Thursday, January 23, 2020

Links — 23 Jan 2020

Putin Has Deprived the Children of the Elite of Their Political Future
Marko Marjanović


Elijah J. Magnier
Iran is ready to attack again: Will the US forces withdraw from Iraq?

Indian Punchline
US plotting return of ‘strongman’ in Iraq
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Fast Company
Doomsday Clock scientists are so freaked out, they adjusted the countdown to seconds rather than minutes
Arianne Cohen

Fort Russ News (I have been saying for some time that Poklonskaya is a woman to watch. Star material. So is Gritter. The 21st century is going to be the woman's century.)

SouthFront (Who has the most to gain, and lose, in assassinations and targeted killings? Dangerous game for the Empire to be playing when Americans who are exposed around the world. This is a time-honored what of driving back empires.)
United States Officially Threatens To Assassinate New Leader Of Iranian Quds Force

Sputnik International (ROFLMAO. Conventional economics has as run up inequality to obscene levels and threatens the planet with climate destruction by ignoring negative externality. The result is lack of true price in markets that vitiates economic calculation. Good work, guys, and, yes, you are just about all guys. Clueless or compromised?)
'Is She the Chief Economist?': Mnuchin Tells Greta Thunberg to Go Study Economics in College

Mnuchin says US must cut spending and reduce the deficit: Recipe for guaranteed recession.

Mnuchin says the U.S. government must cut spending and reduce the deficit. This will absolutely guarantee a recession.

It's amazing that these views still prevail. Complete and total ignorance.

Steve Mnuchin is a clown


somebody said it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Links — 22 Jan 2020

FAIR (The Nazis were especially great that this.)
Netflix, Iran and the Documentary as Geopolitical Weapon
Brian Meir

Commentary (The soft coup against POTUS by the intel services)
Eli Lake

The Nation (The oligarch's oligarch)
Mikhail Khodorkovsky: the Man, the Myth, the Movie
Lucy Komisar

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate
Caitlin Johnstone
Elijah J. Magnier
Immediate US withdrawal due to its violation of the agreement and Iraq sovereignty

Fort Russ News
IRAQI PARLIAMENT: US Forces Given a Year to Leave Iraq
Drago Bosnic

Intel Today
The Douma Conspiracy — France Role in Rigging the OPCW Report

And now for the details
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Mint Press News
World’s Super Rich Meet in Davos to Discuss the Climate Change Problem they Created

Brazil’s Right-Wing Gov’t Charges Journalist Glenn Greenwald with Cybercrimes
Alan Macleod

Progressive Pulse (It may be in the maths, but the cause is in the system design and policy.)
Wealth always trickles up – it’s all in the maths
Peter May

The Grayzone
OPCW investigator testifies at UN that no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria
Ben Norton

The Unz Review
No Radical Changes In Russian Cabinet
Anatoly Karlin

The Vineyard of the Saker
The new Russian government: a much needed evolution but not a revolution
The Saker

Zero Hedge
IRGC Commander & "Soleimani Ally" Shot Dead By Masked Assassins On Motorcycle
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge
Trump Says Middle-Class Tax Cut To Be Announced Within Three Months
Tyler Durden

Donald Trump Says He’s Willing to “Look” at Entitlements “Toward The End of This Year”
Jordan Weissmann

Emmanuel Saez — Saying Inequality Has Not Increased in the US “the Equivalent of Being a Climate Change Denier”

In an interview with ProMarket ahead of his upcoming Stigler Center visit this week, UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez discussed the impact of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, the disproportionate political power of the super-rich, and whether he agrees with Bernie Sanders that billionaires shouldn’t exist....

