Thursday, April 22, 2021

Macau* Lectures on Super Imperialism — Michael Hudson

Impressive. 

Michael Hudson — On Finance, Real Estate And The Powers Of Neoliberalism
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking Macau 

* Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

ANDREW BACEVICH -We don’t need a new Cold War with China

 Americans should find the hawkish push toward a new Cold War with China deeply troubling.


Note too that China is not the Soviet Union. “Xi Jinping Thought” does not represent an exportable ideology. Unlike the Soviet leaders who railed against capitalism, China’s leaders embrace it, demonstrating a remarkable aptitude for harnessing the market to create wealth. The Soviet economy produced next to nothing that American consumers were interested in buying. Today, China produces almost everything that American consumers hanker to buy, which we do using money agreeably loaned by Chinese banks 

Los Angeles Times 



Brief Discourse On The Patriotic Communitarian Spirit — Rodrigo Sobota

 Traditionalism clashes with liberalism. The author is addressing Slavs, but it could be any traditionalist group, including in the liberal West. I am posting this since it illustrates what I have saying for some time about this conflict between traditionalism and liberalism at this moment in the historical dialectic. It is unlikely to be overcome easily, peacefully or in a short period.

Let us Slavs create communitarian bonds. Individualism does not belong to us, but rather, to the decadent West. So through the spirit of solid communitarianism, and through the new nationalistic sentiment, let us unfurl our flags and create a new civilization. This civilization must be built upon the spirit, the organic bonds of the narod, but also by unleashing ourselves from the decadent and corrupt egocentric outlook of the West.

The civilization of the West finds itself in its end phase. There is nothing sacred left, there is nothing left to preserve. The West is rotten, and so it falls upon us the mighty new task of building among us a new an organic body of civilization and polity based upon cooperation, community, socialism and patriotism – which alone belongs to us and carries the marks of our own unique traits.

In direct contradiction to the corrupt liberal capitalist individualism that has poisoned the West, I state that all the corrupt and negative influences that have so far poisoned the Slavic world since the end of Marxism must be duly purified with a new, strong, concise nationalism, that will alone reinvigorate ourselves and our spirit against the evils of Western decay. And so, through patriotic socialism, the Slavic world will again thrive! The spirit of communitarian patriotism is the spirit of the purification and the perfection of the Slavic soul from the evils of liberal capitalist consumerism, as well as the postmodern society.
Geopolitika
BRIEF DISCOURSE ON THE PATRIOTIC COMMUNITARIAN SPIRIT
Rodrigo Sobota

See also

Sputnik International
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Reveals Only Factor Deterring Western Politicians

India a 'Country of Particular Concern,' Says Scathing US Agency Report on Religious Rights

Increasing Desperation as the U.S. Capitalist System Declines — Brittani Banks

Maybe "capitalism" isn't in decline, but rather neoliberal capitalism, where institutions are used to funnel gains up and socialize losses? 

As an economic theory, capitalism assumes "perfect competition," which in turn assumes "perfect markets," that is, markets are symmetrical eliminating asymmetrical market power. That phenomenon is a unicorn given income and wealth distribution as well as endowments that undermine equal opportunity.

Could an equitable and functional version be implemented? Probably not as long as class structure remains intact as a quasi-caste system in which wealth equates with power. The result is asymmetrical markets that result in highly asymmetrical distribution.

Independent Media Institute 
Increasing Desperation as the U.S. Capitalist System Declines
Brittani Banks

A Rant About Base Effects — Brian Romanchuk

I ran across some silly commentary about inflation that did not take into account base effects. I just want to explain how to avoid this problem using elementary results from systems theory. The short version is to use a first order low pass filter, which economists vaguely label an "exponential moving average" (or something like that). Since it was used to generate "adaptive expectations," I strangely labelled it "adaptive average" in the above figure.
Bond Economics
A Rant About Base Effects
Brian Romanchuk

Is rising government debt truly bad? — Simon Brown

Recommends Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth.

FinWeek
Is rising government debt truly bad?
Simon Brown

KV - Nice Pics 6

 Captions my own. 



Sand under a microscope. It makes me want to visit the seaside.



My brother and me at Hastings, Kent UK. Taken a long time ago. I'm the older one. 



Stunning! 



Top view of a Mandarin Duck.



What you got?



What’s for dinner, Mum? 



The Blue Eye on Bude Castle, Budapest, Hungary 



Bolt City 



Silicon Valley 



Exterminate All the Brutes (Trailer)

 The past has a future we never expect. Exterminate All the Brutes is a four-part HBO documentary series from filmmaker Raoul Peck that challenges how history is being written. 





Bill Mitchell — German Bundesverfassungsgericht decision is no victory for EU federalists

The banner on the home page of the German citizens’ group – Bündnis Bürgerwille e.V. – says “Recht gilt auch in der EU” (Law also applies in the EU) and the sub-header “EU – Verträge müssen eingehalten werden” (EU treaties must be complied with). I have sympathy for that sentiment but not the politics of the so-called ‘Citizens’ Will Alliance’, which recently sought to block German government approval of the much vaunted, much delayed, fairly small recovery plan. The mainstay of the EU is the Eurozone because it comprises 19 of the 27 EU nations and the largest nations. The dynamics of the EU economy are driven by what happens in the largest Member States of the Eurozone. The European Commission has been dithering for more than a year to get a fiscal stimulus plan in place and by the time it eventually gets the pittance proposed flowing, significant economic and social damage will have been done, given that if all 27 states ratify the plan, funds (loans mostly) will only start flowing in July – like 18 months after the pandemic began. The Bündnis Bürgerwille group has challenged the German participation in the German Constitutional Court, the Bundesverfassyngsgericht, which delivered its (interim) decision last week. Bündnis Bürgerwille lost, or did they?...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
German Bundesverfassungsgericht decision is no victory for EU federalists
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

European Central Bank left its crisis-fighting tools unchanged


ECB vs Fed in who will blink first.. in past it was always the Fed but Trump may have flipped the script... “MAGA” position would be to not disadvantage US firms with higher rates vs foreign competitors...



