Friday, July 31, 2020

Rusmas Egmont Foss - Parallel Realities

Guessing games. How can the stock market break new records amid recent worst crisis? Is the financial world even connected to the real world?

'We're suffering the biggest macroeconomic shock since the 1930s and the stock market is fine. It makes absolutely no sense unless we see that the market is not connected to the real economy where people are," says Mark Blyth, professor of international political economy at Brown University in the US.
Blyth thinks the trajectory in stock markets is absurd when you step back and see it from a distance. A highly respected scholar who has studied crisis politics and economic ideas for the past 25 years, he has just published the book Angrynomics, in which he, along with his co-author, examines why many seem so angry these years.
Part of the explanation is found in the gap that has grown larger and larger between the financial economy and the rest of society. In his view, the only way to understand how the stock market can peak while the economy scrapes the bottom is that we have created two distinct economies, two parallel worlds:
'There's an economy with rich institutions and wealthy people who buy, sell and make a living from the gains from wealth, and then there's it for everyone else with ordinary wages. The financial economy has been separated from the real one.'
Rusmas Egmont Foss - Parallel realities

San Francisco: Recent Footage

Links — 31 July 2020

Sputnik International
Pompeo's Bid to Create Anti-China Alliance Backfiring on Trump, Former US Diplomat Says

US Expands Sanctions Against Iran to Target Nuclear, Military, Ballistic Missile Programs - Pompeo

Zero Hedge
Senate Committee Moves To Allow Americans To Sue China Over COVID-19
Tyler Durden

US intends to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, says Pompeo

Uniper calls US pressure on Nord Stream 2 interference in European sovereignty

Russia prepares joint investment projects for China worth $20 blb 

MR Online
“We Charge Genocide”—forerunner at UN of Black Lives Matter
W. T. Whitney, Jr.

Civilizational decay and colonial mentalities. Some reflections on and from Frantz Fanon

The Vineyard of the Saker
The heart of the matter in the South China Sea
Pepe Escobar

A comparison of two US national surveys points to an increase in serious psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic
Beth Ellwood

Zero Hedge
Domestic Violence More Than Doubled Under Lockdowns, New Study Finds

As Americans Ditch Airports And Hotels, RV Boom Saved GDP From Even Bigger Collapse
Tyler Durden

The Conversation
Parents with children forced to do school at home are drinking more
Susan Sonnenschein. Professor, Applied Development Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Elyse R. Grossman, Policy Fellow, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Greg Palast (open secret)
The SECRET Purpose of Trump’s Threat to Delay the Vote
‘I smell Islamophobia’: British Muslims decry lockdown imposed hours before Eid
Rayhan Uddin

Russiagate, Nazis, and the CIA
Rob Urie

Matthew Petti


Nathan Rich - Huawei CFO Lies

When the US was winning in the market place it trumpeted capitalism, but now China is catching up it has lost its taste for the free markets.

The US is going to play dirty to kick the competitors out of the market.

Primer: MMT And Abolishing Government Bond Issuance — Brian Romanchuk

Proposals to abolish the (central) government bond market is one of the striking features of Modern Monetary Theory. In the current context, it is debatable how much difference that such a change would make. I avoid attempting to be a forecaster, but it is safe to say that it would not be a true “surprise” if developed economy policy rates remained below 1% for a good portion of the 2020s. (This observation is consistent with bond market pricing at the time of writing.). This is a basic extrapolation of behaviour of past cycles. This time could be different, but it is no surprise if it is not. Meanwhile, some neoclassical economists are agitating for negative policy rates, which makes the MMT proposal look much more sensible by contrast....
Bond Economics
Primer: MMT And Abolishing Government Bond Issuance
Brian Romanchuk

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Review of Thomas Frank’s “The People, No” — Polly Cleveland

 Backgrounder on historical Populism and its relation to contemporary American politics. Formerly representive of the values and interests of ordinary working people, the Democratic Establishment lost the plot along the way.

Dollars & Sense
Review of Thomas Frank’s “The People, No”

New BOMBSHELL Evidence Should Have Hillary Clinton SHAKING In Her Pantsuit!

Huckabee's Breakdown is a conservative site and this article from them turned up in my news feed today. It looks interesting!

The fake Steele Dossier. Is Russiagate about to unravel?

Slavery and the History of US Economic Growth — Timothy Taylor


Slavery was neither essential to US growth nor were plantation economy of the South even that helpful economically. It was a benefit to owners of slaves, however, and slaveowners were prominent among the Southern states' elites.

Conversable Economist
Slavery and the History of US Economic Growth
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Norman Häring How our governments got to promise to promote and protect US digital companies

 The new NWO (New World Order)
The US government has founded the G20 group comprising of the most important economic nations. It plays a key role in setting its agenda. US corporations dominate the World Economic Forum and the most important international industry associations and regulators. If they all work together to take advantage of a global crisis, the result is an almost bizarre self-commitment by governments to fulfill the wishes of the corporations.

The World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the US development agency US-Aid have set up a variety of programs to connect less developed countries to the US-controlled Internet. The desired control and commercial accessibility of all people even in the remotest and poorest corners of the world is elegantly disguised by the unsuspicious sounding term “Bridging the Digital Divide.”