ProMarket — The blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Emmanuel Saez: Saying Inequality Has Not Increased in the US “the Equivalent of Being a Climate Change Denier”
Asher Schechter interviews Emmanuel Saez

Political Economy? — Peter Radford

One of the dominant themes of the last century was this general assumption that human activities can be studied through an ever increasingly rational lens. That may be, but economists then went too far: they projected rationality into the subject of study. Instead of using the tools of reason to tease out regularities of interest, they made the subject matter itself entirely rational. So the regularities they thought they saw were simply echoes, or mirrors, of their own thought processes. People in markets suddenly became economists, which made studying them more easy. The entire enterprise became a massive “if only” exercise. If only people behaved like economists it would so much easier for economists to study them! So that’s what happened. Entire Nobel winning careers were built around what was nothing more than a gigantic bout of self-absorption.
No wonder the discipline rapidly became so sterile.
And irrelevant.
Now, however, there are feint signs of hope....
Inequality is a policy variable that depends on how much rent the elite are permitted to extract. Growing inequality suggests elite capture of the government.

The Radford Free Press
Political Economy?
Peter Radford

Randy Wray — STATEMENT: House Budget Committee, “Reexamining the economic costs of debt”, Nov 20, 2019

This blog is based on the testimony I provided to the US House of Representatives. My written statement will be published in the Congressional Record (a version is also at the Levy Economics Institute: The full statement was co-authored with Yeva Nersisyan.I will argue that the Federal Government’s deficit and debt are not so scary as we are led to believe.Neither the deficit nor the debt ratio is on an unsustainable path. In some sense, chronic deficits and a rising debt ratio are normal.They are not due to out of control spending—now or in the future. They serve a useful public purpose. In any case they are largely outside the control of Congress....
New Economic Perspectives
STATEMENT: House Budget Committee, “Reexamining the economic costs of debt”, Nov 20, 2019
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, Bard College

Job Guarantee as a Policy Variable — Brian Romanchuk

The Job Guarantee is the most natural implementation of the concept of having the central government act as a price setter. By making an open bid for labour at a fixed price, an effective minimum wage is created in the economy, and it will eliminate almost all involuntary unemployment. This discussion will not cover the tricky question of implementation details, but will instead discuss how this fits in with the Monetary Monopoly model....
Bond Economics
Job Guarantee as a Policy Variable
Brian Romanchuk

Bill Mitchell — Tax the rich to counter carbon emissions not to get their money

Tax the rich! That has become a misguided progressive Left mantra. The intention is to maintain public services including health, education and income support which are core issues for progressives. But then the neoliberal indoctrination that has infested this group intervenes. They seem to think the government needs the money of those with lots of it before it can provide essential and progressive public services and fight the climate emergency. They support political parties that set as their primary macroeconomic target the achievement of a bigger fiscal surplus than the conservatives at a time when there are more than 13.5 per cent of available and willing labour resources not working (either unemployed or underemployed) and households are carrying record levels of (unsustainable) debt. And these parties keep losing elections – it is a global phenomena, most recently observed in Britain. One of the reasons we need to tax the rich is to deal with their (grossly) disproportionate impact on carbon emissions. That is one of many reasons. But you should never include among those reasons a need by government for their cash in order to facilitate spending. Any progressive who articulates that argument is just reiterating neoliberal frames....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Tax the rich to counter carbon emissions not to get their money
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

BREAKING: Tulsi Gabbard SUES Hillary Clinton For $50 Million!

Kim Dotcom Tweet - I support SenSanders for President

I always thought Kim Dotcom would be more on the libertarian right, but he recently tweeted about climate change and his followers went nuts as most were deniers. Now with this tweet the same is happening, and there isn't many liberals tweeting.

Kim Dotcom is a very wealthy IT serial entrepreneur who is into cryptocurrency, and so it seems a lot of his followers also thought he a was on the right.

Kim Dotcom tweet.

