Monday, December 31, 2018

Links — 31 December 2018

Russia-mania takes over the world
Tom Black

The Nation
New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics
Aaron Maté

Middle East Eye
Turkish TV broadcasts images of 'Khashoggi body parts' being moved

Intel Today
John Pilger : A Look Back at 2018 & Ahead to 2019

Trump’s ‘Full’ & ‘Rapid’ Troops Withdrawal From Syria Appears To Be ‘Slow’ & ‘Smart’

The United States is First in War, But Trailing in Crucial Aspects of Modern Civilization
Laura Finley | Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University

Progress in Political Economy
Rupturing the Dialectic [Book Review]
Andreas Bieler | Professor of Political Economy at the University of Nottingham and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice

Conversable Economist
Joan Robinson on Poets, Mathematicians, Economists, and Adam Smith
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
How to re-establish​​ trust in economics as a science
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Gordon Dimmack - The Russians Have Weaponized Chocolate.


                                Gordon Dimmack - The Russians Have Weaponized Chocolate. 

Those nasty Russians are at it again: RT has been sending chocolate Salisbury Cathedrals to it's media friends. Shocking, the Russians have weaponized chocolate!

The BBC - RT: Russian station's chocolate Salisbury Cathedral gift slammed

Politicians in Salisbury have blasted a Russian state-run broadcaster which sent chocolate models of the city's cathedral as a festive gift.
RT said the edible item reflected one of the "biggest news stories of the year" and was sent to "multiple" recipients in the media and beyond.
Salisbury MP John Glen said: "This is bizarre behaviour but to be expected."
An image of the intricate chocolate model wrapped in RT-branded ribbons was shared by the Russian channel TV Dozhd, also known as TV Rain.
In a tweet, Dozhd thanked RT for the gift but added: "Come for tea, we're afraid to eat it alone."
Salisbury councillor Jo Broom joined Mr Glen in denouncing the cathedral replica, saying it was "in very poor taste".
She added: "It's very regrettable that somebody would see fit to do something like this, and is quite disrespectful to those that were caught up in the incident."

An RT spokesperson said the chocolate model had been sent as a gift "in the spirit of the Holiday Season" to "multiple friends, peers and partners in the media sphere and beyond".
"As a news organisation, every year we put together presents that reflect one or several of the biggest news stories of the year," the spokesperson added.

                                                                  A British Spy

Steve Keen - 'The Euro is a suicide pact'

The British Pound is overvalued because the City of London is the worlds money laundering centre, says Steve Keen. Britain thought it could do away with manufacturing and export service industries instead, but it hasn't worked out. Steve keen says the UK would be better off with a fall in the Pound to revive manufacturing.


Bill Mitchell — Greece “neither thrived nor struggled” – the financial press alt world

It is my last blog post for the year. And we leave the year with not much gained from a progressive perspective. The mid-term elections in the US just swapped deficit-terrorist Republicans (who have been compromised by the big-spending Trump) with ridiculous PayGo Democrats, who are intent on repeating all their previous mistakes. The Brexit negotiations reveal how appallingly compromised the Tories have become and how venal the European Commission is. The British Labour Party fiscal rule shows that the next British government hasn’t yet jettisoned its Blairite past and its New Keynesian economic advisors are dogmatically taking Labour down a path it will regret. Italy has been bashed into submission by the European Commission bullies, which a week or so later, choose to turn a blind eye to France breaking the rules, because the Gilets threaten the whole show. And Germany still accumulates massive external surpluses in violation of European law and nothing happens. Happy New Year.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Greece “neither thrived nor struggled” – the financial press alt world
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Bad Mouse Productions - Questions Liberals can't answer (But Socialists can)

Red Ice is a very right wing, racist European group. BMP's exposes their racist nonsense.

If you have time, the next video, The Lies of Red Ice, is even more detailed, where BMP's pack quite a lot into a short space.

The Lies of Red Ice. 

Bad Mouse Productions - All Glory to SOROS

Bad Mouse Productions is a seriously progressive site and so I was concerned that this video was going to be very pro George Soros, but it turned out to be excellent.

BMP is very good at exposing the nonsense of the Alt. Right, George Soros, the corporate Democrats, and neoliberalism.

BMP's look at how the Alt right pretends to be anti elite, when it is really pro elite. They expose the Alt right propaganda and their twisted message where they pretend to be on the side of the ordinary guy, when they're not.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

30 Dec 2018

Rolling Stone
The Malaysia Scandal Is Starting to Look Dire for Goldman Sachs
Matt Taibbi

Banishing Truth [on Seymour Hersh, corporate media, self-censorship, and fake news]
Chris Hedges

Irony alert: Firm that warned Americans of Russian bots...was running an army of fake Russian bots
Danielle Ryan, Irish freelance journalist

The Vineyard of the Saker [If you missed this fascinating and timely travelogue on BRI.]
A two part Pepe Escobar report on the China, Pakistan and the new Great Game
The Saker

Sputnik International
Chinese Authorities Intend to Lift Another 10Mln People Out of Poverty in 2019

Michael's fairground ride - Michael Palin's New Europe - BBC - Crimea

Made in 2010, this BBC video is very interesting because of what a young Crimean girl, called Anea, has to say about Stalin, Lenin, and the Soviet Union.

