Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dave Majumder -Newly Declassified Documents: Gorbachev Told NATO Wouldn't Move Past East German Border

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given a host of assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand past what was then the East German border in 1990 according to new declassified documents.
Russian leaders often complain that the NATO extended an invitation to Hungary, Poland and what was then Czechoslovakia to joint the alliance in 1997 at the Madrid Summit in contravention of assurances offered to the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. The alliance has dismissed the notion that such assurances were offered, however, scholars have continued to debate the issue for years. Now, however, newly declassified documents show that Gorbachev did in fact receive assurances that NATO would not expand past East Germany.
The National Interest

Richard Wolff - Is Libertarianism compatible with Capitalism?

Richard Wolff describes how libertarians have got it wrong when they believe that capitalism will free people from tyranny. Capitalism replaced feudalism which did free people from the rentier lords but the new capitalist class have now enslaved people instead.


Clifford Asness is a ball-less fucking moron

Cliff Asness is a ball-less fucking moron.

After getting into a little Twitter spat with this guy (who called me a "whack job"), the same guy who thought QE was going to cause hyperinflation and then goes on to trash MMT, he posts this weeny little tweet.




What a ball-less moron. Coward.

Go over there and post some tweets to this coward on my behalf.

Jimmy Dore - Amazon Drivers Urinate In Bottles To Keep Schedule

Jeff Bezos is the world's richest man and earns 1.6 million dollars per hour while his company, Amazon, takes half of all the internet sales in the US.  Jeff Bezos owns a major newspaper, his companies now deliver groceries, and since Amazon have closed down many local bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, they are now opening their own bookshops. Jeff Bezos also has a contract with the CIA, but perhaps it's the CIA that works for him?

Mark Blyth says that the large internet companies need to be broken up.

Psychologists say that one in one hundred people are psychopaths but in in Wall Street Jimmy Dore says that number goes up to one in ten.


Mark Blyth - Why People Vote for Those Who Work Against Their Best Interests

Absolutely superb lecture by Mark Blyth about why people are turning to populism. His answer to get people back to the center (but not neoliberalism, which is finished, he says -

. Free College education
. Subsidized Childcare
.Single payer Healthcare
.Corporate Reform of 'Shareholder Value' Culture
.Breaking Up Digital Monopolies

 This is European style social democracy in the old fashioned sense, i.e, not neoliberalism.

Mark Blyth explains what went wrong in the 1970's where inflation shot right up which was due to full employment policies of governments which meant workers could easily walk out and find better paid jobs so companies put their prices up to pay for the wage rises but then unions demanding more pay rises to keep up with the inflation. But later on Mark Blyth says it was noise, not policy, which was responsible for the inflation, in other words, down to chaos theory, I guess, which only occurred in the 1970's, but all present economic theory (neoclassical) is based on that blip, so now we have super low inflation and interests rates but savers and pension funds suffer.








Saturday, December 16, 2017

Peter Cooper — A Notion of Demand-Led Growth

A key purpose of demand-led growth theory is to extend the ‘principle of effective demand’ to contexts in which productive capacity is best considered variable rather than fixed. The central idea is that, over any time frame, it is demand that determines output, and demand-led variations in income that adjust planned leakages to planned injections. Once it is acknowledged that capacity is variable, it becomes clear that the adjustment of output to demand, and planned leakages to planned injections, can be achieved not only by utilizing existing capacity more fully, but by expanding capacity through investment....
heteconomist
A Notion of Demand-Led Growth
Peter Cooper

John Pilger - A Plea to Protect Documentaries

In the 1960s, a brilliant young filmmaker, Peter Watkins, made “The War Game” for the BBC. Watkins reconstructed the aftermath of a nuclear attack on London.
“The War Game” was banned. “The effect of this film,” said the BBC, “has been judged to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting.”
The then-chairman of the BBC’s Board of Governors was Lord Normanbrook, who had been Secretary to the Cabinet. He wrote to his successor in the Cabinet, Sir Burke Trend: “The War Game is not designed as propaganda: it is intended as a purely factual statement and is based on careful research into official material … but the subject is alarming, and the showing of the film on television might have a significant effect on public attitudes towards the policy of the nuclear deterrent.”
In other words, the power of this documentary was such that it might alert people to the true horrors of nuclear war and cause them to question the very existence of nuclear weapons.
The Cabinet papers show that the BBC secretly colluded with the government to ban Watkins’ film. The cover story was that the BBC had a responsibility to protect “the elderly living alone and people of limited mental intelligence.”
Most of the press swallowed this. The ban on “The War Game” ended the career of Peter Watkins in British television at the age of 30. This remarkable filmmaker left the BBC and Britain, and angrily launched a worldwide campaign against censorship.
Telling the truth, and dissenting from the official truth, can be hazardous for a documentary filmmaker.

