Friday, April 20, 2018

RT — Trump not Putin is greater threat to world peace – German poll

More than 90 percent of Germans want better relations with Russia, while more than three-quarters think US President Donald Trump represents a greater threat to world peace than Vladimir Putin, a new poll says.
Painting Russia as a boogeyman and a threat to the West has been the narrative of both the mainstream media and a number of Western states for some time. Now, a poll conducted by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the Wiese Consult group has revealed a substantial difference between the main narrative in the media and general public opinion.

It revealed that 83 percent of Germans said they weren’t afraid of Russia, while half of all respondents blamed American policy for creating a tense relationship between Russia and the West. Only a quarter of Germans believed that conflict was Russia’s fault. More than three-quarters of respondents (79 percent) said they considered US President Donald Trump to be a greater threat to world peace than his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
While Washington has been imposing sanctions on Russia under various pretexts, more than half of German respondents (55 percent) opposed tough anti-Russian restrictions. Germany already saw a considerable negative economic impact of earlier rounds of sanctions against Moscow.
Signal for the German political leadership. Adjust course.

Reuters — Democrats sue Russia, Trump campaign for alleged 2016 election conspiracy

The need for more popcorn is unending. Please pass the popcorn.

Democrats sue Russia, Trump campaign for alleged 2016 election conspiracy
Mark Hosenball, David Alexander


Trump returns fire.

Zero Hedge
Trump To "Counter" DNC Lawsuit; Seeks Servers, Clinton Emails And "Pakistani Mystery Man"
Tyler Durden

Asia Times China approves ambitious Xiongan New Area master plan

Creating the city of the future.
A new blueprint was released Friday for a massive development that, if successful, will be merged with Beijing and nearby Tianjin into a megalopolis unlike any place in the world, and it sounds every bit as ambitious as promised.
The vision at its core is to create a “new area” south of Beijing in Hebei province, which will serve as a testing ground for a new type of city fitted to industries of the future, while drawing residents away from the congested capital city....
Asia Times
China approves ambitious Xiongan New Area master plan

Pepe Escobar — Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’

Update on the situation in the Middle East. The backstory is the effect of US policy on Europe.

Asia Times
Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’
Pepe Escobar

Intel Today — Roger Waters : “White Helmets Is A Fake Organization That Creates Propaganda for Jihadists and Terrorists”

Exposé of the White Helmets.

Intel Today
Roger Waters : “White Helmets Is A Fake Organization That Creates Propaganda for Jihadists and Terrorists”

Lars P. Syll — Marx predicted the present crisis – and points the way out

Self-identified "erratic Marxist" Yanis Varoufakis. He absolutely and totally understands Marx and Engels' fundamental assumption (freedom and happiness) and method (engagement).

Most either miss this or obscure it intentionally. 

Psychologist Erich Fromm got it in his Marx's Concept of Man (1961). He begins the work with a section entitled,  The Falsification of Marx's Concepts, which reveals the caricature of Marx that has been created as a straw man to attack.

Like the anarchists whom Marx opposed and debated with, he was a libertarian of the left that looked forward to humanity transcending oppression based on class structure and class rule. 

Between demonizing Marx and glorying him, the middle way is to see his work for what it is and the assumptions on which it is based. While the significance of Marx and Engels  is mostly historically now, they are also two of the giants on whose shoulders we stand, like it or not.

But bourgeois liberalism expressed through various forms of capitalism views that degree of honest inquiry as threatening, just as monarch and aristocracy correctly viewed advocates for bourgeois liberalism and their works as threatening to what is now the old order.

As with all that have gone before who have contributed to the endowment of knowledge, the intelligent approach is learn from Marx, both positive and negative, and to adapt this to contemporary conditions and the opportunities and challenges they present.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Marx predicted the present crisis — and points the way out
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

See also

The tractability hoax in modern economics

Unsold aluminum piling up at sanctions-hit Rusal factory

Trump's sanctions...

