Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Frank Sellers — SHOCKER: US sides with Moscow over Kiev in WTO case

Typically, Washington is against anything that benefits Moscow, and is for anything which bolsters the position of US puppet regime Ukraine. But, at ongoing cases before the World Trade Organization, that narrative isn’t applicable. This is so because if Washington slam Moscow for its actions relative to Kiev, it would provide a case against Trump’s metals tariffs. However, by standing with Russia on this issue, Washington thinks that it can save its own trade actions, namely Trump’s metals tariffs.…

National security trumps WTO regs. Both the US and Russia are claiming national security supervenes in their cases, and the US is supporting Russia on this.

In effect, this is the recognition that the national sovereignty supersedes international agreements in certain cases. The nation state is not dead yet.
The Duran
SHOCKER: US sides with Moscow over Kiev in WTO case
Frank Sellers

Philip Giraldi — The Yellow Peril Comes to Washington

Following the Israeli model?
Giraldi points out the obvious and ask why no one of consequence is talking about it. Btw, previous posts similar to this got Giraldi on the official outs list as being off the reservation by "going there."

The Unz Review
The Yellow Peril Comes to Washington
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

Henry Kissinger and Donald Trump

Fort Russ

Trump, Putin & Helsinki: Henry Kissinger Still Calls the Shots
Rajai R. Masri is a former lecturer of Finance at McGill University and Boston University.


Sic Semper Tyrannis
Let Mikey do it? Maybe not.
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.

He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. — Wikipedia
See also

Jacksonian populism. Should read.

American History for Truthdiggers: Andrew Jackson’s White-Male World and the Start of Modern Politics
Danny Sjursen | Major, U.S. Army, formerly assistant professor of history at West Point

William Polk on Trump, Helsinki, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Balanced assessment from a longtime insider.

Jack Matlock Blog
Mr. Trump Goes to Helsinki
William Polk on Trump, Helsinki, and U.S. Foreign Policy
William Polk |  former professor of history at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, past president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs at University of Chicago, and sometime US diplomat and foreign policy consultant

Gerald Dworkin — On Critical Thinking

We need courses devoted to such matters because we are living in a time where the dangers to informed and rational thought are not so much bad or sloppy thought but a poisoning of the flow of reliable information. It is not the transition from premises to conclusion that is often at fault but the premises themselves....
A sound argument is one whose logical form is valid and whose premises are true. The conclusion of a sound argument then follows from the premises and is true both deductively and representationally.

Simple, but a lot of things are in play and it takes a sharp mind with careful training to detect the problems. This is particularly the case when ordinary language is employed, which is most of the time in persuasion. Scientific method has been designed to reduce this risk, but there are also plenty of ways that scientific reasoning can go wrong, too.

Rigor in thinking requires training to acquire and apply. It also requires the ability to handle nuance.

Without such training most people are unable to follow an argument and critique correctly. As a result, persuasion based on rhetorical is often substituted successfully for rational argumentation based on logic and data that are genuine.

There is a difference between "data" and data. Fake news based on dubious or even bogus sources is an example, but this is a rather egregious one. There are a lot more subtle ways to persuade using sophistry.

3 Quarks Daily
On Critical Thinking
Gerald Dworkin | Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of California, Davis

Craig Murray — The Ubiquity of Evil

My world view changed forever when, after 20 years in the Foreign Office, I saw colleagues I knew and liked go along with Britain’s complicity in the most terrible tortures, as detailed stunningly in the recent Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee Report. They also went along with keeping the policy secret, deliberately disregarding all normal record taking procedures, to the extent that the Committee noted:
131. We note that we have not seen the minutes of these meetings either: this causes us great concern. Policy discussions on such an important issue should have been minuted. We support Mr Murray’s own conclusion that were it not for his actions these matters may never have come to light.
The people doing these things were not ordinarily bad people; they were just trying to keep their jobs, comforting themselves with the thought that they were only civil servants obeying orders. Many were also actuated by the nasty “patriotism” that grips in time of war, as we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost nobody in the FCO stood up against the torture or against the illegal war – Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Carne Ross and I were the only ones to leave over it....

Craig Murray Blog
The Ubiquity of EvilCraig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

See also

Brain Pickings
The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt on the Normalization of Human Wickedness and Our Only Effective Antidote to It
Maria Popova

Chris Dillow — Lying for Money: a review

Good read.

Stumbling and Mumbling
Lying for Money: a review
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell — US growth surprise will not last

