Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Zero Hedge "I Was The Victim": Hillary Blames DNC, NYT, "1,000 Russian Agents," Comey And WikiLeaks For Loss

Earlier today Hillary Clinton offered up what some have described as one of the most delusional interviews of all time at Recode's CodeCon conference, in which she blamed everything and everyone, including but certainly not limited to: FBI Director Comey, "1,000s of Russian agents", right-wing media outlets, Russia, sexism, WikiLeaks, Russia, a funding deficit at the DNC, the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, the New York Times (yes, the NYT) ...oh, and Russia, for her 2016 election loss.
And while she certainly "takes responsibility" for every decision she made, Hillary desperately wants you to understand that's not why she lost...because, you know, Russia.
"I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost."
Of course, in all of her rambling, Hillary never offered up a viable conclusion on why "Russian hackers" were only able to sway voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania but not in places like Virginia, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, states where anti-Russian tinfoil must be impervious....
Still in denial.

Zero Hedge
"I Was The Victim": Hillary Blames DNC, NYT, "1,000 Russian Agents," Comey And WikiLeaks For Loss
Tyler Durden

Two from Pepe Escobar

You are about to enter the ultimate minefield.
Sputnik International
Jihad 2.0: the Making of the Next Nightmare
Pepe Escobar

Asia Times
Putin, Trump, and "my guy" Macron
Pepe Escobar

Editorial — Corbyn’s foreign policy speech reveals his principled commitment to achieving peace

It is not Corbyn who “shares platforms with Middle Eastern fanatics,” as the Daily Mail accuses — it is Theresa May, who sucks up to the world’s biggest sponsor of Islamist terror, Saudi Arabia, the land where conversion from Islam is punished by death, where women are stoned to death and where people still have their heads chopped off for “sorcery.”
It was not Corbyn who backed the provision of logistical assistance and weapons to religious extremists seeking to overthrow the Libyan government, or later the Syrian — it was the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, with shameful collusion from too many on Labour’s benches.…
Defend Democracy Press
Corbyn’s foreign policy speech reveals his principled commitment to achieving peace

Chas W. Freeman Jr. — Avoiding War with China

In recent years, many American leaders have grown cavalier about nuclear war, especially with Russia, but there is also risk of a devastating conflict with China, as former U.S. Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. observes:
Let’s not kid ourselves. The armed forces of the United States and China are now very far along in planning and practicing how to go to war with each other. Neither has any idea when or why it might have to engage the other on the battlefield but both agree on the list of contingencies that could spark conflict. These range from naval scuffles in the Spratly or Senkaku Islands to full-spectrum combat over Taiwan independence or reunification.

The context in which these contingencies might occur reflects an imbalance of power left over from history. U.S. forces are forward-deployed along China’s frontiers in a pattern that originated with the Cold War policy of “containment.” Chinese forces are deployed to defend China’s borders as China defines them. China regards the United States as the country most able and likely to violate those borders and attack it.…
Notice that China is aligned defensively and the US offensively.
The United States seeks to sustain the military dominance of the Western Pacific that it has enjoyed since its 1945 overthrow of Japanese imperial power. Washington is determined to preclude the contraction of the sphere of influence it established during the Cold War....
Consortium News
Chas W. Freeman Jr., former U.S. Ambassador

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said the state and the level of Russia's strategic missiles is at its highest and would provide great success rate of strategic deterrence, with 99% of the launchers being capable for combat.

Shoigu noted the rocket launchers are equipped with latest technology, adding that 96% of all strategic nuclear missiles are ready for their immediate launch.
The missiles can penetrate any form of missile shield.
Fort Russ
Russia Ready to Fight: 96% of all Strategic Missiles Prepared for Their Immediate Launch | translated by Samer Hussein

Moon of Alabama — France Prepares Pro-AlQaeda Intervention In Syria

Terrorists in France, bad. Terrorists in Syria, good.

Some people never learn apparently.

Moon of Alabama
France Prepares Pro-AlQaeda Intervention In Syria

See also

Read the comments, too.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Moon of Alabama — Trump Dumps Pretension Of Altruism From U.S. Foreign Policy

For decades the U.S. foreign policy elite and its presidents played the farce of an altruistic United States that acts for the global good and in the interest of humanity.
That was always a lie. Wherever one takes a deeper look the U.S. acted solely in its (perceived) self interests. But the rhetoric helped to drag others along. Tributary governments could pretend they worked for the "universal good" when they in fact just followed orders from Washington DC. U.S. pressure was applied behind the curtain - through bribes, threats of revealing private secrets or, if necessary, via well managed "democratic" coups.
Those times are over. Thanks to the honesty of the Trump administration the foremost positions of hard U.S interests and deadly threats are now openly declared fundamentals of U.S. foreign policy.
The neo-conservative chaperone in the White House, National Security Advisor General McMaster, and the Goldman Sachs veto holder in the White House, economic advisor Gary Cohn, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that reveals the new true face of the U.S. empire:
The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.
Translation: "Power is with the strong. We feel strong. Screw you!"
At every stop in our journey, we delivered a clear message to our friends and partners: Where our interests align, we are open to working together to solve problems and explore opportunities. We let adversaries know that we will not only take their measure, deter conflict through strength, and defend our interests and values, but also look for areas of common interest that allow us to work together. In short, those societies that share our interests will find no friend more steadfast than the United States. Those that choose to challenge our interests will encounter the firmest resolve.
From now on the U.S. will only engage in selective, temporary friendships. "Where our interests align", and only there, will the U.S. be friendly because it obviously serves U.S. interests. Wherever a country deviates from that, even partially, it will "encounter the firmest resolve." That is as clear a threat as it can be.
I would not call this a threat. Not only it is finally telling the truth instead of larding it with BS. But it is also straight up Realpolitik that could have been penned by Otto von Bismarck, or Henry Kissinger. Oh, wait. Isn't Kissinger a key Trump advisor?
The McMaster/Cohn op-ed ends with this:
America First signals the restoration of American leadership and our government’s traditional role overseas—to use the diplomatic, economic and military resources of the U.S. to enhance American security, promote American prosperity, and extend American influence around the world.

Moon of Alabama
Trump Dumps Pretension Of Altruism From U.S. Foreign Policy

Geopolitica — China to implement cyber security law tomorrow

China will adopt from Thursday a law that mandates strict data surveillance and storage for firms working in the country, the official Xinhua news agency said.|

The law, passed in November by the country's parliament, bans online service providers from collecting and selling users' personal information, and gives users the right to have their information deleted, in cases of abuse.
“Those who violate the provisions and infringe on personal information will face hefty fines,” the news agency said on Monday.
Until now, China's data industry has had no overarching data protection framework, being governed instead by loosely defined laws.
However, overseas critics say the new law threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of sectors the country deems “critical”, and includes contentious requirements for security reviews and data stored on servers in China. The West finds this law controversial as usual....
China exercises sovereign control of its information space.

John Helmer — The President’s Inferiority Complex , His Advisor’s Russia-Hating Obsession, And The Putsch Plotter With The Itchy Trigger Finger

Second installment on Zbig and Jimmy Carter. Another eye-opener.