As no good crisis should go to waste, the Corona Pandemic is currently being used to push forward the digital agenda with all might. Any and all diplomatic possibilities that a government of global leadership has are being employed. And the influence of its digital companies has come to full bloom....
Conspiracy theory? Norman Häring is not a conspiracy theorist.

Another reason that the US is so intent on shutting out Huawei.

Blog by Norman Häring
How our governments got to promise to promote and protect US digital companies

U.S. GDP plunges by 33% in the second quarter, the worst drop in history — Connie Lin

In case you didn't catch this.

The US federal government is  running a fiscal deficit that is also recordbreaking. But it is not targeted and is also doesn't do much for state and muncipal governments that are otherwise constrained by taxing or borrowing in financial markets.

Not looking good at this point, especially now that medical authories are saying that the pandemic is not going to be "over" as was and still is commonly expected, and it is a condition of life that the world will be living with for some timem, so adjust.

The tradeoff between health (publilc safety) and economics (prosperity, standard of living and welfare) is getting more obvious. There are as yet no criteria for dealing with this tradeoff in a way that is satisfactory for a majority, and in any case there will be losers, including fatalities.

Radical uncertainty in a complex adaptive system (world system including global economy) owing to emergence. Not only is this an epistemological issue involving knowledge but also an ontological one involving changing real conditions based on "an act of God" — meaning like really, really exogenous.

Fast Company
U.S. GDP plunges by 33% in the second quarter, the worst drop in history
Connie Lin

The West’s Hybrid War on Huawei Is Part of the New Cold War’s Tech Race Pushkar Banakar interviews — Andrew Korybko

OneWorld is publishing the extended answer that Andrew Korybko gave to Indian journalist Pushkar Banakar from the New Indian Express in response to the latter’s question about the grand strategic consequences of Western countries banning Huawei from building their 5G infrastructure.
 Anti-competitive. But not just economic.

It is also a strategic move to preserve and extend US-led Western dominance economically and with respect to intelligence gathering, in particular in the case of China, Russia, and Iran, to further neoliberal "globalization" under the West (read neo-imperialism and neocolonialism) based on a "Pax Americana."

The West’s Hybrid War on Huawei Is Part of the New Cold War’s Tech Race
Pushkar Banakar interviews Andrew Korybko

China’s DiDi plans to enter Russian express delivery service, says source

Fast Company
Watch out, Tesla! This Chinese electric carmaker is the hot stock of the moment

Links — 30 July 2020

Sputnik International
Chinese Consumers Show Less Trust, Favour Toward US Products, Survey Finds

China's Military "Will Definitely Retaliate" If Trump Stages October Surprise: State-Run GT
Tyler Durden

America’s Big Plan To Bring Nuclear Energy To Space

Bill Mitchell — Setting things straight about the Job Guarantee

 We need to get a few things straight. And this is partly for those out there who seem to think that the extent of literature on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) or the Job Guarantee within MMT is confined to collections of Tweets that allow 280 characters or Unicode glyphs. One doesn’t become an expert on ‘full employment’ or ‘political economy’ because they have suddenly realised there is a major crisis in the labour market and have decided to strategically place their organisations for self-serving purposes to be champions of full employment. There is an enormous literature on the Job Guarantee and I have been a major contributor along with my valued colleagues. This is a crucial time in history and one of the glaring deficiencies in the current crisis and economic management in general is the lack of an employment safety net. This is what MMT has to say about that safety net and stabilisation framework.…

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Setting things straight about the Job Guarantee
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The Cambridge Keynesians And “Bastard Keynesians” — V. Ramanan

Keynes, Robinson, and Samuelson.

The Case for Concerted Action
The Cambridge Keynesians And “Bastard Keynesians”
V. Ramanan

How the JG Controls Inflation NeilW

Good short summary of how the MMT JG is designed to work as a stabilizer.

New Wayland Blog
How the JG Controls Inflation

American Capitalism vs. Swedish Socialism? 🤔 You Decide 🇸🇪🇺🇸

In Sweden the income inequality is low, but wealth inequality is almost as high as the US. Why, because in Sweden they have an excellent welfare state and more people are prepared to take risks when starting a business? If it all goes wrong, you won't end up being thrown out into the street without any healthcare or income coming in. So, lots of entrepreneurs in Sweden. Sweden seems to have perfect balance between capitalism and socialism.

Learn the differences between American Capitalism and Swedish Socialism. Sweden's economic and political model is often misunderstood, especially by Americans not familiar with social democracy. In this video, we present an unbiased comparison between American's economic model and Sweden's economic model, and let you decide for yourself which system you think is superior

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Reuters — Chinese Banks Urged To Switch From SWIFT And Drop USD In Anticipation Of US Sanctions

China should prepare for potential U.S. sanctions by increasing use of its own financial messaging network for cross-border transactions in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, according to a report from the investment banking unit of Bank of China...
Chinese banks urged to switch away from SWIFT as U.S. sanctions loom

Has anything changed since 1840? Trade, imperialism, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta megacity — Aidan O'Brien

 Must-read backgrounder on China and Hong Kong in relation to the West and how the game has changed in China's favor.

MR Online
Has anything changed since 1840? Trade, imperialism, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta megacity
Aidan O'Brien

Is The Price Of Gold Telling Us Something? — Brian Romanchuk

Short answer: Nothing very useful.

Brian explains how the gold market works.