I support @SenSanders for President. No more warmongers and deep state. End mass surveillance. Protect free speech. Free Julian Assange. End corporate corruption in US politics. Change greed for compassion. Being a capitalist doesn’t mean you can’t be socially fair. #Bernie2020

Modern Monetary Theory: meet the economists fighting the economy

Morning Star editor Ben Chacko speaks to BILL MITCHELL about the new hypothesis disproving the core assumptions of neoliberalism

A good interview of Bill Mitchell.

In his 1980s book on walking Britain’s coast The Kingdom by the Sea, Paul Theroux notes the Thatcher government’s determination to close branch railway lines because they aren’t profitable — before observing “though neither are motorways.”

The fact that you pay for things because they are useful, rather than profitable, is the whole rationale for public services from the fire brigade to the police force, but disappears as soon as services are marketised — hence the government’s drive to remove guards from trains despite the social benefits of ensuring disabled access to transport or protecting those travelling alone from harassment or assault.

The Morning Star

Modern Monetary Theory: meet the economists fighting the economy

Kim Dotcom retweet - Joe Rogan says he's voting for Bernie

This surprised me as I thought both Joe Rogan and Kim Dotcom tended towards libertarianisn.

Lee Jones - How Will the Tories Rule? Understanding Boris Johnson's Political Project

A non-partisan look at Johnson’s Tory Party and what Labour needs to do to win again. According to Lee Jones, Johnson’s party has shifted slightly to the left and has become more liberal, but it will still fail to tackle the problem of the financial sector in the UK.

Far from being “far right” or Thatcherite, Johnson’s new project is “Red Tory”, projecting a communitarian ethos and proposing far greater state intervention in the economy. This post-neoliberal conservatism is a significant departure, but it is plagued by internal contradictions.

The Full Brexit 

Lee Jones - How Will the Tories Rule? Understanding Boris Johnson's Political Project

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bill Mitchell — UBI–the hopeful not the surrender

I have long disagreed with Guy Standing about the solutions to unemployment. 20 years ago we crossed paths on panels and in the literature where he would argue that UBI was the way forward and I would argue that it was a neoliberal plot and that, instead, we needed to push for job creation. My view has always been that to surrender to the neoliberals on their claim that governments cannot generate sufficient jobs to satisfy the desires for work of the unemployed was a slippery slope. Standing continues to publish his fiction. In his latest Social Europe article (January 15, 2020) – Building a progressive alliance in Britain – he seeks to integrate UBI proposals with a recovery plan for British Labour. My view is that would not help Labour recover from the shots they fired into their own feet in the period before the December election by listening to the likes of Standing and those who advocated the Fiscal Credibility Rule and the reneging on the Brexit commitment. Standing’s aversion to job creation is in contradistinction with a recommendation from the Wetenschappelijke Raad Voor Het Regeringsbeleid (WRR or in English, The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy) to the Dutch government to deal with the challenges of achieving “good work”, in part, by introducing a ‘basic job’ which in my parlance means by introducing a Job Guarantee. They are motivated by a deep vein of social science and medical research that extols the virtues of work beyond its obvious income generation qualities. Pushing a UBI in the light of that research is just a pitiful bailout...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
UBI – the hopeful not the surrender
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

On Contact: Ayn Rand with Prof. Lisa Duggan

Why do so many young people like Ayn Rand? Well, they lived under authority all their lives and suddenly they start to get  some of the freedom of adults, and Ayn Rand tells them to rebel against the collective and take everything they can. The heroes in her books are all good looking, powerful people and this enthralls the young. Her books are also full of sex and those pages will be the most worn out in her books.

Ayn Rand was a Property Absolutist, and believed you can do as you please with your property regardless of the neighbours or society. But when it came to the Native Americans she said they deserved to lose their land to white people because they hadn't utilised properly.

Ayn Rand had very little understanding of how capitalism worked, or that the regulations were put in place to stop crony capitalism taking hold, and that without them the market could become fixed (less free) by the big corporations.

Socialism is the Future "President Putin:Russia should have learned experience from China"|John Ross

Socialism works for China.

