Friday, July 20, 2018

Jimmy Dore - FBI Chief: CHINA Our Biggest Threat

Just when you thought it was safe - as Trump makes peace with Russia - Lester Holt, of the FBI, says China is a serious threat to the US. The Chinese are everywhere, he says, they involved with US agriculture, high tech, academia, grain, everything, and they are in every state the FBI research has found.

Holt says China is trying to achieve economic superiority over the US. What, do you mean that if a country economic system outsmarts the US then the US will go to war with that country?  Surely if we live in free world, which the US says it defends, then countries should be able to choose any economic system that suites them  best. Oh I get it, China is not a democracy, but hey, neither is America, so who are the FBI kidding? 

Lester Holt comes across as a gangster to me, as many of the elite are, and peace with Russia threatens their military-industrial complex profits (a protection racket that these mobsters run), so China is being set up to be the new bogeyman. They didn't waste any time getting the next enemy ready for us, I suppose just in case Trump actually does pull off a working peace deal with Russia, despite the CIA and FBI attempts to undermine it. 

In a recent Lester Holt interview, the FBI reveals they’re on to their newest scapegoat, China

More reaction to the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit

Liberal commentators are highly critical of President Donald Trump for what they see as a cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in their fury they’re missing the bigger picture: Trump’s stance on Russia may augur a return to a consensus between the U.S. and Russia on how to run the world....
Trump Didn’t Betray America. He Wants to Restore the Old U.S.-Russia Alliance
Geoffrey Roberts |  expert on Russian and Soviet foreign policy, is an Emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork, expert on Russian and Soviet foreign policy, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy

ABC (Australia)
Trump's behaviour not treasonous: Professor Stephen Cohen on the Helsinki Summit
Stephen Cohen | Professor Emeritus of Russian and Slavic studies at New York University, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University

The American Conservative
Forget Trump: The Military-Industrial Complex is Still Running the Show With Russia
Bruce Fein | partner in the law firm of Fein & DelValle PLLC, formerly associate deputy attorney general and general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan and counsel to the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran

The Duran
Assessing the Putin-Trump Helsinki summit: neither a breakthrough nor a damp squib but a possible start towards detente
Edward Popov

HBR — Survey: 68% of CEOs Admit They Weren’t Prepared for the Job

CEOs are known for their confidence. It is, after all, one of the reasons they’ve made it to the top. And yet, that confidence sometimes flags, as we at leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder learned from a survey of 402 CEOs from 11 countries—executives who together run companies with $2.6 trillion in sales.
Participating anonymously, CEOs told us that while they did feel ready for the strategic and business aspects of their roles, they felt much less prepared for the personal and interpersonal components of leadership, which are just as critical to success.
Here are some of the most surprising findings:
One of the issues is that there is not much CEO training prior to taking the reins.
Remarked one: “When you become the final decisionmaker, everything changes. It’s hard to train on this.”
That would apply to decision-makings in politics, too. How does one train to be president and commander-in chief of the military.

Harvard Business Review
Survey: 68% of CEOs Admit They Weren’t Prepared for the Job
Kati Najipoor-Schutte and Dick Patton

Jeff Desjardins — New York City isn't even on the list of the projected 20 most-populated cities in 2100

The biggest city projected for 2100? Lagos, Nigeria.

Pretty amazing article. Different world.

Urbanization is in full swing globally.

Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist

Chris Dillow — Capitalism as a fetter

...there is, if you like, a third way between utopian communism on the one hand and technocratic tweaks on the other.
It begins from the idea that ten years of stagnant productivity might mean we are now at the phase of capitalism that Marx foresaw:
At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters.
 Stumbling and Mumbling
Capitalism as a fetterChris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Paul Jay - Putin is Anointed King, but Big Capital has the Real Power - RAI with A. Buzgalin

Aleksandr Buzgalin, a professor of political economy at the Moscow University, says that Putin is only a figurehead and that the real power lies with the Russian oligarchs. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the oligarchs fought each other over the state industries, which was often very violent with drive-by shootings, etc, but once they had got as much as they could they wanted stability so they allowed Putin to gain power. .

Paul Jay says the problem the West has with Putin is that its oligarchs got pushed out of the power grab for the Russia's state industries and resources and not even Western finance has been able to gain a foothold.

