Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Guardian - Pegasus: the spyware technology that threatens democracy

 Freaking scary? With just a single text message, Pegasus can access everything on your phone, plus a whole load more. 

Pegasus spyware is capable of bypassing your phone's security and gaining complete access to your device - including emails, messages, GPS location, photos, video, and your phone's microphone. A Guardian investigation can now reveal widespread abuse of the Pegasus technology by government clients around the world who purchased the spyware from its Israeli manufacturer — the NSO Group. People who were selected as possible targets include journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders

ITV - Scotland's Drug Crisis

Lots of young people experiment with drugs, but don't get addicted. It's poverty and despair that tends to cause addiction. Many on the right says it's about personal responsibility, but they don't understand how poverty causes learned helplessness, plus epigenetic and neuroplasticity changes to the brain. 

In the Basic Income experiment video I posted here last year, lots of people took less drugs and drank less alcohol when they felt they could change their lives. 

'Sometimes I hope I don't wake up': The drug user who started heroin aged 11 in Scotland | ITV News

Cheryl Riddick, 43, started taking drugs aged just 10. By 11, she was smoking heroin and age 12 she was injecting.

She has lost relatives and friends to drugs and when I ask how many, she says: “Too many to count.”

Scotland's drug death numbers are up, once again. It has the worst record in Europe.

Del Boy Falls Through the Bar (HD & Extended) | Only Fools and Horses | BBC Comedy Greats

 I put this out before, but this is an extended version.

Del Boy Falls Through the Bar (HD & Extended) | Only Fools and Horses | BBC Comedy Greats

How David Jason created the character of Delboy, Derrick Trotter. 

DELBOY Based on REAL Person David Jason Interview

Tech Altar - Why does Xiaomi limit its profits to 5%?

 TechAlter make some very interesting videos. I only came across them today. Will Xiaomi's business model work as well in international markets when competiting against Google and Android? 

 Why did Xiaomi pledge to keep their hardware profits below 5%?

Tech Altar - Why does Xiaomi limit its profits to 5%?

Tech Altar - Amazon's playbook for crushing startups

 The Amazon business strategy revealed. Being a near monopoly helps. 

Amazon creates hundreds of products a year. With many of them, they follow a specific playbook that allows them to crush their competitors incredibly effectively

Amazon's playbook for crushing startups

Tech Altar - Why Samsung phones failed in China

Xiaomi slashed prices by selling straight from the factory to consumers, a model that Huawei emulated with their Honor range of phones, but that wasn't the only strategy that Chinese phone manufacturers used to outsmarted Samsung. Sales of Apple's prestigious phones, though, held up well in China’s first tier cities. 

 Samsung's market share in China is just 0.6%. The world's largest smartphone maker no longer manufactures phones in the country either. What went wrong?

Extraordinary Measures


Federal retirement system govt securities fund has about $292B balance:

They way I interpret this situation, I think they can still issue up to this amount to public and put temporary IOUs in the Government securities retirement account and still remain under debt ceiling...

July savings (deficit cash basis) so far is 282b for the month so using that to estimate August non-govt savings then they can go about 1 month at current rate of UST issuance to the public using this authority without causing TGA to fall further due to a reduction in rate of UST issuance...

But once they reach this retirement account balance offset though then UST issuance rate will have to equal what is redeemed... to remain under debt ceiling... then at that point if fiscal withdrawals exceed fiscal deposits then the TGA balance will reduce $4$… causing at least a temporary rapid increase in Reserve assets at the Depositories… catastrophic this time?  I guess that remains to be seen they appear to have a mitigation strategy this time with the RRP facility…  bears watching in any case…

Infrastructure problem?


Could be just normal Art Degree people trained not to make a decision get to the top of the ramp and synthesize a left turn with a right turn so just keep going straight… I don’t see the problem… with the infrastructure…

Friday, July 30, 2021

Debt Ceiling: Reconciliation


Looks like GOP is 99%  on getting Dems to do this themselves via reconciliation... Flimsy Graham had some hair brained Social Security fiscal reform thing going ...  shit canned it now... somebody probably straightened him out…

Fed RRP now over $1T daily


What say MMT on this? crickets as far as I can tell… 5% of annual GDP daily currency transfer… pretty substantial…  One has to assume they don’t understand it… unqualified?  Art degrees?  What?

Updated : Good vibrations: bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home

Skybrators’ generate clean energy without environmental impact of large windfarms, say green pioneers

No more ugly windmills, although I didn't find them unattractive, as I'm a tech guy, but this new type is even better. 

The giant windfarms that line hills and coastlines are not the only way to harness the power of the wind, say green energy pioneers who plan to reinvent wind power by forgoing the need for turbine towers, blades – and even wind.

“We are not against traditional windfarms,” says David Yáñez, the inventor of Vortex Bladeless. His six-person startup, based just outside Madrid, has pioneered a turbine design that can harness energy from winds without the sweeping white blades considered synonymous with wind power

The Guardian

 The Future of Solid State Wind Energy - No More Blades

Wind technology is super exciting, but the vortex induced vibration resonant wind generator intrigued me the most: its just a pole sticking out of the ground which vibrates with the wind. Have you ever seen a flag pole violently shaking in the wind, even with no flag on? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that as it works by tuning in to resonant frequencies, but it struck me as being the most simple type of generator, although this isn't true when you look at the science. 

It's easy to fit the small versions of these on your roof, and they will work night and day. There's probably always sufficient wind to drive them, but as these technologies come down in price, it's possible that many people will opt for solar as well, then you will have full cover. But noise might be an issue in residential areas, especially with the Vortex vibration type.

Now all of this power could be fed back into the National Grid, but lots of people can't afford this technology, and the environment can't wait, so I think this is something the government could be involved in. It will save the country an enormous amount of money, and could give the UK an economic advantage. I think it's win, win. I know there can be backhanders and corruption between government and private industry, especially with the Conservatives, but China manages to do it, and is leaving the West behind. With an open government it can be done. Modern Money Theory (MMT) shows the way when it comes to funding. 

