 years after Iraq was destroyed and the chain reaction sent most of the Arab world back to the dark ages, it is now “treason” to question the word of the Western intelligence agencies, which deliberately and knowingly produced a fabric of lies on Iraqi WMD to justify that destruction.

It would be more rational for it to be treason for leaders to blindly accept the word of the intelligence services.…
The power of persuasion to subvert reason, and the ongoing power of argument based on (putative) authority rather than evidence.

Craig Murray Blog
Detente Bad, Cold War Good
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

Alex Gray — China is among the 20 most innovative economies for the first time

In the last few decades, China has made huge progress in science and technology. This new age of innovation has seen the birth of ‘unicorn’ tech companies like media giant Tencent, the ‘Uber of China’ Didi Chuxing, and the world’s biggest drone builder, DJI.

Now, for the first time, China has broken into the top 20 of a global list of the most innovative economies.

The latest Global Innovation Index singles out China for its rapid transformation into an innovation powerhouse. It has risen consistently up the rankings, in 2015, it was in 29th place, the following year it rose four places to 25th place and in 2017 up three places to 22nd.

Key drivers behind this upward trend include a high level of spending on research and development and the high number of patent applications made by Chinese companies and institutions.

China’s innovation trajectory has been dynamic, says the report, which is compiled by the INSEAD business school, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Enter the dragon.

Interesting article. Should be a wake-up call that the world is getting a lot more competitive. That's great for buyers but challenging for producers.
"China's rapid rise reflects a strategic direction set from the top leadership to developing world-class capacity in innovation and to moving the structural basis of the economy to more knowledge-intensive industries that rely on innovation to maintain competitive advantage," said WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry. "It heralds the arrival of multipolar innovation".
World Economic Forum
Ellen Wulfhorst

See also

World Economic Forum
Back to the future: flying cars are becoming a reality
David Alexander | Director, Aerospace Standards, SAE International

Raúl Ilargi Meijer — Treason? Get A Life!

Yeah, just keep ’em coming, right, so that when the last one falls flat on its face people will have already forgotten about it and instead focus on the new one. It’s been the modus operandi of the US MSM ever since Donald Trump emerged as an actual presidential candidate, and they haven’t let go.

They realize by now that it divides the nation, it costs them a large chunk of their potential readers and viewers, and creates chaos all around, but the bottom line is it makes them money. Because those people who fall into the echo chamber trap, tumble into it fast and furious, and will gladly pay to read yet another installment of how bad the man really is.
But it is getting out of hand, guys and gals, it is becoming a real and present danger to the -formerly- United States. The anti-Russia propaganda machine far predates Trump, but manufacturing an ever closer link between the two has proven to be a masterstroke of media genius.

That Vladimir Putin is an existential threat to the US and indeed the entire western world is a narrative taken straight out of Edward Bernays’ playbook. And it works like a charm. The problem is, it is also the biggest threat to peace anywhere on the globe that we have ever seen since WWII....
See, the idea is that you get yourself informed and then form your own opinion. Not that you let others pre-cook and pre-chew your opinions for you. Still, once you’re inside the deafening echo chamber, that’s what inevitably happens. Because there’s so much one-sided innuendo in there, your head aches and you just give up all resistance. Just to have a quiet moment.
And so very many Americans end up believing that indeed their president is guilty of treason. Because so many pundits claim that he is. But how many of them understand what treason really is, how serious an allegation it is? Is doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? Because all those others say he is, and they can’t all be wrong. And the echo chamber gives you a headache.

This is where I should say that somebody better do something about this, but it’s hard to see what. The divide has grown into a chasm. And that both sides are equally to blame for that doesn’t excuse either side’s wilful blindness. But yes, I hear you, it makes them money.