Michael Palin visits the tourist resort town of Yalta in the Ukraine to learn how much the local population know about the historic Yalta Peace Conference and try out the local fairground attractions. Interesting video From BBC travel documentary, Palin's New Europe. Watch more high quality videos on the new BBC Worldwide YouTube channel here:

The video below is just for interest, it's not political.

Pyongyang's Mesmerising Traffic Cops | Michael Palin In North Korea | Channel 5

North Korea's traffic cops are the most mesmerising thing ever...

Heiner Flassbeck — The debtor is always guilty

In German debt and guilt are the same word: Schuld. So, in Germany, debt has a morally negative connotation. Further, the state budget is referred to as “Haushalt”, which is the word for household. Germans equate state finances with those of personal finances, a concept that is reinforced by German political parties across the whole of the political spectrum.
Flassbeck Economics
The debtor is always guilty
Heiner Flassbeck

13 year old girl Victoria Grant explains Extreme Corruption the cause of Extreme Poverty Governments

According to Steve Keen, Victoria Grant is wrong about the payment of interest, where her says the velocity of money means the interest on loans can be paid - and he even has software models to prove it, although not everyone is convinced.

Victoria Grant has more of a Ellen Brown take on things, but it's not a bad start.

Second speech by 13 year old Victoria Grant on the issue of corruption within the banking system. She argues it is a cause of extreme poverty.

I have posted the first speech she made here before, but here it is again for completion.

Fantastic 12 yr old Victoria Grant explains how banks commit fraud.

12 year old spells out the fraud the banks are committing against the people.
Victoria Grant explains why her homeland, Canada, and most of the world, is in debt. April 27, 2012 at the Public Banking in America Conference, ...


Some people, like PCR, says women's rights have gone too far and men are being undermined. Maybe that's true, I don't know. Some aggressive feminists are certainly over the top, but how many are there, few thousand here and there, maybe? A very tiny minority.

The dialectic process: thesis - a male dominant society; antithesis -a rise in feminism; synthesis - both male and female roles have equal value and reward in society.

I read years ago about how women often made better bosses than men because they are much better at managing people.

Those that criticise feminists for going too far should look at how women have been treated throughout antiquity. In that light, a little feminist overshoot can be understood, but maybe it's time for synthesis and harmony.

When I first read this article, I was concerned about western NGO's being behind this with ulterior motives (George Soros comes to mind). But at the end of the article the Muslim feminists say they are fiercely anti imperialist and want the West out of the ME. I hope they succeed in both their causes.

In August 2014, the women of the “Women’s Protection Units” (YPJ) captured the attention of the world when they helped rescue 50,000 people from a massacre by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq.

The “Sinjar massacre,” as it has come to be known, represented the two extremes of contemporary life for women in the Middle East. On one hand, women were threatened with lifelong subjugation by Islamic fundamentalists. Yet, on the other hand, women picked up arms in defense of themselves and their sisters.

While the YPJ’s rescue operation in Sinjar was heralded around the world, it was perhaps most inspiring to the women of the Middle East, whose lives were restricted by patriarchy and could now see a way out.

The YPJ’s victory over ISIS was cemented in October 2017, when Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, fell. It reverberated throughout the Middle East, giving renewed strength to feminist struggles across the region.

It is these connections that director Benedetta Argentieri highlights in her eye-opening new documentary, “I Am the Revolution,” which had its world premiere at the DOC NYC festival earlier this month.

“I Am the Revolution” follows three women in their home countries: Rojda Felat, commander of the YPJ in Syria; Selay Ghaffar, spokesperson for the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan; and Yanar Mohammed, founder of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Links — 28 Dec 2018

Reminiscence of the Future
Some News For Tom Rogan.
Andrei Martyanov

The Vineyard of the Saker
Game-Changer! New HYPERSONIC Missile System Means No One is Bombing Russia EVER!
The Saker

Valdai Discussion Club
‘No existing countermeasures’ to Russian hypersonic weapons, US govt. report admits

Sputnik International
US Aims for Space Supremacy Pose Potential Threats to Russia, China - Ambassador

US Boosts Number Of Its High-Precision Weapons Near Russian borders: Navy

US planned to create bio lab in Crimea similar to Georgia’s Lugar Center, says watchdog

Max Blumenthal

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Hold your breath. - The SAA is invited into Manbij by the SDF
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

Sic Semper Tryannis

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
What is probability?
Andrew Gelman | Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center, Columbia University

Ecns [This is a  big deal for women.]
17-year-old eagle huntress wins one of Mongolia's highest awards

Inner Mongolia compiles dictionaries to save endangered ethnic languages

Tale of a Number-One Cold-Blooded Bastard [Dick Cheney]
John Grant

Strategic Culture Foundation
Today, as 200 Years Ago, C"est Toujours la Même Chose
Patrick Armstrong

George Galloway - Killing Kelly

George Galloway is fearless. As a young man he was a boxer, but he wasn't all fireworks, like Mike Tyson, or a showman, like Muhammad Ally; no, he would just give one fatal blow after another until his opponent wilted. George knew when he was going to win, which was when he saw in his opponents eyes that they just wanted it to stop. Today, he still sees that same look of fear in the eyes of many of his political opponents.

He's making another film, which is about the strange death of Dr David Kelly.