KV - Is the US a sore loser?

 Any decent country will spend a fair amount of money on its children's education, and that includes sports. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Huawei's HarmonyOS 2 users exceed 40 million — Xinhua

Huawei expects the number of devices equipped with HarmonyOS to reach 300 million by the end of 2021, including more than 200 million for Huawei devices.
Huawei's HarmonyOS 2 users exceed 40 million

Andrew Batson — China in the 2020s is not France in the 1960s

What Andrew Batson apparently overlooks is that unlike Europe in the 1960's under democratic socialism, the Chinese government controls the "commanding heights" of the Chinese economy. According to Lenin, this is a defining characteristic of socialism. Interesting otherwise.

Andrew Batson's Blog
China in the 2020s is not France in the 1960s

Analysis News - Christian Nationalists in Military See Trump as Vehicle for Authoritarian Religious State - TRAILER

The Jesus I was taught about when I was a boy said, "Love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek, and he who has not sinned cast the first stone." This Jesus was gentle. He also cared for the poor and destitute. 

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says quite possibly as much as a third of the U.S. military have been recruited to extreme Christian Nationalism, including at the highest levels. They were heavily involved in the events of Jan 6th. The full interview will be available on Friday at with Paul Jay.

Gilead is a strict, totalitarian regime that bases its laws and customs around only a very literal, fundamentalist interpretation of the Christian Bible. ... All citizens must follow only Gilead's own official version of Christianity.

From Twitter 

Can G7 Countries Compete With China’s Belt And Road Initiative? — Oxford Business Group

Won't work unless the Western governments back their private companies that are supposed to put risk capital into it in order to make a profit. And it won't work for the West either if the West doesn't ties strings to the investment, which will mean it won't work for the target countries.

Moreover, the third world is out of the natural reach of the capitalist countries other than as colonies.

This is overreach.

For China (and Russia) it is an entirely different story. This is their region of operations.

But also count on the countries targeted by the US and China for absorption into their respective systems to play both sides against each other.

Oxford Business Group

See also

Why Russia Warns India Against the US’ Indo-Pacific Plans
Andrew Korybko 

Eye-Witness Account of US Attempts to Destabilize Cuba — Katherine Guerrera

What US economic warfare looks like in Cuba.
As a Canadian with family members that live in Cuba, who was in Cuba during the anti-government protests that occurred on July 11, I found myself in a unique and disturbing position where I could see and feel the disconnect between what was being reported by the mainstream media back home and what was really happening on the ground in Cuba.
International 360º
Eye-Witness Account of US Attempts to Destabilize Cuba
Katheryne Guerrera

*guerrera means woman warrior.

Emma Graham-Harrison - China’s talks with Taliban could be a positive thing, US says

Delegation from militants meets Chinese foreign minister as Beijing seeks to extend influence in Afghanistan

Although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to be staving off a collapse into full civil war.

Beijing is especially concerned about the prospect of Afghanistan becoming a base for Uyghur militants from China’s western Xinjiang province, where authorities maintain vast networks of internment camps for mostly Muslim minorities.

The Guardian

Moon of Alabama — China Cracks Down On Tech - Its People Benefit

Moon of Alabama attacks an article by Stephen Roach, former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and chief economist at Morgan Stanley. Roach is looking through a US-centric lens and as a result gets the bigger picture wrong.

There is a further reason that is not mentioned. Big Tech, while a driver of profit, is not only economically unproductive but also undermining of a culture. TV was supposedly the cause of turning Western culture into a wasteland. Social media and gaming do that on steroids. The Chinese leadership gets this and has no intention of letting Chinese culture go the way of the West so that rent seekers can make money.

Moon of Alabama
China Cracks Down On Tech - Its People Benefit

Putin is broke? Biden the latest American leader to publicly expose the dangerous lack of genuine Russia expertise in Washington — Paul Robinson

US elite wildly wrong on the Russian economy? Paul Robinson provides some numbers.

Putin is broke? Biden the latest American leader to publicly expose the dangerous lack of genuine Russia expertise in Washington
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa


Why won’t America’s 1 percent—such as the six Walmart heirs, whose wealth equals that of the entire bottom 30 percent—be a bit more . . . selfish? As the widening financial divide cripples the U.S. economy, even those at the top will pay a steep price.

Why excessive income Inequality harms society. 

Put sentiment aside. There are good reasons why plutocrats should care about inequality anyway—even if they’re thinking only about themselves. The rich do not exist in a vacuum. They need a functioning society around them to sustain their position. Widely unequal societies do not function efficiently and their economies are neither stable nor sustainable. The evidence from history and from around the modern world is unequivocal: there comes a point when inequality spirals into economic dysfunction for the whole society, and when it does, even the rich pay a steep price.

Let me run through a few reasons why.

The Consumption Problem

Vanity Fair

The Consolidation of Dollar Hegemony after the Collapse of Bretton Woods: Bringing power back in — Matias Vernengo

New IDEAS Working Paper on the alternative views of the collapse of Bretton Woods. From the abstract:

Contrary to conventional views which suggest that the collapse of Bretton Woods represented the beginning of the end of the global hegemonic position of the dollar, the collapse of the system liberated American policy from convertibility to gold, and imposed a global fiat system still dominated by the floating dollar. The end of Bretton Woods and the set of regulations that imposed capital controls were part of the agenda of many powerful groups within the US, and led to the creation of a more dollarized world. The challenge to the dollar might arise, eventually, from the decline in the United States’power to determine the pricing of key commodities in global markets; but it is premature to think about the demise of the dollar. The limitations of the dominant views about Bretton Woods are ultimately tied to mainstream economics.
Naked Keynesianism — Hemlock for economics students
The Consolidation of Dollar Hegemony after the Collapse of Bretton Woods: Bringing power back in
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Bill Mitchell — Booming growth in Britain (Brexit?) but child poverty rises (austerity)

Some setting the record straight on MMT.
MMT is an economic framework for understanding how the macroeconomy works and the role of the currency-issuer in the monetary economy.

