Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jill Stein responds to the first Presidential debate in real time

For those of you 88 million people who wasted their time and gave a ratings to boost to the “official” debate, here is what over 1.2 million of us have done instead. We watched a debate with three of the four viable Presidential candidates – Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. Over 32 thousand of us have shared it on our Facebook pages.

Click on to see for yourself. This should answer almost all the questions you might have about Jill Stein.

The video may take a bit of time to load, so please have patience.

Jill Stein At The Debate

For those regular readers of my blog, you will probably realize that I was ecstatic when she mentioned William K. Black, the author of The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One. That link isn’t the best one on this web site – here is a list of all the references to William Black on this blog.

When she was asked about Stephanie Kelton, I almost feinted. See my posts The Economy: Does More Government Help or Hurt – Stephanie Kelton and Watch Out, MMT’s About, As Bernie Sanders Hires Stephanie Kelton to find out who Stephanie Kelton is.

Trouble with Macroeconomics, Update

Paul Romer has the post Trouble with Macroeconomics, Update.

So ask yourself about the relative cost of:

  1. A paper that ridicules post-real macroeconomics and hurt’s some feelings
  2. A persistent equilibrium in which many economists are afraid to publish things that they believe to be true

In the paper, I refer to Voltaire as the true spirit of the enlightenment. Voltaire understood that the cost of 1 is not so large and that the cost of 2 is extraordinarily high.

After reading this post and much of the underlying article to which it refers, I can respond in the spirit of the post and the article.

Paul Romer’s article is great. I can’t understand a word that is in it, but I am sure it agrees with everything I have been saying for years. 🙂

After reviewing the quote that I used in this post, I decided to go back and look at the reference to Voltaire. I actually found some words that I could understand. Emphasis in the excerpt below has been added by me.

9.1 The Norms of Science

Some of the economists who agree about the state of macro in private conversations will not say so in public. This is consistent with the explanation based on different prices. Yet some of them also discourage me from disagreeing openly, which calls for some other explanation.

They may feel that they will pay a price too if they have to witness the unpleasant reaction that criticism of a revered leader provokes. There is no question that the emotions are intense. After I criticized a paper by Lucas, I had a chance encounter with someone who was so angry that at first he could not speak. Eventually, he told me, “You are killing Bob.”

But my sense is that the problem goes even deeper [than] that avoidance. Several economists I know seem to have assimilated a norm that the post-real macroeconomists actively promote – that it is an extremely serious violation of some honor code for anyone to criticize openly a revered authority figure – and that neither facts that are false, nor predictions that are wrong, nor models that make no sense matter enough to worry about.

A norm that places an authority above criticism helps people cooperate as members of a belief field that pursues political, moral, or religious objectives. As Jonathan Haidt (2012) observes, this type of norm had survival value because it helped members of one group mount a coordinated defense when they were attacked by another group. It is supported by two innate moral senses, one that encourages us to defer to authority, another which compels self-sacrifice to defend the purity of the sacred.

Science, and all the other research fields spawned by the enlightenment, survive by “turning the dial to zero” on these innate moral senses. Members cultivate the conviction that nothing is sacred and that authority should always be challenged. In this sense, Voltaire is more important to the intellectual foundation of the research fields of the enlightenment than Descartes or Newton.

I think I was right in the conjecture that he was trying to say things with which I agree.

After years of writing and supporting software to model the behavior of integrated circuits, I came to the conclusion that you needed to cross-check the simulated results by comparing them to more simplified models and your intuition about how the circuit ought to behave. If there were a discrepancy, then you had darn well better find a way to understand the cause of the discrepancy. Your intuition could be wrong, your simplified model could be wrong, the detailed model could be wrong, and/or the software could be wrong. You should not invest millions of dollars producing a real chip until you understood which of the above possibilities were actually occurring.

Rethinking Macroeconomic Theory Before the Next Crisis

Naked Capitalism has the silly article Rethinking Macroeconomic Theory Before the Next Crisis.

I just cannot understand all this flailing about while ignoring two fundamental issues. The first is taking into account criminal intent in the behavior of major players in any definition of rational expectations. The second is manipulation of economic and political systems to concentrate wealth the hands of the few. There is no laissez-faire economic system anywhere. Models that assume the opposite of reality have little chance in being useful except to the con artists that promote them. Maybe we should look into the corruption of academia in the fields of economics, business, and finance.

All the talk about any other details is a useless exercise when everyone refuses to see the elephant in the room.

Since Naked Capitalism does not show you other comments before you write your own, I had no idea that many of the other comments would agree with my analysis.

“There Ought to be a Law….” Why Prison is the American Way

Naked Capitalism has the article “There Ought to be a Law….” Why Prison is the American Way.

The Washington, D.C.-based Centre for Justice and Reconciliation describes it this way: “Restorative justice repairs the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational.”

I bet this is something that is on Jill Stein’s mind about transforming this country. I can probably figure out why she doesn’t talk about ideas like this on the campaign trail. What she does talk about is already visionary enough. If she talked about this, people would absolutely know that she was crazy. What a pity.

Report: New Data Disproves US Corporations’ False Narrative on Taxes

Naked Capitalism has the article Report: New Data Disproves US Corporations’ False Narrative on Taxes.

