Sunday, September 15, 2019

Europe alcohol deaths

300k dead from booze 4x US drug ODs... Everybody drunk or on drugs...  causes labor shortages and reduces growth... JG won't help... #RealTerms

Trump has badly misread China’s hand

This guy gets it wrong about printing money and the national debt (another video), but this is very interesting: US companies do very well in China selling a lot of services, which almost counters the trade imbalance.

Donald Trump has been dialing up the tariffs and the rhetoric around the ongoing trade spat with China. Yet Xi Jingping has held a firm line and has been unwilling to fold to increasing pressure from the US. Donald Amstad from Aberdeen Standard Investments believes that Trump may have misread how strong China's hand is by overlooking some key inputs to the trade relationship between the two countries. While most of the focus has been on traded goods Amstad says to get the full picture you also need to take into consideration the value of services and the profits earned by US companies operating in China. As he outlines in this short video Trump may have badly misread China’s hand. “In China there is no political cycle. President Trump has got 15 months to sort this out before he faces re-election. So, time is very much on China’s side.”

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Umar Haque - How Capitalism Made Americans Poor, and Socialism Made Europeans Rich

Capitalism Doesn’t Make Us Rich, and Socialism Doesn’t Make Us Poor — Socialism Makes Us Rich, and Capitalism Makes Us Poor. 

I agree with Umar, social democracy (he calls it socialism) has liberated Europeans. The liberty Ron Paul talks about is the freedom of the few to be able to exploit and enslave the many. 
In Europe, though, the story was very, very different. Socialism, not capitalism, organized the provision of the essentials of life — and both paid people fairly and protected them carefully, in the very jobs of providing things like healthcare, education, finance, retirement, media, transport, and childcare to one another. The result is that people grew richer over time. Their incomes grew into accumulated savings, and their net worth rose. They began to live with a genuine feeling of safety and security and happiness. Europeans were liberated — not immiserated.
Hence, today, most Europeans look at Americans, and can’t bring themselves to imagine — really, can’t quite understand — how someone in a nominally rich country would have to choose between their own chemotherapy or insulin, or their childrens’ healthcare, food, or shelter.

Why the Protestors of Hong Kong Are Destroying the Prosperity of Their Country — Martin Seiff

Martin Sieff is exactly right on this IMHO, recalling his boyhood experience in Belfast as precedent.

The protestors and West believes that Hong Kong is a vital resource for China, but they apparently do not realize that this is no longer so. Hong Kong's contribution to the Chinese economy has shrunk greatly, and China has already been planning to replace it with Shanghai as a financial center, as it use to be, and other centers on the mainland. Reports reveal that Hong Kong is already being abandoned.

China won't relinquish it sovereignty over Hong Kong without a fight, which highly unlikely to happen. But Hong Kong is no longer the "pearl of the Orient" in China's estimation. It has served its purpose and is already in the process of being replaced by truly Chinese financial and business centers at the core. 

In fact, Hong Kong is an uncomfortable reminder of Chinese humiliation during the colonial period. For that reason alone, Hong Kong would eventually be doomed to oblivion in the new China as China regains its traditional position as the "Central Realm," replacing the "upstart" US with a short history and no culture. 

Even Europeans were running around in bear skins, who Romans considered uncivilized barbarians, while China was already an ancient civilization largely unknown to the West. Traditional societies like China now view Western civilization degenerating under the excess of its liberal philosophy, now being pushed its logical conclusion of "anything goes."

Taking the long view, China was in no rush for this break to happen. But the short-term thinking of others has now forced the issue, the "others" being the protestors and their backers.

This is just another step in the process of decolonization that is now going on in the non-West as "liberal globalization" (neoliberalism, neo-imperialism and neocolonialism) is rolled back.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Why the Protestors of Hong Kong Are Destroying the Prosperity of Their Country
Martin Seiff, formerly senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and United Press International

The Pivot To Fiscal? — Brian Romanchuk

The final Mario Draghi press conference had him underlining the importance of fiscal policy. Since I am supposed to be working on my slides for my presentation in the panel "MMT: Who is Listening?", one might argue that it looks like a lot of people. However, it is unclear how significant the shift in opinion is from a practical perspective....
Bond Economics
The Pivot To Fiscal?
Brian Romanchuk

Intel update

Spiegel Online (Germany)'If I Happen to Fall out of a Window, You Can Be Sure I Was Pushed'
Martin Knobbe and Jörg Schindler interview Edward Snowden in RussiaSputnik International

Sputnik International
Interview by Ewen MacAskill, video by Laurence Topham

Sputnik International
Permanent Record: Edward Snowden Sounds the Alarm on ‘Greatest Danger’ to Society

Sputnik International
UK Judge Rules Assange Will Remain in Jail Due to 'History of Absconding'

Sputnik International
'With Friends Like Israel, US Doesn’t Need Enemies’: Iran's Zarif Mocks Trump Amid Snooping Claims

Fast Company
I create fake videos. Here’s why people believe even the obvious ones
Christye Sisson

Sputnik International
New Doc Tells How Three Conspirators Created Myth of Marilyn Monroe’s Death

The US Has “Disappeared” More Than 42,000 Migrants. Where’s the Outrage?
Merula Furtado

