Monday, January 31, 2022

The Alarm Surrounding The National Debt Is Misguided — Warren Mosler

Short summary of how government finance works as only Warren can state it.

The Daily Caller — Opinion
MOSLER: The Alarm Surrounding The National Debt Is Misguided
Warren Mosler

Links — 31 Jan 2022 AM

New Statesman (pivot to Asia on hold?)
Ukraine crisis forces Biden to rethink foreign policy goals 
Emily Tamkin

The Vineyard of the Saker (staged false flag)
Virtual Ukrainian invasion virtually imminent 
Lilia Shumkova for the Saker blog

How to break the Ukrainian trap? (false flag)
Vladislav Shurigin

Strategic Culture Foundation (Bush-Blair redux?)
Of UK and Ukraine
New Strait Times Jan 24

Peoples Dispatch (disinformation campaign)
Stop the war posturing – Ukraine is a tinderbox
Ben Chacko

China sees no threat to int’l security in situation around Ukraine — UN envoy

Russia’s security concerns must be taken into account — China’s ambassador to UN

Pravda Report (Russian private media*)
Russia to arm herself to the teeth with most advanced arms systems in 2022
* The Pravda paper is today run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, whereas the online is privately owned and has international editions published in Russian, English, French and Portuguese. — Wikipedia.

Big Tech Must Stop Hiding — Mariana Mazzucato and Ilan Straus

A major reason why Big Tech firms have achieved such scale and become the gatekeepers to entire markets is that they have been able to obscure most of their financial and operating data. There are obvious steps that regulators can take to close the reporting loopholes that the industry has been exploiting....
Project Syndicate
Big Tech Must Stop Hiding
Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London and Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, and Ilan Strauss is a research associate at the University College London Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Expectations Explain The Secular Collapse In Treasury Yields. Deal With It. — Brian Romanchuk

One of my long-running sources of rants is the inability of economics and financial commentators to come to grips with the basics of Treasury valuation. Rate expectations is a relatively simple concept that is the core of all modern fixed income pricing frameworks. Hellfire, it’s even embedded into DSGE models. Nevertheless, academics and other sophisticated commentators keep attempting to put lipstick on the pigs that are alternative explanations for the secular decline in Treasury yields....

How We Broke the Supply Chain — David Dayen, Rakeen Mabud

Rampant outsourcing, financialization, monopolization, deregulation, and just-in-time logistics are the culprits.

Emphasizing efficiency (for increasing profit) over resilience (safety). 

American Prospect
How We Broke the Supply Chain
David Dayen, Rakeen Mabud

Bill Mitchell — Income support for children improves brain development

When I first came up with the idea of a buffer stock employment approach to maintain full employment and discipline the inflationary process (back in 1978), the literature on guaranteed incomes was still in its infancy. The idea of a basic income guarantee was still mostly constructed within the framework Milton Friedman had laid out in his negative income tax approach, which I first came across when reading his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, while I was an undergraduate. I wasn’t taken with the idea and the preferred an approach to income security that not only integrated job security but also had a built-in inflation anchor. When I developed that idea, inflation was still conceived of the main problem and governments were fast abandoning full employment commitments because mainstream economists told them TINA. I thought otherwise. However, as I developed the buffer stock approach further in the 1990s as part of the first work that we now call Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), nuances about additional cash transfers became part of our approach. I refined those ideas in work I did developing a minimum wage framework for the South African government in 2008. I was reminded of all this when I read a report in New Scientist last week (January 24, 2022) – Giving low-income US families $4000 a year boosts child brain activity. Some might think this justifies the BIG approach, whereas it strengthens the case for a multi-dimensional – Job Guarantee....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Income support for children improves brain development
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Links — 30 Jan 2022 PM

One World (no bases in the works)
Analyzing The Media Hype About Alleged Russian Bases In Latin America
Andrew Korybko

Sputnik International (going there)
US Conducts Nuclear Weapons Use War Games Amid Continuing Tensions With Russia Over Ukraine

Ukraine deploys special operations forces to contact line in Donbass - LPR

Dissident Voice
Who Are We Arming and Supporting in Ukraine?
P.A. Day

$90 Oil Is Only The Beginning
Irina Slav

Energy Bulletin ("we waited too long")
Fossil fuels vs climate action: A not-so-hidden dilemma
Kurt Cobb

The Hill (priming the pump)
Trump calls for 'biggest protest we've ever had' if prosecutors 'do anything illegal' in targeting him
Olafimihan Oshin

Links — 30 Jan 2022 AM

Russia and the Collective West: What Comes Next? (Russia keeps them guessing. Nerves cracking.)
Gilbert Doctorow

India Punchline ("If you are not with us, you are against us.")
US reminds India it’s showtime
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

RT (there are no such plans. Russia has not assembled an invasion force.)

