So, What’s the Difference Between Warren and Sanders?

Common Dreams has republished a Washington Post article So, What’s the Difference Between Warren and Sanders?.

Here is the problem with Warren’s approach.

For Warren, the solution to our economic ills already exists in well-regulated capitalism. “I believe in markets,” she said in a recent podcast interview. “I believe in the benefits that come from markets, that two people coming together, or two companies, or a company and a person coming together to exchange goods and services, yay.”

Yes, well regulated markets are essential, but they are not enough.

I believe that there are certain aspect of social life that are best handled by the profit-drive market system. However, there are important other aspects that are very poorly served by profit driven markets.

Some examples are the provision of some entitlements that citizens of a wealthy country like the USA should expect as a human right. They need to be taken care of whether they make someone a direct profit or not. They keep a society functioning for the long haul.

Caring for this aspect of society is not the function of the profit driven private market. Only the government can take on the task and have the responsibility for making sure that these needs are met. Notice that I did not say the government must provide all these services. I only said that the government must assure that these needs are met.

There has to be a place in the society for private, profit-driven markets, if for no other reason than preventing such markets would require such draconian government control over people’s lives that it is not the kind of society I want to live in. Overly centralized planning and control is also a risky proposition that can lead to amplified disasters that tend to be prevented under some decentralized planning and control. A perfect centralized planning and control system might be more efficient in the short term. In the long term completely centralized control does not adapt well to unforeseen events nor even to long term evolution of the society. There needs to be checks and balances from decentralization.

Let’s not forget that John Maynard Keynes showed that there are also some dangers in completely decentralized actions of rational people.

If Warren does not understand what is just not appropriate for the markets to handle, then she would be a frightening person to be put in charge.

I also have potential problems with the article’s author Elizabeth Bruenig in this interpretation of Sanders’ approach.

Instead, he aims to transfer power over several key segments of life to the people—by creating a set of universal economic rights that not only entitle citizens to particular benefits (such as medical care, education and child care) but also give those citizens a say in how those sectors are governed: in short, democratic socialism. And that means building a movement, not just a presidential campaign.

The very basis of democracy is that citizens have a say in how those sectors are governed. There is nothing new here except in trying to make this country work the way our Constitution says it should. If this paragraph means any more than that, then I have to think long and hard about what is being suggested.


10 Economic fairy stories that people need to stop believing in   Recently updated !

A blog by Thomas G. Clark as an interesting article 10 Economic fairy stories that people need to stop believing in .

In a generally good article, there is one section that I want to try to correct.

5. Everyone maximizing their self-interest promotes wellbeing

This section makes a weak case for what is wrong with this myth. John Maynard Keynes made a much stronger argument against this myth. He showed why everyone maximizing their own self-interest could lead to problems for society as a whole. There is no logical way for individuals to act on their own to overcome the problems. Only a coordinated action by a large enough economic entity like a national government could solve the problem.

In an economic depression like the one in the 1930s that followed the bubble economy of the roaring 1920s, many people trying to maximize their own self-interest try to cut back spending and increase saving to ward off financial ruin. (Of course the maximizing self-interest in the roaring 1920s was an example of collective action that lead to a bubble.)

In the depression situation, the attempt to cut spending by the public causes job losses and even a deeper recession. No economic entity smaller than the national government is large enough to take action by itself to turn the trend around. If such an entity tried to counter the trend by themselves, they would likely go bankrupt trying to do it. The federal government the size of the USA or of Great Britain has the taxing, spending, and money creation authority to counter the depressionary trend and staying power to overcome the depression. These entities alone have enough power to replace the missing consumer demand to keep the employment level up. In fact, these entities can invest in economic development projects that can increase the size of the productive economy so that their countries can come out of the depression in better shape than they went in.

Of course, these government entities had the ability to prevent the bubble of the 1920s, but they didn’t do that either. The same thing holds for the bubble that led up to the 2008/2009 economic crash and the ensuing great recession.


U.S. Says Video Shows Iranian Boat Removing Mine   Recently updated !

Here is the article from The Dreaded New York Times U.S. Says Video Shows Iranian Boat Removing Mine.

