Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bill McBride — Goldman on the Next Recession

CR note: Some day there will be another recession, but I don't see signs of a recession in the next year or more.
Calculated Risk
Goldman on the Next Recession
Bill McBride

Seymour Hersh — Trump‘s Red Line

How Trump overreacted at the time of the putative (faked) sarin attack in Syria.
President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.
Trump is a loose cannon on deck in a storm. Scary when the captain is the loose cannon.

Trump‘s Red Line
Seymour M. Hersh
ht Jesse at Jesse's Café Américan

Moon of Alabama — Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

NEWSFLASH: The Pentagon and, even more important, the U.S. commanders in the Middle East, have finally recognized the basic facts of life.
There is no way the Syrian government and its allies will let the U.S. have south-east Syria or let it occupy the country including the Syrian army garrison in Deir Ezzor which is currently surrounded by Islamic State forces. The Syrian army and its allies will liberate Deir Ezzor and the whole Euphrates valley. The U.S. military has now conceded that.
There will be some huffing and puffing from the neoconservative corners but I doubt very much that this that this decision will be overturned or that this is a ruse. There is simply no strategic value for the U.S. in occupying south-east Syria and no will to defend it against determined resistance of capable opposing forces.
My congratulations to Syria and its allies. This battle is, for now, won.
Game (almost) over. But no doubt John McCain and various neocons won't be taking Sunday off after this news abut their plans being foiled.

Lesson: You can't bluff an invasion when Russia is in the game. 

But apparently it's all the military had in its toolbox, since for more direct action that might have led to direct conflict with Russia, the generals would have had to get permission from the politicians and president, and that would either have been a dead-end or else taken so much time as to scuttle the operation.

Moon of Alabama
Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

The CIA, Khomeini, & Secrets of the Islamic Revolution Exposed with Margot White

I thought it was a conspiracy theory that the CIA put Ayatollah Khomeini in charge but I did a search and came across this 2015 video about a book written by Margot White called Waking Up in Tehran. I also came across that in 2016 the CIA has released documents about how they put Khomeini in power.

The Shah was deeply unpopular and people wanted a change and were demonstrating in the streets so the CIA brought in the right wing, anti communist, anti socialist, Khomeini to take control. Khomeini wasn't very well known in Iran at the time as he hadn't lived in the country for 16 years because the Shah had banished him. The media gave him loads of coverage which only pop stars like the Beatles would normally get and he promised them democracy and equal rights for women. After the Shah left Iran Khomeini then became leader taking control but things did not turn out as the Iranians expected. When Khomeini took power he brought in a brutal, fascist, theocratic regime which turned on the people. Khomeini and his mullahs receives hundreds of millions from the CIA. The ultra right wing Khomeini wanted Reagan to win because Carter had cut off the millions that the US had been paying him

Soon after Khomeini took power and before he turned on the people Iranian students seized the American Embassy because they believed that they would find loads of documents there about how the CIA had organised the 1953 coup and what the CIA were up to now which they hoped this would help Khomeini, but the students hadn't realised that Khomeini was also a CIA asset who had promised to keep the oil flowing cheaply to the US. They only intended to stay there a for a few days but Khomeini saw how popular they were and so he encouraged then to stay longer boosting his own popularity. Morgan-Chase hoped the students would stay there a month because the Shah had put his billions into their bank accounts and under American law they were allowed to allowed to seize the money because if an American asset has been taken. Iran never got the money back.

One of the deals the Shah made with the US was that he would buy their weapons if they helped him stay in power, but this led up to massive build up of arms. Khomeini found a use for these weapons in the Iran-Iraq war which helped to keep demand for them as they were losing value.

This is another story of G.O.D, as Margot White says, guns, oil, and drugs. Margot White says there is nothing in this story about the morality that the West proclaims, it just about the money that wars, guns, and control of the oil can bring in just as it is in the ME today. The right wing Islamic mullahs have no problem with capitalism and imperialism as they hated the communists, but loved corruption and money. The British had used the Muslim Brotherhood for the same reason.

So we can see how the ME has been torn up to seize the oil, start wars to sell lots of weapons, and gain control the opium poppy fields which has made western bankers trillions. This is the morality of the West, and Putin is said to be the 'bad guy' because he is stopping them, but he is dealing with Satan.

As we have learnt here recently, the war with Russia is not intended to become hot, it is intended to be a tepid mini war moving beyond the cold war to strengthen NATO and to frighten Europe to buy €billions of new weapons. And the US has started a bogus cold war with China to get American taxpayers to pay for $billions of new weapons. Will it ever stop?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Zero Hedge — CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"

Apparently President Trump is learning the ropes. Which doesn't bode well for peace. America First is likely to remain a campaign promise that DJT will report that he "doing great" on, as in war to end wars.

Much more in the post than the title implies. Of course, Israel is not mentioned but Iran happens to the the arch-enemy of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is mentioned. Syria is to be portioned or turned into a Sunni puppet state of Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah is the only Arab organization to have beaten Israel (in 2006). Go figure.

 They really have it for Iran, and Wikileaks too. Israel and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi Arabia! USA! USA! USA!

The problem is that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and leakers such as Wikileaks are not threatening US national security in any substantial way. Their sin is getting in the way of the US elite. 

Why is that a problem. Because then TPTB react in a way that is not completely rational and that means losing touch with reality. When one losses touch, with reality it seldom ends well. And the real problem is that this will affect all living American and Americans for generations to come.

Zero Hedge
CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"
Tyler Durden

Taylor Link — Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss

WTF?  How long will take for the Democratic Party to erase the blot of McCarthyism in smearing Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and conspiring to deny Bernie Sanders a fair shot at the nomination?

Unless candidates for office in upcoming elections denounce it. And start critiquing themselves in earnest for their mistakes rather than trying to foist the blame on others by smearing them.

Democratic losses in special elections recently are sending a signal that is apparently not be received, or being interpreted badly.

And it is not only the Democratic Establishment that is caught up in this folly. A lot of so-called Progressive Democrats aka Bernie Democrats are too.


Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss
Taylor Link

Publius Tacitus — Our Grand American Delusion

City on a Hill? Leader of the Free World? Defender of Freedom? How about a mass of delusional crazies?
See? It's not just us saying this.

Publius Tacitus gets the economics wrong about borrowing by the currency issuer in its own currency and public debt, but his background is either military or intel, or both, so it is not in his realm of expertise.

Sic Semper Tyrannis 
Our Grand American Delusion
Publius Tacitus

RT — Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor

The merchant marine is now a legitimate military target. Brilliant "innovation."
An Israeli defense contractor has successfully test-fired a missile with a 400-kilometer range that can fit into a standard shipping container. Launched from a ship, it joins the trend of weaponizing civilian freighters.