It has a rich history and provides a novel way of generating that understanding.

Its predictive capacity is excellent over 25 or more years. Many economists and observers keep saying they knew all this stuff but if you go back through the historical record, they were not rehearsing these ideas or conclusions until recently.

But MMT is not a ‘movement’, nor, is it a progressive agenda.

I keep reading things like “MMT advocates taxing the rich”.

It doesn’t.

What an understanding of MMT will allow one to conclude is that there is no contingency between the provision of public services or infrastructure by government and tax revenue it might receive from high income or wealth individuals.

MMT also provides a coherent aggregate explanation about the role of taxation in fiscal policy, which excludes any causal association between the government receiving tax revenue and spending.

That is it.
MMT is agnostic about where the tax revenue comes from....
MMT is not a policy framework. That is a different issue. 
The body of knowledge does not cover questions of incidence, progression or regression and all the other facets of taxation policy and structure that experts in that field are interested in.

When I talk about the need to ‘tax the rich’, I am expressing a value system, which is quite separate from when I am teaching the principles of MMT.

I want to tax the rich to ensure they have less financial resources so they can spend less on things like lobbying governments, influencing elections, dominating the media etc....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Booming growth in Britain (Brexit?) but child poverty rises (austerity)
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Lars P. Syll — Why MMT rejects the loanable funds theory

The loanable funds theory is in many regards nothing but an approach where the ruling rate of interest in society is — pure and simple — conceived as nothing else than the price of loans or credit, determined by supply and demand — as Bertil Ohlin put it — “in the same way as the price of eggs and strawberries on a village market.”

In the traditional loanable funds theory — as presented in mainstream macroeconomics textbooks — the amount of loans and credit available for financing investment is constrained by how much saving is available. Saving is the supply of loanable funds, investment is the demand for loanable funds and assumed to be negatively related to the interest rate.

As argued by Kelton, there are many problems with the standard presentation and formalization of the loanable funds theory. And more can be added to the list:
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Why MMT rejects the loanable funds theory
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

UK Government to face climate activists in court over North Sea oil and gas

 AN SNP activist, a medical student and a retiree are to challenge the legality of UK Government subsidies for oil and gas in a landmark court case.

The UK is an oligarchy run by the few for the benefit of themselves only. 

I live in a very Conservative area. I spoke to one of my neighbours recently, and she said the Tories look after the British more, while Labour panders to the immigrants. She said the Tories were strong on law and order, and on defence, standing up to our enemies like, Xi, Putin, and Kim Jong-un.  She also sees the Tories as the bosses party, who know how to run a country. She's a pensioner who relies on the NHS, and doesn't seem to realise how she is being done over. 

Van Sweeden, whose father was an oil worker, said: "The UK Government repeatedly puts the interests of oil industry capital above the labour that creates it and, in fact, above all of our collective wellbeing as residents of the planet.

"Serious, committed environmental stewardship would see public money spent on a just transition right now, including funding for retraining and re-skilling towards new, green, stable jobs. The funnelling of public money into the big polluters’ pockets must be fiercely rejected by us all."

Westminster has paid £3.2 billion in public funds to North Sea oil and gas firms since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015

The National 

Dr Mike Hanson - COVID Vaccine Mandates Coming. Masks are back.

 The Delta variant. It now makes up more than 80% of COVID cases in the US. Overall COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are going up. According to the data from the US Department of Health and Human services, hospitalizations have been increasing for about three weeks, rising about 37% over the past week. This is what happens when we don’t have enough people getting vaccinated, we fail to reach herd immunity. Now we have the more contagious, and scarier delta variant going around

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Fortifier of RMB as a global currency — China Daily

In a document on the future development of Pudong the central authorities issued on July 15, the Shanghai district is required to improve its financial market, financial products, financial agencies and financial infrastructure, and take full advantage of the central authorities' support, to develop offshore renminbi trading, cross-border trade settlement and overseas financing services.

Judging from the development process of more than 40 years of reform and opening-up, Pudong has not only become a domestic financial center, but also a new financial star in Asia. Now the main direction for Pudong's development is to continue to promote the renminbi's use as a settlement currency and its cross-border use through the opening of onshore international business and the innovation and cultivation of offshore business. It should also establish itself as a global asset management center to increase the renminbi's position as a reserve asset in the international financial market.

It is necessary to increase the renminbi's role as a reserve currency by improving its ability to serve offshore businesses, as well as its pricing status of global currencies and assets. The crux is to consolidate renminbi's status as an international currency. The business related to renminbi should be expanded to overseas markets to not only diversify but also increase the amount of the offshore businesses of renminbi. To make Pudong an international financial center, it has to improve the financial infrastructure facilities for the internationalization of the renminbi....
Fortifier of RMB as a global currency
China Daily

See also

New Shanghai Pudong cluster unveiled to draw international economic entities

Shrinking Global Populations Poses An Existential Threat To Oil — Alex Kimani

Not just oil. Everything, and that has vast economic implications. Climate change — think water shortage affecting agricultural production leading to mass migration — coupled with declining population rate will be game-changer. The first thing to be affected, however, is the standard of living. And that is not taking pandemic into account either. Not only is the population rate declining, but also a culling is underway. Those concerned at this point are mostly scientists, military and intel. At what point do markets discount these developments. 

Then there is this.

The arms race is on.