Video released by U.S. Central Command shows a patrol boat pulling up to the Kokuka Courageous, one of two ships attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. Personnel removed what American analysts believe was a limpet mine from the ship. A military spokesman said the patrol boat was an Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel.

Well, it actually shows the boat leaving the Kokuka Courageous. The Dreaded New York Times couldn’t even get that part right.

The Young Turks has the segment Trump Faking Tanker Evidence?.

Steemit has the article Japan Suggests Israel or U.S. Could be Behind Tanker Attack, as President of Company Calls Pentagon Report Fake.

President Trump recently cited a video released by the Pentagon as showing what the Pentagon says is a limpit underwater mine being removed by an Iranian special forces crew. But observers with military backgrounds say that the video does not show a limpit mine, which is large, heavy, and conical, but magnetic ladder rungs used for climbing the sides of ships.

I decided to do a little research on magnetic ladder rungs. I found a video showing some use of various kinds of equipment to board ships in the water.

A Facebook reader of my post led me to this item of a REBS Magnetic Climbing System. Here is the video from H. Henriksen Mek. Verksted.

Maybe if the USA Navy would release the complete video, it might show the Iranian boat rescuing the crew from the tanker, and then leaving without touching any mines.


‘Eye-Popping’: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion   Recently updated !

Common Dreams has the article ‘Eye-Popping’: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion.

“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.”

Here is what Bernie Sanders posted on Facebook.

We face a very important choice. On one hand, there is a growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country. On the other hand, in opposition to oligarchy, there is a movement of working people and young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are fighting for justice. Our job is to take on the powerful special interests that have so much influence over our country and create and government and economy that works for all Americans.

If the FED stopped creating all that money, where would the wealthy get that additional $21 Trillion? Do the wealthy really dislike federal government deficits? MMT (Modern Money Theory) explains that the money the wealthy got came from those deficits. If the wealthy decided to spend that money rather than save it, there would be hyper-inflation.

The wealthy claim not to like MMT, but the descriptive part of MMT only explains where that $21 Trillion came from. MMT does not say that the FED should have created the money to be given to the rich. That idea was invented by the people who tell you that the FED shouldn’t be creating that kind of money at all. These people have no trouble taking all that money, though. Not only do they fight to get their share, but they also want to make sure that you don’t get a share.


June 15, 2019

Maybe people do not understand mark-to-market that is the basis of stock market price quotes. If you buy $100 of a stock, and the market starts trading that quantity of stock that you bought for $100 at $200, you think you suddenly made $100 profit. You think you made money because you mark the value of your stock to the price at which that stock is currently trading in the market. Your profit only exists on paper. There is no extra $100 that got created to give you that paper profit. If you wanted to sell your stock to realize that profit, you would have to sell it to someone who would give you the $200 for it. Your selling your $200 worth of stock would not even be noticed by the market. Now suppose the people who made $21 Trillion in gains decided to sell. Who would be available to buy it? Do you think the market might take notice of people trying to sell $21 Trillion? Do you think the market might change its mind about what it would be willing to pay for that stock?

Do people who pontificate about all they know about Economics 101 even think about this reality? How many of those people have ever actually taken the Economics 101 course?


Former Medicare Administrator on Why We Need Medicare for All   Recently updated !

Massachusetts could have had this guy for Governor, but instead we have a former executive from the private health insurance industry. Why do people still think Massachusetts is such a progressive state?

The owners of this video won’t let me embed just the segment from 28:27 to 33:06. This is the testimony of Dr. Don Berwick.

You can get this segment from this YouTube link instead of the embed below.


Michael Hudson: Trump’s Trade Threats are really Cold War 2.0

Naked Capitalism has published the article Michael Hudson: Trump’s Trade Threats are really Cold War 2.0

Trump’s trade tantrum is that other countries are simply following the same economic strategy that once made America great, but which neoliberals have destroyed here and in much of Europe. U.S. negotiators are unwilling to acknowledge that the United States has lost its competitive industrial advantage and become a high-cost rentier economy. Its GDP is “empty,” consisting mainly of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) rents, profits and capital gains while the nation’s infrastructure decays and its labor is reduced to a prat-time “gig” economy. Under these conditions the effect of trade threats can only be to speed up the drive by other countries to become economically self-reliant.

