Monday, July 22, 2019

Links — 22 July 2019

Dances with Bears
MH17 EVIDENCE TAMPERING REVEALED BY MALAYSIA – FBI ATTEMPT TO SEIZE BLACK BOXES; DUTCH COVER-UP OF FORGED TELEPHONE TAPES; UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE HID RADAR RECORDS; CRASH SITE WITNESS TESTIMONY MISREPORTED
John Helmer

Antiwar.com
Trump: ‘OK’ With a War Against Iran NowJason Ditz

Geopolitika
Western NGO's: intervention in other way
Leonard Savin

India Punchline
Belt and Road takes a leap forward to the Gulf
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Internationalist 360°
Tens of Thousands of Ecuadorians Join the National Strike Against Moreno

Quanta
Quantum Darwinism, an Idea to Explain Objective Reality, Passes First Tests
Philip Ball

RT
South Korea claims ‘warning shots’ fired after Russian military aircraft ‘violated airspace’

Sic Semper Tyrannis
HARPER: BELT AND ROAD--A MARSHALL PLAN WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS

Sputnik International
China’s Investments in US Plummet by Nearly 90 Percent Under Trump - Research

Sputnik International
Iranian Documentary Reveals How CIA Recruited Agents, Sent Equipment to Assets in Iran (Video)

The Vineyard of the Saker
President Putin’s Interview with Oliver Stone (transcript)
The Saker



Afghanistan


Trump update on his policy on the Afghanistan "war" situation. 

Could kill 10 million of them in a week or so but he doesn't want to do that... sounds like he's getting out instead...







Left-wing Response to Budget Deal


Liberal Art trained on steroids AOC (ALERT: figurative language here morons, I don't actually think she is on PEDs) chiming in on cue with more figurative language in this typical form of an analogy we often see from MMT people; seemingly trying to correct the "out of money!" reification error continuously being made by the fellow Liberal Art trained moron policymakers with this analogy: "how come when we need money for [insert non-left-wing priority program here], you never see them say blah, blah, blah..?"

The employment of even more figurative language analogy like this, it appears trying to bait the other side to enter into a dialectic exchange of even more figurative language...  hasn't worked.... is not working... and will never work...

You can't correct a reification error thru simply the employment of even more figurative language... you have to reverse from the figurative back towards the literal... (if you actually understand the literal..)




Make an adjustment already... OR ... continue to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result... (TIP: its never going to happen...)



Budget Deal Struck


Art of the Deal:




Mike's initial take:



RT — Venezuela blames nationwide blackout on ‘electromagnetic attack’

Preliminary probe into the incident has suggested the “existence of an electromagnetic attack that sought to affect the hydroelectric generation system of Guayana, the main provider of this service in the country,” the minister told state channel VTV.
While authorities are struggling to resolve the crisis, the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido has used the power outage to once again attack his political opponent, accusing President Maduro of “destroying” the country's electrical system....
What might  the commonality be (if any) among Venezuela, Nacaragua, Cuba, Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, Nordstream 2, Hong Kong, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, North Korea, Iran and Cold War 2? They all involve countries that the US considers adversaries or competitors challenging US global hegemony.

RT
Venezuela blames nationwide blackout on ‘electromagnetic attack’

See also

Monthly Review, July-August 2019 (Volume 71, Number 3), on imperialism.

Incentivizing an Ethical Economics — Simon Szreter, Hilary Cooper and Ben Szreter


A conservative case for welfare economics based on incentives and initiative. Worth a read. It's applicable to a job guarantee.

Naked Capitalism
Incentivizing an Ethical Economics
Simon Szreter, professor of history and public policy at Cambridge University, fellow of St John’s College and co-founder and editor of www.historyandpolicy.org; Hilary Cooper, an economic consultant, researcher, former government economist and senior policymaker; and Ben Szreter, chief executive of a community-based charity. Together they are joint winners of the IPPR Economics Prize. 
Originally published at openDemocracy

See also at NC

Syriza, R.I.P.
Yves Smith

Godfree Roberts on China


The Unz Review
Xinjiang Update

China Trade War: America's Policy Dilemma


Godfree Roberts


The Fall of the Economists' Empire — Robert Skidelsky


The problem is not so much with the modeling, actually. People are free to construct any models that please for whatever reason. The problem is with the conclusions that are drawn from the model when they exceed the limitations of the of the assumptions.

This is not a problem with modeling but with logic. Drawing conclusions that exceed the scope and scale of the premises in a context other than the model is flat out illogical, and any inferences drawn on this basis are unsound, that is, do not follow from the premises of the argument and the reasoning about them.

Models don't automatically transfer to the world that they purport to model. This is a fundamental of scientific method. Semantic interpretation is required, along with methodological rigor, and hypothesis testing is necessary.

Project Syndicate
The Fall of the Economists' Empire
Robert Skidelsky | Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University, fellow of the British Academy in history and economics, member of the British House of Lords, and author of a three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes
ht Lars Syll


Dr. Gabor Maté: Antisemitism Allegations Against Jeremy Corbyn 'COMPLETE AND UTTER NONSENSE!'

DR Gabor Maté is a Jew and is the father of Aaron Maté. He gives a good critique of neoliberalism here too, but I think he's a bit hard on Putin.



We speak to Dr. Gabor Maté on the Tory leadership election and his opinion on favourite-to-win Boris Johnson, Anti-Semitism allegations against Jeremy Corbyn, crimes of Israel against Palestinians, capitalism and its creation of social problems, the Democratic Party and how it lost to Donald Trump and how it uses Russiagate to escape responsibility for their loss and how mainstream media limits debate.

Moon of Alabama - Ukraine Election - Voters Defeat Second Color Revolution

Politics doesn't get uglier than this. The West backs the fascists.

The Ukraine, translated as 'the borderlands,  lies between core Russia and the Europe's western states. It is a split country. Half the population speaks Russian as its first language. The industrialized center, east and south are culturally orthodox Russians. Some of its rural  western parts were attached to the Ukraine only after World War II. They have historically a different culture.

The U.S., supported by the EU, used this split - twice - to instigate 'revolutions' that were supposed to bring the Ukraine onto a 'western' course. Both attempts were defeated when the Ukrainians had the chance of a free vote.

