Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jordan Haedtler, Andrew Levin, and Valerie Wilson — Making the Federal Reserve Fully Public: Why and How


Abstract: The Federal Reserve’s governance structure is outdated and inadequate for ensuring that the Fed serves the public interest. In this paper, we examine the case for making the Fed fully public (“why”), and then we consider specific proposals for doing so (“how”). Our analysis indicates that pragmatic and nonpartisan reforms can strengthen the Federal Reserve’s governance while enhancing its operational independence to pursue its statutory mandate without political interference. In particular, the Fed should be a fully public institution whose decision-makers are selected by open and transparent processes; indeed, we find that making the Fed fully public also yields significant benefits for American taxpayers. Moreover, the Fed should be held to the same standards of transparency and accountability as every other public agency, including comprehensive annual reviews by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and applicability of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to all aspects of the Fed’s procedures and operations.
Like the Bank of England that was nationalized in 1946 after having been private since its inception in 1694, the Fed, founded in 1913 as public-private partnership, should be made fully public (nationalized) in order  to both eliminate the rampant confusion and also remove the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Making the Federal Reserve Fully Public: Why and How
Jordan Haedtler, Andrew Levin, and Valerie Wilson
Economic Policy Institute, August 2016

James Bamford — Commentary: Evidence points to another Snowden at the NSA


This doesn't add much to what has already been published in Alt Media, but it is notable in that now it is appearing on the Reuters news wire. Good read. Not technical.

Reuters
Commentary: Evidence points to another Snowden at the NSA
James Bamford

“Finance as Warfare”, Michael Hudson’s new book

https://rwer.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/finance-as-warfare-michael-hudsons-new-book/


To simple people it is indubitable that the nearest cause of the enslavement of one class of men by another is money. They know that it is possible to cause more trouble with a rouble than with a club; it is only political economy that does not want to know it.
— Leo Tolstoy, What Shall We Do Then? (1886)


The financial sector has the same objective as military conquest: to gain control of land and basic infrastructure and collect tribute to. And update von Clausewitz, finance has become war by other means. It is not necessary to conquer a country or even to own its land, natural resources and infrastructure, if its economic surplus can be taken financially. What formerly took blood and arms is now obtained by debt leverage.

The creditor’s objective is to obtain wealth by indebting populations and even governments, and forcing them to pay by relinquishing their property or its income. Direct ownership is not necessary. Fully as powerful as military force, debt pressure saves the cost of having to mount an invasion and suffer casualties. Who needs an expensive occupation against unwilling hosts when you can obtain assets willingly by financial means – as long as debt-strapped nations permit bankers and bondholders to dictate their laws and control their planning and politics?

The creditor’s objective is to obtain wealth by indebting populations and even governments, and forcing them to pay by relinquishing their property or its income. Direct ownership is not necessary. Fully as powerful as military force, debt pressure saves the cost of having to mount an invasion and suffer casualties. Who needs an expensive occupation against unwilling hosts when you can obtain assets willingly by financial means – as long as debt-strapped nations permit bankers and bondholders to dictate their laws and control their planning and politics?

Such financial conquest is less overtly brutal than warfare waged with guns and missiles, but its demographic effect is as lethal. For debt-strapped Greece and Latvia, creditor-imposed austerity has caused falling marriage rates, family formation and birth rates, shortening life spans, and rising suicide rates and emigration

The Empire Files: Chevron vs. the Amazon - The Environmental Trial of the Century





Published on 21 Aug 2016

In Part II of this three-part series, The Empire Files continues the investigation into the battle between Chevron Texaco and Ecuador.

Ecuador are doing such great stuff. Lets hope Washington does not cause a coup there, or win with the financial warfare that they use to destabilize Latin American economies.  

This documentary is part 2 of the one I put out the other day and it also shows you how evil the corporations actually are. When Joel Bakan made the documentary, The Corporation, he asked a psychologist who was an expert of psychopathology how did the corporations compare. He checked it out and said that they ticked all the boxes for a psychopath.