The missile that was fired on Tuesday, dubbed LORA or Long-Range Artillery weapon system, is produced by state-owned defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to company specifications, the solid-propellant ground-to-ground 1,600-kilogram projectile has a range of 400 kilometers and can be fired at a target in just 10 minutes.
First revealed in 2006, the missiles were originally designed to be secretly deployed. To protect them from detection, the missiles are stored in dedicated sealed canisters that can fit inside a standard shipping container and have a shelf life of seven years without maintenance....
Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor


Potpourri. I have not attempted to verify these posts, but they are interesting owing to the events and people they cover and they would be significant even if only partially true.

Investigative reporters act very much like the analytical sections of intelligence agencies.

Analysts working for intel comb published information, correlated it, and assess it. From this they draw inferences and assign a probability index in term of "confidence."

Investigative reporters are often less disciplined and either draw conclusions based on inference that exceeds the evidence and present them as fact, or else have sources that they cannot even allude to in order to protect not only the sources but also continued access to them.

Readers have to act as their own analysts and use critical thinking in assessing information, distinguishing fact from inference and closely scrutinizing inference.

Ted Turner, CNN, Putin, and the Amazing Oligarchs Drama Unfolding
Phil Butler


White Helmets member caught on camera disposing of Syrian soldiers’ mutilated bodies (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Sputnik International
Intel Agent Reveals How NATO Planned to Tear Russia Apart
25 Sputnik International

Moon of Alabama — Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago

Al-Qaeda attacked a Syrian Arab Army position in Madinat al-Baath (map) next to the Israel occupied Golan heights. Al-Qaeda requested Israeli fire-support by launching some mortars towards empty space in the Israel occupied area. The Israeli Defense Force accepted the request and destroyed two Syrian Arab Army tanks. Two Syrian soldiers were killed. The SAA held steady and the al-Qaeda attack on its position failed.
This was very easy to predict. Israel has supported al-Qaeda in the area since at least 2014. The al-Qaeda fire-request-by-mortar scheme has been in place for at least three years. In October 2014 the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which back then still covered the area, reported to the UN Security Council:

On 23 June [2014], Israel targeted nine Syrian army positions with tank fire and air strikes after mortar fire from the Syrian side the previous day killed an Israeli civilian. Israel’s assessment is that most of these incidents are due to errant fire resulting from fighting in Syria. Israel said that armed opposition groups were probably responsiblebut that its forces fired on Syrian military positions to stress that Syria was responsible for security on its side of the ceasefire line.
The UN observers mentioned the "black flags" the "rebels" were using. The "rebels" in that area are al-Qaeda forces. This "fire support request by mortar" scheme has been repeated again and again. The Israeli argument is an insult to logic: "The Syrian army is responsible for keeping al-Qaeda out of the area so we respond to "errant" al-Qaeda fire by destroying the Syrian army."
But "western" and Israeli media did and do not report or analyzed the obvious scheme. This even as this theater act gets repeated over and over again. They lie and simply report the "errant fire" nonsense even when it is clear that this is coordinated military support for al-Qaeda. For years they have hidden Israeli support for al-Qaeda and its deep involvement in the Syrian war. Witness Haaretz which only today(!) headlines: Analysis - Israel’s Slow Creep Into the Syrian Civil War. That "slow creep", which Haaretz describes and analyzes as a new phenomenon, started at least three years ago and was neither slow nor a creep. It is full fledged support for terrorism and has been such since its beginning....
Moon of Alabama
Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago

See also

Isreali Air Force Strikes Syrian Army Artillery Pieces And Battle Tanks In Quneitra Province

Jake Tapper Calls Out DNC’s B.S. On Russia Hacking

The whole Russiangate business is based on a pack of lies. The Clinton's won't let anyone near their server which they say was hacked, not even the FBI. They won't even let the Department of Homeland Security look at the server who wanted to help them to make more secure. If we had a true independent media this DNC hacking business would go anywhere because no evidence has been presented. A proper independent media would ask why hasn't the FBI or the Homeland Security been allowed to look at the server?

Michael Scheuer drops truth about Trump Russia story and BBC cut him off

Michael Scheuer disputes the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC. He say's all we have a private company hired by Hilary who say the DNC was hacked but they have not presented any evidence. The interview then gets promptly stopped.

Merkel Is Angry with America over Russia Sanctions but Will Do Nothing

There’s no doubt that S. 722 – which passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2, with only Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting No – is a terrible piece of legislation. Its fundamental purpose is to tie President Trump’s hands so that he cannot exercise his constitutional authority to conduct relations with foreign states. Specifically, Senators of both parties want to ensure that he doesn’t have the ability to reach out and normalize ties with Moscow. To do that, a super-majority of Senators is willing to violate every principle of international law and comity, as well as damaging relationships with our top security and trade partners.

Even the broad authority for the president to waive sanctions when he deems it in the national interest, a standard feature in U.S. sanctions legislation, is denied Trump in this bill without Congressional permission. Whether this defect may be remedied in the House of Representatives is unclear. (Meanwhile, the power of Congress to decide upon war continues to be usurped by the Executive Branch without a murmur of protest. As the late Joseph Sobran once observed, the nice thing about the U.S. Constitution is that it poses no serious threat to our form of government

The sanctions bill, if it becomes law, will be just another illustration that Germany and all other members of NATO and the EU are vassal states of Washington.

What sense does any of this make in terms of U.S. national interests? The key is Rapoza’s observation that «Trump has been beat up so severely on Russia that defending any sort of detente with the Kremlin seems futile.» As with the worsening danger of U.S.-Russian confrontation in Syria, American policy on Europe, Ukraine, and Russia, along with related energy issues, is still in the hands of the Swamp Creatures. Nothing good can come of it unless and until Trump manages to gain effective control of the government of which he is the constitutionally elected head.

Robert Parry — Policing ‘Truth’ to Restore ‘Trust’

De facto censorship on the way? If the Establishment gets its way, and they own the media channels.