Moon of Alabama - Ukraine Election - Voters Defeat Second Color Revolution

The Secret Sources of Populism — Bruno Maçães


I think this article is partially true as an articulation of one factor in a complex and emergent challenge. It is from a conservative think tank and was published in Foreign Policy (CFR organ behind a paywall).

My take is as a have been saying, following Alexander Dugin. The underlying dynamic of the 19th century was socialism-capitalism and its political manifestation as communism-fascism versus liberalism. The fundamental dynamic in the early 21st century is the historical dialectic unfolding between liberalism and traditionalism. This being a dialectical process historically, aspects of the communist-fascist-liberal dynamic are incorporated, but the fundamental dynamic characterizing the Zeigeist has shifted after the defeat of the Axis powers, subsequent collapse of the USSR, and the liberalization of China under Deng Xiaoping. Vladimir Putin recently referred to his in his interview with the Financial Times where he observes the excess of liberalism leading to its decline, along with the resurgence of traditionalism as a major factor. He seems to be echoing Alexander Dugin.

Bruno Maçães views the cause of the rise of populism as chiefly international, involving the decline of the Western hegemony and the unwelcome influence of other cultures across borders. I see that as only a partially true and reflective of a deeper dynamic between liberalism pushed to its extreme and the resurgence of traditionalism, which was the original target of liberalism in the 18th century. Now that dynamic is returning in force, as the conflicting world views clash. 

This is not only an international phenomenon, but also a domestic one. For example, in the US Christianists were tolerated in the GOP "big tent" as a political wing of the party, but for the most part they were thrown only crumbs. Dissatisfied with the rate of progress on their political goals, they have reasserted their political power and are a big force behind the Trump-Pence phenomenon. There are similar phenomena in the resurgence of Islamism in the Muslim world, Orthodox Judaism as a political factor in Israel, and radical Hinduism in India as a mixture of a particular viewpoint on traditional religion not merely as a system of doctrine, ritual and observance but also as a cultural model. The return to an alliance between the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church after the collapse of the USSR is another manifestation of this phenomenon.

The fundamental paradigm of liberalism is the naturalism of the scientific revolution in the West that replaced the Great Chain of Being that is in essence supernatural. While the great chain of being is generally thought of in the West as Judeo-Christian, it was also characteristic of the Greek, Roman and other "pagan" religions. It is found in some from in most traditional cultures were the wisdom of the ancients is regarded as authoritative based on a supernatural pedigree.

It would not be correct to claim that contemporary populism is "caused by" this dynamic, even through it is a fundamental factor. There are many factors in plays and the different in different nations, regions, localities and cultures. What seems to be happening is that the entire world is now caught up in the "melting pot" that once was characteristic of the US as the first liberal democracy with enough space to support large waves of immigration. This was always a challenge socially and culturally, and I am old enough to remember similar dynamics regarding immigrants as are happening now. 

This is inevitable as the world shrinks owing to innovation in communications and transportation technology, especially the Internet, as well as the expansion of economic globalization and global supply chains. This brings out the good side of liberalism in tolerance and emphasis on popular sovereignty, but it also brings out the bad side in terms of neoliberal globalization, neo-imperialism and neocolonialism, as well as the "excesses" of liberalism as perceived by the various traditionalisms. This leads to "populism" as circling the wagons against being forced to accept difference that is unacceptable.

While values can be applied to this depending on one's point of view, it is a historical and sociological process that can be viewed objectively in terms of phenomena and their causal factors. From this perspective it is history taking its path-dependent course. Hegel look at this as an observer and analyst, whereas Marx went further and added an activist perspective to shape the process. The liberal West has also taken an activist role in spreading the message and often imposing it on other who may not be willing to receive it. This has led to the present dynamic developing between liberalism and traditionalism.

Hudson Institute
The Secret Sources of Populism
Bruno Maçães | Non-resident Senior Fellow

The IMF Program in Ecuador: A New Report by Mark Weisbrot — Matias Vernengo

As they discuss the new candidate for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and it seems that the lead candidate for Lagarde's position is the former Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a pro-austerity member of the Labor Party (which I guess is at least nominally on the left), it is worth reading the new CEPR report on the possible effects of IMF programs in Latin America, more specifically the one in Ecuador, now that the country has been brought back into the fold of well-behaved nations (after expelling Assange from their London embassy, in the post-Correa period)....
Naked Keynesianism — Hemlock for economics students
The IMF Program in Ecuador: A New Report by Mark Weisbrot
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Megatrends are reshaping the globe, here's what your business can do to ride the wave — Greg McKenna

Hindsight also makes it possible to see the signals that were missed by the major political powers of Europe, but which precipitated the First World War. It also seems possible to see the changes the climate is rendering right now. And, if we pay enough attention, perhaps we can identify in real time the emergence of trends that will remake the world we live in the next year, the next decade, and 30 years from now.
We might notice: Modern Monetary Theory, the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the globe’s aging population, the emergence of AI, and the acceleration of climate change, and the new movement to push back against it and what many see as corporate greed.
These and many other trends — nascent or emerging — have been years in the making and no doubt, in the future, we’ll look back and wonder why the obvious was missed by today’s leaders in business and politics.
Business Insider Australia
Megatrends are reshaping the globe, here's what your business can do to ride the wave
Greg McKenna

Economists question Japan's planned consumption tax hike — Eri Sugiura

But the impact of the tax hike on the economy remains uncertain, and numerous experts have already said it may lead to further stagnation. The country is in the middle of an economic downturn, they say, and the tax increase will only worsen low inflation.
Some U.S. scholars agree. "Taxes are for subtraction and to remove spending power from someone," said Stephanie Kelton, a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University. Kelton, a leading MMT advocate, criticized the planned tax increase in a speech given in Tokyo last week. "If you are not currently experiencing an inflation problem -- and you are not -- then [raising] the consumption tax does not make economic sense to me."
MMT encourages government to run a deficit and print money as long as it does not overheat the economy. If inflation begins to emerge, it can be mitigated by cutting government spending and increasing taxes. But other than that, the government should spend on economic stimulus programs to increase employment as much as possible.
Nikkei Asian Review
Economists question Japan's planned consumption tax hike
Eri Sugiura, Nikkei staff writer

There are no financial risks involved in increased British government spending — Bill Mitchell