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

My new podcast episode is out.

Jenny Gross and Johanna Lemola - What Makes a Happy Country

 Finland, for the fourth consecutive year, topped a list of countries evaluated on the well-being of their inhabitants. “Really?” Finns ask.


But there is a lot about Finland that is, indeed, great. The country’s public school system, which rarely tests children, is among the best in the world. College is free. There is a good universal health care system and child care is affordable. And Finland has been one of the least affected European countries by the pandemic, which experts attribute to the high trust in government and little resistance to following restrictions.

The New York Times 

Vlad Savov - As a Bloomberg tech editor, and gadget reviewer in a past life, I’ve been trying many of these companies’ phones as they’ve been released, and I’ve come to an inescapable conclusion: They are extremely good—and getting better.

 My Honor 10 takes pretty good photos and I find it more fun to use than my Panasonic camera, although the zoom isn't as good. With its panorama mode I can some stunning photos. I use a little bit of the panoramic effect to get a nice wide angle. 

The photo below was with the panorama mode and I put it through some filters after. 

In night time mode it takes multiple shots over 6 seconds and then gives an image without camera shake. I remember years ago having to lug a tripod with me everywhere, which meant I often did not take it with me at all. 




I used no filters or effects on this one below. Early morning field with sheep in. 




 Because of the sanctions on Huawei, the other Chinese phone manufacturers have invested heavily to produce some stunning new phones. 

It’s old news to say that cameras and design are priorities for smartphone buyers. But it’s still a little startling to see that some of the best of them are coming from the likes of Oppo—which until very recently was messing around with clumsy pop-up cameras but whose latest model now sports an undulating design with world-class fit and finish. Or how about Xiaomi, the company that defined the iPhone clone in many people’s eyes? It might well offer the most powerful camera system in the world right now.


Bloomberg Technology 


Vlad Savov - As a Bloomberg tech editor, and gadget reviewer in a past life, I’ve been trying many of these companies’ phones as they’ve been released, and I’ve come to an inescapable conclusion: They are extremely good—and getting better.


More Bad Journalism on Russia — Paul Robinson

If these were isolated incidents, the matter could be ignored. But they are not. It fits pattern ("playbook") of journalism functioning as a key element in propaganda, disinformation, and narrative manufacturing. The other side of the page is marginalization of a counter-narrative and isolation of dissent through de facto censorship.

It is telling that other than his own blog, Professor Robinson's available venue is RT when he can arguably be considered the successor to Stephen F. Cohen as a Western Russia expert. Stephen Cohen had The Nation at his disposal since he wife is the publisher. 

Paul Robinson also "served as a regular officer in the British Army Intelligence Corps from 1989 to 1994, and as a reserve officer in the Canadian Forces from 1994 to 1996," according to his profile.

Irrussianality
More Bad Journalism on Russia
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

We need more bias in artificial intelligence — Mario Mariniello

Food for thought as we enter the digital age.

It is difficult escaping cognitive-affective bias, perhaps impossible, but we should realize what we are facing with the development of algorithms.

Bruegel
We need more bias in artificial intelligence
Mario Mariniello

A Culture of War in America? — Frank Li

My only criticism is that Frank Li should have used MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex) instead of MIC (h/t Ray McGovern for the longer acronym). The MIC has become a many-headed Hydra.

This not about national defense. It is quasi-religious war to spread the ideology of liberalism in a way that is eerily similar to the way that previous religious wars were tied to empire, in the course of which war is not only normalized but made virtuous and even obligatory.

econintesect.com
A Culture of War in America?
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

See also at econintersect
China Leads Expansion Again
Dan Steinbock, Difference Group

Bill Mitchell — IMF now claiming continued inequality risks opening a “social and political seismic crack”

I don’t have time today for a full review of the Fiscal Monitor publication.

But suffice to say, the tone coming out of the IMF has shifted significantly from when it was leading the charge in destroying nations and increasing income and wealth inequalities.

Don’t think for one minute, however, that the institution has abandoned mainstream macroeconomic thinking.

It hasn’t.
But it has opened a sort of schizoid image – talking about, on the one hand, a global innoculation program “paying for itself” (that is, still framing things in terms of making fiscal cuts), while, on the other hand, imploring governments to maintain fiscal support and target policies that “aim at giving everyone a fair shot at lifetime opportunities by reducing gaps in access to quality public services.”...
The failure is that of neoliberal capitalism to deliver distributed prosperity as it promises. It is just not credible that the conventional economic doctrine of "trickle down" and all receiving "just deserts" based on individual productivity, which the theory doesn't actual prove formally let alone in practice, has impoverished so many, reduced many in the "middle class" to the precariat, and rewarded monopolist on the order of former monarchs and despots. It doesn't fly, especially in light of the rise of China and its record of reducing poverty and eliminating absolute poverty through a mixed system.

