Friday, August 31, 2018

The Real New Network - How Have Liberals Used Russiagate to Further American Exceptionalism? Q&A (Pt 4/6)

This is worth watching just for the clip of  Bill Maher and Micheal Moore attacking Col. Larry Wilkerson. Now Col. Larry Wilkerson is a republican and a military man and yet here is talking about making peace with Putin because the US and Russia have too many nuclear weapons aimed at each other and tensions are high. But Bill Maher and Michael Moore are vehemently anti-Russia and are full of it. Clip starts at 29 seconds. It's appalling to see liberals being so hawkish. I used to like Micheal Moore and I loved his films but now he appals me.

I used to like Bill Maher too once because he was a liberal and was extremely funny, but when he started bashing Muslims I went off him. I'm no Islam fan either, in fact I hate the religion, but I believe most Muslims are decent people just because it's human nature to be. Every religion has its fanatics and so does Christianity. What Bill Maher seems to miss is that the West created militant jihadist Islam which has ruined Muslim societies and made life hell for Muslim women. We nearly succeeded in doing the same in Syria.

Paul Jay say's the liberals hate Donald Trump so much that they are making a terrible mistake when they attack him over Russiagate. Kevin Vincent.

Reel Bad Arabs : How Hollywood Vilifies a People

Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez. Gabriel Zucman — Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States

This article combines tax, survey, and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the United States since 1913. Our distributional national accounts capture 100% of national income, allowing us to compute growth rates for each quantile of the income distribution consistent with macroeconomic growth. We estimate the distribution of both pretax and posttax income, making it possible to provide a comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality. Average pretax real national income per adult has increased 60% from 1980 to 2014, but we find that it has stagnated for the bottom 50% of the distribution at about $16,000 a year. The pretax income of the middle class—adults between the median and the 90th percentile—has grown 40% since 1980, faster than what tax and survey data suggest, due in particular to the rise of tax-exempt fringe benefits. Income has boomed at the top. The upsurge of top incomes was first a labor income phenomenon but has mostly been a capital income phenomenon since 2000. The government has offset only a small fraction of the increase in inequality. The reduction of the gender gap in earnings has mitigated the increase in inequality among adults, but the share of women falls steeply as one moves up the labor income distribution, and is only 11% in the top 0.1% in 2014. JEL Codes: E01, H2, H5, J3....
The Quarterly Journal of Economics May 2018
Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez. Gabriel Zucman

Katharine Jenkins — Can a woman have a penis? How to understand disagreements about gender recognition

Ok, the title is clickbait. But, uncharacteristically of clickbait the article is about much more and it is important.

The point is that gender is a complicated concept that does fit simple models like biological appearance.

This is a point that Ludwig Wittgenstein sought to elucidate by applying logical analysis. The meaning of many words in ordinary language are more like family resemblances than essences. For example, many words have several entires differentiating the different uses in dictionaries. 

The Conversation
Can a woman have a penis? How to understand disagreements about gender recognition
Katharine Jenkins | Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

Simon Johnson — Saving Capitalism from Economics 101

All across the United States, students are settling into college – and coming to grips with “Econ 101.” This introductory course is typically taught with a broadly reassuring message: if markets are allowed to work, good outcomes – such as productivity growth, increasing wages, and generally shared prosperity – will surely follow.
Unfortunately, as my co-author James Kwak points out in his recent book, Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality, Econ 101 is so far from being the whole story that it could actually be considered misleading – at least as a guide to sensible policymaking. Markets can be good, but they are also profoundly susceptible to abusive practices, including by prominent private-sector people. This is not a theoretical concern; it is central to our current policy debates, including important new US legislation that has just been put forward....
Fitting post on Labor Day (US holiday celebrating working people). Worth reading in full. Unfortunately it is about saving capitalism from its excesses rather than overhauling it.

Why is capitalism in need of an overhaul. The term, "capitalism," explains it.

"Capitalism" is a socio-economic system that favors capital (property ownership) over the other factors of production, land (environment) and labor (those that work for a living). This "market-based" system is institutionally based, and as such politically based.

Classical liberalism was about reducing government intervention in the economy. Neoliberalism is about government capture through politics in order to favor the interests of capital.

Politics is influenced by a simplistic understanding of conventional economics, which has been called "economism" to distinguish it from economics. Econ 101 is more about promoting economism more than teaching economics in terms of models that are substantiated by events.