Last Friday July 27, 2018), the US Bureau of Economic Analysis published their latest national accounts data – Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2018 (Advance Estimate), which tells us that the annualised real GDP growth rate for the US was a very strong 4.1 per cent in the was 3 per cent in the June-quarter 2018. Note this is not the annual growth over the last four-quarters, which is a more modest 2.8 per cent (up from 2.6 per cent in the previous quarter). As this is only the “Advance estimate” (based on incomplete data) there is every likelihood that the figure will be revised when the “second estimate” is published on August 29, 2018. Indeed, the BEA informed users that it has conducted a comprehensive revision of the National Accounts which includes more accurate data sources and better estimation methodologies. So I had to revise my entire dataset today to reflect the revisions. The US result was driven, in part, by “accelerations in PCE and in exports, a smaller decrease in residential fixed investment, and accelerations in federal government spending and in state and local spending.” Real disposable personal income grew at 2.6 per cent (down from 4.4 per cent in the first-quarter). The personal saving ratio fell from 7.2 per cent to 6.8 per cent. Notwithstanding the strong growth, the problems for the US growth prospects are two-fold: (a) How long can consumption expenditure keep growing with flat wages growth and elevated personal debt levels? (b) What will be the impacts of the current trade policy? rise is a relevant question. At some point, the whole show will come to a stop as it did in 2008 and that will impact negatively on private investment expenditure as well, which has just started to show signs of recovery. Government spending at all levels has also continued to make a positive growth contribution. But with rising private debt levels and flat wages growth the growth risk factors are on the negative side. When that correction comes, the US government will need to increase its discretionary fiscal deficit to stimulate confidence among business firms and get growth back on track....
To the degree that the consolidated domestic private sector is driving growth, growth of private debt is the key driver. Growth based on expanding private debt is income-dependent, and incomes must also grow for the increased debt to be sustainable over time. If the rate of growth of private debt falters, increasing net exports or (inclusive "or)) government deficit spending must offset to maintain the growth path.

Bill looks at the details of this and it is a good example of MMT macro analysis. He shelfs the discussion of the external sector for another day.
I will write more about the tariff tit-for-tat in a future blog post.
What appears to be happening is the decisions taken by Trump are putting US trading partners into situations that will see them concede in one way or another....
This is a fairly long post and quite detailed. It will be mostly of interest to those already handy with MMT analytical tools, but it will also give MMT newbies a look at how MMT analysis works.

Bill concludes by looking at the US labor market and the plight of US workers.

This post really covers the bases!

Here is something else to consider:
So, the standard neoliberal claims that the labour share has to be reduced to stimulate more private business investment and jobs is not supported by the evidence.
The increased owner/rentier share is not going to capital investment and not that much is going to increased consumption either. This is means that the residual is being saved.

The increased savings over investment would imply that owners expect a better return from financial investment than productive investment, as Marx held — and also predicted that when this became chronic it presaged late-stage capitalism. This seems to be occurring in the developed world where the rate of actual growth is masked by the lack of distinction in GDP between actual production and services, especially financial services. Production is increasingly being exported to the still developing world. Now President Trump is trying to reverse that trend.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
US growth surprise will not last
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

See also
On net, we can say that the economy is likely getting some near-term boost from the tax cut, which could lead to a growth rate of close to 3.0 percent in 2018. It is difficult to see this persisting into 2019 unless we see a pick up in productivity growth as the labor market tightens and employers are forced to pay higher wages.
It is important to point out that for almost everyone but economist types, growth does not mean anything. People care about whether they have a job and whether their pay is rising. On the last point, the news has not been good, as real wages have been flat over the last year.
However, it is important to note that without the increase in energy prices, they would have risen 0.5–0.7 percent. That is not a great story given how much ground has to be made up for workers to get their share of growth, but at least it is movement in the right direction. And, as the energy price hikes of last summer move out of the 12-month window, we will be looking at real wage gains of 0.5 to 0.7 percent, what workers were seeing before Donald Trump became president.
Beat the Press
Quick Thoughts on Trump's "Amazing" Economy
Dean Baker | Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C

Master race? Antisemitism & Jewish identity politics with Tony Greenstein & Gilad Atzmon

Why spend the afternoon watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster when you could be listening to something as interesting as this?

Don't get put off by the title, it's a very fair and balanced debate. All are anti-Zionist and pro Jeremy Corbyn. 

Master race? Jewish/Israeli identity politics and antisemitism with Gilad Atzmon, Tony Greenstein, Ed Hill and Eddie James What's the difference between Jews, Jewishness and Judaism? Is Gilad Atzmon an antisemite?
Is Israel about the Jewish race or Jewish religion, both, or neither?
Margaret Hodge's accusation that Jeremy Corbyn is a racist and an antisemite. IHRA definition is over 500 words. Are most antisemites Zionists?
There is no evidence Jeremy Corbyn is prejudiced against Jews or any race. Free speech and the suspension of Ken Livingstone, political interference in UK by Israel? What is the role of MI5?
In the old days antisemites were the people who hated the Jews, now antisemites are the people the Jews hate.
Political correctness insists that the words 'Jew', 'Jewish' or 'Jews' must have special protection despite the fact that the 'Jewish state' is embarking on racist laws and genocide against the Palestinians. Chief rabbi wrote a strong letter to the Labour party telling them to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism at the same time as Israel is embarking on an extremist racist project.
Do Jews have a disproportionate control of the media? Is making such an accusation like something from the Nazi propaganda ministry or is it a legitimate question?
Are some supporters of Palestine actually working in the interests of the Israeli state? Do Jews operate power or is the Israel lobby really just driven by Western imperialism?
Is Israel actually Jewish at all, or is the entire state project a fraud? Is Israel a settler colonial state, or an entirely new kind of racist state?
Is there a case for Jewish 'race' being innocent? What is Jewishness and what's the phenomenon's relation to 'chosenness'.
Who expelled Tony Greenstein from the Labour party? Who runs which Jewish pressure groups? Is the core of the problem identifying 'politically' as a Jew?
The right of the Labour party welcome's Tony's expulsion because they see Israel as the watchdog of Western colonial interests in the Middle East.
Jewish exceptionalism has many faces, identifying politically as a Jew. Operating in racially oriented bodies, they think in racial terms and they accuse everybody else of being racist.
Zionists claim that all Jews support Israel so Jews have to get together to oppose this lie. Racial vs. political orientated?
Should Israel, as a racist state, have the right to exist?
Ed Hill, Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Eddie Clarke, ARC bar on Broad Street, Bristol; Gilad Atzmon, Israeli-born writer and musician; Tony Greenstein, expelled from Brighton Labour party over antisemitism arguments.
Presenter and producer Tony Gosling, Engineered by David Bosankoe on the evening of Wednesday 18th July 2018 as the Knesset was passing the potentially genocidal Jewish Nation State Bill and on the day veteran Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge allegedly called her leader Jeremy Corbyn a '****ing racist and antisemite'. Labour expels Jewish anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein

