Monday, November 18, 2019

Links — 18 Nov 2019

One World
Bolivia Faces Croatian-Style Ethnic Cleansing & South African-Like Apartheid
Andrew Korybko

Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Olivia Arigho-Stiles 

Internationalist 360º
Thousands March in Response to Cochabamba Massacre as the Dictatorship Prepares for a State of Siege
Gregory Shupak

Internationalist 360º
The Long Coup in Ecuador
Fabio Resmini

‘Censored because they gave me platform’: Ecuador’s ex-leader Correa slams sudden move to cut off RT Spanish in his country

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
25 Times Trump Has Been Dangerously Hawkish On Russia
Caitlin Johnstone
Progress in Political Economy (PPE)
The Morals of the Market
Jessica Whyt

Russia Insider
Globalist Managerial Class Losing Grip on Peasants. Mass Upheaval Inevitable
Tom Luongo

Sic Semper Tyrannis
You do not deliberately kill civilians or prisoners!
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

Strategic Culture Foundation
Is the Middle East Beginning a Self-Correction?
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy 

Bill Mitchell – Invoking neoliberal framing and language is a failing progressive strategy (British Labour

Over the years it’s been clear to me that we live in a fictional world when it comes to economic matters. The mainstream has created this world that bears little relationship to reality and which serves the interests of a few at the expense of the majority. But the way in which this fiction is inculcated in the framing and language of our public debates leads the majority to think that the conduct of economic policy is somehow in their best interests, even if, at times, governments claim we have to swallow a bitter pill in order to get well again. The bitter pill always punishes the lower to middle-income groups, rarely the top-end-of-town. The fiction is so deeply ingrained that even progressive political campaigns are framed within it. I have railed against that all my career because I cannot align a belief that democratic choice requires accurate information with the reality that we make these choices in a fog of fiction. I have always considered the role of the progressive forces in politics, as a matter of priority, should be to be the agents of education, so that these democratic choices reflect our realities. I have never supported so-called ‘progressive’ parties that choose, for ‘political’ purposes, to lie to the electorates by adopting neoliberal framing and language as a way of minimising any difficulties that might arise, initially, from the dissonance that accompanies exposure to the truth, after years of believing in lies. It seems that the British Labour Party continues to promote a false narrative to support and otherwise stellar plan for national renewal. But, as history tells us, a plan built on false financial foundations, falters when circumstances change and the false foundations become the issue rather than the plan....
Digging the grave you have been consigned to deeper. How dumb is that!

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Invoking neoliberal framing and language is a failing progressive strategy (British Labour)
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Holland Covers Hundreds of Bus Stops with Plants as Gift to Honeybees

The roofs of hundreds of bus stops have been covered in plants as a gift to honeybee, by a city in the Netherlands.  Mainly made up of sedum plants, a total of 316 have been covered in greenery in Utrecht.

The shelters not only support the city’s biodiversity, such as honey bees and bumblebees, but they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater. The roofs are looked after by workers who drive around in electric vehicles, and the bus stops have all been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.

The electricity used to power the buses will come directly from Dutch windmills. Utrecht also runs a scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into green roofs.


Holland Covers Hundreds of Bus Stops with Plants as Gift to Honeybees


More "pumping!"

China first one in a while:

US Fed $55B additional coming up next few weeks; in advance of Dec 15 quarterly tax payment day:

Eric Baldwin - Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Public Transit Free

Luxembourg is set to become the world's first country to make all of its public transportation free. The newly re-elected prime minister Xavier Bettel and the coalition government have announced that they will lift all fares on trains, trams and buses next summer. Taking aim at long commutes and the country’s carbon footprint, the new move hopes to alleviate some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

Arch Daily

Eric Baldwin - Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Public Transit Free

Chris Hedges - CIA search for mind control with Stephen Kinzer

Unspeakable crimes committed by the US Deep State!

Greg Palast on Bolivia Coup Against Evo Morales: US is Unhappy With Democracy in Latin America!

Greg Palast sums up the coup nicely.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Links — 17 Nov 2019

Moon of Alabama
OPCW Whistleblowers: Management Manipulated Reports - Douma 'Chemical Weapon Attack' Was Staged

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.
Caitlin Johnstone

Defend Democracy Press
Bolivia: 9 Corpses in 24 hours Prove Dictatorship’s Violence

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Where are the indictments from Durham and Horowitz? Where?

The Unz Review
Peter Turchin and the Coming Crisis of the 2020s

Mainstream Inventory Theories — Brian Romanchuk

If we look at standard macro Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models, inventories do not appear. The modelling focus is on expectation formation – particularly in the household sector – and business sector behavior is stylised. Since the assumption is that products are bought and sold both spot and forward in an optimal fashion, production decisions are just set to give exactly the output needed in the spot market....
This assumes a "just-in-time" supply chain, which is an ideal that business shoot for, since carrying inventory involves charges. However, it is an unrealized ideal and given global supply chains it is probably unrealizable. The reality is planning, which is one of of the chief functions of organization  and management.
The differences between the mainstream approaches and the post-Keynesian perspective can be summarised as the difference between randomness and uncertainty. The mainstream approach is based on the assumption that firms are acting in an optimal fashion in the presence of (unknown) random outcomes – that are described by a known probability distribution. The post-Keynesian approach underlines the importance of fundamental uncertainty – we have no idea what the probability distribution is. As a result, decision-making operates in a fog of uncertainty. From a post-Keynesian perspective, holding inventories is no “mystery”: firms cannot be certain what will happen in the coming months, so stockpiling key inputs and/or produced goods reduces the risks associated with adverse outcomes. As a result, even though it is accepted that firms certainly make plans, they are not blindly following the output of some optimisation. The straightforward way to get a grip on inventory management is to survey managers in industries to see what criteria they use to set target inventories. However, one risks drowning in micro data, and so we probably end up backing out simple macro relationships that match observed data in some sense....
Bond Economics
Mainstream Inventory Theories
Brian Romanchuk

New Economic Perspectives — Wray Appearing Before Congress

L. Randall Wray will be providing testimony for Congress on November 20 at 10 am. The topic is the government debt and deficits. His full statement will be available at 10:30AM at the Levy Institute.
New Economic Perspectives
Wray Appearing Before Congress

Scott Fullwiler — Quick(?) MMT 101 lesson

From Twitter via AppThreadReader

Note: material in brackets is added to the original by Tom Hickey for clarification.