John Ross says that 30 years ago Russia had the same sized economy as China, and he tried to tell the Russians back then to copy the Chinese model, but the Russians thought that they could be as rich as the Americans within a year if they listened to the US neoliberal economists, and some even thought they could turn the economy around within weeks. Now the majority of Russians regret what happened, including Putin.

Jeffrey Sachs Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

The times are changing. Maybe MMT next?

“We need to get our country back on track, and Bernie is the leader to do it. Bernie refuses to give in to the big money and corporate power.” -Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University professor and U.N. adviser
We're going to win this election and transform the country, but we can't do it alone. The way we win is person-to-person contact, knocking on doors and making the case for people to get out to vote. Are you in?

Monday, January 20, 2020

20 Jan 2020 — Part 2

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Defend Democracy Press
Behind Soleimani’s Assasination: Wurmser, Neocons, Netanyahu
Jon Schwarz

Elijah Magnier
How are Iran and the “Axis of the Resistance” affected by the US assassination of Soleimani?

Middle East Eye
Iran's new Quds Force commander vows 'manly' response to Soleimani assassination

Mint Press News
Bolivia: As Elections Near, US-Backed Interim Gov’t Mobilizes Military, Arrests Opposition Leaders
Alan Macleod

Moon of Alabama
Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Strategic Culture Foundation
The Many Matryoska Dolls to America’s Way of Imagining Iran
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

The Unz Review
A New Definition of Warfare
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


First I’ll clearly state what MMT is and then outline four paths that lead to MMT’s conclusions: history, logic, theory and practice....
New Economic Perspectives
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, Bard College

Links — 20 Jan 2020 — Part 1

Consortium News
Hyper Over Russian Hypersonics
Michael Brenner | Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh

true economics
15/1/20: Putin's Latest Call Option Buy
Constantin Gurdgiev | chairman of the Ireland-Russia Business Association, contributor and former editor of Business & Finance Magazine, and lecturer in Finance with Trinity College, Dublin

Common Dreams
Blaming 'Flawed and Sexist' Capitalist System, Oxfam Report Finds 2,153 Billionaires Wealthier Than 4.6 Billion of World's Poorest
Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Former Nuremberg War Crimes Prosecutor on the Immoral Killing of the Iranian General
Benjamin B. Ferencz

Most people think capitalism does more harm than good, survey shows

A majority of people think that the rich are getting richer while the rest of society struggles, according to a new report.

Fifty-six percent of general population respondents to a study by consultancy Edelman agreed with the statement: "Capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world," while 78% agreed that "elites are getting richer while regular people struggle to pay their bills."


BBC Climategate Science of a Scandal

An excellent video of how the fossil fuel companies managed to discredit climate change scientists, although the allegations were based on falsehoods.

Documentary that reveals the truth behind a notorious incident in 2009, when a growing international consensus on climate change was derailed by one of the biggest scandals in modern science.

For the first time, all the key players recount the events and what really happened during 'Climategate'. Thousands of emails hacked from the world-renowned Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia seemed to suggest that climate scientists had been deliberately manipulating data to exaggerate evidence of climate change, a conspiracy that was the holy grail of climate change deniers.
The battle between the scientists and their critics over climate science and data transparency resulted in a media storm, public misinformation, a criminal investigation, multiple inquiries and death threats. The email controversy has continued to be cited by climate change sceptics - among them President Donald Trump. This documentary provides an insight into the battle over fact and scientific enquiry, and the realities of climate change.

Daily Motion

BBC Climategate Science of a Scandal

Bill Mitchell — Canada–MMT poster child?

On August 10, 2015, the Library of the Canadian Parliament released one of their In Brief research publications – How the Bank of Canada Creates Money for the Federal Government: Operational and Legal Aspects – which described the operational interactions between the Bank and the Canadian Treasury that facilitate government spending in some detail. It allows ordinary citizens to come to terms with some of the essential capacities of the currency-issuing Canadian government, which Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) highlights as a starting point towards achieving an understanding of how the monetary system operates....