Stephen Lendman - Putin and Trump Speak Overnight Friday

It’s routine for world leaders to speak to one another, not when it involves Putin and Trump. Western media bash them both, instead of urging improved bilateral relations.
A brief White House statement said both leaders discussed “working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.”
“President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they “spoke out in favor of building dialogue and contacts with North Korea and agreed to exchange information and initiatives in this regard, focusing on ways to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.”
Both leaders remain world’s apart on dealing with the DPRK. Putin urges responsible dialogue, along with suspending provocative US, South Korean, Japanese military exercises Pyongyang calls rehearsals for war.
Trump is at odds with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson suggesting talks with no preconditions – then naming one, saying:
“It is only by first dismantling (Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs) that there can be peace, stability, and economic prosperity for all of Northeast Asia.”
Trump remains belligerent toward the DPRK, rejecting talks, favoring threats, heading things closer to confrontation.
Ahead of Tillerson’s remarks, North Korea’s KCNA news agency quoted leader Kim Jong-un, saying his government will continue developing and producing the “latest (in) weapons technology and equipment (to) bolster the nuclear force in quality and quantity.”
In talks with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson said if US forces crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea, they’d pull back after accomplishing their mission – an ominous statement, suggesting plans for US belligerence against the DPRK, ground forces likely supported by US terror-bombing, risking nuclear war.
Trump administration strategy involves tightening and toughening sanctions while preparing for possible military confrontation.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Igor Morgulov said increasing US pressure on the DPRK risks “economic strangulation.”
“Russia will not be part of this,” he stressed. “(E)conomic pressure alone will not lead to the outcome we seek, the resolution of the nuclear problem in the Korean Peninsula. Also, there is a humanitarian dimension, since sanctions hurt ordinary people in the first place, which we have to take into account.”
Russia intends making no “rash decisions.” Diplomacy is the only way to try resolving contentious issues. Threats are counterproductive and dangerous.
Moscow’s top priority on the Korean peninsula is avoiding war, China sharing the same view.
On Wednesday, National Security Adviser MR McMaster belligerently said denuclearization is “the only viable objective” – wanting North Korea rendered defenseless, at greater risk of US aggression than now.
Its nuclear and ballistic missile deterrents give Washington pause about attacking the country. Yet Trump’s rage for war poses a major risk.
China’s Global Times made the following points:
America’s State and Defense Departments are “playing good cop, bad cop” on North Korea.
“Tillerson’s call for talks does not affect Washington’s military plan for” the country.
US military exercises with regional allies “are coming close to actual combat.” Tillerson’s talk of negotiations “has been offset by quasi-military actions.”
“Though the US has talked about the policy of the ‘four nos’ – no regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel…it has also sent sterner warnings to North Korea and conducted more frequent military maneuvers.”
Avoiding catastrophic nuclear war on the peninsula remains the main regional objective.

RT — Muslims may lose Mecca if they fail to hold on to Jerusalem – Erdogan

Muslims may lose Mecca and other holy sites if the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital isn’t reversed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned

“If we lose Jerusalem then we won’t be able to protect Medina. If we lose Medina – we will lose Mecca and Kaaba,”Erdogan said in a speech at an award ceremony in Istanbul. 
Erdogan has been one of the most vocal critics of President Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Turkish president has slammed other nations for their “weak” response to the US move
Osama bin Laden is laughing in his grave. Turkey is lost to NATO.

RT
Muslims may lose Mecca if they fail to hold on to Jerusalem – Erdogan

Paul Antonopoulos — [Central] Banker: Russian inflation will be about 3% in early 2018 - economy continues to grow despite US sanctions


Russian economy on track in spite of sanctions.

Fort Russ
[Central] Banker:Russian inflation will be about 3% in early 2018 - economy continues to grow despite US sanctions
Paul Antonopoulos

Jim Naureckas — Judge Tells Jury: Informing Public May Be Criminal Conspiracy


Land of the free and home of the brave, or police state?