On July 26, 2018, UK Guardian columnist Phillip Inman published an article – Household debt in UK ‘worse than at any time on record’ – which reported on the latest figures at the time from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). He noted that the data showed that “British households spent around £900 more on average than they received in income during 2017, pushing their finances into deficit for the first time since the credit boom of the 1980s … The figures pose a challenge to the government … Britain’s consumer credit bubble of more than £200bn was unsustainable. A dramatic rise in debt-fuelled spending since 2016” and more. While keen to tell the readers that British households were “living beyond their means”, there was not a single mention of the fiscal austerity drive being pursued by the British government over the same period. Nor was there mention of the fact that the entire British fiscal strategy since the Tories took office was predicated, as I pointed out years ago in this blog post – I don’t wanna know one thing about evil (April 29, 2011), on this debt binge continuing. A year later (July 20, 2019), the same columnist published this article – Labour and Tories both plan to borrow and spend. Is that wise? – which like its predecessor fails to present a comprehensive, linked-up, analysis for his readers and makes basis macroeconomic errors along the way. 
The latest article is attacking both the variously announced intentions of the British Labour Party and the Tory government to increase net public spending....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
There are no financial risks involved in increased British government spending
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Trump on the IOR


He might be on to something here:




You can see in this graph below that the 2018 policy rate increases caused significant unrealized losses in the large amounts of Tier1 quality assets that banks have to hold to pass the CCAR ('stress tests') post GFC; and the resultant mini-crash in equity share prices into year end ...

The new post GFC CCAR policy is magnifying the effect of the changes in the policy rate (two uncoordinated policies)  in contrast to that of pre-GFC ...  it does not appear policymakers are aware of this change ...





We'll soon see if the Fed takes back the two December and September 2018 0.25% increases if it has the opposite (bullish) effect this year...





Budget deal likely to include few or no actual spending cuts while lifting debt limit for two years


WaPo take:

The pending deal would seek to extend the debt ceiling and set new spending levels for two years, ratcheting back the budget brinkmanship that led to a record-long government shutdown earlier this year. 
But instead of the $150 billion in new spending cuts recently demanded by White House acting budget director Russell Vought, the agreement would include a significantly lower amount of reductions. And those reductions aren’t expected to represent actual spending cuts, in part because most would take place in future years and likely be reversed by Congress at a later date.



This and Fed going to quickly cut the IOR policy rate down towards 2% ...

We may be entering into a nice pre-election 18 month period of 'benign neglect' by policymakers...



Sunday, July 21, 2019

China must avoid a role in destruction of Amazon — Pepe Escobar

Beijing could be forever tarnished if it does ‘dirty business’ with the Bolsonaro government in Brazil
Asia Times
China must avoid a role in destruction of Amazon
Pepe Escobar

Why do we need a theory of value? — Matias Vernengo

The theory of value and distribution is at the heart of economics. To be clear, when I say that it is at the center, it means that discussions of almost any topic in economics, in one way or another, depend on a certain theoretical position about the theory of value and distribution. However, most economists have no clue about it, about the centrality of value. Not only they don't understand the original and now infamous labor theory of value (LTV), that dominated between Petty and Ricardo (and Adam Smith too, even though that tends to surprise and puzzle most economists),* but also they misunderstand the dominant marginalist paradigm. Some economists actually think that you don't need a theory of value at all, and some don't even understand that they use a conventional (some vulgar form of supply and demand) theory of value. Hence, the reason of this post is to try to help clarify some very basic issues related to the necessity of a theory of value for proper theorizing in economics….
Naked Keynesianism
Why do we need a theory of value?
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

RAVI AGRAWAL - CAN ‘SUPERCHARGED’ PLANTS SOLVE THE CLIMATE CRISIS?

 Crops already suck up a lot of carbon dioxide. One scientist thinks they can do much more.


Super plants to the rescue! 


The fight against climate change may seem hopeless, but humanity has a simple and powerful ally in plain sight: plants. At least that’s the belief of the botanist Joanne Chory and her team of scientists at the Salk Institute or Biological Studies in San Diego.
As part of her Harnessing Plants Initiative, Chory is focused on genetically modifying plants to absorb more carbon dioxide—and then hold on to it for longer—than their wild cousins through a larger and deeper network of carbon-storing roots, creating so-called Ideal Plants. Every year, humanity emits 37 gigatons of carbon dioxide; photosynthetic life can process and capture nearly half of that amount. Chory believes that coaxing a little more productivity out of plants could make a dramatic difference. And she has no shortage of backers: In April, Chory received a more than $35 million Audacious Project prize to drive her team’s research.

FP. 

RAVI AGRAWAL - CAN ‘SUPERCHARGED’ PLANTS SOLVE THE CLIMATE CRISIS?

Nothing has changed


Here comes more monetarism all over the globe:







Naked Capitalism — Modern money theory and its implementation and challenges: The case of Japan VoxEU. Thread in response by Fullwiler.


Lambert Strether posed these links at Naked Capitalism. The VoxEU article was posted here at MNE when it came out. It is cited here if you missed it. The operative post is the Twitter thread that Scott Fullwiler tweeted in response to it.

Modern money theory and its implementation and challenges: The case of Japan VoxEU. Thread in response by Fullwiler.Naked Capitalism

See also at Naked Capitalism today.

Michael Hudson exceeded himself on this one. Here is the conclusion.
The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentierclass and its clients, eir debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.
Michael Hudson: U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
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

Walk the World - A Conversation With Steve Keen: Part One - The Debt Problem

Economists still leave out the role that money plays in the economy, says Steve Keen, in fact, they accuse him of confusing stocks with flows. They believe the economy is all based on barter, i.e, one to one, not understanding how bank credit can distort prices.

To get the Australian economy going again, the Australian government will boost the housing market, but this makes the problem worse in the long run, says Steve Keen.

In Part 2 Steve Keen says he differs from the MMTers in that he places more concern on the problem of too much private debt. In fact, Max Keiser and Naomi Prins both criticise MMT for the same reason.

Parts 3 and 4 are available too.


Part 2 - From Central Bankers to MMT






Saturday, July 20, 2019

Paul Mason and Jesse Norman on a Revolutionary Defence of Humanity

Conservatives politician, Jesse Norman, interviews Paul Mason, an economic advisor to Jeremy Corbyn. Paul Mason describes himself as a non-statist Marxist, and he seems to hold similar views to me. It's interesting what he says about identify politics.