Jay Janson - A Nationalist Faction on Wall St. Challenges the War Faction Which Owns the CIA and Media

It was hard for me to do a concise copy and paste as usual, as every bit is gripping. So this is just a taster. Jay Janson captures everything we say here in one essay. It's pertinent.  KV

Boisterous billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump seemed to have been designated by a forward thinking substantial group of investors to present a demand that government force America's wealth controlling deep-pockets to invest in a United States suffering from neglect, rather than continue to promote investing more profitably in the low wage economies of developing nations regardless of the consequences of speeding up development of future contenders for world power. The handwriting is on the wall that reads 'pale skin folks will not keep power over six times as many folks of color toned skin for all that much longer. The willingness of humanity to continue to accept the white world's profitable investments in genocide will end when enough economic power shifts from Europeans, and their descendant nations, to the six sevenths of humanity they have plundered. Realizing this, a block of important investors within the 1/10th of 1% who rule America have been in fraternal confrontation with the war establishment and its CIA-fed media pushing for investment in the neglected US instead of in the low wage 3rd World that China will soon lead

The more perspicacious among them must be thinking logically, 'Better begin investing in our home countries and see that the world power shift coming to overtake us comes later rather than sooner, while we make our economies better able to deal with the inevitable change in world leadership.'

However, it is obvious that a much more substantial and powerful faction of the important investors ruling the US and much of the world have their investments so heavily weighted in the super lucrative military industrial complex, that they must desperately count on the West's overkill military dominance to assure Western control of the world far into the foreseeable future. Investors locked into the financial-industrial-military complex must surely be more powerful than investors, whose portfolios are weighted in production, trade and acquisitions. A glance at our vastly over militarized world, continuing massively destructive wars and steady impoverishment of half of mankind would seem to be sufficient to assume the primacy of investments in the profitable but criminal use of the Armed Forces, CIA and CIA-controlled US mainstream media.

Since predatory investments go hand in hand with bombings and invasions, the Military Industrial Complex faction had to be virulently opposed to forcing investors to invest in the USA, as Trump had been trumpeting to an ever widening audience, ergo the wild efforts of its CIA controlled newscasters, commentators and talk shows to denigrate Trump in whatever desperate method possible for his rocking the wars industry's boat containing trillions of dollars invested in future military conflict.

The theater of Trump’s bumptious behavior is taking place in front of a brutal set of powerful alien-like investors on Wall Street, rabid monsters who gave the world the Somali, Iraqi, Libyan, Syrian, Yemeni and South Sudan genocides and a bloody permanent racist occupation of Afghanistan, just as their elders and some of their parents gave the world the genocides surpassing the Holocaust in Korea, Congo, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Central America.
But nothing in this world is absolute, and some considerable number within this powerful investor elite, concerned for their own skin in an uncertain future, might even have realistically accepted that Chinese civilization will ultimately replace the present American-led crazed speculative-banking-driven genocidal white folks neocolonial power plundering of much of the rest of humanity. It doesn’t seem credible that all wealthy and powerful Americans have become comfortably inured to the massive taking of lives and deadly impoverishment of hundreds of millions of other human beings during their criminal capital acquisitions. Wealthy criminals, even when insane are not stupid. With China’s rise as a world power making itself more noticeable month by month, economic might has begun to loom more and more important than military might. After all, bigger money buys bigger guns and the biggest money will always buy the most of anything necessary. Equally important, one can suppose all investors are aware of a predicted future in which China and not the US will be most influential if not controlling critical world institutions including the United Nations and its courts.
Counter Currents

War is a Racket by Smedley Butler

You've all seen it, I know, but in case you haven't, this is good. An actor plays Smedley Butler giving his famous anti-war speech. Smedly Butler was America's most decorated general at the time of his death, but he spent the last years of his life as a peace campaigner. I don't remember at school anyone ever teaching me about Smedley Butler, and I searched the internet under images and no picture of a statue came up for him. KV

War is a Racket by Smedley Butler is a famous speech denouncing the military industrial complex. This speech by two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient exposes war profits that benefit few at the expense of many. Throughout his distinguished career in the Marines, Smedley Darlington Butler demonstrated that true patriotism does not mean blind allegiance to government policies with which one does not agree. To Hell with war.