Defend Democracy (this is what the Russian "invasion force" is designed to deter.)
Kiev actively gearing up to resolve Donbass conflict through use of force, DPR says

Moon of Alabama (reminiscent of Russiagate)
British Government Laundered Fake U.S. 'Intelligence' On Ukraine

Biden Should Defend US Border Instead of ‘Obsessing’ Over Ukraine, Trump Says

Crooks and LIars
Trump Desperate To See Riots In DC, Atlanta, And NYC
Red Painter

Crooked Timber (is the US returning to the Reconstruction era?)
The end of American democracy is unimaginable
John Quiggin | Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government

Sputnik International (talk about bad optics for NZ)
Pregnant Kiwi Journalist Barred From Re-Entering New Zealand, Offered Refuge by Taliban

Dances with Bears ("At the point of no retreat, words no longer count. Only force.")
John Helmer

RT ("NATO is developing the capacity for devastating nuclear strikes against Russia")
Russia warns of NATO nuclear threat
Oilprice (Russia's output would head to Asia. Prices in the West would rise.)
How Would A Russian Incursion Impact Commodities?
Ag Metal Miner

Turcopolier (sanctions useless. Russia-China too big for sanctions to work. They will just take advantage of the opportunity to develop workarounds. What the West loses will never come back.)
“China will impede vital US strategy to stop Ukraine-Russia conflict: Former defense official”
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

bneIntelliNews (US and UK isolating themselves. Oh, and follow the money.)
Ukraine – no war today, and probably none in future
Gav Don /

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Links — 29 Jan 2022 PM

And They Complain About Russian Disinformation!
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

The Vineyard of the Saker
The Great Western Wall vs Snow Niggers
The Saker

The Unz Review
Is Washington Under Alien Control?
Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, now Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Europe may damage itself if it tries to unplug Russia from SWIFT - Germany’s CDU leader

Richard Medhurst Tweet - Raytheon CEA

Raytheon CEO on the prospect of war in Yemen, China and Eastern Europe. Biden's Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was a board member at Raytheon until last year. You don't have to be a genius to figure out that these people make foreign policy decisions based on how much money it will bring in -- not because of "global security" or "defense". [Medhurst] 

"I fully expect we're going to see some benefit from it."

BRYCE GREENE - What You Should Really Know About Ukraine

 The Washington Post asked: “Why is there tension between Russia and Ukraine?” Its answer:

In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. A month later, war erupted between Russian-allied separatists and Ukraine’s military in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The United Nations human rights office estimates that more than 13,000 people have been killed.

 But that account is highly misleading, because it leaves out the crucial role the US has played in escalating tensions in the region. In nearly every case we looked at, the reports omitted the US’s extensive role in the 2014 coup that preceded Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Focusing on the latter part only serves to manufacture consent for US intervention abroad.

The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations.

A key tool for this has been the International Monetary Fund, which leverages aid loans to push governments to adopt policies friendly to foreign investors. The IMF is funded by and represents Western financial capital and governments and has been at the forefront of efforts to reshape economies around the world for decades, often with disastrous results. The civil war in Yemen and the coup in Bolivia both followed a rejection of IMF terms.


What You Should Really Know About Ukraine

Jon Stewart Is Not a Monkey — Stephanie Kelton

Last week, Jon Stewart recorded a podcast with the former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Thomas Hoenig. The conversation drew a lot of attention on so-called “finance twitter” (#FinTwit), where lots of folks piled on to ridicule Hoenig for arguing that monetary policy has been a major driver of inequality over the last decade or so. But the part of the conversation that really went viral had to do with money—where it comes from—and government debt.…
Stephanie Kelton and Rohan Grey comment on the podcast debate between Jon Stewart and Tom Hoenig. Applied MMT.

The Lens
Stephanie Kelton | Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Stony Brook University, formerly Democrats' chief economist on the staff of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, and an economic adviser to the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders

Links — 29 Jan 2022 AM

Energy Intelligence (good analysis of the moves on the board)
Russia Moves Toward Checkmate on Ukraine
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

Defense One (strategy)
Russia Is Teaching a Master Class in ‘Decision-Centric' Warfare
Dan Patt and Bryan Clark | Hudson Institute

The Hill (everyone else seems to believe they can read Putin's mind)
Kirby: 'It's really unclear' what Putin's thinking amid rising Russia-Ukraine tensions
Caroline Vakil

War on the Rocks (“Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation.”)

Zero Hedge (surprise–countries pursue their own national interests)
NATO Row Erupts As Latvia Blasts Germany's "Immoral & Hypocritical" Russia, China Ties
Tyler Durden

Interfax/Ukraine (calling BS on disinformation)
Ukrainian Defense Ministry calls messages about Moscow sending medical materials to border with Ukraine information and psychological warfare

Sputnik International (imperial overreach becoming obvious?)
Ukraine's Dilemma: How US & NATO Are Beating the Drums For a War They Are Unwilling to Fight In

The Vineyard of the Saker (longish and detailed)
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with radio stations, January 28, 2022
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Sputnik, Echo of Moscow, Govorit Moskva and Komsomolskaya Pravda radio stations, Moscow, January 28, 2022

China Sitrep: Cookies, Lil’Blinky and The Pain Dial (Russia and China take the gloves off. US shocked.)

AntiWar (putting the US on notice)
Chinese Ambassador Warns Increasing US Ties With Taiwan Could Lead to War
Dave DeCamp

Moon of Alabama (satire)
China, Where Everything Vanishes

Kazakhstan’s unrest was masterminded by professionals, President Tokayev says

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science (about as bad as it gets)
Fools at the Hoover Institution: The gift that keeps on giving
Andrew Gelman | Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center, Columbia University

China is helping Nicaragua’s Sandinista gov’t build houses for poor people

 China signed an agreement with Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government to build thousands of homes for poor and working families, expanding the already existing Bismarck Martínez public housing program.