“I will be found dead in the woods.... there are many dark actors milling around” Dr David Kelly CMG (2003)

Killing Kelly' looks at the strange death of Dr David Kelly amidst the swirl of events surrounding the Bush and Blair invasion and occupation of Iraq. Kelly, a former government scientist at the Porton Down Chemical and Biological Weapons facility in England and a weapons inspector in Iraq, was found dead in the woods - as he predicted he would be if Iraq was invaded.
George Galloway - Killing Kelly

RT - Vests Go Viral


Charlotte Dubenskij reports on the ongoing Yellow Vest movement in France and the petition circulating demanding to sue the government over negligence when it comes to fighting climate change. Then, Ashlee Banks talks with Former UK MP George Galloway about Macron’s concessions, the future and goals of the Yellow Vest movement and the uprisings across Europe and Asia that they are inspiring.

Chuck Ezy Kelly - Why working-class Americans vote against their own best interests

This video is five years old, but it is still pertinent today. To think of the type of society we could have had, instead of the dog eat dog, low waged, excessive hours at work, high debt society we have today. McJobs!

A two-minute excerpt from a General Motors video is a classic example of how easy it is to con American citizens into voting for the wrong politicians. By totally misrepresenting how working-class living standards improved, conservatives have convinced workers that government is the enemy, and they should rely on corporate good will to treat them fairly.

Dean Baker - No, Donald Trump Is Not Leaving Us Poorly Prepared for the Next Recession

Dean Baker doesn't think there is going to be a recession soon, nor does he think that Trump has left the U.S. ill prepared for the next recent recession when it does come. For one thing, Dean Baker is not worried about the deficit.

There is a popular theme in the media these days that the Trump administration is leaving us poorly prepared for the next recession. The basic story is that high deficits and debt will leave us less room to have a large stimulus when the next recession hits. This is wrong, at least if we are talking about the economics.
Before laying out the argument, let me first say that I do not see a recession as imminent. The recent plunge in the stock market means that the rich have less wealth, not that we will have a recession.


The complainers in this picture say that because Trump's tax cuts mean the deficits are large even when the economy is near full employment, we won't be able to have even larger deficits when we are in a recession. They also say that high debt levels are leaving us near our borrowing limits. Both claims are just plain wrong.

I wasn't too keen on this, though, as it sounds like more privatisation:

But apart from this empirical counter-example, there is also a problem with the basic logic. Why would a high debt to GDP ratio be a problem? Suppose we decided to sell off the right to tax in specific areas in order to reduce the debt. We could, for example, sell off the right to tax gas, perhaps raising $100 billion a year or more. (If this sounds strange, imagine selling off toll roads, as some states have done. It would be a similar story, except instead of selling the right to charge tolls on the highway, we would be selling off the right to tax gasoline.)

That should be able to knock at least $1 trillion off the debt. Are we now better able to deal with our debt burden now that it is $1 trillion lower? I hope fans of arithmetic and economics would say no, but let's move on.

Branko Milanovic — Marx for me (and hopefully for others too)

Branko Milanovic explains why Marx's historical analysis of socio-economic phenomena remains not only relevant but also preeminent, based on a few key insights. While he does not identify as a Marxist or even a Marxian, he credits the important influence of Marx on his thinking.

There are no non-trivial economic phenomena that are not socio-economic, and Marx is the analyst that put his finger on the how and why. While it would be a mistake to dogmatize Marx, it would also be a great mistake to dismiss his analysis, or even to underestimate it. Milanovic discovered this empirically through his work on inequality. Class structure and power counts, and their foundation is economic.
This is also where the work on inequality parts ways with one of the scourges of modern micro- and macro-economics, the representative agent. The role of the representative agent was to obliterate all meaningful distinctions between large groups of people whose social positions differ, by focusing on the observation that everybody is an “agent” who tries to maximize income under a set of constraints. This is indeed trivially true. And by being trivially true it disregards the multitude of features that make these “agents” truly different: their wealth, background, power, ability to save, gender, race, ownership of capital or the need to sell labor, access to the state etc. I would thus say that any serious work on inequality must reject the use of representative agent as a way to approach reality. I am very optimistic that this will happen because the representative agent itself was the product of two developments, both currently on the wane: an ideological desire, especially strong in the United States because of the McCarthy-like pressures to deny the existence of social classes, and the lack of heterogeneous data. For example, median income or income by decile was hard to calculate but GDP per capita was easy to get hold of.
That means the jettisoning of marginalism aka "conventional economics" as it is currently practiced and taught in the academy. It would require revisiting classical economics, institutionalism as a competitor of marginalism, and integrating sociological economics, anthropological economics and political economy. The heterodox have already been engaged in this and much of this work has already been accomplished. What is needed is not so much new knowledge and reframing economics based on priorities. Much of what now passes for economic theory is rather irrelevant for current and future needs, since the scope and scale of the models limits them to the trivial.

This post covers a lot of ground in a few paragraphs, but it requires some background in Marx to appreciate in depth.
  1. The most important of Marx’s influences on people working in social sciences is, I think, his economic interpretation of history.…
  2. The second Marx’s insight which I think is absolutely indispensable in the work on income and wealth inequality is to see that economic forces that influence historical developments do that through “large groups of people who differ in their position in the process of production”, namely through social classes.…
  3. The third extremely important Marx’s methodological contribution is the realization that economic categories are dependent on social formations.…
  4. The last among Marx’s contribution that I would like to single out—perhaps the most important and grandiose—is that the succession of socio-economic formations (or more restrictively, of the modes of production) is itself “regulated” by economic forces, including the struggle for the distribution of the economic surplus....
Global Inequality
Marx for me (and hopefully for others too)
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

Jimmy Dore - Russia Used SexToys To "Foment Discord" Says News Article

The Russians are getting blamed for everything: They were behind the Yellow Vests protest; the Brexit vote was blamed on them; the BBC recently said that Russia uses humor to influence people, but no jokes are ever allowed to be said about Putin; the Russians influenced the black vote either by getting them to stay at home, or vote for Trump, or Jill Stein.