Bond Economics
Is The Price Of Gold Telling Us Something?
Brian Romanchuk

Breakingviews - China's Huawei holds a 5G trump card

 Huawei is not so easy for Western countries to rip out. The Chinese telecommunications-equipment giant founded by Ren Zhengfei owns a huge trove of next-generation wireless patents. As a global standard for 5G emerges, Huawei technology may become essential to carriers.

IP theft

Already this year, the Chinese company has sued Verizon in the United States for patent infringement, and is seeking more than $1 billion, Reuters reports. There’s a risk that Huawei’s technological advantage could be turned into political leverage by Beijing.


Breakingviews - China's Huawei holds a 5G trump card

My new podcast episode is out.

My new podcast episode is out. Fiscal supports end. Dollar down. Gold up. Mental game.

Numuves - I went to XINJIANG. Day 1 | Free from Quarantine

Let's walk about Urumqi!

It's not perfect as no questions asked about Islam or the Chinese government but you do get to see a bit of Xinjiang. It will be interesting to see what part 2 is like.

Traveling to Xinjiang during the worst pandemic in 100 years wasn't fun but, it was my only chance to travel as my classes were all online. My subs have been asking me to go there since I returned to youtube so here is my trip.

Foreign Affairs — It Is Time to Abandon Dollar Hegemony–Issuing the World’s Reserve Currency Comes at Too High a Price

Foreign Affairs is a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Time to resurrect Keynes (and E. F. Schumacher's) bancor proposal made at Bretton Woods but rejected in favor of using the US dollar as the global reserve currency? Presdient Nixon famously ended the Bretton Woods agreement when he closed the gold window, ending dollar convertibility into gold at a fixed rate. This set the world on a floating rate monetary system with the USD remaining the reserve currency.

Foreign Affairs
It Is Time to Abandon Dollar Hegemony–Issuing the World’s Reserve Currency Comes at Too High a Price
Simon Tilford and Hans Kundnani

Potential Expansion of Five Eyes Represents Greater Tensions Between US and China, Professor Says — Sputnik interviews Tom Harper,

 Five Eyes is the moniker for the intelligence services of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are joined at the hip.
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance is looking to expand into Japan and broaden itself into a strategic economic relationship, that pools key strategic reserves, whilst working internationally to decouple the west from China.
Security alliance or anti-competition and preservation of neo-imperialism and neocolonialism?

To the Chinese people, this looks like another attempt to humiliate China similar to what happened a century ago. China is determined not to allow that to happen again. If Western leaders think that this matter is going to be the cause of an uprising of the Chinese people that will oust the CCP, they are just

Sputnik International
Potential Expansion of Five Eyes Represents Greater Tensions Between US and China, Professor Says
Sputnik interviews Tom Harper, Assistant Professor at Neijiang Normal University in China. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.

Damn Facts — Peter Radford

Another good one from Peter Radford.
Economists love letting us know that they know about the potential various errors that might devastate the core of what they believe, but they equally love sweeping such anomalies under the rug so as not to have to re-invent their discipline.…

But back to increasing returns.

It’s one of those topics that economists like to tuck away and discuss out of the glare of public gaze. It represents a considerable challenge to the foundation of contemporary economics. Economists love letting us know that they know about the potential various errors that might devastate the core of what they believe, but they equally love sweeping such anomalies under the rug so as not to have to re-invent their discipline.

And the big four tech companies being hauled before Congress today are each a pretty good example of the problem. More exactly, they are all good examples of the existence of increasing returns as a fact in the real world. Facts can be so annoying when you want to preserve your theory....
Increasing returns come from asymmetrical power, e.g., monopoly power.

BTW, a lot of American hegemony economically is about the US preserving and extending its monopoly power internationally and this is what domiantion through neo-imperialism and neocolonialism is largely absolute. The US government is just acting as an arm of American business and finance (industrial and financial capital) in this regard.

Russia, China, Germany, Iran, etc., realize this and are opposing it. The "special relatioship" means that the UK is cut in on the deal.

The Radford Free Press
Damn Facts
Peter Radford

Magpie — So, I Actually Hate the JG, Who Knew?

A real Marxist — not a Marxist or Marxian economist who also understand MMT very well — comments on the MMT JG. Magpie is not only an ordinary person (worker) but also very intelligent and well-read. In that sense he represents an important constituency that needs to be taken into account in the debate.

I understand why MMT economists have taken the tack they have strategically. They apparently want to argue narrowly what can be accomplished to change both current economic thinking, the current political narrative, and policy. But this leaves them open to criticism on the basis of what is being ignored in the bigger picture. The real problem lies not in incorrect analysis of the system but the design of the system itself. Obviously, it would be a strategic blunder to try to tackle that initially.

Those impressed by Marx's analysis and backed up by modern sociology and economic sociology will agree that MMT leaves the foundations of capitalism intact, whereas the foundation (wage labor) is the problem with captialism. Histgorically, there was a progression from slavery to serfdom to wage labor that maintains the inherent privilege of a few built into the system by design.

That needs to change for the system to progress toward freedom for all, and that is what socialism is largely about economically. It was to Marx, who correctly observed that this system based on freedom for the few and bondage to paid work is perpetuated institutionally by asymmertic power based on class structure. Contermporary economic sociologist C. Wright Mills, for example,  agreed.

