Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Growing Threat of Water Wars — Jayati Ghosh

In 2015, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include an imperative to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Yet, in the last four years, matters have deteriorated significantly....
Project Syndicate
The Growing Threat of Water Wars
Jayati Ghosh | Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi

Links — 13 Nov 2019

John Solomon Reports
The real Ukraine controversy: an activist U.S. embassy and its adherence to the Geneva Convention

Ray McGovern
Quick, someone help WPost top Russia-gate sleuths connect the dots!

Quick, someone help WPost top Russia-gate sleuths connect the dots!

‘NATO will be soiling its pants’: Ukrainian tycoon seen as power behind president calls for ‘new Warsaw Pact’ with Moscow

Police accuse Hong Kong ‘rioters’ of turning university into ‘weapons factory’ as academic institutions cancel classes en masse

The World’s Most Vulnerable Oil
Julianne Geiger

Spiegel Online
Trans-Atlantic [US] Hate: Neo-Nazi 'Atomwaffen Division' Spreads Fear in Germany

The Grayzone
Top Bolivian coup plotters were School of the Americas grads, served as attachés in FBI police programs
Jeb Sprague

Col. Patrick Lang — Pope Francis may be removed from office

Col. Lang is a reactionary traditionalist. Pope Francis is a radical liberal. Coincidentally, Steven Bannon, also a reactionary traditionalist, is also highly critical of Francis.

However, there is no provision in canon law for removal of a pope for "perceived" heresy, as far as I know.

The liberal-traditionalist divide is asserting itself in a highly divisive world in which liberalism, traditionalism, fascism, and socialism are clashing in the historical dialectic, and the outcome is uncertain, to say the least. The world has not seen this level of ideological conflict since the 1930's.

Be this as it may, it is not the reason I chose to link to this, but rather because of this:
Most prominently, Pope Francis hosted a pagan ceremony with Pachamama statues in the Vatican Gardens on Oct. 4 and even blessed one of the statues.
If you have been following the Bolivia story, you will recognize "Pachamama" as the deities of the indigenous people of the region in which Bolivia is located. The coup leader explicitly mentioned this.

Why is this important? Because previously the official position of the Catholic Church in Latin America was in many places opposite to the reorientation of Francis to the point of being complicit in the repression that took place.

Francis apparently chose to send a strong signal that things have changed on his watch. And the Catholic Church still has major social and political influence in Latin America since it is one the fundamental cultural institutions.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Pope Francis may be removed from office
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

People's Dispatch — Day 2 of the civic-military coup in Bolivia

Anti-coup protesters have given right-wing leaders such as Fernando Camacho a 48-hour deadline to leave the capital La Paz. The Executive Committee of the United Trade Union Confederation of Bolivia (CSUTCB), declared their complete rejection of the coup and announced that in their mobilization to the capital their aim is to drive the violent right-wing out of the city. They wrote in a document “The CSUTCB instructs the nine departmental federations and the 26 regionals, to close in La Paz, and give a 48-hour ultimatum to Fernando Camacho so that he retreats along with his violent hired people of the Youth Union of Santa Cruz, if he does not, they will be responsible for all of the actions that occur.”
The Trade Union Confederation of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia has also called on the people to engage in a permanent mobilization against the violence and the coup perpetrated against the president.
The Bolivia security forces, who backed the coup, have been brutally repressing the protests in support of Evo. Organizations have denounced that security forces have fired live bullets on protesters and have shot at protesters from helicopters. This violence has already cost several lives, the official numbers are not available yet but some estimate at least 3 deaths, and many people have been gravely injured....
People's Dispatch
Day 2 of the civic-military coup in Bolivia

Chile — Repression Reaches Levels Similar to Pinochet Er

After completing an “emergency mission” in Chile, European Parliament Members Miguel Urban and Idoia Villanueva on Wednesday reported that this South American country suffers repression levels similar to those seen in the last three years of the Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990).
Besides preparing a mission report, the leftist MEPs wrote an open letter adressing Federica Mogherini, the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
They ask that the EU requires President Sebastian Piñera to halt the repression of citizens and ask for explanations about the actions carried out by the Army and the Police.
Urban and Villanueva recalled that the EU and Chile signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which contains a “Cause on Democracy”.
This binding instrument contemplates that the bilateral trade deal can be suspended if Chile does not respect human rights....
Internationalist 360º
Chile: Repression Reaches Levels Similar to Pinochet Era

Bolivia’s New Self-Declared “Interim President” Believes Indians Are “Satanic”, Shouldn’t Be Allowed in Cities — Marko Marjanović

Bolivia’s New Self-Declared “Interim President” Believes Indians Are “Satanic”, Shouldn’t Be Allowed in Cities
Marko Marjanović
Statement from Colectivo Curva on the resistance of the people of El Alto in response to the ongoing coup attempt in Bolivia. Based in El Alto themselves, Colectivo Curva argue that the native peoples of El Alto remember their history of struggle against the Morales government: they do not fight for him and his party, but against an attack on their communities from the far-right coup plotters.
Democracy allowed the indigenous peoples to elect a government and the coup was the reaction by the non-indigenous people to the rule of the indigenous.
They are not Evo supporters! They are Alteños, dammit!
Ivan Apaza Calle, El Alto, November 2019

Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order — John J. Mearsheimer


The liberal international order, erected after the Cold War, was crumbling by 2019. It was flawed from the start and thus destined to fail. The spread of liberal democracy around the globe—essential for building that order—faced strong resistance because of nationalism, which emphasizes self-determination. Some targeted states also resisted U.S. efforts to promote liberal democracy for security-related reasons. Additionally, problems arose because a liberal order calls for states to delegate substantial decisionmaking authority to international institutions and to allow refugees and immigrants to move easily across borders. Modern nation-states privilege sovereignty and national identity, however, which guarantees trouble when institutions become powerful and borders porous. Furthermore, the hyperglobalization that is integral to the liberal order creates economic problems among the lower and middle classes within the liberal democracies, fueling a backlash against that order. Finally, the liberal order accelerated China's rise, which helped transform the system from unipolar to multipolar. A liberal international order is possible only in unipolarity. The new multipolar world will feature three realist orders: a thin international order that facilitates cooperation, and two bounded orders—one dominated by China, the other by the United States—poised for waging security competition between them.
John J. Mearsheimer is a foreign policy realist.

