Sunday, November 19, 2017

Steve Roth — “In the Beginning…Was the Unit of Account” – Twelve Myths About Money

Jan Kregel presented a great dinner speech at the recent Modern Monetary Theory Conference, touching on some of the fundamental ways we think about money and economics. (Sorry, no recording or transcript available.) I had a brief conversation with him afterwards, and we followed up with a few emails.
The quotation in the title of this post is condensed from the final line of one of his emails — a line that made me laugh out loud:
“So I guess we start from that — in the beginning was the word, and the word was the unit of account?”
Okay, yes: money-dweeb humor. But the implications are kind of profound.
The Word. Logos. Indeed. I’ve written about this before — how writing in its earliest forms emerged from tally sheets, accounting. Even, that its emergence was the first step on the road to outsourcing our memory onto iPhones, maybe even (only somewhat tongue in cheek) causing human brains to shrink over millennia.
Jan’s great line, and our conversations, prompt me to set down some thoughts on this ever-vexed subject. Herewith, twelve widespread usages and conceptions that, in my experience, tie our money discussions in knots. Please assume that anything you don’t like here is mine, not Jan’s, and apologies to those who have heard some of this from me before....
“In the Beginning…Was the Unit of Account” – Twelve Myths About Money
Steve Roth

Brian Romanchuk — On Using NAIRU To Analyse A Job Guarantee

Professor Simon Wren-Lewis wrote "Some thoughts about the Job Guarantee," in which he makes an attempt to analyse a Job Guarantee using the NAIRU concept. The analysis suffers from the well-known defects of NAIRU.
In the article, he argues that a Job Guarantee implementation would cause a one-time upward shock to wages. He argues that this is not "acknowledged" by MMT authors, even though it appears this effect is common knowledge to anyone who has read the MMT literature. As a result, that is a curious argument. However, he then flips to an analysis where the Job Guarantee has no effect on inflation....
Bond Economics
On Using NAIRU To Analyse A Job Guarantee
Brian Romanchuk

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Alexander Mercouris — Does the United States have a future? A new book by Gilbert Doctorow (book review)

Good read. The review is mostly about Russia, despite the title.

The Duran

Kaivey - Internet Censorship

Jonathon Freedland of the Guardian wrote this article titled, From Peppa Pig to Trump, the web is shaping us. It’s time we fought back, and he starts off by saying about the horror of a children's cartoon which parents might leave their kids in front of while they get on with stuff thinking it's a good way to keep them quite. But the cartoon, he says, may have been unofficially digitally altered to drive up lucrative ratings and could contain disturbing images like cartoon characters having their heads chopped off. 

Now this topic about the content on the internet keeps turning up at the Guardian and yet for over 20 years children have been able to access porn on their mobile/ cell phones and there has hardly been a mention about in the media, but now, all of a sudden, what we can view on the internet has become big news. 

Freedland eventually says this in the below quote and we get the real reason for the article - MSM is trying to soften us up to having the internet censored. 

Jonathon Freedland says - 

Perhaps this political point is illuminated best by politics. There’s much focus, rightly, on Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, with Facebook’s admission, for instance, that Moscow-funded messages were seen by 150 million Americans. But such enormous reach was only possible because of the way Facebook works, an algorithm designed to “maximise engagement”, showing people nuggets of news that they are likely to pass on – even when that “news” is bogus and fact-free. 
That was the system those infamous Macedonian teenagers realised they could exploit for cash – spreading the lie that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump – and which meant that in the last three months of the US campaign, the biggest fake election stories generated more engagementthan the biggest, and true, stories produced by the likes of the New York Times and the Washington Post. It’s the same system the Trump campaign itself used to such great effect, with its micro-targeted ads aimed at specific demographic groups, which were then shared and shared again.