Still, if a US president can no longer talk to another president without being accused of treason, you’re in a scary predicament.
The Automatic Earth
Treason? Get A Life!
Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Bill Mitchell — The abdication of the Left – redux – Part 2

This is the second and final part in my response to the Social Europe article by Stuart Holland (July 11, 2018) – Not An Abdication By The Left – where he attempts to eviscerate various writers who have dared to suggest that the “social democratic Left in Europe … has run out of ideas” or that “there has been an intellectual abdication by the Left”. He uses his experience as an advisor to Harold Wilson in the 1960s and to Jacques Delors in the early 1990s as an ‘authority’ for his rejection of the claims that the Left has abandoned its social democratic remit. He holds the likes of Delors and António Guterres has shining Left lights. In Part 1, I showed that the view that Delors and Guterres are beacons of Left history and that the social democratic Left has not sold out to the neoliberal orthodoxy (particularly at the political level) is unsustainable. Holland distorts history to suit his argument and is in denial of the facts. In Part 2, I trace the argument further by examining the 1993 Delors White Paper, which was meant to be the European Commission’s response to the mass unemployment that was bedevilling the Continent at the time (and remains, by the way) and later propositions that Holland was associated with in relation to Greece during the GFC. They further demonstrate that Stuart Holland is attempting to maintain an indefensible position.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The abdication of the Left – redux – Part 2
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Monday, July 16, 2018

Col. Pat Lang — Editorial - China hacked Clinton's e-mail

Another shoe drops. Short.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Editorial - China hacked Clinton's e-mail
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.
He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. — Wikipedia


Page confirmed China penetration of HC e-mail.

Joe Hargrave — Breaking: Trump Doubles-Down on His Threat to Bring World Peace, Deep-State Crisis-Actors Lose It

Sums it up.

Fort Russ
Breaking: Trump Doubles-Down on His Threat to Bring World Peace, Deep-State Crisis-Actors Lose It
Joe Hargrave

Trump calls it "an incredible offer"...

Uh oh!

President Donald Trump just bragged that Vladimir Putin has offered to send Russian government investigators to look into Russian government meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. 
Trump teased Putin’s “interesting idea” in his opening remarks during their joint press conference Monday morning: 
"During today’s meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections. I felt this was a message best delivered in person. Spent a great deal of time talking about it. President Putin may very well want to address it and very strongly, because he feels strongly about it. He has an interesting idea."

Double triggers!!!

Kevin Garnett — A Short Guide to Hard Problems

A bit wonkish, but interesting.

Big implications for the transition from the analog era that has lasted throughout history up to now into the digital age. An important iteration in the digital age has taken place already. (This has some people concerned that humans will lose control to AI.)

Quantum computers appear to be different from classical computers such that they may result in different categories of problems that the machines can respectively handle. This can be seen by examining algorithmic problem solving capability and computational power.

So in addition to the size of problems that can be solved, there may also be a categorical difference, putting some problem types beyond the ability of human intelligence not only in terms of size in relation to speed, but also category.

Quantum computing may not just be faster but also of a different order than human intelligence. Are we facing looking like great apes relative to human beings as the digital age unfolds. It also raise questions about just who owns and controls the computing power, since it will profoundly affect the social, political and economic aspects of life as a whole. 
A Short Guide to Hard Problems
Kevin Garnett, senior writer

See also
It may surprise some to learn that one in three start-ups in the Arab World is founded or led by women. That’s a higher percentage than in Silicon Valley. Women are becoming a force to be reckoned with on the start-up scene across the Middle East. Because the tech industry is still relatively new in the Arab world, there is no legacy of it being a male-dominated field. Many entrepreneurs from the region believe that technology is one of the few spaces where everything is viewed as possible, including breaking gender norms, making it a very attractive industry for women....
World Economic Forum
How women are transforming the Arab world's start-up scene
Kelly Ommundsen and Khaled Kteily

The Man Who COULD Have Been Bill Gates [Gary Kildall]

Kevin Zeese, Nils Mccune - Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?

In the crazy world of the neoliberalism, where black is white, war is peace, evil is good, slavery is freedom, monopolies are exemplars of perfect markets, etc, we see in Nicaragua the right wing opposition carrying out violent protests, murders, rapes, and torture and blaming it on the left-wing Ortega government while the corporate media goes along with the lies reporting fake news.