"Truth algorithms" would get the propaganda machine control of the media including the Internet. This would potentially drive alternative accounts back to the alternative media like the "free press" and "underground press" of the Sixties and Seventies in the US, and samizdat (самизда́т) in the days of the USSR by excluding from the Internet alternative views that question or contradict the official view, after the manner of China.
There’s been a lot of self-righteous talk about “truth” recently, especially from the people at The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the mainstream news media. They understandably criticize President Trump for his casual relationship with reality and happily dream about how nice it would be if they could develop algorithms to purge the Internet of what they call “fake news.”
But these “truth-loving” pundits, the likes of star Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, never seem to reflect on their own responsibility for disseminating devastating “fake news,” such as the falsehoods about Iraq’s WMD, lies that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers and spread horrific chaos across the Mideast and into Europe.
Nor does that Iraq experience ever cause Friedman and his fellow pundits to question other Official Narratives, including those relating to the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or the New Cold War with Russia. Meanwhile those of us who ask for substantiating facts or observe that some official claims don’t make sense are subjected to insults as fill-in-the-blank “apologists” or “stooges.”
It seems that any deviation from Officialdom’s pronouncements makes you an enemy of “truth” because “truth” is what the Establishment says is “truth.” And, if you don’t believe me, I refer you to Friedman’s Wednesday’s column.…
However, if you keep reading Friedman’s column, you learn that the real problem is not that “cyberhacking” is generating “fake news,” but rather that it has let Americans see too many ugly truths about their leadership, as happened when WikiLeaks published emails showing how the Democratic National Committee unethically tilted the playing field against Sen. Bernie Sanders; how Hillary Clinton pandered to Goldman Sachs in return for lucrative speaking fees; and how the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-to-play with rich foreigners.
Friedman’s column acknowledges as much, again citing Seidman: “Social networks and hacking also ‘have enabled us to see, in full color, into the innermost workings of every institution and into the attitudes of those who run them,’ noted Seidman, ‘and that has eroded trust in virtually every institution, and the authority of many leaders, because people don’t like what they see’.”
In other words, the answer to restoring “trust” and to respecting “truth” is to hide ugly realities from the unwashed public. If the people are shielded from the facts, the Establishment will regain its control over “truth” and thus win back the people’s “trust.”
If all this seems upside-down to you – if you think that the real answer is for America’s leaders to behave more responsibly, to let the public in on the real “truth,” and thus to make the people’s “trust” mean something – you must be a “Kremlin stooge.”...
Good post. It's the weekend. Take a couple of minutes and read the whole thing. It is really important that people understand what the Establishment has in mind for them.
The Times and the Post, in particular, have consistently conflated any deviation from their preferred groupthinks with “fake news” and “propaganda.” That is why it is particularly troubling when they and other self-proclaimed arbiters of truth, including the pro-NATO propaganda site Bellingcat, sit on Google’s First Draft Coalition and salivate over the prospects of unleashing high-tech algorithms to hunt down and eliminate information that runs counter to what they call the “truth.”
The real truth about truth is that it is almost always complex and often hidden by powerful interests. It requires skepticism, hard work and even courage to reveal it.
Sure, there are occasions when creeps and crazy people purposely make up stuff or ignore reality in pursuit of some nutty conspiracy theory – and that deserves hearty condemnation – but there are many other times when the conventional wisdom is wrong and the people demanding inconvenient facts and asking probing questions turn out to be right....
Consortium News
Policing ‘Truth’ to Restore ‘Trust’
Robert Parry

Lars P. Syll — What is a statistical model?

Best explanation or best guess?
As Bertrand Russell put it at the end of his long life devoted to philosophy, “Roughly speaking, what we know is science and what we don’t know is philosophy.” In the scientific context, but perhaps not in the applied area, I fear statistical modeling today belongs to the realm of philosophy. — Rudolf Kalman
This is important. Since the scientific revolution the progress of knowledge has been moving information from best guess using reasoning (philosophy) to best explanation based on testing hypotheses of a theory against data obtained from observations (science).

Science is true explanation where truth is based on criteria and comparison with criteria. 

Philosophy asks why, that is, for reasons. Science asks how, that is, for mechanisms. 

Philosophical accounts are based chiefly on reasoning from assumptions and it is therefore speculative. 

Scientific explanations are based on how things stand and move in terms of observable relationships, ideally able to be expressed formally. Therefore, science is, well, scientific.

See Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science. Engineering and Science, Volume 37:7, June 1974. (pdf) (This is a seminal article in philosophy of science, and as a bonus for reading it, it's funny, too.)

A lot of economic, social science and political science fits Feynman's description of cargo cult science. 

A lot of putative scientific knowledge is actually philosophy, that is, speculation, because it rests on speculation based on assumptions rather than explanation based on rigorous observation. However, some it is even flawed formally because the reasoning process is invalid.

Doing good philosophy is difficult because it is easy to fool oneself by falling into logical traps, as Ludwig Wittgenstein spent the later par to his live exploring. 
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language. — Philosophical Investigations, § 109
Thus, philosophy in Wittgenstein's sense is a prerequisite to critical thinking.

Doing real science is harder because it requires careful attention not only to logical but also to data collection and processing data into information, keeping the signal to noise ratio within tight boundaries. As Feynman points out, a lot of putative science is mostly just noise.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you're talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you're not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We'll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen. Feynman, "Cargo Cult Science," cited above.
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What is a statistical model?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ricky Twisdale — BOMBSHELL: Trump told Saudis to stop funding terror

The real purpose of my being there, was to make sure these countries do not fund terror any longer.….
Earlier in his address, Trump had strongly reiterated his campaign rhetoric decrying the havoc caused by decades of US military intervention:
Our country has spent $6 trillion in the middle east – wasted. And the lives, the lives…thousands and thousands and thousands of lives. We started 16 years ago, and it’s in far worse shape than it was 16 years ago. So we spent all of this money, all of these lives…and let me tell you, I came in and took over a very, very difficult hand. But we’re going to get it fixed – that’s what you put me here for.
Needless to say, Trump’s rhetoric is at odds with Pentagon policy, which seems to have changed little since the turnover in administrations. There is clearly a discrepency between the US president’s views and the deep state’s demands....
The Duran
BOMBSHELL: Trump told Saudis to stop funding terror
Ricky Twisdale

Darius Shahtahmasebi — Everything You’re Not Being Told About the US War Against ISIS in Syria

The battlefield as the endgame approaches.

Everything You’re Not Being Told About the US War Against ISIS in Syria
Darius Shahtahmasebi

Pepe Escobar — Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road

It is a categorical imperative for Beijing to expand BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] across the Levant, linking China to the Mediterranean overland just like the Ancient Silk Road did. And yet that clashes frontally with the crucial fact admitted on record by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn himself: that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to let Islamic State fester, with the objective of arriving at a “Sunnistan” across “Syraq” as a means to accelerate regime change in Damascus. Translation: let ISIS break up the BRI in the Levant.
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Pepe Escobar

TASS — Deutsche Welle sees Russian international broadcasters as threat to European ideas

Of course, no awareness that international broadcast of "European" ideas might be viewed the negative way in traditional societies.  Germany doesn't seem to be modified its superiority complex anymore than the US or the UK, or France, all of whom believe that German, American, British and French ideas  are respectively superior. American's even have names for it — "American exceptionalism" and "the indispensable nation." 