Although Nicaragua is a small country of roughly 6.5 million people, with very few resources as the second-least rich country in the western hemisphere, its leftist Sandinista government has dedicated itself to creating ambitious social programs, including free universal healthcare and education, jobs training, and poverty alleviation initiatives.

LAURENCE KOTLIKOFF - Invite Russia to join NATO

This would be an amazing development! It would be wonderful to bring the Russians back in from out of the cold. I do see them as European, although it's a vast country with a large non-European section. It would bring prosperity and peace, leaving us to spend our resources fighting climate change instead. I just hope such an alliance won't be used to isolate China, which was the Trump's administration plan. 

Once Russia is a NATO member, its fear of encirclement will dissipate. Moreover, it will be obligated to peacefully resolve its conflicts with Ukraine. Indeed, it can help enroll Ukraine into its new club — NATO. Russia should also, over time, be invited to join the European Union. 

LAURENCE KOTLIKOFF - Invite Russia to join NATO

Social Identity Theory

The SIT (Tajfel and Turner, 1979) provides a framework for understanding when members of disadvantaged groups will accept their current low status, take individual action to improve their personal position, or take collective action to improve the status of their entire group.

It answers some of the dilemma that I pointed out in the comments under the Yanis Varoufakis post. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Links — 28 Jan 2022 PM

Russia Observer
Patrick Armstrong

India Punchline
Russia’s ‘asymmetrical’ war over Ukraine
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

The Vineyard of the Saker
Panic and chaos is clearly stetting in as the West fears peace above all else
The Saker

Zero Hedge
#ReleaseTheTranscript Trends After Biden-Ukraine Phone Call Malarkey
Tyler Durden

The American Conservative
Washington’s German Dilemma
Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.), senior fellow with The American Conservative and former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration

Gilbert Doctorow — International relations, Russian affairs
The pro-detente position of Willy Brandt’s ‘Ostpolitik” still is alive and finding its voice in Germany today
Gilbert Doctorow

Dissident Voice
The Biden Presidency and the Specter of a Third World War
Nauman Sadiq

Joe Lauria

Trump calls Ukraine situation a ‘European problem’

Ukraine won’t get any US combat troops, Pentagon says

People's Dispatch
The global links of the recent escalation in Yemen conflict
Abdul Rahman

Internationalist 360º
NATO Spreads Fascism to Further Military Buildup in New Cold War
Ranier Shea

Zero Hedge
Oaktree Threatens Rift With China After Seizing Evergrande's Prized "Versailles" Plot, Derailing Massive Restructuring Plan
Tyler Durden

Common Dreams
'Time to Rebuild This Nation': Fetterman Speaks Out After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse
Brett Wilkins

Prof Yanis Varoufakis on Modern Monetary Theory and the Job Guarantee Program - 13 Aug 2020

I've looked around the internet and Yanis Varoufakis does appear to endorce MMT, but he has concerns that the bankers will abuse it, adding that this is why they are so enthusiastic about it. He also says it can be used used for investment and to create jobs. But I will agree, he doesn't seem to be all that excited about it. 

I've put this up for discussion. Thoughts below please. 

Yanis Varoufakis on MMT

Links — 28 Jan 2022 AM

Naked Capitalism
Navigating Russia/Ukraine Warmongering Disinformation
Yves Smith

Moon of Alabama
Why Washington Will Soon Dump Ukraine's President Zelensky
Sputnik International
China Welcomes Upcoming UN Rights Chief's Visit to Xinjiang Region

EU, UK Reportedly Preparing Sanctions Against New Russian Gas Projects

Putin to discuss Russia-US dialogue with China’s Xi Jinping — spokesman

Russia won’t change its position on security guarantees, no room for compromise — Lavrov

More US sanctions to be equivalent to severing of relations — Lavrov

Medvedev slams Kazakhstan unrest as attempted color revolution

Ukrainian military, US advisers draft plan for offensive in Donbass — Donetsk

US could have turned Afghanistan into blooming garden if it tried, says Medvedev

NATO practices nuclear missile sorties near Union State borders — Belarus’ security chief

Russia, Ukraine need peace; US, Europe do not need nuclear war — Duma speaker

Defend Democracy Press (thinking the unthinkable)
Is a Nuclear War in Europe probable?
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Middle East Eye
Iran nuclear talks: Russia's negotiator rubbing Tehran up the wrong way
Waqar K. Kauravi, Adeela Naureen, Umar Waqar

Zero Hedge (Russia adopting some of the tools of the Empire?)
Ukraine Says "Destabilization" Worse Than A Potential Invasion, Benefits Russia
Tyler Durden

Confidence In US Govt Policies At Lowest Since 2014; UMich Survey
Tyler Durden

Biden Team Briefs Wall Street Banks On Looming Russia Sanctions, Including 'Nuclear Option'
Tyler Durden

Internationalist 360º
The Vast Anti-Russian Psyop Campaign That’s Brought Us to the Brink of Nuclear War
Rainer Shea

Common Dreams
Lavrov Says 'There Will Be No War' With Ukraine Unless US Escalates
Julia Conley

[Data for Progress] Poll: Voters Support Biden Striking a Deal with Russia to Avoid War in Ukraine

RT (fake news as violation of human rights)
Pope warns of growing ‘infodemic’


Why Repressive Qatar Broadcasts Progressive TV

Al Jazeera is very liberal and progressive, while Qatar, its owner, is very repressive and conservative. But Al Jazeera's purpose is to paint a positive image for Qatar all around the world. 