The interview is non confrontational and it's interesting to see on what they both agree on, although they remain politically opposite. Both want to see less neoliberalism, less rent extraction, and more improved markets.

Paul Mason says he wants the state to run transport and the energy companies to improve the environment. We might even have free public transport one day, he says. I always thought this was a good idea as it would really take the vehicles off the road and reduce pollution. Right now I can walk 5 minutes to a bus stop and a bus will come within 10 minutes, so I don't even bother to check on my phone too see if one is due.

Jesse Norman says how conservatives have always had a long tradition of conservation and caring for the countryside.

Intelligence Squared - Podcast

 Paul Mason and Jesse Norman on a Revolutionary Defence of Humanity

Nobel Economist Says Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism — Angus Deaton


Should be neoliberalism is destroying the illusion of liberal democracy.

Evonomics
Nobel Economist Says Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism
Angus Deaton | Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University

Trump Is Back Under Bolton’s Thumb — Paul Craig Roberts

I don't think that this quite correct. John Bolton is the frontman in the administration for casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a rabid supporter of Zionism and a major contributor to Trump's political campaign. It is not an exaggeration to say that Trump owes his 2016 victory in large part to Adelson's legal bribery.

OK, course, Trump gave no quid pro quo for the funding, so it is not bribery in the legal sense. However, anyone who thinks that political contributions, especially large ones, don't come with strings attached is very naive about how the world works.

The dilemma that Trump has faced and still face is that Adelson's money is needed for his political campaigns and this requires that he play the role that his backer demands, which ties his own hands regarding preferred policy and strategy.  This is especially the case now that the 2020 presidential campaign is upon us.

I don't see Trump caving to Bolton. I see Sheldon Adelson with a gun to Trump's temple in the form of campaign funding.

This is a big reason that for anything like representative democracy instead of plutonomy to prevail in the US, campaign finance has to be reformed, the revolving door locked, and lobbying outlawed. This would require nullifying SCOTUS's Citizen's United decision.

Complicating the problem is that this is a bipartisan issue. Electing the opposition party will not affect it, judging from the past. The lesson is that money doesn't mix with politics in a liberal democracy, not that there are any now, or have been any historically. Bourgeois liberalism is liberalism in name only.

Paul Craig Roberts
Trump Is Back Under Bolton’s Thumb
Paul Craig Roberts | formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate

China’s best friend? — Scott Sumner


Same with Russia. Moronic strategy, making declared adversaries stronger and more self-sufficient. The other good side is that empires don't last long with morons in charge.

The Money Illusion
China’s best friend?
Scott Sumner | Professor of Economics at Bentley University

"Don't do as I do, do as I say."


Anyone see a pattern here? Any wonder why there is a push for multilateralism to counter unipolarism (read world dominance).

News in Asia
Laughable: US Claims ‘Free and Open Seas,’ Tries to Push China Out of Indian, Pacific Trade
Pepe Escobar

SouthFront
Mike Pompeo Says Foreign Actors Must Leave Venezuela, So That US Can Rebuild It

Stephen Fry - Boris And Trump's Killer Healthcare Trick, with Stephen Fry.

Stephen Fry has made the ultimate myth-busting video about private healthcare vs the NHS




Will Boris and Trump privatise the NHS? How much would medicare for all cost in the US? Which healthcare system is most likely to save you? Killer facts are hidden by carefully constructed illusions.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Herland Report - Totalitarian Rule means end of Democracy

I've got addicted to Twitter recently, probably because it works better with my new phone. But Bill Binney won't go near twitter, or Facebook, or leave any likes anywhere, because he knows the NSA are watching everybody. And they listen to every phone call you make and read all your emails.

I read on the internet yesterday how they a are hunting everywhere for photographs of you to build up a facial recognition database. They go to Facebook, Google, Twitter, where ever.

Bill Binney says he designed Thinthread - the software he made for spying on people to counter terrorism - to be very selective leaving most people alone, but the NSA didn't want it, they wanted Big Data instead so they could spy on everyone, except it collects so much data that it misses the terrorists and their planed attacks on the public.

If you watched the movie about Bill Binney - which I have posted here in the past - you would have seen how the NSA bought software from a private company instead paying $millions for it, but it was useless compared to Bill Binney's elegant program, and so it misssed 9/11 where Bill Binney's one wouldn't have done. But everyone was making lots of money out of it - the tax payer scammed again.

This is a good interview.



System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics — Anthony DiMaggio

The Democratic primary season is upon us, and the party’s candidate list is a useful starting point for assessing the impact of affluence on American politics. Classic works by sociologists of decades past, including C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff, posited that U.S. political institutions were captured by elite economic actors, who seek to enhance their own material positions at the expense of the many....
"Class" is a technical term in sociology. It is synonymous with "social class" and "socio-economic class, and it denotes the social stratification of a group, usually a society based on cultural and institutional arrangements that are generally a combination of formal and informal. Characteristic of each class as a set of individuals is a level of status, power and wealth.

It is useful to think of a society in terms of a system of networks and their relations. The "upper class" especially is usually identified by certain characteristics that are relevant to status, power, and wealth, such as family background, educational background and career. The top tier is a much more closely knit network that lower classes and the top tier lives in a completely different environment from the lower tiers. In some cases the structure is rigid with little social mobility, such as the aristocratic and caste system based on birth. There is much more social mobility in liberal societies than in traditional ones.

Why is network a good way to consider the concept of class? "Network" emphasizes connections and inter-communication. Class is often thought of more in terms of aggregates. While it is true that a the lower rungs of society, class does exhibit the characteristics of aggregates, where connects are few and scattered, the top tier is "well-connected," and it is these connections that giver the upper class its social, political and economic power and influence.

The common characteristic of the "upper class" is that it constitutes a ruling elite, if not directly providing the bulk of the leadership, at least choosing it and to some extent controlling it. This constitutes the political organization called "oligarchy," literally the rule of the few. In liberal societies the characteristic of oligarchies is plutonomy, literally governance based wealth.