Accounts such as these make it clear that there are no "good guys." "Our guys" are thugs, too.
These games of liquidating others in the cause of defeating the Kremlin has invigorated Carter, even today when Carter himself is on his last legs. Drawing the Russians on to the field of battle was his and Brzezinski’s aim; Afghanistan, after the Soviet military intervention began in December 1979, was their main chance. Their successors in the White House have the same chance against Russian forces on the battlefields of Syria and Ukraine. Though he has tried, Brzezinski is no longer in a position to advise them that if they don’t dare, they can’t win. Carter is still alive to demonstrate that if they dare, they are likely to lose.
It isn’t sure that’s what KGB trainee Putin scribbled down during his lectures at the Andropov Red Banner Institute in 1984. It’s certain he has noted it down now.
Helmer's accounts explain much about the current Russophobia in the government and press.

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Ollie McAninch — This Facebook comment about Jeremy Corbyn is going viral

You will like this.

Peter Dorman — Pronoun Madness

Hear, hear!

Pronoun Madness
Peter Dorman | Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

Jomo Kwame Sundaram — Why International Financial Crises?

Raises some good questions. 
The leading international monetary economist of the post-war period, Robert Triffin, described the post-1971 arrangements as amounting to a “non-system.” Now, with the international monetary system essentially the cumulative outcome of various, sometimes contradictory and ad hoc responses to new challenges, the need for coordination is all the more urgent.
Makes a case for more concerted action now that the world is operating under a "non-system." 

I would not call it a non-system but a highly flexible system that resist simple analysis. 

The gold standard for international settlement resulted in a system that was simpler to model, but it was much more brittle, which is a reason it broke down.

Why International Financial Crises?
Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Xinhua — Small, medium-sized cities to drive consumption growth

Small and medium-sized cities will play a major role in driving China's consumption growth in the coming decade, according to a Morgan Stanley economist.
Robin Xing, the investment bank's chief China economist, predicted on Wednesday that national annual consumption will rise to 9.7 trillion U.S. dollars in 2030 from last year's 4.4 trillion dollars on the sidelines of the Morgan Stanley China Summit in Beijing.
"Third- and fourth-tier cities will contribute nearly two thirds of the increase," Xing said.
The proportion outshines the 9 percent from megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and the 21 percent for second-tier cities. Consumption in rural areas is expected to reach 400 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 7 percent of the total.
Personal consumption in such cities will grow the fastest at 8.7 percent year on year from now to 2030, according to Xing.
The economist, who has headed Morgan Stanley's research team in China for a year, said the promising prospects are based on the rapid population growth in smaller cities and a closing income gap with large cities....
Small, medium-sized cities to drive consumption growth

Edward Harrison — All politics are local: understanding Trump’s threats and misunderstanding Merkel’s disappointment

Conclusion: Merkel and Trump are playing to domestic audiences. We shouldn’t exaggerate the impact their words will have on policy. Moreover, we now have two pragmatists in office in France and Germany. Emmanuel Macron showed his own pragmatism yesterday by inviting Vladimir Putin as the first foreign leader to receive as President in France. I expect Germany to show pragmatism by continuing to work with the US on a wide range of issues including security and intelligence. And I certainly don’t expect a trade war. The Germans are playing the long game, knowing that US Presidents come and go and that Europe is still very much dependent on good relations with the US irrespective of who is in the White House.
Credit Writedowns
All politics are local: understanding Trump’s threats and misunderstanding Merkel’s disappointment
Edward Harrison

Timothy Taylor — The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning

Life and work is more than reading and writing and arithmetic. Being able to function well with others in a wide range of situations is extraordinarily important--for many jobs, at least as important--as explicitly cognitive skills. The Future of Children has devoted is Spring 2017 issue to nine articles about "Social and Emotional Learning." After reading through the articles, my sense is that the subject is of potentially enormous importance, and that the state of current knowledge and practice is fragmented and incomplete, with difficulties in deciding what traits to study, at what ages, and how to measure them. Here are a few snippets....
Conversable Economist
The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

See also

Social intelligence

Emotional intelligence

Theory of multiple intelligences

Maggie Overfelt — The new generation of employees would take less pay for these job perks

Millennials work for the cash and good health insurance — just like everybody else. More than half of millennials (53 percent) say compensation is more important to a job offer than corporate mission (34 percent). And 91 percent of millennials say they are most attracted to a new job by salary and benefits. But there are some job perks that will make millennials consider working for less, by as much as 12 percent....
According to the survey, 77 percent of millennials would be willing to take a salary cut of at least 3 percent in exchange for long-term job security. Roughly 76 percent of millennials would take a pay cut of at least 3 percent to work for a company that offers flexible office hours, and 67 percent would be willing to take a pay cut of at least 3 percent to work at a
company that offers good mentorship opportunities.

I would take a salary cut of 6 percent to 12 percent to work for a firm that ...

  • Offers long-term job security (38 percent of millennials)
  • Offers flexible hours (37 percent)
  • Offers good mentorship opportunities (30 percent)
  • Is growing very rapidly (30 percent)
  • Only employs extremely talented and smart people (26 percent) 
The new generation of employees would take less pay for these job perks
Maggie Overfelt, special to

Kennith Surin: Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

Political earthquake just around the corner?

"HuffPost is publishing UK polling numbers that strip out some of the adjustments pollsters over there usually make ... [The average] shows Conservatives only 3 points ahead."

Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred. 
The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign.  The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda.Austerity” always was a hoax attempting to magic the banking-induced crisis of 2007-2009 into a crisis of the welfare system. 
The Tories and their banker pals are determined to make ordinary UK citizens pay for the bankers’ mistakes with reduced wages and pensions, reduced health care, reduced education opportunities, reduced real employment (job “growth” is largely confined to “bullshit” jobs or McJobs), and reduced social services. 
Their public position is that ordinary UK citizens are “living beyond their means”, thereby using this as a subterfuge to get the ordinary citizen to pay for the bankers’ fecklessness and criminality. 
So far, no politician from any party has stood up and said it is the stock-portfolio class, and not ordinary Ukanians, who live beyond the Ukay’s means!

Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

Chris Weller — Iran introduced a basic income scheme, and something strange happened

One of the biggest criticisms of basic income, a system of giving people modest salaries just for being alive, is that it discourages people from working.

A new report on an ongoing cash-transfer program launched in 2011 in Iran may cast some doubt on the claim....
Global Economic Forum
Iran introduced a basic income scheme, and something strange happened
Chris Weller | Ideas Reporter, Business Insider
ht Ryan in the comments

Ramanan — What Is Equilibrium?

The new paper by Gennaro Zezza and Michalis Nikiforos for the Levy Institute, surveying the literature on stock-flow consistent models has a discussion on the concept of equilibrium:
In neoclassical economics the concept of equilibrium is based on Say's law, which implies that in the long run there are no market gluts since free markets adapt to changing conditions through the operation of the law of supply and demand. This means that all markets tend to clear in the long run, including not only capital and consumer goods markets, but also labor markets and financial markets.

Gluts and shortages are temporary deviations in specific markets that are removed by the law of supply and demand. Therefore, a general glut can only result from an exogenous shock, and left to itself the market as whole will tend to general equilibrium "in the long run" as efficiently as possible.

Heterodox economists can be broadly defined as those rejecting the key fundamentals of the neoclassical approach, the assumption of rational utility maximization and general equilibrium.

Gennaro Zezza and Michalis Nikiforos set forth the SFC approach, and Ramanan summarizes it.