Aleksandr Buzgalin says that Putin did take Russia very slightly to the left, but he's no friend of the working man. He says the Communist Party has a few communist slogans, but it is really a nationalist party with an admiration of Stalin.

Aleksandr Buzgalin says there is a real left movement in Russia of which he is part of. But can the good people ever overcome the oligarchs? Let's hope so. And there are good people amongst the very wealthy too, and they maybe even in the majority with the extended family. So there's hope?

It seems wherever you go the ruling elite remain in charge. Look Jeremy Corbyn? Who backs him. Paul Mason, Bill Mitchell, Momentum, and me? But the ruing class run finance, commerce, the media, the military-industrial complex, and industry, and can ensure Corbyn policies get run into the ground.

Paul Craig Roberts said that Hugo Chavez was a good guy so didn't put the elite,who tried to dispose of him in a coup, on trail for treason and then hang them. But how can good win against evil when evil will murder, bribe, kidnap, threaten your family, and be capable of any heinous, act? So evil rules the world and the general population is unaware, but the internet is slowly spreading the truth.

Maybe China is different?

On Reality Asserts Itself, Prof. Aleksandr Buzgalin says after the chaotic ‘90’s, the Russian oligarchs needed a stronger central state to defend their class interests, but Putin’s individual power should not be exaggerated - with host Paul Jay.

Bernie Sanders - Bernie Explains the Trump-Putin Summit

Think Bernie Sanders would have made a great president, well, Stephen Lendman was right, he is just another warmonger like all the others? I'm disappointed!

The Helsinki summit was a good day for Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. But it was a bad day for people in the United States and all over the world who believe in democracy and who are trying to understand what world our idiot president lives in.

The Real News - British Labour Party's Anti-Semitism Document: Criticizing Israel Is not Anti-Semitism

Moshé Machover discusses the advances and limitations of the Labour Party's document on anti-semitism, which represents an important step forward to diffuse an issue that has become an artificial controversy designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Pro Zionist groups are conflating any criticism of Israel as antisemitism and seem to be getting away with it. Momentum supports the rights of Palestinians and so have been targeted. They get away with it because the media is not telling the public that there is a difference,

Arkady SAVITSKY - Russia: Sovereign and Well-Protected from Financial Storms

Russia has braced itself against future financial storms.
Analysts from the Bank of America (BofA) Corp. believe that the global stock market is in for a crisis that will echo the events of 1997-1998. Bloomberg cites the BofA’s strategists, led by Michael Hartnett, who wrote in a recent note that “US decoupling, flattening yield curve, collapsing EM — all echoes of 20 years ago.” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde holds the same opinion, stating, "The clouds on the horizon ... are getting darker by the day." She believes that "[t]he biggest and darkest cloud that we see is the deterioration in confidence that is prompted by [the] attempt to challenge the way in which trade has been conducted, in which relationships have been handled and the way in which multilateral organizations have been operating," obviously referring to the United States. George Soros, the US financier and business magnate, also thinks a major financial crisis is brewing, triggered by a surging dollar and the capital flight from emerging markets. Addressing the German parliament in early July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the specter of a financial crisis provoked by US-launched trade wars.
It looks like the US economy has been cursed to relive a crisis every ten years, thus negatively affecting the whole world. Back in 1997-1998, Russia took a hard hit, but it learned its lessons and took steps to prepare for contingencies in advance. There seems to be some wisdom behind Russia’s policy. Others would do well to take a leaf from Russia’s book. Christine Lagarde has described the financial situation in Russia as “good news.” In her remarks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in May, she praised Russia for “admirable macroeconomic framework—saving for a rainy day, letting the exchange rate float, introducing inflation targeting, and shoring up the banking system.” The country has virtually no fiscal deficit, a solid current account balance, and very little debt.
Strategic Culture

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Week — DOJ will start alerting the public about foreign election meddling

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Thursday that as soon as the Department of Justice learns that an American company, private organization, or person has been hacked or otherwise covertly attacked….
This promises to be fun.