Anthony DiMaggio asserts that this is due to state capture. I would not disagree with in my view it is not so much a matter of "capture" in a concerted and intentional sense, since it is the historical norm. New members come, old members go. The structure remains mostly the same, although it changes appearance owing to historical and geographical conditions that affect culture and institutions. If there was capture, and there seems to have been historically based on comparison with the more egalitarian social structure of so-called primitive societies, it happened ages ago through what Marx called primitive accumulation, e.g., of taking control of land. Historians, sociologists, political theorists and philosophers have investigated this and speculated about. While primitive accumulation continues to some degree, the patterns were established during the transition from hunter-gather societies to agricultural ones.

The top tier assumes and asserts that there was really no capture "back then," and there is no capture now; it is the natural state for the stronger and more  competent to rule since they can use resources more efficiently and effectively. Recall John Locke's just-so tale of private property arising from mixing land with use. So what may look like "capture" was really just a natural concentration of "human capital" based on initiative and ability. Lower tiers are either convinced by this line of reasoning — or not. At any rate, pretty much the same process repeats under different cultural garb geographically and across time, in spite of the occasional revolution, since revolutionary change is soon co-opted by a newly emergent elite.

This post is a summary of studies and polls about the contemporary US, which the author then relates to the contemporary Democratic Party. The GOP has already decided on renominating a sitting president that is a billionaire whose record is one of favoring the upper class based on "trickle down." The GOP base seems to buy this.

His conclusion:
Early polling data suggests that Democratic partisans have continued to elevate neoliberal “electable” Dems when it comes to the highest office in the land, although progressive candidates are gaining ground. Pollingfrom mid-July of this year reveals that Joe Biden leads all candidates, with 32 percent support. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are not far behind, each polling at 19 and 14 percent respectively, while Kamala Harris stands at 13 percent support. These results suggest that there is a real struggle among Democratic partisans to determine the future direction of the party, with the top four candidates as of mid-2019 split between establishment neoliberals on the one hand, and New Dealer-style liberal-progressive reformers on the other. Whoever prevails in the primaries, one thing appears clear. Should a neoliberal candidate win the 2020 nomination, there is little reason to expect a reverse in the status quo-elitism of the Democratic Party.
Counterpunch
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Anthony DiMaggio | Assistant Professor of Political Science, Lehigh University, and author of The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era, and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media, and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11

Nothing has changed


We're in the exact same position we were in when I read this book almost 30 years ago:





Nothing has changed... no cognitive adjustment has ever been made by the Liberal Art trained morons in control... none... zero... zip... nada...


Nothing has changed


Unqualified Art Degree morons still in control; arguing with each other based on their "out of money!" cognitive error.

Nothing has changed...


The Trump administration late Thursday gave Democrats a menu of $574 billion in savings options from which to find $150 billion to offset the costs of a two-year budget cap agreement. 
The official described the White House demand as a starting point.
Roughly half of the administration proposals are cuts and the others come from reforms, two people familiar with the proposal said. One of the suggested reforms is the drug pricing plan from the White House’s 2020 budget, which would save $115 billion, one of the people said. 
There are no revenue or tax increases on the list. 
The offer also includes a proposal to extend budget caps for two extra years after they expire in 2021 in order to save $516 billion. Under current law, $126 billion in automatic cuts would take effect by the end of the calendar year if the caps are not raised.







Quint Forgey - How Elizabeth Warren would reform Wall Street

I will believe it when I see it. But it's a start.

Elizabeth Warren — whose criticisms of big banks powered her decade-long political ascent from law professor and consumer advocate to top-tier White House contender — on Thursday unveiled her plan to take on Wall Street as president.
"The truth is that Washington has it backwards. For a long time now, Wall Street’s success hasn’t helped the broader economy — it’s come at the expense of the rest of the economy. Wall Street is looting the economy and Washington is helping them do it,” Warren wrote in a blog post of her plan, which marks the latest plank in the candidate's platform of “economic patriotism.”
Politico

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MMT's Kelton Sees Central Banks Quietly Yielding to Governments — Yuko Takeo and Masahiro Hidaka

  • Their independence will shrink to policy execution, she says
  • Says Japan policy flawed by hitting gas and brakes together
Looks like the last mile has closed.

Bloomberg

This Is Where The Next Recession Will Start: An Epidemiological Study — Nicholas Colas

US recessions are like epidemics: they all begin somewhere, and the “tell” is state-level unemployment data. For example, the end of the 2000 dot com bubble hit Connecticut and Massachusetts first – two hubs for the financials services industry with lots of affluent investors to boot. The end of the 2000s housing boom predictably impacted Florida and Nevada before the rest of the country. This time around, the data shows the manufacturing-heavy states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are most at risk. No wonder “Dr. Fed” wants to inoculate the region with lower interest rates....

Rick Sanchez - US & Euro economies crumbling

Europe has had near zero interest rates for 5 years and is now considering negative interest rates to help its failing economy. But could the Federal Reserve be about to lower interest rates to near zero too?


European Central Bank is floating a ridiculous proposal to introduce “negative interest rates.” Rick Sanchez describes the economic horror that will arise. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve intends to cut interest rates yet again. Rick Sanchez breaks down what this means about the true state of the economy.

Jonathan Cook Tweet - The Guardian and Steve Bell are Heading for the Rocks

Steve Bell is the cartoonist at the Guardian. His cartoons are pretty excellent and he was always very radical and left, but I did fear he was following the Guardian line too with some of his anti Putin cartoons. But it seems he's not really in line with them after all. He's pretty angry about the Guardian’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn

The Guardian and Steve Bell are heading for the rocks, it seems. Paradoxically it's over the Guardian banning his new cartoon strip. It shows Tom Watson as the 'antisemite-finder general'. Too close to the bone for the Guardian, which has been cheerleading the same witch-hunt

The bottom picture is the beginning of the letter.






https://t.co/Q0yluHNbmF

Arvin Ash - Does Consciousness Create Reality? Double Slit Experiment may show the Answer.

It has been found human consciousness is not necessary to bring the universe into existance because the universe observes itself. But that doesn't mean it's conscious in the way we are.


Abigail Disney - 'We didn’t feel safe’: Disney heiress describes violence in childhood

Abigail Disney says Bernie is uninspiring and the young want something new,  something radical, something different - well, MMT popped into my mind. It's coming!

Abigail says she's naturally a Democrat, but really, she is probably more to the left of them - a progressive.