My view, and that of Marxian economist Chris Dillow as I recall, is that the transition to socialism will happen through the intermediary step of social democracy, leading eventually to democratic socialism. This is what the ruling elite are afraid of, and it is why they are so opposed to social democracy.

So, I Actually Hate the JG, Who Knew?

Zombie capitalism — David F. Ruccio

And, as businesses take on increasing amounts of debt, the percentage of “zombie firms“—corporations whose debt servicing costs are higher than their profits but are kept alive by relentless borrowing—is now close to 20 percent.…

But zombie capitalism is real capitalism. Corporations and banks, supported by their political and media representatives, presume that in both good times and bad they are entitled to turn to assistance from a shifting combination of public and private entities, which will allow them to continue and expand their operations, even as the legitimacy of their enterprise as a whole is called into question. They’re only worried about their own profits (or at least their own less-then-profitable survival), confident that the risks and losses will be successfully passed on to others.

A time when capitalism did not involve the shifting of costs from capital onto others is a pure illusion, a fairytale that is trotted out when corporations and banks appear to violate the natural laws of economics and to increasingly call for and rely on cheap money and government bailouts.

The problem is, capital is the one that has kept the zombie story alive, since it has long treated its workers as will-less and speechless bodies, interested only in shirking effort and relying on handouts. That’s why now employers want to cut back on unemployment efforts, to force them back to work....
 As I've been saying, "capitalism" as private ownership and control is an economic system in which capital is favored over other economic factors based on the assumption that "growth" is dependent on capital accumulation, preservation and reproduction. Labor and the environment, not so much.

An integrated approach is needed instead. The economic subsystem of a social system exists for the welfare of the people, who comprise the elements of the system.

Thus, it is people and their welfare that should be favored over stuff.

And obviously, behavior requires an environment as a field on which individual life and social interaction takes place, so ecology is of the highest priority.

The present system has this backwards. We need an overhaul of the system based on a new design that relegates capital to it proper place as a servant rather than a master.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Zombie capitalism
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Bill Mitchell – MMTed Q&A – Episode 9

Here is Episode 9 in our weekly MMTed Q&A series. In this episode, my special guest is Warren Mosler. We talked about the idea that taxpayers fund government spending and the related nuances.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
MMTed Q&A – Episode 9
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Goodbye To The Last True Georgist Economist: Mason Gaffney — J. Barkley Rosser

Land value tax.

Goodbye To The Last True Georgist Economist: Mason Gaffney
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

ZH — US-China Military Conflict Deemed "Highly Likely" To "Almost Certain" Over Next 3 Years

Yeah, ZH. But it is reporting on a study by that advises the Australian government, Australia being caught in the middle of this. Of course, this is only an "assessment."
A top independent Australia-based think tank which regularly advises the Canberra government has produced a "risk assessment" studying the likelihood of America and China going to war. Involving defense experts around the world, the study was undertaken on the heels of the US sending two carrier strike groups to sail through the South China Sea in provocative "freedom of navigation" operations.

Given that "normalization" with China — a longtime foreign policy emphasis which goes back to Nixon and Carter — appears to have gone out the window during this latter half of the Trump administration, there's lately been much forecasting on the potential for the US and China to stumble into war. While there's already for the past couple years been much ink spilled over the possibility of the US and China falling into the so-called Thucydides Trap, this latest assessment is among the most dire predictions to date in terms of conclusions reached....
Zero Hedge
US-China Military Conflict Deemed "Highly Likely" To "Almost Certain" Over Next 3 Years
Tyler Durden

Revealed: The Simple Change That Breaks Mainstream Macro — NeilW

Funny about assumptions. A model will say whatever a designer wants depending on choice of assumptions. The "one simple trick" of neoclassical economics is unrealistic assumptions. Neil demonstrates this cleverly.  Fix just one unrealistic assumption that is actually more in line with price theory — demand is relative to price rather than randomly selected — and voilà, equilibrium fails. Short.

New Wayland Blog
Revealed: The Simple Change That Breaks Mainstream Macro


Links — 28 July 2020

Defend Democracy Press
Turkey’s top religious authority head delivers Friday sermon at Hagia Sophia with a sword in hand

Egypt’ Grand Mufti: Converting Hagia Sophia into mosque impermissible in Islam

War (on) of Civilizations: From Hagia Sophia to Al-Ahmer Mosque

Sputnik International
India Protests Hagia Sophia-Like Conversion of Iconic Sikh Temple Into Mosque by Pakistan

 For Russ
KIM: Nuclear Weapons Reason Why Nobody Dares to Attack North Korea And Are Here to Stay

Richard D. Wolff – Many Terms That Are Frequently Used to Describe Capitalism Simply Don’t Hold Up Under Scrutiny

"Capialism" resists a short definition that captures nuance. Richard D. Wolff explains how captialism is a many faceted phenomenon with varied structure and function.

Economy For All
Richard D. Wolff – Many Terms That Are Frequently Used to Describe Capitalism Simply Don’t Hold Up Under Scrutiny

The ‘Liberal Order’ That Never Was — Daniel Larison

Deconstructing another meme.