Only the judiciary stands between the government and the people in a constitutional oligarchy republic. Subversion of the judiciary is a high priority of the establishment in maintaining and extending control.

FAIR
Judge Tells Jury: Informing Public May Be Criminal Conspiracy
Jim Naureckas

Robert Parry — A Report to Our Readers


More important than ever to support independent media in the face of corporate media as establishment mouthpiece and echo chamber.

Consortium News
A Report to Our Readers
Robert Parry

See also
Bowing to Israeli-Saudi desires, the Trump administration is abusing the U.S. intelligence process to whip up a war fever against Iran, much like George W. Bush did on Iraq, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.…
Officials of the United States — the world’s leading exporter of arms — ought to be especially careful about suggesting that factory markings on munitions equate to evidence about a country’s foreign policy, given how U.S.-origin arms have been used even by the likes of ISIS.
What about the markings on all the ordinance going into Yemen from Saudi Arabia?

As usual, the US is itself doing what it is blaming others for doing.

Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran
Paul R. Pillar, 28 year veteran of the CIA

Diane Coyle — Winner of the 2017 Enlightened Economist Prize

As ever, it has been much harder to select one book from my longlist than it was to narrow it down to those ten. After mulling it over for a few days, I can announce today that the winner is Jean Tirole’s Economics for the Common Good. My review of it is here. It has been widely reviewed elsewhere – here is The Economist and the FT and Breaking Views.
The Enlightened Economist
Winner of the 2017 Enlightened Economist PrizeDiane Coyle | freelance economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and is acting Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation

Also see

Terry Mollner, Common Good Capitalism is Inevitable: It is the only economic model that both builds on free markets and represents our next layer of maturity in the skill of self-consciousness (2016)


Terry Mollner is co-founder and director of the Calvert Social Funds and founding member of the Common Good Movement. His book, The Love Skill, can be downloaded as an ebook here.




Putting Trumpgate and Russiagate to bed - links


Deep state plot outed.

Consortium News
Stephen F. Cohen
Robert Parry

William Blum

Russia-gate’s Reach into Journalism
Dennis J. Bernstein

Your Trump Dossier Cheat Sheet
Publius Tacitus

Irrussianality
The latest ‘existential threat’

Crackpot theory no. 9: Assume the worstPaul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Justin Raimondo

Zero Hedge

Tyler Durden

Russia Feed
Vladimir Putin: Russiagate “invented by those aiming to de-legitimize Trump”
Vlad


Peter Hasson

Russia Insider
CNN & MSNBC Attempt Coverup of Their Bogus Russia-Gate Story
Mike (Mish) Shedlock

The Intercept
The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened


Tim Fernholz — Does the Republican tax cut mean deficits don’t matter?


MMT.

Quartz
Does the Republican tax cut mean deficits don’t matter?
Tim Fernholz

Mac Slavo — Bank Of England Warns Of "Economic Collapse" If UK Keeps Borrowing Money


Britain "running out of money." ­čśť

Zero Hedge
Bank Of England Warns Of "Economic Collapse" If UK Keeps Borrowing Money
Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference — official English transcript

The President’s news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24 and Channel One, as well as Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations.
The President of Russia (official English translation)
Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference
December 14, 2017,  Moscow

Nathan McDonald — Bitcoin Proves You Cannot Have Your Digital Cake and Eat it Too


Read the comments, too. Just like most economists, Bitcoin fans overlooked transaction costs.

Wolf Street
Bitcoin Proves You Cannot Have Your Digital Cake and Eat it Too
Nathan McDonald, Sprott Money

also
The EU is targeting bitcoin anonymity, saying the measure is needed to tackle tax evasion and other crimes. Anonymity of the cryptocurrency holders is a built-in feature that the EU hopes to undermine.

The new rules concerning cryptocurrency passed on Friday by the European Parliament and the European Council are part of a larger package, which also target prepaid cards and trust funds. The agreement is meant to be enshrined in legislation within 18 months by EU members.
Once they become law, the rules will require cryptocurrency exchange platforms and wallet providers to identify their clients. Identifying individuals and entities holding bitcoin and other digital currencies will presumably help to prevent tax evasion, money laundering and financing of terrorism.
As Yves Smith has said, "prosecution futures."

RT
Crypto-crackdown: EU agrees on new rules to curb bitcoin anonymity

Michael Roberts — The economics of Luther or Munzer?


History lesson. Trading one dogmatism for another?