Al Jazeera promotes democracy and civil rights in other countries, while Qatar itself is very repressive at home. 

Al Jazeera is still a bit of a mystery.


Why have the US and the UK chosen to whip up a massive campaign against a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, that makes no sense in mid-winter against a well-equipped and fiercely patriotic Ukraine?

My brother texted me in anger, saying about how Putin was going to invade Europe. Now, I do keep my brother informed about things, so can you imagine what most other people in Britain are thinking. It is even being said that Putin may invade Sweden. The Media have managed to paint Putin as a Dr No, or Goldfinger, who is so evil that he plans to take over the world for no other reason other than he is evil. It's alarming at how easily this propaganda is believed, which does not have to be sophisticated at all. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Oilprice on energy

U.S. Natural Gas Prices Climb Most Ever In Single Day
Julianne Geiger

U.S. Admits Finding Non-Russian Gas For Europe Is A Challenge
Tsvetana Paraskova

Goldman: Ukraine Conflict Could Double EU Natural Gas Prices

Oil Rally Fueled By OPEC Production Shortfall
Irina Slav

Oil Flirts With $91 Amid Fear Of Russia-Ukraine Conflict
Tsvetana Paraskova
Tsvetana Paraskova

AJ+ - How The Threat Of China Was Made In The USA

Bad, bad, China! It's pounded into us everyday. AJ+ are going to do a series about China. 

China is bad. At least, that's what even a glance of U.S. reporting on China tells us. It’s a way of reporting that follows a long history of constructing the Chinese — in news, popular culture and the halls of DC — as a threat. In the first episode of Backspace, a new media critique series from AJ+, Sana Saeed explores what China and the Chinese have looked like in the American imagination, how that impacts and is impacted by U.S. immigration and foreign policies, and ways we can retell that story.

Moon of Alabama — ICAO Report - Ryanair Plane That Landed in Minsk Was NOT Forced Down

This is a fairly complicated matter and "b" has followed it closely all long. He provides the latest analysis based on the recently released report. This may be more than you want to know about it. The takeaway is that the propaganda against Belarus is partially contradicted and the rest left unsubstantiated.

Moon of Alabama
ICAO Report - Ryanair Plane That Landed in Minsk Was NOT Forced Down

America’s Armed ‘Sentinel State’ Encirclement — Alastair Crooke

 The key to China’s security riposte to the U.S. is linked to two words that go unstated in U.S. formal policy documents, but whose silent presence nevertheless suffuses and colour-washes the text of the 2022 National Defence Authorisation Act.

The term ‘containment’ never appears, neither does the word ‘encirclement’. Yet, as Professor Michael Klare writes, the Act “provides a detailed blueprint for surrounding China with a potentially suffocating network of U.S. bases, military forces, and increasingly militarized partner states. The goal is to enable Washington to barricade that country’s military inside its own territory; and potentially to cripple its economy in any future crisis”.

What the earlier patchwork of U.S. China measures lacked, until now, has been an overarching plan for curbing China’s rise, and so ensuring America’s permanent supremacy in the Indo-Pacific region: “The authors of this year’s NDAA” however, “were remarkably focused on this deficiency, and several provisions of the bill are designed to provide just such a master plan”.…

The ‘war’ to break containment and encirclement is already underway....

Strategic Culture Foundation
America’s Armed ‘Sentinel State’ Encirclement
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy


"National security" = economic warfare.

Zero Hedge
FCC Bars China Unicom From Operating In US After Lengthy National Security Review
Tyler Durden

Now is the time to give time to time — The Saker

Short piece that says don't rush to judgment. Uncertainty prevails. Wait and see.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Now is the time to give time to time
The Saker

Central Bank Confusion — Brian Romanchuk

Most people are quite reasonably not concerned about economic theory disputes most of the time. But one needs to keep them in mind when keeping up with the latest events.

Whenever you are reading commentaries about central banking outlooks, you need to ask yourself: are the people in the discussions using any of the mathematical models that the literally thousands of neoclassical doctorates employed by the central banks produced? If not, what exactly was the point of them? Why is it so important that MMT have lots of mathematical models of the economy (keeping in mind that critics ignore the ones that exist) when nobody even refers to the ones that are supposed to be relevant?

Admittedly, one might not expect equity or credit analysts (or gold bugs) to keep up with DSGE modelling, but rates analysts — the primary target for rates discussions, allegedly — almost all have science/mathematical doctorates from fancy universities. If the models worked, the technical audience to use them is there. However, the only people interested in those models are those whose credentials are tied to the production of said models, which is not encouraging.…
Bond Economics
Central Bank Confusion
Brian Romanchuk

A Government Study Shows that Wall Street Megabanks Have Dramatically Shifted their Derivative Exposure to Corporations — Pam and Russ Martens

The last thing a volatile stock market needs right now is more surprises from the dark corners of Wall Street. Unfortunately, we can guarantee you that more surprises are coming in the way of uncleared derivatives blowing up on the balance sheets of publicly-traded corporations.