MIT Press
Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order
John J. Mearsheimer | R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago

See also

Shubham Swaroop

Tyler Durden - All Products From Israeli Settlements Must Be Labelled: EU Court In Landmark Ruling

In a controversial new landmark ruling that has enraged and frustrated Israeli leaders, Europe's top court has ordered that all goods produced by Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights be labeled as such.

Specifically the European Court of Justice decision on Tuesday forbids any products from settlements to be labeled simply as "made in Israel"; instead, they must have a “clear and non-misleading indication of origin” in line with the EU's consumer policy, as stated by an EU official communicating the ruling to Tel Aviv.

Zero Hedge -

Tyler Durden - All Products From Israeli Settlements Must Be Labelled: EU Court In Landmark Ruling

TYT - The Bolivia Coup Was A Coup.

Quite a good summery of the coup in Bolivia.

ZHIVKO ILLEIEFF - Trump 2020 and the Cost of Russiagate

When the Democrats turn on their own, this strengthens the Republican cause.

An interesting article in how the right works and its lack of intellectualism.

As the Trump-Russia narrative wears off, and those who profit from it have fewer and fewer “bombshells” to obsess over, liberals will go back to what they do best — gaslighting their own base and smearing progressives.
This means The Washington PostThe New York Times, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and other experts in democracy are rallying the troops against “sexist” Bernie, “Assad-supporting, Russia-supported” Tulsi, “anti-Semitic” Ilhan, and anyone who dares to defy the bipartisan support for war, apartheid, class warfare, and environmental destruction. Nothing brings the duopoly together better than supporting coup attempts abroad, or colluding against the working class.

American Revolution vs. Chinese Revolution — Frank Li

What is the key difference between the U.S. and China?
They were born differently, almost totally opposite to each other! The U.S. was founded by/of/for the rich, whereas the PRC (People's Republic of China) was founded by/of/for the poor. In other words, the American Revolution was a bourgeois revolution, whereas the Chinese Communist Revolution was a proletarian revolution. Let me explain ...
Exactly. As I have been saying, the US was founded on bourgeois (Lockean) liberalism in the Western sense of favoring owners of property of European (white) descent. The People's Republic of China was founded on Marxist-Leninist socialism "with Chinese characteristics." These views are fundamentally incompatible, just as East and West are fundamentally incompatible based on historical path-dependence.

The differences are civilizational — Western civilization, Chinese civilization, Indian civilization, Islamic civilization, Russky Mir, etc. In the West especially, this is further differentiate by nationalism. Much of the world is further divided by remnants of tribalism or actual tribalism.

One of the difficulties for Westerners is the fundamental assumption of a universal human nature, which Westerners identify with their own cognitive biases. While all may be identical as persons, e.g, equality of persons before the law, which is the basis of Western liberalism, all are unique as individuals and individuals are shaped by association and affiliation.

I don't always agree with Frank Li's position but his view is always interesting as a Chinese ex-pat that made it in the US and is now trying to bridge the systems by showing strengths and weaknesses.
American Revolution vs. Chinese Revolution
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

Primer: Causality In Models — Brian Romanchuk

Since is about identifying regularity in change and developing theories that explain the causation, ideally in terms of variables and linear functions. This is a challenge even in complicated simple systems, e.g, in the natural sciences, and it is a huge challenge when dealing with complex adaptive systems in the life and social sciences. 

Complex adaptive systems are synergistic, meaning that they are greater than the sum of the parts, so that examining the parts alone is insufficient for analyzing the system as a whole, that is, the parts and their relationships.

Complex adaptive systems are also subject to emergence, that is, the appearance of properties that are unforeseeable based on analysis of the existing system. For example, systems with the capability to learn from feedback and change behavior based on learning are unpredictable based on discovery of new knowledge and its application. There is as yet no logic of discovery that formalized the process and no scientific theory that has penetrated the causality so to be be able to influence it.

Furthermore, a framework for approaching causality must be assumed and ideally defined operationally in science, as Brian does in this first sentence following:
One important consideration for indicator construction is the notion of causality (using systems engineering terminology). A non-causal model is a model where the output depends upon the future values of inputs. In the absence of access to a time machine, such a model cannot be directly implemented in the real world. In practice, a non-causal model output is “revised” as new datapoints are added to input series. The result is that we cannot use the latest values of the series to judge the quality of previous “predictions” of the model.
The use of non-causal model might be acceptable for the analysis of a historical episode, or an earlier economic regime (such as various Gold Standard periods). Since new data will not arrive, there will be no revisions....
However, causation is still an open question in the philosophy of science.•

Bond Economics
Primer: Causality In Models
Brian Romanchuk

• Causality can be defined as the "causal" connection between cause and effect, e.g., in terms of conditionality (sufficient condition, necessary condition, necessary and sufficient condition). Causality is established though a scientific theory that accounts for the connection, since "correlation is not causation."

Causation is the entire scope of the subject, which includes "causality" as just defined but is not limited to it. There are ontological and epistemology issues regarding causation that are not settled. 

Generally speaking, modern science assumes 1) ontological monism in assuming naturalism, that is, that "everything" can be explained by natural causes as observables (as in a theory of everything). It also assumes 2) epistemological realism in the sense that the mind (subjectivity) is the mirror reality (objectivity) when the scientific method is correctly applied. 