Very intelligent psychopaths probably tend to rise to the top of society anyway, but corporations tend to make people leave their conscious at home. Most investors are blind to what is going on, and many companies, like pension funds, buy massive amounts of shares in companies without considering ethics. Indeed, it is written in law that companies must get the maximum returns for their shareholders.

We know from what we read here and in other places that certain sections of the ruling class really couldn't care about ethics. Many of these people live in a bubble and view the rest of us as second class citizens without any merit. They probably think poor people don't have the sophistication to feel pain and suffering.


The White Helmets | The Greatest SCANDAL to hit Syria


Published on 29 Apr 2016

The White Helmets, PROVEN to be created and funded by the US/UK to justify their wars on the glorious Syrian people... We helped our friends from Hands Off Syria and Activist/Writer Vanessa Beeley put together this video to expose the White Helmets.

James W Carden, Rick Sterling on Kill and Killary

The transformation of the Democratic Party from the relative “peace party” to a belligerent “war party” occurred during Bill Clinton’s presidency and is likely to resume if Hillary Clinton is elected, writes James W Carden.
Consortium News
A Clinton Family Value: ‘Humanitarian’ War
James W Carden
Neocons and liberal hawks have poured millions of dollars into propaganda to justify “regime change” in Syria and are now desperate to keep the war going until President Hillary Clinton gets a chance to escalate, as Rick Sterling describes.
Propaganda for Syrian ‘Regime Change’
Rick Sterling

Bill Mitchell — Modern Monetary Theory – what is new about it? – Part 2 (long)

In yesterday’s Part 1 of this two-part blog – Modern Monetary Theory – what is new about it? – I introduced the idea that a major new contribution of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to economic theory was in its treatment of inflation and the Phillips curve. This is part of a keynote presentation I will be giving at the International Post Keynesian Conference – which will be held at the University of Missouri – Kansas City between September 15-18, 2016. The keynote presentation is scheduled for Friday, September 16 at 17:00. The topic of my keynote presentation will ‘What is new about MMT?’ and will challenge several critics from both the neo-liberal mainstream and from within the Post Keynesian family that, indeed, there is nothing new about MMT – they knew it all along! I contest that when they say this they are lying and doing so to cover up the inadequacies of their own failed analytical frameworks whether they be mainstream or Post Keynesian.
Actually, it's not all that long. This is a great series and important for understanding the contribution of MMT. Don't miss it. If you don't have time now, read it on the weekend at the beach.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Modern Monetary Theory – what is new about it? – Part 2 (long)
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

More Bad News


US new home sales at 9-year high for July... how much worse can it get...


Purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly jumped in July to the highest level in almost nine years, led by soaring demand in the nation’s south and adding to signs of persistent housing-market strength. 
Sales increased 12.4 percent to a 654,000 annualized pace, the fastest since October 2007, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington.







Monday, August 22, 2016

Felipe Rezende — Minsky Meets Brazil Part II

This series will discuss at length the underlying forces behind Brazil’s current crisis.
New Economic Perspectives
Minsky Meets Brazil Part II
Felipe Rezende, UMKC

Noah Smith — Free-market ideology: a reply to some replies


Another debate in the making. Noah makes some good points.

Noahpinion

Jeff Spross — Hillary Clinton's economic dream team


Includes Stephanie Kelton and Pavlina Tcherneva.

The Week
Hillary Clinton's economic dream team
Jeff Spross
ht Warren Mosler at The Center of the Universe

Sputnik International National Borders Politicians' 'Worst' Invention - EC President

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians.
Nationalism, internationalism, and globalism. These will be key issues in the coming century. IN the long run there will be one people, one planet, the issues are getting from here to there considering hysteresis and path dependence, as well as cognitive-affective-volitional bias. The solution involves a shift in culture that manifests in institutional change.