Michael Roberts Blog
The economics of Luther or Munzer?
Michael Roberts

Never out of "money" ?


Nehlen (Ayn Rand fan-boy Ryan's nemesis and btw increasingly cozy with alt-right) makes an interesting observation:




Picked up by alt-right on cue:




They (alt-right) all are recovering libertarians... something to keep an eye on.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A GOOD AMERICAN - a documentary about Bill Binney, an NSA whistleblower who says 9/11 could have been prevented


This video might not work in your country. On my first attempt YouTube said it was not available in my country, so I did another search and it said the same thing, then suddenly it shot up on my screen. It's very good.


Bill Binney resigned from the NSA in October 2001, after 30 years with the agency where he was viewed as one of their best analysts: he quit because he believed that Bush-appointed leaders in the Agency had chosen to respond to the challenge of electronic communications by building out illegal, indiscriminate mass-surveillance programs that left the country vulnerable to terrorists while diverting billions to private contractors with political connections.



After his resignation, Binney and his fellow whistleblowers faced retaliation from the NSA, as the agency prevented him from getting work as a private intelligence contractor and eventually staged a guns-drawn dawn raid on his home.

Binney has been a sharp, articulate, deeply knowledgeable critic of mass electronic surveillance ever since, refusing to be intimidated by the NSA despite the risks to himself.

In "A Good American," a new documentary that goes into widespread release today, director Freidrich Moser tells Binney's story from his early days as an intelligence analyst during the Vietnam War to his service as a codebreaker during the Cold War to his visionary program for conducting electronic surveillance with an emphasis on privacy and the rule of law. 

Binney and his fellow whistleblowers tell the story of how General Michael Hayden, then head of the NSA, sidelined their proposals in favor of a multibillion-dollar boondoggle called Trailblazer, which collapsed without ever shipping -- and how Hayden and his team refused to allow NSA analysts to work in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, literally locking them out of the building while they plotted ways to shift the blame for intelligence failures and use the attacks to build private, well-funded permanent civil service empires.

Oliver Stone called it a "prequel to Snowden," and that's true in more ways than one. Snowden cited the persecution of Binney as part of his rationale for taking his concerns to the press, rather than NSA channels.

Moser's documentary is riveting, enraging, and beautifully crafted, and it tells an important story. You can watch it today.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ANDRE VLTCHEK - Capitalism reduced Indonesian cities to infested carcases

Andre Vltchek describes how the 1965 military/ Islamic coup in Indonesia wiped all traces of socialism replacing it instead with Western backed unbridled capitalism which has led to massive exploitation of the Indonesian people and their land. This once very beautiful country is now reduced to endless open mines, open sewers, masssive poverty, enormous pollution, where the extractive industries are run by local crooks and the Western elite. The Western media paints Indonesia as a thriving capitalist economy generating enormous profits and yet most Indonesians live in absolute squalor. 

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) won the election for Governor of Jakarta and he tried to improve the city for ordinary people but the ruling elite eventually put him in prison.  

The US ruling elite are now turning parts of America into a wasteland as well. People think of capitalism as mom-and-pop small business turning into larger businesses which helps regenerate communities, creating jobs, and where hard work is rewarded and towns become nice places to live, but social democracy, or even socialism, (as well as MMT) is much more likely to create this ideal world.   

 Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta’s posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he ‘had something urgent to tell me’, after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.