Scott Fullwiler @stf18
1. Quick(?) MMT 101 lesson:

From the very beginning in the 1990s, MMT has NEVER argued that 'printing money' was necessary. Anyone saying MMT = "print money," even if they (correctly) incorporate an inflation constraint, is getting MMT dead wrong.

2. The argument from the earliest days--@wbmosler 's "Soft Currency Economics," Wray's "Understanding Modern Money," or @StephanieKelton 's "Can Taxes & Bonds Finance Govt Spending?"--the MMT argument is that ALL govt deficits are 'printing money' ALREADY (!).
[A currency issuer issues currency using its central bank as the government's fiscal agent acting on behalf of the Treasury to settle government appropriated spending into nongovernment in the payments system that the central bank administers. This is how state (chartal) money is created.—tjh]
3. These and other foundational, early MMT pieces argue that the choice to issue bonds or not is about monetary policy how to set the CB's interest rate target, not whether to 'finance' a deficit or 'print money.'

4. The argument across literally dozens of publications is consistent--whether or not govt issues bonds when it runs a deficit, the macroeconomic impact of 'bonds vs. money' is nil.
5. What matters for macro impact is the deficit itself, and how it is created (spending/taxing priorities), since the deficit is creating net financial wealth in the pvt sector (note I did NOT say 'real' wealth (!)).

6. The choice to issue bonds or not in the face of a deficit is simply about [one] risk-free govt asset (say, T-bills) vs. another risk-free govt asset of perhaps slightly longer maturity (but that's also a policy choice).

7. This is also partly why we predicted back in the 2001 that Japan's QE wouldn't be inflationary, and predicted the same for the US in 2008. QE & 'monetization' of govt debt is about an asset swap--it's the deficit itself that has the 'quantity' effect, not the financing.
 [This asset swap of one from of government liability to another does not alter the amount of net financial assets generated by deficits. It only alters the term and doesn't affect the quantity of nongovernment net financial assets.]

8. Similarly, in the real world, CB's are defending their national payments systems every minute of every day. This means they accommodate banks' demand for CB liabilities always at or near their current interest rate target.

9. From an MMT perspective, it's really weird that people believe a govt running a deficit via overdraft at the CB is inherently inflationary, but the current system, where govt runs a deficit while CB guarantees mkt liquidity for bond dealers to buy govt bonds, isn't.

10. So, from the beginning 20+ yrs ago, MMT said the 'choice' to issue bonds when running a deficit was about how to set CB's int rate target. W/ bond sales, CB accommodates banks at its tgt rate. W/o bond sales, CB sets rate at ZIRP or uses IOR=tgt rate to set tgt rate <> 0

11. This is just supply and demand from ECON 101. If you push out the supply curve beyond the entire demand curve, either the price falls to 0 or you have a price floor set at <> 0. Those are the only 2 possibilities when 'printing money' to run a deficit.

12. Neoclassicals actually agree w/ this, for different reasons. For them, if 'monetize' govt debt & CB rate = 0, 'monetization' isn't inflationary. Or, if CB sets rate <> 0 via IOR=target rate, still not inflationary.

13. In both cases, CB's reserves are considered effectively equivalent to holding, say, T-bills. So, 'monetization' or 'printing money' is effectively equivalent to 'printing' [issuing] T-bills. IOW, if you blend neoclassical model w/ actual CB ops, 'printing money' [issuing currency] isn't inflationary.

14. Putting this all together . . . MMT has NEVER argued that 'printing money' as conventionally interpreted is necessary to carry out MMT policy proposals. All deficits create net financial wealth for pvt sector, regardless of 'finance' method.

15. Choice to issue bonds or not when running a deficit is about how to set CB's target rate, not 'financing' a deficit. This means that interest on national debt is a policy variable, or at least can be (for monetary sovereign, of course).

16. So, choice to issue bonds or not is not about 'quantity' impact of a deficit, but about 'how' CB chooses to achieve its target rate. Hitting interest rate tgt by overdraft to govt & pay IOR=tgt rate=2% has no difference of macro significance from . . .

17. ... hitting interest rate target by govt instead issuing tbills while CB ensures mkt liquidity at tgt rate = 2% to banks & bond dealers.

18. Now, there are places where MMT scholars argued for no bond issuance, govt gets CB overdraft, & CB sets tgt rate= 0 (permanent ZIRP). Note, tho, that this is (a) not arguing in favor of 'printing money' even in neoclassical view (it's Krugman's liquidity trap, actually) ...

19. (b) and is therefore, simply a policy proposal for low interest rates on govt debt. It is also NOT arguing for ZIRP in a neoclassical world--Wray did his Ph.D. under Minsky. Minsky was against manipulating short term rates; instead favored credit regs/margins of safety.

20. That is, when MMT proposes ZIRP, it is proposing it for ONLY the govt debt, NOT for the economy overall as in a New Keynesian model. There are dozens of MMT publications on regulating credit, and more on the way. MMT was about macroprudential before that was a thing.