The American Conservative
The ‘Liberal Order’ That Never Was
Daniel Larison

Lars P. Syll — Why economics is an impossible science

 Too many exogenous factors that are relevant and resist being captured adequately in formal models that are tractable.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Why economics is an impossible science
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Bill Mitchell – Academic freedom requires evidence and knowledge – not a desire for headlines

Freedom implies responsibility. There is no legal right to absolute freedom, nor is there a natural (moral) right to it either. Libel laws recognize this legally, for example. But libel laws are civil and only extend to suing for damages. But there is also reputational risk, which is also a deterrent to presumption of an absolute right to freedom. Bill is evoking this latter with respect to professional and academic responsiblity.

The rest of the post is about the economic/health tradeoff, and how using the lens of MMT shows a picture different from the conventiona. It didn't have to be this way.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Academic freedom requires evidence and knowledge – not a desire for headlines
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Presumptuous Pompeo Pushes Preposterous ‘Peking’ Policy — Ray McGovern

Analysis by an insider that was there back then when Nixon and Kissinger boldly forged an alliance with China against the USSR he believes was key in the collapse of the USSR. Pompeo seems intent on reversing that with little to gain for it and lots to lose.

This analysis also explains why Henry Kissinger advised Trump on his accession to the presidency to build a strategic relationship with Russia to counter China as the most serious emering threat to US dominance. Was Russiagate designed in part to counter that, or did the US-UK foreign policy establishment just not get it?

In my view, things were actually moving in a direction that favored both the US and China, and the world as well — albeit intermentally. But Americans are impatient and the process was apparently moving too slowly for the elite, or at least a faction of it. (Tech and some other US economic factions not happy, for instance, with the current US policy that not only threatens trade, but also risks their being shot of the Chinese market.

Anyway, the Trump foreign policy team decided to "speed things up," and Pompeo seems to be getting out in front the president on this.

We'll see how this goes. Count me skeptical. I could be wrong, but I don't see it going well for the US overall, and it risks getting trapped in a lose-lose strategy, for all involved including the world geopolitically and economically will be loser in this "war," which is now economic and egopolitical, and it could easily go kinetic even though neither side seems to favor this. Looks more like Mike Pompeo betting the farm. But there is little chance of him proceeding on his own. Who else is pushing it? Sen. Tom Cotton for one. Both Pompeo and Cotton have presidential ambitions.

The wiser move would have been to let things play themselves out. But this would involve China becoming a peer of the US, which the American elite seems to have concluded is an unacceptable cost of decolonization — without Western (US) corporations and investors effectively taking control of the Chinese economy. Michael Hudson and Henry C. Liu traced this out long ago. China's "sin" was resisting the trap of those aspects of liberalization that would lead to state capture and the demise of the CCP.

At any rate, the current policy toward China and Russia is turning up the dial on the Cold War again, with a return to the red scare and red-baiting. This benefits the US military-industrial complex that sits at the core of the US economy, as Ray McGovern observes.

Consortium News
Presumptuous Pompeo Pushes Preposterous ‘Peking’ Policy
Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and retired 27-year career CIA whose tasks included preparing and briefing The President’s Daily Brief and leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch^

Monday, July 27, 2020

China Signs Series Of Deals To Develop Supergiant Oilfield In Iran — Simon Watkins

Two key questions logically arise from last week’s announcement from Iran’s Petroleum Ministry that it has awarded a US$1.3 billion development deal to more than double oil production at the supergiant South Azadegan oilfield, the second such oil project signed this month, the other being a US$300 million development contract for Yaran. The first question is, given the fact that Iran is technically bankrupt, how can it afford such projects? The second is, given the swingeing U.S. sanctions still in place – including against the main tanker fleets of the National Iranian Tanker Company and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line – where is any of this increased oil supply meant to go? The answer to both questions is the same – China – and precisely what is going on is analysed below....
This has also implications for the US, Israel, and India. The US and Israel, since China now has a stake in defending Iran. India, because it had a deal with Iran it did not deliver on owing to sanctions and now has lost out to China owing to non-performance on the contract.

China Signs Series Of Deals To Develop Supergiant Oilfield In Iran
Simon Watkins

The Fork in the Road — Alastair Crooke

Alastair Crooke explores the emergence of the new (tech) world order, and what our tech masters have in store for us. More totalitarian neoliberal globalism.

Strategic Culture Foundation
The Fork in the Road
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

Karl Marx – The Godfather of Central Banking? — Andrew Moran

Marx’s disciples want to introduce modern monetary theory (MMT), a neo-Keynesian concept that involves printing even more money without the consequence of inflation. They may be unaware of it, but the MMT crowd is militating on behalf of Gresham’s Law. This is an economic principle that succinctly states that “bad money drives out good money” since people would likely hold onto more valuable assets, particularly gold and silver, than whatever the socialists print.
"Marx’s disciples." You know, like Jerome Powell.

I don't link to MMT criticism that is off the mark, but I couldn't resist this one.

But in fact, the metals are taking off, and the dollar is dropping. So, is he right? Are we witnessing currency debasement?

Liberty Nation
Karl Marx – The Godfather of Central Banking?
Andrew Moran

U.S. Oil Firms Wrote Down $48 Billion In Assets After Price Crash — Tsvetana Paraskova

 Forty publicly traded U.S. oil producers wrote down a collective US$48 billion worth of the value of their assets in the first quarter of 2020, just after oil prices collapsed, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday….
U.S. Oil Firms Wrote Down $48 Billion In Assets After Price Crash

A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S. — Passer by

The US has managed a series of strategic blunders since the decision to go into Vietnam. This one, involving China, Russia and Iran, is likely to be the most damaging.