Project Syndicate
Saving Capitalism from Economics 101
Simon Johnson |  professor at MIT Sloan, former chief economist of the IMF, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of the blog, The Baseline Scenario

Yanis Varoufakis - The Three Tribes of Austerity

Austerity prevails in the West because three powerful political tribes champion it. Enemies of big government have coalesced with European social democrats and tax-cutting US Republicans, to create a cartel-based, hierarchical, financialized global economic system.

ATHENS – No policy is as self-defeating during recessionary times as the pursuit of a budget surplus for the purpose of containing public debt – austerity, for short. So, as the world approaches the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it is appropriate to ask why austerity proved so popular with Western political elites following the financial sector’s implosion in 2008.

The economic case against austerity is cut and dried: An economic downturn, by definition, implies shrinking private-sector expenditure. A government that cuts public spending in response to falling tax revenues inadvertently depresses national income (which is the sum of private and public spending) and, inevitably, its own revenues. It thus defeats the original purpose of cutting the deficit.
Clearly, there must be another, non-economic, rationale for supporting austerity. In fact, those favoring austerity are divided among three rather different tribes, each promoting it for its own reasons.
Project Syndicate 

Demolishing urban blight

Grandson of billionaire William Pulte of Pulte Homes is going all around bulldozing abandoned inner city neighborhoods creating open space...

Capital Gains tax cut being considered

Trump looking very strongly at doing it via Executive action:

The capital gains change would slash tax bills for investors when selling assets such as stock or real estate by adjusting the original purchase price for inflation. The change has been a longtime goal of Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who says the policy would spur job creation and economic growth because people wouldn’t be taxed on what he’s called “phantom income.”

Nice metaphor Larry...

Renegade Inc. - Imperialism's Point of the Sword

Podcast -  the evil of imperialism. And how the price of oil is manipulated by the corporations.

Renegade Inc. - Imperialism's Point of the Sword

Mason Gaffney delivers the detail on Corporate Power and US Imperialism. Hear about an article originally written in the 60’s that got him sacked, had CIA agents swirling around him but still he kept his resolve to maintain that military endeavours should not support corporate interests. If only the general public understood this story! Please read the article in full, via -

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Claire Connelly - The economy of permanent war

No wonder the US is just a giant military-industrial complex that goes around threatening everyone in the world pretending to be the good guy getting the bad guys. This has been going on for decades with war after war. But who pays for all this, the average tax payer it seems?  Plus they can send in their Western companies to pretend to rebuild the countries that they destroyed while opening up their markets and privatising so Western investors can get to own everything.

The US will bring democracy to your country and set you free, and they will even elect your president for you.

Why don't the Western aristocracy just ask for the money they want and leave everyone alone?

 'War is a Racket'.
Permanent war: the cost of doing business
Dr Kadri says that free trade is ‘a poisonous concept’ that requires a state of permanent war.
“In way we are caught in a catch-22 situation,” he says. “War is awful, but it does wonders for the macroeconomy.”
“One need only look at what has occurred in Yemen, Gaza, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq to discover the new shape of war and what happens to countries that attempt to control their own resources in an age where war and war spending have become all the more necessary to take the market out of its slump.”
Syria’s GDP was $73 billion in 2012, a 73% decrease in economic output from 2008, according to Statista. Cumulative GDP loss between 2011–2016 is estimated at $226 billion, according to the World Bank.
Why would the US be interested in billion dollar trade, when it has made more than a trillion out of war in Syria?,” he says. “If you want cash in against the Syrian government, you spend a trillion dollars mobilising intelligence in the west, another couple of trillion sowing dissent, saying Syria is bad, we have a bad guy in power, we should kill him and free this country, maybe bring in ISIS, al-Qaeda or some other obscurantist group. They’re willing to pay even tens of trillions, because they will earn back every penny.”
“If they spend ten trillion on this war, they’re going to earn $10–20 trillion back,” he says.
Around 30,000 people daily succumb to hunger and malnutrition. Not long ago, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food reported that one child perishes every four or five seconds from hunger and other preventable diseases.
“We live in a planet that must destroy its resources — including human resources,” says Dr Kadri. “This is what capital concedes: it requires death, either through severe austerity or through wars. There is nothing in the way they frame these concepts that is bereft of destruction.”
Either you’re in the pocket of the US or you are going to be destroyed. The point many people don’t see is that destruction and war is an end in itself.”
When war is more profitable than trade
The former UN economist says that free trade basically dislocates resources and never re-employs them back.
“It either drives resources out of business, or it simply destroys them,” he says.
“If you force governments in sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East to subsidise their agriculture, while the EU, for instance, spends a trillion euros a year subsidising its agriculture, you already have an economic imbalance in the way policy occurs.”
In many cases, war is actually more profitable than trade.
The Iraq war made Halliburton $20 billion in revenue. KBR, its controversial former subsidiary, (previously run by George W Bush’s Vice President, Dick Cheney) was awarded at least $39.5bn in federal contracts related to the Iraq war between 2003–2013.
Cheney himself profited handsomely from the conflict. Halliburton rose from the 22nd largest military contractor in 2000 to seventh in 2003 when Cheney took office. His financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 & 2003 revealed he received $1,997,525 from the company since becoming VP, along with stock options. Though Cheney resigned as CEO in July 2000 (to ‘avoid any conflicts of interest’), he walked away from the company with a retirement stock package worth $33.7 million.
The 100 largest arms producers and military services contractors recorded $395 billion in arms sales in 2012. Lockheed Martin, the largest arms seller, alone accounted for $36 billion in such sales during 2012.
“Iraq was willing to negotiate, and it would continue to sell its oil in the dollar, yet it got invaded and the costs of its war were nearly $6 trillion in some estimates,” says Dr Kadri.
“Had the US just traded with Iraq, which was a US $50 billion GDP country, it may have made off with say tens or a hundred billion. Without going further into details, the gains of war are tremendous.”
More here - and the rest is just as chilling. 

Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M

Would a libertarian state ever produce something like this?

  1. The Norwegian government are embarking on the largest infrastructure project in the country's history. 

12 of the Worst Places to Live in the U.S.

These places look terrifying to me. How can a rich first world country have cities like these? 

12. St. Louis, Missouri Over 14% of St. Louis’ population is living below the poverty line. Out of 100,000 residents, every year 35.3 are murdered, which ranks it as one of America’s most dangerous cities too. 11. Reno, Nevada Reno was the gambling capital of the US until Las Vegas was developed and “The Biggest Little City in the World” has been in economic decline ever since. Reno experiences nearly 39 annual crimes per 1,000 residents. 10. Modesto, California Despite being home to the largest winery in the world, the unemployment rate was nearly 13% in 2014. Modesto ranks number one in the country for car theft and out of 200,000 residents, up to 10,000 are reported to be gang members. 9. Oakland, California The economy in Oakland is strong with a good median household income. ($51,683.) However, home to around 50 gangs and a high violent crime rate, Oakland also suffers from high traffic congestion and poor air quality. 190% worse than the national average. 8. New Orleans, Louisiana The “murder capital of the country," also has one of the worst toxic-substance records. New Orleans has still not recovered from Hurricane Katrina, and was ranked number two in “America’s Dirtiest Cities.” 7. Birmingham, Alabama 27.3% of residents live below the poverty line. Out of every 100,000 residents, 1400 are victims of violent crimes due to the prominent drug trade and high poverty rate. 6. Stockton, California In 2012, the city filed for bankruptcy. Forbes voted Stockton as one of the most dangerous cities in America due to its high crime rates with over 20,000 violent and property crimes committed last year. 5. Memphis, Tennessee Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River with over 20% of its inhabitants living below the poverty line. In Memphis you stand a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim of crime. 4. New Haven, Connecticut Home of Yale University, the surrounding areas of New Haven are impoverished and crime ridden. Nearly 68 crimes occur annually for every 1,000 residents. 3. Cleveland, Ohio Aside from being one of the most corrupt cities in the country, Cleveland also has harsh weather conditions, with an average of 60 inches of snowfall each year. 2. Detroit, Michigan The city is suffering from urban decay with over 32% of residents living below the national poverty line. According to FBI Reports, Detroit has the highest rate of violent crime of any city over 200,000. 1. Camden, New Jersey Camden has been on Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” for years. Riddled with urban decay and political corruption, over 42% of its residents live below the poverty line. It also has 560% more crime than the national average.

Profit Share

Two Marxian economists look at rate of profit and profit share in the current context.