21. Minsky was adamant that manipulating short-term interest rates was actually destabilizing (he blamed the rise of money manager capitalism on Volcker's high rates). Raise margins of safety to slow credit rather than raising the overnight, risk-free rate.

22. A benefit of margins of safety is that raising interest rates to slow credit leads to higher hurdle rates that can only be met by riskier projects, while raising margins of safety slows credit by favoring the LESS risky loans.

23. Particularly given that the problem of a debt bubble is that credit QUALITY is bad, it's really weird from an MMT perspective that it's mostly MMT arguing in favor of macro policy that target credit quality ...

24. ... while neoclassicals go to lengths to NOT talk about credit quality--use a Taylor rule to manipulate short-term rates, increase liquidity requirements, increase capital, but little to nothing about underwriting. (Shocker--we now have a corp debt bubble.)

25. So, MMT is NOT arguing for 'printing money' and 'ZIRP' in the conventional, neoclassical world. MMT is arguing for stabilizing demand side of the economy w/ a mix of govt's budget position (at low rates, however 'financed') & credit quality/margins of safety.
The confusion arises to a great owing to overlooking 1) the distinction between the currency issuer and users of the currency that must obtain it from the issuer and 2) the nongovernment net financial assets that deficit spending generates as a nongovernment asset on the balance sheet balancing government liabilities created by public spending. Scott doesn't feature these points in the thread, so I added it for clarity. 

The point is that "printing money" is identical with  issuing currency through appropriated spending in excess of taxes, that is, deficit spending. Government spending is through the appropriation process and the appropriations are funded directly by currency issuance. A currency issuer is self-funding. 

Government spending increases nongovernment net financial assets in the government's payment system administered by the central bank, while taxes decrease nongovernment net financial assets in the payments system. The flip side of public (government) debt is private (nongovernment) saving. 

The only way that nongovernment can net save financial assets in aggregate over a period is through deficit spending, which is a flow that adds to the stock of government debt and nongovernment net financial assets as financial wealth. Warren Mosler points out that currency units that are not taxed back remain in the nongovernment as tax credits not yet assessed and collected. The ability of a government to levy and collect taxes "drives" demand for the currency as the only means of meeting this imposed obligation.

Those who obsess on debt, public and private, fail to understand that all money as an asset is someone's liability. State-created money is a liability of the state and an asset for the saver. Money created by financial institutions like commercial banks is a (loan) asset of the institution while the liability is that of the borrower.

The difference is that a state that is sovereign in its currency can always meet its obligations since it is the currency issuer, whereas currency users must obtain the currency to meet obligations. 

Thus, the real constraint on government issuance is availability of real resources for sale and the financial constraint is price stability.

What about the central bank being private? Many central banks are now owned by their governments, e.g, the Bank of England. The Fed is a public-private partnership whose profit after operating expenses and a 6% annual return on the capital of the member banks is deposited in the Treasury account and the stock cannot be traded.

In addition, there are three major functions of the Fed. The first is managing the payments system for final clearing. This is administered by the twelve federal reserve banks in accordance with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 as amended. Most payment are now cleared by netting through clearing houses. The federal reserve banks are owned and operated by the member banks in the various regions in accordance with the current provisions of the Federal Reserve Act.

The second function is setting and administering monetary policy. This is the prerogative of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and is administered through the FOMC at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These are functions administered by officials that are politically independent but appointed by government for a fixed term.

The third function of the Fed is regulation of the financial system. This ultimately falls to the chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, a government appointment although "politically independent." For example, Alan Greenspan adopted a lax policy and after the global financial crisis admitted that it was too lax, owing to mistaken assumptions about incentives.

Gary Younge - The Tories can’t win without the press. This isn’t how democracy works

The power of the rightwing press has corroded public debate. But we can do more than just complain about it

Corbyn has been misrepresented, as well as being falsely accused of being antisemitic. The vile media campaign against Corbyn has been disgraceful - all dirty tricks and outright lies - and so now Johnson leads in the polls, who doesn't have the British people's interest at heart, only that of the elite.

Our media is not for for purpose.

In February 2016, a few months before the referendum, Donald Tusk published the European Council’s draft plans for renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU. David Cameron was prepared for the possibility that Tusk’s response would be less than he hoped for – it was a negotiation, after all. But what really shocked the then prime minister were the front pages the next day. “Cameron’s EU deal is a joke”, said the Daily Express; “The great delusion”, barked the Daily Mail; “Ministers defy PM on Europe”, claimed the Telegraph; while the Sun went with “Who do EU think EU are kidding, Mr Cameron?”, which compared the offer to a “steaming pile of manure”.

“The Tories [in the leadership of the remain camp] were about to run a referendum campaign based on a playbook … for winning elections in an environment where the print media was sympathetic,” writes Tim Shipman in his book All Out War. “But this time their natural allies were hostile.” Senior Tories were not used to having their arguments distorted, the facts so hideously disfigured in their opponent’s favour that they were unrecognisable, or blatant falsehoods by the opposition taken seriously. These were not only rules of engagement to which they were unaccustomed – they were rules under which they could not compete. “It pains me to say it,” a member of Cameron’s team told Shipman, “but if the Mail, Sun and the Telegraph had been for ‘In’ we would have romped home.”

The Guardian 

Will Hutton - How could it be that the Tories have turned their back on the best of British industry?

If Jeremy Corbyn’s party were not so averse to capitalism, this would be a great opportunity for Labour

40 leading economists recently put out a letter backing Labour. David Graeber says the best economists now advise Labour - which I doubt will get out wrong about markets.

Will Hutton says Labour is far too adverse to capitalism, and I have tended to distrust it too, but it has to be enbraced because it is effective and is about freedom. Will Huton is right about the mixed economy - we can have the best of both.