Also
MMTed Update

Following the development of our edX MOOC = Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century – we are now working on the next MMTed project, which will be run within our own auspices....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
IMF now claiming continued inequality risks opening a “social and political seismic crack”
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

KV - Nice Pics 5

 


Super Scary Abandoned Castle



Tower at Five Corners, Vladimir, Russia 




Taj Mahal at sunrise 




Sunrise, Dolomites, Italy 




San Francisco, City Hall



Canned Music




Coastline Sunset



Oat House by river

What shall I do today because of the quarantine?



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Prices over last year

 

JPM stock +5% .... big deal....





Biden’s Anti-China Ambitions–A Reality Check — Dilip Hiro

Winning.

Tom Dispatch
Biden’s Anti-China Ambitions — A Reality Check
Dilip Hiro

NICOLE GLENNON - Ditch the tea, take Vitamin D: New diet advice for over 65s

 Ditch the tea at mealtimes? That won't be easy after a lifetime of enjoying a cuppa after a meal. I bought some nice Red Bush (Roibos) tea the other day, though, which is said not to affect mineral absorption. Anyway, I'm not 65 yet, although not long to go. 


This is to maintain muscle and bone density. 


Adults aged 65 and above have been advised to avoid consuming tea with meals, start taking a Vitamin D supplement and eat a more protein-dense diet to stimulate muscle growth.


Written by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI) Scientific Committee at the request of the Department of Health, the updated national recommendations are designed to help “enhance older people’s nutritional well-being with the ultimate aim of improving health in later life.” 


Irish Examiner


NICOLE GLENNON - Ditch the tea, take Vitamin D: New diet advice for over 65s


Nuclear Option

Of course, these media outlets are "Russian-sponsored" according to the US government, so it's probably all "disinformation" as part of Russia "hybrid warfare," right?

Reading on, it's really about justifying the 1.5 trillion budget to upgrade the US nuclear capability.

Sputnik International (Russian state-sponsored media)
STRATCOM Casually Posts Context-Free Tweet About Nuclear War Being Seen as ‘Least Bad Option’

See also

This post is mostly about the nuclear threat coming from a shift in US policy away from MAD and parity to a first strike killer-shot and the Russian response.

Strategic Culture Foundation (allegedly Russian state-sponsored media)
Russia Increases Its Defense, While U.S. Backs Down From Provoking WWIII
Eric Zuesse

File under, Do You Know What Your Government Is Doing?

Related

Reminiscence of the Future
Even She Gets It.
Andrei Martyanov
Anatol Lieven

Also

Sputnik International
China Orbiting 400 Satellites, Heading for 1,000 by 2030, US Space Command Chief Says

SouthFront War On Freedom Of Speech: Patreon Banned SouthFront Account

Did Patreon receive a visit or it is just being "patriotic." Whatever, it is chilling. Narrative control at any price.

This kind of thing is characteristic of wartime. Just sayin'.

SouthFront
War On Freedom Of Speech: Patreon Banned SouthFront Account

See also

Who "lost" Russia? 

Hint. It started with Clinton's bombing Serbia and breaking the verbal promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not move eastward toward Russia.  It's all been downhill since.

China is waiting with open arms.

The Vineyard of the Saker
The deafening sound of silence in the West
The Saker

See also


See also

SouthFront
U.S. Ambassador Leaves Russia To “Visit Family”

See also


America can successfully defend Taiwan against China – but only in its dreams
Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, serving in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, on General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector

Bill Mitchell — The Brexit predictions of doom are proving to be wildly inaccurate

When the British Office of National Statistics published the January 2021 trade figures in March, the first after Brexit was finalised, they showed a 42 per cent decline in UK exports to the European Union. Exports fell by £5.6 billion and imports fell by 28.8 per cent or £6.6 billion. it was the worst monthly drop since records were first published on a monthly basis in 1997. The Remain crowd went berserk and the ‘I told you so’ chorus was raucous. I wonder where there voice has gone now the February 2021 trade figures show a 46 per cent rise in UK exports to the UK. Boats and trucks are carrying goods to the EU from Britain still. We shouldn’t take the monthly data too seriously, especially as it has been complicated by the transition arrangements and COVID. There will be costs from the change in border arrangements. But the predictions of doom are proving to be wildly inaccurate. I have my flame suit standing by.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The Brexit predictions of doom are proving to be wildly inaccurate
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

KV - Nice Pics 4

I have no details for some of these. 



There's some sort of filter used on the above. 




Nicholas Lake, Colorado 




An elf log cabin spotted after an afternoon down at the Crooked Billet, Wetherspoons. 



Symmetry 




Super Creepy, Abandoned Castle, in Celles, Belgium




Autumn Bench



Bullet vs M&Ms


Pskov Krom, Russia




Las Lajas, Sanctuary in Narino, Columbia


Monday, April 19, 2021

China Watch

ECNS
5G industry creates massive direct economic output

Xi stresses building world-class universities to serve nation in visit to Tsinghua

'Forced labor' label belongs to U.S.: Chinese FM spokesperson

China expects to deepen int'l cooperation in poverty reduction

China builds world's largest 5G network

China pledges targeted policies, necessary support for economic recovery

China in action to make COVID-19 vaccines global public good

Asian economy to grow 6.5 pct in 2021: report

China to become world's largest smart home device market in 2024: report


Important announcement by the Saker! — The Saker

Recent events have forced me to take some important decisions which I have to share with you know.