Misión Verdad - Who Is Behind the State Department's Coup Plot in Venezuela?

Creating a distorted image of the humanitarian crisis is the starting point. Painting a picture of a country on the verge of collapse is the alibi.

I'm a liberal (well, I was until the liberals went mad on Russiagate), so I think resources can be shared while still allowing the talented to get rich. For instance, if only the elite class would invest in renewable green energy, and then  one day, probably fairly soon, they could make their fortunes.  But they seem to be lazy and prefer just to still all the world's resources instead and then lie about climate change. They think they are clever but they seem to be talent-less.  KV

The coup plot against Venezuela has already been written and presented. On March 2, 2017, during the first round of OAS talks, Shannon K. O'Neil (Latin America director of the Council on Foreign Relations, CFR) presented the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a portfolio of actions and measures to be taken by the United States if it wanted to remove Chavismo from political power in Venezuela.
Origin and Key Players of CFR
The Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR, is a think tank founded in 1921 with money from the Rockefeller Foundation. It is aimed at creating a group of experts to shape U.S. foreign policy and its leadership positions, including the president and the State Department, which does not act for its own reasons but rather according to the interests of these lobbyists.
Since it was created, the council, which is made up of 4,500 members, has placed a number of senior officials in positions to implement CFR strategy. These include Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, responsible for the war in Vietnam, Yugoslavia and Iraq respectively, and in the case of Powell, a major player in the April 2002 coup.
Moreover, an honorary member and ex-vice president of the think tank was David Rockefeller, the former owner of Standard Oil Company who has great interests and influence in Venezuela. His penetration in the country's national political life reached such a point that he was one of the sponsors of the Punto Fijo pact that gave rise to the Fourth Republic.
Corporations That Finance the CFR and Use It as a Political Platform
Corporations born from the dissolution of Standard Oil also finance the CFR, namely Chevron and Exxon Mobil. The former was involved in financing the sanctions against Venezuela and the latter wants to create conflict between Guyana and Venezuela in order to take advantage of the large oil reserves in Essequibo.
mong CFR's financiers is Citibank, which last year blocked the accounts of the Central Bank of Venezuela and the Bank of Venezuela, affecting the country’s ability to import essential goods. The financial corporation JP Morgan is responsible for using financial aggression as an excuse to declare Venezuela in default of payments in November 2016, using manipulative maneuvers to affect Venezuela’s financial credibility.
Both banks aimed to hurt Venezuela’s ability to attract investment and loans that would stabilize its economy. The most aggressive players of the financial and economic coup against Venezuela are part of CFR. These same players are now responsible for designing the agenda of the political coup — in the same way that Colin Powell, a CFR member, devised and armed the 2002 coup against Chavez when he was George W. Bush’s secretary of state. Now, just like then, the MUD (today called Democratic Coordinator) only responds to a political line designed by these large, factual powers — the real power that governs the United States.

Steve Taylor Ph.D. - How Natural is War to Human Beings?

                                         The Case for a Peaceful Past

There are rogues amongst us but on the whole I find people to be very friendly. What delights me the most is how much like to help each other, give tips and advice, and enjoy a chat with a stranger. Let's hope it's true that if we don't blow the planet up in the meantime we are moving towards an enlightened angelic future.   KV

If you look at the world today, and if you survey the human race’s recorded history, it’s easy to see our species as innately bloodthirsty and aggressive species. It seems as if warfare and brutality have been omnipresent, and are natural to human beings. And indeed, this is the conclusion that many scholars and scientists have reached. One of the founders of evolutionary psychology, E.O. Wilson, referred to warfare as “humanity's hereditary curse,” whereas another evolutionary psychologist, Steven Pinker, has suggested that "chronic raiding and feuding characterize life in a state of nature.”
However, there is a great deal of evidence suggesting that this view is false.  In 2005, I published a book called The Fall, which argued that the human race’s prehistory was relatively harmonious, and that phenomena such as warfare, male domination, social hierarchies and theistic religions only began to emerge around 6000 years ago, due to the development of a strong sense of individuality and separation. At the time of the book’s publication, the idea that prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups were peaceful and egalitarian was more controversial, even though it was supported by a great many archeologists and anthropologists. But I’m pleased to say that over the last 10 years, this idea has gained more evidence and support, and has become much more widely accepted.