The Case for Concerted Action

Bill Mitchell — A Basic Income Guarantee does not reduce poverty

… the introduction of a Job Guarantee would eliminate poverty arising from unemployment and the working poor because the Government could condition the minimum wage by where it set the Job Guarantee wage. If it truly desired to end poverty among those in employment then it would set the Job Guarantee accordingly. Others argue that a more direct way of dealing with poverty and lack of income is to just provide the income via a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). The BIG idea has captured the progressive side of politics and many on the Right. It is another one of those sneaky neo-liberal ideas that look good on the surface but are rotten not far below. Supporters of BIG are really absolving currency-issuing governments of their responsibility to use their fiscal capacities to ensure there are sufficient jobs created – whether in the non-government or government sector. They are thus going along with the neo-liberal attack on the right to work. Moreover, closer analysis reveals that the introduction of the BIG would not, under current institutional arrangements reduce poverty at all....
I think Bill on to an ket point in saying that basic income is neoliberal, based on neoclassical economics including New Keynesianism. This implies that the JG is based on social welfare based on Keynesian economics, including Post Keynesianism and MMT.

The key point is the difference between creating a buffers stock of employed to ensure full employment in the sense of a job offer for everyone willing and able to work, and buffer stock of unemployed that must be supported by transfer payments over one sort or another.

Basic income does not address this key point, and obscures the tradeoffs by emphasizing the benefits while minimizing the costs and externalties. Basic income is like treating a serious wasting disease with an analgesic like aspirin.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
A Basic Income Guarantee does not reduce poverty
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Paul Robinson — Less TV, more conservative

Another instance of wishful thinking in the West about Russia.

Less TV, more conservative
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

KtoVKurse — Russian economy must diversify or face decline - Central Bank

The Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, has stated that Russia's economy in the foreseeable future will be faced with a number of external and internal threats....
Fort Russ
Russian economy must diversify or face decline - Central Bank

W.T.Witney: Why Does the United States Beat Up On Capitalist Russia

Dan Kovalik, The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: Now the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia. Book review.

The Cold War we are familiar with ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In his new book “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia,” lawyer and human rights activist Dan Kovalik writes about a new Cold War against Russia – and about the peace that never came. He discusses the role of the Democratic Party and the CIA, but his book centers on explaining why hostilities resumed. 
The real motivations of a revived confrontation are hardly the stuff of day-to-day news, and so the author relies upon the historical record for discovering the origins of a new Cold War. And he tells why the old Cold War was waged. 
The common explanation was a pretext, he thinks. In Kovalik’s words: “the Cold War, at least from the vantage point of the US, had little to do with fighting ‘Communism,’ and more to do with making the world safe for corporate plunder.” This proposition, implied more than dwelled upon, enables the author to account for other U. S. wars and interventions. 
CIA involvement is mentioned but not detailed. For Kovalik, “the CIA is a nefarious, criminal organization which often misleads the Ameri­can public and government into wars and misadventures.” These two themes – the real reason for why the United States fights wars and the CIA’s role in such wars – are unobtrusively present throughout the history recounted in the book.Readers hungry to know about the “plot” advertised in the book’s title will need patience.
For the author, “The US’s outsized military exists not only to ensure the US’s quite unjust share of the world’s riches, but also to ensure that those riches are not shared with the poor huddled masses in this country.” Good relations with Russia would be “simply bad for business, in particular the business of war which so profoundly undergirds the US economy …

Why Does the US Best Up On Capitalist Russia

Sounds like my kind of book, I'm going to buy it. This looting of the world has made many of the elite insanely rich, and they have become quite mad. Detached from everyday reality, so for them destroying the planet through war, plunder, pollution, and global warming is just fine.

Ray McGovern: Trump in Brussels: Europe May Finally Rethink “NATO Costs”, Stoking Artificial Fears that Russia will Attack NATO…

At that point it will become possible to see through the West’s alarmist propaganda. It will also become more difficult to stoke artificial fears that Russia, for reasons known only to NATO war planners and neoconservative pundits, will attack NATO. As long as Russian hardliners do not push President Vladimir Putin aside, Moscow will continue to reject its assigned role as bête noire. 
The existential threat to NATO comprises a different kind of Russian “threat,” which owes much to the adroitness and sang froid of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who flat-out refuses to play his assigned role of a proper enemy – despite the Western media campaign to paint him the devil incarnate.
Over time, even the most sophisticated propaganda wears thin, and more and more Europeans will realize that NATO, in its present form, is an unnecessary, vestigia organ already a quarter-century beyond its expiration date – and that it can flare up painfully, like a diseased appendix. At a time when citizens of many NATO countries are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, they will be reluctant to sink still more money into rehab for a vestigial organ. 
That there are better uses for the money is already clear, and President Trump’s badgering of NATO countries to contribute ever more for defense may well backfire. Some are already asking, “Defense against what?” Under the painful austerity that has been squeezing the Continent since the Wall Street crash nearly a decade ago, a critical mass of European citizens is likely to be able to distinguish reality from propaganda – and perhaps much sooner than anyone anticipates. This might eventually empower the 99 percent, who don’t stand to benefit from increased military spending to fight a phantom threat, to insist that NATO leaders stop funding a Cold War bureaucracy that has long since outlived its usefulness.

The West is lucky to have Putin in power when you think of the kind of hawkish hardliners in the US administration. Putin is polite and very diplomatic, and yet the West tries portray him as an evil autocrat.

Could Europe begin to cotton on that they are being taken for a ride? McGovern argues how NATO, like any bureaucracy, has expanded beyond it means and just offers jobs to the boys, as well as being an unnecessary expense for arm companies profits. Let's hope McGovern is right and NATO begins to break up.

Lars P. Syll — What is Post Keynesian Economics?

Paul Davidson's view.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What is Post Keynesian Economics?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Eric Tymoigne — Money and Banking—Part 18 (A) & (B)

The M&B series is back! The goal is to finish the first complete draft of the book by the time I need to teach my Money and Banking course. Over the coming months, the following topics will be covered.
  • Overview of the financial system
  • Federal Reserve System institutional analysis
  • Interest rate and interest rate structure
  • Pricing of securities
  • Off balance sheet: Securitization
  • Off balance sheet: Derivatives
  • Monetary policy in action (issues surrounding interest-rate rules, transmission channels, etc.)
  • International monetary arrangements and exchange rates
  • Modeling (theory of the circuit, including the money supply in models, stock-flow coherency, portfolio constraints, capital gains, using models, etc.)
With these new sections and the seventeen other chapters of the book (which I have already rewritten in part to take into account feedbacks from my students), one should have a solid alternative preliminary text (let me know if I should cover more topics). The incomplete draft was well received by my students and has been downloaded over 8000 times as of May 2017.
Remember that this series (and book) emphasizes the importance of balance sheet mechanics and the upcoming posts will continue to do so whenever balance sheets, and more generally double-entry accounting rules, help to explain the issues at hand.
Like last year, the upcoming posts will be raw with limited editing. The point is to get the ball rolling and to get as many feedbacks as possible from the readers. As previous readers may have noticed, the book that contains previous posts was significantly edited (but still contained many typos). So here we go!
Access the first 17 sections at NEP in the nave bar or click here.

MMT must read.

New Economic Perspectives
Money and Banking—Part 18 (A): Overview of the Financial System: A World of Promises

Money and Banking—Part 18 (B): Overview of the Financial System: A World of Promises
Eric Tymoigne | Associate Professor of Economics at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon; and Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Riding a c90 through Iran

I put this out before but with all this talk about war with Iran I decided it was timely to put it out again for anyone who hasn't seen it. This young guy had travelled the world on his Honda C90 and he was told that Iranians are very friendly, and we he got there he found them to be the most friendly people he had ever met on his travels. It's tragic that the US and the Saudis want to mess it up for them. Iran is a big country and it will be a long and terrible war. This suits the western ruling elite as they will make lots of money selling the Jihadists weapons via Saudi Arabia. They have mainly western weapons.