Given that capitalism’s universal supremacy is justified because it works, how can it be shaped better to deliver the common good? Part of the answer lies in better and more public goods, tougher progressive taxation to address inequality and stronger social provision, all of which Labour is committed to.

The Guardian

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Rick Sanchez - Hillary Clinton wants 'death sentence' for Tulsi Gabbard

Retired Army officer and West Point instructor Maj. Danny Sjursen joins Rick Sanchez to discuss his experiences in war and how they turned him into a vocal critic of endless war, which he calls a "Constitutional crisis." We also weighs in on the "neo-McCarthyism" that has defamed presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

Winston Mok - China’s economic miracle has a secret ingredient hiding in plain sight: unbalanced growth

Winston Mok describes why the US can't catch up. 

Like the US, China’s economic dynamism rests on the imbalance between the runaway successes of its coastal provinces and the laggards along its northern rust belt. The crucial difference? Beijing redistributes the fruits of economic success


Winston Mok - China’s economic miracle has a secret ingredient hiding in plain sight: unbalanced growth

Indian Express — Explained: Why India has said no to regional trade pact RCEP

India believes that the RCEP trade deal doesn't provide adequate protection against possible surges of imported goods. In particular, India is concerned about cheap Chinese goods flooding the domestic market. 
The Indian Express
Explained: Why India has said no to regional trade pact RCEP

Links — 16 Nov 2019 — Part 1

The Brennan Dossier: All About a Prime Mover of Russiagate
Aaron Maté

The Asian Century has arrived
Oliver Tonby, senior partner in McKinsey’s Singapore office, interviews Parag Khanna, founder and managing partner of FutureMap and author of the recent book The Future Is Asian, and James Crabtree, associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, as well as a senior fellow at the school’s Centre on Asia and Globalisation and author of the 2018 bestseller The Billionaire Raj

Leap Blog
Economic Policy, by Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah

Craig Murray Blog
“The Palace… Threatened Us a Million Different Ways”.
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

Sputnik International
'Hillary Partisans': Whistleblower's Ukrainegate & Steele's Russiagate Used Same Playbook – Analyst

Most crimes in Russia committed by the unemployed - Exterior Ministry

The Grayzone
Syria scandal: New whistleblower claims UN chemical weapons watchdog buried Douma evidence
Aaron Maté

Zero Hedge
Vladimir Putin Sums Up The New World Order In 5 Words
Tyler Durden

India Punchline
Russia-Ukraine relations take leap of faith
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors by JONATHAN STEELE

It was fixed.

Were the strikes justified? An inspector from the eight-member team sent to Douma has just come forward with disturbing allegations about the international watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was tasked with obtaining and examining evidence.

Involved in collecting samples as well as drafting the OPCW’s interim report, he claims his evidence was suppressed and a new report was written by senior managers with assertions that contradicted his findings.


JA Smith - How to Survive the Death of Neoliberalism

JA Smith, author of Other People's Politics, argues that the death of neoliberalism is already underway, and suggests that the social-democratic turn is the best way forward for the working class and for oppressed people everywhere.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Links — 15 Nov 2019 — Part 2

Moon of Alabama
Author Of "Keep The Oil" Mission Already Distances Himself From Its Foreseeable Failure

Internationalist 360º
CELAG: OAS Presents No Evidence of Electoral Fraud in Bolivia

Bolivian Army Massacres Peaceful Protesters in Cochabamba

Common Dreams

Massive Anti-Coup Protests Explode Across Bolivia 'Against the Many Violations to Democracy'
Eoin Higgins

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Bolivia’s New Puppet Regime Wastes No Time Aligning With US Foreign Policy
Caitlin Johnstone

The International Forecaster
Your Guide to the Protests Flaring Up Around the Globe
James Corbett
Tal Axelrod

Capitalism(s), Alone — Branko Milanović

One economic system dominates the world. But there’s more than one kind of capitalism.
Excerpt from Branko Milanović forthcoming book.

Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

YouTube To Delete All Accounts That Aren't "Commercially Viable" Starting Dec. 10th — Ethan Huff

What this means is that YouTube content creators who’ve built their entire livelihoods around the platform are going to need a backup option in the event that they end up being terminated. One such option is, which you can sign up for here. [free]
It also means that YouTube has created for itself yet another legal loophole to continue targeting channels that disseminate politically incorrect content, which YouTube has been trying to silence from its platform for at least the past several years....
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what YouTube is planning to do once this policy change comes into full effect.
Zero Hedge
YouTube To Delete All Accounts That Aren't "Commercially Viable" Starting Dec. 10th
Ethan Huff via Natural News

Pew Research Center — Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information

Majorities think their personal data is less secure now, that data collection poses more risks than benefits, and believe it is not possible to go through daily life without being tracked.
Maybe the prevalent business model on the Internet is about to change? Into what though?

Pew Research Center
Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information

Links — 15 Nov 2019 — Part 1

Strategic Culture Foundation

Strategic Culture Foundation
Western Media Whitewash US-Backed Coup in Bolivia

The Greanville Post
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Kathleen Wallace

The Vineyard of the Saker
Militarization of South America, Coup in Bolivia and Argentina’s rapprochement with the Eurasian powers

Zero Hedge
Bridgewater's Ray Dalio Warns Of US-China Capital War
Tyler Durden

The Ukrainian Influence Peddling Rings–A Microcosm of How Imperial Washington Rolls — David Stockman

Way more than just Hunter Biden and his dad.