Lee Camp
Jeff Bezos’ “Ring” Doorbells Give Cops Eyes Everywhere [VIDEO]

Global Research
Post-9/11 Terrorism Watchlist of More Than 1 Million Judged Unconstitutional
Marjorie Cohn

The American Thinker
The Surveillance State: Have Americans Unwittingly Opted In?
Julio Riviera

Zero Hedge
Israeli Attacks On Syria Halted After Russia Threatened To Shoot Down Jets
Tyler Durden

Friday, September 13, 2019

Links — 13 Sep 2019

Checkpoint Asia
The US Massively Underestimates the Trade War Blowback
Robert Berke

Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House
Daniel Lippman

Sputnik International
Huawei Developing Its Own Tech Solutions to Offset Sanctions
Prakash Loungani

John HelmerDefend Democracy Press
Only one-third of Americans believe Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide—so why does the New York Times?
David Walsh

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
American Privilege
Caitlin Johnstone

Sputnik International
Robert F Kennedy's Son Claims 'Compelling Evidence' Father Assassinated by CIA Operative

Sputnik International
Russian Central Bank Has No Plans to Stimulate Growth by Printing More Money

Johnson's Russia List
Gilbert Doctorow: “The ‘opposition’ victory in Moscow”

Xinhua Silk Road: Haier to release 20 new models of laundry appliances on European market

And on the lighter side of life.

How Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Actually Works (w/ Warren Mosler)

Modern Monetary Theory has become a hot topic of discussion. But is it well understood? In this interview with Real Vision’s Ed Harrison, Warren Mosler, the founder of MMT, describes exactly what Modern Monetary Theory is, and how the framework can be utilized. Particularly interesting is Mosler’s ambivalence about the political furor enveloping MMT. He sees the economic framework as more descriptive of monetary operations than prescriptive of policy. Mosler also outlines why MMT’s operational bent made it attractive to finance professionals long before it became a politically-charged debate among academic economists and politicians. Filmed on May 29, 2019 in New York.

No More Economic Malpractice: African-American Faith Leaders Take On The Establishment — Delman Coates

MMT to the rescue.


See also

A generation of economists helped get us into this mess. A new generation can get us out.
Jared Bernstein | Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden in the Obama Administration

Rick Sanchez - US drops 40 tons of bombs on ‘ISIS’ island

Erdoğan and Assad were apparently quite close before the conflict. It just goes how stab-in-the-back it is at the top, where no one is your friend. They're all scaly-backs and swamp creatures!

Nearly 80,000 bombs on a single island believed to be holding Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Rick Sanchez shows us the harrowing footage. Then Max Blumenthal, editor of the Grayzone and author of “Management of Savagery,” joins from Damascus, Syria to talk about continuing US military involvement in the country. He explains average Syrians’ resentment toward the US government for its role in the Syrian conflict.

Theft or exploitation?- a review of Stolen by Grace Blakeley — Michael Roberts

I think that there are at least three things going on, first involving property as theft through forcible enclosure of the commons, regardless of whether this is made legal by institutions controlled by the thieves as a veneer. 

Secondly, I believe that the classical view of value as produced by labor is essentially correct, regardless of the controversy over the statement of it, which is largely semantical. These differences led to distinctions that distracted enough from the actual issue to allow the neoclassical identification of value and price and the marginalist theory of value creation implying just deserts based on relative marginal utility, productivity, and contribution. 

The marginalist model assumes relatively free markets in everything, which is unrealistic. The standard retort is "government." Of course, it is true that "government" is a key factor owing to the asymmetrical distribution of power based on institutional arrangements that the ownership class, including the top managerial class, controls.

This veneer of legitimacy enables the extraction of surplus value from workers along the lines that Marx set forth. This was a characteristic of the transition from the agricultural age in which feudalism workers were either slaves or serfs and the beneficiaries were the landlords.  After the transition to the industrial age characterized by the dominance of industrial capital, workers were supposedly "liberated" from unpaid work in the case of slavery or underpaid work in the case of serfs and tenant farmers. Marx attempted to show how surplus value was still expropriated through creation of surplus value in monetary production and its distribution to the owners of the means of production, the capitalist class.

Michael Roberts' post is a short view of UK political scientist and economist Grace Blakeley's new book, Stolen, which focuses on financialization. The so-called profit created through financialization is different from the first two factors, enclosure of the commons and extraction of surplus value.

This third factor is rent extraction after enclosure and the subsequent legal institutionalization of private property and also after the expropriation of surplus value in the monetary production process. The rent extracted by finance is in addition to the former two, redistributing income upward. Michael Hudson is the go-to economist on this subject, and he is a Marxism economist if not a "Marxist," where "Marxist" signifies an ideologue. Similarly with David Graeber, the author of "Debt: The First 5000 Years."

So it is necessary to distinguish all three factors in exploring inequality as apparently excess skewing of distribution toward the top, exceeding reasonable individual contribution given a social environment in which the relationships of elements of the system are as important in analysis as the elements and may be more significant at the macro scale.