Apparently millions of Western people go to real news sites and know what is going on: that everything is in reverse to what we are being told. But most people just get their news from the tabloids and the TV, and believe all the rubbish they put out.

I sent this to Peter Hitchens along with some other stuff that I put out here recently. I contacted half the Conservative Party with PCR's, Are You Ready To Die. I got four replies. One Conservative MP took time to explain to me why we are no more near at war with Russia than we ever have been. He said both sides are in constant communication with each other so they know about false alarms. He said it was just a conspiracy theory. I would like to reprint it here but it is a private email to me.

We have the most incredible religion which is Buddhism, and even Sufi Islam is gentle. If only there was no such thing as militant Islam, but the US has been stoking it for generations, and destroying liberal democracies and secular societies in the ME. If the world was the way it was supposed to be (how most people want it to be) Saudi Arabia would have had sanctions placed on it years ago. Then we would have developed new technology that used less fuel, and also developed different energy sources so that we didn't need to rely on ME oil anymore. The environment would have been cleaner too with less global warming, but for some reason the worst path was always taken. The people who run the world are not bright, they are just selfish, greedy, and ruthless.

Millions of people around the world vote for the parties of the ruling establishment, usually the Conservatives, because they think they have honour and hold decent family values, but don't realise they are voting for a bunch of crooks. The media doesn't inform them. And when they do vote for alternatives they end up with the same bunch of crooks getting back in anyway. There is a theoretical chance that some real alternative might get in one day, like Bernie or Corbyn, but you bet they will have a hard time implementing their policies. 

Caitlin Johnstone: Syria: The West Only Hates Assad Because Their TV Told Them To

The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil. They have no trouble believing that a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country could be gratuitously using chemical weapons on children at the most strategically disastrous time possible and bombing his own civilians for no discernible reason, but the possibility that their government is making those things up in order to manufacture consent for regime change is ruled out before any critical analysis of the situation even begins. 
Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again. Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point. 
I have lost all patience with people who involve themselves in the conversation about the current Syrian administration by acknowledging the existence of western lies and propaganda about Syria and yet still maintaining that Assad is an evil dictator who needs to be deposed somehow.  
This is an astonishingly common perspective in online discourse about Syria even among people who are relatively woke to what’s going on; they see it as the more moderate and well-reasoned position to simultaneously acknowledge that the US power establishment is known to use lies, propaganda and false flags to manufacture public consent for devastating acts of military violence, and also that Assad is horrible and evilWhat we can know with absolute certainty is that we are being lied to about Syria by western governments and the mass media propaganda machines which promote their oligarchic agendas. 
The mountains of evidence that are coming out against the White Helmets, the fact that Amnesty International is the same organization that promoted the false Nayirah testimony which was used to manufacture consent for the Gulf War, the fact that CNN recently staged a fake interview featuring a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English reading scripted anti-Assad propaganda to an unsuspecting audience; there is enough there to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same power establishment that lied to us about Iraq is now lying to us about its neighbor Syria.. 

Syria: The West Only Hates Assad Because Their TV Told Them To

Monday, May 29, 2017

Link Between Low Wages and Low Productivity Growth: High Wages Make Low Productivity Jobs Disappear

Substitution of capital (technology) for labor becomes more profitable as wages rise.

Link Between Low Wages and Low Productivity Growth: High Wages Make Low Productivity Jobs Disappear
Dean Baker

Jason Smith — Success?

A few days ago, I had a back and forth with Narayana Kocherlakota on Twitter where he called economic forecasting of inflation a "success":
Information Transfer Economics
Jason Smith

Noam Chomsky in Conversation with Amy Goodman on Climate Change, Nukes, Syria, WikiLeaks & More

In this Democracy Now! special, we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky. In a public conversation we had in April, we talked about climate change, nuclear weapons, North Korea, Iran, the war in Syria and the Trump administration’s threat to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and his new book, "Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power."
Democracy Now!
Noam Chomsky in Conversation with Amy Goodman on Climate Change, Nukes, Syria, WikiLeaks & More
Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ht V. Ramanan at The Case for Concerted Action

Pepe Eacobar: Daesh and the West's Solid Stench of Death

Whenever the West's formidable military machine adds to its tragic litany of "collateral damage" – in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, the tribal areas in Pakistan – silence reigns. No Muslim full names on front pages. 
Whenever NATO-GCC proxies add to their own tragic litany of premeditated massacres – across Syria, across Iraq – the perpetrators are excused because they're "our," "moderate" rebels and freedom fighters. 
This inexorable, perverse, logic won't be altered. Now with a twist, because President Trump has explained to a startled world, via his Islamophobe speechwriter Stephen Miller, it's all Iran's fault. 
Trump professed his faith while swearing over a glowing orb nestled in Riyadh, the alma mater of all forms of Wahhabi or Salafi-jihadi terror. 
And he professed his faith after he had just sold a multi-billion dollar fresh batch of weapons to the bling House of Saud totalitarian theocrats. 
These weapons will be used by the House of Saud to wipe Yemen off the face of the earth; deepen a Sunni-Shi'ite fratricide war on all fronts, and further enable their handpicked "freedom fighters" in ? 
It's never enough to repeat, over and over again, that Daesh and the House of Saud are both cadaverous faces of the same Medusa-stamped coin; totalitarian theocracy, implementable by jihad. 
The strategy has been fine-tuned in Sirte, Libya, in the Sinai mountains, and now across "Syraq." Because the privileged battleground, from now on, is infidel European lands.  
Those few left to die for the cause in Mosul pose a different problem. Documents found at Mosul University detailed a crude chemical weapons program, developed in loco, including experiments with nerve agents on prisoners. One needs specialists to conduct such experiments – and many may be Westerners. Where are they? They have been smuggled deep inside the middle of nowhere "Syraq" desert between Deir Ezzor and al-Qaim.

Daesh and the West's Solid Stench of Death

I never thought I would see such evil coming from the West. I saw films about WWII and Hitler. But I thought such a maniac would never happen here in the Anglo Saxon world, the English and the Americans, because we're always the good guys. Its seems intrinsic in children to view your own side as good, because maybe it makes them feel safe in a dangerous world. But it seems that for children as they grow up this is hard to shake off, so people prefer to think Putin is bad. But when you finally realise your own side is evil to the core, it's frightening.

My girlfriend is clueless about of all of this and I don't usually tell her, but if I do say anything she just says that I've been on the internet again. I sometimes copy and paste what I've put out above and send it off to friends, but they never reply. It's just another world to them. They think I'm crazy.

John Helmer — Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Svengali Of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, Is Dead, But The Evil Lives On

Former President Jimmy Carter, who employed Brzezinski as his National Security Advisor between 1977 and 1981, the only high official post Brzezinski reached, saidhe “helped me set vital foreign policy goals, was a source of stimulation for the departments of defense and state, and everyone valued his opinion.” Of Carter’s three claims, only the first is true; the second is ironic hyperbole; the third is completely false. If Carter cannot tell the truth now about Brzezinski, after having 36 years to reflect on it, Carter reveals the principal source of Brzezisnki’s power, when he exercised it. For Carter was no innocent ventriloquized by the evil Svengali (lead image, left), as in the original Svengali tale. Carter was simply a bigger and more mendacious fool than Brzezinski, and is entirely to blame for doing what Brzezinski told him to do.