However, these assumptions regarding the framework for gaining knowledge are more presuppositions than stated assumptions. Philosophy of science attempts to bring clarity to this by examining the various issues that arise.

The 2020s are set to be an economic turning point, says global banking giant — Michael Janda

Merrill Lynch global forecast that puts a spotlight on MMT and sees a decline in neoliberal globalization resulting from rising nationalism and populism. Longish.

ABC (Australia)
The 2020s are set to be an economic turning point, says global banking giant
Michael Janda

JFK was an MMTer..! — Ralph Musgrave

Here is the full section to which Ralph refers. 

James Tobin's report of a conversation with JFK:
I had left the Council of Economic Advisors to return to Yale as of August 1, 1962. Later, in the fall, I was in Washingtonconsulting for the Council. Walter Heller was kind enough to ask for an appointment for me to see JFK, and the president was kind enough to grant it. I guess it was only the second or third time I had an interview with the president by myself. This was a memorable one. The president was extremely cordial, informal, and friendly, calling me “Jim”, a practice he had acquired only late in my service on the CEA. After joshing me about the leisure and high income of the academic life to which I had returned, he wanted to talk about economics, economic theory indeed. He wanted to ask me some questions, but it turned out he wanted to give his own answers to them too and see if I agreed, almost as if he were showing how well he had learned his lessons.So he did most of the talking, and my own interventions were largely to confirm that his own answers to his questions were right. There were two subjects; the budget deficit and gold. On the first, he said, “Is there any economic limit to the deficit? I know of course about the political limits. People say you can't increase the national debt too fast or too much. We're always answering that the debt isn't growing relative to national income. But is there any economic limit on the size of the debt in relation to national income? There isn't, is there? That's just a political answer, isn't it? Well, what is the limit?” I said the only limit is really inflation. He grabbed at that. “That's right, isn't it? The deficit can be any size, the debt can be any size, provided they don't cause inflation. Everything else is just talk.” We had a similar conversation about gold and the balance of payments: “Why do we worry about a deficit in the balance of payments? It's only because we might lose gold, that so?And what do we care about gold? It isn't worth anything, in itself, is it?” I assured him it was not, that its value derived wholly from the willingness of nations, especially the U.S., to transform gold into their currencies. “We could, if we wanted to, run the world without gold? And wouldn't that be more sensible? Wasn't it just the irrational prejudices of bankers that kept us tied to gold? We don't have any real national, or international, interest in it, do we?”
I don't claim these to be exact quotations, but this was the gist of the conversation. He spent more than half an hour from a busy day on this conversation, and he was obviously having a good time. Obviously too, he and I both recognized that the talk was an academic one, divorced from the day to day policy decisions where he realized so keenly that the political and ideological myths from which he was showing his intellectual liberation were so constraining and compelling. I was extremely gratified, of course, because there were points he had certainly not understood in 1961 and points I had tried persistently to make orally and in writing for almost two years. Maybe he was just showing that he understood my points, without indicating that he agreed with them. But that was definitely not the tone of the conversation. Rather it was that he understood them and accepted them but that he was, as I well knew, hemmed in. His next appointment was kept waiting, and when Ken O'Donnell finally made him break our interview off, he said good-bye in a most cordial and friendly way.
JFK was an MMTer..!
Ralph Musgrave

Yanis Varoufakis - The Lib Dems have abandoned Liberalism

Yanis Varoufakis has nothing but contempt for the party who enabled austerity.

Fed Barkin: The US labor market tight

Yup...  FOMC will still never respond via an increase in rates in this election year... Trump would go nuclear on them...

Is America right to fear Huawei - The Economist

Huawei has let the West see its code for 5G, and no one can find any backdoor security risk, so what's going on?

Micheal Jacobs - Capitalism is in crisis. And we cannot get out of it by carrying on as before

Even capitalists agree our economic model is broken. Fundamental change on the scale of 1945 and 1979 is needed now

Capitalism is on the rocks. Neoliberalism doesn't work and even many of the capitalists now agree.

This is not a view held only on the left of the political spectrum. Read the Economist and the Financial Times, or listen to business leaders in the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses, and it is apparent that even capitalists think the current model of capitalism is in trouble. Their anxiety is not just that it has lost public support. It is that the core engine of private sector growth is no longer working. In almost every field of economic policy it is becoming clear that tinkering at the edges of the current economic system is not going to be enough. A much more fundamental transformation is required.

The labour market needs to be rebalanced. For wages to rise, workers need to take home a larger share of national income – through a higher minimum wage, more security for workers in the “gig economy” and a higher proportion of sectors in which trade unions engage in collective bargaining. As other European countries show, this helps, not hinders, productivity improvement.

Micheal Jacobs - Capitalism is in crisis. And we cannot get out of it by carrying on as before

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Andrew Korybko analyzes the strategy and tactics of regime change

Andrew Korybko analyzes the strategy and tactics of regime change by color revolution with respect to Bolivia.

