Periodic Posts

Posts made periodically by a particular author. The periodicity may be totally random.

Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies

USA Today has the opinion piece Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies.

The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing the work of President Vladimir Putin, sowing division and confusion through the American polity.
We might someday need a press we can trust. But I hope not, because we certainly don’t have one.

So what’s next? Well, there may not have been Russian collusion, but there certainly was collusion between FBI agents and journalists, with agents leaking information and journalists paying them off with “tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events,” according to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice.

At least one organ of the oligarchs’ new media is publishing a piece that might be an attempt to redeem its credibility. They have a lot of work to do to wipe out this blot on their reputation.

As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate?

Democracy Now has the article As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston.

I am with Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman on this issue. David Cay Johnston does not seem to understand the damage he has done to his own credibility.

In this discussion you see David Cay Johnston demonizing Russia. His whole premise about Russia should be challenged. Maybe that would get to the motives of the oligarch’s news media for distracting us for over two years on their phony story. One might even ask why Johnston has taken up that anti-Russian position.

Glenn Greenwald did talk about the danger of this anti-Russian fever, but he never challenged Johnston directly on it.

Legend Of Bernie Sanders Our Revolution   Recently updated !

YouTube has the video Legend Of Bernie Sanders Our Revolution.

Anamorphic Field Records is excited to announce the long awaited release of The Legend of Bernie Sanders/Our Revolution from singer/songwriter Eighty Bugg, in celebration of Bernie Sanders birthday available September 8th 2018 available everywhere.

You can buy the skateboard sticker from Commonwealth Skateboarding.

Skateboard Bernie

On path to de-dollarization: World tired of funding US military adventurism – Max Keiser   Recently updated !

RT has the article US ‘Empire of Debt’ will go to war to stop emergence of petro-yuan – Max Keiser.

The imminent introduction of oil trading in yuan is a very bold move by the Chinese, because the US will not give up the basis of its hegemony – the dollar as the world’s reserve currency – without a fight, Max Keiser, host of RT’s financial program ‘Keiser Report’ has said.

The embedded video on YouTube itself has the title On path to de-dollarization: World tired of funding US military adventurism – Max Keiser.

This comes from RT, but that’s not what I need to warn you about. I can agree with a lot of what Max Keiser says, but his remarks about crypto-currency are pure fantasy. He absolutely loses all sense of reality when he tries to promote crypto-currency.

What Keiser is right about is that the USA coercion that we do (economic sanctions or the threat thereof) to other countries on the strength of the dollar being the world reserve currency, is exactly what is driving countries to want to free themselves from the dollar. If you overdo taking advantage of a power that the world has granted to you, eventually the world will rebel and take that power away.

What Modern Money Theory says, is that the USA government will always be able to buy whatever is for sale in USA dollars. The rub comes when that means we can only buy what we make ourselves as the rest of the world refuses to take USA dollars freely. There are pluses and minuses from that eventuality. Even if the pluses eventually outweigh the minuses, the transition will be very painful for the people in the USA.

Paying for a Green New Deal with Modern Monetary Theory   Recently updated !

The Real News Network has the article Paying for a Green New Deal with Modern Monetary Theory.

Dean Baker is being awfully disingenuous. In the big picture he is right, but what he loses in the details is terrible.

This was quite effectively demonstrated in the recovery from the Great Recession, in which the United States, the eurozone, and Japan have all struggled to increase their rates of inflation. In all three cases, the large-scale printing of money had a modest impact, at best, in raising the rate of inflation.

You cannot cite this experience without raising the question of the conditions under which this experience occurred, and what might happen under different conditions. The answer to what happened in the recent near economic collapse was that consumer demand was very low. Corporations were cutting capacity to shrink to the size of consumer demand. The infusion of money did not cause consumer price inflation because the infused money was not invested in hiring people to increase production capacity which was already too high relative to the level of consumer demand. Instead, the infusion of money was used to raise stock prices and some other asset prices. Much of the money was used to buy Treasury securities which essentially gave the money back to the Government for safe keeping. If for some other reason, consumer demand came back, all that excess money put into the economy by the central banks might come out of hiding to overstimulate the economy and create inflation.

The upshot of this analysis is that governments need the proper mix between creating money and raising taxes. The proper mix changes with the circumstances.

Applying Modern Money Theory (MMT) is no better than applying neo-liberal economics if you do it without a deeper understanding than a few of the standard buzz words. I am surprised that Dean Baker could mess this up so badly.

Venezuela and Socialism

The Real News Network has the episode Venezuela and Socialism – Mailbag with Paul Jay.

PAUL JAY: Not quite. Socialism, the way I see it, and as sort of the classical view, like Marx and Engels, and others, socialism isn’t some theory. Oh, let’s now have socialism. And so somehow either you have a revolution, or you elect somebody, and oh, now we’re gonna have socialism. It’s not how socialism develops. Socialism develops within the womb of capitalism. It happens spontaneously. Because it just makes sense when the economy itself is so socialized. So what does that mean?
The issue here is socialism develops spontaneously. And people become conscious that social solutions just makes sense. And people develop that. Now, the people that own, the ownership class, they don’t like this, because it starts to threaten.

This little episode frames the issue in ways that we all ought to think about.

Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras

The Dreaded New York Times has the article Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras.

Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another.

The Dreaded NYT has answered one of the first questions that came to my mind about the crashes. I wondered why the engineers who designed the plane never thought that the MCAS system should warn the pilots when it decided to intervene and countermand the pilot’s inputs through their handling of the cockpit controls.

So the designers could and did foresee what could actually go wrong, but management decided that they could squeeze more profit by making these safety features optional if you paid extra for them.

The #MMT Case for Progressive Taxes

Naked Capitalism has the article The #MMT Case for Progressive Taxes

If recent decades’ inflation rates are any indication, the U.S. is nowhere close to the point where spending exceeds the capacity of our real resources (mostly people) to produce, “supply” more stuff — the point where inflation starts to bite.

MMTers (like myself) should ask themselves why it is that all that deficit spending has not caused consumer price inflation? A little Keynesian economics explains this quite well. In the absence of enough consumer demand caused by the growing wealth and income inequality, there is absolutely no reason for the rich to invest in more production capacity. What they do “invest” in is financial derivatives, stock buy backs, and general vulture capitalism. Stock and some asset prices do get inflated. The Fed has injected way too much liquidity in the private economy exactly because injecting this liquidity is a weak monetary tool when strong fiscal tools are called for. If, by some strange chance, there is call to invest that liquidity hangover in the real economy, there could be high inflation. I hope the Fed and the government have a plan to suck that excess out of the economy fast enough. I don’t see what they could do that would be politically feasible.