The Ukrainian Influence Peddling Rings – A Microcosm of How Imperial Washington Rolls
David Stockman

Southfront — Russia Clarified Its Position Towards Crisis In Bolivia

This week Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia recognizes the acting president of Bolivia, Senator Janine Agnes as head of state, but only until an election is organized. This decision was made due to the fact that it was she who was to take the place of the interim head of the republic in accordance with the law after the resignation of the leadership. At the same time, the events preceding the change of power in the country, the Russian side regards as a coup.
During the November 14 press birefing, a spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova further clarified the position of Russia towards the crisis (source):
Russia may be taking a cautious approach in that it is building a nuclear power station in Bolivia and doesn't want to sour the deal.


Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally” — Melvin A. Goodman

When the dust settles in a month or two, the House of Representatives will have impeached President Donald Trump with a one-sided partisan vote and then the Senate will have exonerated Donald Trump with a similarly one-sided partisan vote. But at the end of the day, the United States will have acquired a new strategic ally in Central Europe: Ukraine. The very first day of the impeachment hearings in November has been responsible for an important national security decision that had no input from Trump’s national security team or from the congressional foreign policy committees. The implications of this decision are onerous.
The key statements on the first day of the impeachment hearing concluded that Ukraine was an “important” or “strategic” partner of the United States. Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearings with the view that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to “rebuild the Russian empire” by invading a “strategic U.S. ally.” The key witnesses, William Taylor and George Kent, both senior Foreign Service Officers and seasoned diplomats, echoed the chairman’s view. Taylor, our leading diplomat in Ukraine, referred to a “newly aggressive Russia” that invaded a “strategic partner of the United States.” He argued that it was essential for the United States to be a “reliable strategic partner” for Ukraine.…
Has Democratic Party gone even more insane?

Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Melvin A. Goodman | professor of government at Johns Hopkins University, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a former CIA analyst

The Foreign Policy Establishment Is Hijacking Impeachment — Jeet Heer

Trump should be impeached for using his office for corrupt purposes. Not for challenging the national security consensus.
In the US, the president sets foreign policy, not the Blob or the Borg (Deep State).

The Nation
The Foreign Policy Establishment Is Hijacking Impeachment
Jeet Heer

See also

John Solomon Reports
The 15 essential questions for Marie Yovanovitch, America’s former ambassador to Ukraine
John Roberts

The 2019 UN Vote Against the US Blockade of Cuba — Ike Nahem

On November 7, 2019, for the 28th year in a row, the entire United Nations General Assembly, gathered in one room, voted overwhelmingly against “the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo Imposed on Cuba by the United States.” The final tally was 187 in favor, 3 opposed (Brazil, Israel, US), 2 abstentions (Colombia, Ukraine), 1 not voting (Moldova)....
Dissident Voice
The 2019 UN Vote Against the US Blockade of Cuba
Ike Nahem

Behind the Racist Coup in Bolivia— Danny Shaw


Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Behind the Racist Coup in Bolivia
Danny Shaw, lecturer of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender courses at the City University of New York

See also

More background.

Bolivia Does Not Exist
Vijay Prashad, historian

See also

Clark T. Scott

Book Review: Branko Milanovic, Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System that Rules the World — Duncan Green

Did it live up to expectations? Yes and no. The starting point of the book is the ‘global victory of capitalism’ – ‘the entire globe now operates according to the same economic principles – production organized for profit using legally free wage labour and mostly privately owned capital, with decentralized coordination.’

No credible alternatives currently exist out there in the real world. So far, so Fukuyama. But then he goes on to explore two broad branches of contemporary capitalism and the strengths and vulnerabilities of each. The two are ‘Liberal Capitalism’, epitomised by the USA, and ‘Political Capitalism’, aka China....
Oxfam Blogs — From Poverty to Power
Book Review: Branko Milanovic, Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System that Rules the World
Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB

Economic warfare: Insights from Mançur Olson — Mark Harrison

Economic warfare was widely used in WWII. When one country blockaded another’s supply of essential goods or bombed the industries producing them, why did the adversary’s economy fail to collapse? This column, part of the Vox debate on the economics of WWII, reviews Mançur Olson’s insights, which arose from the elementary economic concept of substitution. He concluded that there are no essential goods; there are only essential uses, which can generally be supplied in many ways.
Also a reason that economic sanctions are not working as expected?

Economic warfare: Insights from Mançur Olson
Mark Harrison is Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick and a Research Fellow of Warwick’s Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy and the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham
(ht Naked Capitalism)

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales has quietly launched a Facebook rival social network — Tap Team

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has quietly rolled out a new social network that is intended to get right what Facebook and Twitter have so far been getting wrong.

The new social network, WT:Social, which Wales announced had 25,000 members on November 6, now has about 78,000 members who are at least intrigued by the idea of a social network that combats fake news....
Check it out here. WT:Social.

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales has quietly launched a Facebook rival social network
Tap Team

Going Underground Tweet - UK Broadband

'Private good, public bad'

Proportion of properties connected to full fibre broadband:

South Korea has a state-owned broadband service. 

Doesn’t this illustrate the failure of the neoliberal market model to deliver public goods? 

Against Economics, by David Graeber

An excellent article, one of the best critiques of neoclassical economics I've read for a while.

David Graeber says how finance crashed the economy, while at the same time Britain had one of the finest education systems in the world. So what did the government do, rather than reform finance along the lines of Britain’s university system, it financialised the education system instead?

