Friday, July 31, 2015

Lars Syll’s Blog — On the poverty of microfoundationalist fantasies


Kevin Hoover quote on microfoundations based on representative agent modeling. Aggregation based on similarities of individuals assume similarity of individuals. In some cases that hold, in many others, not, and where it doesn't hold are the points of interest.
Not only does the representative-agent model fail to provide an analysis of those interactions, but it seems likely that that they will defy an analysis that insists on starting with the individual, and it is certain that no one knows at this point how to begin to provide an empirically relevant analysis on that basis.
You can't get there from here.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
On the poverty of microfoundationalist fantasies
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Bill Mitchell — Italy’s time to demonstrate leadership

When the Brussels bullies call them up to demand more austerity, Italy would be best to flex its muscle. It is too big for the Troika to steam roll.
And, I suspect, the Italians have a better understanding of their place in Europe than Greece and won’t fall for any threats that they will be expelled from Europe.
It is a bit hard to cut of ones ‘boot’ without also severing the ‘foot’!
I would recommend that Italy take the initiative and ignore the fiscal rules and introduce some large public spending programs – like Job Guarantee – to get the economy moving.
Brussels can fulminate in whatever fashion they like – probably by taking it out of the defenseless Greece. But they can do very little against a nation as powerful within Europe as is Italy.

Merkel, Schäuble & Co. think that making an example of Greece will "send a message" to other countries of the EZ if they don't tow the line. Bill points out that Italy is not Greece.

Of course, France is not either, and if Yanis is correct in reporting that the example is also aimed at France, then things are going to get interesting.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Italy’s time to demonstrate leadership
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Neil Wilson — Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete - a précis

We have known for over 70 years that Taxes have nothing to do with government spending. However it is an idea that has taken root again in the recent past, and we really need to get beyond it if we are to build the society of the future. There is a faint whiff of punishment in a lot of tax proposals, which is very reminiscent of the treatment that the Greeks have received in their recent attempts to improve the lot of their population. Most unpleasant.
The following is a simple précis of the points from the Beardsley Ruml article from 1946 and the Bill Mitchell piece on the same article from 2010 - and targeted at the UK.…
3spoken
Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete - a précis
Neil Wilson

John T. Harvey — The Real Argument For Raising The Minimum Wage

There continues to be a great deal of debate over the economic impact of the federal minimum wage. Does it serve as a drag because it raises firms’ costs or do businesses experience higher sales as a result of the rise in their customers’ income? Obviously, if you consider only one side of that equation or the other–as most amateur analysts do–you reach a biased conclusion. The real question is, what is the net impact after all the relevant relationships are considered?
Fortunately, this has already been addressed in myriad professional, peer-reviewed studies using both mathematical modeling and statistical evidence. And there appears to be something of a consensus: changes in the minimum wage have little to no impact on employment (see for example: Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?). Apparently, the change in cost is largely offset by the change in demand and other factors. A little boring, perhaps, but it’s always a cause for celebration in my discipline when we get anything close to an agreement!
But if that is true, then what is the point of raising or lowering it?….
Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
The Real Argument For Raising The Minimum Wage
John T. Harvey

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ian Parker — The Greek Warrior


The personal details.

The New Yorker
The Greek Warrior
Ian Parker
ht Clonal

Jon Schwarz — Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”


President Carter calls out bipartisan corruption.

"Aw, mom, all the kids were doing it."

The Intercept
Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”
Jon Schwarz

Zero Hedge — 70% Of Americans See Economy Worsening, Consumer Comfort Collapses By Most In 10 Month


Charts.
Rather amusingly an intriguing 1% of Americans see the state of the economy as 'excellent' - wonder which 1% that is...
Zero Hedge
70% Of Americans See Economy Worsening, Consumer Comfort Collapses By Most In 10 Month
Tyler Durden

For a laugh now look at this.

Why Do So Many Working Age Americans Choose Not To Enter The Workforce?
Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas

Conference on the Greek Debt Crisis led by Sen Bernie Sanders


Conference on the Greek Debt Crisis

Rm 902 Hart Senate Office Building

Sen. Bernie Sanders will convene a panel of three nationally-known economists to discuss the debt crisis in Greece and throughout the world. The panel will be moderated by Stephanie Kelton, the chief economist of the Senate Budget Committee minority staff.


Participants:

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders

Joseph Stiglitz, Senior fellow and chief economist at Roosevelt Institute

James Galbraith, University of Texas

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Stephanie Kelton, University of Missouri – Kansas City


When:

2:30 PM, Thursday July 30th

Where:

Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

RSVP: gmatthews@rooseveltinstitute.org

Yanis Varoufakis — Will the IMF throw the spanner in the works? – as I feared and Dr Schäuble hoped?

The key issue, of course, is not so much whether the IMF will be part of the deal – a typical fudge could, for instance, be concocted with the IMF providing ‘technical assistance’ to an ESM-only program.
The issue is whether the promised debt relief which, astonishingly will be discussed only after the new loan agreement is signed and sealed, will prove adequate – assuming it is granted at all. Or whether, as I very much fear, the debt relief will be too little while the austerity involved proves catastrophically large.
Yanis Varoufakis
Will the IMF throw the spanner in the works? – as I feared and Dr Schäuble hoped?

Felipe Rezende — S&P threatened to downgrade Brazil to junk


Brazilian Left. buying into neoliberal analysis, crashes and burns. That would be you, Dilma.

New Economic Perspectives
S&P threatened to downgrade Brazil to junk
Felipe Rezende, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Damn! Did You Ever Imagine It Would Come To This?

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

"In other words, this is a bullshit report written by neocons in order to foment war with Russia."

What did Marriner Eccles say?

Marriner Eccles gloomy last speech, 1977:
"... the wrong road was taken every time we had a chance to alter course ... "
That's from a lifelong Republican, mind you, who was for the New Deal, for normalizing relations with China in 1950, and against the Vietnam war.

Didn't Khrushchev say something very similar to Marriner's words, as soon as Stalin died? "We could have been a great country."

Institutional momentum = tangents to evolution .... over-adapting to transient context (aka, playing with death).

In a country this big & talented ... we have much better things to do than waste time conquering other countries & looting their natural resources. Our best return comes from investing in all of our own talents (not just in weapons to use on others).

NeoCons:  If they can't find it (reality), they must be hiding it from themselves. 


Zachary Keck — The Insane Nuclear Bomb US Has in Its Arsenal

It’s a guided, low-yield tactical nuke - by appearing relatively benign it increases the chance the cowboys in the Pentagon will break the taboo on use of nuclear weapons - and help deliver armageddon.
Oh well, the long run we are all dead anyway.

Russia Insider
The Insane Nuclear Bomb US Has in Its Arsenal
Zachary Keck

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mohamed A. El-Erian — In Defense of Varoufakis

From blaming him for the renewed collapse of the Greek economy to accusing him of illegally plotting Greece’s exit from the eurozone, it has become fashionable to disparage Yanis Varoufakis, the country’s former finance minister. While I have never met or spoken to him, I believe that he is getting a bad rap (and increasingly so). In the process, attention is being diverted away from the issues that are central to Greece’s ability to recover and prosper – whether it stays in the eurozone or decides to leave.
That is why it is important to take note of the ideas that Varoufakis continues to espouse. Greeks and others may fault him for pursuing his agenda with too little politesse while in office. But the essence of that agenda was – and remains – largely correct.
Project Syndicate
In Defense of Varoufakis
Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz and a member of its International Executive Committee, is Chairman of US President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council. He previously served as CEO and co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO

Blankfein on rate hike


You hate to agree with Blankfein but I think he is correct here.




A rate hike is our best chance of getting any increase in the leading government spending flows any time soon.


Goodyear's Profit Drops


Report here at Nasdaq.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. reported a 10% drop in its second-quarter profit but exceeded analyst expectations as currency fluctuations and some restructuring charges overshadowed its strong financial performance. 
The company took a $401 million hit to its sales, suggesting that the strengthening dollar rather than a slower China economy is now a big issue for U.S. auto-parts makers as they attempt to manage their businesses through the second half of the year.
This write up misses the mark in the way of explanation.

Foreign tire sellers lowered their prices in USD terms FIRST, which acted to increase their sales and market shares in the U.S. to the detriment of Goodyear's share ....... THEN the international financiers of the tire trade made regulatory adjustments which resulted in what is termed here a "strengthening dollar" in forex terms.

More empirical evidence here that the forex terms are a resultant function of the leading pricing actions of the international merchants.


Dirk Ehnts — Von Mises and the Position of the State in the Market

The state is not external to the people, enterprises and other institutions. I think that it is wrong to divide state and market. In modern states, they are intertwined. Maybe this topic should go in my course to create a debate about what terminology to use (dichotomy of state and market) and what we recognize as (economic) “science” over the centuries.
The view that market imperfections result chiefly from the side of the state versus the market, that the market and state can be disentangled, and reducing the influence of the state decreases market imperfections is an article of faith of economic liberalism. It is a foundational assumption that is regarded as self-evident. That's doing speculative philosophy, not empirical science.

econoblog 101
Von Mises and the Position of the State in the Market
Dirk Ehnts | Berlin School for Economics and Law

Sigrún Davídsdóttir — Lies, damned lies, and Greek statistics


Long and thorough post on the previous corruption in Greece that led to the present crisis.

Coppola Comment
Lies, damned lies, and Greek statistics
Sigrún Davídsdóttir

John Weeks — Third Bailout and the Third Punic War

After his defeat by the Roman leader Scipio Africanus at the battle of Zama in 201 BC, the great general Hannibal pleaded with the Carthaginian Senate to accept the draconian peace terms demanded by Rome. Polybius has him say to the Senate, “I beg you … to declare your acceptance of the [peace] proposals unanimously” (The Rise of the Roman Empire, Book XV).
The draconian treaty proved too burdensome for the Carthage Senate to implement. This led to a Third Punic War and yet another Roman victory in 146 BC, over an enemy far weaker after fifty years of austerity due to payment of tribute to the Roman overlords. No treaty ended this third war. The Roman army sacked Carthage, razed it to the ground and sold the population into slavery.
Those in Greece whose hope is that the Third Bailout has bought them time for a better deal with the Troika in the future might reflect on the outcome of the third Punic War.
Triple Crisis
Third Bailout and the Third Punic War
John Weeks | Professor Emeritus of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London

David F. Ruccio — “Thought is the courage of hopelessness”

So, the current situation does appear hopeless.
However, in challenging the terms of the bailout—first, in supporting the “no” vote in the 5 July referendum and, then, in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s statements that his government would not implement reform measures beyond those agreed with lenders at a euro zone summit this month—the Greek government has come to represent all the “thinking and suffering people” of Europe and to expose the “passive and thoughtless existence” that characterizes the tiny elite that currently reigns on that continent.
That, perhaps, should fill us with hope.
Sorry, I haven't got my hopes up. If the European elite is to be defeated in their attempt to impose neoliberalism on Europe, indications are that it will likely be by the nationalist Right rather than a resurgent Left. The Left has had its chance on several occasions in different countries and has consistently blown it.

Occasional Links & Commentary
“Thought is the courage of hopelessness”
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame

Yanis Varoufakis — Treason charges: What lurks behind the bizarre allegations

The bizarre attempt to have me indicted me on… treason charges, allegedly for conspiring to push Greece out of the Eurozone, reflects something much broader.

Yanis Varoufakis
Treason charges: What lurks behind the bizarre allegations

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

teleSUR Extreme Poverty in Venezuela Drops to 4.5%

The number of Venezuelans living in extreme poverty has dropped to a historic low of 4.5 percent, according to figures released Monday. “In the midst of an economic war, extreme poverty has dropped below 5 percent,” Planning vice president Ricardo Menendez said. He said the continued decline of poverty is vindicating “the model we are building.” “This figure represents the strengthening of the battle ... from the beginning of the great (social) missions there has been an outright decline in indicators of poverty, (such as) unsatisfied basic needs,” he said. The figure of 4.5 percent is nearly half that of neighboring Colombia, where over 8 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty according to 2014 statistics. It's also the lowest level in decades for Venezuela. When President Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998, 21 percent of homes were registered as experiencing extreme poverty. Under Chavez, the Venezuelan government created a series of anti-poverty programs called missions. Each mission targets a specific aspect of poverty, such as housing and education. Government funding for social spending including the missions has skyrocketed over the last decade. By 2014, extreme poverty had dropped to 5.4 percent. The massive reduction in poverty has been praised by international organizations including the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America.…
teleSUR
Extreme Poverty in Venezuela Drops to 4.5%

TASS — Structural reforms required for increasing Russia’s private sector — IMF

WASHINGTON, July 28. /TASS/. Structural reforms are required for increasing Russia’s private sector and its balance with the public sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its 2015 External Sector Report (Individual Economy Assessments) published on Tuesday. 
"The nonoil fiscal deficit remains significantly higher than its long-term desirable level and needs to adjust to facilitate a rebalancing from public to private activity, and a re-allocation of government expenditure from current to capital spending," the IMF reported.
Clear signal to do the exact opposite. Hopefully they will act on it and increase the deficit.

TASS
Structural reforms required for increasing Russia’s private sector — IMF

Max Fisher — Donald Trump's only real foreign policy idea: steal foreigners' oil

It looks like Donald Trump's presidential campaign is going to be with us for a little while longer, and probably through the first Republican debate. At some point, then, it becomes impossible to avoid talking about Trump's policies — yes, even his foreign policy.
So, to review, Donald Trump is a Republican and free market conservative businessman who opposes the free market exchange of fossil fuels, who believes the US should become a mercantilist colonial power that steals natural resources from other countries, and who opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion but believes the US should have re-invaded in 2013.
It turns out that Donald Trump's central foreign policy plank is the same as his central domestic policy plank: that Donald Trump is very successful, and the rest of the world should be assimilated into his successes.

Matthew Bodner — Russian Defense Industry Revenues Soar Despite Western Sanctions


Replacement for exporting natural resources?
Russia's major defense industry enterprises shrugged off Western sanctions and a Russian economic slowdown to grow their revenues rapidly in 2014, according to a new global ranking. 
The Defense News Top 100 ranking is published annually and ranks the world's top arms makers by revenue. Russian firms bucked a global downward trend in defense revenues thanks to an expansion of military spending by the Russian government and increasing defense exports, which reached new highs in 2014.
The Moscow Times
Russian Defense Industry Revenues Soar Despite Western Sanctions
Matthew Bodner

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee — The Majority Of GOP Voters Want Mass Deportation, But It’ll Cost Them


Translation: 63% of GOP voters are racists? Looks like the 2016 presidential is going to be about (non-white) immigration.

According to the poll, white Evangelicals, older voters, people who did not attend college, Republicans, and voters who live in rural areas tended to be more supportive of deportation compared to granting legal status to the undocumented population.

CNN reported that “Republican voters who say their views are not represented at all by the government in Washington are far more likely than other Republicans to back Trump’s run for the White House,” many of whom also favor his position to focus on border security and deport undocumented immigrants.
Trump seems to be attracting "low information voters" in droves.

Looks like the 2016 presidential is going to be about (non-white) immigration.

Think Progress
The Majority Of GOP Voters Want Mass Deportation, But It’ll Cost Them
Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Colin Gorenstein — Donald Trump says Sarah Palin is a “really special person” who would be great on his presidential cabinet


Say what?
Did you know that a Sarah Palin-themed radio show called “The Palin Update” exists? It does. And Monday’s guest on the “Mama Grizzly”-hosted program was no other than GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Turns out, there’s a very good reason Trump agreed to appear on the show: In his words, she’s “really a special person.” A special person that he’s been considering for his cabinet. 
Asked by host/Palin-stan Kevin Scholla whether he could see himself having governor Palin “along in some capacity” (“picking up the phone, giving [her] a call and picking her brain on some things”), Trump responded:

“I’d love that. Because she really is somebody who knows what’s happening and she’s a special person, she’s really a special person and I think people know that.” 
What’s more, Trump later declared that “everybody loves” Palin. She’s “tough” and “smart” — unlike the current Republican rivals who are “weak” and “ineffective” leaders, he said. “[Voters] like the Sarah Palin kind of strength, you just don’t see very much of it anymore.” 
Another vice-presidential run?

Salon
Donald Trump says Sarah Palin is a “really special person” who would be great on his presidential cabinet

Kate Aronoff — Have reports of the death of capitalism been greatly exaggerated?

Late last week, economic journalist Paul Mason, whose Channel 4 blog has been one of the best English-language sources for making sense of the ongoing Greek crisis, published an excerpt from his forthcoming book in The Guardian. It announces that the end of capitalism has begun and that (spoiler) it doesn’t look how we thought it might. The 20th century old/new leftist dream of some crisis-sparked proletarian revolt, he argues, has been battered by neo-liberalism and, now, is being replaced by a steady trickle of viable, largely technology-fuelled alternatives to the current economy. “Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques,” Mason writes. “It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviors.”…
But as Leah Hunt-Hendrix and Astra Taylor noted recently for The Nation, there’s no ready-made path from information to liberation. “Our high-tech tools are constrained by market incentives and government surveillance interests that are often intertwined,” they wrote. “We cannot think about surveillance without paying keen attention to the corporations that benefit from it and the deep inequities that result.” Not only is there a barely-hidden world of workers making the digital revolution possible, but tech itself is already being used to serve the interests of those driving our current, vastly unequal economy. It deserves noting that some of the biggest fans of decentralization — technological or otherwise — are right-wing libertarians, who would be as happy to see workplace protections stripped as they would to see a new start-up food co-op take root….
Mason’s call to “direct all actions towards the transition — not the defense of random elements of the old system,” to focus solely on building alternatives, is a false dichotomy. If Syriza’s project in Greece has shown anything, it’s that combining a broad-based solidarity economy with political power is deeply threatening to neo-liberalism, the top brass of which will risk self-implosion to stamp it out. Acting alone, Solidarity for All didn’t provoke a sadistic backlash from Greece’s creditors. Syriza’s victory at the polls, its leadership’s presence at the negotiating table in Brussels, and the egalitarian populist parties grasping at state power across the Mediterranean did — but neither the challenge nor the solution could exist without the other.

 If the early 20th century labor heroine Lucy Parsons were alive now, she might add an addendum on to the statement she’s best remembered by: “Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to innovate away their wealth.” Today’s movements will need to be at least as creative as the forces they’re taking on, and be building solutions that are even more so. Post-capitalism is coming, but a new and even more disruptive tradition of organizing will have to clear the way first.
Open Democracy
Have reports of the death of capitalism been greatly exaggerated?
Kate Aronoff

Markha Valenta — Neoliberal realpolitik: choking others in our name


This is a fairly long article but it is worth reading in full. I pulled out some representative quotes.
The project of Europe has transformed from one of collective liberation from war, poverty and brutality to one of nauseating inhumanity for the sake of maintaining our comfort and welfare. This is presented to us as an a-political matter: not an ideological choice made by politicians, but an economic necessity carried out pragmatically. In the process, there is an Orwellian inversion of terms, such that the failure of the euro is presented as success, oligarchy is presented as politically representative, democratic protest as disruptive and irrelevant, human suffering as a side-issue, sovereignty as the freedom to agree and submit, austerity as realistic, our self-interest as the same as that of banks and the corporate-political elite, and alternatives as non-existent.
In other words, the neoliberalization of Europe is being presented to us as the solution to the very disorder and violence it itself produces.…
Indeed, in another Europe, a Europe we have yet to make, this would be criminal. 
It would be criminal precisely for the reason that bad policies by politicians are not: the policies of the Troika and the Eurogroup have no political or democratic legitimacy but were born of informal alliances and backroom agreements by a small oligarchic clique, a center of power answerable to no one. Under such conditions – of governance without normative or democratic grounding – legal culpability is essential if we in any fashion take the notion of a humane, rather than vicious, Europe seriously.…
This has cleared the way for a radical politics of dehumanization. A Neoliberal realpolitik. A realpolitik that in the name of Europe negates the Europe that gave birth to it: the Europe of democracy, solidarity and equality.…
Sustaining this endeavor is the fantasy that the economic policies of the Troika supersede politics itself. Tusk himself asserts that there are no alternatives. The neoliberal conceit is precisely this: that its policies are not politics but the neutral application of invariant, impersonal and transcendent economic mechanisms.
In other words, Greece has exposed the raw split between Europe’s ethical and political core. While Europe’s formal ethics are those of inclusive human equality in diversity, dignity and security, the political ideology is one of socio-economic precarity and inequality, harsh realist politics, nationalist chauvinism, Calvinist discipline and punishment. Two visions for the future of Europe are increasingly clearly delineated: one which follows Schäuble’s fantasies for an intensified political and economic union of Europe’s rich few and another that reconfigures a future Europe along the lines of its original values, willing to pay the price, quite literally, that it will take to make Europe more egalitarian, inclusive, diverse and humane.….
This condition in which we find ourselves marks the coming to fruition of arguments and policies tried out elsewhere for the last three decades and now making their way into Europe’s heartland. Until now, their objects have been those most distant from us: far away, in Third World countries subjected to the rapacious incisions of the IMF and World Bank; closer by in the East Bloc countries subjected to a ferocious liberalization after the Cold War; and closer yet, along our borders, extending into the inner reaches of our cities, in the regimes that have sprung up to control, exploit and expel poor people from beyond Europe when and where they seek entry into what is considered to be “ours”. 
Until now, the preeminent guinea pigs of neoliberal realpolitik in Europe have been those who are not yet, are not completely or will never be the citizens of Europe.…
That is to say: part of the shock of the moment is to see a European country and people treated as if they are a dark Third World (Muslim) one. To see the Greeks treated as a people that do not deserve to be European and must prove their intent to reform, to be disciplined, to earn our good graces. As a people that does not deserve the full palette of recognition, dignity, democratic self-assertion, and protection from exploitation that are the birthright of (white, middle-class, elite) Europeans. The invisible boundary that divided the world between the West and the poor, brown, Muslim Rest has been breached…
One of the distinctive aspects of a hegemonic, repressive system is that it presents itself as the solution to the chaos it itself creates. It is no different with Neoliberalism.…
Open Democracy
Neoliberal realpolitik: choking others in our name
Markha Valenta

Noam Chomsky — Creating the Horror Chambers

Dan Falcone: I wanted to stay on the topic of education and ask you about language, terminology, and definitions in the social sciences. So for example, I’ve noticed in my curriculum that there’s a tendency to have terms with a real definition and then a code definition. Terms like foreign aid, independence movements, partition, and democracy. 
Two terms that I know are of particular interest to you are anarchism and libertarianism. Could you discuss the varying definitions of those two terms, anarchism and libertarianism? Maybe the American definition versus the European, and why that’s important for education to sort out?
Noam Chomsky: There’s hardly a term in social science, political discourse, academic professions, and the scholarly professions where there’s anything remotely like clear definitions. If you want a clear definition, you have to go to mathematics or parts of physics.
Definitions are basically parts of theoretical structures. A definition doesn’t mean anything unless it’s embedded in some theory of some explanatory scope. And in these areas, there really are no such theories. So the terms are in fact used very loosely. They have a strong ideological component.
Take, say, democracy. The United States, I’m sure in your school, they teach as the world’s leading democracy. It’s also a country in which about 70 percent of the population, the lower 70 percent on the income scale, are completely disenfranchised.
Their opinions have no detectable influence on the decisions of their own representatives. Which is a good reason to believe, a large reason, why a huge number of people don’t bother voting. They know that it’s a waste of time. So is that a democracy? No, not really.
And you could say the same about almost any other term. Sometimes it’s almost laughable. So for example, in 1947, the US government changed the name of the War Department. They changed it to the Defense Department — any person with a brain functioning knew that we’re not going to be involved in defense anymore. We’re going to be involved in aggression. They didn’t have to read Orwell to know that. And in fact, religiously, every time you read about the war budget, it’s called the defense budget. And defense now means war, very much as in Orwell. And pretty much across the board.…
Jacobin
Creating the Horror Chambers
Dan Falcone interviews Noam Chomsky

The Saker — The new Russian Naval Doctrine – one very important sentence

“A defining factor in (our) relations with NATO remains that for Russia the following is unacceptable: the alliance’s plan to move its infrastructure to the borders of Russia and the attempts to give the alliance a global role“.
Saker analyzes what it means.

The Vineyard of the Saker
The new Russian Naval Doctrine – one very important sentence
The Saker