What he had to say was actually straight to the point and definitely worth sitting two hours in an epic traffic jam:
“No one will be allowed to build comprehensive public transportation in Jakarta or in any other Indonesian city. If a mayor or a governor tries and defies the wishes of the ruthless business community which is in fact controlling most of the Indonesian government, he or she will be dethroned, or even totally destroyed.”
These ‘prophetic’ words are still ringing in my ears, several months after the complete destruction of the progressive Jakarta governor, known as Ahok (real name: Basuki Tjahaja Purnama), who tried very hard to improve the seemingly ungovernable and thoroughly destroyed city, constructing new mass transit lines (LRT), restoring old train stations, cleaning canals, attempting to build at least some basic net of sidewalks, as well as planting trees and creating parks.
After Ahok’s first and extremely successful term in office, the opposition consolidated its forces. It consisted mainly of the Islamists, big business tycoons, and the military as well as other revanchist cadres (almost exclusively pro-business and pro-Western individuals) that are still controlling Indonesia.
‘Ahok’, an outsider and an ethnic Chinese, patently lost.
Instead of coming to his rescue, several ‘prominent’ but corrupt city planners and architects, most of them enjoying funding from abroad, shamelessly joined the bandwagon of ‘Ahok bashing’.
But even defeating Ahok was not enough. He had to be punished and humiliated, in order to discourage others from trying to replicate his socially-oriented example. Already during the election campaign, charges were brought against him, alleging that he had ‘insulted Islam’ during one of his public appearances. It was total nonsense, disputed by several leading Indonesian linguists, but in a thoroughly corrupt society (both legally and morally) it simply worked.
On May 9, 2017, ‘Ahok’ was sentenced to two years in prison, and unceremoniously thrown into the dungeon.
                                                                        *****
How much deeper can Indonesian cities sink? When are they going to become uninhabitable?
People are already dying; thousands are, unnecessarily – from cancer, from stress, from respiratory diseases.
Millions of human beings are wasting their lives. They are alive, but it is only a bare existence, not really life: they are moving mechanically, cutting through the filthy air on their scooters, eating junk food, constantly surrounded by decay and ugliness.
Why?
For how much longer?
The forests of Borneo, Sumatra and Papua are burning. All over this archipelago, everything is logged out, consumed by mines, ruined by monstrous pollution. The extraction and looting of natural resources is the only real economic ‘engine’ of today’s Indonesia.
The cities are not faring much better. They are actually not faring any better at all.
It is time to wake up, or it could get too late. But the nation appears to be in a total slumber. It does not notice, anymore, that it is really in freefall. It was conditioned not to notice. It was made to accept, even to celebrate its own collapse.
Those who forced Indonesia into all this will not tell. As long as there is at least something left, something that can be extracted, utilized, looted, they will be cheering this great Indonesia’s ‘success’ and ‘progress’.
I encourage all those people from all over the world who would want to see the true face of neo-colonialism, of savage capitalism and right wing disaster, to come to the Indonesian cities! Come and see with your own eyes. Come and take a walk; don’t hide in your comfortable cities full of leafy parks, concert halls, art cinemas, public transportation and theatres.
This is real. This is a warning to the world!
Come and see how cities look like in a country where Communism and socialism are banned, where a colony does not even realize that it being colonized, and where everything is served on huge silver plates straight into the gullet of that monster called fascism.
It found it hard for me to visualize how bad Indonesia was until i saw this film.

                                    The World's Dirtiest River | Unreported World



The World's Dirtiest River: Today we take you to the world’s most polluted river. 35 million people rely on the Citarum river on the island of Java, Indonesia, but it has become a toxic river of waste. Seyi Rhodes went to the island for this Unreported World classic in April 2014


The Guardian 2001 - 'CIA's bastard army ran riot in Balkans' backed extremists'

I always thought that it was probably a conspiracy theory that the CIA supported the Kosovo Liberation Army and started the war in Yugoslavia but I looked it up today and in Wikipedia it was all there, the drug trafficking, human body parts for transplants trafficking, organised crime running the KLA, and the involvement of BND, the German Secret Service, which is just an arm of the CIA because Germany is a vassal state of the US. 

The Guardian - Peter Beaumont, Ed Vulliamy and Paul Beaver


The United States secretly supported the ethnic Albanian extremists now behind insurgencies in Macedonia and southern Serbia.

The CIA encouraged former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters to launch a rebellion in southern Serbia in an effort to undermine the then Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, according to senior European officers who served with the international peace-keeping force in Kosovo (K-For), as well as leading Macedonian and US sources.
They accuse American forces with K-For of deliberately ignoring the massive smuggling of men and arms across Kosovo's borders.
The accusations were made in a series of interviews by The Observer . They emerge as America has been forced into a rapid U-turn over its support for Albanian extremists in Kosovo seeking a 'Greater Kosovo' that would include Albanian communities in Serbia and Macedonia.
In the past week ethnic Albanian guerrillas have intensified their campaign of attacks in the two areas, threatening a new war in the region which last week put US troops in the firing line in the Balkans for the first time.
The accusations have led to tension in K-For between the European and US military missions. European officers are furious that the Ameri cans have allowed guerrilla armies in its sector to train, smuggle arms and launch attacks across two international borders.
One European K-For battalion commander told The Observer yesterday: 'The CIA has been allowed to run riot in Kosovo with a private army designed to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic. Now he's gone the US State Department seems incapable of reining in its bastard army.'
He added: 'Most of last year, there was a growing frustration with US support for the radical Albanians. US policy was and still is out of step with the other Nato allies.'
The claim was backed by senior Macedonian officials in the capital, Skopje. 'What has been happening with the National Liberation Army [which has been responsible for a series of attacks on Macedonia's borders in recent weeks] and the UCPMB [its sister organisation in southern Serbia] is very similar to what happened when the KLA was launched in 1995-96,' said one.
'I will say only this: the US intelligence agencies have not been honest here.'
The claims were given extra credence from an unexpected source - Arben Xhafari, leader of Macedonia's main Albanian party who tried to prevent the crisis on the border igniting an ethnic civil war inside Macedonia itself.
A US State Department official blamed the last administration. There had now been 'a shift of emphasis'.