First, from now on, the Saker blog shall not post any texts or videos from the four organizations which the US Treasury has declared “disinformation outlets controlled by Russian intelligence services”. These are:
SouthFront
NewsFront
The Strategic Culture Foundation
InfoRus

I want to stress that in my opinion these organizations did nothing absolutely wrong and that accusation is as false as all the other accusations against Russia since 2013. I therefore apologize to all of them for having to take this decision.

The US government, however, feels otherwise and it is not my role to interfere in these issues. Please understand that I am a guest of the United States (a “legal alien” in their terminology) and this morally obliges me to act as a guest and obey all the current US laws, irrespective of my personal assessment of these laws.

Furthermore, from now on, I will post no articles or videos which will discuss internal US politics (US foreign policy is fine). Again, not only is it not my role as a foreign guest to interfere in internal US politics, and the Saker blog is mostly focused on international relations anyways.
Does anyone else feel a chill in the air? Sounds like the Saker got a visit.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Important announcement by the Saker!
The Saker

Lars P. Syll — Who’s afraid of MMT?

The title is a reference to James K. Galbraith's article of that title. Lars cites from it and comments on it.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Who’s afraid of MMT?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Saqib Shah - The UK is considering starting a digital currency

 The UK isn't going to sit idly by while other countries launch digital currencies. Today, the Bank of England and HM Treasury announced that they will jointly explore "a new form" of virtual money for the public and private sector. A dedicated taskforce has been appointed to assess the risks and practicalities of introducing a digital currency. To help glean new use cases, officials will consult with stakeholders including banks, fintechs, payment infrastructure providers, and technology companies. For now, the UK is simply doing its research and has made no commitment to feasibly act.

Engadget 


Saqib Shah - The UK is considering starting a digital currency


Richmond Fed MMT Critique — Brian Romanchuk

I will not comment any further, since I have not yet read the literature that their assertions are based on. Given that the theory is a non-starter to anyone who is slightly numerate and familiar with observed developed country debt dynamics, I do not expect to read it any time soon...
Brian makes an important observation here when he notes: "Even a struggling first-year philosophy student could tell you that if you assume a point is true that your opponent claims is false, you would appear to 'win' the argument."

The problem with most critics of MMT made by conventional economists is that they are based on assuming the truth of neoclassical assumptions, which is the very point that MMT economists, and other heterodox economists claim is at issue. 

The case is point in this post is one that MMT economists have addressed. But the objectors to MMT make no mention of it and are apparently ignorant of it. In the professional world, ignorance is no excuse, in fact, it has reputational consequences. In fact, one of the chief and most serious critiques that MMT and other heterodox economist make regarding conventional economists in criticizing them is unprofessionalism.

In most academic fields it is considered highly embarrassing to display ignorance of papers relevant to one's thesis or argument. Apparently not in economics.

Bond Economics
Richmond Fed MMT Critique
Brian Romanchuk

See also

RealProgressives Podcast Discussing My Latest Book

Video Clip About North American Lumber Situation


Sputnik — Russian Man Taken 'Hostage' of Unwanted Fame After Becoming Pop Sensation in China

Perhaps the only person in the world to reject fame (and likely fortune)?

Sputnik International
Russian Man Taken 'Hostage' of Unwanted Fame After Becoming Pop Sensation in China

See also

Congratulations to these brave ladies.

Rafa Euba - The hard life of the womaniser

 Becoming a Casanova isn't easy... or very appealing


By restricting his the way he relates to women to a mere sexual enterprise, a philanderer is condemning himself to a life of solitude.

Relating isn’t a competitive sport, or a circus skill.

A womaniser will need the kind of dedication and commitment also required in much worthier pursuits.

The lives of Casanova and Don Juan would be difficult to emulate and probably not very enjoyable.

Psychology Today 


KV - Getting The Zest Back Into Life

 Zing and Zang







Helen Leask - Vitamin D for All Over 50s to Prevent Cancer Deaths?

It's behind a paywall, but this is all you need to know, although it doesn't say the amount they recommend. Or get some sun, but you don't need much, something like 10 to 20 minutes three times a week, stopping just as you start to go slightly pink. 

Vitamin D supplementation for older healthy adults has been much debated. Recent attention has been focused on its potential for reducing the risk for and severity of COVID-19, but there is an older argument, boosted by recent evidence, for taking vitamin D to reduce deaths from cancer.

The recent data come from three meta-analyses published in 2019 that show a consistent and significant 13% reduction in cancer mortality with vitamin D.

Medscape

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Six reasons to not worry about inflation — Chris Bedingfield


Analysis consistent with the MMT POV.

LiveWire
Six reasons to not worry about inflation
Chris Bedingfield, Quay Global Investors

Bill Mitchell — Dr Die Schwarze Null still not thinking beyond more austerity

Project-Syndicate recently published the latest Op Ed (April 16, 2021) from former German finance minister and current President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble – Are We Risking a Debt Pandemic?. He is the person who personified the so-called ‘die schwarze null’ (Black Zero) while finance Minister. His conduct as finance minister was an instrumental element in extending the GFC across the Eurozone. He is still influential in European politics and his latest Op Ed makes it clear that the austerity mindset is still alive and well despite the current relaxation of the Stability and Growth Pact rules during the pandemic. The problem is that if Europe reverts back to that mindset, the essential changes to the monetary union that are necessary to make it viable will never be discussed. It will be just more of the same. And that same is pretty ordinary for the common folk across the EMU....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Dr Die Schwarze Null still not thinking beyond more austerity
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tulsi Gabbard issues warning about potential war with Russia

 The last time there was hostilities in the Ukraine, Alex Krainer gave this warning.