This will not be reversed should Biden win. The Democrats' foreign policy bench is as weak as the that of the GOP, and Biden will appointed personnel from that roster. On the othert hand, what could be worse that Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. Susan Rice and Samantha Power, maybe?

Moon of Alabama
A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S.
Passer by

See also

Reminiscence of the Future
One Trick Ponies. Or On Cold War With China.
Andrei Martyanov

See aalso

Sputnik International
US Arrogance is a Gas
Finian Cunningham


Huawei 9-Point Key Tech Strategy Aims to Deploy AI, 5G to Boost Post-COVID Economic Recovery - Exec

Bill Mitchell — Inequality and poverty not just an indigenous problem

On Saturday (July 25, 2020), The Australian published another Op Ed that I wrote in collaboration with Noel Pearson. I understand that many people (mostly abroad) were unable to access the article (as a result of paywall restrictions on certain devices). I am unable to post the final article due to copyright restrictions but I can provide the draft article which was not too different from the final version. It also seems that the faux-progressives have somehow decided that our partnership (Noel and I) symbolises how Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and the Job Guarantee is actually some sort of far right plot to rid the world of welfare support for the disadvantaged and enslave them in onerous Gulag work camps. It is quite amusing really but worrying at the same time. Our partnership is confusing people who cannot cope with nuance and complexity. The so-called Left have characterised Noel as being somehow on the Right, which leads them to conclude that I am selling out on my progressive credentials by working with him. Conversely, the Right, who think Noel is one of them, are accusing him of being used by a Communist (me). Hilarious. If only they knew!
I view a lot of MMT criticism that I don't link to here since it is pretty awful. It is apparent that people cannot see plainly what is right before their eyes but rather are looking through the lenses of the "glasses" thye are wearing, the "glasses" being their ideology along with their cognitive-affective biases. Pretty weird sometimes, as Bill points out above. But that is not just MMT, and it's a reason that politics is so divisive in the US at present, with the different sides living in different perceived realities.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Inequality and poverty not just an indigenous problem
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Reuters - China says World Bank report 'clarifies truth' on Xinjiang programmes.

The World Bank was unable to find evidence of any mistreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, but as they were unable to fully inspect every facility, they have decided to reduce their funding in light of the recent allegations.

[The World Bank] said that a review conducted by senior managers did not substantiate the allegations, but that "in light of associated risks" with the schools which are "difficult to monitor", it would shutter the partnerships.

Reuters - China says World Bank report 'clarifies truth' on Xinjiang programmes.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

What could be wrong with a fiscal deficit? — Prabhat Patnaik

If wealth inequality is to be prevented from becoming worse than the horrendous level it has already attained, then the only way this can be done is by larger government spending that is financed by a tax on the rich, either a profit tax or a wealth tax....
We have been talking about the “private sector”, but since workers more or less consume what they earn, it is the capitalists whose savings increase because of the fiscal deficit and who hold claims upon the government. And here, the real point to note is the following. The claims that capitalists hold against the government because of the fiscal deficit have been put into their hands by the fiscal deficit itself. It is a booty handed to them by the government which they have done nothing to earn. The resources which the government obtains for spending through a fiscal deficit come out of the larger output generated by the stimulus it provides, and the profit part of this output simply lands on the capitalists’ lap, a fraction of which they hold as savings, in the form of claims on the government.

This also tells us why a fiscal deficit is not a good way of financing government spending. It is not because of the spurious arguments put forward by the representatives of finance, but because a fiscal deficit increases wealth inequality. If, for instance, the government taxed away this booty through a profit tax or a wealth tax, then the capitalists’ wealth will remain the same as it was before the increase in government spending; but if it does not, then this wealth increases by exactly the amount of the fiscal deficit. This increases wealth inequality in the country.

Since a fiscal deficit puts wealth into the hands of the capitalists without their doing anything to earn it, it gratuitously increases wealth inequality in the economy; and that is what is wrong with it, compared for instance to tax-financed government spending....
The purpose of the tax Prabhat Patnaik recommends would be to claw back rent extraction, economic rent being the source of asymmetries that arise owing to asymmetrical markets instead of earning deserved on the basis of contribution through competition in "free market," "free" meaning free of asymmetries that bias outcomes. This was at one time the case with a very progressive incomce tax (90% at the top level), and a steep inheritance tax. Those levies have been way chipped down.

People's Dispatch
What could be wrong with a fiscal deficit?
Prabhat Patnaik | Indian Marxist economist and political commentator, Professor (retired) at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (1974-2010) and formerly vice-chairman of Kerala State Planning Board (2006-2011)

The View Through The MMT Lens — NeilW

MMT is a way of looking at the financial part of the economy from a different point of view. It is often described as a Lens you can look through to see things that hither too have not been made clear.
New Wayland Blog
The View Through The MMT Lens

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Either you guarantee employment, or you guarantee there will be unemployment.” – Pavlina Tcherneva

Prior to the pandemic, the consequences of 10 years of cuts to public spending and government policies had already left people in precarious employment and on low wages – in poverty. The future is now even more uncertain for many of those people who will be joined by many others fearing equally for their prospects. ‘Can I get a job?’ ‘Will I still have a job to go to?’ And for young people ‘What sort of future will I have?’ Those fears are translating into falling consumer confidence and spending. Andy Haldane’s ‘V-shaped recovery’ is looking less and less likely as people worry about the prospect of redundancy and decide instead to save what they can (and if they can) just in case the worst happens....
The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies
Either you guarantee employment, or you guarantee there will be unemployment.” – Pavlina Tcherneva

UK radio presenter spreads disinformation on Uygur Muslims

You've probably seen the photos in the media of supposed Uighurs all bound up to be transported to a prison, but how do we know they were Uighurs?