Edward Harrison — Baumol’s cost disease, aging societies and inflation expectations

I have been banging on about lowflation, repeatedly suggesting it is here to stay. The Fed, on the other hand begs to differ and is pre-emptively normalizing rates, as a result. No matter how you look at this, there’s a rub though: We all consume different products, so we each experience a different individual inflation rate.

Even as the statistics say inflation is dropping for you and me, it’s not dropping for everybody….

Jacob Pramuk — Obama reportedly approved 'cyberweapons' against Russian infrastructure before leaving office

Is anyone else's crap detector going off?

Obama reportedly approved 'cyberweapons' against Russian infrastructure before leaving office

So let me get this straight. President Obama and 17 intelligence agencies knew that Russia was mucking with the election and did nothing about it beforehand and waited until after HRC had lost ignominiously to do anything about it. Right.

Alice Sales — Only 2% of US Politicians Actually Want to Stop Arming Terrorists — Here’s Why


Only 2% of US Politicians Actually Want to Stop Arming Terrorists — Here’s Why
Alice Sales

The Saker — The Latest Escalation in Syria – What Is Really Going On?

By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18th a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to US and US supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the US are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American “show of force”. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all US actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.
Russia did respond this time again, but in a very ambiguous and misunderstood manner. The Russians announced, amongst other measure that from now on “any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets” which I reported as “Russian MoD declares it will shoot down any aircraft flying west of the Euphrates river”. While I gave the exact Russian quote, I did not explain why I paraphrased the Russian words the way I did. Now is a good time to explain this....
The first step towards understanding how the Russians function is to stop expecting that they would act just like Americans would.

Brett Heino — The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law

There are few components of a capitalist society that penetrate as deeply and pro-foundly into the lives of the people as law. Whole swathes of social life, ranging from the labour–capital relationship, the make-up of the family, the regulation of crime and the relationship of citizens to one another and the state (to name a few) are structured and governed by the legal form. Capitalism is, in short, legalized to a degree that is historically unprecedented. Given this reality, it is both surprising and disappointing that sophisticated Marxist analyses of law are uncommon. Many attempts fall apart in the always-difficult exercise of articulating theoretical rigour with empirical sensitivity. Against this backdrop, Brett Christophers’ The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law stands out as a fine example of both the method and the fruits of a successful effort at such an articulation....
As world capitalism continues to change and evolve, we must understand the roles played in this process by the full gamut of economic, political and cultural institutions, including the law. The Great Leveler stands as a beacon for those of us who have been arguing for law to be taken to the heart of political-economic study.
Neoliberalism, which promotes privatization and deregulation, is very much engaged with law and law-making as a political theory based chiefly on economic liberalism and political conservatism. Economic liberalism holes that property relations should be free of government intrusion, and political conservatism holds that ownership of property is evidence of the ability to govern, which President Trump just affirmed in his appointing billionaires to cabinet level positions. Also strong features of this are lobbying and the revolving door.

Progress in Political Economy
Brett Heino

Moon of Alabama — The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

(Qatar is surely "supporting terrorism". So is the U.S. - the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services just rejected an asylum request because the person in question has relations with the Free Syrian Army which it considers to be an "undesignated terrorist organization". The CIA built and supports the FSA. But the biggest terrorist sponsors of all are and have been the Saudis.)

Moon of Alabama
The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

Gareth Porter — How America Armed Terrorists in Syria

Another tale of infamy involving the usual suspects.

What Porter does not mention is that this was largely covered up domestically by US media propaganda demonizing Assad personally.

The American Conservative
How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter
Reposted at Consortium News

Jada Thacker — Deep History of America’s Deep State

The idea of an elitist Deep State – erasing a “mistake” by the people – pervades current efforts to remove buffoonish President Trump, but the concept has deep historical roots dating from the Founding, writes Jada Thacker.
Does the sudden presence of an American Deep State – loosely defined as an unelected elite that manipulates the elected government to serve its own interests – pose a novel, even existential, threat to democracy?
Not exactly. The threat seems real enough, but it’s nothing new. Consider these facts: 230 years ago, an unelected group of elite Americans held a secretive meeting with an undisclosed agenda. Their purpose was not merely to manipulate lawful government in their own interests, but to abolish it altogether. In its place, they would install a radically undemocratic government – a “more perfect” government, they said – better suited to their investment portfolios.
History does not identify these conspirators as the Deep State. It calls them the Founders. The Founders did not consider themselves conspirators, but “republicans” – not in reference to any political party, but rather to their economic station in society. But their devotion to “republicanism” was transparently self-serving. A current college text, The American Journey: A History of the United States, explains though does not explicate “republican ideology”:
“Their main bulwark against tyranny was civil liberty, or maintaining the right of the people to participate in government. The people who did so, however, had to demonstrate virtue. To eighteenth century republicans, virtuous citizens were those who were focused not on their private interests but rather on what was good for the public as a whole.
“They were necessarily property holders, since only those individuals could exercise an independence of judgment impossible for those dependent upon employers, landlords, masters, or (in the case of women and children) husbands and fathers.” [Emphasis supplied]
Republicanism was a handy idea if you happened to be a master or a landlord, who were the only persons this ideology considered “virtuous” enough to vote or hold political office. Thus, “republicanism” – virtually indistinguishable from today’s “neoliberalism” – created the original Deep State in the image of the economic system it was designed to perpetuate....
The Founding Fathers were bourgeois (property-owning) liberals that held fast to the fundamental conservative principle that some are better than others and deserve to govern. The basis of classical liberalism is private ownership of property, which combined with conservatism results in a property requirement to hold office. The chief domestic adversary is "the rabble," now called "the little people."
How this was accomplished is not a comforting tale. But it cannot be related nor understood without an appreciation of the historical context in which it occurred....
The history behind the myth of American democracy.

Consortium News
Deep History of America’s Deep State
Jada Thacker, history teacher at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX

Barkley Rosser — Saudi Succession Shuffle


Angry Bear
Saudi Succession Shuffle
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Michael Roberts — Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth

Michael Roberts reports on the debate between Mark Blyth representing the Post Keynesian view and himself representing the Marxist view of the main cause of the Global Financial Crisis that led to the imposition of austerity.

I think this is probably an undecidable argument since such issues have a constellation of causes and identifying all of them and prioritizing them is hampered by lack of agreed upon criteria. So they are probably both correct in claiming that they have identified a significant causal factor among others.

Michael Roberts Blog
Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth
Michael Roberts

Report: U.S. Killing More Civilians Than T-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s

I found this riveting but it's a shame it isn't longer as I would like to have seen the whole thing. Jimmy Dore reports on US terrorism and the amount of innocent people who died which is never reported in our media.   