This is the basis of economic rent — land and natural resource, rent from real goods production in a monetary production economy,  and financial rent from finance and fintech — and it should be taught in Econ 101 rather than using wildly unrealistic gadgets as teaching tools to promote an ideology that underpins the status quo. The newly published MMT textbook is a good start in this direction, laying down the basics needed for correct analysis of how a modern monetary economy operates in tandem with finance, along with its opportunities, challenges, and limitations and constraints.

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
Theft or exploitation?- a review of Stolen by Grace Blakeley
Michael Roberts

Thursday, September 12, 2019

INTERVIEW: Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reveals US arms trafficking to ISIS

“While US President Donald Trump boasts about the defeat of Islamic State in Syria, US government-purchased weapons appear in the hands of Islamic State terrorists in Yemen.”

21st Century Wire


INTERVIEW: Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reveals US arms trafficking to ISIS ft 4

John Henley - ‘It’s a miracle’: Helsinki’s radical solution to homelessness

Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally

Every country is lovely, but some countries are more lovely than others.

As I've said before, social democracy works out cheaper in the end.

Housing First costs money, of course: Finland has spent €250m creating new homes and hiring 300 extra support workers. But a recent study showed the savings in emergency healthcare, social services and the justice system totalled as much as €15,000 a year for every homeless person in properly supported housing.

Ainesmaa is on a two-year work experience programme designed to lead to a job. He says the opportunity to sort himself out was priceless: “Look, I own nothing. I’m on the autism spectrum. I think people are my friends, and then they rip me me off. I’ve been ripped off … a lot. But now I have my place. It’s mine. I can build.”

The Guardian 

John Henley - ‘It’s a miracle’: Helsinki’s radical solution to homelessness Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally

Government programs kept tens of millions out of poverty in 2018 — Hunter Blair and Julia Wolfe

The talk now is cutting social welfare spending to "shrink" the "ballooning" deficit resulting from tax cuts that mostly benefited the top tier, along with increased military spending.

EPI — Economic Policy Institute
Government programs kept tens of millions out of poverty in 2018
Hunter Blair and Julia Wolfe

Thomas Piketty’s New Book — Ramanan

Piketty coins a new term, the "Brahmin left."

The Case for Concerted Action
Thomas Piketty’s New Book
V. Ramanan

7 Decades of China’s achievements — Zamir Ahmed Awan

China is an old civilization and has been passing through various ups and downs throughout history. Which is very much rational and the natural cycle of human history. There was a time when Romans were at the peak, but today they stand nowhere, British and French colonialized half of the world, but today squeezed to a small state only. Ottoman Empire in Turkey was in control of parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, but today is a small developing nation. Every peak has to pass through fall, it is a natural cycle in the history of nations. But China, the last 200 years have been suffering due to the colonializations, imperialism, and expansionism of Western World. Either it was opium war I or II or War of resistance, the Chinese suffered a lot. But with the establishment of the “The People’s Republic of China on the 1st of October 1949, China liberated finally. However, it did not end the Western world’s aggression against China. It was the economic blockade of China or war against communism threat, China was the victim in the early 1950s, 1960, and 1970s.
The story of the non-West today is that of decolonization, which is proceeding unevenly and challenged by Western powers for the most part. The IMF and World Bank were established to administer neoliberal policy, which entails neo-imperialism and neocolonialism under the leadership of the United States as the current imperial force in the world and, of course, wants to keep it that way. 

The Washington Consensus that was originally designed to facilitate decolonization was subsequently interpreted in terms of neoliberal policy favoring "market solutions," in which market power is held by the developed world and by the US in particular. China is still contending with this and is taking the long view.

The Vineyard of the Saker
7 Decades of China’s achievements
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Academician, Researcher, Peace-activist, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan

Some brief thoughts on Argentina's ongoing crisis and the IMF's role in it — Matias Vernengo

Argentina's peso depreciated significantly after the primary elections last month, with the clear victory of the opposition. The crisis has come full circle now with the re-imposition of capital controls, and with the default on domestic bonds, the latter a puzzling and clearly unnecessary measure, since it was in domestic currency (Standard & Poor's says it's a selective default, whatever that means, and Fitch called it a restricted default). So here a few things that might be useful to understand what is going on....
Naked Keynesianism — Hemlock for economics students
Some brief thoughts on Argentina's ongoing crisis and the IMF's role in it
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Kalecki, Minsky, and “Old Keynesianism” Vs. “New Keynesianism” on the Effect of Monetary Policy — Tracy Mott

A version of what Lawrence Summers and Anna Stansbury (2019) recently pointed to as “original” Keynesianism can be found in the work of Michał Kalecki and Hyman Minsky, Their work offers analysis of the determination of investment spending and effective demand which avoids the deficiencies found in the New Keynesian economics in which Summers and Stansbury find shortcomings. In the paragraphs below, I describe how their insights and those of other economists sharing their approach provide an answer to the questions with which Summers and Stansbury are grappling, and more....
Larry Summers awakens from his "dogmatic slumbers" (ht Emmanuel Kant on reading himself after reading David Hume).

Well, better late than never, but unfortunately not soon enough to avoid doing extensive damage.

Also, it doesn't seem that Professor Summers has gotten around to attribution yet. Or does he not even know of this previous work?