There’s some background to my urge to write “Grand Deception”. As a young man I’ve lived through the breakout of war in the former Yugoslavia and I served in the Croatian army during the war. The remarkable thing about the escalation of that conflict was that only days before its full outbreak, most people believed that war would never happen. It seemed unthinkable. I certainly did not think it would happen.




US’ China policy at inflection point — M. K. Bhadrakumar

Suffice to say, the Franco-German-Chinese summit proclaimed loudly and unequivocally that Europe has an entirely different agenda toward China from what Biden and his team would be espousing. That is, plainly put, in external relations, Europe attaches primacy to its post-pandemic economic recovery where China’s cooperation is an imperative need.

In essence, the trilateral summit has exposed that the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific concept aimed at containment of China is not gaining traction in the two major European capitals — Berlin and Paris. The fault lines underscore that the US’ containment strategy has reached a strategic inflection point.

When two close allies of Washington who are also the power houses within the European Union, start ploughing their own independent road to Beijing, it sends out a big message internationally that the US’ transatlantic leadership, which Biden administration vowed to secure as the anchor sheet of its China policy, is adrift in the middle of nowhere. Blinken’s shrill rhetoric is all that remains as policy after one hundred days of the Biden presidency.
The US is slipping into irrelevance as more countries shift attention to opportunities. Did the US get too high-handed in light of global economic realities and the consequent shift in power dynamics and relationships?

India Punchline
US’ China policy at inflection point
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

People’s Bank of China Urges Gov’t ‘to Encourage Childbirth’ to Compete With US — Oleg Burunov

In February, the Chinese Public Security Ministry claimed in a report that the number of newborns in the country nosedived by at least 15% in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic and growing economic downturn.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has argued that the country should “fully liberalise and encourage childbirth” in order to increase its labour force, which in turn would help Beijing successfully compete with other countries, including the US and India, economically.

In a survey published earlier this week, the PBOC predicted that in the next three decades, China's population could decrease by about 32 million people, while the number of inhabitants in the US might grow by 50 million before the end of 2049, not least due to mass immigration.

Researchers also warned of shrinking a labour force in China over the next few decades, with the US expected to see an increase in this regard.
“[…] to narrow the gap with the United States in the past four decades, it [China] relied on cheap labour and huge numbers of people. […] What will we rely on in the next 30 years? This is worthy of our thoughts”, the researchers pointed out.
They suggested that in 2030, China's population may reach its peak at about 1.46 billion people, and that it will then plummet to 1.40 billion by 2050....
Sputnik International

KV - Nice Pics 3

 I think I would like to get into photography as art. I don't think these have been photoshoped, apart from the colours being boosted. Photographers always used filters and effects, and with photo editing apps, the scope is much greater and more fun. 


I will be posting a number of nice pics over the next few days. I've accumulated hundreds of stunning photos. I think it makes a nice change from the politics. 


Cliff House, San Francisco, 1902


Natural Museum, London



Zaanse, Schans, Netherlands 



Snow Furniture 



Skies Over Australia 



I have no details for this picture



Beautiful Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial 

Dan Cohen - NED-Funded Uyghur Separatist Network and CAIR Director Rally Around Cold War Propaganda

 No one on the left believes the US Uyghur propaganda. When you see the people behind it, you can see why. 


On March 30, several figures from the U.S. government-funded Uyghur Separatist Network demonstrated outside the Chinese Embassy, calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a bill targeting China. But it wasn’t only Uyghur separatists on hand – prominent Muslim figures including Nihad Awad, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, joined the demonstration too. “Behind The Headlines” correspondent Dan Cohen spoke to participants and examined their claims.





Saturday, April 17, 2021

Al-Masdar News — Iran’s Supreme Leader calls on military to raise its readiness after nuclear reactor incident

Add some more powder to the keg.

Al-Masdar News
Iran’s Supreme Leader calls on military to raise its readiness after nuclear reactor incident

AP — Navalny“s doctor: Putin critic “could die at any moment“

The West "concerned" about Navalny. (The headline is misleading. He is on a hunger strike of his own doing. He has been told by prison authorities that he will be force fed if he continues.)

Assange, who is being tortured and slowly dying? Not so much.

Crocodile tears shed by hypocrites.

AP
Navalny“s doctor: Putin critic “could die at any moment“

Associated Press — US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration

Water is going to be the new gold. Blood will shed over it.

Associated Press
US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration


China Reacts After US and Japan Challenge it in Five Regions and Washington Pledges To Defend Japan With Nuclear Weapons — Rick Rozoff

Getting ugly. 

The Chinese government-supported Global Times today spoke even more bluntly to the issue in an unsigned editorial:
“Has Japan forgotten how many times it inflicted devastation on China? Has China ever truly harmed Japan and can Japan cite an example? The tiny Diaoyu Islands are just a territorial dispute between China and Japan, and in Asia there are many similar disputes. But Japan takes the dispute as a strategic level issue and hypes it up every day. What’s the point of it?