When the Google CEO was asked by Congress if they had identified how much money Russian agents had spent on influencing the presidential election, the CEO said yes, $4,700. Well, everyone is going through bad times, I guess, and having to make cut backs, even Putin.

The evil Russians are just like the bad guys in the James Bond films, Dr No, or Golffinger. They sit in their cyber bunkers hacking the world: They are fiendish, sinister, extremely clever, and yet very evil. They even put out cute little puppy adds to trick unsuspecting people. But the Russians are so dumb that they put out two thirds of the adds in Russian and most were after the election.

Now the new one: 'Russia used sex toys to ferment discord', says new article.

'Do Americans like sex?' 'No', says Jimmy Dore, ' it's the Russians messing with your mind '. Ha! Ha!

Senate Security Expert Suspended From Facebook - RussiaGate Crumbling

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Links — 27 Dec 2018

Consortium News
A Reuters Report on Iran That Fueled US Diatribes
Ivan Kesic. in Zagreb, Croatia

Russia Beyond Supervillainy
Richard Hugus

Gray Zone
Senate Report on Russian Interference Was Written By Disinformation Warriors Behind Alabama ‘False Flag Operation’
Dan Cohen, Graystone Project

Open Culture
Public Domain Day Is Coming: On January 1st, 2019, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain for the First Time in 21 Years

Zero Hedge
China Selling Hypersonic Anti-Ship Missiles; Travels 6X Speed Of Sound For "Rapid, Precision Strikes"
Tyler Durden

Strategic Culture Foundation
The Mattis Dilemma
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


C. George Caffentzis — Algebraic Money: Berkeley’s Philosophy of Mathematics and Money


In the early 1730s George Berkeley began to explore the conceptual field between ideas and spirits that he previously claimed to be empty. In this field he found a rich set of concepts including “notions,” “principles,” “beliefs,” “opinions,” and even “prejudices.” Elsewhere I have referred to this phase in Berkeley’s thought as his “second conceptual revolution.”2 I believe that it was motivated by his increasing need to develop a language to discuss the social, moral and theological concerns vital to him and his circle.

This second conceptual revolution made possible two of his most important contributions to 18th century thought: The Analyst (1734) and The Querist (1735-37). Even though they were written almost simultaneously, these texts are rarely discussed together, since the former is categorized as a critique of the foundations of the calculus, while the latter is taken a tract advocating the development of a specie-less economy in Ireland.

Using new textual and contextual evidence, however, I will show with that these two texts have a common basis in Berkeley’s second conceptual revolution, in that the rejection of intrinsic values (either epistemic or monetary) and the revaluation of notions, principles, and prejudices are crucial to the critique of both Newtonian mathematics in The Analyst and Newtonian monetary theory and policy in The Querist.
Specifically, I will argue that Berkeley’s famous demonstration of the absurdities of Newton’s method of fluxions devalued geometric reasoning and gave a new pride of place to algebraic reasoning. On the basis of this revaluation in mathematics, Berkeley more confidently undermined the concept of intrinsic monetary value and suggested the development of a monetary system based on “tickets, tokens and counters” (what I call “algebraic money”).
The issues posed by the transition from a specie-based to a specie-less currency were clearly some of the most important and controversial in the Age of Enlightenment. Berkeley’s contributions to understanding the significance and feasibility of such a transition and its benefits for Ireland certainly add support the claim that he was “the
most engaging and useful man in Ireland in the eighteenth century.”
Algebraic Money: Berkeley’s Philosophy of Mathematics and Money
C. George Caffentzis

Bill Mitchell — More Brexit nonsense from the pro-European dreamers

What editorial control does the UK Guardian exercise on Op Ed pieces? Seemingly none if you read this article (December 24, 2018) – What Labour can learn about Brexit from California: think twice – written by some well-to-do American postgraduate working for DiEM25 in Athens. But when Thomas Fazi and I sought space to discuss our book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017) – or when I have sought space to provide some balance to the usual neoliberal, pro-Europe bias, the result has been no response (yay or nay). We never received a response to our solicitation. Even if we ignore the obvious imbalance in experience and qualifications (track record) of the respective ‘authors’, it seems that the UK Guardian only wants a particular view to be published even if the quality of that view would make the piece unpublishable in any respectable outlet. Go figure. Anyway, I now have read the worst article for 2018. And, I thought that the Remain debate had reached the depths of idiocy but there is obviously scope for more if this Guardian attempt at commentary is anything to go by. And I know the Guardian journalists read this blog – so why not allow Thomas and I to formally respond to all this Remain nonsense?...
Maybe because the Guardian has become the voice of the UK neoliberal pseudo-left, much like the New York Times and the Washington Post are in the US? Can the deep state be far behind, too, providing anonymous sources off the record? Even the "news" is no longer actually news. What then of opinion pieces?