Sputnik International — Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera

Will Turkey sit on the sidelines? Turkey has the largest military in the region.

Sputnik International
Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera

Zero Hedge — Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040

Demographic shift in full swing.

Zero Hedge
Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040
Tyler Durden

Marko Marjanović — The First Shots of America's New War for Eastern Syria Have Already Been Fired

When US shot down the Syrian Su-22 jet Sunday this may have been intended as a warning to Syria that US intends to take eastern Syria for itself -- and that a Syrian push into eastern Syria will be violently opposed....
As the ISIS threat diminishes quickly, will Russia and Iran stand by and let the US continue to push forward its invasion of east Syria in order to partition the country and establish a military foothold? Tense times.

Russia Insider Marko Marjanović

John T. Harvey — No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong

Wednesday, President Trump uttered the following now widely-publicized statement regarding the top economic positions in his administration:
And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that makes sense? Does that make sense?
While this has provided wonderful material for critics and satirists, are they really being fair? On the surface of it, there’s a certain logic to his statement. Shouldn’t those who have been the most successful in the economy also be the ones to offer advice?
Unfortunately, no. Here are four reasons why putting rich folks in charge is in no way a guarantee of superior economic performance:
Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Adam Johnson — Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War

Adam Johnson calls bullshit.

Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War
Adam Johnson

Todd E. Pierce — The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency

A new book traces how the CIA and U.S. counterinsurgency warfare operatives adopted lessons from the Nazis’ fight against the partisans and evolved into a dangerous law onto themselves, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime. (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program, which should be read with the current book.)
The U.S. “deep state” – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state’s methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.
Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the U.S. political system in place by 2003 as “inverted totalitarianism.”...
This is post is about the history of the CIA and focuses on Vietnam, but the same can be said for other areas, such as Latin American.

Now that the US has the Patriot Act that suspends constitutional liberties, a Department of Homeland Security, and integrated intelligence services all that this needed for a national security police state is in place, including total surveillance.

But "it can't happen here."

Consortium News
The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency
Todd E. Pierce

William I. Robinson — Global Capitalism: Reflections on a Brave New World

We are in the throes of a transition to a qualitatively new stage of world capitalism. Its essence is the emergence of truly transnational capital, a transnational capitalist class (TCC) made up of the owners and managers of transnational corporations, and transnational state apparatuses through which the TCC attempts to exercise global political authority. This corporate-driven globalization has brought a vast new round of global enclosures as hundreds of millions of people have been uprooted and converted into surplus humanity. The extreme global inequality that has resulted erodes social cohesion and fuels unrest. In response, the more enlightened members of the transnational elite clamor for a powerful transnational state to resolve the ecological, social, economic, and political crises of global capitalism, but instead a global war economy and a global police state may be in the offing. If we are to avoid a civilizational collapse and reach a Great Transition, we will need an accurate reading of the new global capitalism to guide our social practice....
Tags: #global capitalism, #transnational capitalist class, #transnational corporate totalitarianism, #corporate statism, #fascism

Someone tell the people.

BTW, this is a really good article. If no time now, save it for the weekend.

It underscores what I have been saying for some time. Just looking at national economies in a globalized world is insufficient. Economics now must be pursued from the perspective of closed globalized economy rather than a collection of open national economies.

This is the way that the transnational capitalist class, "Davos man," is already viewing it. These are people commanding integrated supply chains and global markets, to whom borders are inconveniences.
Global capitalism does not consist of the aggregation of “national” economies, but their integration into a greater transnational whole.…
Economic globalization entails the fragmentation and decentralization of complex production chains and the worldwide dispersal and functional integration of the different segments in these chains. Yet this fragmentation and decentralization is countered by a reverse movement: the centralization and concentration of worldwide economic management, control, and decision-making power in a handful of ever more powerful transnational corporations (TNCs).
It's pretty clear from the article that socialism of some type is needed to counter the trend. This actually accords with the principle of dialectical logic that a form is not subsumed by the dominant emerging form in the succeeding moment until the initial form has exhausted its potential and succumbs to rising internal contradictions.

Radical Political Economy
Global Capitalism: Reflections on a Brave New World
William I. Robinson | Professor of Sociology, Global Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara

Spiegel Online — Spying Scandal: German Intelligence Also Snooped on White House

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is famous for the terse remark she made after learning her mobile phone had been tapped by the NSA. "Spying among friends, that isn't done." As it turns out, Germany was spying on America too, even targeting the White House....
"Everybody does it."

Fox News Cuts off Girl Telling the Truth About Russia

I watching Oliver Stone's, The Putin Interviews Part 2, when they spoke about the war in Georgia. I then remembered this clip where Fox News had an young Ameirca girl on who was visiting her Aunt in South Odessa when the war broke out there. Fox News thought they had a good bit of anti Russian propaganda coming up but when they were totally taken by surprise so they cut the interview short. This is good example of how Western propaganda works. Notice the emphasis on how a 'young 12 yerar old girl' was being bombed by the bad Russians. But it wasn't the Russians who were doing the bombing said the girl and her aunt, then advert time conveniently came up.

Moon of Alabama — U.S. Torture, A Saudi Coup And ISIS Crimes - "By, With And Through Allies"

The U.S. military and/or the CIA outsourced parts of their ongoing torture campaign in Yemen to the United Arab Emirates, reports AP. Some "interrogations" are done in the presence of U.S. personal and on U.S. ships:
The thuggery and war crimes continue. Much more in the post.

Geopolitika — U.S. provokes instability in Balkans

Donald Trump issued message to Congress of the United States on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Western Balkans.
There is noted:
The threat constituted by the actions of persons engaged in, or assisting, sponsoring, or supporting (i) extremist violence in the Republic of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Western Balkans region, or (ii) acts obstructing implementation of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia or United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, in Kosovo, has not been resolved. In addition, Executive Order 13219 was amended by Executive Order 13304 of May 28, 2003, to take additional steps with respect to acts obstructing implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001 relating to Macedonia.
The acts of extremist violence and obstructionist activity outlined in these Executive Orders are hostile to United States interests and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to the Western Balkans.
Besides that American media anounced 400-mile road march that will take them deep into the Balkans to Macedonia as part of Exercise "Saber Guardian".
In fact it means occupation of this country.
NATO is actually a thinly disguised US occupation of Europe at the invitation of the comprador elite that profit from it and made acceptable to the people through manufactured consent by means of propaganda.