Brzezinski was an obsessive Russia-hater from the beginning to the end. That led to the monumental failures of Carter’s term in office; the hatreds Brzezinski released had an impact which continues to be catastrophic for the rest of the world....
The is a blockbuster article. ZB far worse than imagined and Jimmy Carter caught up in it. Explains a lot about Jimmy Carter. Apparently, he has not yet realized it based on his obit of ZB.

The dominant view is that at the close of WWII, the Allies, led by the US, having learned the lesson of what happened in punishing Germany after WWI, brilliantly "forgave" the Axis powers and generally helped to rehabilitate and rebuild them.

While there is some truth to this and it is the way it was sold through propaganda, this narrative is largely a fiction. The reality is that the Allies wished to integrate the former Axis powers into an alliance (NATO plus Japan) to confront the "rising threat" of communist USSR and China to "the Free World," and to do so as quickly as possible. 

ZB was a product of that mindset. But he combined it with a visceral hate of many Poles for Russia (Russophobia) that was the result of historical "path dependence" aka inter-tribal animosity.

Dancing with Bears

Tom Palley — Trump and the Neocons: Doing the Unilateralist Waltz

The neocon goal is unchallenged U.S. supremacy. If that goal frames U.S. foreign policy, international economic policy must conform with it.

In the Cold War era, the currency of power was provision of weapons and ideology. In the new era of globalization, commerce has become a major new currency of power, making international economic policy a key concern.

Consequently, under Trump, neocon unilateralism is now spreading into international economic relations....
Tom Palley hits one out of the park, connecting neoliberalism (economic) and neoconservatism (political) with globalization and US global hegemony.

The Globalist
Trump and the Neocons: Doing the Unilateralist WaltzTom Palley

Michael Hudson — Another Housing Bubble?

Another good one from Michael Hudson. Covers student debt too.

Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
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

Dirk Ehnts — “If I watch a football match”

Elementary institutional economics. Substitute unit of account for a central bank note and banks for the competing teams in a league in this analogy. Without understanding the rules of the game and the relationships of the teams and players, just tracking flows is meaningless.

econoblog 101
“If I watch a football match”
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin

Brian Romanchuk — The Zombification of Canada

A series of policy errors has trapped the Canadian economy in a near-zombie status.|

Household debt levels are high, leading to a fragile system. The only benign way of reducing this fragility is to induce high wage inflation, which is precluded by the unthinking attachment to the inflation target. There is no reason to expect the system to collapse on any particular forecast horizon; rather the economy can muddle along in a low-growth path. The fact that the brain trust that inflicted this low-growth destiny on the Canadian economy in the name of improving economic efficiency is ironic, but this reflects the general failure of modern policymaking. The situation in Canada may mainly be of interest to Canadians, but it does provide yet another data point for the general thesis that trusting the policy preferences of the financial sector is inherently a bad idea....
Bond Economics
The Zombification of Canada
Brian Romanchuk

Bill Mitchell — World Bankspeak – how to hide the failure of a mission!

As the title of my 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – indicates, I am interested in both economics and patterned behaviour within groups and the way groups erect edifices (such as, denial) to defend positions. 
I am also interested in the way groups use language. In an upcoming edition of the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, I have an article written with Dr Louisa Connors entitled – Framing Modern Monetary Theory, which discusses this topic. Framing and language is a tool that reinforces Groupthink and allows group (organisations) to engage in denial even though the facts convey a different message. A 2015 analysis of World Bank Annual Reports from 1946 to 2012 is illustrative of the way in which framing, grammar and word usage can be used to clothe reality. The analysis published by the Stanford Literary Lab – Bankspeak: The Language of World Bank Reports, 1946–2012 – documents the shift in language by the World Bank between the first two decades of Annual Reports to the second two decades. They show how the Bank shifts from a language that is readily understood and considers a concrete world and offers very little prescriptive input to a narrative that becomes so opaque and filled with financial buzz words that comprehension is lost. They document the emergence of what they refer to as “Bankspeak”. Groupthink requires a certain language to reinforce the increasingly unsustainable reality that the group lives within. That is the role of the World Bankspeak! The Literary Lab analysis is worth reading because it provides a coherent analysis of the way words and sentence structures (grammar) are manipulated to shift focus, allay concern and basically, undermine accountability mechanisms that were established….
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
World Bankspeak – how to hide the failure of a mission!
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Eric Zuese: Trump Keeps the US - Jihadist Alliance Going Strong

The aristocracies that constitute ‘the Western alliance’ ‘for freedom and democracy’, are actually determined to bring the entire world under their control, and the American aristocracy claims to lead them, but if they were ever to succeed, and both Russia and Iran and their allies were to come under their control, then there would first be a war between the major parties to the alliance in order to determine where the global center of power will be — in the United States, or in Saudi Arabia — one having a Christian majority, and the other being a Sharia law fundamentalist-Sunni-Islamic dictatorship and the symbolic and physical center of the world’s second-largest religion on its way to becoming the largest religion: Saudi Arabia. 
Israel, the Jewish dictatorship over its non-Jews, is on good terms with both the Saudi and the U.S. aristocracy, and Judaism is a tiny religion except amongst the world’s aristocracies, where it constitutes a significant player. Israel’s dictators would be satisfied regardless of whether the world is led from ‘Christian’ Washington, or from fundamentalist-Sunni Riyadh. Either way, no Shia political force would remain. 
However, remarkably little thinking is being devoted to how the world would even be able to reach that stage, a unified dictatorial world government, because both Russia and Iran would need to be conquered in order to reach that stage, and this would inevitably entail a nuclear war between Russia and the United States, which would soon thereafter end life on this planet. 
Why haven’t the leaders and peoples of Europe, Japan, etc., abandoned the U.S government, and joined with Russia, in order to stave off a globe-ending nuclear war — or even just in order to put a stop to international jihadism? 
Will the public in at least one of the nations that claim to belong to ‘the Western alliance’ ‘for freedom and democracy’ need to overthrow their own government (not just its leaders) in order for freedom and democracy and peace to be able to return in even just one country? 
The global dictatorship is already gripping pretty hard. Look at what has happened to the people of Syria. And of Iraq. And of Libya (now so bad that it’s no longer even being polled). And of Yemen. And of Ukraine. And that’s just for starters. 
Douglas Valentine’s acclaimed new book, The CIA as Organized Crime, documents the shocking psychopathy of that organization; and, so, no one should be particularly surprised at the psychopathy of the organization that controls it.

Trump Keeps the US - Jihadist Alliance Going Strong 

We read about this here all the time from reports that Tom and myself put out here. All of the alternative media, including the right wing media and Ron Paul, are full of it. We know what is happening, but the MSM says nothing. With US links to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern dictatorships it is obvious what's going on. Shia Muslims don't do terrorism and suicide bombing, but Trump says Iran is a terrorist state, and he says that while visiting the biggest terrorist state of all, Saudi Arabia. This is gangster-ism and organised crime and the BBC politely goes along with it. I find it strange and frightening when I watch the News on TV and see all the propaganda, half truths, and outright lies, which everyone else thinks its news.

Ukraine, Kiev: the ‘Titular Nation’ Versus the ‘Non-Titular’ Lebanese

The Ukrainian authorities never seem to tire of talking about the war with Russia. The same goes for the Ukrainian radical nationalists. It turns out, however, that they are actually fighting ‘outsiders’ of every nationality except Ukrainian.

In the last few days alone, fighting has broken out with Moldovans in Odessa, with Bulgarians in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, with Hungarians in the Zakarpattia Oblast, and with Lebanese in Kiev. There has also been fighting with the Turks and with peoples from Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, who have all had the misfortune of annoying the ‘titular nation’.