Global Times (Chinese state media)
US triggers China’s urgency to strengthen nuclear deterrent: Global Times editorial

Also at China Daily
Chinese, Russian defense ministers vow solidarity

Neoliberalism Has Always Been a Threat to Democracy — Aldo Madariaga

Neoliberalism, then, is much more than just a set of ideas about free markets. It’s a political project that aims not only to reduce the power of the state but, more concretely, to undermine the efforts of any collective actor — be it states, labor unions, political parties — to interfere with the decisions of private enterprises. This project to alter the balance of power is the key to its resilience.…
Defend Democracy Press
Neoliberalism Has Always Been a Threat to Democracy
Aldo Madariaga, assistant professor of political science at the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile and associate researcher of the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies

China’s Xiaomi Passes US’ Apple Despite DC’s Dirty Games — Ullson Gunnar

Xiaomi went from a startup smartphone company competing in China’s domestic markets in 2010, to entering global markets between 2014 and 2015, to this year surpassing Apple in global smartphone sales, with only Samsung selling more....

Bill Mitchell — Inflation rises in Australia – but transitory factors and natural disasters are the reason

Today, my on-going inflation watch turns to Australia, given the release today (July 28, 2021) of the latest – Consumer Price Index, Australia – for the June-quarter 2021. The data is consistent with what we are seeing across many nations as supply chains are disrupted by the pandemic. Energy prices are adjusting back upwards and because the base from which we are judging these quarterly rises was lower as a result of price suppression during the downturn, the recovery in the pre-pandemic price levels deliver larger than usual price increases (when the base is higher). In Australia’s case, a major recent flood and a long drought before that have also complicated matters by driving up food prices. All these impacts are transitory. The CPI rose by 0.8 per cent in the June-quarter 2021 and over the 12-months to June 2021 it rose 3.8 per cent. But the key to understanding the trends in the data is to appreciate that the less volatile series were still rising at rates below the RBAs inflation targetting range – the Trimmed Mean rose just 0.5 per cent and the Weighted Median rose 0.5 per cent. So nothing to see here. The most reliable measure of inflationary expectations are flat and below the RBA’s target policy range.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Inflation rises in Australia – but transitory factors and natural disasters are the reason
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

George Monbiot on Brexit: Capitalism's Civil War

 I did change my mind about Europe. I know from an MMT POV its terrible, but I thought it was better than what the Brexit crowd had to offer. It's best to stay in and try to reform it, and dump the Euro, so countries can deficit spend again. Although Europeans have a lot in common, they are also too different to become one country at this present time.

George Monbiot is superb here. It's hard to figure him out: the left hate him because he supported the Syrian war, and I bet he's xenophobic about China and Russia too, but I found this video to be inspiring. 

I'm not dogmatic, but his stance on Syria infuriated me too. How could he support another Western backed war in the Middle East? 

Farage and his ilk are just tools of something much bigger & much deeper than they are”

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tesla Smashes Expectations With Q2 Earnings — Charles Kennedy

Elon Muck on a roll.

Tesla Smashes Expectations With Q2 Earnings
Charles Kennedy

McKinsey — COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning

As this most disrupted of school years draws to a close, it is time to take stock of the impact of the pandemic on student learning and well-being. Although the 2020–21 academic year ended on a high note—with rising vaccination rates, outdoor in-person graduations, and access to at least some in-person learning for 98 percent of students—it was as a whole perhaps one of the most challenging for educators and students in our nation’s history.1

Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. The pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education. And the crisis had an impact on not just academics but also the broader health and well-being of students, with more than 35 percent of parents very or extremely concerned about their children’s mental health.

The fallout from the pandemic threatens to depress this generation’s prospects and constrict their opportunities far into adulthood. The ripple effects may undermine their chances of attending college and ultimately finding a fulfilling job that enables them to support a family. Our analysis suggests that, unless steps are taken to address unfinished learning, today’s students may earn $49,000 to $61,000 less over their lifetime owing to the impact of the pandemic on their schooling. The impact on the US economy could amount to $128 billion to $188 billion every year as this cohort enters the workforce.

Federal funds are in place to help states and districts respond, though funding is only part of the answer. The deep-rooted challenges in our school systems predate the pandemic and have resisted many reform efforts. States and districts have a critical role to play in marshaling that funding into sustainable programs that improve student outcomes. They can ensure rigorous implementation of evidence-based initiatives, while also piloting and tracking the impact of innovative new approaches. Although it is too early to fully assess the effectiveness of postpandemic solutions to unfinished learning, the scope of action is already clear. The immediate imperative is to not only reopen schools and recover unfinished learning but also reimagine education systems for the long term. Across all of these priorities it will be critical to take a holistic approach, listening to students and parents and designing programs that meet academic and nonacademic needs alike....
Generational setback?

COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning
Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg

Bill Mitchell — And the winner is Brisbane … well kind of … or maybe not

The Olympics have become just another commercialization of sport. If something can be capitalized, it will be, even war, or maybe especially war.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
And the winner is Brisbane … well kind of … or maybe not
Scott Baum, Professor of Urban and Regional Analysis, School of Environment and the Cities Research Institute, Griffith University

China moves to reassure rattled investors after US$574 billion rout

LOL commies worried about their stock portfolio... strange days... notice how they price it in USDs… USD zombies…

ARK exits China


Cathie must have got a tip-off on the commie crackdowns…

Debt Ceiling MAGA breakdown


Bannon, Navarro and a gold dude provide a breakdown on the current debt ceiling situation… I think this segment identifies pretty well the current populist libertarian MAGA GOP wing position on “debt ceiling”… MMT gets a disparaging mention…

If it is re-suspended they think it’s bearish USD, if US defaults they think it’s bearish USD, if it is re-suspended -they think it is bearish bonds and if US defaults they provide no opinion on bonds…

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sputnik — Chinese Tech Regulator Clamps Down on Anticompetitive Practices, Breaks Tencent’s Music Deals

 China is cracking down on Big Tech.