Rusal and Deripaska were included on a U.S. sanctions blacklist this month, scaring off many of its customers, suppliers and creditors who fear they too could be hit by sanctions through association with the company. 
A number of traders and customers of Rusal’s aluminum have stopped buying the firm’s products, citing the sanctions risk, and Rusal has stopped shipping some of its products for export, according to a logistics firm and a railway operator that used to carry much of its aluminum. 
While shipments have stalled, Rusal cannot readily reduce its production of aluminum because the electrolysis pots that are at the heart of the manufacturing process can be irreparably damaged if they are shut down. 
U.S. customers cannot do business with Rusal any more under the sanctions, while major Japanese trading houses asked Rusal to stop shipping refined aluminum and other products and are scrambling to secure metal elsewhere, industry sources said. 
Rusal is encountering problems at the other end of its production cycle too, with the sanctions affecting the overseas operations that supply it with the raw materials it uses to produce metal.

Trump hires Rudy

sundance at TLR has an interesting take:

Guiliani joining team to negotiate exit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is confirmation of earlier analysis on Mueller “referee” intent. 
The investigative and indictment balance was always between Hillary Clinton allies and President Donald Trump. Robert Mueller was recruited by Clinton and Washington DC allies and those within the small group; and was/is generally facilitating the investigation of Trump as leverage. 
The only way for Mueller to protect his Swamp Allies and Institutions, was to generate leverage against Trump. Having established only political leverage, nothing factually unlawful or illegal, the Mueller investigation begins to dry up. Leverage diminishes. 
Without direct leverage against President Trump, Team Mueller moved to position leverage against those Trump cares about… that’s a secondary approach; but the secondary leverage approach is fraught with public noting Mueller is on a “witch hunt”… the investigation into outlying Trump allies becomes transparent in motive. Support for Mueller erodes amid independent-minded people. 
Enter Rudy Giuliani, a political and legal Subject Matter Expert – with direct knowledge of evidence held by NYPD and NY FBI field office of gross criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton. (Weiner Laptop etc) Buried by SDNY Clinton Allies. 
With Special Counsel Mueller having exhausted most of his investigative leverage, Giuliani enters to negotiate Mueller’s exit and discuss his team’s path of retreat and image face-saving. 
The discussion from Mueller’s perspective will not center around Trump, but rather center around how much risk to Hillary Clinton, and by extension political allies within FBI and DOJ – including Obama White House, Mueller will permit. 
Mueller will be looking to protect the interests of Obama, Clinton, Lynch, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc. and negotiating degrees of risk to the institutions each represents. 
This is the political horsetrading phase. The leverage cards held by each participant are laid on the table for discussion. Low leverage officials will be sacrificed by Mueller to protect those holding more leverage.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Reuters — U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs

Trade war in progress. Proceed with caution.

Exclusive: U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs
Karl Plume, P.J. Huffstutter

Equilibrium in Economic Theory

Everything you may have wanted to know about equilibrium in economics.

Post Keynesianism generally dismisses the neoclassical assumption of equilibrium in economic theory, but these posts serve to clarify the concept and the debate around it. David Glasner explores the history, while Jason Smith comments on the concept for the POV of physics and explains it in terms of information equilibrium.

Uneasy Money
On Equilibrium in Economic Theory
David Glasner | Economist at the Federal Trade Commission

Information Transfer Economics
An agnostic equilibrium
Jason Smith

See also

The Undercover Historian
What is the cost of ‘tractable’ economic models?

Asia Times — Alibaba developing advanced chip for AI computing

Alibaba’s R&D arm DAMO Academy said it is developing a neural network chip — Ali-NPU — which will be used in image analysis, machine learning and other AI reasoning calculations, reported....

Multiplier Effect — 27th Annual Minsky Conference Presentations

The 27th Minsky Conference — “Financial Stability in a World of Rising Rates and the Repeal of Dodd-Frank” — just wrapped up yesterday. Anyone interested in the slide presentations can find them below….
Multiplier Effect
27th Annual Minsky Conference Presentations
Michael Stevens

Patrick Armstrong — Russian Federation Sitrep 19 April 2018

Commentary and links.