The dispute with Linas Caffe arose because of the difference in the price of coffee – it was cheaper to take-away than to drink in the café itself. The ‘patriots’ wanted to drink coffee inside Linas Caffe, but at the take-away price. The result was a scandal that was very quickly given a nationalist hue and moved from the sphere of public catering to the sphere of politics.

«Remember Ukrainians are the boss here!» shouted several dozen ‘activists’ led by Mikhail Kovalchuk, leader of the National Patriotic Movement of Ukraine, as they marched to close the ‘Arab eatery’ (a café run by Lebanese).

Prior to this, foreigners started being harassed on social networking sites. «Get the hell out of our city, you filthy degenerates! Arrest and deport immigrants», «You have no say in our country!», «They must be eradicated», «Ukraine for Ukrainians», and «They’re guests here and most are unwelcome; racism is good when you respect your own kind more than another», said ‘soon-to-be Europeans’ who recently received the right to visa-free entry into the EU. The least offensive comment from racially correct Ukrainians regarding ‘outsiders’ was «the world’s garbage».
There were familiar faces among those fighting to clean up the national ranks such as Mykola Kokhanivsky, head of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, and neo-Nazis Vita Zaverukha and Igor Krivoruchko, who, in 2011, stabbed two Crimeans in Kiev in a racially-motivated attack because they did not belong to the ‘titular nation’. Immediately noticeable were nationalists from the Misanthropic Division.

The café’s Lebanese owners called the police, but police officers did nothing other than calmly watch as the café was invaded by nationalists.

The Lebanese owners were eventually forced to close the café to stop the attack, but this was not enough for the hardcore nationalists, who were buoyed up by their success. Yet another call for mobilisation appeared on Facebook with a view to closing the entire chain of Arab cafés. «Friends, we need to see this through to the end. I urge you to carry out any actions at your discretion that will close this dump once and for all,» wrote Kovalchuk in his call for reprisals.

As a result, the Lebanese owners were forced to comply with all of the nationalists’ demands: they promised to sack all personnel objectionable to the ‘titular nation’, switch to Ukrainian, and «take part in various social projects» (i.e. give money to racketeers). Nowadays in Ukraine, this is known as «a full 100 percent understanding» (Kovalchuk). «We are proud! Glory to the nation! Death to all enemies!!!» shouted these ‘soon-to-be Europeans’ joyfully.

And the Ukrainians fighting to cleanse their nation have not stopped at the Lebanese. They have already warned staff at the Lyubimy Dyadya café that the name of their establishment is «in the language of the enemy». In another small Kiev restaurant, Aroma, members of the ‘titular nation’ did not like the «non-Ukrainian» menu. They have also targeted the Katyusha café chain.

It seems that before long, the ‘patriot racket’ will be in full swing, except that unlike the 1990s, the gangsters are now calling themselves ‘patriots’. Kiev is a real honeypot for these people: the ‘titular nation’ can now walk into any shop, any business and any café and demand they dance the Ukrainian hopak, sack ‘non-titular’ personnel, and, at the same time, «take part in social projects». Any business in Ukraine (not belonging to the authorities) can now be closed at the request of competitors under the slogan «Ukraine for Ukrainians!»

It is more than likely that the name of the Lyubimy Dyadya café will now be translated into Western Ukrainian, and hand in hand with the Ukrainisation of anything and everything will come racketeering, gang violence and the further ‘Galicianisation’ of Kiev (Galicia is regarded in Ukraine as the ancestral home of the ‘titular nation’).

No doubt the fascists get a lot of their support from the authoritarian working class. This is from Strategic Cultures which Malwarebytes says is a suspicious site, so I can't view it on my tablet or PC. I can view it on my phone so I have reprinted it in full. The US again backs fascists, authoritarians, and criminals. I won't put it out here in case it is said to be a conspiracy theory, but I saw a good documentary once linking the Mafia, organised crime, the CIA, and the elite as all in cahoots with each other. War for them is big business and they don't want it to stop.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jacob Heilbrunn — Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?

Trump's approach to Europe and elsewhere has been predicated on the notion that he can singlehandedly defy the rules of the game and extract what he wants. The problem is that he is emboldening Germany to become the superpower of Europe and inevitably it will pursue what it considers its own interests. This is after all the nation that invented the term realpolitik....
The National Interest
Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?
Jacob Heilbrunn | editor of the National Interest

SouthFront — ISIS Imposes Own Currency In Controlled Areas

In early May, ISIS forced traders to use its currency in the areas controlled by the terrorist group, especially in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.…

Each silver dirham equals 100 fils of copper, and each gold dinar equals 85 silver dirhams. According to ISIS, the value of currencies determined by its “Monetary Authority”.
ISIS is trying to promote its currency by claiming that it has “real value unlike paper currencies.” ISIS also claimed that its currency maintains its value during wars and crises becauseit is made of valuable metals.…
ISIS currency carries the value of the metals it’s made of. However, its exchange rate is manipulated and does not reflect the true value of these metals. In addition, ISIS is the one who determines the exchange rates, thus making this currency one of the biggest financial scams in the current decade....

David Lazare — Trump Submits to Neocon Orthodoxy

Donald Trump throws in the towel.
Reeling from the onslaught, Trump began to realize that he was in a no-win situation, just as Obama had eight years earlier when he gave Hillary Clinton and her neocon allies control of the State Department.
Bucking Washington’s foreign-policy establishment, a.k.a. “The Blob,” was a losing proposition. The neocons were too powerful. Resistance was pointless. So Trump surrendered to the “truisms” of Official Washington’s foreign-policy elite regarding the Middle East conflicts: Saudi Arabia and its allies: good; Russia, Syria, and Iran: baaaad....
Consortium News
Trump Submits to Neocon Orthodoxy
David Lazare

As part of the drive to drive President Trump from the White House, some “never-Trumpers” are rehabilitating George W. Bush as a relative “moderate” and thus whitewashing his war crimes, notes Lawrence Davidson.
George W. Bush’s Horrific Legacy


Sputnik International
Daesh and the West's Solid Stench of Death
Pepe Escobar

Dave Lindorff: American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care — but U.S. corporations love it

Canada's affordable, efficient and widely popular single-payer system saves millions for U.S. corporations

President Donald Trump has been pushing hard, along with Republicans in Congress, to eliminate former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But as he and leaders of the Senate and House struggle to come up with some alternative health care law, they might ask themselves why large companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler) over recent decades have shifted roughly half their car and truck production — and the jobs that go with them — across the Detroit River into Canada. 
Here’s one big reason they did it: Canada’s government-run single-payer health system, known as Medicare — to be clear, not the same Medicare as the American health care system for senior citizens — lowers those auto companies’ health care costs from more than $15,000 per worker in the United States to just a few thousand dollars in Canada, with all Canadian taxpayers, not just employees and their employers, picking up the tab. 
Although few if any executives of large firms in the U.S. have advocated a similar single-payer system here, executives of Canadian subsidiaries of those same companies not only say they like the system, but enthusiastically make use of it not just for their workers, but for themselves and their families. In fact, a decade ago, those executives of U.S. Canadian subsidiaries joined with executives and union presidents of Canadian-based firms to lobby the Canadian government to expand and increase funding for Medicare, seeking to have it cover long-term care, dental care and drugs. 
Nobody would call Francis Buckley, a professor of contract law at George Mason University in Virginia, a liberal. A Canadian by birth who became a naturalized U.S. citizen a few years ago, Buckley is a senior editor of the conservative American Spectator magazine, and was an occasional speechwriter for Donald Trump last year during the presidential campaign. But he also sits on the board of Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group for single-payer health care in the U.S. Buckley said, “My experience with Canada’s health system is that it works very well, and at about half the cost per person of the U.S.” 
Buckley added, “Trump in the past has said good things about Canada’s Medicare system. Ideologically I don’t think he’s opposed to it. But given the fecklessness of the Republicans in Congress, he may feel that it would be too hard to push through.”
American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care