Wikipedia

 Later that year, the British weekly The European carried an article by a French expert stating that "German civil and military intelligence services have been involved in training and equipping the rebels with the aim of cementing German influence in the Balkan area. (...) The birth of the KLA in 1996 coincided with the appointment of Hansjoerg Geiger as the new head of the BND (German secret Service). (...) The BND men were in charge of selecting recruits for the KLA command structure from the 500,000 Kosovars in Albania."[23] Matthias K├╝ntzel tried to prove later on that German secret diplomacy had been instrumental in helping the KLA since its creation.[24]

Tom Hickey taking a holiday break

It's getting cold in Iowa so we are headed southwest. Expect intermittent posting through the holidays. Things are usually relatively quiet from now through the new year anyway.

Wishing happy holidays to all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jason Smith — On these 33 theses

The other day, Rethinking Economics and the New Weather Institute published "33 theses" and metaphorically nailed them to the doors of the London School of Economics. They're re-published here. I think the "Protestant Reformation" metaphor they're going for is definitely appropriate: they're aiming to replace "neoclassical economics" — the Roman Catholic dogma in this metaphor — with a a pluralistic set of different dogmas — the various dogmas of the Protestant denominations (Lutheran, Anabaptist, Calvinist, Presbyterian, etc). For example, Thesis 2 says:
2. The distribution of wealth and income are fundamental to economic reality and should be so in economic theory.
This may well be true, but a scientific approach does not assert this and instead collects empirical evidence that we find to be in favor of hypotheses about observables that are affected by the distribution of wealth. A dogmatic approach just assumes this. It is just as dogmatic as neoclassical economics assuming the market distribution is efficient.
In fact, several of the theses are dogmatic assertions of things that either have tenuous empirical evidence in their favor or are simply untested hypotheses. These theses are not things you dogmatically assert, but rather should show with evidence:
I wonder whether economics should be taught as a science, especially since conventional economists seem to think that economics is more like physics than the social sciences.

There are problems with assuming that, which I won't repeat. But to my mind, the most obvious difficulty is well-known among the public. Perhaps the most powerful argument for "science" is demonstrated not in words, or through experiment, but rather in the success of technology that everyone uses all the time to change the world.

Is there anything like this with respect to economics? Not only no, but also the opposite in many cases.

The study economics is not even a required in most business schools, because business schools have discovered that time is better spent in getting results. If it got results, business schools would be hiring the top economists. They are not.

The teaching of economics needs to be rethought in light not only of the failure of economists to deliver results but also in their making bad situations worse. The dismal handling of the aftermath of the global financial crisis is a case in point. In addition, conventional economists and policymakers have literally laid waste entire European countries and their economies.

A lot of people are likely thinking, if this science we want none of it. Monkeys throwing darts could probably do better.

And ironically, Western economists and policymakers were put to shame by the positive result that China showed using a command economy to address the issues promptly and avoid contraction. But Western economists explain this by "cheating."

Information Transfer Economics
Jason Smith

Robert Kuttner — The Man from Red Vienna [Karl Polanyi]


Robert Kuttner reviews Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left by Gareth Dale (Columbia University Press).

The New York Review of Books
The Man from Red ViennaRobert Kuttner

Edward Harrison — Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis and the Fed’s reaction function

As the Federal Reserve meets today to decide how to communicate its messaging on future rate hikes and balance sheet reduction, financial stability will play a key role. Yesterday, I wrote about the Bank of International Settlements new warnings on financial stability. And just this morning, I read a piece from Goldman Sachs Asset Management EMEA division head Andrew Wilson, warning that the risk of overheating was real. So let’s put some framing around this issue and ask how the Fed reacts as the data come in down the line.
In the past decade on Credit Writedowns, I have had a lot of good commentary from different writers on financial stability. And most of it is based around Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis. As someone who used to work in debt capital markets and do financial models for private equity investing and corporate finance for mergers and acquisition, I find the Minsky analysis a huge benefit in thinking about the macroeconomy that standard macro modelling techniques don’t incorporate. So I want to use this as the prism through which to look at the Fed’s reaction function to predict future yield curve flattening and the resulting economic impact....
Randy Wray post follows.

