SteveG’s Posts

US ‘Empire of Debt’ will go to war to stop emergence of petro-yuan – Max Keiser   Recently updated !

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

Countries worldwide are tired of funding the America’s “military adventurism by being a party to the ‘Empire of Debt,’ as it’s known around the world – the US dollar,” and therefore, will likely join the de-dollarization movement, Keiser said.

I think Keiser is correct about most of what he says. I would be very wary of his brief remark about crypto-currency. He seems to be a big fan of crypto-currency erroneously in my opinion. Here is a recent post The Lunacy of Cryptocurrency that is more in line with my thoughts on the subject.

There may be one possibility for crypto-currency that is worth keeping in mind. The proponents of Modern Money Theory state that what gives fiat currency its value is that governments that produce such currencies create demand for them by insisting that taxes can only be paid with that currency. At the moment, crypto-currencies have no similar mechanism to give them value. If, however, some sellers of oil demanded to be paid in a crypto-currency, this could give legitimate value to the chosen crypto-currency.

The New Progressive Movement

The dreaded New York Times has the November 2011 article The New Progressive Movement.

I started searching for an article like this when I was thinking about a previous progressive era. A Google search brought me to the following explanation of that progressive era.

Trust busting efforts during the Progressive Era, from around 1900 to 1917, spanned the presidencies of Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson. Antitrust lawsuits were used to break up monopolies and trusts found to be restraining trade and manipulating markets.

For the first time, I started to wonder how we ended up with the 1920s and the great depression if we had this progressive era.

This led me to this Google search where I found the article in The Dreaded New York Times.

The second gilded age was the Roaring Twenties. The pro-business administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover once again opened up the floodgates of corruption and financial excess, this time culminating in the Great Depression.

In this article written by Jeffrey D. Sachs, he proved to be a little less than prophetic.

The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days, will have to expand in several strategic ways.
Those who think that the cold weather will end the protests should think again. A new generation of leaders is just getting started. The new progressive age has begun.

Though I was a fan of Occupy Wall Street, and participated in some events, I was one of those who knew the cold weather would put an end to it. Of course the reaction of Wall Street was key to crushing the movement, but it was the summer weather that let the movement resist the crush.

Super-Imperialism at the Pentagon

Michael Hudson the post Super-Imperialism at the Pentagon on his website. You can read the transcript there, or listen to the audio.

Professor Hudson, in January you warned in Berlin at the Rosa Luxemburg Conference, about the still “dangerous” US financial imperialism. The US uses “financial weapons“, you said. Can you explain that briefly?

After World War II, the US created the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund IMF. These instruments were created as essential control mechanisms to control other countries financially. This became particularly apparent after the US abolished its gold-standard in 1971. Since then, the US has always sought to force other states to hold their own currency reserves in US dollars. That means that those governments must then obtain the money through the US Federal Reserve. To make it clear: You buy US government bonds, most central banks do not buy stocks or companies, they buy government bonds. At least that was the case until recently.

They talk about Michael Hudson’s 1968 book, Super-Imperialism : The Economic Strategy of American Empire, which I have not heard about before. However, this interview explains what you need to know.

I am sure I have read his biographical blurb before, but I was reminded of it by what was included with the interview.

Michael Hudson grew up as godson of Leon Trotsky. Today, the marxist US economist is considered a renowned financial expert. The analyzes of the Wall Street connoisseur are correct. Even the Pentagon is interested in his models. “Russia and China challenge nowadays the US financial empire,” he explains in the exclusive Sputnik interview with correspondent Alexander Boos.

China’s Mountain Of Debt Is About To Crumble

Naked Capitalism has the article China’s Mountain Of Debt Is About To Crumble.

Hordes of China’s private firms are now going under after guaranteeing other’s loans.

I think it might have been Steve Keen that has been talking about the Chinese debt crisis for a long time. Since I knew Keen was a firm believer in MMT, I couldn’t understand why he was so concerned about debt in China. Someone finally woke me up to the fact the problem was private sector debt, not government sector debt. Lately, I have been reading what Michael Hudson has to say about private debt to the rentiers in the FIRE sector in the USA – similar results will ensue.

Perhaps the solution is for the Chinese Central Bank to go into the retail banking business of lending to the under-served parts of the private sector. As we have known since Keynes explained this in the 1930s, just pushing money out to institutions does not make them spend it the way the government wants them to. At some point the government has to spend the money directly to the recipients it wants the money to go to.

Foreign Policy is More Than Just War and Peace

The Sanders Institute has the video Foreign Policy is More Than Just War and Peace.

Foreign policy is more than just war and peace, it is a nuanced and complex issue that directly affects us here at home. In this interview, Dr. Jane Sanders sits down with Representative Tulsi Gabbard to talk about U.S. foreign policy and how it affects us here at home.

As far as I can tell, this was published on Nov 14, 2018.

Once you view this video, I think you will understand why the oligarchs’ news media is trying to demonize Tulsi Gabbard. We have to fight that demonization, tooth and nail.

The Born Rule Has Been Derived From Simple Physical Principles   Recently updated !

Quanta Magazine has the article Mysterious Quantum Rule Reconstructed From Scratch.