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
More Brexit nonsense from the pro-European dreamers
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

TRNN - The Global Power Elite: A Transnational Class

Peter Philips, author of the book, Giants: The Global Power Elite, says that the one percent own half of the wealth in the world and they have run out of places to re-invest their money. If you think about it, if you make a profit and keep re-investing that profit to make even more profit you are eventually going to run out of places to invest it.

To find new places to invest their money the One Percent have got the IMF to force countries to privatise their public services and infrastructure, which is known as Neoliberalism.

Looking for new investments the One Percent are also fast using up all the world's resources and this is causing catastrophic climate change.

War is extremely profitable so the elite have put a lot of their money into the Military -industrial -complex, and so we have never ending war.

Peter Philips is hoping the One Percent will come to their senses and realise that this can't go on forever because it is destroying the planet. He is hoping that some of them will read his book.

Peter Phillips, the author of the book, "Giants: The Global Power Elite," examines the roles and networks of the world's richest and most powerful. This class is no longer bound to national concerns, only to the expansion of its own power, says Phillips

RT - Media McCarthyism: Naming and Shaming

George Galloway says he has the biggest independent radio show in the UK at the moment and it's owned by Rupert Murdoch, but he says he might move the show over to Sputnik Radio.

Polly Boiko reports on the UK media witch hunt against Sputnik journalists working at the UK bureau in Edinburgh who have been “outed” in a American owned British newspaper “The Sunday Times”. Ashlee Banks talks with former UK MP George Galloway about what this means, the possibility of potential safety risks and if the British crackdown on Russian media.

Jimmy Dore - Hilary Pushes For More War In Syria

Hilary says we are empowering ISIS by pulling the troops out of Syria. Hmm, but if we stay and fight ISIS we strengthen Assad, and if we fight Assad we strengthen ISIS.

But Obama and Clinton funded the Syrian Rebels, aka, ISIS, Deash, Al Queda, or whatever ABC they call themselves, to overthrow Assad.

Gilad Atzmon's Christmas Message

Gilad Atzmon needs our help. Please spread the word.

Following the intense smear campaign against me, my work, my writing and my livelihood, I decided to produce this short Christmas message and address the ludicrous accusations against me and also to wish you all merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you all for your support.

Please share with friends and foes.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here
Contact the Council: +4420 7527 2000
To support Gilad’s legal battles:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sputnik News - 'The Spy' Who Wasn't A Spy: US Media's False Coverage of Maria Butina

This is an excellent podcast which takes you behind the scenes about CIA dirty tricks.

Maria Butina was a Russian who was trying to get American type gun rights in Russia. She was in the U.S. talking to the NRA when the CIA arrested her saying she was working as an undeclared foreign agent. Now, it's not unusual for people to be visiting the U.S on business without knowing they need to declare themselves as working as a foreign agent, and then what normally happens is that someone will tell them that they need to fill out some forms. But in this case, the CIA arrested Maria Butina and put her in a notoriously bad prison where they tortured her by repeatedly doing full body strip and cavity searches. They also bankrupted her family when she had to use expensive lawyers to defend herself.

Broken, she finally confessed to conspiring to work in the U.S. without declaring she was foreign agent; and now the CIA have a patsy they are tying tie her up with the failing Mueller investigation.

After the Maria Butina discussion, it's gets really good again at 56 minutes. Joshua Schulte was involved with Vault 7 leak and has been put in prison where he is being tortured and denied his medicines. 

Imagine if Russia was doing this to American citizens - but the MSM says nothing about the above human rights violations?

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the new book “The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World.”

Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina will plead guilty in federal court today to one count of conspiracy to fail to register as a foreign agent, for which there are no sentencing guidelines. She's been held without bail behind bars since her arrest in July. The hosts review her case and several other pieces of the Russiagate saga.
Thursday's weekly series "Criminal Injustice" is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.
Joshua Schulte is a former CIA computer engineer who has being held in New York's Metropolitan Detention Center. He was arrested after an FBI raid on his apartment in connection with the "Vault 7" leak of cyberweapons, but the government charged him with possessing child pornography. In a recent letter to US District Court Judge Paul Crotty, Schulte says that he is being tortured in prison, and he's being denied medication, writing materials, and access to his attorneys. Furthermore, the government is demanding that if Schulte were to meet with his attorneys, he would have to be shackled, chained to a bolt in the floor, and denied access to the classified documents necessary to defend himself. Brian and John speak with Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director who became a legendary national security whistleblower.
A Kiev court said yesterday that two Ukrainian lawmakers and top anti-corruption official's decision to release documents linked to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2016 amounted to interference in the US presidential election. The complaint was initially filed by another lawmaker who alleged that Sergei Leshchenko and Artem Sytnik were trying to influence the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. International affairs expert and security analyst Mark Sleboda joins the show.
British Prime Minister Theresa May won a no-confidence vote last night in the House of Commons, making her immune from another leadership challenge for a year. But her loss of 37 percent of her own party's members could be devastating, according to British political observers. Many of those more conservative members are calling on her to resign. Alex Gordon, former president of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers, joins Brian and John.
Veterans for Peace is Thursday's regular segment about the contemporary issues of war and peace that affect veterans, their families, and the country as a whole. Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and war resister who refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and lived in exile in Canada and Sweden for 6 years, organizing with other U.S. military deserters and draft resisters against the Vietnam war, and for amnesty for U.S. war resisters, joins the show. He has been a peace and solidarity activist for almost 50 years and has served on the Board of Veterans For Peace for the last 6 years, currently as national president.
Mental health workers organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Permanente in California are on strike this week to protest the quality of care their patients receive. Strike leaders say that the action is not about money, but instead is about how the company allows them to provide for their patients. Nurses have joined the picket line. Brian and John speak with Doug Kauffman, an activist and a member of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Col. Patrick Lang — How clever!