Now it only took me a few seconds to find the the Pope endorses Trump article that Jonathon Freedland is referring to. Here's an excerpt - 

We’ve received many questions asking whether Pope Francis has endorsed Donald Trump, and a few asking if the actor Tom Hanks has voiced his support for Trump. Neither has. 
Let’s start with the pope. 
Pope Francis’ supposed endorsement of Trump originated on the satirical website WTOE 5 News, with the headline “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement.” In the bogus statement, the pope is purported to comment on the FBI investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, writing, “The FBI, in refusing to recommend prosecution after admitting that the law had been broken on multiple occasions by Secretary Clinton, has exposed itself as corrupted by political forces that have become far too powerful.” 
In the made-up article, the pope then goes on to acknowledge that he is not endorsing Trump as the pope, but rather “as a concerned citizen of the world.” 
WTOE 5 News owns up to being a fake news website in its “about” page. “WTOE 5 News is a fantasy news website,” it says. “Most articles on are satire or pure fantasy.”
So in other words, this article turned up on a comedy site where everyone is told that its articles are satirical, fun, and comical . The MSM is being mischievous. 

Now all governments know that their citizens will only fight in a just war and so for centuries they have lied to us using propaganda to demonize the enemy, but now, for the first time in history, people can easily find the truth online and so this is a real threat to the ruling elite.

Jonathon Freedland - From Peppa Pig to Trump, the web is shaping us.

Lee Camp - The Truth About RT

Recently Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party started working for RT this week and the UK Guardian hissed and booed calling him a narcissist and an egotist. The Guardian nowadays often doesn't allow readers comments when the topic is about Russia, or will close the comments section down quickly if the comments are negative so I keep missing my chance to reply even though I know my post will be removed.

Lee Camp says that all the best journalists now work for RT. He says how the former director of National Intelligence said that RT was influencing American politics by hosting third party candidates, but 50% of American vote for independents so why doesn't the MSM give them more coverage?

The Department of Justice ordered RT to register as a foreign agent, yet refuses to cite what laws were broken. Furthermore, the government has none nothing to demonstrate how RT journalists are taking orders from the Kremlin, which is what’s required by FARA. They have not demonstrated that RT employees have lobbied Congress on behalf of the Russian government, and this move is clearly political since ACTUAL foreign lobbyists like the P0desta Group and A I P A C were not threatened with arrests. RT is a test case for a wider campaign of media suppression. The fact is the political establishment is scared to death that more and more people are abandoning the big 6 corporate media, and does not want you hearing outside perspectives.

Michael Roberts — US rate of profit update

The latest data for net fixed assets in the US have been released, enabling me to update the calculations for the US rate of profit a la Marx up to 2016.
Last year, I did the calculations with the help of Anders Axelsson from Sweden, who not only replicated the results to ensure their accuracy (and found mistakes!), but also produced a manual for carrying out the calculations that anybody could use.
As I did last year and in previous years, I have also updated the rate of profit using the method of calculation by Andrew Kliman (AK) that he first carried out in his book, The failure of capitalist production. AK measures the US rate of profit based on corporate sector profits only and using the BEA’s historic cost of net fixed assets as the denominator.
I also calculate the US rate of profit with a slight variation from AK’s approach, in that I depreciate gross profits by current depreciation rather than historic depreciation as AK does, but I still use historic costs for net fixed assets. The theoretical and methodological reasons for doing this can be found here and in the appendix in my book, The Long Depression, on measuring the rate of profit.
Michael Roberts Blog
US rate of profit update
Michael Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts - Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button?

William Binney is the former National Security Agency (NSA) official who created NSA’s mass surveillance program for digital information. He says that if the Russian government had conspired with Trump, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer, or in any way influenced the outcome of the last US presidential election, the National Security Agency would have the digital evidence. The fact that we have been listening to the unsubstantiated charges that comprise “Russiagate” for more than one year without being presented with a scrap of evidence is complete proof that Russiagate is entirely fake news.
The fake news originated with CIA director John Brennan and FBI director Comey conspiring with the DNC in an effort to discredit and unseat President Trump and at a minimum prevent him from damaging the vast power and profit of the military/security complex by normalizing relations with Russia.
Consider what this means. The directors of the CIA and FBI made up a totally false story about a newly elected President and fed the lies to the presstitutes and Congress. The presstitutes never asked for a drop of evidence and enlarged the Brennan/Comey lie with a claim that all 17 US intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia had interfered. In actual fact, a handful of carefully selected people in three of the agencies had prepared, perhaps under duress, a conditional report that had no evidence behind it.
That it was fake news created to control President Trump was completely obvious, but corrupt security officials, corrupt senators and representatives, a corrupt DNC, and corrupt media used constant repetition to turn a lie into truth.