Tracy Mott, Professor of Ecnomics (retired), University of Denver

Bill Mitchell — Germany to play smokes and mirrors again

Germany is proposing some more smokes and mirrors so that it can maintain its position as the exemplar of fiscal responsibility by obeying its ‘Debt brake’ yet inject significant deficit spending into its recessed economy, which is starved of public infrastructure spending. They are proposing to set up new institutions which will be funded by government-guaranteed debt and spend billions into the economy while ensuring these transactions do not show up on the official fiscal books of the German government. The only financial constraint these new agencies will be bound by are the European Commission’s Stability and Growth Pact rules. But because the allowable spending difference between the ‘Debt brake’ and the SGP is huge (but still well below what is needed to redress the years of austerity and infrastructure degradation) and so will provide a much-needed stimulus to the ailing German economy. Meanwhile, the Germans will tell the world how thrifty they are and how they obey their own rules. And then they can say that all other Member States should also stick to the rules. Meanwhile, the smoke and mirrors are going hammer and tong to create spending growth that bears no resemblance to the allowable growth under the Debt brake. The Debt brake then is just a sham. The upside is that needed public spending will enter the economy which tells us that the Debt brake should never have been introduced in the first place. Such is life in the EU – a daily circus.
The conservative mind equates financial debt with being guilty of moral failure, sin. In fact, in German the same term, Schuld, signifies both debt and guilt, as Michael Hudson so tirelessly points out. So this is conflation of finance and morality is a no-brainer there. 

But even in English there are two dominant translations of the Lord's Prayer, where one rendering as "forgive us our debts," and another "forgive us our trespasses." American conservatives also tend to be more religious culturally than liberals, that is, they "inherit" their world view through social reproduction of the culture by means of upbringing and association. So even when the terms are different, the conservative mind conflates them anyway.  It is backed into conservative culture and is socially "inherited" as a key fundamental of the conservative cultural world view.

In conservative minds, this manifests as a black and white world in which savers that are virtuous, with the savers supposed funding the profligate borrowers. Debts can never be cancelled other than in a way that involves punishment, bankruptcy at least, if not the poorhouse and debtors prison. 

The same applies to obligations among nations, which is a reason that the notion of imports being a real benefit when the exporter is acquiring the importer's debt is "wrong," and also held to be "dangerous" since it is believed to give the debtor power over the nation issuing the debt. In the mercantilist view, a nation's wealth is not figured in real resources but rather in financial wealth, which meant gold or silver back in the day. Now it accumulating the debt of other countries.

Deficit hysteria and debt phobia underlies the preference for fiscal austerity, which is often advertised as "expansionary fiscal austerity," a virtuous thing that stands in contrast to the "fiscal profligacy" and "fiscal irresponsibility" of the "degenerate" liberal mindset.

Because this erroneous belief about how modern money works is embedded in a strongly held moral view, explanations of how operations actually take work, together what this implies for macroeconomic and formulation of socio-economic policy, fall on deaf ears, if they are not ridiculed as "liberal" fumes of a disordered brain.

Since the "savers" are in charge politically under bourgeois liberalism, the ownership class being constituted of savers by definition, the story goes on, and on, and on.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Germany to play smokes and mirrors again
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Order and symmetry in the universe

Laughs in the classroom...

This guy is probably employing a Science methodology and is mistakenly blaming an entire  discipline for achieving  non-scientific (non-discriminatory) outcomes.

 He's making the typical mistake you see all the time here.

Its not the discipline of Economics that is the problem its the Platonistic/Liberal Art methodology employed 99.9% of the time within that discipline that starts with the thesis first that leads to this type of insanity (ie "a disqualified mind" Rom 1:28) :

This methodology does not perform the basic discrimination function of the Science methodology and should be banned in education.

Peter Osborne - Jeremy Corbyn can save the UK economy from the perils of a no-deal Brexit

The ex Telegraph columnist, Peter Osborne, says a Corbyn led Labour Government would be good for for Britain. But if the Conservatives win and Johnson destroys Britain, the next British government could well be a hard left one, and Corbyn could go down in history as the man who saved Britain.

A new false narrative centres on fears that a government led by the Labour leader poses a mortal threat to the British economy.

The Middle East Eye

Peter Osborne - Jeremy Corbyn can save the UK economy from the perils of a no-deal

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

LInks — 11 Sep 2019

Mint Press News
More Americans Questioning Official 9/11 Story As New Evidence Contradicts Official Narrative
Whitney Webb

Russia Observer

Patrick Armstrong

Color Revolution Comes To Hong Kong

“Trump Save Us or We Will Destroy Our City”: Hong Kong Protesters

The Vineyard of the Saker
We are all hostages of 9/11
Pepe Escobar

Real-World Economics Review Blog
Rigged: How globalization and the rules of the modern economy were structured to make the rich richer
Dean Baker

Monthly Review
New season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan focused on Venezuela denounced as ‘over-the-top and ridiculous’ U.S. propaganda
The Editors

Pamela Anderson Tweet

This western world 
is not a healthy democracy.
It’s all part of a kind of hell.
Hungry people
fighting for justice and
Freedom -
While privileged people fight
not to pay their taxes,
hide there money off shore -
to get more rich.