“The US-Japan alliance could evolve into an axis that can bring fatal disruption to Asia-Pacific peace, just like the Germany-Italy-Japan axis alliance before and during the WWII. The core intention of the US is to maintain its hegemony and contain China’s development through violating international laws and rules. The arbitrary act of the US could eventually end the peace in Asia-Pacific. And Japan is positioning itself as the top Asian accomplice of the US’ vicious policy.”
The editorial mentioned the use of what is now the official byword of the U.S. and its allies around the world, especially NATO – rules-based international order – saying that interstate relations should be governed by norms established by the United Nations “rather than those defined by the US and Japan.” It also returned to the World War II analogy, reminding Japan that it should be more careful in building military alliances with powers outside the region after its ill-fated experience with the Germany-Italy-Japan Tripartite Pact of eighty years ago.

  While Russians remember two invasions from the West, China remembers a century of humiliation by the West and the rape of China by the Japanese. This is not lost on the leadership of their country or their people. Just as the US is forced into a hardline position by its politics, China and Russian are forced into a hardline position because that is what the people demand based on historical memory. This is how things spin out of control. This is the US and Japan being insane.
The newly-installed administration of Joe Biden has the dangerous distinction of being the first since that of Lyndon Johnson to pursue Cold War-style confrontation toward China and Russia at the same time.

1960's Bowdon Spacelander Bicycle

 It may be a tough planet, but I think I'm going to miss this incredible and spectacular place when I have to leave it. 


1960 Bowden "Spacelander" bicycle, white fiberglass, manufactured by, Bomard Industries.


Benjamin Bowden was the car designer and engineer responsible for the Healey 2.4, the first post-WWII 100mph production car, but like Mini suspension designer Alex Moulton after him, he was fascinated by the idea of improving the bike.


In 1946 he showed his Bicycle of the Future at the Britain Can Make It exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, to public acclaim and amazement.
















Its not related, but I've added it because it's great! 




Sputnik International — US Reportedly Reserves Option to Expand Sanctions Against Russian Debt, Monitors Moscow's Reaction

Biden threatens. Putin shrugs.

Sputnik International
US Reportedly Reserves Option to Expand Sanctions Against Russian Debt, Monitors Moscow's Reaction

TASS — Putin discussed assassination attempt on Lukashenko prepared by US with Biden

"No one except the top political leadership can set the task of getting rid of a president", Alexander Lukashenko said.
Hardball.
  
TASS

Also at TASS
Belarusian President has informed about the detention of a group that was scheming an assassination attack on him and his children, and purportedly, had links to the US intelligence agencies

Also

Not over yet.

SouthFront
U.S. Instructors Spotted On Donbass Frontlines: Report

Also

Sputnik International
Fishermen Find 'Reconnaissance Device' Secretly Placed by Foreign Country in Chinese Waters: Report

See also
The policies of the Biden administration towards Russia and China are delusional. It thinks that it can squeeze these countries but still successfully ask them for cooperation. It believes that the U.S. position is stronger than it really is and that China and Russia are much weaker than they are.
Finding this out could be only an embarrassment — or a fatal mistake.

Moon of Alabama
Biden's Russia-China Tactic Is To Wage War AND To Ask For Cooperation. It Will Fail.




Fitch Wire — Russia’s Sovereign Rating Resilient to Latest US Sanctions

Fitch Ratings-London-16 April 2021: Russia’s ‘BBB’/Stable sovereign rating is resilient to newly-imposed US sanctions, Fitch Ratings says. The sanctions are consistent with our view that sanctions risk would remain high under the Biden administration, which is captured in Russia’s sovereign rating via a one-notch deduction from our Sovereign Rating Model (SRM) output.

I wonder what Fitch will say about the growing fiscal deficit in the US. Not that it matters in reality according to MMT, but it is also a matter of optics financially ("inflationary") and politically ("reckless").

Fitch Wire
Russia’s Sovereign Rating Resilient to Latest US Sanctions

What ties the U.S. and Israel together? Our arrogant, doomed mythology of exceptionalism — Doug Neiss

 Ironically, exceptionalism drove Nazism and now neo-Nazism. Neither the American or Israeli elite seems to draw the parallel. Of course, all religious people believe that God is on their side, but just maybe thinking that one enjoys the supremely exceptional status of God's chosen is the ultimate in hubris? When both country's join in this belief, albeit it on different grounds, it appears that an ancient Greek tragedy is in the making for them.

Our two nations are headed for doom, driven by the power of the Zionist right and a conviction we can do no wrong
BTW, it is unusual for a publication to take this tack at the risk of the charge of anti-semitism, in that any criticism of IsraelI policy or behavior gets that spin.

Salon
What ties the U.S. and Israel together? Our arrogant, doomed mythology of exceptionalism
Doug Neiss

See also

The Hindu
Insulting Prophet should be same as denying Holocaust, says Imran Khan

Why NASA chose SpaceX to build its lunar lander — Tim O'Donnell

The agency announced Friday that it will award Elon Musk's company a $2.89 billion contract for the development of its Starship vehicle, an uncrewed flight test to the moon, and, finally, a crewed mission that will land on the lunar surface. SpaceX beat out Dynetics and Blue Origin for the opportunity, thanks in large part to its affordability. SpaceX's bid cost about half of Dynetics' and a quarter of Blue Origin's, Ars Technica reports. So while Starship has plenty of innovative features that made it an enticing candidate, "budget appears to have been the biggest factor" since NASA has struggled to secure funding from Congress for the lunar landing.
Competition.