The Chinese had arrested one hundred people involved in a pyramid scheme in 2017, which was well documented in their media in 2017.

A controversial British radio presenter is spreading a fake video about China's Xinjiang policy as part of a disinformation campaign to incite anti-China sentiment in the West.

Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist and London Broadcasting Company host, posted footage showing blindfolded prisoners being herded on the street. He claims the video shows the "genocide" of Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang.

However, the video is found not to be associated with Xinjiang at all. The footage was filmed in Bijie City, China's Guizhou Province on August 4, 2017. It shows over 100 criminals of a massive pyramid scheme gang that was transferred to a detention center by 400 local police officers. It was verified with all of the major news outlets in China. 

UK radio presenter spreads disinformation on Uygur Muslims

The BBC 2017

China hit by financial scam 'epidemic' - BBC News: 2017

As part of the crackdown, more than 100 arrests were made in southern China last month, targeting individuals over their suspected links to a 360m yuan (£42.3m) pyramid scheme.

China's Xinjiang: A Brief Overview — Frank Li

What you are not hearing much of  about Xinjiang and the Uyghurs. Most of what one reads in the US about this is anti-Chinese propaganda. Frank Li explains.
China's Xinjiang: A Brief Overview
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

The world's dominant ideology is breaking. What will replace it? — Ryan Cooper

The progression of bourgeoise liberalism was inevitable owing to internal contradictions among social, political and economic liberalism. These contradictions arose largely owing to the dominance of economic liberalism as bourgeois liberalism, which is based mostly on freedom from constraint at the expense of freedom to choose and freedom for. self-develoment and expression. Just as in the old order, only a few were actually free.

What will replace it?

Most likely (I hope), it will be a synthesis of non-bourgeois liberalism and multipolar traditionalisms — after the fallout settles. What's happening now is a civilizational change that began in earnest at the time of the aftermath WWI. This advanced in the aftermath of WWII, and is now again coming to head.

The Week
The world's dominant ideology is breaking. What will replace it?ominant ideology is breaking. What will replace it?
Ryan Cooper

See also

John Quiggin (very short)
The end of capitalism

See also


Why Marx was "right."

Thoughts On Economics
Why Do Mainstream Economists Not Make More Out Of The CCC?
Robert Vienneau

See also

Interesting from a Marxian point of view.

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
A world rate of profit: a new approach
Michael Roberts

COVID-19: Time to Cancel Foreign Debt is Overdue — Vijay Prashad

Statement signed by

Dilma Rousseff (former President of Brazil).
T. M. Thomas Isaac (Finance Minister, Kerala, India).
Yanis Varoufakis (former Finance Minister, Greece).
Jorge Arreaza (Foreign Minister, Venezuela).
Fred M’membe (President, Socialist Party, Zambia).
Juan Grabois (Frente Patria Grande, Argentina).
Vijay Prashad (Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research)

Consortium News
COVID-19: Time to Cancel Foreign Debt is Overdue
Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Where do profits come from? — Nathan Tankus

If you’re very interested in the topic of today’s article and want to know more, I highly recommend reading The Levy Institute’s publication “Where do Profits Come From?” I’ll be reposting a few of their great illustrations to make these accounting relations feel more real.
If you are interested in this sort of analysis, consider subscribing to Nathan's substack. There is a free option and a paid premium option.

Notes on the Crisis
Where do profits come from?
Nathan Tankus

See also

Naked Capitalism (old but still relevant)
Stephanie Kelton: What Happens When the Government Tightens its Belt?
Yves Smith

Primer: The Job Guarantee — Brian Romanchuk

Note: This is an unedited draft from my upcoming Manuscript. Rather than write a review of Pavlina R. Tcherneva's The Case for a Job Guarantee, I have created my summary of that text.
Bond Economics
Primer: The Job Guarantee
Brian Romanchuk

"Neither Flynn Nor Stone Were Guilty—There Was No Russian Hack” Bill Binney Makes His Case

This is quite interesting, but mainly for Bill Binney. These people seem to be quite fond of Trump, who they see as anti-war, but fortunately, some guy comes on and warns them that Trunp is still an imperialist and part of the swamp.

Bill Binney seems to think we have a chance of putting the people who tried to bring about a coup in America in prison, including members of the CIA.

La Rouche give their side of the story, and say they were part of a CIA sting when they got done for embezzlement. I don't know how true that is because I've read that Michael Hudson had lost many thousands in the scandal. La Rouche are also climate change deniers.

Friday, July 24, 2020

CFR: Revisting the trouble in March

Figurative language ... OUT.... THE.... ASS... methinks this JPM guy is definitely 100% Liberal Arts trained ie unqualified....... but here is the money line:

 When bank leverage is rising in this way, the most effective offset is shedding assets. 

Squirrel gets a nut...