For example, in 2014, a study of 21 contemporary hunter-gatherer groups by the anthropologists Fry and Soderberg showed a striking lack of evidence for inter-group conflict over the last hundred years. There was only society (an Australian Aboriginal group called the Tiwi) who had a history of group killings. In another study focused on prehistory, the anthropologist Bryan Ferguson (2013) carried out a detailed survey of Neolithic Europe and the near East, and found almost no  evidence of warfare. Ferguson found that warfare only became common around 3500 BCE. In the Levant - an area which includes present day Jordan, Syria, Israel and Palestine - there was also no sign of warfare until 3500 BCE, even though the area had been densely populated and farmed since 9000 BCE. Also in 2013, the anthropologists Jonathan Haas and Matthew Piscitelli surveyed descriptions of 2900 prehistoric human skeletons from scientific literature, and apart from single massacre site in Sudan (in which two dozen people were killed), only four skeletons showed signs of violence - and even these signs were consistent with homicide rather than warfare. As the authors note, this “dearth of violence” completely contrasts “with later periods when warfare clearly appears in this historical record of specific societies and is marked by skeletal markers of violence, weapons of war, defensive sites and architecture, etc…. "The presumed universality of warfare in human history and ancestry may be satisfying to popular sentiment; however, such universality lacks empirical support." 
Even modern day hunter-gatherers are generally not territorial – they don’t think of a particular area of land as belonging to them and them alone, and don’t aggressively resist anybody who encroaches on it. (As the anthropologists Burch and Ellanna put it, “both social and spatial boundaries among hunter- gatherers are extremely flexible with regard to membership and geographic extent.”) It seems very unlikely that different groups were in continual conflict with another of resources. In fact, rather than being in conflict, contemporary foraging groups interact with each other a good deal. They regularly visit each other, make marriage alliances, and often switch membership. Even David Barash, otherwise an orthodox evolutionary psychologist, admits that “a strong case can and has been made that nomadic forager social systems in particular predispose against violent interpersonal competition.” 

Group conflict amongst chimpanzees has also been seen as evidence for the innate warlikeness of human beings, since they are our closest relatives. However, there have always been doubts about how innate chimpanzee group violence is, and how much if it is due to human interference and encroachment. When studied in completely natural environments, chimpanzees are much more peaceful. It is also significant that we human beings are as closely related to bonobos are we are to chimpanzees, and it is has always been accepted that bonobos are extremely peaceful. Modern researchers have never observed a single incidence of group conflict or murder amongst bonobos.
In other words, the evidence strongly suggests that group conflict is not innate to human beings, and only became prevalent at a fairly late stage in human history. Why did it become prevalent? At the moment there is no clear answer. Some scholars have suggested a connection to the onset of agriculture, others to the first large-scale settlements, to population pressure - whereas my theory is that this was due a psychological change in certain human groups. 
This issue is much more than a pedantic academic argument. Our view of human nature determines our view of the human race’s future. If we believe that human beings are innately warlike, then there is no reason for us to believe that our future holds anything else but more of the chaos and conflict that has filled our past. But if we believe that conflict is not innate to us, and that our aggression is due to external factors rather than being “hard-wired” into us, then we’re entitled to have a different vision of the future. We were a peaceful species once before, so there’s no reason why we should give up hope of becoming peaceful once again.
Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. He is the author of the Fall, Back to Sanity and several other books. www.stevenmtaylor.com
Psychology Today

Monday, July 30, 2018

Paul Craig Roberts - The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power

The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power

Paul Craig Roberts is more of a revolutionary than I am, but I think he is just letting off some steam, you see, if the left in Latin America put to death those on the right who committed treason by trying  a coup, the corporate media and Washington would go berserk accusing the leftist governments of being brutal dictatorships, and then Washington would arm the right-wing militia in those countries causing a civil war would break out. All the whiler this would also give the West more propaganda to use against the left calling them evil communists.

Here, PCR even criticises the Reagan Administration.  KV

Paul Craig Roberts
The United States government has never allowed independent governments in Latin America. Every time people elect a government that represents them instead of US economic interests, Washington overthrows the elected government. Marine General Smedley Butler told us this as have many others. There is no doubt about it.
Currently Washington is trying to overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua and has bought off the Ecuadorian government with oil purchases and the usual personal bribes. Evo Morales government in Bolivia is also targeted by Washington. The Obama regime succeeded in removing the reform governments in Honduras, Argentina, and Brazil.
Reform governments in Latin America, except for Castro’s Cuba, always leave themselves set-up to be overthrown. They foolishly or impotently permit Washington’s agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Agency for International Development, and various so-called NGOs, whose purpose is to maintain Washington’s control and overthrow every government that escapes control, to organize and fund opposition groups and media that work hand-in-hand with Washington to reinstall a Washington-compliant government.
As Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot understood, you cannot overthrow an oppressor class if you leave them unmolested. Whether from weakness or stupidity, Latin American reform governments always leave the electorally defeated oppressor class and its economic and media power unmolested. When Washington reinstalls the oppressor class, the same tolerance is never shown to the overthrown reformers who usually pay with their lives.
All Latin American reform efforts have made the foolish mistake of leaving the oppressor class with their newspapers and their traitorous connections to Washington in place, including the government of President Ortega in Nicaragua. One would think that Ortega would know better. Washington has been trying to get rid of Ortega and the Sandinistas since the Reagan administration. His government has survived the latest Washington-led coup attempt, but Washington is pouring more money into the effort. Read Kevin Zeese’s report here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49933.htm
Hugo Chavez made the same mistake in Venezuela, and his successor has repeated the mistake. The post-Castro Cuban government is now also falling into the trap of becoming an American vassal as it was under Fulgencio Batista.
The Monroe Doctrine has always been glorified in US textbooks as warning European colonialists away from Latin America. The Americans intended it for themselves and succeeded in keeping Latin America as a colony. The Organization of American States has always been in Washington’s pocket and remains there today. Latin America accepts its colonized existence and does not come to the aid of those democratic governments that Washington targets for overthrow. Latin America is impotent, because its leaders are paid off, blackmailed, or threatened by Washington.
Washington has pretended forever to be the great friend and protector of democracy, but every time an independent government comes into existence in Latin America, Washington overthrows it.
In 2015 President Barack Obama, America’s first Black President and “great friend of the oppressed,” citing “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by Venezuela,” signed an executive order and imposed sanctions. Obama’s excuse was the Washington-incited violence that led to the arrest of some of those committing acts of violence. Washington quickly termed the criminals Washington had incited “political prisoners” and called for “dialogue” instead of “silencing critics with arrests.” Washington declared the arrests of those committing acts of violence to be “human rights violations by the Venezuelan government.” http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-declares-venezuela-national-security-threat-imposes-sanctions
In other words, the Venezuelan government was violating Washington’s human rights to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
The presstitutes reported this with a straight face.
A government that has no shame whatsoever in telling the most transparent lies while actively trying to overthrow a democratically elected government is a government that deserves universal condemnation. Yet the world is too well paid off or scared to open its mouth.