Disney heiress Abigail Disney joins “Through Her Eyes” to share what it was like to grow up in the Disney family. “My parents were conservative and very strict. And both alcoholics.” She claims she never really felt safe in her own home. “So there was some violence in my home. Not all over the place, not all the time. But when you do get subjected to some violence as a child, you kind of never feel safe again.” Disney also shares the difficulties of growing up in a Republican household, saying that her mother was “the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly.

Debt Ceiling


Looks like Mnuchin knows the typical 1 Sept first of the month BIG drop in the TGA might not be possible... they have been exhausting the 'Extraordinary Measures' in an attempt to stabilize the TGA at higher levels... with limited success... once those 'measures' are exhausted it appears they think the TGA is going to quickly collapse .... creating a fast bearish increase in Reserve Assets again... which will top when they finally suspend the Debt Ceiling...






Modern money theory and its challenges Sayuri Shirai

Modern monetary theory (MMT) has recently gained prominence in light of doubts about the effectiveness of monetary policy in addressing economic shortfalls. This column assesses the implications of implementing the theory’s policy prescriptions, and the challenges it presents in the case of Japan – an economy that some have argued has already been subject to such policy. Japan’s labour shortages and low inflation mean modern monetary theory’s fiscal stimulus suggestions may be harder to implement than they initially seem....
Stephanie Kelton was recently in Japan talking up MMT. This is a response. It is a serious article on MMT that gets the outline reasonably correct and offers comments on its applicability to conditions in Japan. It's a should-read.

VoxEU
Modern money theory and its challenges
Sayuri Shirai | Professor, Keio University; Visiting Scholar to ADB Institute; and, former Board Member, Bank of Japan

Philly Fed


Pretty big snap back for Philly Fed in June on the $139b TGA bottom (Reserve Asset top) beginning of the month... remember Mike called June 6th...

Policymakers currently trying to stabilize TGA around the $200b level using Extraordinary Measures in advance of a deal to suspend the Debt Ceiling again... having so-so success...





Imperialism in a coffee cup — John Smith

Why is it that just 1p of a £2.50 cup of coffee goes to the farmer who cultivated and harvested the coffee beans?
Open Democracy
John Smith

The Great Paradox: Liberalism Destroys the Market Economy —Heiner Flassbeck


Another paradox of liberalism arising from equation of economic liberalism with capitalism and of economic liberalism as equatable with political liberalism as representative democracy. The rise of interest in social democracy now no accident of history but rather a logical progression of the historical dialectic?

Flassbeck Economics
The Great Paradox: Liberalism Destroys the Market Economy
Heiner Flassbeck

Will Kim Jong Un As Head Of State Move More Towards Markets? — J. Barkley Rosser


Backgrounder. 

My view is that NK likely will move toward the Chinese system of market socialism with Chinese characteristics, but in NK it will be with NK characteristics. Kim Jong Un had already liberalized quite a bit, so this would not constitute an about-face but rather a speed-up of development. Kim Jong Un seems finally to want to join the world economy, which is why he is negotiating with Trump at all, in the face of resistance from the US deep state and military trying to scuttle progress. Bolton is the point man but he is not alone in this thinking.

Econospeak
Will Kim Jong Un As Head Of State Move More Towards Markets?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

"Pump It!"


ChiComms:




Japan:




Black Eyed Peas:





Elizabeth Vos - Consortium News Target of a Malware Attack as Twitter Takes Down Assange Support Group’s Account

The alternativel news media is under attack again. And a pro Assange group was taken down from twitter.


The simultaneous escalation of censorship of Julian Assange’s support base, alongside the latest wave of fact-free attacks on Assange and WikiLeaks‘, raises concern about a coordinated effort to smear Assange while silencing those who counter such dubious reporting.



“Our website is completely down. Our media host said we have been attacked by malware. They actually tried to blame ‘the Russians’! Every article published since 2011 now gets a 404 Not Found. They are working on it. Problem started slowly on Friday first day of CN Live!”


Consortium News

Elizabeth Vos - Consortium News Target of a Malware Attack as Twitter Takes Down Assange Support Group’s Account

Renegade.inc: Stephenie Kelton - MMT – Letters from America

Another superb interview by Renegade.inc.

Who could not want to give MMT a try after hearing this?


It was Victor Hugo who said that all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. In the US, inequality and collapsing capitalism means the idea of embracing a socialist politician is gathering momentum.
The cynical stock response to how socialism can deliver on its economic promises is to ask, ‘but how do you pay for it?’ Economists advocating Modern Monetary Theory say it is the way to fund vital public services.
Host Ross Ashcroft travels to New York to meet with Bernie Sanders economic adviser, Professor Stephanie Kelton, to ask what MMT can deliver and if America is ready for a new socialist American dream.

JAYATI GHOSH - The Exploitation Time Bomb

China zooms ahead knowing you can't have a good economy and a high standard of living without industry and technology, but in the West the One Percent make more money through rent extraction, and so feel no need to invest and innovate.

Sadly, lots of other peoole, including small businessmen, support the present system thinking it is true capitalism, but there would be more rich people and more entrepreneurs if we moved towards a social democracy with a robust welfare state.

The West is being destroyed and hollowed out by this neoliberal system, while the East zooms a ahead.

Worsening economic inequality in recent years is largely the result of policy choices that reflect the political influence and lobbying power of the rich. There is now a self-reinforcing pattern of high profits, low investment, and rising inequality – posing a threat not only to economic growth, but also to democracy.

Project Syndicate 

JAYATI GHOSH - The Exploitation Time Bomb

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Western intellectuals freak over ‘Frankenstein’ China — Pepe Escobar


BRI and the New Silk Roads (land and maritime).

The Vineyard of the Saker
Western intellectuals freak over ‘Frankenstein’ China
Pepe Escobar

The External Sector And Financial Crises — Brian Romanchuk

If we look at the full history of financial crises around the world, one could argue that crises related to external debt and/or fixed exchange rates are dominant. Such crises could represent an entire chapter of this book. However, I will only offer a brief overview of the subject. From the perspective of recession forecasting, the addition of a fixed exchange rate regime adds a new wrinkle to analysis: at what point will the peg fail, causing a crisis? As I will discuss below, this is quite different than an analysis of the domestic economy, which one might hope is amenable to something resembling econometric analysis....
Bond Economics
The External Sector And Financial Crises
Brian Romanchuk

Russia and the EU Are Ready to Switch to Settlements in Euros — Anatoly Bazhan

If the plan to adopt national currency settlements between Russia and the EU succeeds, the dollar space in global trade will undoubtedly be curtailed even more. The question is how strong the impact will be. We believe the reduction is going to be noticeable, although not considerable. Currently, the Russian-EU trade accounts for about 2 percent of global trade. Given that the US dollar is used in about half of transactions, removing it from the Russian-EU relations would diminish the importance of the US dollar by not more than 1 percent. However, since the dollar just cannot be ousted completely, its practical decrease in our estimate will most probably make up about 0.7 percent. The dollar component in the international currency reserves will correspondingly become slightly lower.