All's fair in love and war — including human shields?

The Israeli leadership is generating a perception problem that is eroding what's left of their good will and soft power. First a Russian aircraft and now civilian airliners.

Double whammy of moral failure and strategic blunder.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
How clever!
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
The goal of today’s leaders in Israel is to carry out a program of vast cruelty and violence while maintaining the public perception that they’re liberal democrats who advance peace and equality. But as the genocide against the Palestinians continues in front of the world, and as Israel slips into dictatorship, maintaining this image is an increasingly difficult task.…
The Ghion Journal
Netanyahu, Likud, And The Farce Of Israeli “Democracy”
Ranier Shea

Jonathan Turley — The Steele Dossier and the perils of political insurance policies

This is legal in the US? If not, where was the line crossed? Even if legal, it appears that a line was crossed when participants lied to investigators and the press about it. There are also questions raised about politicization of the US intelligence services, perhaps assisted by British intelligence.

Even if is legal, it proves that HRC was preparing to do exactly what she was accusing DJT of planning to do–contest the result if he lost.

There is a very bad smell about this. In fact, it is beginning to stink.

The Democrats had better get out in front on this or the party apparatus will be even further discredited.

The Hill
The Steele Dossier and the perils of political insurance policies
Jonathan Turley | Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University

Raúl Ilargi Meijer — Trump Derangement International

The problem with all of this obviously is that all these news outlets are supposed to report the news, and none of them do anymore. They ‘report’ the opinions of their editors and ‘journalists’, and if these people don’t like whoever it is the American people elect as their president, it’s open season.

American media has made it acceptable for foreign media to write fake articles about the US president, which means ridicule of the Office of the President is fine too, and thereby the process by which he was elected. Re-read Kurbjuweit’s statement, that is what he says.

This is a sort of new normal that may well be the main legacy of 2018. It’s where the surge of social media and the internet in general have led us. In the process, they’ve swallowed the truth whole, and we may never see it again.

The truth is not a winning proposition. Fabricating stories and narratives and using them to string readers and viewers along like a modern version of the Pied Piper is a much bigger winner than the truth, and they’re all waking up to this new reality.

Der Spiegel’s response to being exposed as liars is to pretend to be open about it, but only by blaming one individual, while sparing the editors who let him roam free for 7 years.

The Guardian, which ran a fabricated story about meetings between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in London’s Ecuadorian embassy a few weeks ago and was also exposed, has chosen a different approach: they attempt to smother the truth in silence. Both the writers of the story and editor-in-chief Kathy Viner, responsible for publishing blatant lies and fabrications are still on the payroll, there’s been no retraction and no apologies.

But there’s a flipside to this kind of thing. If you try to get away with murdering the truth the way Der Spiegel and the Guardian have done in these two instances, who’s going to read you next time around if they want to know what really happens, and take your words as true? No-one in their sound mind. So it’s necessarily a short term strategy....
The boy who cried "wolf" comes to mind. When the public begins to suspect that they are being gaslighted by the corporate media the purpose of having a free press is undermined.

The Automatic Earth
Trump Derangement International
Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Mark Hulbert — This still looks like just a stock-market correction, not something worse

The stock market’s recent correction has been more abrupt than you’d expect if the market were in the early stages of a major decline.
I say that because one of the hallmarks of a major market top is that the bear market than ensues is relatively mild at the beginning, only building up a head of steam over several months. Corrections, in contrast, tend to be far sharper and more precipitous.
1. For what it's worth, I tend to agree with this position in that the fundamentals of the US economy are strong and improving, although contrary data can be cited. The conditions that would need to be in place for a bear market don't appear to be on the horizon yet, since "money" is flowing into the economy through both deficit spending, liberal bank lending, as well as wage increases. 

One would think that the concern might be inflationary pressure, both inflation is still moderate. Positive data about the US economy is resulting in the Fed increasing the policy rate as a part of its reaction function, in addition to normalizing after having employed special operations to address the crisis. Both of increasing the policy rate and selling government securities from inventory have a stimulative effect, which is something that the "pros" don't seem to realize since they don't understand MMT and MMT based financial analysis. Markets seem to have concluded that the Fed is "taking away the punchbowl" and are pouting by sending a signal by increasing liquidity preference and reducing risk. Crowd behavior takes over from there in an atmosphere of uncertainty and increasing fear that trumps greed.

2. On the other hand, the world situation looks poor and declining, suggesting that this pullback could mark the second leg down in the ongoing global financial crisis, since underlying issues were not addressed. Or, the world could even be headed toward war, at least a trade war along with wider sanctions that would apply even to second-parties as a matter of economic warfare against perceived adversaries and competitors of the US. Anyway, dark thoughts and dire predictions are rife, stoking fear and uncertainty.