The Week
DOJ will start alerting the public about foreign election meddling

See also

Justice Department unveils strategy to fight election meddling, cybercrime
Eric Geller

Wim Hordijk — The Evolutionary Roots of Irrationality

Standard economic theory assumes that humans behave fully rationally and are able to objectively calculate the value (or cost) of the different choices they are presented with. In fact, we pride ourselves on our rationality. Different from the animals, we humans have the unique capacity for logical thought and rational decision making. Or do we?
According to behavioral economist Dan Ariely, we should be less proud of ourselves. In his entertaining book Predictably Irrational, Ariely describes many case studies of every-day irrational human behavior. His simple but clever scientific experiments often require nothing more than a box of chocolates. However, subtle differences in the way these chocolates are offered to people can cause large and completely irrational differences in the way we behave. Moreover, these irrational behaviors fly square in the face of what conventional economic theory, based on rationality, would predict....
So much for methodological atomist in economics, or other social disciplines as James Buchanan's rational choice theory spreads.

Humans are not like atoms in physics and chemistry or even like cells in biology. They are not homogeneous and cannot be assumed to be so as the concepts of homo economicus and representative agent that underly neoclassical method do.  

Social systems in which human agents are elements, or families, do not resemble atoms and molecules closely enough to serve as a framework for representational models, where the arrangements of symbols in possibility space are asserted to reflect the configuration and behavior of objects in actual space with more than rough approximation.

Wim Hordik argues that this is not a imperfection, but rather an important aspect of the evolutionary development of humans that serves to protect. For example, if homo economicus were entirely true then life would be determined by quantity, objectivity and positivity, while quality, subjectivity and values would be largely excluded from importance and banished from consideration in decisions. The world would be colorless, so to speak.

The Evolution Institute
The Evolutionary Roots of Irrationality
Wim Hordijk | Senior Fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg, Austria

Patrick Armstrong — Russian Federation Sitrep 19 July 2018

Lighthearted but serious Patrick Armstrong updates us with links and humor.

Russian Observer
Russian Federation Sitrep 19 July 2018
Patrick Armstrong

See also

Strategic Culture Foundation
The Establishment Strikes Back
Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, now Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

See also

Fort Russ
Ronald Thomas West | former Special Forces Sergeant of Operations and Intelligence, and retired investigator (living in exile)

See also

The Unz Review
Russian MFA Declares War on Guardian Hack Carole Cadwalladr
Anatoly Karlin

See also

Paul Craig Roberts
Russiagate Is Constructed of Pure Bullshit, No Facts

See also

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Lying Bigot James Clapper Assures World The Russia Narrative He Built Is Legit
Caitlin Johnstone 

Sarah Berger — 4-day work week is a success, New Zealand experiment finds

If productivity is plummeting in the workplace, the solution might be simple: Make the work week shorter.
One company did just that by experimenting with a four-day work week. The trial was so successful, management is seeking to make the change permanent....

Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?

A perfect example of how free markets can sometimes explode costs. In Europe the government takes care of the healthcare and can negotiate using highly paid professionals to get the lowest healthcare and medicine charges. Where in America, the land of the free, it's down to individuals to figure this out, which most often is too complicated to figure out, or can never be figured out and so just remains expensive.

Why not have a team of doctorates and top professionals figure it all out instead for you while you just go fishing instead, or dancing, or take a snooze, or whatever, and actually save a bundle at the same time? Now that's freedom! I never have to fill any forms in, or anything, I just turn up and get my treatment. And now I get free prescriptions at the chemist and as they know me I don't have to show any ID and I don't have to sign any forms, and I just walk in and walk out with it. Now that's liberty and freedom, not a worry in the world.

Even more strange, Americans actually pay more tax for their healthcare than people do in other Western countries, which means we pay less tax and get just as much healthcare, while you have to pay for private insurance on top as well. Wow, your private healthcare industry is getting paid double.

Imagine if your company could win the contract to supply all the replacement hips to the UK NHS, well, that's a big contract, so all replacement hip manufactures are going to do their utter best to win that bid, and when they do win, the economies of scale will help reduce prices and increase their profits.

So, as you can see, socialist economies can get lower prices and make capitalism more competitive. Libertarians can never beat this.

In which John discusses the complicated reasons why the United States spends so much more on health care than any other country in the world, and along the way reveals some surprising information, including that Americans spend more of their tax dollars on public health care than people in Canada, the UK, or Australia. Who's at fault? Insurance companies? Drug companies? Malpractice lawyers? Hospitals? Or is it more complicated than a simple blame game? (Hint: It's that one.) For a much more thorough examination of health care expenses in America, I recommend this series at The Incidental Economist: The Commonwealth Fund's Study of Health Care Prices in the US: Some of the stats in this video also come from this New York Times story: This is the first part in what will be a periodic series on health care costs and reforms leading up to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in 2014.