Sputnik International
Chinese Tech Regulator Clamps Down on Anticompetitive Practices, Breaks Tencent’s Music Deals

Washington Relocating from the Middle East to Southeast Asia — Salman Rafi Sheikh

The US shifts emphasis from bases of chaos to the perceived renewal of "great power competition between the "free world" and "authoritarian dictatorships" China and Russia. Back to the Cold War and vastly increased military spending by the US and allies. China and Russia snicker as the "allies" stretch themselves thin.

Washington Relocating from the Middle East to Southeast Asia
Salman Rafi Sheikh

Projection And Deflection: Russia’s Infrastructure — Patrick Armstrong

When you see a Western piece saying that Russia is deficient in this or that, it’s wise to see it as just a projection of the West’s shortcomings.
About Russia's economy and infrastructure (versus the US).

US projection is hardly limited to Russia. In fact, in many cases the so-called deficiencies of other countries that the US points to were caused directly by US foreign policy.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Projection And Deflection: Russia’s Infrastructure
Patrick Armstrong

For Bond Bears, Patience Is A Virtue — Brian Romanchuk

Most discussion of the Treasury market coming from people who are not rates strategists involves hoping for or predicting the collapse of the bond market. Nobody likes rates to be this low, and they are an insult to those people who studied Economics 101 and are certain that bond investors have the constitutional right to demand a particular real rate of return.

It may very well be that the bond bears will be ultimately vindicated. However, the rule of thumb from previous cycles is that you do not want to be sitting in short positions too far in advance of the rate hike cycle. Negative carry adds up if you are stuck in a position for three years or more….
Bond Economics
For Bond Bears, Patience Is A Virtue
Brian Romanchuk

BRI vs New Quad for Afghanistan’s Coming Boom — Pepe Escobar

You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

The Unz Review
BRI vs New Quad for Afghanistan’s Coming Boom
Pepe Escobar

Lars P. Syll — Cherry-picking economic models

A big reason that economics is not like a natural science. 

It's the subject matter, stupid. Economics is a social science, with all the limitations that come with it.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Cherry-picking economic models
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Bill Mitchell — Calling the British PAC, IFS – it is time we all moved on from the debt and deficit hysteria

The BBC in Britain carried a story yesterday (July 25, 2021) – UK will be paying for Covid for decades, say MPs – that began with the assertion that “Taxpayers will bear the costs of Covid ‘for decades'”. I guess there is some truth in that statement – families will remember their loved ones that died from the virus and those who are stricken with Long COVID will probably endure the negative effects for the rest of their lives. In that sense, if they are also ‘taxpayers’ they will be ‘paying’ the ‘costs’ of the pandemic. But, of course, that is not what the BBC article was wanting its readers to absorb. The intent was to lie to British citizens that somehow their tax burdens would have to rise to offset the deficits that the British government has run dealing with the collapsing economy. I know the BBC was just reporting on a document released by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts – COVID 19: Cost Tracker Update (released July 25, 2021). But the role of the public broadcaster is not to act as a press releasing agency for such politicised organisations, which, given the absence of any alternative voice in the article, is exactly what it did. The demise of critical scrutiny in economics commentary by national broadcasters everywhere is a major problem and makes them indistinguishable from scandalous media organisations run by private sector owners.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Calling the British PAC, IFS – it is time we all moved on from the debt and deficit hysteria
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Drinking 6 Cups of Coffee a Day? Your Brain May Pay For It Later, Says a Large Study

 It might be the caffeine that causes it, and in that case, then too much tea is not good too. I drink mugs of tea and I was fine after two of them yesterday, but then I had a third one about an hour later and I felt the caffeine, which I didn't like. I was surprised as it's rare for me to notice the caffeine because the very light teas I drink are low in it. 

In the early afternoon I had two cups of green tea and I felt fine. Mid afternoon onwards I always drink decaf green tea or redbush tea (rooibos) and one mug of cocoa. I might have to space the tea out a bit more in the morning, but two mugs of darjeeling, or sencha, on the trot is one of those small things in life which gives me enormous pleasure.

What's concerning is who drinks cups nowadays? In Britiain we all use mugs and my ones are the larger type. 

Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee or two throughout the day, but a new study suggests that too much of the stuff could shrink brain volume and increase the risk of dementia over the long term.

The excess coffee risks can jump quite sharply, though you do need to be drinking a lot of the beverage: The study found that people drinking six or more cups a day had a 53 percent higher chance of getting dementia than those who drank one or two cups or less.

Science Alert

Drinking 6 Cups of Coffee a Day? Your Brain May Pay For It Later, Says a Large Study

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Age of Economics — Interview: Branko Milanović, Professor of economics at CUNY, LSE and IBEI (Barcelona)

Video and transcript. A good follow up to J. W. Mason's recent post.

Age of Economics — Interview
Branko Milanović, Professor of economics at CUNY, LSE and IBEI (Barcelona)

Saturday, July 24, 2021

China is gearing up to activate the world's first 'clean' commercial nuclear reactor — Ben Turner

Chinese government scientists have unveiled plans for a first-of-its-kind, experimental nuclear reactor that does not need water for cooling.

The molten-salt nuclear reactor, which runs on liquid thorium rather than uranium, is expected to be safer than traditional reactors because the molten salt cools and solidifies quickly when exposed to the air, insulating the thorium, so that any potential leak would spill much less radiation into the surrounding environment compared with leaks from traditional reactors.

The prototype reactor is expected to be completed next month, with the first tests beginning as early as September. This will pave the way for the building of the first commercial reactor, slated for construction by 2030....
Live Science
China is gearing up to activate the world's first 'clean' commercial nuclear reactor
Ben Turner

Wake up, America: The world just isn’t that into you

 To much of the world America looks like a declining power, precisely because it is a declining power

The people with big jobs in Washington came of age in the 1980s and 1990s, when America was the technological marvel of the world, and American inventions created the digital age. We haven’t done a lot lately except code some complicated software.