I don't want to minimize the threat that the world is presently under, but am simply pointing out that given the facts, the discounting seems to be excessive. But given the volatility of the geopolitical situation, things could change quickly in unforeseen ways. That is a reason for the high level of uncertainty that is sparking fear. Taking this into account is not being irrational. But overreacting to it is somewhat irrational in the sense of negative emotion overshadowing reason and data.

Conclusion: It looks to me like the markets are excessively discounting the latter scenarios, owing to the fear resulting from uncertainty about the future of the world economy, while seeming to ignore the positivity regarding the American economy that the former indicates based on empirics. Markets have shrugged off this sort of thing previously but are not doing so now. There are two sides to every trade, and only time will tell who is right.

Mark Hulbert: This still looks like just a stock-market correction, not something worse

Andrew Kliman — Not by Politics Alone: Thinking Through a Post-Capitalist Future

I believe that the central problem faced by people struggling for freedom today is the widespread acceptance of Margaret Thatcher’s TINA – the belief that “there is no alternative.” The main things that have led to the acceptance of TINA are the collapse of the state-capitalist regimes that called themselves “Communist” and the widespread failures of social democracy to remake society.
The struggles for freedom do not stop because of this, of course. Yet the acceptance of TINA acts to confine the struggles. They become self-limiting. In the perceived absence of an alternative, it is perfectly sensible that social struggles stop short of even trying to remake society totally. As Bertell Ollman has argued, “Why bother to struggle for a change that cannot be? … people [need to] have a good reason for choosing one path into the future rather than another.”
People need to have a good reason. That’s because they are rational. It is rational to engage in struggles to change what can be changed, and it’s rational to refrain from struggling against what cannot be changed. People who do not want to hear about socialism because of the failures and horrors of what they believe to have been socialism are making perfect sense. On the other side, of course, is a new global justice movement, part of which identifies itself as anti-capitalist, and which has raised the slogan “Another World is Possible.” This slogan, too, is eminently rational, if one interprets it, as I do, as a call to think through the possibility of another world and to prefigure another world.
But ultimately, the rationality of struggles that are not only struggles against injustice and exploitation, but struggles for a completely different, non-capitalist, human society rests on whether another world is indeed possible. At the present moment, I believe, no activist or theorist can really answer with confidence that it is possible.
I do not think this is a reason to despair. The effort to work out how another world might be possible is really just beginning. This problem received almost no attention throughout most of the last century. Until the collapse of so-called communism and living proof that social democracy is a futile dream, almost everyone on the Left simply assumed that socialism was possible, because it actually existed. Some were willing to critique Russia, China, Cuba, etc., to varying degrees, but they too tended to think that the actual existence of these countries was proof that socialism was possible. As they saw it, the defects or evils in these countries didn’t flow out of their mode of production; they were essentially political. What was needed was political change – “socialism and democracy” instead of socialism without democracy, or “socialism from below” instead of socialism from above, etc. And other people were confident that effective political action would enable the achievements of social democracy to be sustained and gradually extended to encompass more and more aspects of social and economic existence.
So it is only in recent years that any significant theoretical attention has been paid to whether another world is possible. I believe that this is the central problem of revolutionary thought today. Exposing the evils of capitalism is an insufficient approach when the question being asked by tens of millions of people is whether there is any alternative. Nor is it sufficient to focus on organizing or movement building, or to leave everything up to spontaneous action alone. Freedom struggles will no doubt continue, because the impulse to change things, the felt need to change things, arises spontaneously out of the defects of existing society. But again, the struggles will not reach for a wholly different future as long as such as future is perceived as pie-in-the-sky....
The left has generally been either too pessimistic, and as a result, too willing to compromise, or else too utopian to be convincing. Moreover, diagnosis based on identifying and removing symptoms ad hoc is insufficient for a lasting cure. Cure requires diagnosis that identifies causes and treats the dysfunctionality by addressing causes.
And again, such perceptions have arisen for rational reasons, largely because of the failures and horror of the last century. So it is likewise insufficient to simply affirm that another world is possible, or to remain contented with an ungrounded hope that it is possible. The possibility of another world needs to be shownAnd this can only be shown by showing how it is possible to break with capitalism and how such a break could be sustainable....
With Sober Senses
Not by Politics Alone: Thinking Through a Post-Capitalist Future
Andrew Kliman | Professor of Economics, Pace University, author of Reclaiming Marx’s “Capital,” defending the Temporal Single System Interpretation of Marx's labor theory
Editor’s note: This essay is a corrected and slightly revised version of the author’s presentation, entitled “Not by Politics Alone,” during a panel on “Thinking Through a Post-Capitalist Future” that took place at the Left Forum conference in New York City on March 11, 2006.

Alastair Crooke — It's Not Just A Trade War; And It's Not Just China...