The Ortega government rejects neoliberalism and austerity and is improving the lives for the majority of Nicaraguans. KV

An Upside Down Class War
It is important to understand the nature of US and oligarch coups in this era and the role of media and NGO deception because it is repeated in multiple Latin American and other countries. We can expect a similar attack on recently elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, if he seeks the changes he has promised.
The US has sought to dominate Nicaragua since the mid-1800s. The wealthy in Nicaragua have sought return of US-allied governance since the Sandinistas rose to power. This failing coup does not mean the end of their efforts or the end of corporate media misinformation. Knowing what is really occurring and sharing that information is the antidote to defeating them in Nicaragua and around the world.
Nicaragua is a class war turned upside down. The government has raised the living standards of the impoverished majority through wealth redistribution. Oligarchs and the United States, unable to install neoliberalism through elections, created a political crisis, highlighted by false media coverage to force Ortega to resign. The coup is failing, the truth is coming out, and should not be forgotten.
The National Police of Nicaragua has been long-recognized for its model of community policing (in contrast to militarized police in most Central American countries), its relative lack of corruption, and its mostly female top brass. The coup strategy has sought to destroy public trust in the police through egregious use of fake news, such as the many false claims of assassinations, beatings, torture, and disappearances in the week from April 17th to 23rd. Several young people whose photos were carried in opposition rallies as victims of police violence have turned out to be alive and well.

Bill Mitchell — The abdication of the Left – redux – Part 1

Former Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky was quoted as saying during the 1979 Austrian election campaign that: “I am less worried about the budget deficits than by the need for the state to create jobs where private industry fails”. That is the statement of a social democrat. That is a progressive Left view. In June 1982, with French unemployment at 7.2 per cent (having risen from 2.4 per cent in 1974 after a near decade of austerity under the right-wing Prime Minister Raymond Barre), the French Minister of Economy and Finance cut 30 billion francs from government spending so that the fiscal deficit would remain below 3 per cent. In March 1983, the same Minister pressured his colleagues including President François Mitterrand, into imposing a further bout of austerity, cutting another 24 billion francs and increasing taxes by 40 billion francs. These were very deep cuts. The austerity under the so-called ‘Barre Plan’ had failed to reduce inflation. When the turn to austerity was repeated under Mitterand’s so-called Socialist government, France was already in a deep recession. Under the Socialist austerity period unemployment rose sharply to further to 9.3 per cent by 1987. By then the architect of that austerity, one Jacques Delors, was European Commission President and starting work on his next exercise in neoliberal carnage – the Eurozone. None of his behaviour during that period remotely signals a position we could call progressive or Left. Like his austerity turn (“tournant de la rigeur”), Delors had turned into just another neoliberal obsessed with fiscal surpluses, free markets (he oversaw the 1987 Single European Act), and privatisation (which he claimed was necessary to attract foreign direct investment) (Source). This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the abdication of the Left, which some still choose to deny....
Bill goes heavy on fact today. He has a firm grip on the history of the period. If you are looking for the blow by blow, here it is.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The abdication of the Left – redux – Part 1
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you - Anthony Hazard

How the Western ruling elite made their wealth, and today with that wealth they are buying up the World. They call it free trade, liberalisation, capitalism, and democracy, and convince people it is about the protestant work ethic, a reward for hard work, but it's more like a game of monopoly where the winners get an exponential rise in wealth with less and less effort.  In fact, with hardly any effort at all when the slave trade made them their enormous wealth to start with.

And then Western banks create the money out of thin air for next to nothing and the elite can go on a massive buy up with that.  One day, western oil companies may get to own Venezuelan's oil too, and the Venezuelan people will get nothing.

This is a very sad video clip. The brutality is horrendous, and Africa remains a broken continent today because of what the Europeans and the Americans did.