One World
Here's How The Hybrid War On Bolivia Succeeded In Carrying Out Regime Change

Bill Mitchell — Japan announces a stimulus as the Right take over Bolivia

The latest South American progressive government to be taken over by right-wing thugs sponsored by the US is Bolivia.
This comes just after the ousted President Evo Morales cancelled a 2018 contract with a German company to mine the nation’s lithium deposits.
He was reported to have said:

Bolivia’s lithium belongs to the Bolivian people … Not to multinational corporate cabals....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Japan announces a stimulus as the Right take over Bolivia
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Bolivia Is the Latest Successful US-Backed Coup in Latin America — Alan Macleod

While the Trump administration intimates that this will not be the last, the Bolivia case is merely the latest in a long line of U.S.-backed coups in the region. Historian and former State Department employee William Blum calculated that the U.S. has overthrown over 50 governments since 1945, many of them in the region it considers its “backyard.” For example, in 2009, the U.S. supported a coup against the leftist government of Manuel Zelaya, blocking any regional or international response. Hillary Clinton later boasted that, in her role as Secretary of State, she had “rendered the question of Zelaya moot.” Since 2009 the country has been ruled by a right-wing military dictatorship that brutalizes its population, leading to a mass exodus of refugees northward, one of the principal (but unspoken) drivers of the so-called refugee caravan crisis on the U.S./Mexico border. In 2002, the U.S. sponsored and took part in a briefly successful coup against Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, only for it to be reversed by a massive display of collective solidarity from Venezuela’s people who refused to accept the situation and inspired loyal units to retake the presidential palace and rescue Chavez. Haiti was not so lucky. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, leader of a grassroots people’s movement, was overthrown in U.S.-backed coups in 1991 and 2004, leaving the nation with a corrupt puppet government that turned the country into the huge, impoverished sweatshop for Western corporations it is today.
This continual interference gave rise to the wry comment in Latin America that the safest place in the world is the U.S. because it is the only nation without an American embassy....
Mint Press News
Bolivia Is the Latest Successful US-Backed Coup in Latin America
Alan Macleod

Alan MacLeod - Corporate Media Refuse to Call the Bolivian Coup by Its Name

The MSM isn't mentioning -

In contrast, there was no coverage at all in US corporate media of the detailed new report from the independent Washington-based think tank CEPR, which claimed that the election results were “consistent” with the win totals announced. There was also scant mention of the kidnapping and torture of elected officials, the ransacking of Morales’ house, the burning of public buildings and of the indigenous Wiphala flag, all of which were widely shared on social media and would have suggested a very different interpretation of events.

Alan MacLeod - Corporate Media Refuse to Call the Bolivian Coup by Its Name

Bolivia Coup Led by Christian Fascist Paramilitary Leader, Multi-Millionaire – with Foreign Support — Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are excellent investigative reporter who are familiar with the region. They provide a fairly detailed analysis. Longish.

It appears that the Bolivian coup was not only based money and power, but also motivated by racism and fascism, similar to the coup in Ukraine.

This will further erode US soft power internationally and especially in the Global South and East, which are non-white.

The New Dark Age — William Bowles
Bolivia Coup Led by Christian Fascist Paramilitary Leader, Multi-Millionaire – with Foreign Support
Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton

See also

The regime change playbill – short form.

Internationalist 360º
The Coup in Bolivia: Five Lessons
Atilio Boron

See also
How many things, how many events, how much hatred we have witnessed in our Caribbean America! But also, how much dignity, how much courage and how much faith our peoples have! The original peoples, the mestizo peoples, the Afro-descendant peoples, the families of Our Caribbean America who decided centuries ago to break the yoke , who have proclaimed ourselves independent with honor, with dignity and who today continue fighting because events like the ones we have experienced this weekend, coups d’état, intervention, aggression, intervention by aggression, by unwonted violence against our peoples’ democratic processes, encroach on our rights but we know that nor can they nor will they be able to, because the spiritual strength of our peoples is immense.…
Listen, listen, listen all you racists, you pro-imperialists, you hired killers, you empires, just listen and hear. We take on the struggle and we are noble, brave, worthy sons and daughters of these sacred lands where the atrocities, the coups, those infamous coups d’état, we know will not go unpunished, because as we said in our Nicaragua in the months of perfidy, of perversity, they will pay for their crimes, the crimes of hatred, crimes against economies, against processes of national dignity, crimes that seek to return to the illegitimate oligarchies the power to continue looting our natural resources for empires, to re-impose or continue to impose misery on the great majorities, impose those hate crimes that we knew in our Nicaragua and that will never return, thanks to the courageous and sovereign decision of the Nicaraguan people....
Listen imperialists, listen and hear, we are peoples in struggle. In Nicaragua, you could not prevail nor will you. In Our Caribbean America you will never again be able to subjugate our proud native cultures of Mestizos, of Afro-descendants, we are increasingly more, more and more millions, all sure of our abilities and our rights, demanding respect for our abilities and rights, our sovereignty, our independence and our right to live in Peace....
Internationalist 360º
“Listen, All You Racists, You Pro-Imperialists, You Hired Killers, You Empires, Just Listen and Hear.”
Rosario Murillo, Vice President of Nicaragua

See also

Common Dreams
Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
Eoin Higgins, staff writer

International 360º
First Lessons from the Fascist Coup in Bolivia
Luis Alfonso Mena S.

Internationalist 360º
“Listen, All You Racists, You Pro-Imperialists, You Hired Killers, You Empires, Just Listen and Hear.”
Rosario Murillo, Vice President of Nicaragua

Internationalist 360º
The City of El Alto Defends Evo Morales Amid Repression
Marco Teruggi

Internationalist 360º
Bolivia in Crosshairs of US Counter-Revolution
Cindy Forster

Internationalist 360º
Statement by the Political Committee of the Movimiento Al Socialismo (Movement for Socialism) of Bolivia

An Excellent, To-The-Point Russian Assessment of the Bolivian Coup — Col. Cassad

The events effectively used the Venezuela blueprint – street protests in major cities by the right-wing, attacks on ruling party activists, denial of legitimacy by the US & Co, pressure on the army to end support for Morales. Using the OAS to delegitimise Morales, he was proposed to leave for Mexico. As a result, what did not work in Venezuela, where all this instrumentation, including the president appointed by Washington, was designed to overthrow Maduro, as a whole worked in Bolivia, allowing to overthrow the president, who in democratic elections gained 600,000 votes more than his opponent.
De facto, it’s a banal colour coup, like the Ukrainian coup....
Summary analysis follows.