The United States will certainly take a negative stance on such developments and not only because they are to weaken the effect of possible accounts freezing but also because they will lead to the further slide of the dollar to the category of ordinary currencies and to the future loss of advantages that secure the US dollar dominance in the world economy.
Valdai Analytics
Russia and the EU Are Ready to Switch to Settlements in Euros
Anatoly Bazhan

Nippon— No Problem with Japan's Huge Debts: MMT Advocate Kelton


Stephanie Kelton is in Japan talking up MMT. This is a basic post with no negatives. More progress.

Nippon.com (Japan)
No Problem with Japan's Huge Debts: MMT Advocate Kelton

This Economic Theory Could Be Used To Pay For The Green New Deal — Scott Horsely


"Balanced" article on MMT (as one would expect from NPR), but not the usual rant, either. So, progress.

NPR (National Public Radio)
This Economic Theory Could Be Used To Pay For The Green New Deal
Scott Horsely

Tweet by Tory Fibs - Corbyn’s request for the resettlement of persecuted Yemeni Jews

The British MSM won't ever print this.

In early 2010 Jews were being badly persecuted in Yemen. Jeremy Corbyn & Diane Abbott begged the then Labour Government to grant persecuted Jews refugee status in London. The Labour run Home Office refused to grant Jeremy & Diane’s wishes  

RESETTLEMENT OF YEMENI JEWS

Planet Money - Episode 866: Modern Monetary Theory

This is really nice, it's a podcast where a lovely young English girl asks about MMT and Stephanie Kelton and the Planet Money team answer her question. It's for beginners, but what lovely way to chill for half an hour. It was delightful!

They described Stephenie Kelton as left-wing economist. She's lovely too!

Episode 866: Modern Monetary Theory

Some ideas seem too good to be true. Like this one. It comes from a 13-year-old listener named Amy. She says she knows the government has trouble finding enough money to pay for stuff like schools and hospitals. And she wondered if it has considered just printing more money. She asked us: Can the government do that? Just make more money to pay for stuff?

Fiscal hawks say, 'no way!' We'd have crazy inflation! But there's a group of economists that says, 'yes, we can create way more money, without disaster. And pay for lots of stuff we want.' They are the proponents of what's called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT. Their ideas are getting out there, they have the memes to prove it.
Today, we try to understand a school of thought that is flipping economic theory on its head. If you buy it, the whole idea of government spending, taxes, the nature of money changes, and, according to the theory, all we have to do is just open our eyes. It's a bit like staring at those optical illusions: First you see the faces, then, suddenly it's the goblet.

Labor Power as the ‘Money Commodity’ — Peter Cooper

For Marx and many Marxists, money is based in a commodity; in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), it is not, being based instead in a social relationship that holds more generally than just to commodity production and exchange. Even so, to the extent that commodity production and exchange are given sway within ‘modern money’ economies, operation of the Marxian ‘law of value’ appears to be compatible with MMT. It is just that, from an MMT perspective, private for-profit market-based activity will be embedded within, and delimited by, a broader social and legal framework that is – or at least can be – decisively shaped by currency-issuing government. Therefore, even though in MMT money is not regarded as a commodity, it seems that a commodity theory of money can be reconciled with MMT provided, first of all, that the connection between a money commodity and currency is understood to apply only to the sphere of commodities and, secondly, that it is legitimate to regard labor power as the ‘money commodity’. An earlier post gave some consideration to the social embeddedness of commodity production and exchange. The present focus is on the notion of labor power as money commodity. On this point, MMT can be understood as directly linking currency to labor power, which, as Marx demonstrated, is a commodity under capitalism. This raises the question of whether labor power can serve the role of money commodity in Marx’s theory.For Marx and many Marxists, money is based in a commodity; in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), it is not, being based instead in a social relationship that holds more generally than just to commodity production and exchange. Even so, to the extent that commodity production and exchange are given sway within ‘modern money’ economies, operation of the Marxian ‘law of value’ appears to be compatible with MMT. It is just that, from an MMT perspective, private for-profit market-based activity will be embedded within, and delimited by, a broader social and legal framework that is – or at least can be – decisively shaped by currency-issuing government. Therefore, even though in MMT money is not regarded as a commodity, it seems that a commodity theory of money can be reconciled with MMT provided, first of all, that the connection between a money commodity and currency is understood to apply only to the sphere of commodities and, secondly, that it is legitimate to regard labor power as the ‘money commodity’. An earlier post gave some consideration to the social embeddedness of commodity production and exchange. The present focus is on the notion of labor power as money commodity. On this point, MMT can be understood as directly linking currency to labor power, which, as Marx demonstrated, is a commodity under capitalism. This raises the question of whether labor power can serve the role of money commodity in Marx’s theory....
Interesting post. It brings to mind the notion that if labor power is the "money commodity," then "money," which in modern time is government currency, has "commodity power." In mercantilist times, the basic "money commodity" was gold or gold and silver, or silver, depending the historical period. However, Marx's analysis of the extraction of surplus value by the ownership (rentier) class from the working class — farmers in a (feudal) agricultural society and factory workers in a (capitalist) industrial society shows that labor (time and power) are fundamental. The factory workers that dominate the "working class" in numbers are subject to expropriation of property similar to that of serfs and peasants under feudalism. Under capitalism the managerial class has greater bargaining power than the working class since their quality of labor power is scarcer, being more highly skill and specialized. So the rate of expropriation may be less and at the upper levels top management has managed to "split the profits" with the owners.

A monetary system that is based on precious metals or other objects of barter conceals that labor power is foundational. A state money system makes it clear that the "money commodity" is actually labor power. This somewhat obscured in a fixed rate convertible monetary system in which "money" is anchored to a commodity other than labor power, especially when the "money thing" is a natural commodity like stamped coins minted from precious metals. But the reality is that all monetary exchange is based on labor power as the "money commodity" since it is not "money" that creates commodities but rather labor power.