Britain’s iFeudalism - Renegade Inc

In Europe during the Middle Ages feudalism was the social order of the day. Society was structured between landowners and the landless. Astonishingly in the UK today that social order is, again, on the rise. A growing number of leasehold homeowners are at the mercy of a new class of rent-seeker - actively exploit them in their own homes through onerous ground rents and permission fees. Many of these homes were bought through the government sanctioned Help To Buy Scheme which has fuelled house builders profits and led to massive remuneration packages for CEOs. So on this show we uncover the sleight of hand behind this growing crisis. Host Ross Ashcroft​ is joined by the founder of the National Leasehold Campaign Katie Kendrick and Director of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership​, Sebastian O’Kelly.

Chris Hedges - The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom

Julian Assange exposed the terrible crimes of the empire but no one in the MSM is defending him. He's a hero but they make him out as some bad guy, and most people seem to believe it. 

There was once a moderate left in the MSM but now that had gone. The public is unaware and doesn't seem to care, but how can it care if they don't get the facts, only a boring, uninteresting, unexciting, mediocre politics, with celebrity gossip, along with endless photographs of the Royal Family. No real news at all. KV.

The failure on the part of establishment media to defend Julian Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been denied communication with the outside world since March and appears to be facing imminent expulsion and arrest, is astonishing. The extradition of the publisher -- the maniacal goal of the U.S. government -- would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump's Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.

Moreno's predecessor as president, Rafael Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the embassy and made him an Ecuadorean citizen last year, warned that Assange's "days were numbered." He charged that Moreno -- who cut off Assange's communications the day after Moreno welcomed a delegation from the U.S. Southern Command -- would "throw him out of the embassy at the first pressure from the United States."

The persecution of Assange is part of a broad assault against anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist news organizations. The ruling elites, who refuse to accept responsibility for profound social inequality or the crimes of empire, have no ideological veneer left to justify their greed, ineptitude and pillage. Global capitalism and its ideological justification, neoliberalism, are discredited as forces for democracy and the equitable distribution of wealth. The corporate-controlled economic and political system is as hated by right-wing populists as it is by the rest of the population. This makes the critics of corporatism and imperialism -- journalists, writers, dissidents and intellectuals already pushed to the margins of the media landscape -- dangerous and it makes them prime targets. Assange is at the top of the list.

I took part with dozens of others, including Daniel Ellsberg, William BinneyCraig MurrayPeter Van BurenSlavoj Zizek, George Galloway and Cian Westmoreland, a week ago in a 36-hour international online vigil demanding freedom for the WikiLeaks publisher. The vigil was organized by the New Zealand Internet Party leader Suzie Dawson. It was the third Unity4J vigil since all of Assange's communication with the outside world was severed by the Ecuadorean authorities and visits with him were suspended in March, part of the increased pressure the United States has brought on the Ecuadorean government. Assange has since March been allowed to meet only with his attorneys and consular officials from the Australian Embassy.


Chris Hedges - The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Publius Tacitus — America's Russia Derangement Syndrome

Things to keep in mind as the world prepares for the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
America's Russia Derangement Syndrome
Publius Tacitus

Immanuel Wallerstein — Two Cheers for Mexico’s AMLO: A Great Victory for the Left

Backgrounder. Short.

Immanuel Wallerstein
Two Cheers for Mexico’s AMLO: A Great Victory for the Left
Immanuel Wallerstein | Senior Research Scholar, Yale University, formerly a professor of sociology

David Honig — Trumps's style of "distributive bargaining"

Distributive bargaining is win-lose aka zero-sum. Integrative bargaining is win-win aka compromise.

Distributive bargaining is based on the assumption of conflict between the interest of the parties in dividing a fixed pie, while integrative bargaining is about cooperation on common interests and compromise on other interests to grow the pie.

Trump's bargaining style based on his business background is distributive and based on competition, where there is a winner and a loser at the striking of the bargain. 

The Chinese style of bargaining is integrative and aims at satisfying the interest of all by cooperation in a more open-ended arrangement.

Not a great analysis of Trump's m.o. but worth a read if there's time. It's short, and it's a hot topic now.