Before long, the Bank of England (the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve, whose economists are most free to speak their minds since they are not formally part of the government) rolled out an elaborate official report called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy,” replete with videos and animations, making the same point: existing economics textbooks, and particularly the reigning monetarist orthodoxy, are wrong. The heterodox economists are right. Private banks create money. Central banks like the Bank of England create money as well, but monetarists are entirely wrong to insist that their proper function is to control the money supply. In fact, central banks do not in any sense control the money supply; their main function is to set the interest rate—to determine how much private banks can charge for the money they create. Almost all public debate on these subjects is therefore based on false premises. For example, if what the Bank of England was saying were true, government borrowing didn’t divert funds from the private sector; it created entirely new money that had not existed before.
One might have imagined that such an admission would create something of a splash, and in certain restricted circles, it did. Central banks in Norway, Switzerland, and Germany quickly put out similar papers. Back in the UK, the immediate media response was simply silence. The Bank of England report has never, to my knowledge, been so much as mentioned on the BBC or any other TV news outlet. Newspaper columnists continued to write as if monetarism was self-evidently correct. Politicians continued to be grilled about where they would find the cash for social programs. It was as if a kind of entente cordiale had been established, in which the technocrats would be allowed to live in one theoretical universe, while politicians and news commentators would continue to exist in an entirely different one.

The New York Review 

How Thatcher killed the UK's superfast broadband before it even existed, by Jay McGregor

In 1990, a single decision by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a devastating effect on the UK's broadband infrastructure for the next 20 years and for the foreseeable future.

In a little known story about the UK's broadband history, Dr Peter Cochrane, former Chief Technology Officer at BT and all round tech guru, tells TechRadar how the UK lost the broadband race way back in the 90s.


Labour looks at nationalising BT following proposal from Corbyn ally

On the table: Free super fast broadband for everyone in Britain if Labour gets in.

The office of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is considering policy proposals detailing the nationalisation of BT (BT-A.L) drawn up by the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), multiple sources have to 26ld Yahoo Finance UK.

Labour looks at nationalising BT following proposal from Corbyn 

Eric Ng - Why are investors offloading Hua Medicine stock which is close to launching a novel diabetes drug?

Since dorzagliatin is supposed to “repair” patients’ damaged insulin regulating function, it can potentially be a “cure” for some patients, who will not need the drug after certain period of intake. Existing drugs only lower3 blood sugar when the need arises.


Eric Ng - Why are investors offloading Hua Medicine stock which is close to launching a novel diabetes drug?


They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

Maybe the Buddhists were right after all, the world is an Illusion and there is an universal consciousness.

Some prominent physicists and neuroscientists who cannot accept the idea of a separate immaterial reality (dualism) turn to the simplest alternative, that the whole universe participates in consciousness (panpsychism). Perry notes that this general approach is a staple of Hindu and Buddhist thought but a number of scientists whom one might expect to be materialists also favor it in various ways. Physicist Gregory Matloff even thinks that panpsychism might explain dark matter, the 95% of matter in our universe that must exist, on account of gravitational forces, but is otherwise unknown to us:


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Links — 14 Nov 2019

Moon of Alabama
Trump And Zelensky Want Peace With Russia. The Fascists Oppose That.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
"...Tucker Carlson Criticized for Saying 'Russia Poses No Threat to the United States At All'"
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

Spiegel Online
Nord Stream 2: The Cold War Returns to Germany
Frank Dohmen, Alexander Jung and Roland Nelles

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
“No No You Guys, THIS US-Backed Coup Is Perfectly Legitimate!”
Caitlin Johnstone

Defend Democracy Press
The US-backed coup in Bolivia: serious questions on Morales fleeing the country

The plight of late industrializers: what if peasants do not want to move to cities? — Branko Milanovic

A very interesting post.

The author fails to discuss the the situation with China, however, perhaps owing to limited scope.  The Chinese situation is interesting in that prior to Deng's reforms, China was a country dominated by poor peasants. The way that the contemporary Chinese government is dealing this is is building cities and requiring people to move to them. There is apparently not much resistance owing to the extreme poverty of the countryside. This was inevitable in the move to industrialized agriculture, where peasant labor was made grossly inefficient.

Something similar happened in the US fairly recently. The industrialization of agriculture all but eliminated the family farm as a viable income source owing to efficiencies of scale and technology.

Global Inequality
The plight of late industrializers: what if peasants do not want to move to cities?
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Race is Central to Both Revolution and Reaction in Latin American — Glen Ford

The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers.
“In Latin America, U.S. influence means White Power.”
The events in Bolivia lay bare the central role that racial subjugation has always played in the “New World,” a hemisphere whose “discovery” by Europeans resulted — within the span of only 50 years — in the death by genocide and pandemic of fully a fifth of the Earth’s human population. The Conquistadors frenzied “primitive accumulation” of precious metals, mined by enslaved Natives who died quicker than they could be replenished, created a demand for the capture and importation of millions of Africans with immunities to both European and tropical disease. For centuries, until deep into the 1700s, the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere’s population was Indigenous and Black, with African slaves comprising the great bulk of newcomers to the New World. Thus was laid the material basis for the rise of Europe, the beginnings of capitalism and the global supremacy of whiteness.
This is particularly important given the demographics. Non-white are increasing their population while whites are decreasing theirs. In addition, mixed-race mating is also increasing the non-white population. Whites are already resisting their inevitable replacement given the trend.

For example, in the US, more non-white babies are now being born per year than white (2011 census). In addition, more whites are dying than being born in a third of US states.

Just as the Global North and West is resisting the rise of the Global South and East; so too, the white population of the West finds itself declining domestically and is resisting dominance by the rising non-white population that will shortly be in the majority.

Race is an even more influential force than nationalism. This has roots in evolutionary theory, owing to kinship. While kinship is very less significant as a cultural force than it has been until recently, it is still a major factor. Traditional values center about the family, for instance.

While mentioning race has not been politically correct, that is about to change as the complexion of the world changes. Along with this, is the rising power of women and the rise of feminism, which is a liberal phenomenon that traditionalists abhor.