I am not sure to what degree labor power is correctly categorized as a commodity, however. At the very least, labor power is not a naturally existing commodity since labor power other than unskilled labor is a function of time and ability and specialized ability has to be acquired. Nothing similar to this pertains to commodities defined as goods produced for exchange rather than use, which equates to good produced for sale in a monetary production economy.

As a philosopher, I am skeptical about "commoditizing" humans, which, of course, is what the institution of slavery does. The deep ethical question is whether there is a progression from slavery to serfdom to work for hire in which workers are income dependent. Some serious thinker posit that there is such a connection.

This seems to me to be fundamental to the thinking of Marx. Labor is not a natural commodity for Marx, but only becomes a commodity in a monetary production economy. His analysis of capitalist production shows how work for hire is another from of expropriation of real value from workers through the equation of value with price in a market-based capitalist society whose foundation is a monetary production economy. His solution is to change that foundation for one that supports real freedom rather than the illusion of freedom characteristic of 18th century bourgeois liberalism, a foundation that persists today.

As a philosopher, it strikes me that the fundamental issue in economics is value theory. The equation of value with price is based on either assumption or handwaving. Marx got this. He realized that there is much more to economic value than can be captured by price in markets, and also that that markets are not necessarily reflective of true cost where cost includes real resources.

A good example of this is the present existential crisis presented by climate change, which can be trace in part at least to negative externality, where gain is capitalized while part of the cost is socialized through the false assumption that the "the solution to pollution is dilution." Similarly, for Marx, extraction of surplus value is also a negative externality that workers "pay for" through labor that is not justly compensated for it full contribution. This is concealed by the conventional economic theory of reward being determined on the basis of marginal product.

Forced unpaid work is a form of slavery. In a monetary production economy where income from work is a vital necessity, the extraction of surplus value from workers that have insufficient bargaining power to exact just compensation for the contribution of their labor time and power is forced unpaid work.

The MMT job guarantee (JG or ELR) is a step toward connecting "the commodity power of money" directly with labor power through a living wage. However, this just returns workers under capitalism to the position of serfs and peasants that were self-sufficient in terms of their own production and limited needs in agricultural societies. With the advent of the industrial age and the mass moving, often forced, of former agricultural workers to factories that all changed as urban workers became income-dependent, forced to "work for a living" by bidding their labor power in markets at the going offers.

heteconomist
Labor Power as the ‘Money Commodity’
Peter Cooper

Katartismos


Katartismos: "exact adjustment which describes how (enables) the individual parts to work together in correct order"

This is what you never see the morons do... they never make an adjustment...

Morons will either just keep doing the same thing (while expecting a different result) or they will eventually synthesize with another moron... creating a sort of moron cocktail..

Could be the human characteristic which inspires all the zombie lore being created by artists today?  Maybe... you certainly never see zombies making an adjustment...

Snip below of reference to Strong's on this noun katartismos which Paul used.... stands in contrast with stasis and synthesis...






"Injection!" Infection


ChiComm USD zombie hackers back at it after a 3-week hiatus...






Stand by for the Trump covetous tweet in... 3...2...1...


Get up! Australia - The way politicians talk about economics is wrong – and dangerous

When I first wrote on MNE's, I put out a glowing article on MMT, but I added some Jungian psychology, Buddhisn, and new age mysticism - all leading to a brave new world! I was full of enthusiasm, but I got called a windbag. Well, I did get carried away a bit as I was new to MMT and I simply adored it, because all of a sudden I saw we could afford to have a social democracy after all.

But just listen to this guy, he is as enthusiastic as me - but without the Jungian psychology.



The government is very excited about “returning to budget surplus”. But what does it actually mean? Because so far, chasing surpluses has gutted our schools and hospitals. It's stopped us from acting on climate catastrophe. It's condemned folks doing it tough to starve. Why? Because the government's surplus is our deficit. Our obsession with balancing a budget is killing us. And it's all totally, tragically unnecessary. Here's why.

Muhammad Shehada - We Palestinians Condemned A Leader’s Anti-Semitism. Will It Matter?

There's me trying to do my best to defend the Palestinian cause online and on YouTube, and then Hamas leader, Fathi Hammad, comes out with his vile statements. Is he a Mossad asset, I wondered? He might as well be, but he's probably just incredibly stupid. 

Controversy and exaggeration are nothing new for Hammad. It’s earned him a poor reputation and he’s hated across the Gaza Strip and even inside Hamas itself.
But if his statements are not supported by average Gazans, they are always well received in another arena: anti-Palestinian propagandists. For example, when Hammad implored Arab neighbors to support Hamas, claiming that “half of Gaza is Egyptian and the other half is Saudi Arabian,” groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute translated and published his words, circulating them to delegitimize the national Palestinian struggle for statehood.
And though I haven’t seen a single Palestinian promoting or defending Hammad’s latest hateful statement, his poisonous performance was applauded on the other side of the fence. No less a persona than Netanyahu’s spokesman literally thanked Hammad for providing very valuable quotations that Netanyahu would use to “reveal Hamas’s true face.”

Cory Doctorow - A thorough defense of Modern Monetary Theory

We have the ability to produce goods and services on a level never before seen by human society. There is no logical reason anyone (e.g., the unemployed) should have to go without. It is immoral. 
John T Harvey of Forbes
  
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" -- Gandhi's aphorism neatly describes the trajectory to date of Modern Monetary Theory, the latest incarnation of "chartalism," which holds that money comes into existence through government spending, and is taken out of circulation when the government taxes it back -- which means that without government deficit spending, there is no money, and which also means that the government doesn't have to fund its operations through taxes, but rather, it can issue as much currency as it needs to operate, within limits.


Cory Doctorow - A thorough defense of Modern Monetary Theory

J. T. Harvey: The Cowboy Economist - How the American People (could not possibly have) Financed World War Two!

If you have rattlesnake on each arm and you shake one off, then things are a whole lot better, right?

War bonds didn't fund the US effort during WW2, but they did stop inflation.


We hear about the glorious job the American people did in financing World War Two. Only thing is, that story isn't quite right. They did something that was glorious, all right, but it was not financing the war--it was holding inflation in check.