Martin Armstrong — Magnitsky Act & the Strange Backdrop

There's more to this than meets the eye. As usual, follow the money. Marty Armstrong shows the way.

Armstrong Economics
Magnitsky Act & the Strange Backdrop
Martin Armstrong

Tucker: An Iran war would destroy Trump's presidency

Could Trump be talking ultra tough to get a better deal with Iran like he did with North Korea, or could this blow out of control as the military-industrial complex would like as it would be good for sales?

Tucker: We are moving toward confrontation with Iran. That should worry everybody, but it should especially concern the president’s supporters. If President Trump decides to go to war with Iran, it will destroy his presidency, just as the Iraq War destroyed the presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

FARAI MAGUWU - The BRICS, Climate Catastrophe, Resource Plunder and Resistance

We're on our own when it comes to the climate and the environment as big money does all the talking. China is developing green energy back at home to try to clean up its environment but is promoting coal fired power power stations in Africa to support its ailing fossil fuel industry which has been affected by China's clean energy regulations. India, which is trying to reduce it's own carbon footprint, is doing the same in Africa too. And Putin has also muscled in on Zimbabwe's dodgy diamond and platinum business. In all instances, rural African communities are getting their habitat and livelihood destroyed, but big business wins. KV

The heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are meeting in Johannesburg’s corruption-ridden financial district of Sandton for a two-day annual summit. Pretending to challenge Western imperial hegemony over poor nations of the South, this bloc has itself proved to be no different.
If anything, two of the BRICS powers – China and India – are investing billions of dollars in coal-fired thermal-power generation in Africa while winning global applause for increasing their solar and wind power at home. This contradiction and policy inconsistency is one of many which makes the BRICS a farce.
China is funding coal projects in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, yet is a global powerhouse in renewable energy. It put on hold more than 100 coal plants in 2017 with a combined installed capacity of 100 gigawatts. In 2016 China’s energy regulator also halted coal fired projects amounting to over 300 gigawatts, mainly due to overcapacity but also health and local pollution concerns.
In Zimbabwe, Vladimir Putin has muscled his way into the lucrative platinum and diamond sectors. After the military coup in November, Putin sent his powerful Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to meet Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa where they agreed to move ahead with a dodgy $3 billion platinum project in Darwendale. Lavrov later revealed to the media that Russia was also interested in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector, adding the two countries will increase military cooperation.
But health, access to clean water, food security, jobs and infrastructure development are the main priorities of the Zimbabwean people – not more power to our country’s de facto junta. Beijing’s diversion of diamonds via its military, both back to China through the Anjin company and to the Zimbabwean army, was so notorious already that even former President Robert Mugabe – deposed in a coup last November – admitted that of $15 billion worth of the alluvial stones taken from the Marange fields, less than $2 billion had been accounted for.

Bill Mitchell — The fundamental realignment of British society via fiscal austerity

In my analysis of the UK fiscal statement that George Osborne released on March 23, 2011 – I don’t wanna know one thing about evil (April 29, 2011) – I noted that the imposition of fiscal austerity in Britain meant that any hope of growth was really dependent on a combination of export growth and household consumption growth. With the former source unlikely and household income growth sluggish (and falling in real terms), households would have to run deficits, which necessitated running down savings and/or increasing borrowing. British households were already overloaded with debt at the time. The New Keynesian economic orthodoxy claimed that my concerns about a growth strategy that was ultimately reliant on increasing household indebtedness were misplaced because the debt would be accompanied by increased wealth via rising house prices. Well the most recent data available from the British Office of National Statistics and other sources (house prices) shows that my concerns were real. Real housing prices have been falling for the last few years in Britain and are now growing at their slowest pace since 2013. Further, ONS data shows that ““UK households have seen their outgoings surpass their income for the first time in nearly 30 years” and they “are borrowing more and saving less”. At the same time, households are accumulating more debt than assets and borrowing more by way of non-mortgage loans to cover the squeeze on disposable incomes. Also, it is not just mortgage debt that has been rising. The real burden of short-term household debt (credit cards etc) in Britain has risen dramatically over the last 20 years. The rising debt and household deficits are also concentrated at the lower end of the income distribution and wealth inequality is rising significantly. Then we learn that in excess of British children are living in poverty. So in the face of withering fiscal austerity that is impacting severely on the prosperity of the current generation of adults, the policy failure is also ensuring that the disadvantage will be taken into the next generation of adults and their children. Deprivation breeds deprivation. This is a fundamental realignment of British society that will take it back to C19th-type relativities.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The fundamental realignment of British society via fiscal austerity
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