While the statutory tax rate on corporate income is 35 percent, estimates of the rate corporations actually pay put the effective rate at about half the statutory rate. Driving this divergence between what corporations are supposed to pay and what they actually pay is a combination of offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance. Multinational corporations pay taxes on between just 3.0 and 6.6 percent of the profits they book in tax havens.

The false narrative is also a mainstay of the Republicans and the Libertarians. The Libertarians have even developed and nice, internally consistent philosophy that has only one problem. The facts don’t support their beliefs.

Corporate revenue is way up and their taxes are way down.

The title of the original article from American’s For Fair Taxes is actually Corporate Tax Chartbook: How Corporations Rig the Rules to Dodge the Taxes They Owe.

500 million Yahoo accounts breached

USA Today has the article 500 million Yahoo accounts breached.

Most consumers might not think there’s much in their Yahoo account that would be of use to hackers, which typically might only include their email and Yahoo password. However, those two bits of information offer multiple uses for ingenious hackers bent on extracting the maximum value from information, say experts.

Of course this article was not written by a person with any computer security knowledge so it can be forgiven if it says dumb things. Let us just hope this is a dumb thing invented by the author of the article and not something Yahoo actually does.

Only the most naive, untrained, and untalented software engineer would ever store people’s passwords anywhere on their computer systems or anywhere else in the world. I won’t go into the details, but once Yahoo receives your encrypted password from a form you fill out in your browser and they do what they have to with it, both the encrypted and unencrypted versions of the password should be wiped from existence. Once wiped, Yahoo should have no knowledge of what your password is. That is why they should not be able to send your password to you if you forget it. If any site ever sends your permanent password to you, then you know that they are security idiots.

So the only passwords that a hacker could steal are the ones that users were foolish enough to put in an email or some other document they stored on Yahoo. So let this be a lesson to you. Don’t ever write down your passwords on a piece of paper, or in a computer file, or in an email, or any other analog or digital medium. Also, don’t ever use the same password twice (or more).

An unknown state may be running drills for taking down the entire internet

Extreme Tech has the article An unknown state may be running drills for taking down the entire internet.

Read the article to see why the following excerpt is so significant.

The Russian government seems to be looking into the feasibility of making do with a Russian-bloc-only intranet with only semi-porous connections to the larger online world. If it did manage to implement such a system, cutting off the global internet would be far less harmful to their own interests. In China the process is even further along, as the country continues to pioneer frankly incredible technologies and procedures to further lock down the internet. What has once been dismissed as a fool’s errand is now a reality: the highly regulated, deeply censored Chinese internet is here, and it is well on its way to being able to make do without the corrupting cyber-influence of outside thoughts.

Would you like either a Trump or a Clinton to take us to the final world war over something like this? Or would you rather have a president that would look for a solution that did not entail the destruction of the world? The candidate that comes to my mind is Jill Stein. There comes a point when we can’t depend on bluster and threats any more. Don’t discount the possibility that the unknown state in the title of the article could be the USA.

Jill Stein: Let’s Get Out The Vote In The South

The Stein campaign does not make it easy, but here is an email that I received that I would like to share. It explains some of the reasons why it is important that Jill Stein get votes even if she cannot win.

Also remember the lesson of Ralph Nader in the 2000 election. If enough of us had voted for Nader to actually cause Al Gore to lose the election in 2000, then the Democratic Party of 2016 would never have dared foist Hillary Clinton on us in 2016.

If Jill Stein can get a vote that is bigger than the normal margin between the candidates of the two major parties, in the next election the Democratic Party will have to think twice before nominating another very disliked candidate.

If Jill Stein cannot get a significant number of votes, then the message to the Democrats is that they can safely choose whomever the corporate donors want, and we will blindly follow.

Request to get out the vote in the south

Erica Chenoweth – Why Civil Resistance Works: Nonviolence in the Past and Future

Here is an amazing YouTube video Erica Chenoweth – Why Civil Resistance Works: Nonviolence in the Past and Future.

A Rockefeller & Dickey Center Lecture by Erica Chenoweth, Asst. Professor of Government & Founder, Program on Terrorism & Insurgency Research, Wesleyan University

Professor Erica Chenoweth will discuss her book, co-authored with Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, which argues that between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as violent insurgencies. Nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement, information and education, and participator commitment, leading to enhanced resilience, a greater probability of tactical innovation, increased opportunity for civic disruption, and shifts in loyalty among opponents’ erstwhile supporters. Moreover, nonviolent resistance movements tend to usher in more durable and internally peaceful democracies.

There is just an amazing amount of information to learn from this video. All Jill Steinn supporters need to watch this video. You will get more out of this than anything Bernie Sanders could tell you.

Bill Black Exposes The Real Wells Fargo Story

New Economic Perspectives has the article NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Monitor.

NEP’s Bill Black talks with Mark Bebawi – host of The Monitor on KPFT in Houston. The topic of conversation is the Wells Fargo scandal and the settlement. You can listen to the podcast here.

You should hear Bill Black’s characterization of Elizabeth Warren’s vaunted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). I am coming to the conclusion that Elizabeth Warren plays the part of the useful fool in this charade. I don’t know how much of the information in this audio interview was discussed in the Senate Banking Committee hearings that came a day after this interview. All I saw was a video clip of Elizabeth Warren going through her usual tirade that always leads to no further action.

USA Today has some clips of Warren’s performance in the article Elizabeth Warren laid the smackdown on Wells Fargo CEO.