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Canada – MMT poster child?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Reserve Assets at Depositories

There are all of these articles out there about how much the Fed has increased Reserve Assets at the Depositories and how it is somehow causing the recent increase in equity share prices... here are the statements:

From Dec. 11 red circle:

Here from Jan. 15 red circle:

they haven't even been increased in over a month... Reserve Assets at the Depositories have been STABLE for the last month... HELLO!!!!

Reserve Assets at the Treasury (blue circle) however HAVE BEEN increased by fiscal policy...

And now this all is probably going to reverse in February as first of the month fiscal transfers and IRS Tax Refunds starting throughout the month will reduce the Treasury assets and increase the Depository assets by (if we use previous year's policy as a guide) by about $200B and the Fed is adding another $60B per month via permanent asset purchases... maybe +$260B...

So we may see these balances at the Depositories surge from present levels to over $1,900B in about 30 -35 days ending first week of March...  maybe +$250Bish in 30-35 days...

Depositories are going to have to sell something in response...

They are going to have to liquidate either other non-risk assets or risk assets or a combination thereof in order to maintain a stable regulatory leverage ratio...

They haven't had to sell anything for the last month due to Reserve policy for purposes of leverage regulation... the Reserve Assets have manifestly been stable...

In February though, they are going to have to sell something .... in order to maintain stable regulatory leverage...

NOT a recommendation...

BBC - Isabel dos Santos: Africa's richest woman 'ripped off Angola'

How the World works!

Leaked documents reveal how Africa's richest woman made her fortune through exploiting her own country, and corruption.

Isabel dos Santos got access to lucrative deals involving land, oil, diamonds and telecoms when her father was president of Angola, a southern African country rich in natural resources.

The documents show how she and her husband were allowed to buy valuable state assets in a series of suspicious deals.

BBC - Isabel dos Santos: Africa's richest woman 'ripped off Angola'

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Links — 19 Jan 2020

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Fort Russ
Security Expert: US Relocating ISIS terrorists to Iraq in an Attempt to Nullify Iraqi Parliament’s Pull-Out Decision
Drago Bosnic

Fort Russ News

Boris Johnson: No Normalization With Russia Until Its Current Regime Is Eliminated

The Grayzone (Video)
What’s happening in Russia: Putin’s proposed constitutional changes explained
Anya Parampil

Stephanie Kelton – The Deficit Myth (Video)

Video of 2020 Harcourt Lecture at the University of Adelaide. No transcript.

Brave New Europe
Stephanie Kelton – The Deficit Myth
Mathew D. Rose

MMT And Policy Variables — Brian Romanchuk

One of the distinctive features of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is the choice of variables used by policymakers to guide he economy. The choices are unconventional: interest rate policy is downplayed or even eliminated, while the requisition price used by the fiscal arm of government is emphasised. This can be seen in the structure of the Monetary Monopoly model (link)....
Bond Economics
MMT And Policy Variables
Brian Romanchuk

A 97-Year-Old Philosopher Faces His Own Death

This was a very difficult video to watch, which I thought it was going to be deeply spiritual, but it wasn't really like that at all, although it was very profound.

I was going to write a summary of the video, like I often do for those who don't time to watch, but I realised I would spoil it. I'll just say it's incredibly sad and shows how difficult life can be, especially at the end.

It was very sad when Herbert Fingarette spoke about his late wife, and it was very sad when he was in the garden looking at the flowers. It's a sad film.

Life is wonderful and it seems such an affront that we have to lose it. This video captures that sadness so profoundly. Although not the cheeriest of videos, it also captures the beauty of life and why it's so special, which I think is the reason why I posted it.

Herbert Fingarette once argued that there was no reason to fear death. At 97, his own mortality began to haunt him, and he had to rethink everything.