Stumbling and Mumbling
What's behind the rising US profit share
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Michael Roberts Blog
Trump’s profits bonanza
Michael Roberts

Bill Mitchell – Fiscal space has nothing to do with public debt ratios or the size of deficits

The Project Syndicate is held out as an independent, quality source of Op Ed discussion. When you scan through the economists that contribute you see quite a pattern and it is the anathema of ‘independent’. There is really no commentary that is independent, if you consider the term relates to schools of thought that an economist might work within. We are all bound by the ideologies and language of those millieu. So I assess the input from an institution (like Project Syndicate) in terms of the heterodoxy of its offerings. A stream of economic contributions that are effectively drawn from the same side of macroeconomics is not what I call ‘independent’. And you see that in the recurring arguments that get published. In this blog post, I discuss Jeffrey Frankel’s latest UK Guardian article (August 29, 2018) – US will lack fiscal space to respond when next recession comes – which was syndicated from Project Syndicate. Frankel thinks that the US is about to experience a major recession and that its government has run out of fiscal space because it is not running surpluses. We could summarise my conclusion in one word – nonsense. But a more civilised response follows.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Fiscal space has nothing to do with public debt ratios or the size of deficits
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

From Bill in the comments there:

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Links — 29 August 2018

Consortium News
Back in the (Great) Game: The Revenge of Eurasian Land Powers
Pepe Escobar

Strategic Culture Foundation
Asymmetric Financial War and Radical US Leverage – What Will It Bring?
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

Strategic Culture Foundation
What We Threw Away
Patrick Armstrong

The Unz Review
The Holocaust in the USSR

Holocaust Exegesis
Anatoly Karlin

The Naked Hedge
Blown away!
Alex Krainer, author of The Grand Deception: The Truth about Bill Browder, The Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russian Sanctions (link to download a copy of the book at the end of the post)

Facebook & Google Play the Censor: Are our Civil Liberties Endangered?
Marc Steiner interviews Matt Taibbi

Sic Semper Tyrannis
John McCain, Did He Betray Our Democracy or Was it the FBI?
Nahal Toosi

Jimmy Dore - Media Already Pushing War With Iran

Guess what, Iran is now being accused of influencing US elections, as well as China and Korea. The public is getting primed for war with Iran, says Jimmy Dore. To us that know, the whole thing it's a stupid joke, except millions could die. The lies they put out are infantile. How could the US be so cruel? And the unsuspecting public have no idea. 

As RussiaGate continues, Iran is becoming a new scapegoat. With Abby Martin and Mike Prysner.

RT - Trump calls out Google for ‘rigged’ search results, ‘illegal’ censorship, vows to take action

President Donald Trump has accused search giant Google of deliberately highlighting negative news about his administration, and “controlling what we can and cannot see.” Trump vowed that the situation “will be addressed.”

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist — How To Get Your Dissident Ideas Heard In The New Media Environment

I often say that my long-term goal here is to become obsolete so that I can focus on making art and poetry. Ideally this will look like our society shifting to a mode of operation that is so healthy that there is no longer any demand for an Australian political blogger who points out the fact that it’s wrong to manipulate public thought with mass media and drop explosives on children, but I’ll also settle for a world in which there are enough people doing this sort of thing that I’m no longer wanted or needed in this role.
Toward that end, and because I’ve been getting some requests for advice on how people who want to do what I do can get started, I’m going to try to tap out a few tips. I’ve caught some lucky breaks and been really blessed and supported in a bunch of frankly miraculous ways on this weird and wonderful journey, but there are also some concrete pointers I’ve picked up along the way which I employ constantly. Here they are for anyone who’s interested in getting their ideas heard in the people’s information rebellion against the establishment propaganda machine:
The new activism in the Internet age.

Good advice. These are some of my rules, too.

I would add an eighth. "Persistence pays off." Persist, and never, never even think of giving up.

These main points have a lot of sub-points, and sub-sub-points. They could fill a book on activism.

Activism is about think and do. It requires creative and critical thinking and a knowledge of rhetoric and persuasion in addition to logic and argument.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
How To Get Your Dissident Ideas Heard In The New Media Environment
Caitlin Johnstone

The Guardian - Quarter of 14-year-old girls in UK have self-harmed, report finds

Children’s Society analysis suggests tens of thousands hurting themselves on purpose

Did you watch the film, Riding a C90 Through Iran, where everyone seemed happy and friendly.  The young English biker did not need to buy any food while he was there as the Iranians just gave him food for nothing. Then at one point he pulled up at a place to buy petrol and they invited him in for lunch and gave him a nice meal. They couldn't speak any English but they loved his company, and after the meal they offered him a choice of cigarettes.  When it was time for the English biker to leave they gave him the petrol for free. Everyone he met in Iran helped each other and were very friendly. It was like they were innocent, fun loving children untainted by cold, ruthless business values. 