Taking in the big picture, the US acting against the strategic and economic alliance of Russia and China, the only adversary capable of challenging the US both militarily and economically in the foreseeable future. The US must retain the European states as vassals to avoid a Russo-Chinese economic bloc that includes Europe, effectively replacing the US on the world stage and driving the US back to the Western hemisphere. This is a do or die mission. Very dangerous for peace.


U.S. provokes instability in Balkans

See also

Good strategic analysis. But Wight leaves out China, which is the elephant in the room.

Sputnik International
US Foreign Policy - 'Rome Has Spoken; the Matter Is Finished'
John Wight, author of the Edinburgh Trilogy

Leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz has criticized the latest US sanctions against Russia and called on Angela Merkel to oppose them.
"We have seen that the US is pursuing a course in energy policy that is dangerous and is directed against Germany," Schulz told the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI)."Our energy supply also depends on constructive cooperation with Russia," he said, and called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the issue with President Trump at next month's G20 summit in Hamburg.
"We have the right to defend the industrial interests of the Federal Republic of Germany and Europe," Schulz said....
Sputnik International
German SPD Condemns 'Dangerous' US Nord Stream 2 Sanctions 'Directed at Germany'

Chris Dillow — Free Markets Need Equality

I would change the title by replacing "equality" with "symmetry."
There’s one thing that’s crucial – equality [symmetry] of power. For free markets to have public acceptance, the worst-off must have bargaining power. Without this, “free” markets merely become a device for exploitation.
The basis of economic liberalism is free markets and free trade.

Classical and neoclassical economics provided the foundation of economic liberalism historically. Classical and neoclassical economics assume perfect competition. Perfect competition is vitiated by asymmetries, especially asymmetry of power and information. Perfect markets also presume symmetrical opportunity of participants.

Concentration of capital vitiates these assumptions of economic liberalism about free markets and free trade. Capitalism is about favoring capital as an economic factor on the assumption that growth is chiefly a function of capital formation. This disadvantages labor (workers) and land (the environment).

Owing to the economies of scale, free market capitalism leads to concentration of capital in fewer and fewer hands, which leads in turn to monopoly and monopsony in economics and oligarchy and plutonomy in politics. This vitiates both economic liberalism and political liberalism.

Free market capitalism based on economic liberalism is antithetical to the foundations of liberalism.

This is one of the chief paradoxes of liberalism.

There is no way to generate a truly liberal system, which involves integration, when one factor is favored over others.

As Aquinas said at the outset of De ente et essentia, paraphrasing Aristotle, "A small mistake at the beginning becomes a large by the end."
The inference here is, for me, obvious. If you are serious about wanting free markets you must put in place the conditions which are necessary for them – namely, greater bargaining power for tenants, customers and workers. This requires not just strong anti-monopoly policies but also policies such as a high citizens income, full employment and mass housebuilding.
In short, free markets require egalitarian policies. Free marketeers who don’t support these are not the friends of freedom at all, but are merely shills for exploiters.
Stumbling and Mumbling
Free Markets Need EqualityChris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell — Latest Greek bailout – a recipe designed to fail

I have been looking at the latest Greek bailout deal between the Greek government and the European Commission/IMF), which was concluded last week (June 16, 2017) and released a further 8.5 billion euros in new loans to the Greek government which means it can make bond payments due in July. Despite all the statements from the European Commission and the IMF to the contrary, the terms of the deal with the Greek government confirms that these institutions have abandoned any pretence to being interested in serious economic policy. For the European Commission, the desired irrevocable status of the euro, as a political statement, is all it seems interested in when it comes to Greece. They just don’t want to admit that Greece cannot reasonably function in this monetary union. Just like the previous bailout agreements, this deal will fail. It actually only stalls the reality for yet another day and the only goal it serves is to keep Greece using a currency it cannot afford to use – afford in both monetary and real terms....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Latest Greek bailout – a recipe designed to fail
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act: Rep. Gabbard

Below is an interesting comment left by a reader on Guardian CiF. Rep. Gabbard tried to pass a bill to stop supporting armed jihadist militia groups, but hardly anyone in congress signed the bill. Ron Paul reintroduced the bill but with no luck.  Now why isn't this mainstream news? Just imagine if it was Russia that was sponsoring terrorists in the ME what the MSM would be saying? Sadly, people in the West can't see the bias or the propaganda.

Russia and China are going to send them Virginia farm boys back in body bags when the hot war starts and even at that point, the Guardian/NYT/Washington Post won't tell their own readers the full context.

Consider this.

Given the insidious history of the American empire and its creation and fostering of terrorist regimes across the globe, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of politicians would refuse to sign on to a law that requires them to ‘Stop Arming Terrorists.’
And, that is exactly what’s happened.

**H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act was introduced by Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI] on January 23 of this year. **

The bill doesn’t have any crazy strings attached and its original cosponsors are a mix of Republicans and Democrats — highlighting that it transcends party lines.

“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said in an interview earlier this year.

The text of the bill is simple.

It merely states that it prohibits the use of federal agency funds to provide covered assistance to: (1) Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or any individual or group that is affiliated with, associated with, cooperating with, or adherents to such groups; or (2) the government of any country that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) determines has, within the most recent 12 months, provided covered assistance to such a group or individual.

The only thing this bill does is prohibit the US government from giving money and weapons to people who want to murder Americans and who do murder innocent men, women, and children across the globe.

It is quite possibly the simplest and most rational bill ever proposed by Congress.
Given its rational and humanitarian nature, one would think that representatives would be lining up to show their support.

However, one would be wrong.

***After nearly 5 months since its introduction, only 13 of the 535 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors.***

What this lack of support for the bill shows is that the federal government is addicted to funding terror and has no intention of ever stopping it.
To add insult to treason and murder, Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] introduced this same legislation in the Senate.

He currently has zero cosponsors.

Further, why Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Australia(!!) think they are untouchable at this particular moment in geopolitical history is utterly bizarre. I guess when the tail wags the dog too often it loses sight of its own precarious existence which is largely dependent on the fate of the master.

Unfortunately Russia, China and Iran have put the master on notice that at this point, they are all in.
May you live in interesting times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

France24 — Macron Rolls Back on ‘Assad Must Go’ Position

Needless to say, this is welcome news and a positive development in a sea of otherwise negative news and the gathering of war clouds.
President Emmanuel Macron said in remarks published on Wednesday that he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and that France no longer considered his departure a pre-condition to resolving the six-year conflict.
Macron Rolls Back on ‘Assad Must Go’ Position
Macron said he will not allow US “neo-conservatism” to seep into France, and that the focus of French policy will be aimed at achieving “stability” in Syria, rather than getting dragged into a Libya-style conflict.
“What was the outcome of these interventions? Failed states in which terrorist groups flourished. I do not want that in Syria,” the French leader emphasized.
France’s Macron sees no ‘legitimate successor’ to Assad, declares terrorism a common enemy in Syria

Robert Parry — Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket

The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.