China has installed about 80% of the world’s 5G mobile broadband capacity, the carrier for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as much as railroads were for the First Industrial Revolution, and is moving much faster towards smart cities, automated ports, autonomous vehicles, self-programming robots and a wealth of other 5G applications.

Asia  Times

Russia Sends Aid to Cuba After Anti-Government Protests

 Russia remembers its old ally, while the US imposes more sanctions.

Russia dispatched nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba, the Defense Ministry said Saturday, following unprecedented street protests over the communist country's worst economic crisis in decades.

The delivery was directly ordered by President Vladimir Putin, it said.

Russia Sends Aid to Cuba After Anti-Government Protests

J. W. Mason — At Age of Economics: How Should an Economist Be?

The website Age of Economics has been carrying out a series of interviews with economists about what the purpose of the discipline it is, and what its relationship is to capitalism as a historical social system. I believe there will be 52 of these interviews, one each week over the course of 2021. Earlier this spring, they interviewed Arjun Jayadev and myself. You can watch video of the interview here. I’ve pasted the transcript below....
J. W. Mason's Blog
At Age of Economics: How Should an Economist Be?
JW Mason | Assistant Professor of Economics, John Jay College, City University of New York

We all move at the Speed of Light

Easily the best video I've seen about Space-time

 Is it possible to go faster than the speed of light? Would this mean going back in time? What is so fundamental about this precise speed?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Yellen warns of default risk by October


Yo, they  just had $700b in their account at the Fed and they can put IOUs in the FERS for a couple hundred $B… there is no hurry… they can spend their account down to zero in several months… and  they don’t need some stupid “coin!” …. they can take the rest of the summer off and worry about this in the fall…

Lars P. Syll — It’s not the debt we need to fix, stupid! It’s our thinking.

The ad nauseam repeated claim that our public debt is excessive and that we have to balance the public budget is nothing but absolute nonsense.
Debt phobia and deficit hysteria have descended into gaslighting.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
It’s not the debt we need to fix, stupid! It’s our thinking.
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

AOC weighs in on “inflation!”


She says currently we have an excessive demand problem and we need to expand import facilities because we can’t import enough to meet current demand … which undermines any present argument for continued general fiscal support… good job…

GOP can just cite her own analysis here in support of fiscal restraint to fight their figurative “inflation!”…

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Net-Zero 2050 May Need Up To $173 Trillion Investments — Tsvetana Paraskova

Where is the money going to come from? (snark)

Actually, the estimate is between 92 and 173 trillion in USD terms over the next 30 years. It is doable but will take concerted effort in a divided world, especially when the US is divided internally on the issues involved. The problem is more political than economic.

Net-Zero 2050 May Need Up To $173 Trillion Investments
Tsvetana Paraskova

Debate about the National Disability Insurance Scheme driven by the usual ‘taxpayer’s money’ arguments — Scott Baum

Today, we have a guest blogger in the guise of Professor Scott Baum from Griffith University who has been one of my regular research colleagues over a long period of time. Today, he is writing about the way the Federal Australian government is starving the National Disability Insurance Scheme of funding. The usual arguments are being used – ‘taxpayer’s funds’ are in short supply – which seriously undermine the future for thousands of people with disabilities. The NDIS is the national structure that supports people with disabilities to increase their capacity to participate in employment and provide opportunities for them to so....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Debate about the National Disability Insurance Scheme driven by the usual ‘taxpayer’s money’ arguments
Scott Baum, Professor of Urban and Regional Analysis, School of Environment and the Cities Research Institute, Griffith University

Debt Ceiling


GOPer Flimsy Graham putting Social Security and Medicare on the table now … that ought to help loosen things up…  this going to be wild…

Biden allays “inflation!” fears


Boy I bet all the bond bear inflationista assholes are going to be running for the hills now….  :p

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

5 Wild New Ways To Generate Energy — Alex Kiman

Not economically feasible — yet. The point is that serious people are working on this and funds are being invested.

Widespread recognition of the need for going green could change things quickly.

My new podcast is here.

Meet Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of — Whitney Webb

Longish and detailed. According to Whitney Webb, Toka is far worse that NSO, which targets only smartphones, whereas Toka targets a range of devices. Links in the article provide documentation.

Meet Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of
Whitney Webb

Moon of Alabama — Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

It's over. It's pretty clear that German business interests won although MA doesn't draw that conclusion directly. US opposition was clearly anti-competitive.

Moon of Alabama
Russia And Germany Win War Over Nord Stream 2

KV - Nice Pics 12

The staircase of the Museum of Czech Cubism in Prague, at the Black Madonna Building, has a curious shape, like a light bulb.

Penmon Point Lighthouse, Anglesey, Wales, UK

Trwyn Du Lighthouse, also known as Penmon Lighthouse, is a lighthouse between Black Point near Penmon and Ynys Seiriol, or Puffin Island, at the eastern extremity of Anglesey, marking the passage between the two islands.

Nuclear Ship, Savannah, Control Room

Bridge and engine order Telegraph-aboard RMS Queen Mary

Baroque library hall, Klementinum, Prague. 

Cart lift at abandoned coal mine in Germany.


Vintage French art deco fairground bumper cars

Chromata Santorini Hotel, Greece. 

Hearst Castle Roman Pool, California

What if America Delists Chinese Firms? — Shang-Jin Wei

A recent flurry of official measures in both China and the United States suggests that the two governments are not keen on Chinese firms retaining their US stock-market listings. Moreover, the effects of delisting these often fast-growing companies may be easily manageable for both countries....
Project Syndicate
What if America Delists Chinese Firms?
Shang-Jin Wei, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

The Basic Income Illusion — NeilW

Basic income is a monetary illusion. Here’s how the trick is done and why it always fails....