The video reminded me of when I was a young boy where my friends and I had no money, but no one cared, we just shared everything. I had a deep bonding with my mates and loyalty was paramount. Looking back, I can see how much we loved each other. Everyday we looked forward with utter enthusiasm to meeting each other again. My best mates!

Now look at the UK, it is totally competitive and children are constantly graded all through school, and unless you are in the the top  30%, you are going nowhere. And everyone is on the make,  no comradeship, just libertarianism where your only worth is financial, or what you can earn. No wonder so many kids are unhappy. Neoliberalism has created a horrible society. Kevin Vincent. 

More than 100,000 children aged 14 in the UK are self-harming, with one in four girls of this age having deliberately hurt themselves, according to a new report.
In figures that show the scale of the mental health crisis affecting young people, the Children’s Survey analysed a survey of 11,000 14-year-olds which found that a quarter of girls and nearly one in 10 boys had self-harmed in a year.
The charity estimated that 110,000 children aged 14 may be self-harming, including 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.
Experts have put the behaviour down to a combination of pressure from school, austerity and gender expectations.

“It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming. Worries about how they look are a big issue, especially for girls,” said Matthew Reed, the chief executive of the Children’s Society.
The charity analysed figures from the millennium cohort survey, carried out by researchers from University College London, which follows children born in the UK in 2000-01.
The report also included a survey of children aged 10-17 and their parents across 2,000 households, which found that the issues of most concern to children were school and their appearance.
Nearly a quarter (24%) said they heard jokes or comments about other people’s bodies or looks all the time, while more than a fifth (22%) of those in secondary school said jokes or comments were often made about people’s sexual activity. Both made girls feel much worse about their appearance and less happy with their life as a whole, but this pattern did not apply to boys.

Frank Li — John Maynard Keynes: The Best Economist Since 1899?

In a previous post (Milton Friedman: A Man of the Past?), I concluded that Milton Friedman, an extreme advocator of "free market" and individualism, is mostly an economist of the past.
In this post, I will highlight John Maynard Keynes, a balanced advocator of both "free market" and "managed market", as the best economist since 1899....
Frank Li is a Chinese ex-pat now a businessman in the US, has a BE, ME, and PdD in electrical engineering. So cut him some space on the economics. He is not in paradigm with MMT, but rather somewhat of

an old Keynesian, which is a lot closer than most.

On the other hand, his view as a Chinese ex-pat become successful in the US and also as a highly education and experience lay-person looking in at economics is valuable.
John Maynard Keynes: The Best Economist Since 1899?
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

Timothy Taylor — I Don't Know So Well What I Think Until I See What I Say

I've known writers who have the essay almost fully formed in their mind, and it just pours out on to the page. It's happened for me a few times. But most writing for me, and I suspect for others, starts from a place of less clarity. There's an idea, to be sure, and some support for the idea. But as you try to put the ideas into concrete words, you become aware of a lack of precision in what you are saying, of a failure to capture what you really mean to say, of holes and inconsistencies in the argument, of places where the argument is not persuasive or connected or fluent. I sometimes find this hard to convey to students: Writing isn't (usually) about transcribing thoughts, but instead is intertwined with a process of developing insights that are more accurate and complete.…
This is the process of applying critical thinking to creative thinking, of which Ludwig Wittgenstein said, "The purpose of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a theory but an activity... Philosophy should clarify and sharply bound thoughts that would otherwise be cloudy and blurry, as it were. " (Tractatus 4.112)

Rigorous thinking need not be formalized, since that is not always possible. For example, this may occur when quality predominates over quantity, or quantity is not sufficiently measurable for the degree of precision needed. or the number of variable and parameters involved makes formalized models intractable.

It's also a reason for using math where measurement is possible and quantity is a factor. For example, a lot of apparently promising entrepreneurial ideas are deflated when one puts numbers on it.

But logic is always applicable is some form, and logic is one pillar of critical thinking. The other pillar is substantiation, e.g., through evidence or authority such as expert testimony or documentaion.

 Another aspect of critical thinking is tacit knowledge. This is a reason that experts in a field are more reliable on matters in that field that non-experts. Their tacit knowledge provides the necessary background upon which to draw.

Critical thinking combines the categorical and dialectical, the dialectical aspect considering possible errors and objections by playing the devil's advocate.

Ideas of any degree of complication or complexity should be discussed in a team that brings may inputs to bear in a dialectic process. RAND Corporation invented the Delphi method for this purpose, for instance. Academics do this by passing their papers around among colleagues before releasing them. Working papers are also used to solicit feedback.