Russian Observer
Russian Federation Sitrep 19 April 2018
Patrick Armstrong

Don't miss the link Armstrong cites:

ISIS Used Chemical Weapons at Least 52 Times in Iraq and Syria, Analysis Shows
Jack Moore

Philip Giraldi — Why Each US President Ends Up As Ruthless Interventionist These Days

In the wake of last week’s cruise missile attack on Syria, there was a joke going around the internet saying that it doesn’t matter who Americans vote for, they always wind up getting John McCain as President of the United States. The humor derives from the fact that the past three presidents all ran for office committed to reducing America’s interventionism overseas but once in office they reversed course and expanded US military commitments worldwide, turning them into facsimiles of John McCain, who has never seen a war he didn’t like....
Pundits see the process whereby all new presidents turn into hawks as evidence of the pervasiveness of the Deep State in US foreign policy, but as the Deep State operates largely in the open in the United States, it might also be referred to as the Establishment consensus. The persistence of the Establishment view in what has become increasingly a national security state is largely due to the fact that there is little pushback against it.
The media is fully on board and Congress, which should be serving as a brake on presumed presidential prerogatives to go to war, benefits substantially from the bloated budgets and other emoluments that derive from American imperialism. Defense and related budgets grow in spite of the lack of any real threat and the public is fed a steady diet of fear by the media and government regarding fabricated threats to US national security.…
Establishment politics has meant that the United States is now a rogue nation defined by its propensity to go to war. America’s bombing of Syria is illegal, immoral, ineffective and dishonest.
Strategic Culture Foundation
Why Each US President Ends Up As Ruthless Interventionist These Days
Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, now Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest

Reuters — Trump launches effort to boost U.S. weapons sales abroad

The Trump administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy on Thursday aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it will bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home.

Trump launches effort to boost U.S. weapons sales abroad
Mike Stone

Syria Update

Moon of Alabama
Syria - Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?

Militants blocking OPCW inspectors from ‘chem-attack’ site in Douma – Russian deputy FM

Emails reveal White Helmets tried to lobby ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters

See also

Russia Insider
Hillary's Sociopathic Wikileaks Emails: Kill Assad, Destroy Syria - Deep State Goal for 10 Years
Patrick Fleming

See also

I also posted a separate link to this.

The Unz Review
The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

See also

Sputnik International
Militants Who Attacked UN Mission in Douma Were Warned in Advance - Lavrov

Syrian Center Struck in US Missile Attack Specialized in Cancer Drugs - Employee

See also

Lots more links, some the same as here. Plus Novichok links.

William Bowles
Syria News Links April 18-19 2018

Novichok News Links 14-19 April 2018

Pat Lang — The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!

Excoriating smackdown.
The neocons believe so strongly that America must lead the world and mankind forward that they accept the idea that the achievement of human progress justifies any means needed to advance that goal....
The Unz Review
The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.) 
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.

He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. — Wikipedia

Asia Times — ZTE fears being kicked out of Android family after ban

Now it has emerged that, on top of the embargo on exports of chips and hardware, even mobile operating systems – developed by US companies and licensed to ZTE for its smartphone business – may also fall into the sphere of the far-reaching ban as the US Commerce Department has prohibited the Shenzhen-based tech firm from transactions involving any commodity, software or technology to be exported from the US, for a period of seven year…
Washington’s punitive order to single out ZTE in an escalating its trade row with Beijing has further fueled a nationalist groundswell in China.

Hu Xijin, chief editor of the tabloid Global Times, sister publication of the top Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, has joined Beijing’s fresh call to expedite the development of chips and semiconductors at home in the face of the US interdiction.

On his Weibo account, Hu, nowadays an Internet and media personality known for his rather sensational grandstanding and preaching about patriotism, appealed for a boycott of everything made or invented in the United States.…
China to join Russia against US and its allies in Cold War 2?