Why the JG is superior to a BI. Basically, a JG increases productivity, offsetting resource use, whereas a BI does not. It's a matter of contribution to the economy — give and take — versus take only.

Neil also makes the important point that rights entail corresponding responsibilities and emphasis on rights alone is a perversion of liberalism. 

New Wayland
The Basic Income Illusion

The Putin Doctrine? How the Ideas of a 20th Century Thinker Ostracized by the Soviets Help to Shape Russia’s New Foreign Policy — Piotr Dutkiewicz

Analysis of "the Putin doctrine" of international relations based on civilizational framing of multipolarism.

Valdai Analytics
The Putin Doctrine? How the Ideas of a 20th Century Thinker Ostracized by the Soviets Help to Shape Russia’s New Foreign Policy
Piotr Dutkiewicz

See also

The Unz Review
Many Interesting Developments in Russia
The Saker

Rand Paul v Fauci

Big Socratic dialog yesterday between these two non science trained people… Bannon and Navarro provide a post fight breakdown…

China is still a long way from being a superpower

 Beijing may lack the ambition needed to develop a global military presence that rivals the US

China is an economic power-house, but they may find it to be too much of a burden and too expensive to be a world superpower. When you look at how they are revamping their country, who wouldn't be more tempted to spend the money on themselves and have a nice environment to live, rather than having the world's biggest military many times over. 

China has not fought a war since it clashed with Vietnam in 1979 and boasts of its “peaceful rise”. Unlike the US, Beijing has also historically been very reluctant to promise to defend its friends and allies. China has only one overseas military base in Djibouti in east Africa, compared with hundreds of US military facilities overseas.

Financial Times

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Bill Mitchell — British House of Lords having conniptions about QE – a sedative and a lie down is indicated

When I studied British politics (as one unit in a politics minor) at university, I was bemused by the role of the House of Lords. I know it is a curiously British institution that would be hardly tolerated anywhere else. But the fact that it serves as a part of the British democratic system continues to amaze me. Recently, the Economic Affairs Committee has been investigating (if that is what they get up to) Quantitative Easing because, apparently, some of the peers were worried about the “operational independence” of the Bank of England and the “economic effects” (read: inflation fears) among other concerns. They published their first report last week (July 16, 2021) – 1st Report – Quantitative easing: a dangerous addiction? – and it is littered with errors. The government has until September 16, 2021. The reply does not have to be long – they could just submit this blog post and get on doing things that matter, although the Tories are currently finding it hard to get their head around that essential task at the moment....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
British House of Lords having conniptions about QE – a sedative and a lie down is indicated
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Children should start drinking tea aged four to combat obesity and stress, study finds

 Although caffeine is a stimulant, it actually relaxes people, a study showed. Caffeine directly boosts cortisol, but the relaxation it induces lowers it. This research was done on regular tea drinkers, though, who may get stressed without their caffeine fix, so more research is needed. 

I first started drinking tea and coffee at about the age of 7 to 8, and I never noticed the caffeine. 

Drinking tea from the age of four helps children to combat obesity, stress and heart disease, according to a new study.

It also found that the benefits of a daily cup of tea include reducing the risk of stroke among elderly people and acting as a substitute for sugary drinks.

Compounds such as flavonoid phenolics, L-theanine and caffeine, which helps with concentration and cognitive function, can be found in both green and black tea.

The Independent 

Children should start drinking tea aged four to combat obesity and stress, study finds

George Monbiot Tweet on Libertarianism

 I thought it was spot on! 

The libertarianism that says "I should do what I like, regardless of the impact on others" is the worldview of the toddler. Of someone who has not yet learned that the world doesn't revolve around them.

Yet we have elected people with this extreme form of arrested development.

Ayn Rand's "philosophy", of which @sajidjavid is a proud disciple, is exactly this: the angry wail of a giant toddler, demanding to have everything, in both fists.

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Problem With White Feminism | Opinion

 Spread wars all over the world, grab the resources, then say you are protecting women. The Liberal internationalists. 

Photos before US war in Afghanistan and after.

In the U.S., 58% of all women living in poverty are women of color. It’s why author Rafia Zakaria, who lived in a shelter in the U.S. as a single mother, believes “putting the fangs back in feminism is a very urgent project.” In her new book “Against White Feminism,” she urges for transformative change. From the so-called war on terror to “girl boss”: Is feminism for all?

Nike sweatshops: inside the scandal

There is plenty of propaganda and fake news in the MSM about Uyghur forced labour in the Xinglian region of China, but the evidence of Nike exploitating its workers is mainly ignored. 

 After it emerged in the 90s that Nike's factory workers were allegedly toiling in inhumane conditions, the company pledged to fix things. But has anything changed?

According to the ethical clothing advocacy group Good On You, Nike is certified under the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct. But a 2018 report by the Clean Clothes Campaign, found that Adidas and Nike still pay “poverty” wages to workers. The report called on both Nike and Adidas to commit to paying "living" wages (the amount of income needed to provide a decent standard of living) to its workers.

With an annual revenue of over $US30 billion it should be able to afford it.

New Idea

Nike sweatshops: inside the scandal

Nike claims to have improved things since this film was made, but by how much? 

 Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh

Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh is the ultimate video for exploring the sweatshop issue. Using Nike as a case study, the film documents first hand the widespread and oppressive and exploitative labor practices in the developing world.

How monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

I loved the game Monopoly the first few times I played it when I was a boy, and with all those fancy little houses and hotels it was kind of magical. But I soon learned to not like it so much as it was a slow, drawn out, painful death most of the time. 

The purpose of the dual sets of rules, said Magie, was for players to experience a 'practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences' and hence to understand how different approaches to property ownership can lead to vastly different social outcomes. 'It might well have been called “The Game of Life",' remarked Magie, 'as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seems to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.'