My Dad told me Socialism
is knowing your tax dollars
are helping people.
knowing where your taxes go -
You can see it in schools
and hospitals
in children’s happy faces.
Healthy people.
Safe Roads and bridges.
by now clean energy
innovation -

I don’t feel comfortable
that 70% of taxes in USA goes to military.
For what?
To start wars at their discretion ?
War is a business.
governments need to be held accountable.
They are making these toxic decisions
In our name. $

Jason Hickel - 'Mindless growth': Robust scientific case for degrowth is stronger every day

'Mindless growth': Robust scientific case for degrowth is stronger every day

This is my kind of article. We can save energy by making things last longer, and then we cut the working week. Our standard of living will hardly change as most of the wealth from growth goes to the elite anyway. A job guarantee and the Basic Income is mentioned. 

If we reduce working hours we can redistribute necessary labour without any loss of total jobs

One way to do this is to stop allowing companies to bloat their profits with planned obsolescence, selling products that are designed to break down simply to increase turnover. In fact, we could even roll out legislation to require longer product lifespans. If fridges and washing machines last twice as long, we will use half as many. Better yet, we can also introduce rights to repair, so we can get our phones and microwaves fixed for cheap instead of having to replace them when they break. We can shift from private cars to public transportation. And we can limit advertising in public spaces to liberate people from the psychological pressure for needless consumption.

Perhaps even more importantly, we can choose to actively scale down energy-intensive industries and wasteful luxury consumption: like the arms trade, SUVs and McMansions.

The good news is that we can do all of this without any negative impact on people’s health, happiness or well-being. The evidence is clear: we can thrive in an economy that uses less.

The Irish Times

The Gloves Are Off: The U.S.-China Trade War Is Coming for Big Business — Scott B. MacDonald

A fair assessment from the American point of view, basically assuming American exceptionalism. Interestingly, the worst part of the article is the monetary analysis, considering the author is an economist working in the financial sector. Not surprising, though, since apparently so few have a correct understanding.

The National Interest
The Gloves Are Off: The U.S.-China Trade War Is Coming for Big Business
Scott B. MacDonald | Chief Economist, Smith’s Research and Gradings

Also at The National Interest
Of course, nuclear war is extremely unlikely. Although the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has placed the hands of its famous clock at five minutes to midnight, that doesn’t mean very much and never has. The fact of the matter is that world nuclear inventories, led by reductions in the United States and Russia, have never been lower, and none of the major powers expects a nuclear conflict in the way they did during the Cold War. To crib a line from Captain Jack Sparrow, however, nuclear war is not impossible, it’s improbable, and a nuclear war could take place in more ways than you might think, sparked by any number of occurrences from a pure accident to an intentional strike.
I’m going to focus here on a war that could involve the United States and its allies on one side, and Russia or China on the other. Nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan, or between a future nuclear-armed Iran and Israel, is unlikely but far easier to imagine than a global nuclear conflict. Indeed, this is one reason Americans don’t think about nuclear war very much anymore: they think it will happen somewhere else. (If a regional limited war takes place, however, you’ll know it: even a small exchange of nuclear weapons will create a global environmental catastrophe that will dwarf Chernobyl or Fukushima.)...
A Top Expert Just Told Us 5 Ways a Nuclear War Could Start (Think Billions Dead)
Tom Nichols

Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL — Col. W. Patrick Lang

...we should leave, but we should leave on a schedule that will enable us to control the timing of our going and to protect the departure of those who wish to leave with us.….
Well worth reading the whole editorial. Col. Lang knows this region well.

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

Bolton’s exit raises odds of US-China trade deal — Spengler

Good article, and I agree that John Bolton's departure is a positive move. 

That said, the larger obstacle is US Trade Representative Robert Lightizer. Bolton's focus was on taking down Huawei. Lightizer's focus is taking down change with a view to regime change. 

This is ultimately a replay of the successful push to take down the USSR, which the American elite believe was accomplished by economic warfare. 

The real objectives are the Chinese Communist Party and communism as a threat to capitalism. 

Robert Lightizer is acting as a surrogate for Steve Bannon. John Bolton was more a Sheldon Adelson surrogate, therefore focused on Israeli dominance of the Middle East. Trump is beholden to Adelson for campaign finance, so John Bolton's leaving will not materially affect the situation, since Trump will still have to placate Adelson to keep the tap open.

Asia Times
Bolton’s exit raises odds of US-China trade deal
(David Goldman | Managing Director and head of the Americas division of the Reorient Group investment bank based in Hong Kong)

Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy — Heather Boushey

Inequality constricts growth by:
  • Obstructing the supply of people and ideas into our economy and limiting opportunity for those not already at the top, which slows productivity growth over time
  • Subverting the institutions that manage the market, making our political system ineffective and our labor markets dysfunctional
  • Distorting demand through its effects on consumption and investment, which both drags down and destabilizes short- and long-term growth in economic output
Capitalism produces inequality, and inequality undermines the foundation of capitalism. "Internal contradiction" that leads to social, political and economic transformation through the operation of the historical dialectic, to go all Marx on it. 