Asia Times
ZTE fears being kicked out of Android family after ban

See also
Even before Donald Trump got into the White House and raised the prospect of a trade war with China, Beijing was aiming to reduce its reliance on foreign technology.
In 2014, the government urged the military, banks, and state-owned enterprises to switch to domestic suppliers for any tech products or services they used. A year later, it announced plans for Chinese industryto raise the domestic content of core components and materials to 40% by 2020, and to 70% by 2025.
It’s unclear whether Chinese suppliers can really match what their foreign counterparts offer. But they’ll soon be put to the test, now that the US has taken punitive measures towards a major Chinese smartphone maker....
China wants to wean itself off foreign technology. Now it will see how hard that will be
Josh Horowitz

See also
A U.S. ban on sales of American components to ZTE Corp) has unleashed a patriotic backlash in China’s cyberspace, highlighting the growing tension between the world’s two largest economies....
U.S. ban on sales to ZTE triggers patriotic rhetoric in China
Sijia Jiang

See also

Not just China either. Germany wavering? US losing an ally?
The German business community hates and detests the costly Russia sanctions
Russia Insider
Berlin to Implore Trump Admin Not to Force Germany to Comply With US Sanctions on Russia

The Psychology of Russiagate — An Interview With Glenn Greenwald

Excellent. The Democratic Party establishment as the real villains in the piece.

An Interview With Glenn Greenwald

The consequences of this villainy.
Incessant Kremlin-baiting of President Trump is risking a Cuban missile–like crisis that he, unlike JFK in 1962, may not be permitted to resolve peacefully.
The Nation
‘Russiagate’ Allegations Continue to Escalate the Danger of War With Russia
Stephen F. Cohen | Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History, and Politics at New York University and Princeton University

See also

Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss
Jonathan Turley | Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Universitylso

See also

Real News Network
Paul Jay interviews Democratic activists and primary challengers

Joe Mellor — Watch - New process contributing to sea level rise and climate change discovered

Melting of glaciers from beneath.

The London Economic
Watch - New process contributing to sea level rise and climate change discovered
Joe Mellor

Chris Dillow — Facts vs hand-waving in economics

On Twitter this morning Jason Smith asked a good question. Is this, he asked, an “anonymous blog comment from a simpleton? ... Or analysis from a prominent financial economics professor?”...
Stumbling and Mumbling
Facts vs hand-waving in economics
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Not a bad day in Trumpland....

18 holes at your club in the morning...

Followed by a nice light gourmet business lunch, perhaps some cracked stone crab cocktail,  negotiating some bilateral trade agreements...

Meanwhile back in DC your allies in Congress send criminal referrals over to Dept. of Justice jail for all of your enemies....

Dinner then back at the club with your new business partner...

After dinner some relaxing with your model wife....

WINNING!!!!  Double trigger fingers day!!!!

Inder Comar — Four Lessons From the Strike on Syria

The lessons from last weekend’s strike on Syria by the United States of America and two of its allies do not bode well for the future of democracy or the future of peace, says Inder Comar. 
More warnings than lessons. "It can't happen here."
Inder Comar


Are most Americans "good Americans" like the "good Germans" that not only did not oppose Hitler but elected him and stood by him when he later made war illegally and aggressively for idealistic reasons?
The fact that this poll did not show close to 100% contempt by the American people regarding what the U.S. government and its two allies, UK and France, had just done, indicates not only that the American people are astoundingly ignorant that the U.S. and its allies are international outlaws and warmongers (which makes sense for a nation that invaded and destroyed Iraq 2003, Libya 2011 and has been trying to do it since 2011 in Syria), but that they are also astoundingly misinformed as to which side in this war is guilty, and which side is not.
Nothing new though. Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada, G. W. H. Bush invaded Panama, Bill Clinton bombed Serbia, G. W. Bush invaded Iraq, Barack Obama inserted ISIS into Syria and put US forces there, and now Donald Trump has doubled down. Hardly anything heard in protest from the people of the United States.

Washington's Blog
Poll Shows Americans Support the Invasion of Syria
Eric Zuese

Nature — How to retool our concept of value – Mariana Mazzucato

Must-read in full. It's short and to the point.