Once the game's true origins came to light, Parker Brothers bought up Magie's patent, but then re-launched the board game simply as Monopoly, and provided the eager public with just one set of rules: those that celebrate the triumph of one over all. Worse, they marketed it along with the claim that the game's inventor was Darrow, who they said had dreamed it up in the 1930s, sold it to Parker Brothers, and become a millionaire. It was a rags-to-riches fabrication that ironically exemplified Monopoly's implicit values: chase wealth and crush your opponents if you want to come out on top.


How monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

Primer: Core And Median CPI Justification — Brian Romanchuk

One practice of economists that draws a lot of complaints is the use of subsets of the consumer price indices. Most commonly it is core CPI – excluding food and energy – although there are fancier measures like median CPI (which I describe below). Meanwhile, if a component of the CPI rises a lot in a month, commentary will often state things like “if we exclude {whatever had a price spike}, then CPI increased by only 0.2% on the month, instead of 0.5%.” (As should be expected, complaints are only about excluding items that rose quickly, everybody is happy to throw away the effects of items that fall rapidly in price.)...
Bond Economics
Primer: Core And Median CPI Justification
Brian Romanchuk

"Saints and sinners." Heresthetics as political art. — Haydar Khan

Structuring the world so you can win. This sounds like sorcery, but in politics there is a phenomenon known among the social scientists as heresthetics, and it has been with us for centuries. It paved the way for an Illinois senator named Abraham Lincoln to achieve the presidency. Closer to our time, oligarchs deploy the techniques of heresthetics as they seek to strangle the United States Postal Service. Militant libertarians, not to be left out, use it to cripple the very machinery of the United States government.

This art, black or otherwise, can have profound ramifications when wielded effectively. Let us understand this phenom called heresthetics: It has a lot to do with the way America’s political life proceeds....
The Scrum
"Saints and sinners." Heresthetics as political art.
Haydar Khan

3 Companies Now Make Up 50% of U.S. Ad Revenues — Aran Ali

  • Collectively, Amazon, Facebook, and Google make over $112 billion in advertising revenues
  • Two-thirds of ads in the U.S. are now digital
Visual Capitalist

US-China: Geoeconomics Tussle — Abu Hurrairah

Geo-economics based "competition" — for power through economic means.

US-China: Geoeconomics Tussle
Abu Hurrairah

Biden Revises US Sanctions Policy — Ivan Timofeev

The new guidelines for the US sanctions policy include the development of targeted sanctions, a more serious analysis of their economic costs for American business, as well as business from allied and partner countries and, finally, closer coordination with allies, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Ivan Timofeev....
Valdai Club
Biden Revises US Sanctions Policy
Ivan Timofeev, Valdai Club Programme Director

How Monopoly Was Invented to Demonstrate the Evils of Capitalism — Kate Raworth

The game’s little-known inventor, Elizabeth Magie, would no doubt have made herself go directly to jail if she’d lived to know just how influential today’s twisted version of her game has turned out to be. Why? Because it encourages its players to celebrate exactly the opposite values to those she intended to champion.
Naked Capitalism
How Monopoly Was Invented to Demonstrate the Evils of Capitalism
Kate Raworth, senior visiting research associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and senior associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Bill Mitchell — Reading Beardsley Ruml carefully

Many social media commentators that have become interested in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) regularly cite sections of the article written by businessman and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Beardsley Ruml – Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete – which appeared in the January 1946 edition of the American Affairs journal. The article was actually a speech that he made “before the American Bar Association during the last year of the war”. Some claim that the content provides an early underpinning for Chartalism, upon with MMT is, in part, derived. I disagree. If you read his work carefully, rather than selectively quoting convenient sentences, and, that work includes his more substantial book that was published in 1945 and from which the article cited above was derived, you would get no MMT succour. He was basically lobbying for zero corporate taxation and he expressed rather orthodox views about fiscal policy at the time, which are very non-MMT in substance.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Reading Beardsley Ruml carefully
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Dominic Frisby - Why Houses Cost So Much - And What To Do About It

 Dominic Frisby is a bit of a libertarian and a populist, but he has some good points about the causes of house price inflation here in the UK, and probably in many other countries too. 

Dominic Frisby - Why Houses Cost So Much - And What To Do About It

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Latest RussiaGate HOAX Hilariously Exposed!

The Guardian is trying its best to keep this story going.


Latest RussiaGate HOAX Hilariously Exposed!

Billionaire Ethereum co-founder says he is quitting the world of cryptocurrency due to personal safety concerns

 The underworld! There's some seriously evil people is this world, and it's best to keep well clear of them. 

I read recently how the hacking business has changed, which I should have posted here. Hackers now design software not to use themselves, but to sell to less experienced hackers, who are prepared to take the risks, but it lowers the risk all around. 

Crypto has been linked to a series of security issues, with a boom in kidnappings of wealthy individuals followed by the criminals demanding payment of the ransom in digital money.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the largest ransomware attack on record breached the systems of US software firm Kaseya, in turn infecting the computers of 1million companies on virtually every continent. 

Swedish grocery stores, schools in New Zealand, and two major Dutch IT firms were among the victims of hacking group REvil which launched its attack on July 2. 

Kaseya says just a few dozen of its customers were directly affected by the attack, but knock-on effects have brought down firms in 17 countries including US and the UK - with one expert saying the attack is 'unprecedented' in its scale and sophistication.

The Daily Mail 

Billionaire Ethereum co-founder says he is quitting the world of cryptocurrency due to personal safety concerns

KSI says he made £7m in cryptocurrency investment but ‘lost it all’ because of Bitcoin crash

 YouTube star and rapper invested less than a year ago

KSI says he is still enthusiastic about Bitcoin. 

KSI has revealed he lost a staggering amount of money due to the Bitcoin crash.

He continued: “Well, I say Bitcoin. I put [in] £2m last year – November, December – but this was into cryptocurrencies. I made £7m and now I’ve lost it all. It’s mental.

The Independent