In the excertp below I have put emphasis on what I think is the most profound statement in the article.

In most physics equations, the variables refer to objective properties of the system they are describing: the mass or velocity of bodies in Newton’s laws of motion, for instance. But according to Born, the wave function is not like this. It’s not obvious whether it says anything about the quantum entity itself — such as where it is at any moment in time. Rather, it tells us what we might see if we choose to look. It points in the wrong direction: not down toward the system being studied, but up toward the observer’s experience of it.

This observation of what is missing from quantum theory, is exactly what makes quantum theory most disturbing to me. Explaining what we can observe is very valuable. It is enough to base a technology on, but is just not completely satisfying. The rest of the article, though intriguing, is just word salad that does not explain much to me.

Where Is Elizabeth Warren’s Fire in the Realm of Foreign Policy?

Truth Out has the article Where Is Elizabeth Warren’s Fire in the Realm of Foreign Policy?

Like on economic policy, the two candidates both want to see a more left-wing approach to foreign policy, but they differ in their degree of radicalism. But by looking at their voting record, their staffing and their public leadership, it is clear that Sanders is offering a deeper critique of the US foreign policy order, whereas Warren has a far less radical vision that hews closer to the Democratic Party’s traditional liberal norms.

Zaid Jilani is right about what he says in this article. But even Bernie is getting weaker in his old age.

I always knew that Warren was weak on foreign policy, but I had hopes she would learn. She has learned a little, but she is way too slow.

Bernie has been right for most of the last 40 years, but he seems to be forgetting some things he used to know. Bernie isn’t quite as strong on anti-imperialism as he used to be, unfortunately. Tulsi Gabbard is good on a lot of foreign policy issues, but even she isn’t perfect.

So far, I can still support Bernie. Elizabeth Warren has a lot to make up for before I could consider supporting her again.

A record 7 million Americans are 3 months behind on their car payments, a red flag for the economy

Jeff Bezos’ newspaper The Washington Post has the article A record 7 million Americans are 3 months behind on their car payments, a red flag for the economy.

A record 7 million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Tuesday, even more than during the wake of the financial crisis.

Isn’t it odd how statistics can be made to lie. All the traditional measures of the economy are booming because they are not affected by this negative information. It is clever the way the oligarchs and the finance, insurance, and real-estate sectors can hide the bad news where the corporate news media won’t report it with big headlines. Sure people are employed, but they are going broke working.

The Lunacy of Cryptocurrency   Recently updated !

The Real News Network has the segment Cryptocurrency Firms Regularly Lose Codes and Money.

Recent developments in the cryptocurrency world highlight the dangers of trading in this type of “coin.” But how important is cryptocurrency to the financial world and why should we care? We discuss the issue with white collar criminologist Bill Black.

I’ll add a couple of observations that Bill Black did not mention.

If you don’t study these things you might only stumble onto the knowledge that the USA has a sovereign, fiat currency. Being a fiat currency, its value is not tied to anything that backs up the currency. This is all explained by MMT (Modern Money Theory) which is mentioned all over this blog.

So why can’t you invent a cryptocurrency that is backed by nothing? MMT explains that what gives sovereign, fiat currency its value is that the sovereign insists that the only way you can pay the taxes the sovereign imposes is to use the fiat currency. If you want to pay your taxes to stay out of jail and prevent your property being seized for payment of back taxes, you need to get some of that sovereign currency. There is no such mechanism to a non-sovereign crypto-currency. Non-sovereign crypto-currency’s value in dollars is whatever the fad of the moment says it is worth. This is subject to manipulation in operations called “pump and dump”. The pumper makes a public announcement touting the great potential of the currency, people rush out to buy it, and the pumper then dumps the whatever he or she has “invested” in the crypto-currency.

The other thing that touters of crypto-currency seem to have no foresight about is privacy. People use crypto-currecncy because the government cannot keep track of your crypto-currency transactions. One of the key technologies behind this crypto-currency is the distributed nature of the ledger of transactions. The complete copy of the ledger of all transactions is available on a large number of computers around the world. Anybody can read the ledger, but the tie between a person and his or her transactions is hidden by an unbreakable encryption. There is something called data-mining which is very popular topic in comp0uters these days. Data mining works on massive stores of information like what Google and Facebook have (and out government has, too). Computers can sift through this data and make connections that most humans cannot imagine. If any government wants to apply data mining to the public ledger of crypto-currency transactions, I would be willing to bet they can figure out who made what transactions. The secrecy of crypto-currency transactions has been put in the minds of the users by the pumpers and dumpers.

Support for Israel Divides Democrats, A Division Fomented by Republicans   Recently updated !

The Real News Network has the video Support for Israel Divides Democrats, A Division Fomented by Republicans.

Yes, this is a very divisive and sensitive issue, but I agree with the point of view of Israeli-American journalist Mairav Zonszein that it is a discussion that we must have. I find it very difficult if not impossible to hold to progressive ideals and support how Israel treats people in Israel. Yes, most of the people that Israel mistreats are Palestinians, but first we have to recognize that they are people.

I have somewhat distant relatives in the Israeli military. Fortunately they are distant enough that I don’t have to confront them with the question of how they feel about shooting down unarmed civilians.