The Internet both helps and hinders this process. Obviously, I think it helps more than hinders.

It helps by forcing clarity, brevity and precision in thinking and expression, as well as training in drawing on and distilling tacit knowledge as background.

It hinders owing to the limited scope of the media, e.g., blogs and social media posts, and the breadth of scale, which necessitate a certain degree of "dumbing down" to reach the broad non-expert audience. As a result the output may be somewhat superficial and even be misunderstood, which poses a reputational risk that some are not willing to accept. There is also the risk of appearing foolish if one exceeds the bounds of one's field of expertise and makes errors, revealing lack of discrimination.

Conversable Economist
"I Don't Know So Well What I Think Until I See What I Say"
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Deficit is the highest in 6 years. Where are all the MMT gods??

The deficit is now $766 bln, the highest in 6 years and the highest in 5 years as a %  of GDP. Where are all the MMT gods touting this as bullish? Mosler's still bearish. He's been bearish for 4 years. Missed the entire rally.

Kelton? Still criticizing Trump.

Federal Deficit

Federal deficit Mike Norman Economics we look at FLOWS. It gave us the bullish signal a long time ago.

Gordon Dimmack - More BBC BS anti-Russia hysteria

I quite this guy. I don't know who he is, but  I like it when ordinary people set up their own news shows. If only we got news like this in the MSM. The real news.

The Real News - How Has Trump's Working Class Rhetoric Compared to His Policies? Q&A (Pt 2/6)

See how Trump lied. He spoke up for everyday people but as soon as he got in he enriched the aristocracy with tax cuts. Also, the Koch brothers would love things to heat up with Iran as this could push the price of oil up to $250 per barrel.

It just goes to show that voting doesn't change much, unless in the UK Jeremy Corbyn gets in, but they will surround his government with controversy to snooker it.

Part 2 of Paul Jay and Aaron Mate’s interactive discussion with viewers about the real reasons Trump should be considered a traitor by the American people – From a live recording on August 2nd, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chris Hedges - How Central Bankers reshaped the world economy following the 2008 economic crisis

I recently put out here two Nomi Prins videos about her new book, so do we need another one? Well, all I can say is that I found this riveting like the others so I think you will enjoy it too.

Nomi Prins says how the central  banks created money out of thin air when they did quantitative easing but the banks and corporations used much of the money to buy back their shares and raise asset prices rather than invest in their businesses, or society. Now one day all this money will need to be repaid, says Nomi, and so society will be burdened with more austerity.  Nomi also says that the next crash will be much worse than the 2008 one.

I was on a conservative site the other day and the site owner blamed the Democrats for the 2008 crash because he said they forced Freddie Mac and Fannie May to lend money to poor people so they could buy a home, which, he added, distorted the market. So, now you have the God market again, which, it seems, you can't buck even if people go hungry, or have nowhere to live. Anyway, if this is true about the Democrats forcing Freddie Mac and Fannie May to lend to poor people, did the bankers - who denote enormous sums of money to the  Democratic Party - get this policy through so they could make a killing knowing they would get bailed out? We know the Democrat Party is owned.

Nomi Prins, journalist and author of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, talks to journalist Chris Hedges about how central bankers “overstepped their traditional mandates by directing the flow of epic sums of fabricated money without any checks and balances.”

Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng — How Cities Are Saving China

China is finding its way alone as new type of socio-economic system on the scene that also has to interact with the current world order. It's doing all right, and even great as far as development economics goes.

Project Syndicate
How Cities Are Saving China
Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance, former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and currently an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing; and Xiao Geng, President of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, and a professor at Peking University HSBC Business School and the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Business and Economics

Matias Vernengo — Economic and technological determinism

If you are interested in Marx.

Speaking as a philosopher commenting on Marx as a philosopher more than he was an economist, I think that Matias Vernengo gets is about right. He is in agreement with John Kenneth Galbraith on it.

Marx was a materialist ontologically. He had written his doctoral dissertation on Greek materialism.  He looked forward to occupying a chair in philosophy at a university as a career. His political activism obviated this, and he was forced to go into exile to more liberal Britain. Instead of becoming a professor, he spent his days doing research and writing, supplementing the funds that Engels, his close friend and collaborator, provided for his support by working as newspaper columnist.

In addition to ontological materialism, Marx also assumed naturalism as a methodological framework, in keeping with the 19th century science that had become intellectually predominant. 19th century scientific  naturalism was essentially a deterministic framework, since quantum theory had not yet been discovered.