US expects Russia to submit. Will it? — M. K. Bhadrakumar

How far this pantomime will continue under the rubric of “diplomacy” remains to be seen. Expectations must be kept low. Evidently, the Biden administration has no interest to use diplomacy to wean Russia away from an alliance with China, as Kissinger once advised, so as to isolate and encircle China, the US’ main archetypal rival on the world stage. Biden instead expects Russia to submit to American writ and thereby deny strategic depth to China.

But will Russia submit to US hegemony — a nation that held its ground against Napoleon and Hitler? No, it will never.

Dust up your bomb shelter. 

India Punchline
US expects Russia to submit. Will it?
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

See also
These are policies pushed and promoted by the “Putin whisperers.” For the moment, their will continues to prevail. But their days are numbered, as realpolitik pragmatists in the White House, Pentagon and Intelligence Community are recognizing the reality that the days of taking for granted US global hegemony are over, and that for the United States to remain relevant, it must adapt to the reality of a multi-polar world, and Russia’s rightful role therein. This will not happen overnight, but it is in the process of happening. In promoting and supporting Biden’s latest round of sanctions, the “Putin whisperers” have reached their high-water mark. From here on out, their influence will begin to ebb as the national security demand for fact-based assessments outstrips the domestic political need for fact-free propaganda.
Scott Ritter may be a bit overly optimistic here. "Those people" are the neo-conservatives that now dominant the American foreign policy and international relations elite of both political parties because they have successfully checked opposition to them as unpatriotic, un-American and aiding the enemy. Removing them will be extremely difficult as then-President Trump learned the hard way.

RT
Biden’s Sanctions Binge represents the high-water mark of the ‘Putin Whisperers’
Scott Ritter. former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector

See also
The envoy then made this provocative statement:
“Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again. How else can we guarantee our defense?”
AntiWar
Rick Rozoff

Oh, OK.

Sputnik International
Twitter Explodes After Elon Musk Stresses Importance of Colonising Mars as Life on Earth May Die

China Outraged At Joint US-Japan Statement Which Invokes 'Nuclear Defense' — Tyler Durden

The Friday statement also said, "The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear."
"Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities… The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense… using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear," it underscored.
There is folks, first use by the self-anointed global cop. Sign of weakness?

Zero Hedge
China Outraged At Joint US-Japan Statement Which Invokes 'Nuclear Defense'
Tyler Durden

See also

Defend Democracy Press
Tulsi Gabbard and Tucker Carlson: war with Russia over Ukraine could produce unimaginable nuclear catastrophe (video)

American Interregnum — Nancy Fraser

A view from the left on the state of the union under neoliberal management since Jimmy Carter.

New Left Review — Sidecar
American Interregnum
Nancy Fraser

India’s health system has collapsed — Barkha Dutt

As human tragedy unfolds, there is a shortage of everything — oxygen, drugs, beds, vaccines, even cremation space….

Michael Hudson - America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

"Financialized industrial capital wants a strong state to serve itself, but not to serve labor, consumers, the environment or long-term social progress at the cost of eroding profits and rents...


Counterpunch


Michael Hudson - America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

Friday, April 16, 2021

Who Will Control the 21st Century? Whoever Controls Space — Joel Kotkin And Marshall Toplansky

Human beings are truly crazy. We've done a good job of destroying the earth as a safe habitat and now are turning out attention toward space.

Newsweek | OpinionMarshall Toplansky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Science at the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University, and Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Urban Reform Institute


The Interesting Case Of 'The Zaïre'... The Question MMT Cannot Answer — Eric Nies

Another nonsense. MMT describes the general case of the current monetary system. MMT economists never said that all countries are the same and that economic policy, including fiscal and monetary, depends on specifics that determine the special case.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation — Foreign Ministry statement on measures in response to hostile US actions

Russia's response to Biden. "Partners" no longer. Poked the bear once too often.

Russia has decided to cut loose from the West, joining which was a pipe dream since the days of Peter the Great. Russia is turning to Eurasia, in particular China. China and Russia are an ideal match. China needs Russia resources, especially energy, and Russian technology that China lacks. Russia needs goods manufactured by China. 

With Russia and China as the drivers, Eurasia, including Central Asia and South Asia, will be linked economically, MENA and later Africa to follow. Europe won't be able to resist the pull in the long run, since the New Silk Road is where global growth is going to come from in the foreseeable future.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Foreign Ministry statement on measures in response to hostile US actions
April 16, 2021


See also

You didn't think the US would actually leave, did you?

The Grayzone
Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain
Jeremy Kuzmorov

Matthew Humphries - Huawei Plans to Launch 6G in 2030

 It will be 50x faster than 5G, apparently.

If Zhijun is to be believed, Huawei's take on 6G will be 50-times faster than 5G and it arrives in less than nine years. Of course, it won't arrive in the US if the current trade ban continues or escalates, but then Huawei won't be the only company working on 6G technology over the next decade. For now, 6G is something for scientists and engineers to worry about, but if they get this right, we could be living in a truly connected world by the mid-2030s.

PCMag



Matthew Humphries - Huawei Plans to Launch 6G in 2030


Tech Rant: Will 6G Destroy Society






Only Fools and Horses:

 Trigger Can't Keep Up With the Groups Conversations



Not only is Paul Burlin a brilliant impersonator, but he shows how well the actors in Only Fools and Horses acted their parts, bringing the characters to life. 




Dr. Robert Sapolsky - Why hierarchy creates a destructive force within the human psyche

 Lemmy quote: bass player, songwriter, singer of Hawkind and Motorhead.

Life is about brief periods of bliss, followed by long periods of depression, angst and brutality.


 Life is short and brutal for baboons, and human aren't too different. 




These Powerful Maps Show the Extremes of U.S. Population Density — Nick Routley

The take-away is that the US population is at risk in war, especially nuclear, given the level of concentration.

Something to keep in mind now that the wheels are in motion in the direction of a scenario resembling the brink of WWI, as Henry Kissinger has warned. I am no fan of Kissinger's version of realpolitik, but he is a good analyst.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, visited the city of Sarajevo and were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a 20-year-old Yugoslav nationalist. The assassinations triggered World War 1, which broke out a month later when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. A series of alliances resulted in a rapid expansion of hostilities as Russia honored its treaty obligation with Serbia and declared war. Germany entered the war on the side of Austria-Hungary, and France and Great Britain soon joined the conflict as allies of Russia and Serbia.
There is now a real potential for this to happen again as the US tests Russian and Chinese redlines. This is especially the case in Ukraine, where neo-Nazi nationalists have outsized influence and constitute a wild-card. But Taiwan is heating up too.

Incidentally, the Treaty of Versailles was so onerous for Germany that it lead directly to the rise of Adolf Hitter and WWII.

Visual Capitalist

Or maybe it won't be the result of a wild-card.
I already explained what the US plan for the Ukraine is: to encourage the Ukronazis to attack Russia while not involving the USA in a shooting war with Russia.
The Vineyard of the Saker
The US warplans for the Ukraine (OPEN THREAD # 12)
The Saker

When it comes to corruption, Britain is catching up fast with the Middle East — Patrick Cockburn

 Sounds like the US too, where the stakes are even larger, hence the incentive greater.

The Independent
When it comes to corruption, Britain is catching up fast with the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn

See also
India’s dramatic decline from a shaky but functional democracy into an authoritarian dictatorship under the hard-right Hindu nationalist BJP is nearly complete. But deeply rooted traditions of dissent and tolerance, which had long been in abeyance, have during the past 15 months created a strong democratic challenge that has caught both the government and seasoned observers by surprise. The first wave of poplar protests against a new and discriminatory citizenship law were followed a few months later by the ongoing farmers’ protests against new laws handing over the keys to Indian agriculture to a few select corporate cronies of the BJP....
Counterpunch
Biden Aligning With the Wrong Side in India
Shubh Mathur

So Who Wants a Hot War? — Pepe Escobar

It’s not by accident that the Hegemon is going no holds barred to harass and try to smash Eurasian integration by all means available.
Strategic Culture Foundation
So Who Wants a Hot War?
Pepe Escobar

See also

Russia and China are permanent members of the UNSC, each with a veto.

TASS
US sanctions against Russia rejected by int'l community, says Chinese Foreign Ministry

See also

Russia Observer 
RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 15 APRIL 2021
Patrick Armstrong 

Also

SouthFront
‘National Emergency’: Biden Administration Is Obsessed With SouthFront

Chapter Thirty-One — Peter Radford

Chapter 31 is a reference to David Ricardo. This post is about technological unemployment which is looked at generally as a bad thing. Peter Radford closes with the question, what to do?

In my view, technological unemployment is actually a very good thing if acted upon intelligently by acting on the increased potential for distributed leisure. It is both a challenge to the present and an opportunity for the future. We should welcome it as a blessing of increasing knowledge rather than being Luddite about it.

The problem is the assumptions of capital regarding return on investment going to investors as owners rather than the distribution including worker and the rest of the society that collectively made these advances possible in the first place. The problem is that this has been institutionalized and enculturated. So it will require a change in world view on the part of society in general.

The Radford Free Press
Chapter Thirty-One
Peter Radford

Spain To Try Nationwide 4-Day Workweek — Olivia Rosane

A shorter workweek has been touted as a means of improving work-life balance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
More distributed leisure.

Tree Hugger — Sustainability for all
Spain To Try Nationwide 4-Day Workweek
Olivia Rosane

Lars P. Syll — Econometrics — formal modelling that has failed miserably

The fundamental point made in Logic 101, which is about critical thinking, is the definition of a sound argument. 

An argument is sound if and only if the premises are true and the logical form is valid. Only then the conclusion follows from the argument with logical necessity.

Corollary: Logical validity alone never established an argument as sound and the conclusion may therefore be either true or false depending on the truth of the premises, all of which must be true.

Mathematics is a type of logical form. Syntactics alone can never be used to prove something about the world because syntactics is about signs only and it is semantically vacuous until interpreted semantically, that is, signs are assigned empirical content as symbols that have referents.

No amount of hand waving can change this.

Moreover, the attempt to get more out an argument than the premises will bear is called "sophistry," "making the worse appear the better." A sophist is one who makes a living doing this. Nowadays they are called con men. This goes back to Socrates as depicted in the Platonic dialogues.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Econometrics — formal modelling that has failed miserably
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

MMT and Government Finance: You Can't Always Get What You Want — Michael U. Krause, Thomas A. Lubik and Karl Rhodes

 From the people that have been consistently wrong in that the assumptions on which their mathematical  modeling is based have not been borne out by data, whereas MMT conceptual modeling has been consistently correct.

Central Banking
MMT rests on 'untested statements' – Richmond Fed paper
Michael Krause, Thomas Lubik and Karl Rhodes

Here is the working paper

FRB of Richmond
MMT and Government Finance: You Can't Always Get What You Want
Michael U. Krause, Thomas A. Lubik and Karl Rhodes