This can be the result of imposition by elites, natural development that shifts the real forces (foundations, factors) of production that determine the possibilities for social relations, or revolutions. Imposition by elites will meet fierce resistance and set the natural process of development back, which could led to revolutions.

The transnational corporate totalitarianism as neoliberal neo-imperialism that "liberal" elites are foisting on their peoples and the world is not going to work, at least without severe repression of dissent and surveillance-police states that contradict the globalist program of eliminating national borders.

Sputnik International
National Borders Politicians' 'Worst' Invention - EC President

Norman Solomon — Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold

“The transition team is one of the absolute most important things in the world for a new administration,” says William K. Black, who has held key positions at several major regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Along with “deciding what are we actually going to make our policy priorities,” the transition team will handle key questions: “Who will the top people be? Who are we going to vet, to hold all of the cabinet positions, and many non-cabinet positions, as well? The whole staffing of the senior leadership of the White House.”
Black’s assessment of Salazar, Podesta and the transition team’s four co-chairs is withering. “These aren’t just DNC regulars, Democratic National Committee regulars,” he said in an interview with The Real News Network. “What you’re seeing is complete domination by what used to be the Democratic Leadership Council. So this was a group we talked about in the past. Very, very, very right-wing on foreign policy, what they called a muscular foreign policy, which was a euphemism for invading places. And very, very tough on crime — this was that era of mass incarceration that Bill Clinton pushed, and it’s when Hillary was talking about black ‘superpredators,’ this myth, this so dangerous myth.”

Black added: “And on the economic side, they were all in favor of austerity. All in favor of privatization. Tried to do a deal with Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security. And of course, were all in favor of things like NAFTA.”
As for Hillary Clinton’s widely heralded “move to the left” in recent months, Black said that it “was purely calculated for political purposes. And all of the team that’s going to hire all the key people and vet the key people for the most senior positions for at least the first several years of what increasingly looks likely to be a Clinton administration are going to be picked by these people, who are the opposite of progressive.”
Counterpunch
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Norman Solomon

Heske van Doornen — The History of Money: Not What You Think

Most of us have an idea of how money came to be. It goes something like this: People wanted to exchange goods for other goods, but it was difficult to coordinate. So they started exchanging goods for money, and money for goods. This tells us that money is a medium of exchange. It’s a nice and simple story. The problem is that it may not be true. We may be understanding money entirely wrong.

The above story assumes that first there was a market, and then people introduced money to make the market work better. But some people find this hard to believe. Those who subscribe to the Chartalist school of thought give a different history. Before money was used in markets, they say, it was used in primitive criminal justice systems. Money started as—and still is—is a record of debt. It is a way to keep track of what one person owes another. There’s anthropological evidence to back up this view. Work by Innes, and Wray suggest that the origins of money are more like this:
The Minskys
The History of Money: Not What You Think
Heske van Doormen, UMKC

Neil Wilson — "How The Government’s Super-Platinum Credit Card Works"

 
Excellent simple explanation of why the government as household or firm is wrong.

Modern Money Matters
"How The Government’s Super-Platinum Credit Card Works" in Modern Money Matters
Neil Wilson

Bill Mitchell — Modern Monetary Theory – what is new about it?


A big one from Bill. Hopefully they'll posted the video after the conference.
In a few weeks I am off to the US to present a keynote talk at the – International Post Keynesian Conference – which will be held at the University of Missouri – Kansas City between September 15-18, 2016. I will also be giving some additional talks in Kansas City during that week if you are around and interested. The keynote presentation is scheduled for Friday, September 16 at 17:00. The topic of my keynote presentation will ‘What is new about MMT?’ and will challenge several critics from both the neo-liberal mainstream and from within the Post Keynesian family that, indeed, there is nothing new about MMT – they knew it all along! Well the truth of it is that these characters clearly didn’t previously know or understand a lot of key insights that MMT now offers. No matter how hard they try to reinvent what they knew, the facts are obvious. MMT makes some novel contributions to our knowledge base and shows why a lot of so-called mainstream macroeconomic theory that parades as ‘knowledge’ is, in fact, non-knowledge. This blog and the second-part will provide some notes on the paper I am writing (with my colleague Martin Watts) on this topic.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Modern Monetary Theory – what is new about it?
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Four Million Muslims Killed In Western Wars: Should We Call It Genocide?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/four-million-muslims-killed-in-western-wars-should-we-call-it-genocide/5541926

Excerpts:

It may never be possible to know the true death toll of the modern Western wars on the Middle East, but that figure could be 4 million or higher. Since the vast majority of those killed were of Arab descent, and mostly Muslim, when would it be fair to accuse the United States and its allies of genocide?

A March report by Physicians for Social Responsibility calculates the body count of the Iraq War at around 1.3 million, and possibly as many as 2 million. However, the numbers of those killed in Middle Eastern wars could be much higher. In April, investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed argued that the actual death toll could reach as high as 4 million if one includes not just those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the victims of the sanctions against Iraq, which left about 1.7 million more dead, half of them children, according to figures from the United Nations.

In the wars that followed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. not only killed millions, but systematically destroyed the infrastructure necessary for healthy, prosperous life in those countries, then used rebuilding efforts as opportunities for profit, rather than to benefit the occupied populations. To further add to the genocidal pattern of behavior, there is ample evidence of torture and persistent rumors of sexual assault from the aftermath of Iraq’s fall. It appears likely the U.S. has contributed to further destabilization and death in the region by supporting the rise of the self-declared Islamic State of Iraq and Syria by arming rebel groups on all sides of the conflict.

Mercy For Animals: Inspiring Compassion




Mercy For Animals is dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.

Abby Martin: The Empire Files: Chevron vs. the Amazon - Inside the Killzone [Video]


Corporate capitalism is organised crime. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB7hrQUgIcw

A U.S. court just handed another victory to the oil giant Chevron Texaco, in its decades-long battle to avoid paying damages it owes in one of the worst environmental disasters in history. 

Scott Adams and Stefan Molyneux


Both Molyneux and Adams are "out of money!" morons.... FF to 1:13 in.




Sunday, August 21, 2016

Michael Lind — Can America Share Its Superpower Status?


Forward looking.

The National Interest
Can America Share Its Superpower Status?
Michael Lind, fellow at New America, a contributing editor of the National Interest, and author of The American Way of Strategy.

Eric Falkenstein — Finding Alpha pdf

My book The Missing Risk Premium is a steal at only $15, but my first book, Finding Alpha, is a $65, which is a bit much for anyone not expensing their books. Finding Alpha goes over why the current asset pricing model fails, with lots of evidence, explains why economists still like it, and then in chapters 10-13 shows concrete examples of how investors have actually found alpha.…
You can download the individual chapters in pdf form here...
Thanks.

Falkenblog
Finding Alpha pdf
Eric Falkenstein

Finian Cunningham — Killing Russians – Ex-CIA Chief Clarifies US Duplicity

Morell’s macho performance on CBS calling for Russia and Iran to «pay a price» for their intervention in Syria had the obvious purpose of advertising his application for a Clinton appointment.
But beyond his squalid self-serving motivations, Morell unwittingly performed a service to public disclosure on what US involvement in Syria is all about.
His candid comments can only have one conclusion. The US is prepared to openly side with terrorists in Syria by arming and directing militants to kill Russians. In short, the US is on the side of the terrorists.
For many observers of the Syrian conflict this is not a revelation. Since the onset of the conflict in March 2011, informed observers have known that the US and its NATO and regional allies have infiltrated mercenary groups into the country in a covert war for regime change against President Bashar al-Assad and his government.
Despite Western fictive narratives about the anti-government militants being competitively divided between «moderate rebels» and «extremists», it is understood that Washington and its allies have been waging their covert war by secretly and indiscriminately supporting the full gamut of illegally armed groups, or terrorists.
The strategy is to turn Syria in Russia's Vietnam with mujahideen proxy "freedom fighters" on the way to ousting Assad, driving Russia form the Middle Easts, as the US did in Afghanistan by inserting mujahideen under Osama Bin Laden to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan and fatally wound it. 