Bill Mitchell — The evidence from the sociologists against economic thinking is compelling

One of the stark facts about the academic economics discipline is its insularity and capacity to deliver influential prognoses on issues that affect the well-being of millions with scant regard to the actual consequences of their opinions and with little attention to what other social scientists have to say. The mainstream economists continually get things wrong but take no responsibility for the damage they cause to the well-being of the people. A 2015 paper – The Superiority of Economists– published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (Vol 29, No. 1) by Marion Fourcade, Etienne Ollion and Yann Algan is scathing in its assessment of the economics discipline. They say that mainstream economists largely ignore contributions by other social scientists and consider them inferior in technological sophistication, have a “predilection for methodological and theoretical precision over real-world accuracy”, largely ignore”the basic premise of much of the human sciences, namely that social processes shape individual preferences”, and parade an arrogance and superiority that masks the sterility of their analysis. In this context, I thought the 2015 Report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Sociological perspectives poverty – was a breath of fresh air in its approach to understanding poverty. The empirical base it presents refutes most of the major assumptions and conclusions of economists who work in the field of poverty. A mainstream professor who was supervising my economics graduate program once said to me: “Bill you are a bright boy but you should be doing sociology”, which was an example of the negative control mechanism designed to weed out dissidents (like me). It didn’t work. But I always considered the disciplines of sociology and anthropology (not to mention psychology, political science, social welfare etc) to be important in my journey to become ‘well read’. Most economists, however, do not think that. Perhaps that is why I was able to be part of the development of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)....
There's word for it — "insularity." In jargon, it is "silo-thinking."

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The evidence from the sociologists against economic thinking is compelling
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Europe Banks Seek relief from New Capital Rules

Asset purchases by the ECB is making it difficult for Depositories to increase residual value (Regulatory Capital) as Reserve Assets created by the CB asset purchases create an associated deposit liability at the Depositories....  the numerator (A-L) remains unchanged...

lol then right on cue the unqualified moron platonist Art Degree people trying to run the thing have to resort to figurative language to attempt to explain what they think is going on:

“When you are building something that is supposed to withstand earthquakes, you should not opt for cheaper materials in the final stages of your construction work just because your budget is getting tighter.”

LOL nice metaphor moron!  Right up there with "government is like a household!"... its like this Art Degree moron is writing a song lyric or something... maybe a poem... idk...

here you go same thing:

We should keep an eye on how this proceeds they could end up causing another big GFC-type crash over there before they are finished... shut down the whole credit system over there might have US system effects ....  SCARY!!!!!!

Bloomberg a card carrying member of the debt doomsday club

Signed up with the Peterson people a while back:

The Military Coup Against Bolivia's President, Evo Morales

An excellent video! Evo Morales called for new elections with more international observers, but the elite weren't interested.

Philip Goff - Why Can't Science Explain Consciousness?

Is the universe conscious? Some scientists are beginning to wonder.

This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness. Before you write that off, consider this. 

Consciousness can vary in complexity. We have good reason to think that the conscious experiences of a horse are much less complex than those of a human being, and that the conscious experiences of a rabbit are less sophisticated than those of a horse. As organisms become simpler, there may be a point where consciousness suddenly switches off — but it's also possible that it just fades but never disappears completely, meaning even an electron has a tiny element of consciousness. 

Live Science 

Philip Goff - Why Can't Science Explain Consciousness?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Released Lula in for greatest fight of his life — Pepe Escobar

Lula detailed the current “terrible conditions” for Brazilian workers. He ripped to pieces the economic program – basically a monster sell-out – of Finance Minister Paulo Guedes, a Chicago boy and Pinochetist who’s applying the same failed hardcore neoliberal prescriptions now being denounced and scorned every day in the streets of Chile.
He detailed how the Brazilian right wing openly bet on neo-fascism, which is the form that neoliberalism recently took in Brazil. He blasted mainstream media, in the form of the so far all-powerful, ultra-reactionary Globo empire. In a stance of semiotic genius, Lula pointed to Globo’s helicopter hovering over the masses gathered for the speech, implying the organization is too cowardly to get close to him on ground level.
And, significantly, he got right into the heart of the Bolsonaro question: the militias. It’s no secret to informed Brazilians that the Bolsonaro clan, with its origins in the Veneto, is behaving as a sort of cheap, crude, eschatological carbon copy of the Sopranos, running a system heavy on militias and supported by the Brazilian military. Lula described the president of one of the top nations in the Global South as no less than a militia leader. That will stick – all around the world.
So much for “Lula peace and love,” which used to be one of his cherished mottos. No more conciliation. Bolsonaro now has to face real, fierce, solid opposition, and cannot run away from public debate any more....
The question is how [Lula] will be able to muster the organizational work, the method – and have enough time to change the dire conditions for democratic opposition in Brazil. The whole Global South is watching....
At least now the die is cast – and crystal clear: It’s social democracy against neo-fascism....
Asia Times
Released Lula in for greatest fight of his life
Pepe Escobar

Michael Roberts – Marx’s double-edge law

For those interested in Marx and Marxian economics.

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
HM1 – Marx’s double-edge law
Michael Roberts

Harper — Neocons Still Promote Permanent Revolution

Backgrounder on neoconservatism and its marriage of convenience with liberal internationalism (Wilsonianism).
Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage.
This prompts the question as to why Donald Trump has appointed neoconservatives like John Bolton when he is a Jacksonian nationalist and populist?

One reason could be that the deep state is populated with foreign policy idealists rather than foreign policy realists, and these types and appointments are typically made from the bench of the deep state. A reason may be to placate it, since the deep state is in a position o be disruptive enough to diminish a president's political capital, with respect to its control of the narrative through leaks and anonymous sources that feed the media. 