Credit Writedowns
Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis and the Fed’s reaction function
Edward Harrison

Reuters — Ford to base Fusion production in China, ship to U.S. - sources

As with the Focus move, the decision to build the Fusion in China also signals a shift in strategy at Ford, which is responding to dwindling U.S. consumer demand for passenger cars in favor of more expensive and more profitable trucks and SUVs.
Last week, Ford said it plans to relocate production of a future battery electric vehicle to Cuatitlan, Mexico in 2020 to free up capacity at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to build self-driving vehicles in 2021.
Reuters

The Washington Post Editorial Board — The West must prepare for a wounded Putin to become even more aggressive

The West also should not shrink from the destabilization of Mr. Putin’s regime.
Imagine if a paper of record in Russia had published an editorial like that about destabilizing the US "regime." Oh, right, the head of the US "regime" is Donald Trump, and the New York Times are trying to remove him, or failing that, neuter him.

The Washington Post — The Post's View
The West must prepare for a wounded Putin to become even more aggressiveEditorial

See also

Fred Hiatt is the editorial page editor of the Washington Post. He is a rabid neocon.
… in general, the Post responds to dangerous and complex problems with simplistic prescriptions. [Washington Post Editor Fred] Hiatt has created a foreign-policy fairy-tale land in which nasty authoritarian regimes can be magically transformed by American leadership into democratic ones. If only. And these illusions are by no means confined to the editorial page. Hiatt has hired a retinue of new columnists, including Jennifer Rubin, Robert Kagan, Michael Gerson and Marc Thiessen, who espouse a very hard line indeed. Last October, as Americans worried about the advances of the Islamic State and the spread of Ebola, Thiessen, a former Jesse Helms staffer and George W. Bush administration speechwriter, even conjured up a scenario of “Ebola terrorism” in which these “two threats converge into one.” He envisioned terrorists deliberately infecting themselves with Ebola and then traveling to the United States to use the virus as a bioweapon. It scarcely needs saying that this was a vision completely unmoored from reality.
There is no reason to think that any of this will change soon.
The National Interest (December 15, 2014)
The Washington Post: The Most Reckless Editorial Page in America
James Carden contributing editor at The National Interest served as an adviser to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the State Department, Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest

See also
An op-ed by the president of the right-wing human rights group Freedom House, published in the New York Times Monday (12/11/17)—later boosted by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker—warned of the menace of “commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites and propaganda,” and their negative effects on democracy. Missing from its analysis was any account of how the government that funds their organization—86 percent of Freedom House’s budget comes from the US government, primarily the State Department and USAID—uses social media to stir unrest and undermine governments worldwide.
Fair
NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
Adam Johnson

Jan Oberg — Aleppo’s Liberation one year ago – Anybody ashamed today?


Remember the flurry about Aleppo and its "fall" to the regime from the "moderate opposition"?

Here is an eye-witness report from a journalist who was there that debunks it. Did any Western media report this? 
So much for the free Western media – proving excellently their place as the second M in the MIMAC – the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex – that is always ready to promote violence and omit or marginalise the voices of conflict understanding and peace....
TFF
Aleppo’s Liberation one year ago – Anybody ashamed today?
Jan Oberg

Gabriel Rockhill — The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was


American history.
The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a “democracy” because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.…
“Multivariate analysis indicates,” according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination […], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.”…
Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.
In his rousing Gettysburg Address at the time of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln defined "democracy" as "government of the people, by the people and for the people." The definition is correct, but Lincoln misapplied it to the United States at the time, and that remains true today. In fact, the class hierarchy is more entrenched now than ever as shown by rising inequality of income and wealth, and the asymmetry of power.