Mike Steiner — Causes in Real Life – How Organizations Perform a Root Cause Analyses (RCA)

Not a priority but of interest if for those who want to know more about how organizations deal with causation by analyzing the concrete in terms of the abstract. 

This is related to what Hegel called "concrete universal, and Marx defined as "concrete abstraction." This is the basis of the dialect for Hegel and Marx's adoption and adaptation of it.

A Philosopher's Take
Causes in Real Life – How Organizations Perform a Root Cause Analyses (RCA)
Mike Steiner | Strategic Initiative Specialist at TransCanada

Stephen F. Cohen — Trump as New Cold War Heretic

Heretics are scorned or worse, but sometimes in history they prevail. However strongly people may disapprove of the president’s other words and deeds, anyone, anywhere across our political spectrum, who wishes to avoid war with Russia—again, conceivably nuclear war—must support and encourage this Trump heresy until it is no longer heresy, until the full debate over reckless US policy since the 1990s finally ensues, and until that approach changes, as should have happened, as Trump said, “a long time ago.” It is not too late, but it may be the last chance.
The Nation
Trump as New Cold War Heretic
Stephen F. Cohen | Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History, and Politics at New York University and Princeton University

See also

Democracy Now
Katrina vanden Heuvel: We Need “Robust Debate” in Reporting on Russia, Not “Suffocating Consensus”
Amy Goodman interviews Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation and wife of Stephen F. Cohen.

Lars P. Syll — What’s the use of economics?

The economists' dilemma: If economic methodology doesn't base itself on assumptions common to the hard sciences, like homogeneity, additivity, transitivity, etc, then it won't be considered a real science. On the other hand, if economists ignore reflexivity, downward causation in systems, synergy, and other factors that affect individuals who are socially embedded, its output will not fit reality and it will appear lack empirical foundation, not to mention disappointing raised expectations resulting from the claim of being a "hard" science distinct from "soft" science like social science.

Maybe quit being hypocritical and 'fess up to the actual situation?

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What’s the use of economics?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Keiser Report: Consequences of Neoliberalism (E1254)

I've looked at a few videos this morning all good enough to put out here, but I never reached the end of them so I thought maybe not quite, but this video gripped me to the end.

Max Keiser  discusses how since neoliberalism was introduced back in 1976 Britain's productivity has gone steadily down and has got a lot worse since 2008. In Britain it takes workers five days what the French produce in four. Max Kaiser says British workers need a pay rise.

Max Kaiser says how the government was thinking about linking London and all the major cities up to Scotland with a new rail system to take the heat off London and spread more work to the regions, but the gents in the City of London put the blockers on it as a overheated London and impoverished regions suited them better.

Now if that was interesting the second half is riveting. RBS and Loydds which are publicly owned deliberately pulled the rug from under 30,000 small too medium sized businesses bankrupting them to make massive profits while destroying Britain's productivity even more. Two reports were produced about it but the Conservative Government  sat on them, and so did the BBC. Many small businessman committed suicide when their businesses folded up.

But there's more, the banks lost hundreds of £billions but were also caught money laundering, but the top bankers made a fortune. Neil Mitchell, a whistleblower, has uncovered all the crime the bankers have committed and says they should be put on trail. This is basically organized crime and the Conservative Party is hiding it. This is treason.

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy ask why it takes a British worker five days to produce the same economic value as a French worker produces in just four. Productivity has collapsed in the UK to the lowest since 1794. In the second half, Max interviews Scottish businessman, Neil Mitchell, about his many years long battle for justice for UK victims of RBS, the taxpayer owned bank that was found to have forced viable businesses into bankruptcy. Mitchell suspects the bank may have also practiced such tactics in America and is taking his case across the Atlantic.

Renegade Inc. Tweet - Everything in the UK Is a lie

Financial Times reader comment:
Everything in the UK is a lie. There is no capitalism. There is no free market. There is no price discovery. There is no free press. Work does not pay. The Bank of England is not independent. The government does not represent the people.