Internationalist 360º
Race is Central to Both Revolution and Reaction in Latin American
Glen Ford

The Debt Delusion by John Weeks — Mathew D. Rose

Book review. Many MMT points.

Brave New Europe
The Debt Delusion by John Weeks
Mathew D. Rose

The Far-Right Coup in Bolivia — Matt Wilgress

In Bolivia, the military, police, and right-wing extremists have carried out a coup against the elected government. They intend to remain in power by violently suppressing the country's indigenous and poor [that comprise the majority of the population and electorate].
Short summary to pass on.

The Far-Right Coup in Bolivia
Matt Wilgress

United States Budgetary Costs and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars through FY2020: $6.4 Trillion — Neta C. Crawford

Since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $6.4 Trillion through Fiscal Year 2020 in budgetary costs related to and caused by the post-9/11 wars—an estimated $5.4 Trillion in appropriations in current dollars and an additional minimum of $1 Trillion for US obligations to care for the veterans of these wars through the next several decades. 2 The mission of the post-9/11 wars, as originally defined, was to defend the United States against future terrorist threats from al Qaeda and affiliated organizations. Since 2001, the wars have expanded from the fighting in Afghanistan, to wars and smaller operations elsewhere, in more than 80 countries — becoming a truly “global war on terror.” Further, the Department of Homeland Security was created in part to coordinate the defense of the homeland against terrorist attacks....
Overreaction to 9/11, or investment in maintaining global dominance?

Watson Institute of Brown University and The Fredrick S. Pardee Center of Boston University
United States Budgetary Costs and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars through FY2020: $6.4 Trillion Neta C. Crawford, November 13, 2019

Ray McGovern — Ukraine For Dummies

At Wednesday’s debut of the impeachment hearings there was one issue upon which both sides of the aisle seemed to agree, and it was a comic-book caricature of reality.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff led off the proceedings with this: 
“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire…” 
Five years ago, when Ukraine first came into the news, those Americans who thought Ukraine was an island in the Pacific can perhaps be forgiven. That members of the House Intelligence Committee don’t know — or pretend not to know — more accurate information about Ukraine is a scandal, and a consequential one. 
As Professor Stephen Cohen has warned, if the impeachment process does not deal in objective fact, already high tensions with Russia are likely to become even more dangerous.
So here is a kind of primer for those who might be interested in some Ukraine history:
Not just the members of Congress that have a comic book conception of reality, but also the American public that gets its information from conventional media. Within this comic book conception of reality are two competing stories, the GOP version and the Democratic version. It can be difficult to determine which is the more ridiculous.

Former CIA analyst and presidential briefer Ray McGovern provides a backgrounder.

Consortium News
RAY McGOVERN: Ukraine For Dummies
Ray McGovern, retired from a 27 year career as a CIA analyst included leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and conducting the morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief

The Birth of the Deep State: A History — Peter C. Earle

This is an excellent backgrounder.
But where did the American deep state come from? Has it always been there?In fact, the evolution of the deep state (and this choice of term, “evolution” as opposed to “creation”, will be explained later) is — some might say ironically — found in a nearly 140-year old anti-corruption “reform” measure; one that was explicitly focused upon depoliticizing the civilian component of the United States government....
The architects of the reform also failed to recognize that individuals who are hired are no less likely to have political inclinations than those awarded the same position out of sheer patronage. And where those who held positions in the spoils system were washed out of office in four years, a corps of (essentially) permanent bureaucrats facing the prospect of pensions and positions of greater influence amid zero public accountability are likely to be outwardly demure while no less political than their forebears.
The tremendous edifice that is the US civil bureaucracy — currently numbering somewhere around 2.85 million individuals — is, like any other huge organization, subject to both imposed and emergent orders. There are explicitly assigned executives and managers, labyrinthine organizational charts, job descriptions, pay grades, areas of responsibility, manuals of every sort, and every other standardization that informs (and hinders) the modern workplace.
But as the size of the bureaucracy has swelled it has also acquired a dissociated but consistent “consciousness”: a spontaneously-ordered, unstructured but undoubtedly focused and effective mechanism. Its major functions are to thwart political measures it collectively deems unpalatable, and to vigilantly protect the existence of the greater body within which it thrives.
No orders are issued, and there is no chain of command. It communicates by example: leaks reported in the news beget more leaks, anonymous tips spawn a rash of new tipsters. No lofty conspiracy theories are necessary; a massive army of bureaucrats in an era of free/highly affordable burner phones, file sharing services, and document scanning apps are more than sufficient to gum up the wheels of executive action.
There are no secret codes, no dead drops, and no shadowy agents meeting in parking garages in the dead of night: perhaps more dauntingly, the deep state coalesces from among a seemingly incalculable number of nondescript men and women with families and homes in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C. It receives a salary every two weeks, drawn upon the United States Treasury. Its atomic elements — individuals — coach Little League, go to Zumba classes, and generally have mainstream opinions. Many, no doubt, dismiss the very notion of a deep state. Even when they send an anonymous email, shred a document intended for other eyes, or impishly pass a tip to someone with a second- or third-hand relationship in the media, most of them probably see the deep state as something larger, above and beyond themselves.
Yet they are the deep state.
The "deep state" is a combination of the intelligence services and the bureaucracy, which was famous as the siloviki and nomenklatura in the USSR, with roots in Tsarist Russia and which persists under the Putin administration. These people have affiliations, some of which are political (party) and economic (program patronage). And everyone has an ideology that shapes the worldview that they take to be reality.

In present day Russia, following the Yeltsin years and neoliberal shock therapy under the direction of US advisors, the oligarchs emerged from "cowboy capitalism," who Putin has been able only to modest bridle. They have an analog in the US in the 0.01% that provide the bulk of political contributions to federal and state politicians. The result is a group of people that live in a different world from the rest and enjoy a double standard of justice, allowing them great freedom to act.