How do we know this? The information in the chart above comes from a study quietly released last July by the Office of Financial Research (OFR). That’s the federal agency that provides research to bank regulators to prevent systemic financial contagion from taking down the Wall Street megabanks and the U.S. economy in another replay of 2008.

What the study actually shows, however, is that neither Congress nor bank regulators have done anything meaningful to prevent derivatives from once again blowing up the world’s largest economy. Instead, the watchdogs have simply allowed a rearrangement of the deck shares on the Titanic. While Wall Street megabanks previously concentrated their counterparty risk with each other and foreign global banks, necessitating that the Fed had to bail out dodgy banks on foreign shores, they’ve now shifted their counterparty risk to corporations....
Another game of musical chairs?

Wall Street On Parade
A Government Study Shows that Wall Street Megabanks Have Dramatically Shifted their Derivative Exposure to Corporations
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Bill Mitchell — Natural climate solutions – code for financialisation of nature and profits for capital

I re-read a consulting report from May 2021 – Nature and Net Zero – which was commissioned by the World Economic Forum and prepared by a management consulting company. One of those consulting companies that exemplifies the neoliberal era where everything and anything is classified in terms of its financial value or corporate value and the company’s grand visions for nations amount to little more than transferring massive amounts of public money into their coffers for blueprints about privatising public wealth and skating over local citizens’ rights in their haste to financialise the world. The report is no different really and represents everything that is wrong with the way the elites in the world are taking over the ‘green transition’ agenda and reconfiguring it to suit their own ends – profits and control....
The real issue is that there is no way to address climate change seriously without completely reconfiguring the world system and that is just not going to happen.

It's those who are now young and the oncoming generations that will pay the price. The sixth extinction is already in progress. 

Culling coming. As this realization solidifies, there will be intense competition to survive, making co-operation in addressing the issues impossible.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Natural climate solutions – code for financialisation of nature and profits for capital
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Putin’s Aims in Ukraine — Jack Matlock

We often hear the allegation that Russian President Vladimir Putin aspires to “re-create the USSR.” That is an absurd allegation. He has been quoted as saying that “anyone who does not regret the breakup of the Soviet Union has no heart; anyone who would wish to recreate it has no brain.” But even if that should be his dream, it would be, practically speaking, totally impossible to bring about.

So what is his aim–in general and specifically in regard to Ukraine? Richard Sakwa has published an insightful article in The Spectator on January 26, 2022. His conclusion is that “to protect its own security, Russia desires a neutral, friendly, multilingual Ukraine.” That is also my understanding of the current Russian desire....
Putin’s Aims in Ukraine
Jack Matlock, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union

REFEED: Lavrov gives statement following US response to Moscow security demands — The Saker

US sidestepped most important issue — NATO expansion.

The Vineyard of the Saker
REFEED: Lavrov gives statement following US response to Moscow security demands
The Saker


Sputnik International
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Gives Statement on US Response to Moscow Security Proposals


Press review: US nixes Russian demands not to expand NATO and Biden eyes sanctioning Putin

My excellent Conversation with the excellent Stewart Brand — Tyler Cowen

Here is the audio, transcript, and video, here is part of the CWT summary:
Tyler and Stewart discuss what drives his curiosity, including the ways in which he’s a product of the Cold War, how he became a Darwinian decentralist, the effects of pre-industrial America on his thought, the subcultural convergences between hippies and younger American Indians, why he doesn’t think humans will be going to the stars, his two-minded approach to unexplained phenomena, how L.L. Bean inspired the Whole Earth Catalog, why Silicon Valley entrepreneurs don’t seem interested in the visual arts, why L.A. could not have been the home of hippie culture and digital innovation, what libertarians don’t understand about government, why we should bring back woolly mammoths, why he’s now focused on maintenance and institutions, and more..…
If you were around then.

Marginal Revolution
My excellent Conversation with the excellent Stewart Brand
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Bruegel — Can Europe survive painlessly without Russian gas?

Longish analysis that goes into the details. Here is the summary.

Until the summer, the EU would likely be able to survive large-scale disruption to Russian gas supplies, based on a combination of increased LNG imports (to the limited extent this is technically possible) and demand-side measures such as industrial gas curtailments. However, this would come at a cost for the EU economy and might even result in some countries (those more exposed to Russian gas and less interconnected with other EU countries) having to take emergency measures.

But, should a halt of Russian gas be prolonged into the next winters, it would be more difficult for the EU to cope. On the supply side some spare import capacity is available but reaching the scale required to entirely replace Russian volumes would be at best very expensive, and at worst physically impossible. Limiting factors include global liquefaction capacity constraints, existing obligations in the current LNG market and commercial opportunity considerations in producing countries in relation to diverting shipments away from Asia. There would also be pricing implications and second-round effects on the poorest countries. The EU would thus need to resort to demand-side measures, which would prove painful for different countries/constituencies. This will raise questions on how to fairly share the burden. Difficult and costly decisions would have to be taken to manage the situation in an orderly way....
Can Europe survive painlessly without Russian gas?
Ben McWilliams, Giovanni Sgaravatti, Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann

KV - Part of my cycle ride

These are part of my cycle ride which were taken last year. I put them through twitter first to compress them, so I hope they look okay on a tablet, or a PC. Twitter compresses videoes quite a bit. 