See also
Austerity-induced reforms, including widespread cuts to the welfare state since 2010, were an important factor behind the decision of many people to shift their political support to UKIP and, subsequently, support Leave in the EU referendum
In other words, Thatcherism was foundational for the current issues. Good work, Maggie.

The Independent
How David Cameron's welfare cuts led directly to the Brexit vote
Thiemo Fetzer

Aaron Mate' - Debunking the Putin Panic with Stephen F. Cohen

The liberals hate Trump so much that they are now suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, says Professor Stephen Cohen. Trump stands for everything they hate; his tearing up of environmental regulations; his  disregard of global warming; his backing of the corporations; his tax cuts to the rich who don't need anymore money; his nationalism and his alt. right supporters. Yep, there's plenty to hate about Trump, but now the liberals have sided up with the corrupted corporate Democrats and the military-industrial banking complex that doesn't want peace with Russia in a grand Trump hating alliance. How could they be so stupid?

The Real News

There is much to criticize the Russian president for, says Professor Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton and NYU, but many US political and media claims about Putin are false - and reckless

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY - NATO Is a Goldmine for US Weapons’ Industries

                         The Absurdity of the Military-Industrial Complex - what more really                                                                              horrible things will they invent next?
When you get to be leader of a country one of your main jobs seems to be selling armaments made by your country's arms manufacturers. Trump is a master salesman and he is saying that the US produces the world's best weapons. Hmm, but not as good as the Russian ones which cost far less to develop because their nationalised arms manufactures are not trying to extract as much money as possible out of the Russian public like Western companies do. There must be better ways to make money rather than push this protection racket? KV

Countries of the NATO military alliance have been ordered by President Trump to increase their spending on weapons, and the reasons for his insistence they do so are becoming clearer. It’s got nothing to do with any defence rationale, because, after all, the Secretary General of the US-NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has admitted that “we don’t see any imminent threat against any NATO ally” and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded in its 2018 World Report that “at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016.”

Even Radio Free Europe, the US government's anti-Russia broadcaster, records that Russia has reduced its defence spending.
There is demonstrably no threat whatever to any NATO country by Russia, but this is considered irrelevant in the context of US arms’ sales, which are flourishing and being encouraged to increase and multiply.
On July 12, the second and final day of the recent US-NATO meeting, Reuters reported Trump as saying that “the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything.”  He went on “to list the top US arms makers, Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp by name.”
On July 11 the Nasdaq Stock Exchange listed the stock price of Lockheed Martin at $305.68.  The day after Trump’s speech, it increased to $318.37.
On July 11 the Nasdaq Stock Exchange listed the stock price of Boeing at $340.50.  The day after Trump’s speech, it increased to $350.79.
On July 11 the New York Stock Exchange listed the stock price of Northrop Grumman (it doesn’t appear on Nasdaq) at $311.71.  The day after Trump’s speech, it increased to $321.73.
Strategic Cultures

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Victoria Finkle — The crisis isn't over

Long, but you probably want to read through it.

What happens when the next one hits. That's the great thing about capitalism — you know it is coming; you just don't know when and how bad.

If the next one is a big one, all bets are off whenever it hits.

American Banker
The crisis isn't over
Victoria Finkle | deputy Washington bureau chief

TASS — Sanctions Against Russia Do Not Work, New Measures Should Be Introduced - US Senator

Economic warfare is heating up. Can kinetic warfare be far behind?

Sanctions Against Russia Do Not Work, New Measures Should Be Introduced - US Senator

See also

The imperialist powers feeling their oats.

As Peters sees it, the economic war is aimed at China.

Hey, make up your mind, is it China, or Russia, or Iran, or Venezuela, or Cuba, or ? — anyone refusing to become either a US puppet state, a vassal paying tribute (like European countries), or a colony being exploited.

Looking more and more like a protection racket.

Zero Hedge
"Now The Real Economic War Begins, With America And Europe Allied"
Eric Peters, CIO Of New River Asset Management, as excerpted from his latest Weekend Notes

Branko Milanovic — A la recherche of the roots of US inequality “exceptionalism”

It has been long argued that American income inequality was, in the past 40 years or so, exceptionally high compared to other OECD countries. The latest results available by Luxembourg Income Study that harmonizes income concepts across countries show inequality in disposable (per capita) income in the US to be 41 Gini points, that is, higher than in any other similarly rich country (Germany’s Gini is 32, British 35, Italian 35, Dutch 28). So, this part is not controversial.

