The Biggest Secret: James Risen on Life as a NY Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror

Democracy Now has the interview The Biggest Secret: James Risen on Life as a NY Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror.

In the story, Jim Risen gives a personal account of his struggles to publish significant stories involving national security in the post-9/11 period and how both the government and the top Times editors suppressed his reporting on stories, including the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, for which he ultimately would win The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize in 2006.


The continuation of the interview is published as a second article How the NY Times & U.S. Government Worked Together to Suppress James Risen’s Post-9/11 Reporting.

I can see that I am quite justified in no longer having any respect for the journalistic integrity of The New York Times management. I have a tough time understanding why that newspaper has any respect from knowledgeable people. In the end, Risen says of his former employer that he thinks they have learned some lessons on not giving in to government requests to suppress stories as easily they once did. I think he is going far too easy on them as The New York Times continues to press the phony story of how Russia meddled in our 2016 election.

Here is the link to the article that is the subject of the above interview, the Risen article in The InterceptThe Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror


A Revolutionary New Type of Lens Focuses All The Colours of The Rainbow Into a Single Point

Science Alert has the article A Revolutionary New Type of Lens Focuses All The Colours of The Rainbow Into a Single Point.

A brand new type of lens called a metalens has just passed a major hurdle. A metalens is a flat surface that use nanostructures to focus light, and it could change optics forever by replacing the traditional bulky, curved lenses we know.

This was an interesting read, but the following stopped me in my tracks.

Making a metalens like this is so tricky because different wavelengths of light move through materials at different speeds. That leads to focusing errors known as chromatic aberrations, which traditional lenses get around through curved surfaces.

And here I thought that lenses used curved surfaces as a way of changing the magnification of an image. In other words the curved surface is what makes it a lens. I went to WikiPedia to see what it had to say in the article Chromatic aberration.

There exists a point called the circle of least confusion, where chromatic aberration can be minimized.[6] It can be further minimized by using an achromatic lens or achromat, in which materials with differing dispersion are assembled together to form a compound lens.

This is the explanation I imagined. Of course, the Wikipedia has much more detail and talks about other techniques of correcting chromatic aberration.

I just think this is an example of what happens when an author with a tenuous understanding of a scientific topic tries to simplify an article to explain science to other people with a tenuous understanding of the topic. Don’t treat as gospel what you read in a news medium that has the word “science” in its name. Actually, such a medium may be no more trustworthy than a medium that makes no claim to be about science.


Clapper: Not all 17 intelligence agencies were in on assessment about Russian election interference

YouTube has the video Clapper: Not all 17 intelligence agencies were in on assessment about Russian election interference.

In a previous post, NBC’s Kelly Hits Putin with a Beloved Canard, I had included the video of this testimony. Upon going to that post today, I find that that version of the YouTube video is no longer available. SOmeone else must have posted this to YouTube again. If I were one of the corporate news media, I would make a big deal of the obvious conspiracy to suppress this video. Of course, I have no idea why the account that posted it originally was closed, nor why someone else posted the video. You see, I don;t find it necessary to speculate. It is enough for me to report what I can actually see.

In case C-SPAN has YouTube remove the video for copyright reasons, I can at least record here that the video comes from C-SPAN3 and was uploaded to YouTube by Washington Free Beacon on July 5, 2017.

In fact, I found the C-SPAN video dated May 8, 2017.

Russian Interference in 2016 Election Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified at a Senate subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Clapper’s testimony from above starts at about 16 minutes into the C-SPAN video.


Economists Are Obsessed with “Job Creation.” How About Less Work?

I had just written a comment about this topic when I stumbled across an Evonomics article Economists Are Obsessed with “Job Creation.” How About Less Work?

Let’s get our economists thinking about how to create a world that maximizes play and minimizes work. It seems like a solvable problem. We’d all be better off if people doing useless or harmful jobs were playing, instead, and we all shared equally the necessary work and the benefits that accrue from it.

As corporations automate more and more work, we need to shift our thinking away from a social system that distributes wealth based on work. I don’t have the answer, but this article focuses on the thinking that needs to be done and why it can succeed.


The REAL Reason FedEx And UPS Are Fighting For Tax Cuts

YouTube has the video The REAL Reason FedEx And UPS Are Fighting For Tax Cuts.

This episode in a series being done by TYT Investigates gives the facts to backup what I have been saying about the need for tax cuts to create jobs. Well actually, there is a nuance here that I haven’t mentioned before. That is, that even if there is enough business to warrant business expansion, the money will be invested in automation, not in creating more jobs.


This is but one episode in a series. The page to see the links to the UPS and FedEx part of the series is the TYT Investigates Series: Tax Cuts & Job Creation – UPS & FedEx.

Somewhere in the late 1980s, I concluded that I would never become financially independent working for a salary. I needed to become an owner. That is when I started to learn more about investing in the stock market. I am very glad I did, This enabled me to retire shortly after I turned 62.


What Mainstream Economists Get Wrong About Secular Stagnation

The Institute of New Economic Thinking has the article What Mainstream Economists Get Wrong About Secular Stagnation. I came across this because it was reposted in Naked Capitalism under the title Debunking Mainstream Economists on Secular Stagnation and the Loanable Funds Fallacy.