The deep state can also deploy more direct means, as is evident now in the lead up to the impeachment, where one of the president's "crimes" according to the deep state is highjacking US foreign policy, even though the president is actually in charge of it.

Endless war as envisioned by the promoters of permanent revolution in the cause of "spreading freedom and democracy" (read neoliberal globalism) as the "Pax Americana" fits perfectly with the warfare state the military Keynesianism that funds government expenditure through the military-industrial-governmental complex.

 Jacksonians are just as insistent on carrying a big club as Wilsonians, although they are less wont to use it through wars of choice. The president prefers to use US economic power as the first-line tool of hybrid warfare rather than relying on military force. It's still "America First" in terms of geopolitics but the strategy is different from neoconservatives and liberal interventionists.

I must confess that I was taken in by the propaganda in the lead in to Vietnam but was radicalized when I discovered the truth while I was serving a US naval officer in the Western Pacific at the time and watched things go downhill from there. Yet the US keeps coming back for more and more of the same. Why? Is it stupidity or the money and power — after all, world domination is on the table. That is hard to walk away from if one strongly believes that one pick it up with relative impunity.

Cornering and Strangulating Iran Has Backfired on Israel — Alastair Crooke

What happens if the two premises on which Israel and America’s grand Iran strategy is founded are proven false? ‘What if’ maximum pressure fails either to implode the Iranian state politically, nor brings Iran to its knees, begging for a new ‘hairshirt’ nuclear deal? Well …? Well, it seems that Netanyahu and Mossad were so cocksure of their initial premise, that they neglected to think beyond first move on the chess board. It was to be checkmate in one. And this neglect is the cause of the strategic bind in which Israel now finds itself….
Strategic Culture Foundation
Cornering and Strangulating Iran Has Backfired on Israel
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

Zero Hedge — Alibaba Breaks 'Singles Day' Sales Record With $31 Billion Haul

Market strategists have repeatedly warned about the potential fallout from the collapse of retail sales in China, a trend that has already led to a recession in global auto sales, while Chinese factory output has also declined. But the economic doldrums facing the world's most populous country didn't stop Chinese consumers from posting a massive tab on Alibaba's Singles Day. In fact, according to CNBC, it was the largest haul in the 11-year history of Singles Day....
But with the trade war still raging, this year's Singles' Day is expected to have even more resonance, as investors look for clues about demand for American-made goods. But instead of giving American brands the cold shoulder, the US was the second-largest seller in terms of GMV, with jewelry and clothing brands the most popular.
WPIC CEO Jacob Cooke, whose marketing firm helps foreign brands sell in China, said there was "no evidence" of reduced demand for American brands....
Zlati Meyer

Sputnik — Putin Explains Why Russia Can Afford to Spend Less on Defence

Targeted expenditure based on priorities determined by national security and aimed at neutralizing threats. In other words, defense rather than global power projection, like US-led NATO.

The real expenditure, however, is not in nominal terms but with respect to allocation of real resources that are scarce, most significantly, knowledge and skill. Russia has established dominance in technological innovation in weapons development and manufacture. This requires investment in education and R&D.

Sputnik International
Putin Explains Why Russia Can Afford to Spend Less on Defence

See also
Between 2000 and 2016, while the Chinese economy averaged official annual growth rates around 7-8 percent, the PLA’s budget grew even faster at 10 percent. Despite that, the PLA’s current roughly $200 billion dollar budget totals less than one-third of U.S. defense spending. However, China pays much lower costs for hardware and personnel because of China’s “latecomer advantage” as the DIA report explains:
“China has routinely adopted the best and most effective platforms found in foreign militaries through direct purchase, retrofits, or theft of intellectual property. By doing so, China has been able to focus on expediting its military modernization at a small fraction of the original cost.”
Prominent examples include China’s aircraft carriers and its J-11 jet fighters.
By 2017, Chinese defense spending growth declined to 5-7%percent and the PLA shed 300,000 personnel, bringing it down to 2 million-strong—still the largest armed force on the planet. This transition sought to remodel the PLA into a leaner, more flexible force suited for fast-paced modern warfare.…
Actually, the nominal expenditure is lower than the US owing to differences in const. However, the cost in terms of real resources is the same. Real resources that are committed to military use, including exports, are not available for use in the domestic economy. So the cost in real resources per capita would have to be figured as real terms rather than in monetary terms. For example, China's military commitment of personnel is 2 million out of a billion people and that the US is one million out of 300 some million. The US is committing significantly more per capita to its armed services.

But this doesn't include related commitment, such as the arms industry, covert operations, etc. Some of those figures are classified. Moreover, it is impossible to tell what level of resources is being committed to black operations.

Finally, none of this is really germane to assessing power capability. The author has a degree in conflict resolution and apparently no background or training in military science. The question is not much much but how effective. For example, power projection is more costly than defense.

The US military and NATO is about force projection. China and Russia's militaries are orient toward national defense. In their case, asymmetry advantage lies in neutralizing potential adversaries' through technological weapons, like hypersonic missiles, electronic warfare, and cyber warfare.

It's not how many bucks, or even how much equipment, but rather the bang for the buck.

Based on this both China and Russia are modern military powers capable defending themselves against attack and protecting their periphery through denial of access. On the cheap.
The National Interest
Sebastien Roblin

Bill Mitchell – billy blog Q&A Japan style – Part 1 through 4 of 4

Bill's 4 part series on Japan.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Q&A Japan style – Part 1

Q&A Japan style – Part 2

Q&A Japan style – Part 3

Some reflections on my time in Japan while I am too busy to write

Q&A Japan style – Part 4
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Richard Murphey - The UK government is not like a household – and does not have a household type budget. That’s because it, quite literally, makes the money the rest of us use. So let’s stop pretending it has a credit card

An excellent way to explain it.