Counterpunch
The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was
Gabriel Rockhill, Franco-American philosopher and cultural critic (public intellectual), Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University, and founding Director of the Atelier de Th├ęorie Critique at the Sorbonne

Alexander — Russia defies Western expectations; ends 2017 with minimal budget deficit, bigger reserves


The US thinks it can "bankrupt" Russia with sanctions.
Contrary to Western claims Russia in 2017 did not ‘run out of money’…
What is extraordinary is not that Russia has not run out of money. It is that supposedly serious people in the West ever thought it would.
The dismal truth is that no economic catastrophe in Russia is too farfetched to prevent some people in the West predicting it, whilst there is never any penalty for these people when regular as clockwork the predicted economic catastrophe fails to happen.
The problem for Russia is that the Russian government think that this is a possibility to be guarded against.

The obvious fact is that as currency sovereign, Russia limited in currency issuance only by the availability of real resources, which can also have an effect on the price level and exchange rate. The exchange rate is relatively meaningless, but inflation could be an issue. However, the trend has been a falling price level.

Russia needs to realize the policy space it has based on the increase in  fiscal space resulting from floating the ruble. Russia needs to increase public investment and social welfare, which would also result in stimulating the consumer economy through increased incomes....

Russia Feed
Russia defies Western expectations; ends 2017 with minimal budget deficit, bigger reserves
Alexander

Reuters — U.N. expert says inmate U.S. torture continues at Guantanamo Bay

“By failing to prosecute the crime of torture in CIA custody, the U.S. is in clear violation of the Convention against Torture and is sending a dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the U.S. and around the world,” [U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nil] Melzer said in the statement.…
There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials in Geneva. 
Reuters
U.N. expert says inmate U.S. torture continues at Guantanamo Bay
Tom Miles

UPDATED:

U.N. expert says torture persists at Guantanamo Bay; U.S. denies
also from RT
The US is in “clear violation” of the United Nations Convention against Torture over “gruesome” abuses committed by its agents in locations such as Guantanamo Bay, according to a UN official.
The UN's special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, noted in a Wednesday statement that "perpetrators and policymakers responsible for years of gruesome abuse have not been brought to justice, and the victims have received no compensation or rehabilitation," despite a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report acknowledging the use of torture in US custody.
The UN rapporteur also stated that torture reportedly continues at US sites, including Guantanamo, despite former President Barack Obama ending the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" in a 2009 executive order.
Melzer accused the US of being in "clear violation" of the UN's Convention against Torture and of sending a "dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the US and around the world." …
The special rapporteur made clear that the ban on torture and ill-treatment is "absolute and allowed for no exceptions whatsoever," according to the UN release. “This is one of the most fundamental norms of international law, and its violation is listed among the most serious international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Melzer said.

"...I therefore now urge the US to live up to its legacy, to end its policy of impunity and to bring its own perpetrators to justice," Melzer added. He noted that a "society bruised by torture and abuse" can only heal when the "truth about secret policies and practices is fully disclosed to the public and when full reparation and rehabilitation is granted to victims."
Compare the Reuters report to the RT reporting and go figure why the US establishment hates RT.

RT
US sends 'dangerous message' by turning blind eye to Guantanamo tortures - UN

Andrew Gelman — Yes, you can do statistical inference from nonrandom samples. Which is a good thing, considering that nonrandom samples are pretty much all we’ve got.

To put it another way: Sure, it’s fine to say that you “cannot reach external validity” from your sample alone. But in the meantime you still need to make decisions. We don’t throw away the entire polling industry just cos their response rates are below 10%; we work on doing better. Our samples are never perfect but we can make them closer to the population.
Remember the Chestertonian principle that extreme skepticism is a form of credulity.
Making assumptions is necessary. However, it is also necessary to recognize and acknowledge limitations. Formal modeling is never more accurate for the math than the assumptions permit.

Reasoning is a tool of intelligence. It is not a magic wand. Taking reasoning for a magic wand because it is highly formalized is magical thinking.

It is important to distinguish necessity from contingency. Necessity is based on logic necessity (tautology) and logical impossibility (contradiction). These are purely syntactical, that is, based on applying rules to signs. Logical necessity is probability one; contradiction is probability zero. All description is contingent on observation.

Statistics is a reasoning tool for dealing with contingency. The formal aspect of the tool does not vary, but its application is dependent on assumption and measurement. Thinking that the results will be the same owing to the invariant formal aspect is a mistake. Results can never be more precise than measurements or more accurate than assumptions permit, no matter how rigorous the formal methods applied.

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
Yes, you can do statistical inference from nonrandom samples. Which is a good thing, considering that nonrandom samples are pretty much all we’ve got.
Andrew Gelman | Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center, Columbia University