What is more controversial is technical (as opposed to substantive) explanation for this “exceptionalism”. Some people have argued that US market income inequality (that is, inequality before government redistribution through social transfers and direct taxes) is not much higher than elsewhere and that the entire explanation has to do with an insufficiently redistributive state. In simple terms, the argument is that the market generates same inequality in the US and Sweden, but Sweden redistributes much more though pensions, unemployment benefits, social assistance etc., and also taxes the rich more, so in the end disposable (after transfers and taxes) income inequality in Sweden is less than in the United States.

Janet Gornick, Nathaniel Johnson and I have recently looked at this more carefully. Without going through all explanations (which can be found in the paper here), we conclude that this is not entirely true: US market income inequality is generally greater than in other rich countries and the American state redistributes less. So, we argue, both the underlying (market) inequality is high and redistribution is relatively weak.

But one can go further than that, and ask the following question: what part of redistribution is “weak”: is it that US transfers are small and not sufficiently pro-poor, or is it that US direct taxes are not sufficiently progressive?
Now, I look at that issue in the following way....
Global Inequality
A la recherche of the roots of US inequality “exceptionalism”
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Bruce Bower — Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money

Thousands of years ago, money was a means of debt payment, archaeologists and anthropologists say.
Useful summary of the history.

Science News
Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money
Bruce Bower

Adam Tooze - Beyond the crash

Politics don’t matter; market forces shape our world. So ran the dominant ethos before 2008. , the author of a landmark book, says it was always an illusion

The City of London decided to face East as it saw the huge profits that could be made in China. But China's huge credit boom could bring the Chinese economy crashing down, says Adam Tooze, and then the City of London will be the first Western domino to fall. Alan Greenspan, Gordon Brown, and the neoliberals thought that politics was finished, except for national defence issues, and that markets ruled, but China combines politics and economics with equal strategic importance, says, Adam Tooze.  KV

In trade and security, the UK lacks the heft, but it has shaped our era of globalisation and may still do so via one hugely significant entity: the City of London. While Wall Street has America’s huge national economy as its hinterland, the City of London is outsized, preeminent in currencies, interest rate derivatives and global banking Its present role and importance was already taking shape by the late 1950s when it began to provide an offshore market for unregulated borrowing and lending.
Again, this was very much a political choice, shaped via the growth of someting called the Eurodollar – a dollar held in Europe and hence, importantly, outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve; a political choice enabled by the British authorities and tolerated by the Americans. Hence it was by way of London that the offshore dollar banking industry was born, with profoundly destabilising long-term results.
In fact, the consequences were nothing less than world historic. On 15 August 1971, Richard Nixon suspended the gold convertibility of the dollar. (By the terms of the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, which had governed post-war global finances, currencies were pegged to the price of gold.) For the first time since the invention of money in the ancient world, no major currency was anchored to a metallic base. Money was openly acknowledged as a political creation.
The result, in the short term, was an explosion of instability, inflation and gyrating exchange rates. It was a feast for investment bankers, both on Wall Street and in the City of London. Opec’s oil earnings added to the surge. To avoid taxes, the money was funnelled through offshore havens, many of which were located in the former British empire, or exploited quasi-feudal entrepots such as Guernsey.
The eurodollar market was a “work-around”. By the 1980s, the push was on to achieve something more comprehensive: the wholesale liberalisation of capital movements. Regulators in London and New York, egged on by banking interests, were racing to the bottom.
The Guardian 

Sam Williams — Modern Money (Pt 2)

Part 1 is here if you missed it when linked to here at MNE when it came out.

The post begins with an analysis of geopolitics that is quite good. Its' a long piece and this is the most section that is most relevant to current events.

Williams sets up a hypothetical scenario to examine the relevance of MMT to the issue has he has constructed it, which I think is a "good move." The future is uncertain, of course, so it makes sense to address a hypothetical case that seems to be necessitated by the flow of the historical dialectic from the perspective of class dynamism. From the Marxists perspective  the "class struggle" is chiefly between capitalists (owners of capital and those that command capital) and ordinary workers, both production workers and lower level managers, and with socialized labor and globalization, this is an international phenomenon. However, the driver the dialectic on a day-by-day basis is the struggle among factions of the elite that comprise elites with opposing interests, some of which are mutually exclusive, ruling out compromise.

The William introduces into the scenario he has erected an analysis of Chartalism and critique of MMT.

Williams then compares the MMT theory of money with the Marxist. For MMT proponents, it is worth reading to get a Marxist view and a summary of the Marxist theory of money.

Finally, Williams engages in the beginnings of a critique of MMT as a lead into future parts of this series. To his credit, Williams has undertaken more than a superficial study of MMT, which he regards as the only credible alternative to a Marxist view.
Modern Monetary Theory in a nutshell holds that anything the central government accepts for payment of taxes is money. MMT has the merit of being the most coherent and consistent alternative to Marx’s theory of money. Indeed, in terms of a coherent and logical theory of money, there are really only two, Modern Monetary Theory, on one side, and the theory of money developed by Marx as part of his theory of (labor) value, on the other. All other theories of money, whether advanced by mainstream bourgeois economists or Marxists who believe we are living in an era of “non-commodity money,” are simply eclectic mixes of the two fundamental theories of money....
A Critique of Crisis Theory From a Marxist Perspective
Modern Money (Pt 2)
Sam Williams