I use my phone to take the videos, so I have to cycle with one hand on the handlebars, while the other holds the phone. It can feel tricky at times. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Reassessing LDNR military capabilities — The Saker

What an actual military action in Ukraine would look like based on military analysis rather than political, which is all that appears in the "news." Andrei Martyanov concurs.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Reassessing LDNR military capabilities
The Saker

Brian Becker - Roots of the Ukraine Crisis

A good run down on how the situation in the Ukraine developed. 

The US is so hawkish. Since WW2 the country has been nearly always at war. Expanding NATO into Eastern Europe was extremely profitable. 

What’s really happening in Ukraine, and why is NATO expansion a red line for Russia? Most Americans have no sense of the vital political and historical context that created this crisis. It has been completely hidden by major U.S. media, Brian Becker explains on The Socialist Program.

Yanis Varoufakis: Capitalism AND Social Democracy Are Dead

Capitalism has been taken over by techno-feudalism says, Yanis Varoufakis, and social democracy died along with it. Amazon has too much control in the marketplace, and the other tech giants know everything about us. 

The elite have become richer despite covid - or the 2008 crash, which they have paid for as they caused it - but now in many Western countries many people are not getting enough food. This is pure neoliberalism at work, but was it their fault that they were so unlucky and became very poor. The meritocracy forces too many people to the bottom. For example, if everyone got a PhD, someone would still have to clean the toilets. So, what happens is that those who feel they they are less likely to succeed will end up putting less effort in, and end up slipping behind. Liberals tend to blame society when people fall into poverty, but conservatives will blame the individual. There are certainly people who are lazy (I've worked with them, and I don't tolerate them very well, probably because I'm so hard working), but my view, and that of Yanis Varoufakis, is that the extreme competition that neoliberalism imposes is just too fierce for most people. 

--YaYanis Varoufakis: Capitalism AND Social Democracy Are Deadnis Varoufakis, former Finance Minister of Greece, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens, and author of several bestselling books including most recently "Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present," joins David to discuss the future of the global economy, Europe and the European Union, and much more

Russia and the West: Piercing the Fog of Hysteria — Pepe Escobar

Backgrounder. Pepe sees false flag drawing Russia in as likely, resulting in sanctions. 

The US plan is to encircle Russia (and China) militarily and bankrupt them economically through imposition of sanctions, starting with Russia. Because this worked so well with Iran? And neither the Russian nor the Chinese military are comparable to Saddam's. So get out the popcorn. This could get interesting. Meanwhile, the four horsemen — war, famine (climate change), pestilence (pandemic), and death — are mounted up ready to ride. And Americans are concerned with some "inflation"?

Strategic Culture Foundation
Russia and the West: Piercing the Fog of Hysteria
Pepe Escobar


AntiWar (opportunities lost)
Putin in 2022 and Yeltsin in 1999
Rick Rozoff

Sitrep China — As the competitors start entering the newly constructed Olympics villages the war beat goes on

Longish backgrounder. Lotsa numbers, too.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Sitrep China: As the competitors start entering the newly constructed Olympics villages the war beat goes on
Amarynth and the Here Comes China Newsletter by Godfree Roberts

Zero Hedge — US Citizens Told Depart Ukraine Now By Any Means Possible In New Embassy Alert

Strange, given that there is no evidence of Russian troops mobilized for an imminent offensive, as even the Pentagon admits. A possible reason for the seeming US "overreaction" would be a provocation by false flag to elicit a Russian reaction that can justify the US in calling "Russian aggression," even if the reaction would be using standoff weapons rather than troops and tanks rolling across the border.

Zero Hedge
US Citizens Told Depart Ukraine Now By Any Means Possible In New Embassy Alert
Tyler Durden

Here is a hypothetical scenario for some such.
This is complete fiction based on the current situation. We post it as a counterweight to the fiction produced by the western corporate media...
The Vineyard of the Saker
Ukraine and Russian escalation dominance: A Fiction

On the bright side, implementing the Minsk agreement would defuse the situation — if it were to happen. However, the Ukrainian nationalists are dead set against it and they would be in a position to blow it up by attacking Donbass, to which Russia would certainly react. They are especially emboldened now that they have been armed with advanced weaponry by the US and NATO.
US has assured it will make Kiev implement Minsk accords, Lavrov says

See also

Wish to ruin Minsk-2 may push Kiev into war with Russia — expert

Current MAGA view


Bannon on current economic situation…. “stagflation!” on steroids….

