On Iran, Trump Follows Iraq War Neocons

The Real News Network has the interview On Iran, Trump Follows Iraq War Neocons.

In sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump is listening to — and following the playbook of — the neocons behind the Iraq war, says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.

There are several dangers to the USA that are mentioned in this interview. One that I have been harping on lately is that if we continue to use economic sanctions as a weapon, the role of the dollar as a world reserve currency will eventually go away. The rest of the world will find ways to conduct commerce without relying on the US dollar. Our domestic policy choices depend on the status of our fiat currency. If there start to become things that we cannot buy with the US dollar, then our freedom to deficit spend without limit will go away.

Getting in bed with Saudi Arabian terrorists so we can get rid of regimes we don’t like should be frightening enough to everybody that I shouldn’t need to say anymore.

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

The Hill has the article FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow.

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

I find this story to be both credible and incredible. That the Clinton’s and Obama could be this corrupt is just human nature. That the Democrats should be so hell bent on blaming and investigating the Russians with the likelihood of exposing their own corrupt involvement is the incredible part.

Left Forum hosts Dr Paul Cockshott on Cybersocialism

YouTube has the video Left Forum hosts Dr Paul Cockshott on Cybersocialism. This video was suggested to me when I complained that I had never heard an explanation on the idea of a Resource Based Economy that I could fully understand. The part that always got me confused was the idea of getting rid of money and replacing it with a resource basis. I just could not figure out what such a replacement would be that was not money.

I have watched most of the video by Cockshott on Cybersocialism. The only part I didn’t finish was the Q & A section. There are some very interesting ideas presented here, but there is a certain amount of naivete, inconsistency, and pure factual errors here. I don’t mean to say that you have to throw out everything he said, but I am saying you cannot accept everything he said.

In the beginning of the talk he took pains to explain that you could not measure an entire economy based on a single factor like labor. He then proposes a system that is based only on labor hours worked. (In other words labor backed money instead of money backed by something else such as gold.)

By the way, my background includes 40 years of computer software engineering. I am well familiar with linear programming as he mentioned.

I was pleased to see the electronic voting system he proposed has fundamental similarities to my proposal that I published on my blog in 2012, Making Electronic Voting Transparent.

Socialism Betrayed – Roger Keeran & Thomas Kenny   Recently updated !

Thanks to Lorant Szabo on Facebook for pointing me to this 2014 video on YouTube, Socialism Betrayed – Roger Keeran & Thomas Kenny.

Very interesting video. While I might quibble with a few of the assumptions, it does present some novel viewpoints worth considering. The views are probably most novel to those of us who have grown up with the western media dominating our view of the world.

Being the skeptic (realist) that I am, I don’t believe than any ism, capitalism nor socialism, has all the answers. I think that was readily admitted by the two speakers in the video. So the question is how do we navigate in the real world to put together a society that works best in the real world. I don’t think the two speakers would disagree with that being the overriding question.

I won’t try to reproduce the conversation that ensued on Facebook, but I will mention a clarification about the comment on what I thought the authors would agree to.

The authors suggest that worker motivation is an inherent problem of Socialism that has to be addressed. Their discussion about Cuba and its jobs guarantee has interesting implications for proponents of the job guarantee in this country. I am not saying the job guarantee is without merit. I am just saying that it has to be implemented with eyes wide open to the problems that might arise, and would need to be solved.

Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists   Recently updated !

Bloomberg has the article Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists.

The IMF economists also predict that global financial integration should help alleviate the pressure on labor in poor countries. If American, European, Japanese and Taiwanese companies are able to invest in a developing country like China, the inflow of foreign money will boost incomes for local workers and compete down the profits of local capital owners.

What utter hogwash. You might expect the IMF to come to this conclusion. They are the organization that suggests that austerity is the way for a country to overcome economic decline.

The issue about labor losing power in the target countries of USA offshoring has an explanation. Some of the worst capitalistic tendencies that exist in the USA follow the offshoring to these target countries. There are now billionaires in China. With so much supposed government control of the economy in China, how did it come to pass that there are now billionaires with private fortunes in China? Russia faces the same problem.