When the goverment spends, that spending is someones income and that someone pays some tax so the government immediately gets some of their money back. And then that someone spends most of their money which becomes other peoples income. And these other people also pay tax, so the government gets another fraction back. And these other people also spend which becomes the income of even more people who also give a fraction back to the goverment. And so on. If everyone spends then the government gets all its money back. Whereas when you or I spend we do not get anything back. That is a big difference. The only way the goverment can be in deficit is if the people decide to save. The goverment debt is simply the peoples savings. If at any point the people go out and spend their savings, then the goverment debt will be cleared. 

By Prof Charles Adams of Durham University

Richard Murphey - The UK government is not like a household – and does not have a household type budget. That’s because it, quite literally, makes the money the rest of us use. So let’s stop pretending it has a credit card

The Grayzone's Anya Parampil debunks Bolivian coup myths in Al Jazeera rant

The Grayzone's Anya Parampil took over an Al Jazeera interview to provide a point-by-point rebuttal of major myths surrounding the coup in Bolivia and placed the ouster of Evo Morales in proper historical context.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Morgan Stanley — "Climate Will Be A Key Driver Of Asset Prices In The Months And Years Ahead"

Anecdotally, several acquaintances have altered their view of future real estate prices and prospects, affecting their decisions on RE purchases and sales to reduce risk in view of expected or demonstrated location exposure. A very small sample, but it seems this could already be happening.

If so, this is where the rubber hits the road.

Zero Hedge
Morgan Stanley: "Climate Will Be A Key Driver Of Asset Prices In The Months And Years Ahead"
Tyler Durden

Bolivian military asks Morales to resign to ensure 'stability'

The military also ordered air-and-land operations to 'neutralise' armed groups that act outside the law.

Everything in the West is a lie. No doubt the Western media will back this.

The commander of Bolivia's armed forces called on embattled President Evo Morales to resign amid a growing furor over his disputed re-election.

Morales should step aside to help ensure stability in the country, armed forces commander Williams Kaliman told reporters on Sunday, heaping pressure on the leftist leader as he deals with a widening backlash over a disputed election.

"After analysing the internal conflict situation, we ask the president of the state to renounce his presidential mandate, allowing for peace to be restored and the maintenance of stability for the good of Bolivia," said Kaliman.


Bolivian military asks Morales to resign to ensure 'stability

Greg Palast - Breaking Down GOP's Voter Suppression Strategy

The rap hip hop song sounds good in this video. I normally hate rap but I've noticed how more and more it's being used by poor people for protest songs. They are not about voilence, they're about wanting a better future. Poor people on the third world often use hip hop this way. The quality is good too.

The Republicans are up to their low-down tricks again. And they have the nerve to say other countries aren't democratic.

At the same time that more and more Americans across the United States are getting fired up to engage in the 2020 election, efforts intensify to make sure that as few of them as possible can, with voter suppression efforts going on across the country.
In this edition of Damage Report, host John Iadarola and investigative reporter Greg Palast discuss vote theft and how it intersects with social issues such as homelessness and mass shootings. In this Damage Reportsegment, they also premiere the video for “Still Holing On” by hip hop artist Jevin Lamar, whose cousin, Tee Jay McNichols, was gunned down in the August 4 massacre at a Dayton, Ohio bar.

Greg Palast - End PG&E’s Reign of Error With a Hostile Takeover

PG&E is worth pennies on the dollar and it's infrastructure is worth more than the going price. Greg Palast says the public should launch a hostile takeover. But Paul Elliott Singer, known as the Vulture, is closing in on it.

Power companies have two jobs: Keep the lights on and don’t kill your customers. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of Northern California flunks on both counts.
So how can California put an end to PG&E’s reign of error?

The answer: Make this so-called “public utility” into a true public system—a customer-owned power cooperative, a plan proposed by the city of San Jose. Currently, the only things “public” about PG&E are the bills the public pays and the charred homes and bodies this bankrupt beast leaves behind.

But how can the public take ownership without busting government coffers?
The way Gordon Gekko did it in “Wall Street”: through a hostile takeover bid for PG&E’s stock—now bouncing on the floor at about $4 per share.

It’s been done before, in New York.


Greg Palast - End PG&E’s Reign of Error With a Hostile Takeover

Oscar Schwartz - Yes, hyena robots are scary. But they’re also a cunning marketing ploy

There’s something unsettling about a private firm making powerful autonomous machines – but what’s scarier is who’s building them, and why

These robots are not that advanced yet.

Earlier this year, videos of a robot being kicked, hit with a chair, and shot at by its human owners spread online. Created by an LA-based production company, Corridor Digital, the videos were a parody of those released by Boston Dynamics, a company that has been making robots since 1992.

But with their videos of robot cheetahs and back-flipping androids, Boston Dynamics have exploited this narrative as a marketing tool. This is a cunning trick. By appropriating the sci-fi narrative in their videos, Boston Dynamics is, for one, overselling their robots. (They are nowhere near strong, smart, or robust enough to challenge human supremacy, whatever that means.)

Oscar Schwartz - Yes, hyena robots are scary. But they’re also a cunning marketing ploy

David Stockman — How the Deep State Really Works

If you take away the Korean threat, if you recognize the Iranians aren’t a threat, if you see that Russia is a tiny little country that’s not going to invade Western Europe and crash through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and so forth—
All of a sudden somebody is going to do the math as we get into the coming fiscal crisis and say, “We can’t afford all this defense that we don’t need. Let’s cut it back dramatically.”
They don’t want this to happen. And so, they have to keep these hot spots burning and these threats maintained or inflated, because they know if the real truth of the world were considered by Congress, the defense budget would be slashed dramatically.…
The president of the United States should be leading the great global disarmament conference of 2021, and yet that won’t even come up. It’s not even on the radar screen.
It’s not even mentioned [in the campaign] because, as I say, the Warfare State machinery essentially squelches any kind of debate, suffocates any kind of thought that at all deviates from the status quo.
The big issue in the world today is war and peace, and we’re facing a campaign in 2020 where it won’t even be mentioned.
We knew this already but here is former US budget director telling us how it works in the warfare state versus the welfare state. Follow the money.