The narrow focus on the ZLB [interest rate Zero Lower Bound] and powerless monetary policy within the framing of a loanable-funds financial system blocks out serious macroeconomic policy debate on how to revive aggregate demand in a sustainable manner. It will keep the U.S. economy on the slow-moving turtle — not because policymakers cannot do anything about it, but we choose to do so. The economic, social and political damage, fully self-inflicted, is going to be of historic proportions.
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Due to our inability to free ourselves from the discredited loanable funds doctrine, we have lost the forest for the trees. We cannot see that the solution to the real problem underlying secular stagnation (a structural shortage of aggregate demand) is by no means difficult: use fiscal policy—a package of spending on infrastructure, green energy systems, public transportation and public services, and progressive income taxation—and raise (median) wages. The stagnation will soon be over, relegating all the scholastic talk about the ZLB to the dustbin of a Christmas past.

My Thoughts

As I was reading the article, I had various reactions to what I was reading.

I think one of the major problems of the theory of supply and demand is that it may be true as a static model (all other things being equal), but the economy (and life) are not static. Unless you can take dynamic effects into account, then this static or even quasi-static model will just not represent what actually happens. This is just another way of saying what this article says. Over time, the supply curve and the demand curve interact. There is hardly, if any, point in time when all other things aren’t changing.

In my world of simulating the behavior of integrated circuits, the problem involves non-linear differential equations, not just non-linear algebraic equations.
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Here is another problem. “… by the national accounts[,] identity of saving and investment (for closed economies),”

Accounting is also a static snapshot of a dynamic system. A bank creates a loan payable in let’s say 30 years. The spending occurs immediately. In accounting terms these two items balance. However, on impact on the economy, they do not balance. Why else would capitalism have noticed the value of buy now, pay later?
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This is no longer a chicken and egg problem of which came first, the chicken or the egg. In real life, there are lots of chickens and lots of eggs. Which came first is irrelevant. Chickens create eggs and eggs create chickens.
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Models are a simplification of reality. They apply best when the things that were simplified away don’t matter much. They fail when the things that were simplified away become important. So, when does the loanable funds model apply?

IMHO, the loanable funds model applies when there is a run on the bank. When the fractional reserve banking system is running smoothly, the loanable funds model is irrelevant. That’s why banks have reserves and monetary systems have central reserve banks. These reserve systems let us ignore loanable funds models.

Final Comment

After reading the whole article, I think most of my points were covered in one way or another.


CNN’s Alisyn Camerota hammers Jill Stein for denying evidence of Russian election meddling

Rawstory has the article Watch: CNN’s Alisyn Camerota hammers Jill Stein for denying evidence of Russian election meddling. With all that hammering, Jill Stein came out without a dent. Alisyn Caemerota’s arms are probably still feeling the reverberations from the hammer blows bouncing off of Jill Stein.


The interviewer hammered, but Jill Stein had all the answers. I have more computer technical knowledge than Jill Stein does, so I have a better idea of how phony the “evidence” is about the Russian involvement in the DNC email leak. She is absolutely right in saying that the “proof” of Russian involvement is the mere assertion that the Russians did it by a small group in our “intelligence” community. What the so called report provided does more to exonerate the Russians than it does to prove they were involved, yet the intelligence people believe deep down in their hearts that the Russians did it.

See my previous post Election Hack Report FAQ: What You Need to Know for the reasons why I think Jill Stein was correct.


DSGE Dilettantes v. ADM God Devotees

New Economic Perspectives has the article DSGE Dilettantes v. ADM God Devotees.

The truly exceptional thing about ‘modern macroeconomics’ devotees is not that they are so consistently and horrifically wrong or that they persist in their errors – but their exceptional combination of arrogance and disdain for those who have dramatically better records and broader and more relevant expertise.

I don’t know if this can be considered part of failure of the DSGE “scientific” method. But here is something I observed about the collapse in 2008/2009. The back testing of the financial derivatives used the historical fact that mortgage defaults never rose above a certain level when responsible mortgage underwriting practices were employed. The banks then dumped all responsible mortgage underwriting principles and assumed that the safety of their back testing would still apply.

Before the age of these derivatives were ushered in based on the safety “intuition” from the mathematical model, it had never been profitable to make mortgage loans based on loose and deceptive underwriting principles. So the derivatives that supported the bubble ushered in the very conditions that had never existed when the mathematical model were derived under the assumption that these would never exist, based on past history.

I don’t know what kind of degree you have to get to be able to make such illogical assumptions and inappropriate fancy math. What is more surprising is that these people don’t even think about this obvious blunder that made such an epic fail to occur.


The REAL Reason This CORRUPT Senator Flip-Flopped On Trump’s Tax Cut Bill

YouTube has the video The REAL Reason This CORRUPT Senator Flip-Flopped On Trump’s Tax Cut Bill.


Corker claimed not to understand whether or not as a real estate investor he would benefit from this.

As an investor who is a pipsqueak compared to Corker, even I know what this provision is for. When I was invested in Real Estate Investment Trusts, I knew that these organization’s dividends that that they paid me were critically dependent on these loopholes. Apparently the tax code revision must have taken these loopholes out, and someone must have pointed out that they needed to be put back in.

I should point out that I had these REITs in an IRA so that I did not pay taxes on the dividends that were passed on to me.