WCEG — The Equitablog
Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy
Heather Boushey, California Future of Work Commission

A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why Alf Hornborg

Definitely a should-read that advances the debate. While not an MMT-based view it does illuminate the  symbiotic relationship of technology, engineering, innovation, real resources, "money," culture and ideas in the present world system, which is ecologically unstable and is becoming unsustainable. Alf Hormborg argues that this is not simply a matter of tweaking the system through scaling technological innovation. The problem is the design of the system.

The Conversation
A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why
Alf Hornborg | Professor of Human Ecology, Lund University

Bill Mitchell — On visiting Japan and engaging with conservative politicians

It is my Wednesday blog post and my relative ‘blog day off’. But there has been an issue I want to write briefly about that has come up recently and has become a recurring theme. I am writing today to put the matter on the public record so that spurious claims that arise elsewhere have no traction. As our Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) work gains popularity, all manner of critics have started coming out of the woodwork. There is now, quite a diversity of these characters, reflecting both ends of the ideological spectrum and places in-between. The mainstream economists and those who profess to be ‘free marketeers’ bring out their big guns pretty quickly – inflation and socialism/Stalinism. Standard stuff that any progressive proposal to use government fiscal policy gets bombarded with since time immemorial. Easily dismissed. More recently, those who claim to be on the ‘progressive’ side of the debate have become more vociferous in their attacks, sensing, I suspect, that MMT have supplanted their relevance as the defenders of the anti-neoliberal wisdom. These characters resort to all sorts of snide-type attacks ranging from accusations of anti-Semitism (which I have covered previously), siding with Wall Street, ‘America-first corporatist sycophants’ (latest ridiculous book from G. Epstein as an example), giving succour to fascists and the Alt-Right, and that sort of stuff. Today, I want to address that last claim, which recently has been raised by a number of so-called progressive critics.

One of the other interesting aspects of the mainstream MMT opposition has been the two-part nature of it.
Two observations, First, there is no such thing as bad publicity. It provides exposure anyway, and name recognition ("brand identification") is a good thing. Secondly, on the "first they ignore you" metaphor, being attacked is a forward step that acts as confirmation that you are winning.

I no longer link to most criticism of MMT, first, because it is stupid, and secondly, so as not give it exposure. I do link to serious debate based on well-researched argument, but it is a rare bird that is seldom seen in the media.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Trump back to hammering the Fed

Fed September meeting coming up...  at least he didn't mention increasing Reserve Assets to "lend out!" this time which would shut down the credit markets again and cause another GFC II....

The loonie left's "neo-liberal conspiracy!"continues...

Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis - How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper

The Guardian was printing the Snowdon files and they got warned by MI5, but they ignored it. Then, next, they got raided GCHQ who came in with angle drivers, electric drills, power tools and smashed their computers up to destroy the hard drives and all the Snowdon information was removed. 

After this, journalists got sacked and many others just left, and in the end the editor of the Guardian resigned and one friendly to the British establishment took over. He now has meetings with MI5 each week to see if they are getting the propaganda right.

This is the sort of thing we've been told to expect from countries like China and Russia, but this KGB type heavy handedness came from the British establishment. 

There is no true democracy in the West, it's like when Ford said you can have any colour you like as long as it's black.

The Guardian has been taken over by Britain's security agencies, and is now being forced to put out anti Corbyn propaganda. The security agencies say Corbyn is a risk to Britain’s national security, well, isn't that up to the British people to decide. And the British people should be allowed to choose what type of security services they want. 

The security agencies work on behalf of the elite, who are traditionally very conservative, and not on behalf of the British people. By taking us up to the brink of war with Russia, and by diverting our taxes towards their very lucrative never ending war business, these people spooks should be put on trail for treason for working against the national interest of the British people.

If the British people were given the true facts, and went then on to decide they would prefer friendlier ties with Russia and China, with less of their hard earned money being spent on the military, that's democracy at work. It's our country; it doesn't belong to a tiny, selfish, unrepresentative elite who run it for their own ends. 

According to the committee minutes, the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing “undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system’s future usefulness”. If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ’s most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?
It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.
GCHQ and laptops
The security services ratcheted up their “considerable efforts” to deal with the exposures.
On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian’s offices at King’s Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published.
At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.
The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper’s reporters, brought “angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks”. The reporter added, “The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a ‘degausser’, which destroys magnetic fields and erases data.”

The Daily Maverick 

Charlie Goldsmith | Revisiting the energy healer's work one year on | Sunday Night

Charlie Goldsmith doesn't charge and does his healing for free. He realised he had the gift of healing when he was 18 years old, although he felt he suspected he might have this giftv when he was a child. His friends and family told him to not go public, but he wanted to help people, so he did.

He started healing people at his local hospital and the doctors were very impressed, but Charlie could not get any researcher to study him as only the government and the drug companies will fund research. So he raised the money himself through YouTube and Facebook to fund the research.

He's hoping to discover how he does it so he can train other people in the technique, but he's also hoping it will help to identify people who have this ability. Charlie Goldsmith doesn't believe he's unique and feels there are other people out there who can do healing like him, but might not know it.

Researchers also tests for the placebo effect in the trails, but it's no placebo, it seems.