Max Blumenthal: The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars

How the US and UK helped bring jihadists like Salem Abedi to Libya and Syria

A secret 2008 US embassy cable described Qaddafi’s government as a bulwark against the spread of Islamist militancy. “Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent,” the cable read. “Muammar al-Qadhafi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.” 
The author of that cable was the late foreign service officer, J. Christopher Stevens. 
A rogue former officer of Britain’s MI5 intelligence services named David Shayler alleged that his government had covertly funded the LIFG [Libyan Islamic Fighting Group] to carry out the failed 1996 assassination attempt on Qaddafi. Two years later, Libyan state television produced footage of a failed grenade attack on Qaddafi that it alleged was carried out by a British agent. At the time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Al Qaeda whose members included Anas al-Libi, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. 
When the Libyan uprising broke out in March 2011, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates immediately pumped arms and logistical support into the armed opposition. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw the insurgency as an opportunity for America to assert its influence amidst the tumult of the Arab Spring. She advocated arming the rebels on the grounds that Washington could get “skin in the game,” according to her Middle East advisor, Dennis Ross. 
Ignoring warnings from NATO’s supreme allied commander Adm. James Stavridis about the presence of Al Qaeda in the opposition, President Barack Obama approved shipments of TOW missiles, armored Humvees, and advanced radar systems to the Libyan insurgents.
I read Qaddafi's Green Book many years ago and agreed with everything in it. The West said it was propaganda,  as if the West doesn't do propaganda. I'm not into backing dictators, most are brutal, but the Libyans  had the highest standard of living in Africa; they had free education; low cost public banking;  help buying their homes and starting their businesses; so did they really want him removed?

The West always wanted him gone and so they backed Jihad Islam to oust him. The Jihadists always hated his secular regime, just as they do in Syria. The West backs Jihadists dictatorships and the Russians back moderate and secular regimes. So who's the bad guy? The ME is now a complete mess, millions of lives ruined, and now they are going to do the same to Iran.

They say Qaddafi run a brutal regime, but the CIA and he Jihadists always wanted him out, so he had to have a strong Intelligence. Left alone, Libya may have progressed to a liberal democracy. But what does democracy mean in the West anyway: it usually  means being a vassal state of the US where democracy is a sham. When we voted for New Labour and when Americans voted for Trump, they got the same old hidden government back in.

Opening up a country to democracy and free markets just means privatising everything so the Western elite can buy it all up. They can use Western banks, which create money out of nothing, to buy up the world. This isn't capitalism, this a small group of people controlling the planet. If the Chinese get better at it, because they have a superior banking system and realise the importance of industry to create wealth, you can bet the Western elite won't like capitalism much anymore. They will demand that China becomes more 'democratic'' - as if the US is democratic - and open up its markets so the West can buy up everything.

In the UK the Royal Mail got privatised and now the elite can make a packet. But they want the NHS too. Haven't they got enough billions already, what do they want more for? But they want all of Russia's and China's wealth too, and everything in South America and the ME even if that means destroying those countries. Greg Palest has apparently caught one of the Koch brothers on tape saying - when he was cheating the native Indians out of their oil by stating that the tankers which sucked up the oil were smaller than they were - 'I want everything, I want it all'.

Felicity Lawrence: Who will pay for the UK’s multi-billion corporate tax grab? We all will

Imagine you are presented with a brilliant new wheeze to reclaim your taxes from more than 40 years ago: taxes that have long ago been spent on services from the NHS to schools to welfare. Clever lawyers and accountants sell the idea to you; they spotted the opportunity at the turn of the millennium. But just like elaborate transnational tax avoidance, it only works if you are a large multinational business operating in different jurisdictions. What would you do? Balk at something that sounds so unfair? Ask: how is this possible? Or take up their invitation and ask who to call? 
Lots of multinational companies made that call, and it is a huge but little-known problem facing any incoming UK government that HM Revenue & Customs acknowledges it may have to repay big business a staggering £55bn of old tax.The figure is enormous: that is nearly half the NHS’s annual budget. It’s more than the total amount of corporation tax and capital gains tax collected by HMRC in 2015. It makes arguments about whether Labour’s manifesto is properly costed look footling, and the Conservative promise to move in to surplus look wild
HMRC now has a last shot at appealing to the supreme court on an aspect of the BAT group claims: whether the corporates are entitled not just to simple interest on repayments in the way that you and I would be if we were being repaid tax collected, but to compound interest going back to 1973. It is this claim that turns the sums from disturbingly large to public finance-busting. The revenue declined to say to what extent its liabilities relate to challenges under EU law, but a source has told us the great majority of them do.

Who will pay for the UK’s multi-billion corporate tax grab?

If Labour wins the election it could wreck its spending plans, then Labour will
look like it failed again. But as usual it wouldn't be their fault, it would be down to the city gents. I hope the British Labour Party catches onto MMT.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Zero Hedge Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US

Bottom feeding increases as bottom (refuse of society) expands. Walmart becomes upscale.
It seems that in the otherwise gloomy US bricks and mortar industry, a source of tremendous growth continues to shine: catering to America's growing poor.
Zero Hedge
Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US
Tyler Durden

Alleen Brown — Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies”

A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept.
The documents provide the first detailed picture of how TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project.

Internal TigerSwan communications describe the movement as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and compare the anti-pipeline water protectors to jihadist fighters.
"It can't happen here," morphs into "It can't be happening here, can it?"

Warning: SCARY.

Patrick Armstrong — When Intelligence Isn't

What passes for intelligence these days.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
When Intelligence Isn't
Patrick Armstrong

See also

"Anatoly, you will not believe what the idiots proposed to me!" (Dramatization)
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

The Duran
Another story from the Deep State soft coup plotters: Kushner, Flynn and the ‘back channel’ to Russia
Alexander Mercouris

On Thursday, the leaders of NATO member countries met for the first time with President Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels. On the same day, ahead of her trip to Brussels, Angela Merkel met with former US president Barack Obama in Berlin. Polish political analyst Jan Hartman commented to Sputnik on the occasion.…
Sputnik International
No Coincidence: Why Obama Visited Merkel Hours Before Trump Joining NATO Summit

After failing to thwart two terror attacks that have occurred in the U.K. so far this year – both of which were carried out by suspected jihadis who were known to U.K. authorities – intelligence agencies have identified 23,000 potential jihadis living in Britain, according to a report published in the Times of London on Saturday.
The report emerged after U.K. Prime Minster Theresa May downgraded the terror threat to “severe,” after raising it “critical” on Tuesday in the aftermath of the attacks.
Of this 'pool' of potential terrorists, 3,000 are suspected of posing an “imminent threat” and are being investigated accordingly, the Times reports. Meanwhile, the other 20,000 have been involved with past investigation....
Zero Hedge
Intelligence Agencies Admit 23,000 Jihadis Live In Britain; 3,000 Pose "Imminent Threat"
Tyler Durden

Moon of Alabama — The Activities Around Trump's Foreign Policy Are Scandalous - But The Media Won't Tell You Why

Important. Spoiler: The title is snark.