So, what is going on? Well, the US military complex is ‘for real’ on this. They are gearing-up for the coming military-standoff with China. The constant harking on themes that China is stealing America’s technology, its knowhow and its data – and now the barrage of allegations about China ‘hacking’ and (shades of the Russiagate) interfering in US elections, essentially (but not wholly) is about shaping a casus belli versus China. The rude fact is that the US military were shocked to find how far they were falling behind Russia and China in high-tech weaponry....
Strategic Culture Foundation
It's Not Just A Trade War; And It's Not Just China...
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

Monday, December 24, 2018

Zachary M. Seward — The FBI Considered 'It's a Wonderful Life' to Be Communist Propaganda

It’s a Wonderful Life is a staple of the holiday season in the United States, but it was once considered un-American by the government.
The Atlantic
The FBI Considered 'It's a Wonderful Life' to Be Communist Propaganda
Zachary M. Seward, Dec 24, 2013

Aleppo normalizes and celebrates Christmas

Christmas in Aleppo: Syrians celebrate as city recovers from years-long bloodshed (VIDEOS)Sputnik International
'Our People Couldn't Be Broken': Syrian Aleppo 2 Years After Liberation

Erik Berglöf — Learning from China

Despite 40 years of unprecedented economic growth, Chinese leaders' efforts to promote their development model have run up against political suspicion. But it makes little sense for countries to reject outright the lessons of China’s economic miracle, and deepening
Good observations and advice.

Project Syndicate
Learning from China
Erik Berglöf, a former chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is Director of the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Brad DeLong — Note to Self: America's Equities Are Worth 20% Less than They Were Worth Three Months Ago...

Brad DeLong notes that fundamentals are the same now as three months ago. Arguably, the fundamentals have improved.

So, what's up with the market correction and seemingly near-panic behavior? 

Changing expectations, involving apparently irrational discounting, owing to factors other than the fundamentals of the American economy. Is there anything that accounts for this based on changed conditions internationally or domestically? 

Of course, various cases can be made for big changes in the works or at least in the offing, but markets have ignored similarly threatening conditions in the recent past. 

If the fundamentals remain essentially the same or are improving, the conclusion suggested is psychological rather than real. When the trend changes, uncertainty increases and with uncertainty, fear.

Grasping Reality
Note to Self: America's Equities Are Worth 20% Less than They Were Worth Three Months Ago...
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Ramanan — Michal Kalecki On The Effect Of Wages On Employment

Kalecki quote.

The Case for Concerted Action
Michal Kalecki On The Effect Of Wages On Employment
V. Ramanan

See also
@Brankomilan leads us to this (french) pieceabout Austria. It states that the Austrian government enacted a new law which authorizes working days of 12 hours and working weeks of 60 hours.
A). This is a clear case of retrogression. It’s good to read what, in 1921, the International Labor Office stated in its first annual report….
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Productivity in the Eurozone (and why it matters)
Merijn Knibbe

Phil Dobbie and Steve Keen - Where do you draw the line on migration?

A great interview, but very short because you have to subscribe to listen to the long version.

Steve says that Western countries can't absorb migration the way they used to because neoliberalism stagnated their economies but also because of the population growth. The answer, he says, is to stop the causes of mass migration which is Western sponsored wars in the Middle East and climate change. But I think he would add, that imperialist capitalism is driving people in less developed countries into poverty which also causes migration. But neoliberalism is also causing lots of poverty in the West too.

Phil Dobbie.


Timothy Taylor — Charles Dickens on Management vs. Labor UPDATED

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is now an entertainment staple at Christmas time. This and many of the other stories that Dickens recounted so skillfully while avoiding rank sentimentality raise the question of his personal political views. The world he describes fictionally is now famous as "the Dickensian world." HIs work was instrumental in the reform of the classical economic liberalism in Britain of the time and the introduction of at least a degree of social liberalism.

Fortunately, Dickens addressed this question.
But more broadly, the article is of interest because Dickens, telling the story in the first person, takes the position that in thinking about a strike taking place in the town of Preston, one need not take the side either of management or labor. Instead, Dickens writes, one may "be a friend to both," and feel that the strike is "to be deplored on all accounts." Of course, the problem with a middle-of-the-road position is that you can end up being hit by ideological traffic going in both directions. But the ability of Dickens to sympathize with people in a wide range of positions is surely part what gives his novels and his world-view such lasting power. The article goes into a fair amount of detail, and can be read on-line, so I will content myself here with a substantial excerpt.
Here's a portion of the 1854 essay by Dickens:
Conversable Economist
Charles Dickens on Management vs. Labor
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

One of Dickens' contemporary admirers was Karl Marx, who praised him in an article for the New York Tribune on August 1, 1854:

The present splendid brotherhood of fiction-writers in England, whose graphic and eloquent pages have issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together, have described every section of the middle class, from the "highly genteel" annuitant and fundholder who looks upon all sorts of business as vulgar, to the little shopkeeper and lawyer's clerk.
And how have Dickens and Thackeray, Miss Brontë and Mrs. Gaskell painted them? As full of presumption, affectation, petty tyranny and ignorance; and the civilized world have confirmed their verdict with the damning epigram that it has fixed to this class, that "they are servile to those above, and tyrannical to those beneath them."
Read Dickens. If you're not up for 800-900 pages, start with the much shorter Hard Times or Great Expectations. Dickens isn't a revolutionary, but his representations of 19th-century capitalist society speak powerfully to the need and desire for revolution. His novels are among the most amazing things in the English language--and in world literature.
I recall Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin being required in my high school course in American history, which was a required course for all student at that time. It made a profound impression on me. I also loved reading Victorian novels while I was in high school. I devoured Dickens, Thackeray, etc. But I didn't connect this plots to the present. At the time, I though that that was just times gone by.

Socialist Worker
Bill Keach


Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels documented conditions in industrial England in those times as part of the empirical research for writing Das Kapital. See F. Engels, Condition of the Working Class in England (1845).

Conversable Economist
Charles Dickens on Seeing the Poor
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota