Daily Archives: February 19, 2019

Noam Chomsky​ Lecture with introduction by Bernie Sanders​

YourTube has the video Noam Chomsky​ Lecture with introduction by Bernie Sanders​.

“Deciphering Foreign Policy Jargon” (05/20/1985)

This fascinating and remarkably timely discussion comments not only on the historical state of our political system, but offers deep insights into the current state of our election processes.

At 5 minutes to midnight, I don’t have time to watch this all. I’ll have to do it later. In less than 7 minutes of watching, I am reminded of what Bernie Sanders knew about Nicaragua in 1985. That is what astounds me about what he now says about Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders announces 2020 run: Extended interview

YouTube has the video Bernie Sanders announces 2020 run: Extended interview.

I looked at the whole interview for the first time. Sanders’ reaction at 23 minutes and 43 seconds into the interview, is funny as all get out.

The only thing that Sanders said during the interview that really upset me were his remarks on Venezuela. He acted as if the USA had clean hands in the creation of the economic havoc in Venezuela. If somebody doesn’t manage to wake Bernie up on this issue, I am going to be very, very concerned.

What Sanders does not seem to get is that Chavez and Maduro were working against the very same type of oligarchy that Sanders wants to fight in the USA. He could take a lesson from Venezuela on what the oligarchy will do to fight him.

Maybe with Tulsi Gabbard as his Vice President, she will be able to knock some sense into him on this issue. We’ll have to watch his pick for Secretary of State very carefully. If he does what Obama did in picking Hillary Clinton, then we will know that all is lost.

Leahy backs Sanders in shift from 2016

AP news has the article Leahy backs Sanders in shift from 2016.

On the first day of his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders picked up the support of his fellow home-state senator, Democrat Patrick Leahy.

Leahy, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, says he’ll back Sanders this year.

I got into an interesting conversation on an Ernesto Cruz Facebook thread.

Steve Greenberg The other candidates like Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar may have raised similar amounts of money after they announced, but where did their money come from? How much came from small donations, and how much came from Wall Street?

Jeff Bourque Steve Greenberg I think Harris had 38k donors totalling $1.5m

Steve Greenberg You can divide the money by the number of donors to get a mathematical average, but you won’t know what fraction of her money came from big donors and how much can from small ones.

As an extreme example, only to show you the point I am making, She could have received 38K dollars total from all but one of those 38K donors giving $1 apiece, and $1.5M from one Wall Street PAC.

There actually was a point in the 2016 campaign where Hillary Clinton was specifically asking for $1 donations, so she could skew the meaningless average.

Steve Greenberg Few news media will be smart enough (or honest enough) to tell you what fraction of money raised came from donations under $200. Most will either stupidly report the average or slyly report the average knowing full well that they are giving a false impression.

I refer you to Greenberg’s Law of The Media – “If a news item has a number in it, then it is probably misleading.”

By the way, Hillary Clinton’s misleading statistic would be what percentage of her donors gave a $1 donation. That is not the same thing as what percentage of the money she raised came from $1 donations.

The Financial Crisis Was a Minsky Moment but We Live in Strange Times

Naked Capitalism has the article The Financial Crisis Was a Minsky Moment but We Live in Strange Times. I can’t find just the right excerpt to put here to do the article justice. Instead, I will quote one of the comments. The comment is a spoiler in that it gives away the joke of the title.

Susan Strange seems to have been a catalyst for a lot of what was at the time subversive economic thought. I would predict that as time goes along a lot of the economic ‘stars’ such as Milton Friedman will be revealed for the frauds that they were and that anybody who has won a (made up) Nobel Prize in Economics would also be suspect.

Modern Monetary Theory is On the March

New Economic Perspectives has the William K. Black article Modern Monetary Theory is On the March. Here is an excerpt Black quotes from a Wall Street Journal article.

In theory, high debt levels should cause interest rates to rise. That’s because investors will demand higher returns to compensate for the risk they take on when the government borrows at unsustainable levels or because they worry that so much debt could trigger inflation. The need to finance such high levels of debt also makes less money available for other investments.

In practice, investors are happy to keep lending to the U.S. in good times and bad, regardless of how much it borrows. In 2009, for instance, when the Obama administration’s stimulus efforts sent federal deficits rising to almost 10% of GDP, the highest since World War II, the interest on 10-year Treasury securities remained below where it had been before the recession.

Something that a colleague where I used to work would frequently say:

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not.

He denies coining that aphorism, but I like it no matter who coined it. Some people have to learn that when theory does not match practice, they have to give up on the theory, not the practice.