What could possibly go wrong with this plan? It worked so well for Zbig.

US-Russia.org
Killing Russians – Ex-CIA Chief Clarifies US Duplicity
Finian Cunningham

Sputnik International — Nooscope: Media Concocts Conspiracy Theory About Putin’s New Mind Melting Weapon


The academic article in question was co-authored by "A. K. Vaino." Putin's new Chief of Presidential Administration is Anton Eduardovitš Vaino (Антон Эдуардович Вайно).

Nicolas Colin — Brexit: Doom, or Europe’s Polanyi Moment?


Brad DeLong calls this a must-read. I agree.

It's mostly about the current historical period, which Nicholas Colin interprets and as a "Polanyi moment" (my phrase). It's insightful and contains a lot of useful links. It's historical and institutionalist, as well as forward looking. Colin also provides some insights about revising the political compass relevant to current events.

A bit longish, covering a lot of ground. But it is a very worthwhile read, at least down to the section of Brexit at the end, which may be more of interest to Brits.

TheFamily Papers #22
Brexit: Doom, or Europe’s Polanyi Moment?
Nicolas Colin
ht Brad DeLong

James Petras — China’s Pivot to World Markets, Washington’s Pivot to World Wars, and the Debacle of the Latin American Left


The Chinese model is winning. How long can the US continue to convince its allies to stay on board as the best bet in the global economy?
Introduction: China and the United States are moving in polar opposite directions: Beijing is rapidly becoming the center of overseas investments in high tech industries, including robotics, nuclear energy and advanced machinery with collaboration from centers of technological excellence, like Germany.
In contrast, Washington is pursuing a predatory military pivot to the least productive regions with collaboration from its most barbaric allies, like Saudi Arabia.
James Petras Website
China’s Pivot to World Markets, Washington’s Pivot to World Wars, and the Debacle of the Latin American Left
James Petras | Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sputnik International — South China Sea Time Bomb: Beijing Sets "Red Line" on Japan-US Joint Operations


China draws the (red) line.
The Chinese Ambassador to Japan warned that Beijing would not concede on the demand or relinquish their sovereignty over the South China Sea even if it meant the two countries went to war.
Japan will “cross a red line” if SDF vessels take part in the freedom of navigation operations, Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua conveyed to Tokyo at the time. Cheng threatened military action if Japan failed to comply with the ultimatum.…
Are those war drums I hear in the background?

Sputnik International
South China Sea Time Bomb: Beijing Sets "Red Line" on Japan-US Joint Operations

USC Dornsife / LA Times Presidential Election Poll — Trump takes lead


Trump takes the lead in this poll.
The 2016 USC Dornsife / LA Times Presidential Election Poll represents a pioneering approach to tracking changes in Americans' opinions throughout a campaign for the White House. Around 3000 respondents in our representative panel are asked questions on a regular basis on what they care about most in the election, and on their attitudes toward their preferred candidates. The "Daybreak poll" is updated just after midnight every day of the week.
Understanding America Study

Todd E. Pierce — How ‘Think Tanks’ Generate Endless War


Information war, disinformation, psyops.
U.S. “think tanks” rile up the American public against an ever-shifting roster of foreign “enemies” to justify wars which line the pockets of military contractors who kick back some profits to the “think tanks,” explains retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.
Defend Democracy
How ‘Think Tanks’ Generate Endless War
Todd E. Pierce

John Feffer — The debate about Trump and foreign policy in the USA


John Feffer argues that Donald Trump is not the peacenik that many people seem to suppose and in contrasting him to Killary, Feffer finds Trump trumps her in aggressiveness in most cases.

Defend Democracy
The debate about Trump and foreign policy in the USA
John Feffer