Conspiracy is not the driving force behind the deep state but rather interest and protecting investment. There is no conscious conspiracy behind the deep state, although individuals may conspire in some instances. Moreover, owing to different interests and affiliation, there are different factions vying for place and power.

In short, the so-called deep state is not some aberration but rather one of the outcomes of political institutionalization in liberal democracies, similar to the palace court in imperial times, along with the upper echelon of the different centers of power — intelligence, military, etc.

This doesn't mean that the deep state is not real ("oh, it's just bureaucracy) or that the deep state is a conspiracy theory, as often charged or spun in the conventional narrative. The existence of the deep state makes a difference and that difference can be detected and described....
A bigger question is whether the deep state is, even as an unintended consequence of the Pendleton Act, a “feature” or a “bug”. Do unelected government employees play a critical role in restoring equilibrium even in a nominal democracy, or do they represent an insidious, potentially worrisome repository of accidental power?...
For a very long time, Americans have had the odd feeling that elections don’t matter nearly as much as the media hoopla surrounding them would imply. It’s true, and one reason why has everything to do with fundamental changes in the way we hire and fire within the federal bureaucracy. The emergence of the deep state is by design a buffer on democracy itself, with the cost of a less adaptable regime and growing public cynicism concerning who really is in charge.
Peter C. Earle, MA in Applied Economics from American University, an MBA (Finance), and a BS in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point

Motherwell man caught on camera taking a stroll with pet pug on is shoulders

This dog enjoys his walks.

Connor Cassidy said that the pug appeared to being enjoying this unusual style of walkies and was a little bamboozled how it managed to hold on.

When he asked the man why he was carrying his dog in such an unusal way, he told him it was the pug's preference.
Connor said: "I've seen him a few times and we were talking to him.
"I asked him why he did it and he said 'that's just where the dog likes to be'.

Short video
Daily Record 

Michael Roberts — The economics of modern imperialism

G Carchedi and I have been working on some new empirical work, trying to gauge which countries are the imperialist ones and how much value they are able to extract from the dominated or periphery (we prefer those names rather than ‘Global North’ and ‘Global South’, which is too geographical). We emphasise that we are looking at the economic foundations of imperialism, not the political aspects or the superstructure if you like, ie the political control by imperialist countries over the periphery, or military might or interventions etc. Direct political control through colonies has mostly disappeared (although not completely); so imperialism operates mainly through economic control now (while throwing in the occasional coup or proxy war). After all, that is the aim of the imperialist powers: to appropriate as much value and resources from the dominated as possible. In that sense, the economic determines the political.
If we focus on the transfer of value from the periphery to the imperialist economies, there are several ways that this is achieved. There is value transfer through unequal exchange in international trade; through global value chain flows (transfer pricing) within multi-nationals; through factor income flows (debt interest, equity profits and property rents); through seignorage (ie control of the money supply: dollar is king) and through capital flows (foreign direct investment inflows and portfolio flows. ie buying and selling financial assets).
So which are the imperialist countries? Carchedi and I define them as those countries which get a long-term appropriation of value from subaltern countries. And this is achieved by the appropriation of surplus value by high technology companies (and countries) from low technology companies (countries). So imperialist countries can be defined as those with a persistently large number of companies as measured by their high national average organic composition of capital (OCC) and whose average technological development is higher than the national average of other countries....
Imperialism has always been about imperialist countries having high-value technology exploiting countries with low-value technology, first, as sources for resources and secondly as markets for commodities produced by high-value technology. This was the model of the British Empire, for example. Along with that, the imperial core prevented the colonial periphery from developing  and deploying high-value technology to compete with the core.

The question before us is to what degree this model persists after the transition from the colonial period to the neoliberal period. That is to say, to what degree does neoliberalism imply neo-imperialism and neocolonialism. How would that be measured?
Now in the 21st century, the US is worried that its technology ‘monopoly’ may be threatened by China’s move up the value-added ladder. This is the real reason for the current trade war....
Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
The economics of modern imperialism
Michael Roberts

Barry Roche - World needs to move away from neoliberal model, says President

Michael D Higgins says climate change is most pressing issue facing the global community

The world needs to move away from the prevailing neo-liberal economic model to one linking ecology, economy and society if humankind is to successfully address climate change, according to President Michael D Higgins.

The President said climate change is the most pressing issue facing people as a global community and the window of opportunity to act and address it in a meaningful way is closing at a worryingly fast rate.

Irish Times 

Exclusive Interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales

The very latest interview.

What the coup against Evo Morales means to indigenous people like me, by Nick Estes

A good article from the Guardian. 

The indigenous-socialist project accomplished what neoliberalism has repeatedly failed to do: redistribute wealth to society’s poorest sectors and uplift those most marginalized. Under Evo and MAS leadership, Bolivia liberated itself as a resource colony. Before the coup, Evo attempted to nationalize its large lithium reserves, an element necessary for electric cars. Since the coup, Tesla’s stocks have skyrocketed. Bolivia rebuked imperialist states like the United States and Canada by taking the path of resource nationalism to redistribute profits across society.

This was Evo’s crime.

The Guardian

What the coup against Evo Morales means to indigenous people like me, by Nick Estes

Al Jazeera - Brexit, World War II And Britain’s Identity Crisis | AJ+

An excellent video on Brexit, explaining why patriotic British people feel the way they do.

Sir Rod Stewart unveils unbelievable model railway city which took 23 years to build

Rock star Sir Rod Stewart has unveiled the huge model railway city he has been building for the past 23 years.

Amazing! He made 90% of it. He wasn't so good at electrics.