International Man
David Stockman on How the Deep State Really Works
David Stockman

Mark Blyth Tweet on Schools

Pic of the day: Oh the irony of Neoliberal Elites constantly banging on about "skills" as the way to reduce inequality. Despite trying to push anyone breathing into college, guess which countries suck the most on basic numeracy and literacy?

My tweet

All those tests to ensue the teaching is 100% making school a misery for kids & teachers.

All the market solutions: the competiton, the competitive tendering, adding stress to the system to keep everyone on their toes - but it doesn't work. Reward works better than the cane.

A.C Shilton Tweet about writing

being a writer is 67 percent just googling words to make sure they absolutely mean what you always assumed they meant.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The household fallacy — Charles Adams

Simple explanation.

Progressive Pulse
The household fallacy
Charles Adams | Professor of Physics at the University of Durham, where he teaches Optics and Econophysics

Anger as record number of maimed troops are denied disability benefit in Government's controversial assessments

By Mark Nicol

The young lads that join the British army are full of patriotism, and the army instills this even further. They 'love' their country and its noble establishment - the genrty - and our prepared to die for them, so they say, but when they get injured and are of no more further use to the establishment, the elite turn their backs on them. Not much loyalty there.

A record number of wounded war veterans have been denied disability benefits in the past year after undergoing tests carried out by the Government’s controversial assessment company.

Hundreds of injured ex-soldiers are being declared fit for work by Atos Healthcare in spite of physical and mental injuries they suffered in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Daily Mail

Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty — Book Review by Michael Roberts

A Marxian economist looks at Piketty.

Bella Caledonia
Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty
Book Review by Michael Roberts
Cross posted from Brave New Europe.

Bosstown Dynamics: New Robot Can Fight Back!

A spoof video, but still scary - what the future may hold!

If I was that robot serving them tea, I would smash that tray over their heads.

They will be replacing us at work soon.

Those robots look impressive, and that one rolled down the stairs with a breeze, but can it get back up a steep staircase so easily?

Lebanon: Female police officers in shorts cause a stir

I'm going to Lebanon!

I thought Syria was one of last places in the Middle East where women can wear what they please. It looks like there is hope for the Middle East.

I found another video which explains things a bit. Lebanon is trying to portray a better image to the world to attract tourists, but the citizens like it as well.

No subtitles for the one below, but the official says people like pretty, not ugly - you bet!

Zachery Crocket and Thomas Frank - The “self-made” myth: Why hard work isn’t enough to reach the top

Without effort you're unlikely to get anywhere, but luck can give us the big breaks. 

A toxic myth pervades the business world: Hard work and perseverance are the only things required to achieve immense success and reach the top of your field.

It’s a mantra championed by everyone from Wall Street titans to our sitting US President (“I built what I built myself,” Trump told Charlie Rose in 1992. “I did it by working long hours, working hard and working smart!”).
This idea is staunchly rooted in the very foundations of America — a nation built on the cornerstones of rugged individualism, picking oneself up by the bootstraps, and accruing riches through sheer determination. Those who do make it big often fancy themselves to be “self-made.”
But these stories overlook a crucial ingredient of success: Luck.

Thomas Frank interview 
The Hustle 

Alvin Ash - Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales

It's amazing how far scientists can see out into the universe. The thing just gets bigger and bigger, and perhaps it is infinate; or it might have a very slight curve, meaning it's curcular, but incredibly huge.

Economic Policy Institute - Productivity–Pay Gap

Conservatives are up in arms in the UK at the moment saying we can't afford the Labour Party’s plan to reduce the hourly week, even though from 1979 to 2018 net productivity rose by 69.6%.

Most Americans believe that a rising tide should lift all boats—that as the economy expands, everybody should reap the rewards. And for two-and-a-half decades beginning in the late 1940s, this was how our economy worked. Over this period, the pay (wages and benefits) of typical workers rose in tandem with productivity (how much workers produce per hour). In other words, as the economy became more efficient and expanded, everyday Americans benefited correspondingly through better pay. But in the 1970s, this started to change.

Since 1979, pay and productivity have diverged.

From 1979 to 2018, net productivity rose 69.6 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated—increasing only 11.6 percent over 39 years (after adjusting for inflation). This means that although Americans are working more productively than ever, the fruits of their labors have primarily accrued to those at the top and to corporate profits, especially in recent years.

Economic Policy Institute - Productivity–Pay Gap

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Birth of Eurasia — Godfree Roberts

Backgrounder. Longish. Maybe weekend reading. But this is what's happening and will be happening over the rest of this century, along with the rise of the Global South. The Global North's preeminence is waning. This doesn't mean decline. Rather, the Global North and West will cease being "exceptional" relative to the rest of the world. This, of course, is a good thing overall.

The Unz Review
The Birth of Eurasia
Godfree Roberts

Eleanor Sharples - Race and class DON'T matter, say scientists

New research shows healthy babies from any country or background develop at the same speed

I put out an article about this before, but this one has some extra details.

Babies are born with equal intelligence no matter what their class or race is, research has found.

The idea that race or class determines brain power has been dealt a killer blow after a seven-year global study found babies can thrive regardless of their background.

All children born to healthy parents in clean environments develop at approximately the same rate, with genes accounting for as little as 10 per cent of the process.

The research, by the University of Oxford, used data from more than a thousand children worldwide to try and settle the nature versus nurture debate for good.

Daily Mail

Eleanor Sharples - Race and class DON'T matter, say scientists: New research shows healthy babies from any country or background develop at the same speed