Some see Trump's style as simplistic for the international situation and others as being 5-D chess that only Trump can understand.

My view is that Trump is a lot better negotiator in this regard than the opposing side gives him credit for, but I also think that he tends to look at international deals in terms of particulars, so he can claim a win in each case. But the international chess board is more complicated than that. It's like playing chess with the intention of never losing even a pawn in the game. But Trump also knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. The game consists of many hands.

Trumps's style of "distributive bargaining"
David Honig

Humanizing Corporations — David Sloan Wilson interviews Per L. Saxegaard

Imagine, if you can, that corporations truly are like people. They would vary in their dispositions. Some would be selfish and short-sighted, caring only about their own immediate gain. Others would be more prosocial and far-sighted, genuinely caring about the world around them and willing to do their part to promote the common good. As with real people, the cooperators would be in danger of exploitation by the knaves, but they would also be able to protect themselves by banding together, establishing norms of proper conduct and punishing transgressors. That’s how individual cooperators manage to survive and even thrive in a Darwinian world. Why shouldn’t the same be true in a world of corporate people?
One person who is able to imagine this scenario is Per L. Saxegaard, a former Norwegian investment banker who decided to create the equivalent of a Nobel Prize to recognize enlightened business leaders. He does this through the Business for Peace Foundation, which was founded in 2007....
PLS: So, it struck me that what we need to focus on in business is to get these two curves, the “making money” curve and the “making a difference” curve, to come together. We need to make money while making a difference to other people; merging profit with a higher purpose, while acting ethically and responsible. We coined it to be businessworthy. All business people know the concept of being creditworthy. That’s about not losing other people’s money. Being businessworthy is about earning other people’s trust. You can’t buy trust. Others give it to you....
Humanizing Corporations: A Nobel Prize for Enlightened Business Leaders
David Sloan Wilson interviews Per L. Saxegaard, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation

Also at Evonomics
It’s conventional wisdom in business circles today that corporate directors should “maximize shareholder value.” Corporations supposedly exist to serve shareholders’ interests, and not (or at least, not directly) those of executives, employees, customers, or the community. However, this shareholder-value dogma begs a fundamental question. What, exactly, do shareholders value?
Most shareholder-value advocates assume that shareholders care only about their own wealth. But it is increasingly accepted that the homo economicus model of purely selfish behavior doesn’t always apply. This possibility provides a challenge to the dominant business paradigm of “maximizing shareholder value:” the concept of the prosocial shareholder.
The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths....
I can recall the look we gave each other when introduced to homo economicus in Econ 101.

We all thought, like WTF? Are people really like that.

It seemed nonsensical, then at least.

But as one is further exposed to conventional economics, one begins to think that people are actually like that.

How the Dominant Business Paradigm Turns Nice People into Psychopaths
Lynn Stout | Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law at Cornell Law School

See also

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life Might Just Help You Live a More Fulfilling Life
Thomas Oppong

Brad DeLong — Joseph Goebbels (1932): Those Damned Nazis!: Weekend Reading

Should read. Goebbels present Nazism as a political form that combines nationalism, socialism, populism, and progressivism, and is opposed to internationalism, bourgeois liberalism, and capitalism, which Goebbels equates with "international Jewry."

Grasping Reality
Joseph Goebbels (1932): Those Damned Nazis!: Weekend Reading
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Bill McBride — The Longest Economic and Housing Expansions in U.S. History

According to NBER, the four longest expansions in U.S. history are:
1) From a trough in March 1991 to a peak in March 2001 (120 months).
2) From a trough in June 2009 to today, July 2018 (109 months and counting).
3) From a trough in February 1961 to a peak in December 1969 (106 months).
4) From a trough in November 1982 to a peak in July 1990 (92 months).
So the current expansion is the second longest, and it seems very likely that the current expansion will surpass the '90s expansion in the Summer of 2019....
Calculated Risk
The Longest Economic and Housing Expansions in U.S. History
Bill McBride