The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some Democrats had hoped.
Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing, with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s “deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media to reverse a presidential election.
Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide....
That is not a strategy. It's a tactic and not a very good one. It's only a step above waiting for the opponent to stumble.

A strategy requires goals set by policy that determine strategic objectives. Strategy is about how to achieve objectives. Politically, this generally involves distinguishing oneself from one's opponents and showing one's position to be more in the voters interest while discrediting opponents for failing to meet voters' interests.

The Democrats are without a vision and therefore lack a clear policy. This is indicated by the push to unite a deeply divided party. Focusing on the opponent is not going to do that and the Democrats are just wasting time doing it.
Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.
While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.
To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.
Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.
Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.…
Consortium News
Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket
Robert Parry

Cate Cadell — Amazon’s grocery push playing catch up with Chinese e-commerce giants

As Inc <AMZN.O> looks to swallow U.S. grocery chain Whole Foods, China’s tech giants are already digesting hefty bricks-and-mortar deals, taking the lead in the battle to transform supermarket shopping with big data and better supply chains.

China’s Alibaba Group Holding <BABA.N> and Inc <JD.O> have invested heavily in offline retail – bricks-and-mortar stores – in recent years to complement their online offerings.

With their ready-made payment and social media platforms to lure shoppers, Alibaba and have helped China become the world’s largest online grocery market, far ahead of the United States.

This early lead, cemented by densely populated urban areas and cheap labor, could be key as retailers and tech firms race to boost margins on low-cost consumer goods by reinventing supply chains with big data analytics.

“China is already the largest online grocery market in terms of value in the world so it’s really advanced in terms of scale,” said Nick Miles, London-based head of Asia Pacific for food and grocery industry research body IGD....
One America News
Amazon’s grocery push playing catch up with Chinese e-commerce giants
Cate Cadell

Ilana Mercer — Beware the Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars

Seems nothing was learned from the hype that promoted war in Iraq. Here we go again.

Ludwig von Mises Centre (“Mises UK”)
Beware the Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars
Ilana Mercer

The Putin Interviews Part 2 - Oliver Stone + Putin

Jack Ma: The US Wasted $14 Trillion on Wars

Founder of Alibaba, Billionaire Chinese businessman Jack Ma says the US wasted $14 trillion on Wars, but why didn't they invest some of that money in the US to create jobs. He says globalisation did not destroy American jobs, the US ruling elite did. Just think of the profits they could have made out of new technology, but no, the ruling elite are lazy, they don't want to work, pinching someone else's resources is much easier, and setting up bogeymen to start pointless wars so they can screw the American taxpayer.

 If you don't have much time, it's only 1:50 minutes long.

RT — US stuck in 20th-century foreign policy with wars & bases across globe – leading economist [Jeffrey Sachs]

Instead of building a global economy and solving problems like climate change in order to save the planet, the US is waging wars and maintaining military bases across the world, pursuing Cold War policies, Jeffrey Sachs says.
US stuck in 20th-century foreign policy with wars & bases across globe – leading economist

RT — Europe must defend ‘liberal world order,’ limit Chinese & Russian influence – German minister

Europe should do more as a guardian of "liberal world order" because the US is starting to take a "skeptical" view of that role, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, adding that China and Russia must be limited in their influence.

"If the United States is starting to take a skeptical view of its role as the guardian of global order – and we've already seen hints of this in recent years – then I would see this as a call to action directed at Europe, including Germany," Schaeuble said in a speech at the American Academy in Berlin, a think tank that promotes US-German ties.
He went on to state that China and Russia should not be allowed to step up to the plate when it comes to "filling the gaps left by the US."
“I doubt whether the United States truly believes that the world order would be equally sound if China or Russia were to fill the gaps left by the US, and if China and Russia were simply given a free hand to dominate the spheres of influence that they have defined for themselves,” Schaeuble said during the Tuesday speech.
“That would be the end of our liberal world order. This order is still the best of all possible worlds [and] it does not matter if you look at it from ethical, political or economic [points of view]. And we want this order to keep moving forward, or at least not see it weakened," he continued.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously slammed Washington in 2015 for "attempts to create a unipolar world," implying that the US is attempting to dominate world affairs.
Are Western leaders gearing up for war to preserve the Western hegemony that has dominated the world beginning in 16th century? Or is the Wolfgang Schaüble talking out of the wrong hole again?

WTF gives the West the right to determine the world order? Is that liberal?

Another of the paradoxes of liberalism with paternalism masquerding as liberalism.

Europe must defend ‘liberal world order,’ limit Chinese & Russian influence – German minister

Andrew Batson — How long was China Communist?

The theme of this blog is the length of time under communist rule and it's effects on liberalization.

The most interesting aspect is the comparison of Russia and China. Russia was a strictly communistic regime for almost 75 years, while China was communistic strictly speaking for a much shorter period.

Russia collective farmer resist attempts at privatization of land and farming, while China has enforced an urbanization policy and is replacing the traditional farming with industrial mechanized farming and relocating displaced workers to cities built for the purpose. This has resulted in a significant degree of social disruption in the hinterlands.

Russian farmers are generally satisfied with their situation with is running more or less cooperatively and they do not wish the land divided into privately owned plot. Whether they realize it, the trend is toward mechanized farming that obviates the competitiveness of small farms. What would happen is that the farms would be turned into privately own industrial farms, and the former workers would be displaced. They would rather continue to be part of a cooperative farm.

The big challenge in the Global South is the industrialization of agriculture that not only displaces millions of agricultural workers but also disrupts cultural traditions.

Andrew Batson's Blog
How long was China Communist?
Andrew Batson

Speaking of China, see also
I am the odd bird who prefers Beijing to Shanghai. The food is more representative of China as a whole, the faces show more drama, you are more likely to see “weird random ****” driving around in a cab, and the core culture is less chi-chi. It’s the most important city in the world. Let’s hope Washington does nothing to reclaim that mantle, New York never will.
Marginal Revolution
Beijing notes
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Michael Hudson — Dad’s Many Proverbs

Insight into why Michael Hudson is a congenital leftist. Good read.