Moon of Alabama
The Activities Around Trump's Foreign Policy Are Scandalous - But The Media Won't Tell You Why

RIP Zbignew Brzezinski

A Russian view of Zbig and his legacy.


Laying the trap for Russia in Afghanistan aka creating Russia's Vietnam.

Defend Democracy Press
Brzezinski: CIA entered Afghanistan before the Russians
Translated from the French by Bill Blum
Published by the French site
As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people.
Because freedom and democracy.

Moon of Alabama
Al-Qaeda's Godfather Is Dead - Good Riddance
Zbigniew Brzezinski to the Mujahideen: "Your cause is right and God is on your side!"
The Duran
Zbigniew Brzezinski: Death of an anti-Russian terrorist
Adam Garrie

As the New York Times explains, Brzezinski’s “rigid hatred of the Soviet Union” guided much of America’s foreign policy “for better or worse.” From the Times:
“He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan. He tacitly encouraged China to continue backing the murderous regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, lest the Soviet-backed Vietnamese take over that country.” [emphasis added]
While it is progressive of the New York Times to note Brzezinski’s support for Islamic militants, downplaying the effect of his vindictive foreign policy agenda with a mere sentence does an injustice to the true horror behind Brzezinski’s policies....
The Anti-Media

Bob Johnson: President John Kennedy's Idea to Protect Elections From the 1% Can Work

The night before, Kennedy had gone to dinner with a small group of wealthy and prominent Jews in New York. An episode of the evening trouble him deeply. Describing it to Bartlett as an 'amazing experience," he said one of those at the dinner party - he did not identify him by name - told him he knew his campaign was in financial difficulty and, speaking for the group, offered 'to help and help significantly' if Kennedy as president 'would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years.' It was an astounding proposition." 
This experience inspired Kennedy to come up with an idea that would break the legs of the powerful 1% and their special interest groups while protecting true democracy. That idea is to have a law that would subsidize presidential campaigns out of the US Treasury. He felt that the cost incurred by this would be well worth it as it would "insulate presidential candidates in the future from this kind of pressure and save the country a lot of grief in the long run." 
If this idea of President Kennedy's had been made a reality, just imagine how much better things would be today. In just one aspect of world politics and life, Israel and the Middle East, the billions of American tax dollars US politicians from both parties take from Americans and give to Israel every year would more than likely stay in the US and put to use helping American citizens instead of a warmongering foreign state. The overly powerful Israel lobby (Kennedy tried to require the Israel lobby to register as a foreign agent) would not be able to virtually, and in some cases, literally, write US foreign policy for the Middle East which would mean the Iraq War, which was launched for Israel's benefit, never would have happened. If the Iraq War never happened, al Qaeda never would have gotten into Iraq and the Islamic State terror organization never would have come into existence. 
President Kennedy's plan to subsidize presidential campaigns should also be applied to all political campaigns. This would virtually guarantee protection on all levels from the damaging influence of the 1% and their special interest organizations.
President John Kennedy's Idea to Protect Elections From the 1% Can Work 

The Guardian: Labour poll rise suggests Manchester attack has not boosted Tories

The narrowing of the Conservative lead over Labour to five points in the first opinion poll since the Manchester suicide bombing on Monday punctures the widespread political assumption that the attack would improve the Tories’ standing. 
The Times/YouGov poll putting the Conservatives on 43% and Labour on 38% was based on interviews conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, and included the period in which Theresa May declared a critical threat level and announced the deployment of nearly 1,000 troops on to the streets of Britain.
If only our media was less biased and concentrated more on the Tory support for international terrorism through its cosy links to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Tory Lead Cut to 5 Points 

Mark Curtis: The British Establishment Is Putting Our Lives at Risk: Our State’s Key Ally Is a Major Public Threat

This wave of terrorism driven by Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, derives from a complex infrastructure of forces, working over time. But it springs ultimately from the ideology promoted by the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, who were at least until recently funding and backing IS: they have done so to support their goal of overthrowing Assad in Syria and championing Sunni Islam in the face of rivalry with Iran. These are Britain’s allies. Whitehall has a deep, long-standing special relationship with the extremist Saudis: it is arming them, backing them, apologising for them, and supporting their regional policies. At the same time, the Saudis have been helping to create the monster that now threatens the British public. So, too, have the policies of the British government.
The British elite is perfectly aware of the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in fomenting terrorism. In October 2014, General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Telegraph that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires IS terrorists. 
Theresa May’s government, as previous governments, have endangered the British public by the relationship they choose to have with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. In recent months, May has signed up Britain to a new generation of special relationships with these states, based on selling more arms and providing more training of their militaries and security forces to keep the ruling families in power. All this has been done on the quiet, with scant government or media reporting. We are set for another generation of domestic tyranny in Gulf and foreign Islamist adventures, all now helped by raising the enemy of ‘Iran’ – a foreign policy agenda being set by Riyadh and recently helped by President Trump’s preposterous invocation of Iran as the major sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.

The media is trying to say that Corbyn is soft on terrorism, but why don't they mention how the Conservative party backs terrorism? Total media bias.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ron Jacobs — The Deep State is the State

The deep state is not some enigmatic entity that operates outside the US government. It is the US state itself. Like all elements of that state, the so-called deep state exists to enforce the economic supremacy of US capitalism. It does so primarily via the secret domestic and international police forces like the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. The operations of these agencies run the gamut from surveillance to propaganda to covert and overt military actions. Naturally, this so-called deep state operates according to their own rules; rules which ultimately insure its continued existence and relevance. Although it can be argued that it was the 1950 National Security Directive known as NSC-68 along with the Congressional Bill creating the Central Intelligence Agency that launched the “deep state” as we understand it, a broader understanding of the “deep state” places its genesis perhaps a century prior to that date. In other words, a structure designed to maintain the economic and political domination of certain powerful US capitalists existed well back into the nineteenth century. However, the centralization of that power began in earnest in the years following World War Two.…

The Deep State is the State
Ron Jacobs

Doug Bandow — How America Could End Up in an Unexpected War with China

The US is now involved militarily on five fronts — Central Asia (Afghanistan), the Middle East (Iraq, Syria and Iran), Europe (Ukraine, Russia), China (South China Sea), and North Korea. How can this be a good idea?

The National Interest
How America Could End Up in an Unexpected War with China
Doug Bandow | senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan

Moon of Alabama — Syria - Truth Slips Through In The New York Times - NATO Preps to Fight Iran And Russia

Make no mistake - "fighting ISIS" is not the real purpose of the move. The U.S. wants NATO support to invade Syria from the north in Idleb as well as from the south near Deraa and from the south-east starting at the al-Tanf border station to Iraq. Syria and its allies will now be fought under the disguise of "fighting ISIS" which factually can no longer be the purpose. Thus NATO, together with Wahhabi Gulf forces, will now be engaged in an expanded war not only against the Syria government but especially against its Russian and Iranian allies. Trump's endorsement of anti-Iranian rhetoric on his visit in Saudi Arabia served a similar purpose.
Syria and its allies will try to prevent a further invasion by cutting off al-Tanf and holding on to Deraa city - thereby blocking any wider military moves. But those measures will probably be in vain. Unless some sane voices intervene we are now at the beginning of a far wider and more dangerous war that can easily slip out of anyone's control.
Trump just got his marching orders from Riyadh and Tel Aviv. WWIII appears to be on.

Moon of Alabama
Syria - Truth Slips Through In The New York Times - NATO Preps to Fight Iran And Russia

See also

The Vineyard of the Saker
Trump: dancing with wolves on the Titanic
The Saker