The meaning of "value" is one of the most pertinent questions in economics and political economy. Michael Hudson has been emphasizing this for some time, as have Marxists and Marxian. Consideration of value of other than as price revealed in competitive markets is ruled out in conventional economics by methodological assumptions.
What we value and how we value it is one of the most contested, misunderstood and important ideas in economics. Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s comprehensive The Value of Everything explores how ideas about what value is, where it comes from and how it should be distributed have changed in the past 400 years, and why value matters now more than ever. Mazzucato emphasizes the need to reopen debate to make economies more productive, equitable and sustainable. The 2008 financial crisis was just a taste of looming problems — climate disruption, massive biodiversity and ecosystem-services decline, even the possible collapse of Western civilization — unless we learn to value what really matters.
Early economists focused on the production of value from land (François Quesnay and the ‘physiocrats’), labour (Adam Smith to Karl Marx) and capital. In this view, value determines price (Four decades ago, I described this in terms of embodied energy: see R. Costanza Science 210, 1219–1224; 1980). By contrast, the current mainstream ‘marginalist’ concept bases value on market exchanges: price, as revealed by the interaction of supply and demand in markets, determines value, and the only things that have value are those that fetch a price.
This has major implications for ideas about the distinction between value creation and value extraction, the nature of unearned income (‘rent’) and how value should be distributed....
How to retool our concept of value — Mariana Mazzucato
Robert Costanza

Colin Todhunter— Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest

Once Britain lost its empire, it managed to secure a degree of global influence by throwing in its lot with the US as a junior partner in Washington’s quest for global hegemony. And if the 21st century tells us anything so far, it is that the centuries’ old colonialist mentality of the British state has not gone away: the mindset of Empire, conquest and duplicity persists.…
British elite trying to remain relevant on the world stage and in the great game.

Colin Todhunter delivers a blistering smackdown, citing evidence.

Counter Currents
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Colin Todhunter

Jimmy Dore - Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria

And this is very is even better. Boy, listen to this Professor Jeffrey Sachs talk, no messing here, he says the CIA and Saudi Arabia went into Syria to destabilise the country to get rid of Assad. That's the US messing in another countries politics to change a leader - that's serious.

Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria

Jimmy Dore - The Real Reason We're in Syria.

Jimmy Dore is so good, and this video excellent. I wrote in the comments under another another Jimmy Dore video that he is one of the most important people on the left right now. He can put serious politics across in a very entertaining way. 

This video below goes over the same ground. 

Michele Lastella explains how, why and what is really happening behind the war in Syria. Mass media is hiding the truth about most of the main news.

James Russell — The Strike Warfare Chimera

The reality is that strike warfare—long range strikes by planes and missiles—has rarely achieved its advertised strategic consequence. Yet it remains a dangerous, drug-like chimera to states desperately searching for some sort of easy, low-cost fix in the search for influence in the chaotic international system. Like all drugs, the initial rush feels great, but the long-range addiction is, in the end, far more destructive, dangerous, and difficult (if not impossible) to kick.…
Yet despite these uncertain results and even colossal failures, we remain addicted to strike warfare, telling ourselves that we can police the politics on the ground by dropping bombs from on high. The reality is, of course, different. Those fighting the wars on the ground are fighting for political objectives, and it is on the ground that the fight will be determined—not by the missiles and airplanes flying around above it. This fact is not lost on Assad. His response to the strikes? He reportedly stepped up attacks against his enemies on the ground.
Therein lies the strategic dilemma for the West, which has invested billions in the strike, information, surveillance, and reconnaissance complexes that are designed to blow things up with little collateral damage. The revolution in military affairs (and billions of taxpayer dollars) indeed delivered the complex—much to the delight of political leaders, who saw in it a low-cost substitute for sending armies to the four corners of the globe to police political disputes.
Yet the foreign policy establishment in the United States desperately clings to the myths they helped create that the strike complex would mean that these wars would be short, low cost and that we could control the bad behavior of our enemies by bombing them.
Our enemies must surely back down in the fact of such might. Right?
Substituting a tactic and wishful thinking for a strategy. Vietnam, and the experience of France there before the US, should have taught a lesson. It did not. The US keeps on making the same mistake and is unleashing carnage. People like John Bolton don't think the US has unleashed enough of it and the solution is to double down.

The Strike Warfare Chimera
James A. Russell | Associate Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA

Adam Johnson — Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war.
This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing (, 4/11/17). The single paper of dissent from last year, the Houston Chronicle, didn’t publish an editorial on last week’s bombing….

World Economic Forum — The world's biggest economies in 2018

The emerging world is catching up fast.

World Economic Forum
The world's biggest economies in 2018
Rob Smith