Both methodological naturalism and ontological materialism are essentially deterministic in that they assuming that the motion of matter is regular rather than random and there are no non-material forces operating on the material system that we called "the universe" or "cosmos." Cosmos (kosmos) means "ordered" (regular) in Greek in contrast to chaos (xaos), or lacking order.

This determinism doesn't imply that all the laws of matter (nature) are known or even can be known, but rather assumes that the universe is material and that the motion (change) of matter is neither purely random, that is, un-ordered, nor subject to supernatural influences. Nature operates in accordance with "rules" such that that regularities can be discovered.

Strict materialism holds that "mind" is an aspect of matter, e.g., an "epiphenomenon of matter." Naturalism assumes that mind is unable to directly act on matter so as to change its motion. But it is possible to be a hard of soft materialist. The question is what kind of materialist Marx was.

This question is somewhat complicated by the fact that Marx was an "economic determinist" in the sense that the mode of production establishes a framework that serves as a foundation (infrastructure) of a social and political system (superstructure), delimiting the scope and scale of the overall system by "the mode of production."However, he was not a strict determinist historically in that he acknowledged an interdependence and mutual influence of the infrastructure and superstructure of a socio-economic and political system as a society.

In his assumption of economic determinism, Marx held that particular modes of production exhibited regularities that could be discerned and expressed as "laws of motion." The fundamental law of capital motion is accumulation. He did not think the same of history, in which contingency apparently predominates, making the unfolding of events in time uncertain. History doesn't necessarily repeat, although it may rhyme, to paraphrase Mark Twain.

As a philosopher, Marx was responding chiefly to Hegel and to some degree to Kant and the philosophers between Kant and Hegel, all of which he was quite familiar with. These predecessors of Marx were all idealists to one degree or another and viewed ideas as primary influencers rather than material conditions. Marx took the opposite position, holding that material conditions were the chief influencers of history.

The debate over the role of technology as an influence takes place within this context. Marx acknowledged the importance of technology for the mode of production.
Economic categories are only the theoretical expressions, the abstractions of the social relations of production. M. Proudhon, holding this upside down like a true philosopher, sees in actual relations nothing but the incarnation of the principles, of these categories, which were slumbering — so M. Proudhon the philosopher tells us — in the bosom of the "impersonal reason of humanity".
M. Proudhon the economist understands very well that men make cloth, linen, or silk materials in definite relations of production. But what he has not understood is that these definite social relations are just as much produced by men as linen, flax, etc. Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist.
The same men who establish their social relations in conformity with the material productivity, produce also principles, ideas, and categories, in conformity with their social relations.
Thus the ideas, these categories, are as little eternal as the relations they express. They are historical and transitory products. —Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Ch. 2
And what is technology if not the application of knowledge and skill to material conditions?

But how and why did technology arise and become scaled at a particular time? This post seeks to answer that. It's short, but if the subject is of interest, link are provided for those that wish to follow up.

In my view, the major influencers were not the productive technologies one ordinarily thinks of, like mechanisms and the harnessing of energy, but rather information technology. First came the invention of language, then the invention of writing, then the invention of paper that could be inexpensively scaled, then the printing press, and now digital technology that is ushering in the "information age." As result, the flow ideas have been transformative, along with the exponentially increasing stock of knowledge.

Naked Keynesianism
Economic and technological determinism
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Reality Check

From Mike's latest:

Total spending for the fiscal year thus far thru August 24, $4.3T, up $158 bln over last year and growing at 3.82%. This is the largest y-o-y positive gap so far and growing at the fastest year-o-y rate. 
Corporation Taxes, $206 bln, down $53.5 bln...down from the tax cuts...
Bank credit up $12.4 bln to $12.795T, the highest in 3 weeks. The growth rate held steady at 3.7% y-o-y. Loans and Leases in Bank Credit, up $5 bln to $9.382T. The growth rate ticked up to 4.7% y-o-y. Commercial and Industrial loans were up $5.4 bln to $2.224T. This is the highest level in 3 weeks. The growth rate accelerated to 5.7% y-o-y.

Not too shabby...