If Trump could get what he wished, we could take control of China’s economy. China’s only logical reaction is to try harder to protect itself from the possibility of having to succumb to such coercion. There is a reason why China has been willing to take our money and just leave it in the bank while selling us goods cheaply. USA money in the bank is the safeguard against USA economic threats.


Bernie Sanders defends democratic socialism (LIVE) | USA TODAY

USA Today has posted this video to YouTube Bernie Sanders defends democratic socialism (LIVE) | USA TODAY.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will deliver an address at George Washington University in Washington on democratic socialism, the political ideology that he and a growing number of young Democrats adhere to. Sanders is expected to defend his brand of socialism as a continuation of the policies of FDR and the New Deal, stressing equality in American prosperity.


Parallel worlds exist and interact with our world, say physicists

Mother Nature Network has the article Parallel worlds exist and interact with our world, say physicists.

Wiseman and colleagues have proposed that there exists “a universal force of repulsion between ‘nearby’ (i.e. similar) worlds, which tends to make them more dissimilar.” Quantum effects can be explained by factoring in this force, they propose.

Whether or not the math holds true will be the ultimate test for this theory. Does it or does it not properly predict quantum effects mathematically? But the theory is certain to provide plenty of fodder for the imagination.

Many a fanciful theory has fallen flat on the test of whether or not the math holds true. Many scientists would probably not publish a theory where they have not already shown that whatever math they had tried so far has been proven to hold true.

It is an intriguing theory which these scientists have admitted has been around since 1957. It would be nice if such a theory could explain the mysteries of quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement has been experimentally shown to exist, but so far I don’t think scientists have the foggiest idea of the mechanism that makes it work.


Mystery of why arteries harden may have been solved, say scientists   Recently updated !

The Guardian has the article Mystery of why arteries harden may have been solved, say scientists.

Stiffening can also occur as calcium becomes deposited in fatty plaques in the arteries – a condition called atherosclerosis.

Interesting finding. I also wonder how excess Vitamin D impacts calcification. Doctors are so worried about vitamin D deficiency, that they may be too successful in getting people to boost their levels of Vitamin D.

Medshadow.org has the article Vitamin D: Pros and Cons from 2014.

How much is too much? Observational studies suggest that shooting for blood levels above 50 ng/mL may be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of death. Dr. Manson says, “Some vitamin D is good, but more is not necessarily better. People should understand that there is limited research on long-term intakes above 2,000 IU daily. If they are regularly taking 3,000-4,000 IU per day, even if those levels may not have been linked to adverse events, we do not know if the benefits outweigh the risks long-term because we don’t have the evidence.”

Massive doses of 10,000 IU daily or more can put you at risk of developing high calcium levels in the blood, or in the urine, which could cause calcification of blood vessels, kidney problems and kidney stones, especially if calcium intake is also high.

In my case, I did have recurring kidney stones. What made me question the Vitamin D problem is that I was diagnosed with an abdominal calcification that could not be operated on because of its location. Doctors were pushing high doses of Vitamin D on me because I had low blood levels of Vitamin D. When my urologist discovered the doses of Vitamin D I was taking, he said “No wonder you have kidney stones.” I stopped taking Vitamin D altogether. My kidney stones are not recurring in the time frame they did before. My abdominal calcification is also shrinking of its own accord.

I am certainly not extrapolating from my one case to anything other people should or should not do. I may be completely wrong about cause and effect. However, as long as it seems to be working for me, I will keep doing what I am doing.

I also might mention that I have had heart bypass surgery involving 4 arteries.


Five NBC and MSNBC stars will moderate first Democratic debate   Recently updated !

Politico has the article Five NBC and MSNBC stars will moderate first Democratic debate.

The network announced Tuesday “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow, and “Noticias Telemundo” and “NBC Nightly News Saturday” anchor José Díaz-Balart will moderate the debate in Miami on June 26 and 27.

Here is the music to listen to while reading the article.