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Bill Mitchell — Video stream available – The Global Economy after two years of the pandemic

It’s Wednesday and I am flat out finalising writing commitments and my teaching responsibilities at present. I have also been doing a lot of media interviews given the inflation release yesterday. People are believing the nonsense coming out in the financial press that inflation is ‘out-of-control’ and interest rates need to be hiked to stop it in its tracks. How will increasing interest rates allow a Covid sick truck driver to return to work any quicker? How will a rise in rates, increase the number of container ships in the right locations? Etc. It is tiresome to be sure. Today a video, some information about my university classes that we are making available to the general public (starting later today), and then some post minimalism....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Video stream available – The Global Economy after two years of the pandemic
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Otto English - The Truth About Boris Johnson: One Year On

 This is pretty damning criticism of Boris Johnson: 

Otto English says he's an incompetent, lazy, good for nothing, barefaced liar, self indulgent, over privileged, self serving, who's only in it for himself, and the end of his political carreer can't come soon enough.

Links — 25 Jan 2022 AM

Sputnik International
IMF: Russia-Ukraine Conflict Could Further Increase World Energy Costs

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Slams Foreign Media for Whipping Up ‘Russian Invasion’ Fears (US and UK took a step too far? It's resulting in disunity rather than unity.)

Moon of Alabama (revealing the nonsense)
A 'Parthogenetic' Conflict - There Is No Russian Invasion Threat To UkraineCovert Action Magazine

Covert Action Magazine (more destruction of the narrative)

Moscow, Germany generally close in position on Nord Stream 2 — [Russian] ambassador

Are Neocons Worried at Pace of US-Russia Talks?
Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and retired 27-year career CIA whose tasks included preparing and briefing The President’s Daily Brief and leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch

The Vineyard of the Saker
Tuesday morning headlines (a little change of tone or not?)
The Saker

Aeron Mate - US war lobby fuels conflict in Russia, Ukraine, and Syria: ex-Pentagon advisor

There are too many lobby groups in Washington pushing for war with Russia, says Douglas Macgregor. He also says that Trump liked to be liked, especially when pandering to his base, which stopped him getting things done. 

 Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army Colonel and former Pentagon senior advisor, analyzes the US-Russia standoff in Ukraine; the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan; Trump's failure to act on 2016 campaign anti-interventionist rhetoric, only to surround himself with neocons; and the ongoing, overlooked US military occupation of Syria after the decade-long CIA dirty war. "The Military Industrial Congressional Complex," Macgregor says, "seems to be more powerful than anyone who occupies the office of the presidency." Guest: Douglas Macgregor, retired US Army Colonel and former Pentagon senior advisor.

How Inequality Leads to Industrial Feudalism — Hanna Szymborska and Jan Toporowski

Same story stated a bit differently: Class structure (stratification) determines class power (social, political and economic), which determines distribution of assets and income.
Rising asset prices generate a more unequal distribution of wealth by increasing the value of wealth that must be acquired to secure a position in the next wealth class. At the same time, the growing credit possibilities of rising asset values reinforce the floor preventing demotion into a lower social class. In light of asset price fluctuations, diversity and stability of the wealth portfolio, and the credit practices associated with such portfolios, thus have a defining role in both upward and downward movements across classes.

This asset dependence is specific to particular classes because they have different kinds of assets. Different kinds of assets have different credit implications and practices associated with them and these different credit implications and practices may ease cash flows in particular classes to prevent downward social mobility. But increasing asset inequality makes upward social mobility more difficult. In this way asset inflation and growing wealth inequalities restrict social mobility and give rise to industrial feudalism....
Naked Capitalism
How Inequality Leads to Industrial Feudalism | naked capitalism
Hanna Szymborska, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Birmingham City Business School; and Jan Toporowski, Professor of Economics and Finance, SOAS, Visiting Professor of Economics, University of Bergamo, and Professor of Economics and Finance, International University College.
Originally published at Institute for New Economic Thinking

See also

MR Online
Originally published: Peoples Democracy by Sanjay Roy (January 23, 2022

Kristin Schwab

Steve Paikin - Is the U.S. on the Verge of Civil War? | The Agenda

It's hard to debate with a side which rejects mainstream science, from Covid through to climate change. The right-winger on this panel accuses the American elite of being leftwing. They discuss how secession may be an option, where the US breaks up into several countries.  

"The United States is coming to an end," says Stephen Marche. In his new book, "The Next Civil War," the Canadian author insists rising inequality, racial conflict, environmental destruction, and a lack of unified national purpose, means another American civil war is now inevitable; it's just a matter of how. A year following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, The Agenda asks whether these fears are overblown, questions how divided America is and whether its undergone healing , or if its angry factions are headed towards serious violent conflict.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Bill Mitchell — Australia–inflation mania is alive and well but running on fumes!

There is an increasing frequency of articles appearing in the financial press in Australia about how inflation is back and that the RBA had better start hiking rates and stop buying government debt. Warnings to home buyers that mortgage rates are about to go through the roof. And all that sort of stuff. Moronic. If you examine today’s data release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Consumer Price Index, Australia (January 25, 2022) – which relates to to the December-quarter 2021, you might be wondering what the fuss is all about. Inflation rose slightly in the December-quarter 2021 and was driven by rising automative fuel costs (uncompetitive cartel and deliberate government petrol tax policies), global supply chain disruptions (pandemic) and material shortages (supply chain and bushfires). Not much more to see than that really. I note the same journalists are out there beating the inflation mania drum. Don’t they get sick of being wrong all the time. Their wages should be linked to their predictive capacity – they would starve!...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Australia – inflation mania is alive and well but running on fumes!
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Links — 24 Jan 2022 PM