A lot has to do with the tilting of the rules and regulations and tax policy to favor the accumulation and concentration of great wealth. In Russia, a lot of the government enterprises were sold off at fire-sale prices to people who took these properties and squeezed billions of dollars of profits out of them

What would have happened if these properties had not been given away, but had remained in state ownership, but competed in world markets with an eye toward being competitive? What if the profits from these operations had been spread among all citizens of the country instead of being concentrated in the hands of a few? Are there any studies being done to ask this sort of question? Are there any studies on what was changed to enable the concentration of wealth? How about studies on what needs to be changed to prevent over concentrations of wealth? The concentration of wealth was reined in in the middle part of the 20th century and undermined in the latter half of the 20th century and ongoing in the 21st. Maybe we need some effort to adapt these changes to the current situation.

“You Should Be Fired,” Elizabeth Warren Tells Bank CEO

Jimmy Dore explains why I am no longer a fan of Elizabeth Warren.

Where is the legislation she has filed to stop this kind of behavior of the bank executives? Wagging the finger is not nearly enough.

This is why I am not the fan of Elizabeth Warren that I was before she sold us out by endorsing Hillary Clinton and trying to get us to vote for Clinton with cheer leading that she knew was a lie. (Speaking about saying things that you know are a lie. By her own standards she should be fired.)

Ilargi: The Curious Case of Missing the Market Boom

Naked Capitalism has the article Ilargi: The Curious Case of Missing the Market Boom.

No, global economic growth has not been ‘robust’. Stock market growth perhaps has been, but that’s only due to QE and buybacks. Still, stock markets are not the economy.

I am hoping that owning the few remaining undervalued stocks will give me some sort of cover. I am also hoping that the long history of dividend payments from these companies will not drop as precipitously as their prices. I am also hoping that the amount of cash I am holding will take me through the worst of the crash.

Beyond that, I am not going to try to time the market.

China will ‘compel’ Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan — and that’s going to affect the US dollar   Recently updated !

CNBC has the article China will ‘compel’ Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan — and that’s going to affect the US dollar.

“I believe that yuan pricing of oil is coming and as soon as the Saudis move to accept it — as the Chinese will compel them to do — then the rest of the oil market will move along with them,” Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High Frequency Economics, told CNBC

Don’t worry, Trump will fix this. What do you think will happen if we try to do to China what we did to Libya when they wanted to only accept an Arab currency backed by gold for oil.

If you want to check out what I said about Libya, read the Foreign Policy Journal article Hillary Emails Reveal True Motive for Libya Intervention.

Another thing to consider is the explanation that Modern Money Theory gives about the policy flexibility a country like the USA has because it is sovereign in its own currency. If we get forced into trading in gold or someone else’s currency all this gets knocked into a cocked hat. Wouldn’t it be a shame to lose that policy flexibility before we ever got to use it? As MMT says, we will never run out of USA dollars to buy whatever we want that is for sale in USA dollars. The problem comes when there are things we want to buy that are not for sale in USA dollars. This is the real reason our politicians would be willing to go to war.

I have many posts on Modern Money Theeoty, but perhaps the easiest overview comes in Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy.

Why Linux Works

Datamation has the article Why Linux Works.

Linux works, in short, because so many companies want to control it and can’t, due to its industry importance, making it far more profitable for a developer to build her career as a Linux developer rather than a Red Hat (or Intel or Oracle or…) engineer.

In other words, there is still a place for pride in quality craftsmanship. I wonder if the purveyors of Capitalism or Socialism have a place for this pride in their philosophies. I always believed there was a certain artistry in writing a good piece of software. I noticed that the Silicon Valley/California competitive influence as opposed to the New England and North West sense of craftsmanship, made it harder and harder to take pride in the work as the years went on. Perhaps it had more to do with the passing of time or my age that made it feel that way.

Trump Promises Truckers Jobs from Tax Cuts, as UPS Invests in Outsourcing Trucking Jobs

The Huffington Post has the article Trump Promises Truckers Jobs from Tax Cuts, as UPS Invests in Outsourcing Trucking Jobs.

The coming contract battle at UPS involves a new program that was reflected in company job listings, reviewed by TYT, that first began appearing on UPS’s LinkedIn page in August. The program involves holiday-season hiring of non-staff drivers, referred to in the job listings as “Seasonal Personal Vehicle Package Drivers.”

According to the job listings, the company will use not just non-staff drivers, but the drivers’ own vehicles. Both tactics may have implications for the number of jobs held at UPS by full-time staff drivers, mechanics, and other personnel.

So even if tax cuts were to help “create” jobs, they would be at lower salaries and without benefits. This is not going to help bolster the middle class. Before long all the jobs could be at starvation wages, but at least we would all be employed. So busily employed, as a matter of fact, that we wouldn’t have time to protest what they are doing to us.