Renegade Inc. Tweet - Everything in the UK Is a lie

Stephen Lendman - Russiagate: A CIA Concocted Hoax

No Russian interference in America’s political process occurred in 2016, earlier, or is being cooked up for the nation’s November midterm elections.
Trump knows it and said so in Helsinki. When asked if he holds Russia accountable for anything, he said:
“I hold both countries responsible (for dismal bilateral relations). I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish…And I think we’re all to blame.”
Regarding election meddling, he said: “There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. And people are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign.”
“My people came to me and some others…(T)hey think it’s Russia…President Putin…said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I dont see any reason why it would be.”
“…President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Trump is wrong about most things, not this. No evidence, nothing, proves Russian meddling in the US political process. 
If it existed, it would have been revealed long ago. It never was and never will be because there’s nothing credible to reveal, Big Lies alone.
Trump’s above remarks were in Helsinki. In response to a raging Russophobic firestorm of criticism back home, he backtracked from his above comments, saying he misspoke in Helsinki.
He accepts the intelligence community’s claim about Russian US election meddling – knowing it didn’t occur.
Russiagate was cooked up by Obama’s thuggish Russophobic CIA director John Brennan, media scoundrels keeping the Big Lie alive.
DNC/John Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked – an indisputable fact media scoundrels suppress to their disgrace.
Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray earlier explained that “(t)he source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all,” adding:
“I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam’s whistleblower award in Washington.” 
“The source of these emails (came) from within official circles in Washington DC. You should look to Washington, not to Moscow.”
“WikiLeaks has never published any material received from the Russian government or from any proxy of the Russian government. It’s simply a completely untrue claim designed to divert attention from the content of the material” and its true source.
The Big Lie alone matters when it’s the official narrative. The Russian meddling hoax and mythical Kremlin threat to US security are central to maintaining adversarial relations with America’s key invented enemy.
Its fake enemy is vital to unjustifiably justifying the nation’s global empire of bases, its outrageous amount of military spending, its belligerence toward all sovereign independent states, its endless wars of aggression, its scorn for world peace and stability, its neoliberal harshness to pay for it all, along with transferring the nation’s wealth from ordinary people to its privileged class.
America’s deeply corrupted political process is far too debauched to fix, rigged to serve wealth, power and privilege exclusively, at war on humanity at home and abroad.
It’s a tyrannical plutocracy and oligarchy, a police state, not a democracy, a cesspool of criminality, inequity and injustice, run by sinister dark forces – monied interests and bipartisan self-serving political scoundrels, wicked beyond redemption, threatening humanity’s survival.
Today is the most perilous time in world history. What’s going on should terrify everyone everywhere.
Washington’s rage for global dominance, its military madness, its unparalleled recklessness threatens world peace, stability, and survival.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Panic mode

Sputnik and RT reporting on the farce that now taking place in America — which the US media is presenting selectively and in a biased way. Who is "sowing discord."

The Week
FBI Director Wray: Russia is continuing to sow discord in the U.S.
Catherine Garcia

DJT is closing in on the swamp and the critters are freaking.

'That Would Absolutely Be Grounds for Removal from Office': Democrat Says Trump's Latest Capitulation to Putin Could Lead to Impeachment
Cody Fenwick

Brendan Greeley — Goodbye to Sunday morning economics


FT Alphaville (requires free registration)
Goodbye to Sunday morning economics
Brendan Greeley

Two from Tom Luongo

… as [Trump] learned..., nothing will appease these people than his removal from the office. The Resistance needs it to vindicate their descent into madness. The Deep State needs it to ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. 
There are too many cozy relationships at risk, too many think tank jobs on the block, and too many weapons contracts at stake and too many more taxpayer-funded junkets to attend for Trump and Putin to remake the post-WWII political order....
Strategic Culture Foundation
While His Opponents Cry Treason Trump Sues for Peace
Tom Luongo

See also
Given the best these people can do is hang Trump with the term ‘traitor’ so casually is prima facia evidence of 1) their desperation and 2) their insanity. Trump cannot be a traitor for going out and executing one of the main functions of the President, meeting with foreign leaders.
The insanity stoked by real traitors like James Comey, John Brennan, Bill Browder, and John McCain who did conspire with foreign governments (the U.K., Ukraine and yes, Russia) to bring down a sitting President has people still believing that they can overturn the election and award the Presidency to Hillary Clinton ex post facto.
As lawless as the United States has become, even that is a little beyond the pale… but only just a little....
Zero Hedge