William Blum - A Brief History of U.S. Interventions: 1945 to the Present (1999)

The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:

* making the world safe for American corporations;

* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;

* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;

* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a "great power."

This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.

Third World traveler 

Eli Cook — The Pricing of Progress and the Origins of GDP

The key element that distinguishes capitalist societies from previous forms of social organization is not the existence of markets or money but rather capital investment, the act through which basic elements of society and life—including natural resources, technological discoveries, cultural productions, urban spaces, educational institutions, human beings, and the nation-state—are transformed (or “capitalized”) into income-generating assets valued and allocated in accordance with their capacity to make money and yield profitable returns.
In my book, I argue that economic indicators and the pricing of progress emerged out of such acts of capital investment as capitalist forms of quantification and valuation used to manage or invest in railroad corporations, textile factories, real estate holdings, or slave plantations slowly but surely escaped the narrow confines of the business world and seeped into nearly every nook and cranny of American society. As a burgeoning “investmentality” led American businessmen and policy makers to quantify not only their portfolio but their nation as a for-profit investment, the progress of its inhabitants, free or enslaved, came to be valued according to their moneymaking abilities. 
Follow the capital, therefore, and you will find the origins of GDP and our current obsession with monetized metrics...
To conclude, by the time GDP was finally invented during the Great Depression, Americans already had much experience with the notion that one could measure social success by calculating the income-bearing capacities of the nation. The rise of GDP, therefore, is not the opening scene in the rise of modern economic indicators, but rather the final act of a global story that began not in twentieth century economic departments, government bureaucracies or think tanks but rather with the enclosure of English lands, the enslavement of African bodies and the capitalization of American life in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Capitalism is not about markets. It is about economies based on capital investment. Capital investment did not become a major factor until the development of technology made industry possible.

Previously capital investment was in land and labor under feudal conditions, and ships involved in international trade under mercantilist conditions.

The development of machinery and the subsequent development of finance ushered in industrial capital as the dominant economic force.

Economic growth came to be viewed chiefly in terms of capital formation and accumulation rather than agricultural production, resource extraction, and trade.

Economic Sociology and Political Economy
The Pricing of Progress and the Origins of GDP
Eli Cook | Assistant Professor of History at the University of Haifa

Shannon Monnat and David L. Brown — How Despair Helped Drive Trump to Victory

Economic, social and health decline in the industrial Midwest may have been a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, Monnat and Brown’s INET research finds, with people living in distressed areas swinging behind Trump in greater numbers. Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids, disability, poor health, and family problems.
Hillary's "deplorables"?

These people should have been part of the base of a Democratic Party that is the party of FDR rather than Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. First there were the Reagan Democrats and now there are the Trump Democrats.

It's wasn't "the Russians" that did the Democrats in, with the GOP controlling not only the presidency but also both branches of the federal legislature and the majority of governorships and state legislatures.

The Democratic Party under the New Democrats lost the plot and remain clueless, trying to blame "the Russians" for their own corruption and ineptitude that brought them down.

However, the GOP establishment lost control of the Party to a base that was fed up with false promises.

Now both party establishments are trying to wrest back control, which is further dividing the country not so much on party lines as class structure, with populism rising in the bases of the both parties as the precariat swells.

How Despair Helped Drive Trump to Victory
Shannon Monnat, Associate Professor, Syracuse University, and David L. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

See also
Feelings of uncertainty and losing control bring a preference for “dominant” versus “prestige” leaders
Scientific American
Explaining the Global Rise of “Dominance” Leadership
Niro Sivanathan, Hemant Kakkar

Dan Goodin — Pentagon contractor leaves social media spy archive wide open on Amazon

Another "oops."

Ars Technica
Pentagon contractor leaves social media spy archive wide open on Amazon
Dan Goodin | Security Editor

Friday, November 17, 2017

Evan Jones — The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident

Not just the US. Jacques Sapir could be compared with Noam Chomsky in the US.
In an open letter to Macos, Sapir claims that this act again him, seemingly anodyne, is extraordinary. It is representative of the intolerance towards anti-establishment opinion and of the repression that grows inexorably whether in France (the anti-terrorist law very worrying in this regard)(1) or in other countries, like Spain.
Liberalism in the West is under threat as elites feel the heat.
This is not a one-off event. Journalist Aude Lancelin was sacked from her deputy director’s role at Nouvel-Observateur (L’Obs) in May 2016. The brutal sacking occurred on the eve of a Board meeting presided over by the paper’s very wealthy proprietors.(2) Her co-deputy Pascal Riché was moved sideways. Mme Lancelin has the misfortune to have a questioning intelligence, and being close to critical thinkers, not least the anti-establishment philosopher-economist Frédéric Lordon (her partner)....

Mike Whitney — Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?

These investigations are taking place because powerful elites want to vilify an emerging geopolitical rival (Russia) and prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Moscow, not because there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. As the Intel analysts themselves acknowledge, there is no proof of criminal wrongdoing or any other wrongdoing for that matter. What there is, is a political agenda to discredit Trump and demonize Russia. That’s the fuel that is driving the present campaign.
Russia-gate is not about ‘meddling’, it’s about politics. And Brennan and Clapper are critical players in the current drama....
Still all allegation and no evidence.
As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can’t trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is ‘thrown out’ because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say....
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
Mike Whitney

Philip M Giraldi — How America’s Deep State Operates to Control the Message

It is not possible to overstate the power of certain constituencies and corporate lobbies in the United States. These pressure groups, joined by powerful government agencies, many of which have secret agendas that focus on national security, constitute what is increasingly being recognized as “Deep State America.” Deep State is the widespread belief that there exists in many countries an entrenched and largely hidden infrastructure that really controls the national narrative and runs things. It explains why, for example, a country like the United States is perpetually at war even though the wars have been disastrous failures ever since Korea and have not made the nation more secure.
To be sure, certain constituencies have benefitted from global instability and conflict, to include defense industries, big government in general, and the national security state. They all work together and hand-in-hand with the corporate media to sustain the narrative that the United States is perpetually under threat, even though it is not....
Strategic Culture Foundation
How America’s Deep State Operates to Control the Message
Philip M Giraldi | Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the CIA

Gordon M. Hahn — Foreign Involvement in February 2014 Maidan Terrorist Sniper Attack

It needs to be acknowledged that, yes, as some claimed there was foreign involvement in the 20 February 2014 terrorist sniper attacks on Ukraine’s Maidan that killed some 47, wounded more, and sparked the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. However, according to information from an Italian documentary film ( and published on Facebook by the world’s leading expert on the Maidan sniper attack, Ottawa University Professor Ivan Katchanovski, it appears not to have been a group managed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisor, Vyacheslav Surkov, or a Russian ‘wet team’ as claimed by US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. Rather, it included both Lithuanian and Georgian snipers recruited by Mamuka Mamushvili, a Georgian military advisor to former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Washington’s ‘beacon of democracy’ in Eurasia, and an American military operative, Brian Christopher Boyenger, formerly of the famous 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Tennessee ( Mamuka Mumashvili organized and fought with the Georgian National Legion, which included according to one FB post I show below, “three retired US officers.” One of the Georgian snipers allegedly recruited by Mamulashvili and Boyenger was a member of Saakashvili’s body guard detail at the time....
Russian and Eurasian Politics
Foreign Involvement in February 2014 Maidan Terrorist Sniper Attack
Gordon M. Hahn, analyst and Advisory Board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, member of the Executive Advisory Board at the American Institute of Geostrategy, a contributing expert for Russia Direct, a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, Akribis Group, and; and an analyst and consultant for Russia – Other Points of View

Alexander Dugan — Hegel and the Platonic Leap Down

This may be of interest to some here. It's an extract from a longer work, so some prior understanding is assumed. Unfortunately, it may not be understandable without having read what went before, unless one is familiar with the philosophical context of what he is talking about.

In this short excerpt, Alexander Dugin provides an summary of view of Hegel's project and how it fits into subsequent history and remains significant today, from his own point of view, of course, although in my view he gets the thrust of Hegel right. Dugin warns that Hegel's thought is complex, so any brief summary will necessarily be wanting. Nevertheless, Dugin offers an interesting way to view Hegel's project as Absolute Idealism.

So what? Hegel was enormously influence in his day but he is now largely forgotten. However, his influence persists in the influence he exerted on some major figures in subsequent history, both as Hegelians and also as anti-Hegelians. Much of Dugin's philosophical work is exploring this dialectic between traditionalists and conservatives that hold worldviews characterized by the Great Chain of Being and those holding liberal, materialist and positivist world views characterized by the scientific-humanistic worldview. 

The contemporary world is still struggle to reconcile these apparently opposing worldviews as globalization rolls on. These worldviews are not only opposing but also in conflict, and this conflict will apparently continue until there is a victor or a synthesis is achieved. Dugin gets this, and this synthesis is what his The Fourth Political Theory (summary) is about. (An English translation of The Fourth Political Theory is available for download at

One way to summarize the issue as its is in the opposition of liberalism and conservatism. Liberalism is about individual freedom. Conservatism is about personal responsibility. The synthesis of these opposing forces is freedom and responsibility. Conservatives condemn liberals for thinking that freedom implies license. Liberals criticize conservatives for conflating responsibility with following authority blindly. 

However, the issue of traditionalism and modernism and its extension to postmodernism is much more oppositional since more foundational issues are involved, being grounded in world views that seem impossible to reconcile — the Great Chain of Being and scientism. How this will be dealt with historically is still in the process of unfolding, and there is no end of history.

Incidentally, Alexander Dugin is a controversial character, and yes, he is a character. Be warned that most of what appears in the West as supposedly objective criticism of him, his work and the part he plays in Russia is ill-informed and highly biased. 

I am not saying that one needs to agree with him, but his point of view is worth taking into account. He is likely to be remembered as a major thinker of his time. While one may not agree, Dugin does illumine the issues and inform the debate from a well-worked out stance. 

CSSI- Eurasianist Archive
Hegel and the Platonic Leap Down
Alexander Dugan
Translated by Jafe Arnold

Alastair Crooke — Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels

President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.
Consortium News
Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy


The AntiMedia
The Truth About Why Saudi Arabia and Israel Are Really Working Together
Darius Shahtahmasebi


Significant discussions between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Xi Jinping signals China's intention to deepen cooperation with Saudi Arabia .

THIS is real china

To think in just 30 years the Chinese have created all this, look and gasp. The downside, the pollution and the hardship that working people went through, but this happened to us too as we built our civilization. Now China is raising wages to create more home demand and is also trying to do something about the pollution.

Gavin Kennedy — More Criticism Of Mathematical Economic Theorising

Why economics is not a science and how it is being used prescriptively rather than descriptively.

Adam Smith's Lost Legacy
Gavin Kennedy | Professor Emeritus, Heriot Watt University

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Alexander Mercouris — Here’s the real scandal of the 2016 US election which should be investigated; it’s not Russiagate

What the evidence points to is – as Jared Kushner has admitted – a chaotic and disorganised Trump campaign, incapable of carrying out any sort of secret or illegal collusion not just with the Russians but with anyone, with unpaid and junior staffers like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page amateurishly attempting – in one case enthusiastically, in the second case calculatedly – to do foreign policy with Russia all by themselves, without receiving guidance or encouragement from the Trump campaign.
Nothing those people who were genuinely close to Trump – eg. Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Sessions and Donald Trump Junior – did during the campaign looks to me wrong or improper.
By contrast, whilst there is no evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and no prospect of anyone finding such evidence, there is now abundant evidence that the US intelligence community, the Justice Department and the FBI were pulling out the stops during the election to help Hillary Clinton....
Details follow. Mercouris is a London lawyer, by the way.

Caitlin Johnstone — I’ve Been Banned From Facebook For Sharing An Article About False Flags

The censorship saga continues
In a corporatist system of government, corporate censorship is state censorship. When there’s no meaningful space between corporate power and government power, it doesn’t make much difference whether the guy silencing your dissent is Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Sessions. America most definitely has such a system.
If they’re going to get us locked down and propagandized into their vapid brain boxes, this will be how they’ll do it. Not by government censorship, but by corporate censorship. Government can’t make an overt attempt to stop a dissenting voice from speaking, but the corporations who own the venue of their speech can.
Corporations working with government on policy has a name — corporate statism aka fascism aka transnational corporate totalitarianism.

"It can't happen here."

Looks like it is already in gear and shifting up.

I’ve Been Banned From Facebook For Sharing An Article About False Flags
Caitlin Johnstone

RT - Was US base in Kurdish region of Syria part of deal letting ISIS fighters flee Raqqa?

Micheal Maloof, a former Pentagon official, will now be on the Washington hit list for appearing on RT. But he didn't care, good on him!

A secret deal between the US and UK reportedly helped Islamic State leaders flee the besieged city of Raqqa, Syria. Former Pentagon official Michael Maloof tells RT America’s Ashlee Banks that the report raises questions about the United States’ role in screening the supposed refugees leaving the city.

New China TV - My Life My China: I don’t want that free media!

More fake news, no doubt these commies were brainwashed. They must have been held at gunpoint to say this because they're being too nice. They are not free like us and believe that society is more important than selfish desires. Outrageous! The greatest leader of all time, Margaret Thatcher, said there is no such thing as society. Getting ahead in the rat race and kicking someone else off the ladder is all that counts.

What coverage should the media offer? Journalists from China's mainstream outlets speak about what they see as "fair and balanced" reporting. It's one episode of the #MyLifeMyChina series co-produced by China Institute, Fudan University and Guan Video, with 10 Chinese journalists sharing their stories or views about some hotly discussed China topics.

CNN — People for sale [in Libya]

Intended consequences of "spreading freedom and democracy" with bombs.

Not that slavery isn't endemic in some parts of the world. But not in Gaddafi's Libya. That was then.

People for sale [in Libya]
Nima Elbagir, Raja Razek, Alex Platt and Bryony Jones

Russia Feed — Russian Justice Ministry notifies 9 media outlets about possible foreign agent recognition

The Russian Justice Ministry has sent letters to nine media outlets on their possible registration as foreign agents. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty are among those that could be recognized as foreign agents, the ministry said.

The ministry also sent letters to the administration of the Kavkaz.Realii, Krym Realii and Sibir Realii websites, as well as Radio Azatliq – all of which are Radio Liberty branches based in Russia. The Current Time TV channel, a joint project of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, as well as the Radio Liberty-owned website and IdelRealii project also received letters.
On Wednesday, the Russian State Duma passed the third and final reading of the bill, which requires mass-media outlets operating in the country but funded from abroad to register as foreign agents. The bill is a mirror response to Washington’s demand for RT to register as a foreign agent.…
In forcing RT to register in the US as a foreign agent, the US implicitly gave its permission for Russia to shout down US propaganda machines operating in Russia. This move is almost as smart as driving Russia into the arms of China.

Russia Feed
Russian Justice Ministry notifies 9 media outlets about possible foreign agent recognition

John Helmer — Machiavelli’s Thirteen Rules For The Successful Ruler – Two Vladimir Putin Did Learn; Eleven He Didn’t, Not Yet

So how close, or how far from Machiavelli’s model ruler, is Putin the frontrunner, and what does the president himself think of Machiavelli?....
Good backgrounder on Russia and refresher on Machiavelli.

Dances with Bears
Machiavelli’s Thirteen Rules For The Successful Ruler – Two Vladimir Putin Did Learn; Eleven He Didn’t, Not Yet
John Helmer

Dan Goodin — Kaspersky: Yes, we obtained NSA secrets. No, we didn’t help steal them

A little wonkish for general reading, but a good backgrounder if you are following this, or if you just want to get up to speed on it. It shows just how endemic cyber hacking, cyber espionage and cyber warfare is, and how difficult it is to determine who is doing what to whom in the cyberworld, since "everyone is doing it." Even Mossad is involved in this one. Kaspersky has the reputation of being the best in providing security, but Mossad hacked them.

Ars Technica
Kaspersky: Yes, we obtained NSA secrets. No, we didn’t help steal them
Dan Goodin | Security Editor

Zac Tate — Capitalism is losing support. It is time for a new deal.

The financial crisis has led many to question the legitimacy of capitalism. The verdict, 10 years on, has not been favourable. In an opinion poll by YouGov, three-quarters of German adults, two-thirds of Britons and over half of Americans believe that, “the poor get poorer and the rich get richer in capitalist economies”.
Their sense of injustice is not only a reaction to bank bailouts, years of austerity and corporate scandals. The challenge is fundamental. There is a growing awareness in the rich world that most of the benefits of technology and globalization flow to people who own investible capital and to the well-educated, while the costs are borne by unskilled workers, local producers and people who have little property and savings.
The problem, however, is not capitalism itself. Instead, the issue lies with policies that extended the role of the free market beyond sensible limits. These have undermined the essential bargain between labour and capital, and pushed those with few assets into precarious working lives.
Rawer forms of capitalism are unsustainable if too many people do not have capital. Restoring faith in the system requires making amends, and rethinking how capitalism creates and distributes value....
Here we go again. These are the issue that Keynes faced at the time of the Great Depression. He came forward to save capitalism from socialism by moderating it.

This article is a useful backgrounder.
In this situation, demands for fairness have centered around two ideas. Either there must be a significant redistribution of wealth so that everyone has a fair stake in the economy. Or policymakers must reintroduce protections against market forces for those without the insurance of investible capital. Thomas Piketty, in his bestselling book Capital, advances the first solution; Dani Rodrik, in Straight Talk on Trade, promotes the second.

Each of these should be considered as parts of a new deal on capitalism. But there is also a third strand that looks to the future and responds to the thirst for something new. It says that capitalism itself must be redesigned. Private enterprise and public policy need to be realigned to the creation of public value and this requires changing how we think about economics....
In 2016, Mazzucato published Rethinking Capitalism, a collection of articles from distinguished thinkers who challenge the conventional wisdom on a range of topics from fiscal policy to inequality. It concludes that many of our economic theories are not only inadequate but lead to poor policies that often have harmful impacts.
Mazzucato argues that to nurture public value, the state has a key role to play. The state uniquely has the time-horizon and the financial and organizational capacity to create and shape new markets. Embedded in the innovation process with firms and research institutes, it can also influence both the rate and direction of technological development.…
Unfortunately, no mention of MMT and the fiscal space its understanding opens up to use.

World Economic Form
Capitalism is losing support. It is time for a new deal.
Zac Tate | Economic strategist, Hottinger Group

See also
A Goldman Sachs banker [Bobby Vedra] has likened the UK under Jeremy Corbyn to “Cuba without the sunshine” in a nervy attack on the Labour leader at the Super Investor private-equity conference in Amsterdam.
The London Economic
UK would be like “Cuba without the sunshine” under Corbyn – says fat cat banker
Jack Peat

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thu-Huong Ha — A longtime critic of Vladimir Putin just won the US National Book Award

Masha Gessen? (rolls eyes)

I can't wait to see the reactions to this.

Masha Gessen is the epitome of the liberal Russian russophobe.

A longtime critic of Vladimir Putin just won the US National Book Award
Thu-Huong Ha

Steve Bannon — If America Doesn’t Thwart These Five Things, China Will Be a Hegemonic Power

“It said that the mercantilist, Confucianist, authoritative system of China is the victor over the Judeo-Christian, liberal democratic free-market West; that their system is better, and they go over how it is better and how they’ve beaten us,” [Steve Bannon] argued.
He warned that there are five things that China is going to achieve in the next few years, and if America does not thwart them, “China will in fact be a hegemonic power.” They are:
  1. The rollout of fifth generation mobile technology — known as “5G.”
  2. The expansion of the One Belt One Road Initiative — a transport system to go through central Asia and connect China to the Middle East.
  3. Plan 2025 — 10 industries the Chinese have aimed to dominate by 2025. Bannon described the Chinese as “way ahead.” Bannon said three of those are silicon chips, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
  4. Conversion of all oil transactions into Chinese currency, which he said will end America as a reserve currency and force the U.S. to start paying off the 20 trillion debt.
  5. Financial technology. Bannon said the true piece of leverage with North Korea is the ability to decouple countries from the world’s financial system, sanction companies, and shut banks off from capital markets. He predicted that in 5-10 years that ability is gone.
“If they accomplish those five things, they win,” he predicted.
Breitbart News
Steve Bannon: If America Doesn’t Thwart These Five Things, China Will Be a Hegemonic PowerAdam Shaw

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