PCR - There Is No Limit To Presstitute Hypocrisy

The mass murderer, John McCain, is considered to be a hero. Murder one person and you go to prison, murder millions and you become a hero. Lockheed Martin had some nice things to say about John McCain.  KV

Caitlin Johnstone warned us that the liberals were going to make a hero out of warmonger John McCain.
All morning long NPR has been conducting eulogies for warmonger McCain, who is having a state funeral both in DC and in Arizona. Liberal Democrat Charles Schumer wants to rename the senate office building named after Richard Russell, a real senator, after McCain, a pimp for the military/security complex and supporter of every terrorist group that Washington could organize to sic on the Soviets, the Sandinistas, the Libyans, the Syrians.
McCain’s hero status from being a POW in North Vietnam is disputed by other POWs who say that he collaborated with the North Vietnamese.
It was John McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, who covered up the Israeli attack on the USS liberty that produced 208 US Navy casualties. Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told me that a real US Navy admiral would have resigned before he would participate in a shameful coverup at the expense of the lives of American service men.
In America the way to become a hero is to stand up for war and more war. On this basis, John McCain is a hero.
NPR’s other constantly repeated news story today is a UN report that top military figures in Myanmar are guilty of crimes against humanity in their treatment of Muslims in Rakhine province. Allegedly 700,000 Muslims have fled from Myanmar.
Assume that this story is true and not just Washington orchestrated propaganda against Myanmar’s government whose close relations with China have offended Washington. How do the atrocities against Muslims in Myanmar compare with Washington’s atrocities against Muslims that have destroyed in whole or part seven countries in the 21st century, displacing and sending fleeing millions of Muslims who are “diversifying Europe?”
How do the Myanmar atrocities compare to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians?
How do they compare to the Saudi genocide of the Yemenis?
Why is it that NPR and the BBC can fixate on Myanmar and ignore far worse atrocities?
Our new American Hero John McCain urged on Washington’s attrocities against Libya, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and he supported Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians.

In America to be associated with crimes against humanity brings hero status. In Myanmar it brings denunciation and demand for trials before the International Criminal Court.
Paul Craig Roberts

Monday, August 27, 2018

Jimmy Dore - Craziest Eulogy Of John McCain Comes From Democrat

Jimmy Dore shows your the real John McCain, except it was no secret, so why doesn't the media tell us the truth? John McCain sings, Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran, and the audience laughs. Well, McCain won't be found in Heaven. When Margaret Thatcher died lots of people in Britain sung, Ding dong, the witch is dead.

Philip Weiss - New Book Gives Credence to US Ambassador’s Claim That Israel Tried to Assassinate HomE in 1980

This gives your some idea of how the world works. It it's truly evil. I often try to figure out what goes through the minds of the powerful and the elite, are they simply psychopaths? Money is the root of all evil, says the Bible.

 I once said to a Quaker friend that evil was rare, and he said lots of Quakers believe that, but evil is everywhere and was real, he added. I didn't believe him but know I know he was right. 

I don't know how PCR and Steven Lendman sleep at night with what they know. KV

August 24, 2018 "Information Clearing House" -  John Gunther Dean, now 92, and a former American ambassador to five countries, has long maintained that Israel was behind his attempted assassination on August 28, 1980, in a suburb of Beirut, which was attributed to a rightwing Lebanese group. Dean and his wife and daughter and son-in-law were in a motorcade and narrowly escaped serious injury.

Dean said that he was targeted because he was doing something regarded as antithetical to Israel’s interest: consulting with the Palestine Liberation Organization and its head, Yasser Arafat, at a time when such contacts were the third rail in US politics. He was also outspokenly critical of Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

A new book offers backing to Dean’s claim. But while that book has been highly-publicized, the question of whether Israel attacked our ambassador has gotten no attention in the press. That is not a surprise; for Dean has asserted that the case itself was never thoroughly investigated by the U.S. government.

“In January however, a book was published that appears to reinforce the plausibility of Dean’s position. The book is Ronen Bergman’s Rise and Kill First. It has received rave reviews in the US press, and its author has been interviewed countless times since the book was published. The book focuses on Israeli ‘targeted assassinations’ and it contains one truly remarkable revelation.

“In 1979, [Rafael] Eitan and [Meir] Dagan [both brass in the Israel Defense Forces] created the Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners, and ran that fictitious group from 1979 to 1983. In 1981 and 1982, Ariel Sharon used that Front to conduct a series of indiscriminate car bombings that killed hundreds of civilians.

“The objective of this massive ‘terrorist’ car bombing campaign was to ‘sow chaos’ amongst the Palestinian & Lebanese civilian population” and, in 1981-82, to provoke the PLO into resorting to ‘terrorism,’ thus providing Israel with an excuse to invade Lebanon.

Information Clearing House