Jumping the shark

Sputnik International
Another Head-Scratcher: US PAC’s Billboard Implies GOP Is … Communist? (PHOTO)

Sputnik International
Who Is Marina Gross? US Translator Thrust into Spotlight With Subpoena Threat

Sputnik International
‘F**k Trump’: Image of POTUS Being Beheaded Sparks Backlash in Oregon (PHOTO)

Sputnik International

Sputnik International

Jeff Klein — When the US Invaded Russia

September 4, 1918-April 1, 1920,

Consortium News
When the US Invaded Russia
Jeff Klein

C J Hopkins — Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism

More fun from satirist C. J. Hopkins.

The Trump-Putin Derangement Syndrome is a combination of gaslighting and good old-fashioned McCarthyism.

Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
C J Hopkins

John Helmer — July 17 Is the Fourth Anniversary of the MH17 Attack – Time and Reason to Doubt the Allegations

Update. Noting big one way of the the other, but interesting if you are still following this. The investigation appears to be inconclusive in spite of claims to the contrary.

Dances with Bears
July 17 Is the Fourth Anniversary of the MH17 Attack – Time and Reason to Doubt the Allegations
John Helmer

The Atlantic - The 99% Is a Myth—Here's How It Really Breaks Down

When it comes to the division of wealth, many Americans believe that the country is split between the 1%, which possesses a significant share of the country’s money, and the 99%, or “the people.” In reality, The Atlantic writer Matthew Stewart argues, 9.9% of the population comprises America’s new aristocracy, which often “takes wealth out of productive activities and invests it in walls.” But this group of people is rich in more than mere money, and its constancy poses an insidious threat to the promise of American democracy.

The 9,9% are doing well - they are the doctors, lawyers, and managers, etc - but they don't feel are that they are because the 0.1% are fast pulling away from them and this raises the prices of high class goods and property.. The bottom 90% are becoming increasingly poor and the middle class is disappearing.

It's funny how people keep voting for the parties of the 1%? KV

Michael Hudson — Argentina back on the debt train

Must-read. Michael Hudson gives the background on Argentina's fall in terms of neoliberal capitalism.

Michael Hudson: What really is at issue is whether all debts should be paid, or not? I think that there should be an international rule that no country should be obliged to pay its debts to the wealthy One Percent, especially to a creditor class that prefers to hold its domestic wealth offshore in foreign currencies. No country should be obliged to pay its bondholders if the price of paying means austerity, unemployment, shrinking population, emigration, rising suicide rates, abolition of public health standards, and selloffs of the public domain to monopolists. To make matters even worse, the privatizations demanded by the IMF and World Bank, for instance, will sharply raise the prices for what had been public services, transportation, water and sewer, communications, and telephones.
There should be principle that the domestic people should come before foreigners. But the guiding principle of the IMF, World Bank, and the United States the opposite: namely, that no nation should put its own interests first. Instead, every nation is told to put the interests of international creditors first, even when the cost is impoverishment, dependency, mass poverty and deindustrialization. This is what globalization really means today. It’s an international imposition of class war by the creditor One Percent against labor and the indebted 99 Percent and their governments.
The madness of this was spelled out over 2000 years ago. In Book I of Plato’s Republic you have Socrates arguing against the idea that all debts should be paid. He asks, what if you borrow a weapon from a crazy person, and he asks for it back. Should you give him a weapon if he’s likely to hurt people?
This applies to creditors in general: Should you pay off debts if the creditors are going to use their money to impoverish society and reduce people to debt dependency? That’s what the Republic is all about. We’re still dealing today twenty four hundred years later with the same issue.
The issue is: what should come first: the people’s welfare, or that of creditors?
Michael Hudson — On Finance, Real Estate And The Powers Of Neoliberalism
Argentina back on the debt train
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

Brian Romanchuk — The Yield Curve Provides Limited Economic Information

The relentless flattening of the Treasury yield curve has been a topic of ongoing debate -- is this a signal that a recession is near? The key to interpreting the flattening is that bond market participants are not paid to to anticipate economic outcomes (outside the corner case of the inflation-linked market), rather to anticipate the path of short-term rates (and the term premium). The flattening yield curve tells us that market participants (on average) believe that we are near the end of the rate hike cycle, but that does not necessarily mean that a recession is imminent....