And btw for MNE commie peanut gallery...  checkmate!  AGAIN! .... for like the 1005th time!

It’s Time for U.S. Business Leaders to Talk About Reparations — Michael Gee

More evidence that the elite is getting concerned about the viability of the present system.

Harvard Business Review
It’s Time for U.S. Business Leaders to Talk About Reparations

Sleepwalking into depression: The economic response to COVID-19 in the United States — Jacob Robbins

 Sounding the alarm. Is anyone listening?
A careful review of the data reveals gaping wounds caused by the coronavirus pandemic: large declines in market incomes, consumer spending, and employment, all barely propped up by the temporary government stimulus payments. To prevent economic collapse, it is urgent that policymakers take further action. Congress must continue to support unemployed workers’ incomes, send additional stimulus payments to families to keep them financially afloat and increase spending, and give aid to local and state governments so they don’t have to lay off workers.

But, most importantly, policymakers at the state and federal levels must do more to control the spread of the coronavirus, which is now growing at the rate of 70,000 cases a day.
I live in Iowa City, home of University of Iowa (Hawkeyes), where cases are rising. Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague (an old friend who happens to be black in an overwhelming white town) issued an unenforceable edict to war masks two days ago. People and stores appear to be largely complying. The Johnston County Board of Supervisors has asked the county Department of Health to require masks in firms that do business with the public. The governor of Iowa (so far) oppposes mandatory masks.

Why is this crucial to Iowa City. Public health in the first place. But Iowa city is heavily dependent on the University of Iowa economically and the longer the school is closed, the more pain the city, its fimrs and its residents feel. The university has been forced to introduce a a budgetary austserity regime owing to lack of funds, since the State of Iowa is also strapped and not able to offer financial support.

While this is anecdotal, it is not difficult to imagine how this is likely taking place in many other parts of the country.

The federal government needs to step up fast as the last resort to head off systemic breakdown.

WCEG — The Equitablog
Sleepwalking into depression: The economic response to COVID-19 in the United States

KV - Google vs Ecosia: Privacy

Blair Fix said he was going to move over to Firefox because Google keeps too much track on you. The search engine, Ecosia, plants trees with the money it makes, and it seems so have a good privacy policy. I've had it in my phone for a while and it seems to be okay, so I'm going to try it on my PC now. I hope it's top notch at keeping out scams and Trojans, I'll have so do more research.


Ecosia is a “privacy friendly” search engine. We take user privacy very seriously. By using Ecosia (instead of for example Google) you drastically reduce the amount of data that is collected about you. At Ecosia, we don't create personal profiles of you, but anonymize all searches after 7 days."


An unbiased review here (so the author says).

An Unbiased Review of Ecosia

Robert Atkinson - US needs to copy China tech strategy to remain top world economy

China is lapping the US when it comes to tech investment and is quickly positioning itself as the economy of the future.

The US needs to seriously reconsider its investment strategy to fend off China.

In order to do that, the public needs to know the value of tech investment and politicians must make investment a priority.

If they don't, the US could fall way behind China.

Business Insider 

Robert Atkinson - US needs to copy China tech strategy to remain top world economy

At Security Council Meeting, China Warns Israel Against West Bank Annexation

Beijing's envoy to the UN says the 'Palestinian people can always count on China’s support'

China is "deeply concerned about reports of the plan to annex part of the occupied Palestinian territory," said Ambassador Zhang Jun at a Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East.

"Such a plan, if implemented, will seriously violate international law and relevant UN resolutions, and imperil the two-state solution. We urge the relevant party to refrain from taking any unilateral actions, and do its best to de-escalate conflict and tension. It’s also our firm position that no country should support unilateral actions," said Jun, adding that "It is equally imperative to stop settlement activities, the demolition of Palestinian structures, and the violence against civilians." 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pompeo: U.S. engagement with China has failed — Matthew Choi

Are American firms ready to let the Chinese market go?

Maybe they will have to and stand by watching others take their share, shaking their heads as the US decouples from China, cut its ties, and prepares for war against "Communist China" on all levels of warfare — from information war, economic war, and cyberwar, which are already in progress, to kinetic war.

This is a war of choice. It's a huge strategic blunder to foment land war in Asia, with the combined force of China and Russia. It's daft.

Pompeo: U.S. engagement with China has failed

Day After Voting Down 10% Pentagon Cut, 37 Senate Dems Join GOP to Approve $740 Billion War Budget — Julia Conley

Funding the US military-idustrial complex and endless war is bipartisan.

Notice no worries about how to pay for it. Simulatneously, the GOP is saying that the US cannot afford to fund disaster relieve when the pandemic threatens to bankrupt states, cities, firms and households.  Oh, and the US also needs to cut back Social Security, Medicare, Medicare and other forms of welfare transfers in order to "save taxpayer's money."

How to get the voters to go along with this obscene transfer of wealth upward? Create distraction and division, while stoking fear of bogeymen.

Common Dreams
Day After Voting Down 10% Pentagon Cut, 37 Senate Dems Join GOP to Approve $740 Billion War Budget
Julia Conley, staff writer

Links — 23 July 2020

Strategic Culture Foundation
Brazil Exclusive: the Money Laundering Scandal From Hell No One Wants to Talk About
Pepe Escobar

The Nation
Canada’s Nazi Monuments
Lev Golinkin

America’s Penis Envy of the Nazis