One World
Is The US Preparing To Sacrifice Zelensky In Order To Justify Russia’s Containment?
Andrew Korybko

New Cold War
Jonathan Cook

Al Jazeera
NATO sends reinforcements to Eastern Europe amid Russia tensions

US puts 8,500 troops on alert as Russia tensions ramp up
Quint Forgey

EU maintains unity on Russia — but only just (more like just barely)
David M. Herszenhorn, Lili Bayer

Reminiscence of the Future (21 min video, no transcript)
Me Talking About 50,000.
Andrei Martyanov, former USSR naval officer and expert on Russian military and naval issues


Europe Faces a Moment of Truth Over Russia’s Demands on the United States Presence in Europe
James O'Neil, Australian-based former Barrister at Law

Internationalist 360º (2030)
The Anaconda Loop: NATO’s Strategy Against Russia
José Negrón Valera

Defend Democracy
Donetsk, Russia warn that Ukrainian buildup on borders heralds attack on Donetsk, Lugansk

International Policy Digest
Binoy Kampmark

Moon of Alabama
A War In Ukraine Is Tactics - Putin Does Strategy

Boris Ex-Friend Says He Has No Morals & Exposes His 'Biggest Weakness'

Sonia Purnell has known Boris Johnson for over 30 years and she also worked with him at the Telegraph. She says that the more you get to know him, the more you get to dislike him. Despite his bubbly persona, he can get very angry, and some people are scared of him, because they fear what he might do. Sonia Purnell says that he's totally unfit for office.

Before I met my girlfriend she was a floating voter, although a slightly left leaning one. I've educated her quite a bit, but I was horrified the other day when she said that she liked Boris Johnson, saying that the he was funny. WTF!

Links — 24 Jan 2022 AM

One World (big picture analysis. US foreign policy "experts" and military "experts" that are publishing are completely clueless about the big picture and as a result are completely lost in their heads. )
Andrew Korybko

Angry Bear
Advocate of Book Burning Becomes Chairman of Virginia School Board
Dan Crawford

The Hill
US threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries
Jordan Williams

Ray McGovern
Perfidious Albion Giving Grist to NYT
Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and retired 27-year career CIA whose tasks included preparing and briefing The President’s Daily Brief and leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch

The Guardian
How vulnerable is UK energy system as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine? (price-sensitive)
Jillian Ambrose

Science (China outcompeting. US can't let this happen.)
U.S. science no longer leads the world.
Jeffrey Merrvis

SCMP (US "experts" assumed this was impossible based on culture and history, overlooking national interests)
How China and Russia forged a friendship after bridging decades-old differences
Laura Zhou

Interfluidity (on the way to collapse)
Dreams and kindness are all we have
Steve Randy Waldman

Internationalist 360º
Military Deployment in Ukraine: Is a War in Eastern Europe on the Horizon?
Yoselina Guevara

Sputnik International
Kremlin: Ukraine Amassing Troops on Contact Line in Donbass in Apparent Preparation for Attack

True to Form… Brits Take Lead in NATO Psy-War Against Russia

Ex-UN Expert: US-NATO Narrative of 'Russian Invasion' of Ukraine Has Turned Into 'Religious Dogma'

TASS (This is the real problem in Ukraine. The Russian buildup is to deter this by the certainty of complete obliteration. Even the neo-Nazis behind this get that.)
Risk of Ukraine staging provocations in Donbass higher than before — Kremlin

Russian military cannot ignore NATO’s activity in Europe, says Kremlin

Russia expects separate response on security proposals from NATO — Kremlin

West using legacy media, official resources more often to spread disinfo, says diplomat [Maria Zakharova]

Russian diplomat [Maria Zakharova] castigates Department of State’s ‘strange and unwise’ information agenda

Russian Baltic Fleet’s 20 warships deploy to sea for sweeping drills

Counterpunch (more useful to look at NATO as attempted perpetuation of Western colonialism in perpetuity. The religious aspect is the use of "liberalism" as justification, similar to the justification of Christianizing the savages in the earlier rounds of colonialism. Same domination game though.)
NATO as Religion
Alfred De Zayas

Dangerous Heat Across the Globe
Robert Hunziker

Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows — Tsvetana Parasko

  • A disruption to natural gas imports from Iran has caused an unprecedented level of power cuts in Turkey.
  • The power cuts have largely impacted major industrial zones, with some companies forced to halt production as a result.
  • Iran claims that its natural gas flows have been restored but Turkey has said its supplies and gas pressure remain very low....
Tsvetana Paraskova

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Bill Mitchell — Euro area inflation is not accelerating out of control

Last week (January 20, 2022), Eurostat released the latest inflation data – Annual inflation up to 5.0% in the euro area – which followed the release from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data (January 12, 2022) – Consumer Price Index Summary , the latter, which shocked people, given that it recorded an annual inflation rate of 7 per cent before seasonal adjustment. The Euro area inflation rate over the same period was published as 5 per cent. It is obviously hard to see clearly through the data trends given the amount of pandemic noise that is dominating. But I stand by my 2020 assessment (updated several times since) that we are still seeing ephemeral price pressures as a result of the massive disruption the pandemic has caused to production, distribution and transport systems. In a sense, I am surprised the inflationary pressures have not be greater....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia