Friday, June 23, 2017

Jada Thacker — Deep History of America’s Deep State

The idea of an elitist Deep State – erasing a “mistake” by the people – pervades current efforts to remove buffoonish President Trump, but the concept has deep historical roots dating from the Founding, writes Jada Thacker.
Does the sudden presence of an American Deep State – loosely defined as an unelected elite that manipulates the elected government to serve its own interests – pose a novel, even existential, threat to democracy?
Not exactly. The threat seems real enough, but it’s nothing new. Consider these facts: 230 years ago, an unelected group of elite Americans held a secretive meeting with an undisclosed agenda. Their purpose was not merely to manipulate lawful government in their own interests, but to abolish it altogether. In its place, they would install a radically undemocratic government – a “more perfect” government, they said – better suited to their investment portfolios.
History does not identify these conspirators as the Deep State. It calls them the Founders. The Founders did not consider themselves conspirators, but “republicans” – not in reference to any political party, but rather to their economic station in society. But their devotion to “republicanism” was transparently self-serving. A current college text, The American Journey: A History of the United States, explains though does not explicate “republican ideology”:
“Their main bulwark against tyranny was civil liberty, or maintaining the right of the people to participate in government. The people who did so, however, had to demonstrate virtue. To eighteenth century republicans, virtuous citizens were those who were focused not on their private interests but rather on what was good for the public as a whole.
“They were necessarily property holders, since only those individuals could exercise an independence of judgment impossible for those dependent upon employers, landlords, masters, or (in the case of women and children) husbands and fathers.” [Emphasis supplied]
Republicanism was a handy idea if you happened to be a master or a landlord, who were the only persons this ideology considered “virtuous” enough to vote or hold political office. Thus, “republicanism” – virtually indistinguishable from today’s “neoliberalism” – created the original Deep State in the image of the economic system it was designed to perpetuate....
The Founding Fathers were bourgeois (property-owning) liberals that held fast to the fundamental conservative principle that some are better than others and deserve to govern. The basis of classical liberalism is private ownership of property, which combined with conservatism results in a property requirement to hold office. The chief domestic adversary is "the rabble," now called "the little people."
How this was accomplished is not a comforting tale. But it cannot be related nor understood without an appreciation of the historical context in which it occurred....
The history behind the myth.

Consortium News
Deep History of America’s Deep State
Jada Thacker, history teacher at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX

Barkley Rosser — Saudi Succession Shuffle


Angry Bear
Saudi Succession Shuffle
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Michael Roberts — Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth

Michael Roberts reports on the debate between Mark Blyth representing the Post Keynesian view and himself representing the Marxist view of the main cause of the Global Financial Crisis that led to the imposition of austerity.

I think this is probably an undecidable argument since such issues have a constellation of causes and identifying all of them and prioritizing them is hampered by lack of agreed upon criteria. So they are probably both correct in claiming that they have identified a significant causal factor among others.

Michael Roberts Blog
Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth
Michael Roberts

Report: U.S. Killing More Civilians Than T-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s

I found this riveting but it's a shame it isn't longer as I would like to have seen the whole thing. Jimmy Dore reports on US terrorism and the amount of innocent people who died which is never reported in our media.   

Sputnik International — Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera

Will Turkey sit on the sidelines? Turkey has the largest military in the region.

Sputnik International
Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera

Zero Hedge — Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040

Demographic shift in full swing.

Zero Hedge
Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040
Tyler Durden

Marko Marjanović — The First Shots of America's New War for Eastern Syria Have Already Been Fired

When US shot down the Syrian Su-22 jet Sunday this may have been intended as a warning to Syria that US intends to take eastern Syria for itself -- and that a Syrian push into eastern Syria will be violently opposed....
As the ISIS threat diminishes quickly, will Russia and Iran stand by and let the US continue to push forward its invasion of east Syria in order to partition the country and establish a military foothold? Tense times.

Russia Insider Marko Marjanović

John T. Harvey — No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong

Wednesday, President Trump uttered the following now widely-publicized statement regarding the top economic positions in his administration:
And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that makes sense? Does that make sense?
While this has provided wonderful material for critics and satirists, are they really being fair? On the surface of it, there’s a certain logic to his statement. Shouldn’t those who have been the most successful in the economy also be the ones to offer advice?
Unfortunately, no. Here are four reasons why putting rich folks in charge is in no way a guarantee of superior economic performance:
Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Adam Johnson — Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War

Adam Johnson calls bullshit.

Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War
Adam Johnson

Todd E. Pierce — The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency

A new book traces how the CIA and U.S. counterinsurgency warfare operatives adopted lessons from the Nazis’ fight against the partisans and evolved into a dangerous law onto themselves, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime. (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program, which should be read with the current book.)
The U.S. “deep state” – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state’s methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.
Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the U.S. political system in place by 2003 as “inverted totalitarianism.”...
This is post is about the history of the CIA and focuses on Vietnam, but the same can be said for other areas, such as Latin American.

Now that the US has the Patriot Act that suspends constitutional liberties, a Department of Homeland Security, and integrated intelligence services all that this needed for a national security police state is in place, including total surveillance.

But "it can't happen here."

Consortium News
The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency
Todd E. Pierce

William I. Robinson — Global Capitalism: Reflections on a Brave New World

We are in the throes of a transition to a qualitatively new stage of world capitalism. Its essence is the emergence of truly transnational capital, a transnational capitalist class (TCC) made up of the owners and managers of transnational corporations, and transnational state apparatuses through which the TCC attempts to exercise global political authority. This corporate-driven globalization has brought a vast new round of global enclosures as hundreds of millions of people have been uprooted and converted into surplus humanity. The extreme global inequality that has resulted erodes social cohesion and fuels unrest. In response, the more enlightened members of the transnational elite clamor for a powerful transnational state to resolve the ecological, social, economic, and political crises of global capitalism, but instead a global war economy and a global police state may be in the offing. If we are to avoid a civilizational collapse and reach a Great Transition, we will need an accurate reading of the new global capitalism to guide our social practice....
Tags: #global capitalism, #transnational capitalist class, #transnational corporate totalitarianism, #corporate statism, #fascism

Someone tell the people.

BTW, this is a really good article. If no time now, save it for the weekend.

It underscores what I have been saying for some time. Just looking at national economies in a globalized world is insufficient. Economics now must be pursued from the perspective of closed globalized economy rather than a collection of open national economies.

This is the way that the transnational capitalist class, "Davos man," is already viewing it. These are people commanding integrated supply chains and global markets, to whom borders are inconveniences.
Global capitalism does not consist of the aggregation of “national” economies, but their integration into a greater transnational whole.…
Economic globalization entails the fragmentation and decentralization of complex production chains and the worldwide dispersal and functional integration of the different segments in these chains. Yet this fragmentation and decentralization is countered by a reverse movement: the centralization and concentration of worldwide economic management, control, and decision-making power in a handful of ever more powerful transnational corporations (TNCs).
It's pretty clear from the article that socialism of some type is needed to counter the trend. This actually accords with the principle of dialectical logic that a form is not subsumed by the dominant emerging form in the succeeding moment until the initial form has exhausted its potential and succumbs to rising internal contradictions.

Radical Political Economy
Global Capitalism: Reflections on a Brave New World
William I. Robinson | Professor of Sociology, Global Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara

Spiegel Online — Spying Scandal: German Intelligence Also Snooped on White House

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is famous for the terse remark she made after learning her mobile phone had been tapped by the NSA. "Spying among friends, that isn't done." As it turns out, Germany was spying on America too, even targeting the White House....
"Everybody does it."

Fox News Cuts off Girl Telling the Truth About Russia

I watching Oliver Stone's, The Putin Interviews Part 2, when they spoke about the war in Georgia. I then remembered this clip where Fox News had an young Ameirca girl on who was visiting her Aunt in South Odessa when the war broke out there. Fox News thought they had a good bit of anti Russian propaganda coming up but when they were totally taken by surprise so they cut the interview short. This is good example of how Western propaganda works. Notice the emphasis on how a 'young 12 yerar old girl' was being bombed by the bad Russians. But it wasn't the Russians who were doing the bombing said the girl and her aunt, then advert time conveniently came up.

Moon of Alabama — U.S. Torture, A Saudi Coup And ISIS Crimes - "By, With And Through Allies"

The U.S. military and/or the CIA outsourced parts of their ongoing torture campaign in Yemen to the United Arab Emirates, reports AP. Some "interrogations" are done in the presence of U.S. personal and on U.S. ships:
The thuggery and war crimes continue. Much more in the post.

Geopolitika — U.S. provokes instability in Balkans

Donald Trump issued message to Congress of the United States on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Western Balkans.
There is noted:
The threat constituted by the actions of persons engaged in, or assisting, sponsoring, or supporting (i) extremist violence in the Republic of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Western Balkans region, or (ii) acts obstructing implementation of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia or United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, in Kosovo, has not been resolved. In addition, Executive Order 13219 was amended by Executive Order 13304 of May 28, 2003, to take additional steps with respect to acts obstructing implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001 relating to Macedonia.
The acts of extremist violence and obstructionist activity outlined in these Executive Orders are hostile to United States interests and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to the Western Balkans.
Besides that American media anounced 400-mile road march that will take them deep into the Balkans to Macedonia as part of Exercise "Saber Guardian".
In fact it means occupation of this country.
NATO is actually a thinly disguised US occupation of Europe at the invitation of the comprador elite that profit from it and made acceptable to the people through manufactured consent by means of propaganda.


Taking in the big picture, the US acting against the strategic and economic alliance of Russia and China, the only adversary capable of challenging the US both militarily and economically in the foreseeable future. The US must retain the European states as vassals to avoid a Russo-Chinese economic bloc that includes Europe, effectively replacing the US on the world stage and driving the US back to the Western hemisphere. This is a do or die mission. Very dangerous for peace.


U.S. provokes instability in Balkans

See also

Good strategic analysis. But Wight leaves out China, which is the elephant in the room.

Sputnik International
US Foreign Policy - 'Rome Has Spoken; the Matter Is Finished'
John Wight, author of the Edinburgh Trilogy

Leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz has criticized the latest US sanctions against Russia and called on Angela Merkel to oppose them.
"We have seen that the US is pursuing a course in energy policy that is dangerous and is directed against Germany," Schulz told the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI)."Our energy supply also depends on constructive cooperation with Russia," he said, and called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the issue with President Trump at next month's G20 summit in Hamburg.
"We have the right to defend the industrial interests of the Federal Republic of Germany and Europe," Schulz said....
Sputnik International
German SPD Condemns 'Dangerous' US Nord Stream 2 Sanctions 'Directed at Germany'

Chris Dillow — Free Markets Need Equality

I would change the title by replacing "equality" with "symmetry."
There’s one thing that’s crucial – equality [symmetry] of power. For free markets to have public acceptance, the worst-off must have bargaining power. Without this, “free” markets merely become a device for exploitation.
The basis of economic liberalism is free markets and free trade.

Classical and neoclassical economics provided the foundation of economic liberalism historically. Classical and neoclassical economics assume perfect competition. Perfect competition is vitiated by asymmetries, especially asymmetry of power and information. Perfect markets also presume symmetrical opportunity of participants.

Concentration of capital vitiates these assumptions of economic liberalism about free markets and free trade. Capitalism is about favoring capital as an economic factor on the assumption that growth is chiefly a function of capital formation. This disadvantages labor (workers) and land (the environment).

Owing to the economies of scale, free market capitalism leads to concentration of capital in fewer and fewer hands, which leads in turn to monopoly and monopsony in economics and oligarchy and plutonomy in politics. This vitiates both economic liberalism and political liberalism.

Free market capitalism based on economic liberalism is antithetical to the foundations of liberalism.

This is one of the chief paradoxes of liberalism.

There is no way to generate a truly liberal system, which involves integration, when one factor is favored over others.

As Aquinas said at the outset of De ente et essentia, paraphrasing Aristotle, "A small mistake at the beginning becomes a large by the end."
The inference here is, for me, obvious. If you are serious about wanting free markets you must put in place the conditions which are necessary for them – namely, greater bargaining power for tenants, customers and workers. This requires not just strong anti-monopoly policies but also policies such as a high citizens income, full employment and mass housebuilding.
In short, free markets require egalitarian policies. Free marketeers who don’t support these are not the friends of freedom at all, but are merely shills for exploiters.
Stumbling and Mumbling
Free Markets Need EqualityChris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell — Latest Greek bailout – a recipe designed to fail

I have been looking at the latest Greek bailout deal between the Greek government and the European Commission/IMF), which was concluded last week (June 16, 2017) and released a further 8.5 billion euros in new loans to the Greek government which means it can make bond payments due in July. Despite all the statements from the European Commission and the IMF to the contrary, the terms of the deal with the Greek government confirms that these institutions have abandoned any pretence to being interested in serious economic policy. For the European Commission, the desired irrevocable status of the euro, as a political statement, is all it seems interested in when it comes to Greece. They just don’t want to admit that Greece cannot reasonably function in this monetary union. Just like the previous bailout agreements, this deal will fail. It actually only stalls the reality for yet another day and the only goal it serves is to keep Greece using a currency it cannot afford to use – afford in both monetary and real terms....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Latest Greek bailout – a recipe designed to fail
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act: Rep. Gabbard

Below is an interesting comment left by a reader on Guardian CiF. Rep. Gabbard tried to pass a bill to stop supporting armed jihadist militia groups, but hardly anyone in congress signed the bill. Ron Paul reintroduced the bill but with no luck.  Now why isn't this mainstream news? Just imagine if it was Russia that was sponsoring terrorists in the ME what the MSM would be saying? Sadly, people in the West can't see the bias or the propaganda.

Russia and China are going to send them Virginia farm boys back in body bags when the hot war starts and even at that point, the Guardian/NYT/Washington Post won't tell their own readers the full context.

Consider this.

Given the insidious history of the American empire and its creation and fostering of terrorist regimes across the globe, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of politicians would refuse to sign on to a law that requires them to ‘Stop Arming Terrorists.’
And, that is exactly what’s happened.

**H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act was introduced by Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI] on January 23 of this year. **

The bill doesn’t have any crazy strings attached and its original cosponsors are a mix of Republicans and Democrats — highlighting that it transcends party lines.

“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said in an interview earlier this year.

The text of the bill is simple.

It merely states that it prohibits the use of federal agency funds to provide covered assistance to: (1) Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or any individual or group that is affiliated with, associated with, cooperating with, or adherents to such groups; or (2) the government of any country that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) determines has, within the most recent 12 months, provided covered assistance to such a group or individual.

The only thing this bill does is prohibit the US government from giving money and weapons to people who want to murder Americans and who do murder innocent men, women, and children across the globe.

It is quite possibly the simplest and most rational bill ever proposed by Congress.
Given its rational and humanitarian nature, one would think that representatives would be lining up to show their support.

However, one would be wrong.

***After nearly 5 months since its introduction, only 13 of the 535 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors.***

What this lack of support for the bill shows is that the federal government is addicted to funding terror and has no intention of ever stopping it.
To add insult to treason and murder, Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] introduced this same legislation in the Senate.

He currently has zero cosponsors.

Further, why Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Australia(!!) think they are untouchable at this particular moment in geopolitical history is utterly bizarre. I guess when the tail wags the dog too often it loses sight of its own precarious existence which is largely dependent on the fate of the master.

Unfortunately Russia, China and Iran have put the master on notice that at this point, they are all in.
May you live in interesting times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

France24 — Macron Rolls Back on ‘Assad Must Go’ Position

Needless to say, this is welcome news and a positive development in a sea of otherwise negative news and the gathering of war clouds.
President Emmanuel Macron said in remarks published on Wednesday that he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and that France no longer considered his departure a pre-condition to resolving the six-year conflict.
Macron Rolls Back on ‘Assad Must Go’ Position
Macron said he will not allow US “neo-conservatism” to seep into France, and that the focus of French policy will be aimed at achieving “stability” in Syria, rather than getting dragged into a Libya-style conflict.
“What was the outcome of these interventions? Failed states in which terrorist groups flourished. I do not want that in Syria,” the French leader emphasized.
France’s Macron sees no ‘legitimate successor’ to Assad, declares terrorism a common enemy in Syria

Robert Parry — Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket

The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.

The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some Democrats had hoped.
Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing, with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s “deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media to reverse a presidential election.
Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide....
That is not a strategy. It's a tactic and not a very good one. It's only a step above waiting for the opponent to stumble.

A strategy requires goals set by policy that determine strategic objectives. Strategy is about how to achieve objectives. Politically, this generally involves distinguishing oneself from one's opponents and showing one's position to be more in the voters interest while discrediting opponents for failing to meet voters' interests.

The Democrats are without a vision and therefore lack a clear policy. This is indicated by the push to unite a deeply divided party. Focusing on the opponent is not going to do that and the Democrats are just wasting time doing it.
Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.
While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.
To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.
Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.
Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.…
Consortium News
Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket
Robert Parry

Cate Cadell — Amazon’s grocery push playing catch up with Chinese e-commerce giants

As Inc <AMZN.O> looks to swallow U.S. grocery chain Whole Foods, China’s tech giants are already digesting hefty bricks-and-mortar deals, taking the lead in the battle to transform supermarket shopping with big data and better supply chains.

China’s Alibaba Group Holding <BABA.N> and Inc <JD.O> have invested heavily in offline retail – bricks-and-mortar stores – in recent years to complement their online offerings.

With their ready-made payment and social media platforms to lure shoppers, Alibaba and have helped China become the world’s largest online grocery market, far ahead of the United States.

This early lead, cemented by densely populated urban areas and cheap labor, could be key as retailers and tech firms race to boost margins on low-cost consumer goods by reinventing supply chains with big data analytics.

“China is already the largest online grocery market in terms of value in the world so it’s really advanced in terms of scale,” said Nick Miles, London-based head of Asia Pacific for food and grocery industry research body IGD....
One America News
Amazon’s grocery push playing catch up with Chinese e-commerce giants
Cate Cadell

Ilana Mercer — Beware the Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars

Seems nothing was learned from the hype that promoted war in Iraq. Here we go again.

Ludwig von Mises Centre (“Mises UK”)
Beware the Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars
Ilana Mercer

The Putin Interviews Part 2 - Oliver Stone + Putin

Jack Ma: The US Wasted $14 Trillion on Wars

Founder of Alibaba, Billionaire Chinese businessman Jack Ma says the US wasted $14 trillion on Wars, but why didn't they invest some of that money in the US to create jobs. He says globalisation did not destroy American jobs, the US ruling elite did. Just think of the profits they could have made out of new technology, but no, the ruling elite are lazy, they don't want to work, pinching someone else's resources is much easier, and setting up bogeymen to start pointless wars so they can screw the American taxpayer.

 If you don't have much time, it's only 1:50 minutes long.

RT — US stuck in 20th-century foreign policy with wars & bases across globe – leading economist [Jeffrey Sachs]

Instead of building a global economy and solving problems like climate change in order to save the planet, the US is waging wars and maintaining military bases across the world, pursuing Cold War policies, Jeffrey Sachs says.
US stuck in 20th-century foreign policy with wars & bases across globe – leading economist

RT — Europe must defend ‘liberal world order,’ limit Chinese & Russian influence – German minister

Europe should do more as a guardian of "liberal world order" because the US is starting to take a "skeptical" view of that role, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, adding that China and Russia must be limited in their influence.

"If the United States is starting to take a skeptical view of its role as the guardian of global order – and we've already seen hints of this in recent years – then I would see this as a call to action directed at Europe, including Germany," Schaeuble said in a speech at the American Academy in Berlin, a think tank that promotes US-German ties.
He went on to state that China and Russia should not be allowed to step up to the plate when it comes to "filling the gaps left by the US."
“I doubt whether the United States truly believes that the world order would be equally sound if China or Russia were to fill the gaps left by the US, and if China and Russia were simply given a free hand to dominate the spheres of influence that they have defined for themselves,” Schaeuble said during the Tuesday speech.
“That would be the end of our liberal world order. This order is still the best of all possible worlds [and] it does not matter if you look at it from ethical, political or economic [points of view]. And we want this order to keep moving forward, or at least not see it weakened," he continued.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously slammed Washington in 2015 for "attempts to create a unipolar world," implying that the US is attempting to dominate world affairs.
Are Western leaders gearing up for war to preserve the Western hegemony that has dominated the world beginning in 16th century? Or is the Wolfgang Schaüble talking out of the wrong hole again?

WTF gives the West the right to determine the world order? Is that liberal?

Another of the paradoxes of liberalism with paternalism masquerding as liberalism.

Europe must defend ‘liberal world order,’ limit Chinese & Russian influence – German minister

Andrew Batson — How long was China Communist?

The theme of this blog is the length of time under communist rule and it's effects on liberalization.

The most interesting aspect is the comparison of Russia and China. Russia was a strictly communistic regime for almost 75 years, while China was communistic strictly speaking for a much shorter period.

Russia collective farmer resist attempts at privatization of land and farming, while China has enforced an urbanization policy and is replacing the traditional farming with industrial mechanized farming and relocating displaced workers to cities built for the purpose. This has resulted in a significant degree of social disruption in the hinterlands.

Russian farmers are generally satisfied with their situation with is running more or less cooperatively and they do not wish the land divided into privately owned plot. Whether they realize it, the trend is toward mechanized farming that obviates the competitiveness of small farms. What would happen is that the farms would be turned into privately own industrial farms, and the former workers would be displaced. They would rather continue to be part of a cooperative farm.

The big challenge in the Global South is the industrialization of agriculture that not only displaces millions of agricultural workers but also disrupts cultural traditions.

Andrew Batson's Blog
How long was China Communist?
Andrew Batson

Speaking of China, see also
I am the odd bird who prefers Beijing to Shanghai. The food is more representative of China as a whole, the faces show more drama, you are more likely to see “weird random ****” driving around in a cab, and the core culture is less chi-chi. It’s the most important city in the world. Let’s hope Washington does nothing to reclaim that mantle, New York never will.
Marginal Revolution
Beijing notes
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Michael Hudson — Dad’s Many Proverbs

Insight into why Michael Hudson is a congenital leftist. Good read.

Michael Hudson
Dad’s Many Proverbs
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University

Bill Mitchell — There is a true oppositional Left forming and gaining political traction

Bill sees some "green shoots" politically. 
My theory is this. The younger voters have no life experience with old Labour (pre Thatcher). So all the bad things that New Labour-ites and the Tories might have said about Corbyn’s Labour would have had no meaning to them.
What do they care about the Winter of Discontent, Harold Wilson’s exchange rate crises, the bullying trade unions and all the rest of the narratives that are wheeled out to degrade the image of Labour – especially Corbyn’s ‘blast from the past’ policies (as depicted by the Tories and Blairites)?
What young people are searching for is hope for the future. And they have determined that neo-liberalism is not a source of optimism for the future.
Neo-liberalism and austerity has blighted their educational opportunities, undermined the health system, created chaose in the privatised transport system.
It is mean and nasty.
Moreover, while the mainstream media put out daily bile attacks about Corbyn, the young people don’t really buy or read the newspapers anymore.
The young people, increasingly connected by social media, and that is making all the Murdoch and Guardian-type hysterics irrelevant.
The British election, and to some extent, the French election shows that there is a new oppositional Left forming – finally.
The challenge for the left is monetary, financial and economic competence. This has been the big weakness that has resulted in leftist governments underperforming and failing to deliver on their promises.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
There is a true oppositional Left forming and gaining political traction
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Greg Satell — The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve

Relatively short and worth a read. It's business oriented but applicable to any kind of creative problem-solving. The first step is identifying the kind of problem and then matching the method.

Harvard Business Review
The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve
Greg Satell

Edward Harrison — How monetary policy entrenches secular stagnation

I believe that weak nominal growth is a policy choice in large part, rather than a destiny. Here’s why.
"Phillips Curve thinking."
Now what Dudley was implicitly saying is that he wants to tune Fed policy in order to make sure a small cadre of people stays unemployed so that inflation doesn’t take off. That’s because he thinks that, at low levels of unemployment, inflation will rise so much that the Fed will have to react violently. And so it makes sense to prevent that from happening by raising rates sooner rather than later.
That’s a policy choice, folks. Dudley is saying lower inflation is better than higher inflation. And he is also saying in no uncertain terms that he prefers some people be unemployed because their lack of employment will weaken wage-earners’ bargaining power and keep inflation lower. It’s choices like this – when nominal growth is already low – that entrench low growth. And that’s why the yield curve is flattening.
Credit Writedowns
How monetary policy entrenches secular stagnation
Edward Harrison

See also

Michael Kalecki (Michal Kalecki), Political Aspects of Full Employment, Political Quarterly, 1943

Pam and Russ Martens — Report: Measured for Social Progress, U.S. Is a Second-Tier Nation

Not an area of concern for the US.
This morning the annual Social Progress Index and report were released, measuring 128 countries based on Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. The United States ranked 18 and was placed in a “second tier” status. The report noted: “Traditional measures of national income, such as GDP per capita, fail to capture the overall progress of societies.”
On the component measuring health and wellness, the report found that the U.S. “performs far below countries at the same level of GDP per capita, registering relative weaknesses on all indicators in the component.” On the component measuring tolerance and inclusion, the researchers found that the U.S. “ranks just 23 in the world across this component, placing it behind less prosperous countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.”
Cue: USA!, USA!, USA! We are Number One!

How did this happen?
The research findings from the Social Progress Index are yet another embarrassing black eye to the standing of America on the world stage — as billionaires move to consolidate their power in Washington.
What is social progress anyway?
The study defines social progress as follows:

“Social progress is the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.”
Creating the conditions for all to reach their full potential is the basis for liberalism. The foundation of liberalism is freedom from constraint and freedom to chose in order to create the conditions necessary to use freedom for self-development as an individual and self-determination as a people.

Freedom from, freedom to, and freedom for are the sine qua non of traditional liberalism based on the Western intellectual tradition that began with the ancient Greeks.

Wall Street On Parade
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Stephen Lendman's New Site

It looks good.

The Oliver Stone Interview Destroys Russophobia

Part 1

I really like Putin. Oliver Stone draws him to criticise Yeltsin but Putin doesn't do so. Putin never has a bad word for anyone. He's very diplomatic for sure, but Western Politicians are nothing like that. Washington is a cess pit of hate.

The Putin Interviews: Part 4

Proof Vladimir Putin is not a bad guy as the United States Democratic Party claims. This is his side of his issues made public.

I am posting this video to seize tensions between Russia and the United States hoping for a peaceful resolution. Nuclear Holocaust is not an answer. There must be some way the USA and Russia to continue friendly ties and become allies at last. This is the only reason I am posting this video. To show the American people war with Russia as Hillary Clinton insist is not the answer!!

Sputnik — US Investors Rush to Buy Russian Eurobonds 'Despite Difficult Market Conditions'

The majority of Russian eurobonds in Tuesday's issue were bought by foreign investors, with the largest portion purchased by US buyers, Andrey Solovyev, the head of the debt capital market department at VTB Capital, the placement organizer, said Tuesday....
Sputnik International
US Investors Rush to Buy Russian Eurobonds 'Despite Difficult Market Conditions'

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Patrick Martin — The New York Times steps up its anti-Russia campaign

It's time to recall the part that the New York Times played in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, which some experts consider to be the greater strategic blunder the US has ever made. I don't know that it is the great strategic blunder but it is way up there on the scale. 

Now the Times is whipping up a frenzy to confront Russia, which could be the last strategic blunder the US ever makes is this goes nuclear.

History may not repeat but it certainly rhymes.

What is wrong with these people that they never learn from their mistakes, but instead double down on them?

Patrick Martin

Containing Russia and China: Pentagon requests more than $230 billion for nuclear weapons

A new nuclear arms race is on between the US and Russia and China, as well as weaponizing space and cyberwarfare capability, which this post omits.

The nominal amounts spent on military are misleading since US prices are higher to make room for corporate profit and graft. The comparison should be real resources, and that data is unavailable.

Fort Russ
Containing Russia and China: Pentagon requests more than $230 billion for nuclear weapons
RT Russian - Inessa Sinchougova

Sputnik International — Russian Jet Reportedly Comes Within 5 Feet of US Plane Over Baltic Sea

Testing nerve. The essence of brinksmanship. Russia sends another signal it won't blink.

Stephen Lendman's Blog Has Been Removed

Stephen Lendman's blog has been removed. I don't know why yet, and so far there is nothing on the internet about it. Paul Craig Robert's says his site also always has problems too, which he thinks might be a technical hitch, but he's not sure. I haven't been able to contact PCR through his site for over a week now.

Politnavigator — Ukraine will buy more expensive American coal - Poroshenko/Trump meeting

Poroshenko discussed with the US President the possibility of buying American coal from Pennsylvania instead of Donbass coal, its traditional supplier of energy needs....

US coal is said to be almost twice as expensive as locally sourced in the Donbass.
More insanity.
Ukraine will buy more expensive American coal - Poroshenko/Trump meeting
Politnavigator - Inessa Sinchougova

Reuters — U.S. senators want Congress to OK military action in Syria

Here we go again.
The Trump administration, like former President Barack Obama's, has been using a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda passed after the Sept. 11 attacks as the legal basis for a wide range of military action since.… 
Democratic Senator Tom Udall voted for the 2001 authorization while he was a member of the House of Representatives. "I would have never imagined that vote supporting U.S. troops in Syria in 2017 and engagements with the Assad regime," he said.
They probably never thought that the Patriot Act was a vote for a police state either.

U.S. senators want Congress to OK military action in Syria
Patricia Zengerle

Thomas Frank on the Demise of the Democratic Party — Katie Halper interviews Thomas Frank

Katie Halper: What did happen to the party of the people?
Thomas Frank: Yeah, well they took one hell of a beating didn't they? They've dwindled down to a position of complete powerlessness on the national stage. It's amazing how they've managed to do that. It's largely self-inflicted. Of course the Republicans have been the ones beating them but yeah, the Democrats have, what happened is that some years ago they decided they didn't want to be the party of the people anymore. They didn't want to be the sort of traditional Democratic Party that I grew up with, the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson. That's not what they wanted to be.
They wanted to be something different. This involved ... It was an enormous transition in the Democratic Party all through the seventies, all through the eighties, all through the nineties until they are what we see them as today. They are a party that represents a group of very affluent white collar professionals. That's who leads the party. That's who they speak for. That's whose issues they care about. That's really who they are. That's ... I mean to put it really, really, really bluntly, that kind of party is, just can't ... People aren't interested. The general public is just, they're not excited about that.…
Losers. And whiny sour-grapes losers, too. Double whammy.

Thomas Frank on the Demise of the Democratic Party
Katie Halper interviews Thomas Frank

Dan Colman — The Illustrated Guide to a PhD: 12 Simple Pictures That Will Put the Daunting Degree into Perspective

Open Culture
The Illustrated Guide to a PhD: 12 Simple Pictures That Will Put the Daunting Degree into Perspective
Dan Colman

Paul Robinson — Murder most foul

Paul Robinson calls BS on Buzzfeed.

Clickbait for revenue, or just straight up propaganda, possibly for hire?

Murder most foul
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Inessa Sinchougova — Tillerson has developed a program to improve relations with Russia

The strategy is aimed at establishing a constructive working relationship with the president of Russia on a range of issues.

The first is to give Russia an understanding that aggression against the United States is doomed to failure and it is counterproductive for both states. It is noted that the United States will take action, should Russia take any steps against US interests, such as sending weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan or prosecution of US diplomats in Moscow. (Apparently these standards do not apply to themselves?)
Ha ha. What a joke. "We can do what we want regardless of your red lines, and if you oppose us we will attack you, and then neither us will benefit because there will be a nuclear holocaust that will wipe out the Northern Hemisphere if not also the Southern. 

Has this guy studied game theory; is he just Mafia, or is he an adolescent that never grew up?

Ultimatums won't deter Russia from asserting its interests. It will just sour relations further. Same with China.

The world is getting very close to the point of no return as the US digs in to preserving its global hegemony in seeking to make Russia and China its vassals. Conflict among nuclear superpowers is looking more and more likely on this course, as the US has driven Russia and China to its red lines.

This is sheer madness that has nothing to do with genuine US interests, as in the interest of the American people, and everything to do with extending American empire in the interest of the American elite.

Fort Russ
Tillerson has developed a program to improve relations with Russia
KtoVKurse — Inessa Sinchougova

Lavrov responds deftly, in effect saying that the US is country that has demonstrated it cannot keep its agreements, so its words are worthless.

Sputnik International
Tillerson Plan Would Sound Good If Trump Wasn't 'Bound Hand & Foot by Congress'

Robert Parry — Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria

America’s neocons are back pounding the war drums, urging President Trump to escalate U.S. military attacks inside Syria even if that means hitting Russian targets and risking a new world war, reports Robert Parry.
Not just the neocons, but also the usual suspects, the liberal interventionists now led by HRC and the war hawks led by John McCain.

Libertarians, Alt Right and Trump supporters in general are apoplectic, while the Left remains absorbed in Russophobia and US identity politics.

The public at large?  Either asleep, or absorbed in some celebrity whatever.

Trump? Leave it to the generals, the people that haven't won a peace since WWII.

Consortium News
Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria
Robert Parry

Should read, "How the US Elite Use Fear of Russia Is Used To Mislead Americans." There, fixed it for you.

Dennis Bernstein interviews whistleblower Thomas Drake.
DB: What are the multiple dangers of the way in which information is used now, and slanted to support policy as opposed to inform?
TD: Well, it’s self-interest. It’s largely self-interest driven. You have, what I have sometimes called Gov-Corp, which is a combination of government and corporations and it’s an extraordinarily pathological relationship because they feed on each other. One protects the other and when you have the government corrupting itself to serve very powerful interests at the expense of public interests, guess what?
Guess what? While Drake does not use the word, I will. Fascism.

How Fear of Russia Misleads Americans
Dennis J Bernstein

Gregg Gelzinis — Treasury wants to weaken a crucial post-crisis capital requirement

A proposal by the Treasury Department that would allow large banks to exclude certain assets in calculating the leverage ratio is not only a misguided recommendation that would undermine post-crisis capital requirements for Wall Street. The recommendation also appears to be in direct contradiction with the leverage ratio principles outlined in the Treasury report’s own appendices.
On June 12, the Treasury released the first in a series of financial regulatory reports in accordance with an executive order signed by President Trump in February. Among the report’s worrisome recommendations is to modify the denominator in the Supplementary Leverage Ratio, or SLR. Specifically, Treasury recommends removing certain assets — cash held at central banks, U.S. Treasury securities and initial margin for centrally cleared derivatives — from what top-tier holding companies must include in maintaining a 5% SLR. This essentially makes it easier to meet the SLR requirement.
Here’s why that’s a problem.…
American Banker
Treasury wants to weaken a crucial post-crisis capital requirement
Gregg Gelzinis | special assistant for the economic policy team at the Center for American Progress

Joel Kotkin — Amazon Eats Up Whole Foods As The New Masters Of The Universe Plunder America

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” —Justice Louis Brandeis
The rise of monopoly, monopsony, oligarchy, plutonomy, and government capture, spelling the death of a moribund republic in which corruption at the top has been legalized in the name of the "free market," which supposedly is a necessary condition for democracy.

A problem with late-stage capitalism is the economies of scale leads to concentration of capital in the hands of fewer and fewer, reducing competition, while a foundation assumption of a free market system is perfect competition. Owing to this internal contradiction, capitalism destroys itself and turns into corporate statism. Neoliberalism is a political theory of global corporate totalitarianism.

New Geography
Joel Kotkin | executive editor of, Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University. and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism

NewDealdemocrat — This is a Big Deal: housing permits and starts now a long leading negative

In the past it has taken a decline of -175,000+ in permits to be consistent with the onset of recession. Today was -132,000 under January’s high.
I have been expecting a slowdown, based on the jump in interest rates since the Presidential election last November. It has clearly arrived, and it is significant enough to tip my rating of the housing market as a long leading indicator all the way to negative, pending next week’s report on single family home sales, which becomes all the more important.
Another ominous sign that the now 96 month recovery is stalling.

Angry Bear
This is a Big Deal: housing permits and starts now a long leading negative

Bill Mitchell — Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union – no solution in sight

Periodically, the European Commission puts out a new report or paper on how it is going to fix the unfixable mess that the Eurozone continues to wallow in. I say unfixable because all of the proposed reforms refuse to confront the original problem, which, at inception, the monetary union builders considered to be a desirable design feature – a lack of a federal fiscal capacity. They now know that this is the major issue but cannot bring themselves to deal with it directly. The politics won’t allow that. Everyone knows that Germany will veto such a development immediately and that would be the end of it. The latest report (May 31, 2017) – Reflection paper on the deepening of the economic and monetary union – maintains the inertness that was characteristic of previous ‘grand’ statements, such as the White paper on the future of Europe and the way forward(March 1, 2017) and the The Five Presidents’ Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (June 22, 2015). So not much has happened in 2 years, despite the unemployment rate still hovering around 9.5 per cent, other than many workshops, conferences, reports, speeches, meetings in salubrious surrounds where the catering is the highlight and the conclusions moribund.
The latest Report – Reflection paper on the deepening of the economic and monetary union – adds another 40 odd pages to the already high pile of talk with little meaningful action....
Macron thinks he can fix this by talking sense to Germany. Ha ha. The euro is a discounted DM without Germany being subject to external responsibilities of a fiscal union in addition to a monetary union, and the German elite like it that way.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union – no solution in sight
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Richard Werner: Local Banks and Debt Free Money.

Recent discussions here about our money supply and MMT led me to do a search for Richard Werner's excellent discussion of how small public banks and credit unions, which are owned by their members, can greatly benefit the community. I found these two superb videos which are not very long and Neil will like them. Here Richard Werner says the big banks need to be broken up. He describes how in the past governments got around the problem of paying interest by using a tally stick system, but with modern technology it can be done much easier.

The interviewer says he did a search for a mortgage checker and found that for a loan at 5% interest paid back over 25 years the borrower would have pay back twice as much as they borrowed. Richard Werner says this is a massive problem for society and for the government which also borrows money from the private banks. This counters Steve Keen's argument who says the interest is not a problem because new money does not have to be found as old already issued money just gets recycled when it goes in and out of the banking system. Steve Keen has some impressive computer modelling for this, but some academics say he has got it wrong. I hope not, because this would be a massive problem for society as interest compounds. Michael Hudson talks a lot about this problem of compounding interest too. Its seems like an enormous free money give away to the rich and people would be shocked if they knew.

 I got into an argument with Minethis1 on YouTube about this problem of government paying interest to private banks on its loans. I was defending him against some libertarians that were arguing with him when he turned on me because he said I got the role of government debt wrong when I said that the government can create its own money without borrowing from the private banks and so did not need to be saddled with debt and interest payments to private banks (which increases taxes, I also said). Minethis1 got quite angry with me and said that I sounded like a libertarian, but he would not tell me what it was I got wrong despite asking him several times to explain himself.

I learnt later that government bonds are just sold so that the central bank can settle overnight interest rates and are not really loans to the government. The government can create the money at its central bank to pay back interest on bonds so its not a problem, but Bill Mitchell says this is an enormous free money hand out to the rich. But here Richard Werner is saying that the interest on money that the government borrows from the private banks is an enormous problem for governments. He seems to agree with my original premise.

Richard Werner: Local Banks - Their Vital Role.

In the UK the Coalition Government has for some time been pleading the banks to lend to small and medium-sized businesses - with the aim of kick-starting economic growth. But it has not worked. In this video interview Professor Werner shows how this failure is particular to the UK due to the size of the banks. There is a mismatch. These huge centralised international banks are not suited for lending to local and regonal businesses. This means that small local businesses are throttled and the shape of the economy is skewed in favour of large firms. A Government committed to localism and the participation of all under its Big Society banner should heed Dr Werner's clear agenda of what should be done now to provide Banking for the Big Society.

Richard Werner: Debt Free & Interest Free Money

Dr Werner discloses facts about money creation that are at the core of every modern economy. About how the creation of the essential money that is needed to sustain growth is founded on debt. This suits banks, of course. Governments have huge debts, to banks, and few people realise that it does not have to be like this. Taxes are needed for paying for decades of past interest on government borrowing. Banking is an extracting mechanism. It extracts resources from the economy, through interest payments and the taxation needed to cover the debt burden of the government. Why borrow from banks and pay interest when there is an alternative way of money creation and allocation? Governments could create the money and allocate it into circulation through its spending programmes. [Kaivey: This was the argument I was making when Minethis1 turned on me]

Nearly 1000 years ago Winchester in England was the centre of such a money creation system - debt free and interest free. The tally stick system was used. It expanded the money supply needed by government and it was without debt. Tally sticks were accepted for tax payments. It worked for centuries. The system was not popular with banks who prefer to create the money supply and charge interest and so their way has come to dominate. But with modern technology we have the possibility of launching an alternative money creation system without the burdens we suffer under, and which would be even better than the proven tally stick system

Monday, June 19, 2017

Alexander Mercouris — CONFIRMED: US backs down as Russia targets US aircraft in Syria

Breath easier — for the moment. This is a long way from over and the US is not giving up its goals.

The Duran
Alexander Mercouris

Mike Whitney — The Syrian Nightmare: No End in Sight

Good summary of the dynamic in Syria.

The Syrian Nightmare: No End in Sight
Mike Whitney

Pat Lang — Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion

Col. Lang explains at some factors in the crazy.
There is a pernicious fever of Russophobia that is now wide spread among active and retired officers of the US armed forces. Many officers, however intelligent and well educated are extremely rigid in their thinking. This is a professional defect that was rewarded in the long process of competitive service leading to promotion. It was thought to indicate reliability and firmness of character. The Army's Russian studies graduate school at Germisch, Germany has, IMO, contributed to this Russophobia by inculcating an attitude toward the USSR and now Russia that is one of implacable hostility. The officer graduates of that institution have imparted this attitude to many others in the US Army. Retired US Army officers are now heard on Foxnews saying that the Russians must be "pushed into submission." This is crazy. Russia is not a minor power. They spend a tenth of what we do on military forces but their missile silos and submarines are full of weapons....
So if it seemed to you like craziness, it is.

There's more.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Marc Champion — Cold War Deja Vu Deepens as New Russia Sanctions Anger Europe

Digging a hole.

— Gilbert Doctorow — US Risks Wider War by Downing Syrian Plane

Now it appears that the Pentagon may be sabotaging another possibility of accommodation between Putin and Trump by escalating the U.S. military intervention in Syria at a time when the Syrian government has been consolidating its control over large swaths of Syria. The latest clash also heightens the possibility that Russian air defenses may shoot down a U.S. warplane and push tensions to even a higher level.
Trigger-happy generals.

Consortium News
US Risks Wider War by Downing Syrian Plane
Gilbert Doctorow | European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd.

Not just the generals.

Oh, and reading the international reports and alternative news, and the US DOD reports and mainstream media, someone is lying.

White House says it retains right to self-defense in Syria; Moscow warns Washington

US-led coalition’s downing of Syrian plane ‘act of aggression’ & ‘support for terrorists’ – Moscow

Russia Insider
Russia's Not Joking Around: US Reshuffles Forces After Pentagon Expresses Concern for 'Aircrew Safety' in Syria

Nick Johnson — Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich (Ha-Joon Chang’s Thing 7)

These telling extracts from Ha-Joon Chang‘s 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism come from ‘Thing 7’ (p. 63-5):
[the country described above]…is the USA, around 1880…one of the fastest-growing – and rapidly becoming one of the richest – countries in the world…[following] policy recipes that go almost totally against today’s neo-liberal free-market orthodoxy.”
When the US was developing in the 19th century, the British economy was dominant and the British system was therefore the model. However, developed the American system to counter it as more suitable for an emerging economy, initially under the aegis of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton sought to emulate the aspects of the British system that were useful to the developing US, but to adapt it and add methods that would be more appropriate for current conditions.

The Political Economy of Development
Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich (Ha-Joon Chang’s Thing 7)
Nick Johnson

Syria Summary - U.S. Attack Fails To Disrupt Push To Deir Ezzor

Yesterday a U.S. F-18 jet shot down a Syrian air force bomber near the city of Raqqa. The U.S. Central Command ludicrously claims that this was in "self defense" of its invading forces and its Kurdish proxies (Syria Democratic Forces - SDF) within a "deconflicting zone" in the town of Jardin.
This is a lie. Neither is there any agreed upon "deconflicting zone" in the area nor was the town of Jardin held by SDF forces at the time of the attack....
Detailed update of the fighting in Syria.

Moon of Alabama

Claire Connelly — The cost of getting it wrong

What most of us have long believed about how the economy works is based on a set of fundamental myths, supported by a series of inappropriate and misleading metaphors, from which it is difficult to escape. The emotional investment we have made in these myths has allowed for levels of unemployment, underemployment, inequality and relative poverty which would have seemed incredible a generation ago.
  • Somehow we have convinced ourselves of the following:
  • Governments need taxpayers’ money to pay for things.
  • Governments, like households, need to at least balance their budgets.
  • Deficits are bad and government surpluses are good.
  • Deficits paid for by printing money causes inflation.
  • Surpluses set aside savings which can be spent in the future.
Lower wages promote full employment.
Wrong, wrong, all wrong.…
Democracy at Work
The cost of getting it wrong
Claire Connelly

Ann Wright — Trump Complies with War-Hawk Wishes

President Trump is plunging ahead with expanded Mideast wars, with emerging escalations in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, building on the bloody policies of his predecessors, as retired Col. Ann Wright explains.
Turning the generals loose and writing a blank check for new toys to play with.

Consortium News
Trump Complies with War-Hawk Wishes
Col. (ret.) Ann Wright

Ann Wright spent 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, retiring as a colonel. She served 16 years in the Foreign Service in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia, and led the small team that reopened the U.S. embassy in Kabul in December 2001. She resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq, and is co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience (Koa, 2008). She speaks around the world about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy and is an active participant in the U.S. anti-war movement. [ This story first appeared at The Foreign Service Journal at ]

Ramanan — Morris Copeland’s Monetary Economics

So you see Morris Copeland was the clearest monetary economist at his time.
Lots of quotes. Morris Copeland is considered an institutionalist economist.

The Case for Concerted Action
Morris Copeland’s Monetary Economics
V. Ramanan

See also

Copeland on money as electricity
Anne Mayhew | Emerita, University of Tennessee

Bill Mitchell — If Africa is rich – why is it so poor?

When I was a student, that is, formally studying for degrees rather than the constant-learning approach which makes us permanent students, I was very interested in development economics and have carried that into the career phase of my work, including doing commissioned work for international agencies in Africa and Asia. One of the things I have come up against in that work has been the question of why are the nations in Africa, for example, so poor, when it is obvious to all and sundry that they possess massive resource wealth. My student days introduced me to dependency theory, which provided a solid framework for understanding the nature of underdevelopment. It stood in contrast to the mainstream development theory that was presented in most textbooks and which we would now call the neo-liberal approach. That approach is publicly enunciated by the IMF and the World Bank as if it is reality. In fact, it is a chimera! The framework of development aid and oversight put in place by the richer nations and mediated through the likes of the IMF and the World Bank can be seen more as a giant vacuum cleaner designed to suck resource and financial wealth out of the poorer nations either through legal or illegal means, whichever generates the largest flows. So while Africa is wealthy, its interaction with the world monetary and trade systems, leaves millions of its citizens in extreme poverty – unable to even purchase sufficient nutrition to live. It is a scandal of massive proportions and should become the target of all progressive governments (as they emerge).
Neoliberalism entails neo-imperialism and neocolonialism. For example "spreading freedom" and "making the world safe for democracy" really means expanding the market state and eventually replacing states with the global market, which equates freedom with economic liberalism and democracy with capitalism. This is the basis of neoliberal globalization. In this scenario, the military and security services become protection services for private property, which is increasingly falling into the hands of the super-rich owing to their capture of policy.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
If Africa is rich – why is it so poor?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kevin Erdmann — The flattening yield curve

Here is another narrative.

Idiosyncratic Whisk
The flattening yield curve
Kevin Erdmann

Alan Gilman — Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin: When the White House fixed a Russian election

The presentation of the US electoral system as a model of democracy is a transparent fraud. It is system that legally sanctions the buying of candidates, parties and elections by a super-rich financial oligarchy. Moreover, the Democratic Party emails allegedly hacked and leaked by the Russian government documented real, and illegal, manipulation of the electoral process, in the form of efforts by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders for the party’s presidential nomination.
When it comes to manipulating foreign elections, the American ruling elite and its media and political stooges know whereof they speak. The United States is the world leader in interfering in other countries’ elections. Professor Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University has assembled a database documenting as many as 81 occasions between 1946 and 2000 when Washington interfered in elections in other countries. This number does not include military coups or regime-change efforts following the election of candidates the US opposed, as in Iran, Congo, Guatemala, Chile and many other nations.
In fact, the number of countries whose elections have been affected by US meddling is much higher. There is scarcely a country, large or small, where the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon or their various nongovernmental agencies, including the AFL-CIO, have not intervened in an attempt to obtain the election result desired by Washington. This includes nominal “allies” such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Australia and Japan.
One fairly recent election stands out for the brazen and open manner in which the United States government, directed from the White House, intervened to put its candidate in office in a foreign land. The targeted country was none other than Russia.
In 1996, the White House and President Bill Clinton personally mounted a massive campaign to secure the reelection of Boris Yeltsin, whose comprador regime had been installed in the first place to oversee the dissolution of the Soviet Union and restoration of capitalism. One of the ironies of the current contrived scandal over alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 election is the fact that the supposed victim, Hillary Clinton, is the wife of the president who oversaw the very real interference by Washington in the Russian election 20 years earlier....
The fact is however that while Bill Clinton cinched the election for Boris Yeltsin, Hillary Clinton lost her own election all on her own owing to her focus on identity politics and her failed campaign strategy. She and her campaign were apparently deluded by polling based on the popular vote, which she indeed won. But elections in the US are decided in the electoral college based on states. Hillary lost states she assumed she didn't need to campaign in.

Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin: When the White House fixed a Russian election
Alan Gilman

Russian students dominate at the computer programming olympics — and American computer science students are unsurprised

Eyeopener, although not surprising for those that have been paying attention to education.

Russian students dominate at the computer programming olympics — and American computer science students are unsurprised
Samuel Blackstone

Tyler Durden — Derivative Markets Signal Looming End Of The Business Cycle

It's looking like the Trump bump is over, with the expected tax cuts and infrastructure spending stalled as the country becomes embroiled in Trumpgate and Congress focuses instead on repeal/repairing Obamacare, depending on which faction of the GOP one is in and what one's reelection prospects are.

Oh, and did I mention the impending debt ceiling, which looks like its going to be contentious again, at least from the signals that Trump is sending.

Jonathan Garber — A predictor with a perfect track record on the American economy is moving closer to signaling a recession

Inverted yield curve.

With long term rates so low historically for so long, the US economy should be roaring. The big question is why it is not? There are several narratives, but no theory supported by evidence that is compelling enough to gain widespread agreement.

Business Insider
A predictor with a perfect track record on the American economy is moving closer to signaling a recession
Jonathan Garber


Sputnik International
US Economy Might Be at Pre-Bubble Stage as Treasury Yield Curve Flattens Again
Kristian Rouz

Brad DeLong — David Glasner: Fifteen Thousand Words On Temporary Equilibrium, Expectations, And Consistency Of Plans

I confess to not reading this series yet, but it is on the list. David Glasner's analysis is always worth reading.

Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Brad DeLong

Charles Glass — Syrian Archives Add New Details to Henry Kissinger’s Disastrous Middle East Record

Lots of good stuff.

Kissinger surprised [Hafez Assad] with the claim that his major obstacle emanated from those who control “the financial capital and means of communications” in the U.S., not so subtle code for the Zionist lobby that had yet to achieve the influence it would wield in later years. The Syrian transcripts contain Kissinger’s numerous disparaging remarks about the lobby, but, Shaaban writes, “The U.S. record makes no mention of him citing ‘financial capital’ or ‘means of communication’.”
The Intercept
Syrian Archives Add New Details to Henry Kissinger’s Disastrous Middle East Record
Charles Glass

Moon of Alabama — When AP Spreads #Fakenews - A Forensic Appraisal

I would not call this an example of fake news, even though it amount to misreporting. I would call it unprofessional reporting that is sloppy and overlooks nuance. To the degree that it misrepresents what the official Russian reports from the Ministry of Defense and state media actually said.  

However, Defense Minister Shoygu did report to President Putin on it, so it can be inferred that while not confirming the new, the ministry and intel services have "high confidence" in it. So calling the AP report "fake news" might be excessive.

Journalistic unprofessionalism is becoming typical the US media where headlines are often misleading based on the rest of the article. Moreover, it is common knowledge in the profession that most people only read the headline and maybe the lede. Very few read the whole article, so the qualifiers, if any, are buried at the end.

In addition , articles are often written to support the headline with the argument is not supported by the facts, which are easily checkable with an Internet search.

Moreover, there is a also a deficit of critical thinking among the public, so unprofessional, slanted (spun) reporting, and even fake news go unchallenged, and many people form their opinions based on false information.

This is an issue not only with respect to politics, but also many other important aspects of life. Medical reporting is especially bad, for example, and in some cases promotes what amounts to quackery. In some cases, advertising is disguised as news.

I suspect that there are several factors leading to this. The first is the sensationalism of journalism after the success of the Murdoch model that brought the tabloid model of sensationalism into the mainstream.

The second is the spread of unprofessionalism in journalism as the standards relaxed.

 Thirdly, advertisers play an increasingly important role, owing to the way media are now financed by ad revenue rather than subscriptions. 

Fourthly, groupthink. 

Fifth, the infiltration of propaganda into the news.

The result is a media that cannot be trusted to report accurately and comprehensively, which is in essence b's conclusion in the post.

Moon of Alabama
When AP Spreads #Fakenews - A Forensic Appraisal

Here is some real fake news fresh from The Independent and exposed by Russia Insider.

Russia Insider
Does Russia Force Underage Girls to Take Virginity Tests? Western Media Says 'Yes', Reality Says 'Nope'
RI Staff

See also
Investigative Journalist David Sirota discusses the media's role in the time of Trump, and holding Democrats accountable while Republicans are in power
David Sirota Discusses the Role of Journalism In the Trump Resistance