Remember Charlie Goldsmith? Sunday Night met the energy healer last year, and put his talents to the test. We catch up with one of the people who suffered from chronic pain to find out whether their improved health really lasted.

Links —10 Sep 2019

Global Inequality
Greatest happiness for the greatest number. Or not?
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

Luongo: Trump Thumping Bolton Is A Good Start
Tom Luongo

Reminiscence of the Future
He Was Never Qualified To Start With.
Andrei Martyanov

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Democrats Somehow Frame Bolton’s Exit As A Bad Thing
Caitlin Johnstone

Sputnik International
Revealed as Fraud, CIA’s ‘Kremlin Spy’ Fed Agency Key Intel Behind Russiagate

Color revolutionaries of the world, unite! Hong Kong protest leader pictured with White Helmets boss

Sputnik International
German Finance Minister Signals Readiness to Pump ‘Billions of Euros’ Into Economy in Face of Crisis

Sputnik International
US Political Spectrum and Media React to John Bolton's Shock Dismissal

Tearful Ma bids Alibaba farewell with rock star show
Josh Horwitz

Fast Company
Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, who is China’s richest man, retires at age 55

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Establishment is Changing its Tune on Russia

Russophobic rhetoric persists in Washington, but a counter-argument is emerging.

Could we finally be on our way for peace with Russia? Macron and Trump are leading the way.

Trump repeated the thought in Biarritz, claiming there was support among other members for the restoration of the G–8. “I think it’s a work in progress,” he said. “We have a number of people that would like to see Russia back.”

Macron is plainly one of those people. It was just after Trump sounded his theme amid Biarritz’s faded grandeur — and what an excellent choice for a convention of the Western powers — that the French president made his own plea for repairing ties with Russia and for Europe to escape its fate as “a theater for strategic struggle between the U.S. and Russia."

“The European continent will never be stable, will never be secure, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia,” Macron said in his address to Western diplomats. Then came his flourish on the imminent end of the Atlantic world’s preeminence.

PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Establishment is Changing its Tune on Russia

Big Four accounting firms bungle a third of US audits but are rarely fined

1 in 3 ain't bad!

Prem Sikka tweet:
Corruption Inc: Big Four accounting firms bungle a third of US audits but are rarely fined. Friends in high places protect them. The private police force of capitalism makes millions from dud audits.  Time to shut them down. Public bodies should do audits

The Big Four accounting firms bungled 31% of the most recent US audits analyzed by their quasi-governmental watchdog, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Yet despite the abysmal findings, the oversight board—which the US government empowers to police the audit firms—has rarely taken action against them.

In its 16-year history, the PCAOB has made only 18 enforcement cases against the foursome—KPMG, Deloitte, EY, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers—according to an investigation published recently by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).


Big Four accounting firms bungle a third of US audits but are rarely fined

Julian Borger - Trump ousts top adviser John Bolton: ‘I disagreed strongly with him’

Donald Trump has fired his national security adviser, John Bolton, in two tweets that said he “disagreed strongly” with many of his suggestions.

Trump said he would be naming a new national security adviser, his fourth of his term, next week.

Trump tweeted: “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service.”

The Guardian

Julian Borger - Trump ousts top adviser John Bolton: ‘I disagreed strongly with him’

Stephanie Kelton and Elmira Bayrasli — Should Governments Just Print More Money?

This is a link to a podcast, which I don't usually post. However, it appears at Project Syndicate, which is about as establishment as one can get.

A several part interview of Randy Wray is also being linked to serially at Strategic Culture Foundation, which is about as non-Establishment as one can get.


Project Syndicate
Should Governments Just Print More Money?
Stephanie Kelton, professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, a leading expert on Modern Monetary Theory and a former Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee (Democratic staff); and Elmira Bayrasli, co-founder and CEO of Foreign Policy Interrupted and the author of From The Other Side of The World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places

Universal Basic Income–Combined With What Else? — Timothy Taylor

The major problem with a UBI is that it is a shotgun approach that is not addressed to a specific socio-economic need and it is insufficient to meet all socio-economic needs. The other issue is, cui bono? That is, for whose good? And how does that actually work? What happens if it is inflationary, as some economists have warned? If it is indexed, it becomes more inflationary. If it is not, the good it was supposed to do is undone.

Sounds good until you go to the spreadsheet.

Conversable Economist
Universal Basic Income--Combined With What Else?
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Nat Dyer — How Fifty Years Of The ‘Nobel Prize’ In Economics Redrew Our Map Of Society

Fifty years ago this year, the King of Sweden presented with royal pomp the first ever Nobel medals in economics. The prize has been dogged by controversy ever since. Alfred Nobel the founder of the awards never wanted an economics prize, hisde scendants want it scrapped and the economist F.A. Hayek said it was dangerous.

That’s not the half. Serious thinkers argue that the prize in ‘economic sciences’, as it’s called, has given economic ideas which favour the rich and powerful the gloss of scientific truth. The prize, still paid for every year by Sweden’s Central Bank, has helped weaken democratic control of money, they argue, and helped one school of economic thought – known as neoclassical – dominate the rest. It has contributed to a crisis of conformity in economics and trouble well beyond the ivory tower....
I don't know how influential the Nobel in economics, since determining the influence of causal factor in such cases by putting numbers on it is difficult to impossible. However, the Nobel in economics was instituted subsequently by Riksbank rather than according to the wishes of Alfred Nobel, so attaching Nobel's name to it is disingenuous when it is actually the called  the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel." But "Nobel Prize in Economics" has stuck since it widely reverberates in the media echo chamber.

 And there have been some surprises, like Elinor Ostrum, who was an institutionalist rather than a neoclassical that contested the privatization argument of Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons based on neoclassical assumptions about markets.

But overall, the Nobel has tended to institutionalize the neoclassical approach to economics, including political economy. This has tended to favor the market state over the welfare state on the basis of neoclassical assumptions.

Promoting Economic Pluralism
How Fifty Years Of The ‘Nobel Prize’ In Economics Redrew Our Map Of Society
Nat Dyer

Links — 9 Sep 2019

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
How To Defeat The Empire
Caitlin Johnstone

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Elijah J. Magnier — Middle East Politics
Iran will be a full nuclear power by the end of 2020: no return to the 2015 agreement
Elijah J. Magnier

Fast Company
Ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame is running for Congress, and her campaign video is fast & furious
Frances Katz

Geopolitical Monitor
China Prepares to Launch Its Own Digital Currency
Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco

Mint Press News
The NED Strikes Again: How Neocon Money is Funding the Hong Kong Protests
Mnar Muhawesh

US is Behind Hong Kong Protests Says US Policymaker
Tony Cartalucci

Moon of Alabama
A Small Reminder Of The Lower-Than-Zero Value Of Partisan 'Analysts'

Venezuela: Guaido Under Investigation over Essequibo Bargaining Revelations
Paul Dobson

We refuse to be a ‘normal country’ if it means US-style bombings & invasions, Moscow tells Pentagon

Russian and Eurasian Politics
Alexei Navalnyi: Lenin of Today?
Gordon M. Hahn, analyst and Advisory Board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, member of the Executive Advisory Board at the American Institute of Geostrategy, a contributing expert for Russia Direct, a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, Akribis Group, and; and an analyst and consultant for Russia – Other Points of View

The Unz Review
Navalny's "Smart Vote" Won the Moscow Opposition Just 3 Seats (Out of 45)

Xinjiang : The New Great Game


It's difficult to find the truth about the CPC's treatment of the Uyghurs, but I tend to take the view most of what we read in the West is propaganda. Apparently this propaganda is designed to get the Chinese Uyghurs angry too. 

The Chinese government, through various programs, has been winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Uighurs. That is bad news for the US Empire and the Uighur separatists. They are making a desperate, all-out bid to unravel the good work done by Beijing to eradicate religious extremism and poverty in Xinjiang. The deluge of fake news from Western corporate media since the beginning of this year seeks to demonize the Chinese government, painting it as a gross violator of human rights, when the truth is the exact opposite.


"Inversion!" Contest

Guess when the 2yr vs. 10yr  yield curve went "inversion!" on the time domain diagram below and win a free 30 day trial subscription to Mike's MMT Trader™ newsletter:


"a model-platonistic manner"

The Germany guy at least has their methodology correct here... and this is interesting in that this is the first time I've ever seen anybody point out their methodology...

Should probably be "model-platonistic methodology" that they are using its more than a "manner"...

This methodology should be banned in anything even obliquely having to do with our material provisioning systems... it doesn't work...

Vanessa Beeley - The "Black Hands" Behind Hong Kong's Turmoil - CIA involvement in protest

The Hong Hong protestors have every right to peacefully protest and their demands for more democracy should be supported. We would hate in the West the type of control over the Internet that the Chinese government has.

But there's a problem: democracy means an oligarchy ruled by the elite, so we don't really have much of a fully functional democracy in the West either.

If China went fully democratic, the Western elite would go straight in there and buy up the media to put out its propaganda. Then the Western elite would start buying up the Chinese companies. They would say they were opening its markets to the 'free market' and 'democracy.'

But it's like game of Monopoly, where once you're out front you start winning exponentiall, and the more the Western elite own, the more they can buy and corrupt, and so on. In the end all the profits in China would flow into the City if London and Wall Street, not to the Chinese people.

But the West got in front by imperialism, that is the looting of other countries, and the 500 year slave trade.

The US once protected its industries by inposing tariffs on foreign goods, and Britain once did the same. In fact, Britain destroyed India's superior garment industry and stole its technology.

China needs to protect itself before fully opening to the world, and we need to develop a better democracy where the oligarchs can't rule.

This video is cut short for some reason. We don't know who the Hong Kong lawyer is who made video, so we don't know if she is Mandarin or Cantonese.

“Another video to counter the relentless lies disseminated by the US Empire and its “democracy” allies.  It’s elementary stuff to those who follow Hong Kong affairs, but a useful and revealing summary for interested others.  The video, made by a HK lawyer, contains many key details and other evidence of the plentiful links between Washington and HK’s turmoil. A message from the producers:  
“The video below was produced by a lawyer in HK who is very angry at the reporting done by the Western media. She asked to show it to people all over the world so they know the truth of what is happening in HK. Please take a few minutes to watch the truth. Thank you.”