Michael Hudson
Dad’s Many Proverbs
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University

Bill Mitchell — There is a true oppositional Left forming and gaining political traction

Bill sees some "green shoots" politically. 
My theory is this. The younger voters have no life experience with old Labour (pre Thatcher). So all the bad things that New Labour-ites and the Tories might have said about Corbyn’s Labour would have had no meaning to them.
What do they care about the Winter of Discontent, Harold Wilson’s exchange rate crises, the bullying trade unions and all the rest of the narratives that are wheeled out to degrade the image of Labour – especially Corbyn’s ‘blast from the past’ policies (as depicted by the Tories and Blairites)?
What young people are searching for is hope for the future. And they have determined that neo-liberalism is not a source of optimism for the future.
Neo-liberalism and austerity has blighted their educational opportunities, undermined the health system, created chaose in the privatised transport system.
It is mean and nasty.
Moreover, while the mainstream media put out daily bile attacks about Corbyn, the young people don’t really buy or read the newspapers anymore.
The young people, increasingly connected by social media, and that is making all the Murdoch and Guardian-type hysterics irrelevant.
The British election, and to some extent, the French election shows that there is a new oppositional Left forming – finally.
The challenge for the left is monetary, financial and economic competence. This has been the big weakness that has resulted in leftist governments underperforming and failing to deliver on their promises.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
There is a true oppositional Left forming and gaining political traction
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Greg Satell — The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve

Relatively short and worth a read. It's business oriented but applicable to any kind of creative problem-solving. The first step is identifying the kind of problem and then matching the method.

Harvard Business Review
The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve
Greg Satell

Edward Harrison — How monetary policy entrenches secular stagnation

I believe that weak nominal growth is a policy choice in large part, rather than a destiny. Here’s why.
"Phillips Curve thinking."
Now what Dudley was implicitly saying is that he wants to tune Fed policy in order to make sure a small cadre of people stays unemployed so that inflation doesn’t take off. That’s because he thinks that, at low levels of unemployment, inflation will rise so much that the Fed will have to react violently. And so it makes sense to prevent that from happening by raising rates sooner rather than later.
That’s a policy choice, folks. Dudley is saying lower inflation is better than higher inflation. And he is also saying in no uncertain terms that he prefers some people be unemployed because their lack of employment will weaken wage-earners’ bargaining power and keep inflation lower. It’s choices like this – when nominal growth is already low – that entrench low growth. And that’s why the yield curve is flattening.
Credit Writedowns
How monetary policy entrenches secular stagnation
Edward Harrison

See also

Michael Kalecki (Michal Kalecki), Political Aspects of Full Employment, Political Quarterly, 1943

Pam and Russ Martens — Report: Measured for Social Progress, U.S. Is a Second-Tier Nation

Not an area of concern for the US.
This morning the annual Social Progress Index and report were released, measuring 128 countries based on Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. The United States ranked 18 and was placed in a “second tier” status. The report noted: “Traditional measures of national income, such as GDP per capita, fail to capture the overall progress of societies.”
On the component measuring health and wellness, the report found that the U.S. “performs far below countries at the same level of GDP per capita, registering relative weaknesses on all indicators in the component.” On the component measuring tolerance and inclusion, the researchers found that the U.S. “ranks just 23 in the world across this component, placing it behind less prosperous countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.”
Cue: USA!, USA!, USA! We are Number One!

How did this happen?
The research findings from the Social Progress Index are yet another embarrassing black eye to the standing of America on the world stage — as billionaires move to consolidate their power in Washington.
What is social progress anyway?
The study defines social progress as follows:

“Social progress is the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.”
Creating the conditions for all to reach their full potential is the basis for liberalism. The foundation of liberalism is freedom from constraint and freedom to chose in order to create the conditions necessary to use freedom for self-development as an individual and self-determination as a people.

Freedom from, freedom to, and freedom for are the sine qua non of traditional liberalism based on the Western intellectual tradition that began with the ancient Greeks.

Wall Street On Parade
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Stephen Lendman's New Site

It looks good.

The Oliver Stone Interview Destroys Russophobia

Part 1

I really like Putin. Oliver Stone draws him to criticise Yeltsin but Putin doesn't do so. Putin never has a bad word for anyone. He's very diplomatic for sure, but Western Politicians are nothing like that. Washington is a cess pit of hate.

The Putin Interviews: Part 4

Proof Vladimir Putin is not a bad guy as the United States Democratic Party claims. This is his side of his issues made public.

I am posting this video to seize tensions between Russia and the United States hoping for a peaceful resolution. Nuclear Holocaust is not an answer. There must be some way the USA and Russia to continue friendly ties and become allies at last. This is the only reason I am posting this video. To show the American people war with Russia as Hillary Clinton insist is not the answer!!

Sputnik — US Investors Rush to Buy Russian Eurobonds 'Despite Difficult Market Conditions'

The majority of Russian eurobonds in Tuesday's issue were bought by foreign investors, with the largest portion purchased by US buyers, Andrey Solovyev, the head of the debt capital market department at VTB Capital, the placement organizer, said Tuesday....
Sputnik International
US Investors Rush to Buy Russian Eurobonds 'Despite Difficult Market Conditions'

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Patrick Martin — The New York Times steps up its anti-Russia campaign

It's time to recall the part that the New York Times played in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, which some experts consider to be the greater strategic blunder the US has ever made. I don't know that it is the great strategic blunder but it is way up there on the scale. 

Now the Times is whipping up a frenzy to confront Russia, which could be the last strategic blunder the US ever makes is this goes nuclear.

History may not repeat but it certainly rhymes.

What is wrong with these people that they never learn from their mistakes, but instead double down on them?

Patrick Martin

Containing Russia and China: Pentagon requests more than $230 billion for nuclear weapons

A new nuclear arms race is on between the US and Russia and China, as well as weaponizing space and cyberwarfare capability, which this post omits.

The nominal amounts spent on military are misleading since US prices are higher to make room for corporate profit and graft. The comparison should be real resources, and that data is unavailable.

Fort Russ
Containing Russia and China: Pentagon requests more than $230 billion for nuclear weapons
RT Russian - Inessa Sinchougova

Sputnik International — Russian Jet Reportedly Comes Within 5 Feet of US Plane Over Baltic Sea

Testing nerve. The essence of brinksmanship. Russia sends another signal it won't blink.

Stephen Lendman's Blog Has Been Removed

Stephen Lendman's blog has been removed. I don't know why yet, and so far there is nothing on the internet about it. Paul Craig Robert's says his site also always has problems too, which he thinks might be a technical hitch, but he's not sure. I haven't been able to contact PCR through his site for over a week now.

Politnavigator — Ukraine will buy more expensive American coal - Poroshenko/Trump meeting

Poroshenko discussed with the US President the possibility of buying American coal from Pennsylvania instead of Donbass coal, its traditional supplier of energy needs....

US coal is said to be almost twice as expensive as locally sourced in the Donbass.
More insanity.
Ukraine will buy more expensive American coal - Poroshenko/Trump meeting
Politnavigator - Inessa Sinchougova